In the early 1980s, Sean Young was primed for stardom. She'd turned in two strikingly different supporting performances in Ivan Reitman's "Stripes" and Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner," and possessed an ineffable magnetism that drew you in. In "Stripes," she's Louise Cooper, a Fort Arnold MP who's down for a bit of mischief with Harold Ramis' incorrigible Russell Ziskey. It's a thinly written role, but Young's so darn cute and charming that you'd rather spend time with her than the two leads (indeed, she's the only person worth watching during the movie's mirthless third act). As Rachael in "Blade Runner," she looks the glam part of a femme fatale, smashingly so, but as a replicant, we feel for her rather than fear her.
After getting lost in the clutter of David Lynch's "Dune" in 1984, she rebounded with a smoldering performance in Roger Donaldson's deliciously nasty B-thriller "No Way Out." Her limousine sex scene with Kevin Costner was so hot it boosted rentals of limos in the Washington D.C. area. It was about to happen for Young in a big way. Then, mysteriously, the parts started getting smaller. By 1990, she was co-starring with Nicolas Cage in the cruddy military action flick "Fire Birds." Five years later, she was mostly appearing in direct-to-video trash.
This is because Young had been labeled "difficult" by some of the most powerful men in Hollywood. She was sued by James Woods in 1989 for harassment, but even though the dispute was eventually settled out of court, with her "The Boost" co-star being forced to pay for her legal fees, only her career suffered. In 1991, she publicly lobbied for the part of Catwoman in "Batman Returns," cheekily turning up in a homemade catsuit at the Warner Bros. lot and on an episode of "The Joan Rivers Show." Young was having fun, but she was made out to be a lunatic.
Bros Will Be Bros (And Bros Suck)
With the start of the #TimesUp era, Young finally opened up about her struggles in Hollywood, and her grievances are many and legitimate. In an interview with The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern, Young revealed one of her worst experiences was on the set of Oliver Stone's "Wall Street."
Cast as Kate Gekko, the snobbish wife of Michael Douglas' corporate raider Gordon Gekko, she found herself the target of harassment from star Charlie Sheen. "[C]harlie was on a lot of coke on that show," she said. "And that's what coke does to you."
One of Sheen's most egregious actions was writing the word "c***" on a piece of paper, and taping it to her back. Douglas, whom Young described as "wonderful," was not amused. Per the actor:
"[M]ichael tore it off without me knowing what it said. I said, 'What was that?' and he said, 'Forget it.' Then the art dealer — the guy who brought in all the paintings that were on the wall — was there guarding the paintings, and he told me what Charlie had done. I spoke with Charlie the next day and said, 'Your dad was a pro. Writing 'c***' on a piece of tape and sticking it to my back? Not pro. It's just stupid. What are you doing?'"
Fired From The Boys Club
As for Stone, Young called him a "bastard." At one point during the production, Daryl Hannah was costumed in a backless dress. When she confided to her co-star that she was uncomfortable in the outfit, Young asked Stone why he would force her to do something that made her feel uneasy. Stone subsequently rewrote the scene in question and gave Young's only line to Hannah. According to Young:
"I go up to Oliver and say, 'I don't understand? I have no lines now. What's the point of me being in this scene?' And he goes, 'You're right. You're fired.' I went to the trailer, got my stuff, and then they told me to get in this car. And this driver, who I thought was going to take me back to Manhattan, drops me off at the bus station. I just thought, 'OK. If this is how you get your rocks off.'"
Young's career never fully recovered. She began drinking heavily, but thankfully got sober in 2011, and remarried composer Robert Lujan that same year. Still, it's a literal crime what was done to Young at the moment she should've been hitting the A-list along with peers like Michelle Pfeiffer, Melanie Griffith, and Kim Basinger (who took her role in Tim Burton's "Batman" after she broke her arm falling off a horse). She was robbed of an exciting career, and we are all the poorer for never getting to see it.
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