Actor Stephen Dorff is tired of being a bad boy
Stephen Dorff is one of Young Hollywood's brightest stars -- and one of its most notorious.
Brightest because with just a handful of movies ("BackBeat," "I Shot Andy Warhol," "The Power of One"), Dorff has demonstrated the kind of intriguing range that indicates this guy has more than just good bone structure. There's a depth to him, an emotional complexity, that the camera loves.
Notorious because Dorff is 23 years old -- and he acts like it. Along with the critical accolades, Dorff has earned a reputation as one of Hollywood's diehard party boys -- an unapologetic womanizer with a penchant for leggy models.
His relationship with the news media has contributed to his notoriety. When he sits down to talk, his words tumble over one another, his thoughts flow unchecked. As a result, he often comes off as brash and opinionated -- and that candor has gotten him into trouble.
In a now-infamous interview with Movieline magazine, a then-20-year-old Dorff was quoted as saying: "This business isn't based on talent. There's so few young people that can do what I do and do it well." And then he proceeded to name names. When the editors of Details magazine put Dorff on their cover, they labeled him Hollywood's Rude Boy Wonder. The reputation has stuck.
Today, Dorff winces at the mention of those stories. The Movieline story "was the first interview I ever did, and it totally cursed me," he says. The Details profile, which focused mostly on his gossip-fodder antics, only made it worse. Today, sitting in the courtyard of the Delano Hotel in South Beach, Fla., Dorff does not seem rude at all. At most, he exudes the rebellious air of the young and famous, as he chain-smokes Camel Lights, sporting a scraggly beard and sunglasses, stringy T-shirt and jeans.
But Dorff displays an understanding of his craft that shows there's more going on inside his head than attitude. Speaking about Bob Rafelson's made-in-Miami film noir "Blood & Wine," which opens in Detroit on March 14, Dorff succinctly nails what makes the movie transcend its genre. "It isn't really about the script, but about the cast Bob assembled, and then taking it to a whole other level, creating a much more behavioral kind of thing. All the characters are so well-defined, which you don't normally see in a movie of this type. It's a strange movie because it's a 'big' film in terms of who's in it, but it's more arty, very dark and very human."
Dorff also speaks in awestruck tones about working with Jack Nicholson, who plays his stepfather and romantic rival over a Cuban maid (Jennifer Lopez). "I was really nervous because to me Jack is the ultimate man. He was the most loyal, endearing, supportive person I've worked with so far, and that gave me the confidence to do what I had to do, which was to try to hold my own with a guy like that."
But just when you think Dorff is making a conscious effort to play nice, he brings up his sole complaint about "Blood & Wine." He just can't help himself. "There's only one scene I would've taken out of the movie," he says. "The scene where Jennifer is talking about Cuba on the boat. You don't need it. There was another, better scene, and I always tell Bob this. Instead, that Cuba thing was in there. It seems a little corny to me. I don't know if you wanna write about that, though. Bob might get mad at me."
By : Rene Rodreguez
March 2, 1997