Hot Actress

Rolling Stone — 18 May 1989

— by David Handelman
After ‘Heathers’, will stardon ‘devirginize’ newcomer Winona Ryder?

Winona Ryder is doing something totally illegal. The sunny, dark-haired actress is blithelt motoring around Los Angeles in her friend’s rental car — and, at age seventeen, she’s too young to drive it. It’s early March, only three weeks since Ryder moved out of her parents’ house in Petaluma, California, and her own car is still up there, along with her collages, her bible — The Catcher in the Rye — her vast collection of handbags, socks, charm bracelets, Barbie dolls, Twilight Zone and Monty Python tapes. Oh, and the screenplay she wrote and sold. So just by driving to the mall, she’s flirting with danger.

As Ryder reaches a major intersection, the traffic light turns yellow. “Should I go? No, better not.” But she’s already halfway across, so with one hand clutching her head in terror, she glides through, emitting yelps: “Huh! Oh! Uh!”

An oncoming car screeches and honks. “Sorry! I know, I’m sorry! That guy hates me now. Was that my fault?”

Her L.A. driving may be tentative, but otherwise Winona Ryder brims with self-confidence. “Insecure people,” she says, wrinkling her nose, “don’t fry my burger.” Precocious enough to hold her own with adults, she radiates the qualities of a child who has always been encouraged: a chatty, optimistic disposition and an unself-conscious creativity.

“It’s amazing,” says her friend Robert Downey Jr. “She’ll just call me up and say, ‘I wrote another script,’ like ‘I did another load of laundry.’ To me, that’s like bench-pressing the Sears Tower.” While most kids her age are still months away from their high-school graduation, Ryder has already completed her home-study degree (“four point oh,” she chirps) as well as six feature films.

From her first moments onscreen — in Lucas, filmed the summer after she was in the eighth grade and released in 1986 — Winona Ryder has been someone to watch. In her second film, Square Dance (1987), she had more scenes than costars Jason Robards, Jane Alexander and Rob Lowe; in last year’s Beetlejuice, she played the character who kept her head while everyone else was losing theirs. Her alert, expressive eyes telegraph a startling combination of intelligence, gravity and self-possession.

Driving down Wilshire Boulevard, Ryder passes a gaggle of elementary schoolers in uniform. “I can’t wait until I’m grown-up and have kids,” she says, rubbing her tummy. “I want little boys. Want to hear the names I’m gonna name them? I like baseball names. Vida Blue Ryder. Cool Papa Ryder. Unless I marry some guy that has a better last name than me.” She says she “worshiped” Dodgers second baseman for years, to the point of writing Winona Sax on her school notebook. But the day he went to the Yankees, she says, “I burst into tears. The fucking Yankees. I would never do that, if I was a Dodger. It’s morally reprehensible.” (Besides, she had already “bettered” her own last name, Horowitz, when the titles were being put on Lucas.)

Though she doesn’t envision getting married until she’s at least twenty, Ryder is perched on the precipice of adulthood, rushed there somewhat by her recent roles. As Veronica Sawyer, the ambivalent high schooler in the adring black comedy Heathers — which Ryder made against the advice of her parents and agents — she deftly vacillates between a vulnerable teen scribbling away in her diary and an action heroine capable of murdering her best friends, all named Heather. And in this summer’s Great Balls of Fire, Ryder plays Myra, the child bride of Jerry Lee Lewis (played by Dennis Quaid); the movie includes a wedding-night scene in which, as Ryder guilelessly puts it, “he’s devirginizing me.”

Ryder’s incipient womanhood, however, is not without its headaches. Guys who previously viewed her as “jail bait,” she says, are now making advances, and ill-informed gossip is driving her bonkers.

“I can’t believe the rumors!” she says, rolling her eyes as she parks in the Beverly Center garage. “I’m going out with Dweezil Zappa. Alec Baldwin and I are getting married. Meg Ryan wants to kill me because Dennis Quaid and I are having an affair. And what’s the other one? Oh, yeah, that the 1969 cast, Keifer Sutherland and Robert Downy and I, are having a menage-and-trois affair!” Her active eyebrows wiggle, and she laughs a loud ha-ha!

“The first time I heard thing about myself,” she says, “I was really hurt. People say, ‘Just ignore it, or laugh it off.’ It’s hard, because I hear stuff about people and believe it. ‘Ooh, really? She’s a slut? Hoo!’ So people are going to think it’s true about me. And I’m sure I’m gonna be getting a lot more of it.”

