"Actor James Spader"
to get to know James Spader is to get behind the wheel with him. The
27-year-old actor, who is in three new films - Baby Boom, Wall Street,
and Less Than Zero - would rather spend his time driving around America
than doing almost anything else. "Five, six months at a time,
I'm gone, man" says the intense New Englander. "I may be
delinquent about my career, but being famous means zilch to me."
Spader goes on to reveal something of an actor's method. "I see my brother-in-law, who's a businessman, come home at night," he says. "I see the fatigue. That helped me figure out the character. What you do when you get home has a lot to say about what you do all day long."
Baby Boom was released in October. At Christmas there's Oliver Stone's much-awaited Wall Street. This time, Spader says, "I'm a corporate lawyer." Again the actor looked to real life. "I've had friends in law school, and you just don't ever see'em" he says. You might speak on a weekend, but even then they're working to earn their spots. But it's the lawyers who wind up with self assurance." And the movie lawyer? His face lights up thinking about the challenge. "He gets into insider trading, but pulls out when things get too hot. The buck stops at the lawyer's desk. Lawyers know what the consequences are. That's fun to play."
And Less Than Zero? Did Spader connect with the ennui of the Bret Easton Ellis novel? "Next question, "he says swiftly. "Let's just say I connect with the movie, with its world. I play someone who's into selling drugs and pimping and who handles it like a businessman. On the surface, the society the movie depicts is all bright yellows, oranges, and reds. But underneath it's gray and black and cancerous."
Wrapping up the nonstop work, Spader is more than happy to get back on the road in his vintage Porsche convertible. "I covered a lot of Europe as a child, so America interests me now. I intend to get in the car and just drive."
the mental road-maps are out. But not to worry: Hollywood isn't going
to lose sight of Jim Spader.
© By Paul Rosenfield for Premiere November 1987 (Thank you, Susan/nigelsmum)