Martha Plimpton’s got staying power.
The 37-year old landed her first role at the age of eleven, no doubt because of her famous lineage – her parents are actors Shelley Plimpton and Keith Carradine. While other child stars would have fizzled long ago, the striking young Plimpton’s still going strong and about to open a new Broadway show, Top Girls.
Homo-journo Brandon Voss recently interviewed Plimpton for The Advocate, but some of the juicier bits of the conversation didn’t make the cut. Thus, Voss offered us some “exclusive excerpts,” which is just a sugar-coated way of saying “scraps.” No matter, we would eat Plimpton’s shit if she’d let us.
Okay, that’s (mostly) not true, but we love her enough to pass along these cuts, in which she chats about a “feminist backlash” to Hillary Clinton, feeling bad for Lindsay Lohan and her dykey Goonies character, Stef Steinbrenner.
Read all about it, after the jump…
Brandon Voss: What’s your take on the feminist backlash against Hillary Clinton?
Martha Plimpton: I once wrote a letter to The New York Times in response to an op-ed story about Bill Clinton and his then-Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. The writer of the piece took issue with Albright’s lack of a position on Clinton’s dalliances, and the idea was that she should have some sort of feminist response and be willing, as a woman, to take issue with her boss for his behavior. I just thought that was really dumb. Her job renders her sex irrelevant, and I sort of feel that way about Hillary, too; I feel like if she became our President, I really wouldn’t be thinking about her gender all that much.
BV: Have you ever been mistaken for a lesbian because of your rÃ©sumÃ©?
MP: [Laughs] No one’s ever asked me if I was gay or come on to me in that way. But I don’t think I’m the type of person that people come onto. You have to be very, very brave to come on to me. I’ve gone to some lesbian bars a few times with friends, but I never got hit on. I think they look at me and go, “Ugh, she’s totally straight.” I’m very nerdy and provincial.
BV: Growing up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, what was your introduction to the gay community?
MP: My mother [Shelley Plimpton] was an actress, and I’ve been raised around people in the theater. Obviously, the creative professions are a magnet for people who, for whatever reason, feel they don’t fit in in a straight world-and I mean straight in every sense, 9-to-5, whatever. Growing up surrounded by theater artists, it’s just the norm. It’s like, the sky is blue, and there are gay people everywhere. I feel like there’s a desire to make a clear differentiation between people, like it’s somehow helpful. Maybe it’s because I’m this bourgeois, shiksa straight girl, but I just don’t think about it.
BV: In Shining City, on Broadway in 2006, your character’s ex-boyfriend was arguably questioning his sexuality. Have you ever fallen for a gay man?
MP: Oh, my God, are you kidding? When I was 12, I was in a musical that wasn’t terribly successful-in that I was eventually fired, along with about half the cast. There was a guy in it, a dancer, who was super-duper, could not be gayer-obviously 100-percent gay. And I was madly in love with him. I had the crush of all crushes. I just thought he was dreamiest. He was cute, hilarious, had a gorgeous mouth, beautiful eyes, and a body to die for. I don’t even think he knows to this day how much I was in love with him I was.
BV: What do you think became of your Goonies character, Stef Steinbrenner? Did she finally come out of the closet?
MP: [Laughs] See? I love it–you give a girl short hair, make her the “friend,” and she’s automatically the lesbian. She probably grew up to take over her father’s fishing business. I would imagine, actually, that she would probably be one of those lesbians who gets married to a man-you know how they have those? But it’s not because they’re closeted lesbians; they’re just women who are obviously dykes, but get married anyway. They have a lot in the Midwest-they wear tracksuits and gold jewelry, feather their hair back, and they have eight kids, but they’re clearly lesbians. That’s probably what Stef would’ve turned out to be.
BV: How did you avoid the unhealthy path that so many of your child star contemporaries traveled?
MP: I partied like everybody else did; I just did it in moderation. But I wasn’t famous like they were, and I wasn’t interested in being famous like they were, so I didn’t attract attention to myself in that way. Had I been wealthier and had more fame, maybe I would’ve been just as bad.
BV: What do you make of today’s Britneys and Lindsays?
MP: I feel really sorry for them. I feel sorry for anyone who has to live with constant attention on them. It seems like a miserable life. But far be it from me to judge other people. I don’t know what I would be like if I had people following me like that. I might go crazy, too.
I always liked her. She’s a great actress who never took the easy way to stardom. She also said one of my favorite lines, to River Phoenix in “The Mosquito Coast”: “I think about you when I go to the bathroom.” LOL! That really sounds like something a young teenager would say to someone she has a crush on, doesn’t it?
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