Looking very junior high in a zippered sweat shirt, a white T-shirt and jeans (in contrast with the spandexed and moussed Beverly Hills mall vixens around her), Ryder rides up the escalators to Bullock’s department store. “Stores like this totally scare me,” she says. “They’re so colorful.” She zips around making speedy but accurate household purchases — picture frames, towels — using crisp hundred-dollar bills, which she pulls from an envelope in her pocket. “I don’t have any checks yet,” she explains. “And I’m too young to have credit cards — which is probably a good thing.” (She is also shopping for a house in the Hollywood Hills, which she wants to share with two of her friends and which she says will be “very sitcomish.”)

Out in the mall, Ryder whizzes by a drugstore, then backtracks and stares at its window display of shaving accessories. “Stuff like this really makes me want to be a boy,” she says with a sigh. “It would be so cool to be able to shave. To be able to say, ‘Oh! I forgot to shave.’ I used to sit and watch my dad shave. I think it’s the coolest thing. I tried, but the your hair starts growing back, like, weird? But I would never get the bogus George Michael thing happening. Like, perfect lines? It’s so scary.”

She pops into a store specializing in designer party dresses, looking for something to wear to the imminent Academy Awards ceremony, her first. A saleswoman in a billowy scarf and green leather pants tells her, “Because you’re very tiny, you need somethings that’s not cut to big, so it won’t dwarf you.” Ryder (who says she’s five feet four “when I’m not slouching”) grimaces and leaves, muttering, “I hate people like that.”

A bookstore is next, where she picks up Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim and Studs Terkel’s American Deams: Lost and Found. Then she pit-stops in a sporting goods store, longingly eyeing a pair of sneakers that don’t come in her size. “Mine are too stiff for basketball,” she says. “My ankles flop all over the place. In high school, me and my best friend Heather [!] would get up in the middle of the night and raid my parents liquor cabinet and go play basketball at the high school in the dark. It’s so much fun — you don’t know where the fucking ball’s going! Sometimes we’d get up, watch West Side Story, then scale the school walss, get on top pf the roof and do the Jets dances. We’d change around the letters on the scoreboard. We never had big word selection, but once we got it to say slut reek when everybody showed up Monday moring.”

Throughtout her mall trek, Ryder is never recognized by passers-by or salespeople. This blessed anonymity, however, is probably not going to last.

“People have been telling me that things might get a little weird,” she says, heading back to the rental car. “People who know me know that I would have a difficult time handling fame, because I don’t think I would tale the precautions, because I have no sense of ‘who I am.’

“The only time I ever feel like I’m in the business is when I go somewhere public and there are photographers saying my name; I get a really weird chill. I wish I could sit and think about it, but every time I do I get so nervous that I end up changing the subject. Sometimes I really sort of resent what I’ve gotten myself into.”

“Dinky needs a book bag,” Ryder says, picking up an old doctor’s satchel and shifting it from hand to hand, considering its heft. She’s at the massive Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena, shopping for Dinky Bosetti, the obsessive outsider Ryder will play in her next movie, Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael, which will be directed by Airplanes!’s Jim Abrahams.

Ryder has been attached to the project for two years, and she’s already accumulated cratefuls of Dinky’s things — old National Geographics, circus posters, et cetera — none of which is mentioned in the script, and none of which is likely to appear onscreen. But this is part of Ryder’s “method not done too mad,” as Beetlejuice dircetor Tim Burton puts it. The method began when she bought strange, Edward Goery-like dolls for Beetlejuice’s dead-pan, death-obsessed Lydia; it includes wearing an ID bracelet inscribed with her current character’s name.

After scrutinizing the doctor’s bag, she puts it back on the vendor’s table. “No,” she says. “She needs a backpack. This is too uncomfortable to carry, and Dinky’s a very practical girl.”

As she wends her way around the aisles of bric-a-brac, she loses interest in Dinky and starts spending her C-notes on presents for her Heathers co-workers: a pocket watch for director Michael Lehmann, a silver belt for producer Denise Di Novi and antique fairy-tale books for writer Daniel Waters. She also buys herself a slew of hip, tasteful purchases: a silver bracelet with ceramic hearts painted with yellow roses, a sombrero pin festooned with sandal charms, a blue dress with polka dots, a black-and-white vest, a flowered quilt cover and a pillbox inscribed BERT (for which she concocts a wild history about a fat Mexican immigrant silversmith who changed his name from Jose).

