In Hollywood, actors know they've arrived when they get their own customized bus

September 11, 1994|By New York Daily News

Eddie Murphy has the biggest one in Hollywood.

Arnold Schwarzenegger hauls out his 52-footer whenever he's on location.

Bruce Willis had his custom built. It isn't fancy, but it does the job.

We're talking the ultimate in star power here.

We're talking the thing that makes actors clawing their way to the top salivate, because once they get it, they know they've arrived.

We're talking motor home.

Visit the set of any movie shooting in New York these days and you'll see a sleek trailer with tinted windows idling on some side street. Peek inside, and you'll find your favorite actor relaxing between takes, studying his lines, perhaps, or watching his VCR.

It's tough being a movie star on location. You wait hours for the director to set up a shot. Mobs of fans hound you for your autograph, while mounds of doughnuts laid out for the crew tempt you to break ranks with your trainer.

You need a trailer to hole up in and eat your macrobiotic lunch in peace.

Like Jerry Orbach. The "Law and Order" TV star relaxes in a 32-foot Coachman during filming breaks; the refrigerator is full of his favorite drinks: "Club soda, cranberry juice and Spicy V-8 for instant Bloody Marys -- when I'm through working."

Stars also like trailers to show off clout.

"People will give up money to get a motor home," says press agent Judy Jacksina. "The joke is, 'I want a Winnebago and a chance to direct three episodes.' "

According to Sam Beverly, president of Lifestyle Transportation, which supplies trailers to film companies shooting in New York, the length of an actor's trailer corresponds to his position on the Hollywood food chain.

Day players get tiny rooms in eight-room Honey Wagons, while )) feature players get two-room campers that they share with one other actor.

Feature players with box-office names get their own 32-foot trailers.

Stars get 52-footers, which contain bedrooms, living rooms, 32-inch color televisions, stereos, bars, refrigerators, phones, faxes, even electronic stock machines.

Cost to the producer: $2,000 a week, Teamster salary not included.

The ultimate location vehicle is a 65-foot Trailways bus designed for Eddie Murphy. It has custom-made leather couches and beds, marble floors and gold bathroom fixtures. The bus rents for $3,500 a week.

Not all stars demand such extravagance. Nick Nolte is said to prefer a tiny room with a cot in a Honey Wagon. And Paul Newman never requests anything that his fellow actors can't get.

"Paul would drive himself to the set," says producer David Brown. "But I don't think the Teamsters would permit it."

"Law and Order's" Mr. Orbach is equally unfussy. The genial actor, who likes to do crossword puzzles in his motor home, says he doesn't need any more bells and whistles: "It's already got a refrigerator, microwave, radio, TV and VCR."

Generally speaking, the ones who demand the flashiest motor homes are actors on the verge.

"It's a real status symbol for up-and-coming stars," says a production associate who asked not to be identified. "It's like a Rolex -- a very easy way to say, 'I've got juice.'"

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