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The Ingenues
by James Ulmer (Premiere - July, 1997)

Catch them if you can, for ingenues live fast while they're young. All budding talent and guiless sexuality, they have only a few years to grow up onscreen and leap the hurdle to adult stardom. If they're lucky. Once their bloom has faded, relatively few actresses make the jump to the next tier.

That life cycle isn't exclusive to women. Rob Lowe was once an ingenue; so was Tom Cruise. Leonardo DiCaprio still is. But young women tend to serve as romantic adjuncts to the men who drive the story lines. There's the rub: While Hollywood defines starlets through their relationship with the opposite sex, young males are usually allowed to go it alone. "Men are seen as independent creatures to begin with," sighs a female executive. "Women are not."

Small wonder, then, that our poll of international buyers and sellers deem these starlets unable to carry a movie on their own until they achieve leading-lady status. Best bets Kate Winslet and Claire Danes earn equal chances of winning name-above-the-title berths in the next five years. Winslet is considered to be more an ensemble actress that most of our correspondents think will continue to serve her well, whether her first megabudget gig, Titanic, sinks or sails.

Danes's girlish looks are a hit with Japanese audiences, and "her mixture of vulernability and survival instinct," says an executive, could vault her into stardom as fast as Sandra Bullock. Danes's hit turn opposite DiCaprio in William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet nabbed her the top score in career management, but some overseas buyers won't be shelling out any ducats until she proves herself in more films.

Ditto for Liv Tyler, who has the steamy allure of a movie star, without the track record. Thanks to Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty, she's stolen a few hearts in director-loving Italy and France. But she's vulnerable to a career dive, says one critic. "She's a Panetene-shampoo goddess. She needs to do roles where she doesn't rely just on her charm and sex appeal."

Pushing the ingenue envelope at age 29, Patricia Arquette may have waited too long to become a star. "She's been in so many movies that if she's not a star yet, she never will be," notes one Paris production executive (remember Elisabeth Shue before Leaving Las Vegas). Despite such quirky chances as Lost Highway, high acting marks assure Arquette a reliable career as a character actress.

Alicia Silverstone may have peaked too soon. Carrying the hit Clueless sans male costar scored the teenager a $10 million studio deal and a Batgirl suit. But holy hypesters! "the hollywood machine chews up these girls and spits them out onto a few magazine covers," frowns one leading critic. "If nothing happens, they're flavors of the month until the next ones come along."

Claire
Danes
Alicia
Silverstone
Kate
Winslet
Patrica
Arquette
Liv
Tyler

Marquee Power
What are the chances of this acress carrying a movie solo in the next five years?
68 63 68 41 43

Critical Factors
Talent
Based solely on acting ability how talented is this actress?
68 64 80 70 58
Range
How great is this actress's proven acting range?
58 40 80 41 43

Star Power
Career Management
How well has this actress chosen her roles to maximize her career potential?
64 63 63 53 47
Bankability
To what extent does the acress's name alone guarantee a sale up-front in today's global marketplace?
52 56 56 44 43
Professionalism
How reliable is the acress to work with, both on and off the set?
67 69 72 65 64

Total 628 592 698 555 512

© Premiere 1997