She wears every purchase she can and lugs around the rest in plastic bags; she is shy about negociating. “Before I started making money,” she says, “I was a really good bargainer.”

Farther along the aisle, she spies a trapezoidal bookcase, painted a zany aqua-and-black speckle. “This is very cool,” she says. “Very Tim Burton.”

It’s true — the bookcase is right out of Burton’s demented vision of Beetlejuice and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure; so, in a sense, is Ryder herself. It’s no accident that Burton and Lehmann, two of the best new young Hollywood directors, acst her as the voice of reason in the midst of cartoon chaos. She’s hip and wacky enough to get the joke of modern life — and savvy enough to be able to play against it.

“Noni was offered 9000 light-comedy, feel-good, hits-of-the-summer movies,” says Robert Downey Jr., “and she chose one where she kills all her friends She’s a pure-at-heart person who knows that the darkness is all around her. She brings to light that there is truth and love even in the darkest impulses.”

All this is probably news to Ryder. “I don’t think she’s into deep self-analysis,” says her friend Lisa Falk, who plays the least bratty of the three Heathers. “She doesn’t think about it, she just does it.”

“I think, I think, that I’m a pretty natural actress,” Ryder says. “I try to do things as naturally as possible. I hate rehearsing, because I always like to save everything for whem I do it. I just try as much as I can to really be ‘in the moment.’ I know that sound corny and everything.”

Still cruising the flea market, Ryder mentions that she’s planning on getting Que Sera, Sera tattooed on her arm. “I almost got it once, then they asked me my age. It’s the greatest saying ever. ‘Whatever will be, will be.’ I was going to get one that said, Buddy Holly, on my ankle. Then again, I don’t know if I’m going to get a tatto.”

The song “Que Sera, Sera” is used in Heathers, and the movie has clearly left its mark on Ryder’s personality and lingo. She read the zingy script — “one of the best pieces of literature that I have ever read; it was the closest I’ve been to anything since The Catcher in the Rye, and that book really changed my life” — and latched on to it like a barnacle. During filming, she applied herself as never before. “I matured a lot,” she says. “Before, I’d sometimes try to see how lazy I could get. All my directors had been more or less father figures, and all I’d have to do was be really cute and I could get away with anything. But it didn’t work with Michael.”

Not to say that she still doesn’t have her ways. “She’s got me totally bamboozled,” Great Balls of Fire director Jim McBride says affectionately. “She’s just a kid, but she’s been around the pool a couple of times, as we say out here. She’s certainly not anywhere near as innocent as she seems. She was real nervous about the love scene for several days before shooting and indicated to me that she was very inexperienced in this area, and I had to sort of fill her in on things — verbally, that is. I took it all very gently and gingerly and tried to lead her there, but when we got to doing the scene, she leapt in with both feet and gave a very convincing performance. I’m not saying she’s sexually experienced, I’m saying she’s a good actress!”

The first time Ryder watched the finished scene, she says, “I got really embarrassed. I realized it was going to be in the movie, that it wasn’t just what happened one day on the set. No part of my body is exposed, it’s just that the camera is on my face a lot, especially during the pain part. And then she starts to enjoy it, and that was the really embarrasing part. The face I chose is really revealing — I couldn’t believe it was me. It looks really weird to me: Dennis is so big, and I’m so little, I don’t look a day over thirteen, except when I take my shirt off and I have this Fifties bullet bra on. I was just going by what I thought it would feel like. I watch these other people’s love scenes, everybody’s so sexy, everyone tries to be really subtle. With me, it’s very different. I don’t think I was very sexy.”

Winona Ryder is Cooking pancakes. It’s a bright Sunday morning, and she’s bopping around to a Buddy Holly CD in the kitchen of the cheerful, desert-toned two-bedroom apartment she shares with a twenty-six-year-old aspiring actress named Kris Greenberg. Her bobbed brunette hair is up in a clip, and she’s wearing a red-and-white gingham jumper, a white T-shirt and stockings and red suede cowboy boots.

