Connelly and Campbell bask in the glow of impending stardom

June 21, 1991|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,Sun Film Critic

There's just the two of us. It's man on man. One of us is going to win and one of us is going to lose.

It's me and the pie.

The pie is lemon meringue smothered in a strata of whipped cream. I figure maybe 9,000 calories. You could support India on this pie.

Eat it today, wear it forever. Farewell waist, farewell bluejeans, farewell mirrors.

Not gonna eat it, not gonna eat it, not gonna eat it, I tell myself. I look across the table.

There's Jennifer Connelly, 20, pert, young, beautiful, perfect.

And there's her fiance next to her. A really big guy. A movie star.

I look back at the pie.

It looks at me.

There's just the two of us.

*

They are touring on behalf of "The Rocketeer." They are both movie stars and they both look like movie stars, an astonishment in an age when movie stars look like "interesting" rather than "good."

They both look good.

Bill Campbell, 31, has a square, regular face and crushing waves of sleek brown hair. Jennifer Connelly, 20, his finance and co-star in "The Rocketeer," is thin as a waif with a model's perfect features and also a lot of hair. She wears jeans, boots, and a jean jacket.

They're movie stars, though nobody knows it yet, because "The Rocketeer" hasn't opened yet.

So now they sit, tame and regular, before a table filled with plates of pie, to discuss themselves and the film. Both seem very smart and very funny, like children specially blessed from on high with beauty and wit.

They both turn down the pie.

(Of course they turn down the pie!) Bill is talking earnestly and intelligently about his career. Started out as an artist. Tried acting in Chicago, liked it. Screwed up his first job. Moved to L.A. and got some small TV jobs. Went to an audition. Got this big role. Met Jennifer. Now they're engaged.

Now Jennifer is talking.

From New York. Liked movies early and had idea she could be an actress. First role: the young Elizabeth McGovern in Sergio Leone's mutilated gangster masterpiece "Once Upon a Time in America." Got a great break at 15 as star of Jim Henson's "Labyrinth." Movie bombs.

Beginning to creep into notice with nice parts in "The Hot Spot," which she liked ("except for the ending") and "Career Opportunities," which she didn't. Still goes to school. Yale.

But beneath the text of their words, other things happen. She has one of those merry faces, a sense of puckish impudence. As Bill is talking, she's looking around the room at a bunch of reporters, some of whom are looking back at her and not at Bill. She smiles, then looks away. Ouch! It's too much.

She's been called the Sex Goddess of the '90s. Her face has been on about a thousand magazine covers.

"It's just funny," she says. "It's someone else's idea of what I'm like. It has nothing at all to do with me."

Then she issues another one of those little-girl smiles. Ouch again.

He's talking about the making of the movie.

He has no offers but he's signed to play the Rocketeer again if they make a sequel.

She's reading scripts, looking for something to do next herself.

He's asked what he does for recreation.

"I play rugby," he says.

That's it, I think. Rugby. There's only one thing left to do.

I eat the pie. The whole damn piece.

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