“We need something more inspiring,” she declares, replacing Holly with AC/DC’s “Hells Bells.” But after a few chords she decides that’s not right either, and switches to the light-pop group Fairground Attraction, singing along: “It’s got to be-e-e-e-e per-fect!” “I like their songs,” she says. “They’re romantic, but not depressing.” But she prefers Fifties music. “It leaves more to my imagination, because I don’t see the groups everywhere.” Still, she does watch MTV with a passion, using videos as a sort of horoscope: “Okay,” she’ll say, “the next one is going to be a message to me about guys.” If it turns out to be a poser group like Warrant, she gets depressed.

Pancakes are the full extent of Ryder’s culinary abilities, but she is taking cooking lessons — as well as guitar, voice and fencing lessons. As somebody recently told Ryder, she is “one diverse babe.” She’s constantly turning her memorably bizarre dreams (like the one about being dragged around Mad Max-style by a truck in the desert, then suddenly sitting next to Melanie Griffith at the Oscars) into short stories and scripts. The script she’s sold, written with Beetlejuice screenwriter Michael McDowell, is “corny romantic, almost a satire, about a girl who works in a bobbypin factory whose dreams come true.” Her other hobbies include seeking out and breaking into abandoned houses in the hills — to “tell ghost stories, be mischevious and freak people out” — and driving around with girlfriends, spying on guys they have crushes on, using walkie-talkies.

Though Ryder says she’s going to eat only one pancake, she downs two, then grabs her waist and grimaces, saying, “I’m soooo full.” She skips into her cluttered room and rummages through a disarray of clothing, photos, and books for some show and tell. “This is one of my favorite books,” she says, waving Colette’s Claudine. “It’s really cheeseball and good.”

Then she pulls out an old class picture, dated 1977-78. “Look at that outfit!” Ryder says. “I was such a weirdo, wasn’t I?” Second grader Winona Horowitz has long, dirty-blond hair and is wearing a baggy dress over pants, a strange frilly-collared shirt — and a bemused smile.

“Noni wore the most inconsistent get-ups, yet on her they looked great,” says her mother, Cindy Horowitz. “She had her own style, which she had no intention of altering.” As a kid, she’d go to San Francisco Giants baseball games wearing a cap of the archrival Dodgers and be quite surprised when rabid fans doused her with beer. “She has a sense of identity that’s pure and more self-confident than anyone else in the family, including her father and myself,” say Cindy. “I realized it when she was three or four. She went through materials so fast — drawing supplies, toys, books — you had to keep giving her stuff to keep her interested. She’d just consume them.”

Ryder’s personality is the product of a sort of alternative childhood, similar to the ones unjoyed by such young celebrities as Uma Thurman, River Phoenix and Chynna Phillips. “I see Noni as one of the first members of a new generation,” says her godfather, Timothy Leary. “the Kids of the Summer of Love.”

Her parents, Leary says, are “hippie intellectuals and psychedelic scholars.” Cindy went to San Francisco in 1965 with her first hubband and participated in the first be-in, then discovered Buddhism, macrobiotics and Aldous Huxley’s utopian ideals. (Winona has two half siblings from that marraige: a sister, Sunyata, 21, whose name comes from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and a brother Jubal, 19. whose name came to Cindy in a dream. She also has a thirteen-year-old brother, Uri.) In 1970, Cindy married Michael Horowitz, a book antiquarian who was Leary’s archivist.

In October 1971, Winona was born near Winona, Minnesota. Soon after, the family returned to San Francisco, sharing a house in the Haight with Cindy’s ex and his second wife. Winona toddled aroung the Zen preschool or hung around while her father drank coffee at the Cafe Trieste with Allen Ginsberg. During these years, her parents were editing books: Moksha, about the psychedelic, visionary experiences of Aldous Huxley, and Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady, about the spiritual discoveries of women from Cleopatra to Patti Smith. (Today, in addition to managing Winona’s career, Cindy runs a video-production company; Michael runs Flashback Books, specializing in counterculture writings.)

“My parents know what it’s like to, like, take a drug and go out in public and flip out,” says Winona. “They always said, ‘If you ever want to do anything, you just have to tell us about it, and you have to go through with us.'”

As a result, Ryder seems unlikely to be a young Hollywood casualty: “Noni’s never gonna end up with a cocaine habit!” says Leary. “These kids who’ve grown up in houses where marijuana was smoked are not going to go beserk the first time a guy in a raincoat offers ’em something in an alley.”

When Winona was seven, the Horowitzes left the Haight for a 300-acre Northern California enclave of seven families, which Leary term “one of the most successful, upscale hippie communes in the country.”

“It wasn’t as hippie-do as it sounds,” says Ryder. “A lot of people, when they hear the word commune, connect it with, like, everyone’s on acid and running around naked. This was like this weird suburb, if suburbs were really cool. It was just a bunch of houses on this chunk of land; we had horses and gardens. You have so much freedom, you can go roaming anywhere. We didn’t have electricity; which was weird, but it was great to grow up that way. We didn’t have TV, so you’d have to do stuff. My friends’ names were Tatonka, Gulliver and Rio. We’d have hammock contests, sit around and make up stories, make up weird games. I don’t know — it was a weird, weird childhood. I mean, it was great.”

It was the less than idyllic aspect of her childhood that propelled Ryder into acting. Because Michael’s city job and the older kids’ school were too far away, in 1981 the Horowitzes went nuclear, leaving the commune for Petaluma. Winona soon discovered her close-cropped hair, tomboyish clothes and offbeat interests (she would join Amnesty International at twelve) made her a suburban reject. On her third day at her new junior high, she was standing at her locker when she heard someone say, “Hey, faggot.” She turned around and, mistaken for an effeminate boy, was beaten up. Not wanting to return to school, she was put on home studdy; this quickly bored her, so her parents suggested she take an acting class at San Francisco’s prestigious American Conservatory Theatre.

“We weren’t thinking of her being professional,” says her mother. “We just wanted her to be happy, to be around more imaginative peers.”

At A.C.T., say Ryder, “they’d give us these weirdo plays like The Glass Menagerie and there were always these twelve-year-old girls playing these women. So I asked if I could find my own monologue to perform. I read from J.D. Salinger’s Franny & Zooey. I made it like she was sitting, talking to her boyfriend. I had a connection with Salinger-speak; the way she talked made sense. It was the first time that I felt that feeling you get when you’re acting — that sort of yeah! feeling.”

Talent scout Deborah Lucchesi noticed, and she submitted a screen test of Ryder for the movie Desert Bloom; Triad Artists saw the videotape and signed Ryder without even meeting her. Director David Seltzer saw the tape when he was casting Lucas; after watching seven actresses do the same scene, he suddenly sat up and stared at the screen. “There was Winona,” he recalls, “this little frail bird. She had the kind of presence I had never seen — an inner life. Whatever message was being said by her mouth was being contradicted by the eyes.”

Meanwhile, Ryder had reenrolled in public school at Petaluma’s other junior high. One day, she remembers, she walked home “like a hundred miles, the longest walk. And I always carried my book bag with the strap around my head. So I walk in the house — I practically had whiplash — and my sister goes, ‘Oh, you got the part in that movie.’ It was really cool.”

It’s a few weeks before Heathers opens (to mostly rave reviews), and Ryder and costar Christian Slater, 19, are about to appear at a promotional screening at a New York adult-school film class. The mostly suburban, middle-aged audience is clearly troubled by the movie’s lighthearted treatment of diabolical themes, and many stalk out midway, muttering epithels like “awful” and “lousy.”

Backstage, Ryder is worried — will the audience hate her, too? She gets an idea and whispers it to Slater. When the screening ends, the two actors come out from behind the curtain and sit in chairs onstage, holding hands.

“What, are you nervous?” teacher Ralph Appelbaum asks. They look at each other.

“We just got married,” says Slater, grinning.

“Last week,” Ryder says, “in Vegas.”

Some class members applaud, others look befuddled. Slater and Ryder never drop the conceit, calling each other “honey,” and their charm overpowers their critics.

A few days later Ryder is striding briskly through Central Park wearing Slater’s leather biker jacket; the zipper won’t zip, so her hands clasp it shut against the chilly spring breeze. She laughingly recalls the idea of marrying Slater. “We talked about how we were going to do all the Hollywood marraige things,” she says, “like stage fights in restaurants, be really reclusive but then leak out everything; he’d cover my face when photographers came, like Sean and Madonna.”

But after Slater went on a TV talk show and proposed to her on the air, Ryder suddenly tired of the joke. “People have been calling me about it,” she says. “It doesn’t sound too good. Marraige would be fun, but I don’t think I’m ready for it yet.”

The funny thing is, Slater did fall in love with Ryder. He and the actress playing the lead Heather, Kim Walker, had been dating for a couple of years when Heathers started shooting. “We never fooled around or anything during the movie,” Ryder says. But after the filming, Slater broke up with Walker and started dating Ryder.

“It was only for a couple of weeks,” says Ryder. “It was too weird. You know, when you’re really good friends with somebody? It’s hard when you try to make something work. It’s bogus. It should just happen naturally.”

She plays idly with a silver ring on her middle finger. She says that it’s Irish, signifying love, friendship and loyalty; wearing it with its small crown pointing up means she’s “taken.” Currently, she’s wearing the crown down. The longest relationship she’s had, six months, ended because she was away on movie shoots all the time.

“I don’t have a lot of time for that kind of stuff,” she says, “which is a drag, but it’s almost a blessing in disguise.” She does note that since she finished Heathers, “I’m taking more of an interest in the way I look. I actually became a little more feminine. Before, I just dressed however. I’d go to the set in my pajamas.”

Heathers had another effect. “It taught me a lot about what I want to do with my life, my career,” Ryder says. “Which is never do anything I don’t feel 100 percent about. I don’t have any big floor plan, put I wouldn’t do a movie where I thought I’d influence anybody in a bad way.

“Having people look up to me freaks me out,” she says. “It’s actually motivating, because it makes me want to do a really good job. But what if I do something really stupid? That could, like, shatter somebody’s image of me. So I don’t have the freedom to do really stupid things.” She realizes what she’s saying and cackles. “Which is what I’m striving for!”

Ryder takes a seat on a park bench and stares out at the rowing pond. She suddenly looks tired. She’s been doing Heathers promotions for a few weeks running — this morning waking up at dawn to do the Today show — and her fame seems finally to be taking its toll. “I haven’t been remembering my dreams,” she says, “because I’m so stressed and not sleeping at all. It’s awful. I always feel like if I ever stop writing, I might stop for good.”

The filming of Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael will be starting soon — she’s already wearing Dinky’s ID bracelet — and she will have to postpone the acr trip she’d been planning with her friend Heather. “We were gonna do a Jack Kerouac On the Road thing,” Ryder says, “go across the country in a big boat, write really bad poetry. I want to get all that stuff out of the way so I won’t resent college at all, like it’s stealing my life away.” (She says she wants to go somewhere “mellow” on the East Coast with Heather, who today is off modelling in Japan; neither of them has been in a formal classroom since midway through tenth grade.)

“A lot of people ask me if I’m missing out on anything,” she says. “I don’t think so. Sometimes I’ll be talking to Helene, this friend back in Petaluma who’s still in high school, and I’ll think, ‘God, it would be fun to be like Helene, being on the track team and going to the Valentine’s dance and stuff like that.’ But then I realize that I don’t really have it in me to enjoy the social thing. I was always one of the geeks.”

The shadows grow longer as the afternoon winds down, and feeling chilled, Ryder gets up from the bench to head back to her hotel. “I was going to fly out or here on the nineteenth,” she says, “but that was the day Randy Rhodes [Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist] died in a plane crash. I try to avoid flying then. I know someday I’ll have to, and it’ll flip me out.”

The cold air has gotten to her, and her nose has begun to run. “Do you have a handkerchief I could borrow?” she asks. “It’s okay — it’s just little-girl snot.”

“Last night I decided,” Winona Ryder says. “I’m moving. Getting out of L.A.” Her phone voice is frazzled, but her resolve sounds firm. It’s the night of the Academy Awards, and she’s in her apartment waiting for Slater to pick her up in a limo.

The source of her new vexation is, again, gossip. “Last night this friend called me on the phone and told me there were these other rumors about me and I flipped out,” she says. “I hate it when you can’t clear something up. I must be such a wimp. I think I’m gonna find a cottage somewhere. Maybe New Orleans. Or I’m going to go to college, like, soon. Of course, you have to apply, don’t you.”

She never did find an Oscar dress, so she’s ended up wearing her roommate’s black sequined miniskirt, black high heels and red lipstick. “I look very Sixties,” she says. “I’m wearing, like, eight pairs of stockings ’cause I don’t want to get a run.”

She cheers up when she remembers the review of Heathers in this week’s Village Voice “This is going to sound really obnoxious,” she says. “But listen to what it says: ‘Winona Ryder plays the conflicted Veronica with deeper-than-method conviction.’ That’s good, isn’t it?”

The limo honks outside. “Oh, wait!” she cries. “Should I bring a jacket? Oh-migod, should I bring a purse? What will I keep my lipstick in?” She hangs up midcrisis. Que sera, sera.