`Sex addicts' tale will make her life of any party

November 20, 2003|By KEVIN COWHERD

LET'S BEGIN with the premise that most injury stories are inherently boring and will put you to sleep faster than a tire iron upside your head.

Fell off the treadmill in the gym and sprained your ankle? Who cares?

Rear-ended at a traffic light and now you have whiplash and one of those goofy neck braces? Yawn. Happens to a dozen people before breakfast every day.

Then there is Sascha Wolhand- ler's injury story.

Sascha's story will draw a crowd at a cocktail party, I promise you.

Because Sascha Wolhandler is the only one who can rake a cracker through the crab dip and casually say: "I broke my foot playing a sex addict in the new John Waters film."

To be perfectly honest with you, just the words "sex addict" are enough to get my attention at a party.

Now you throw in a broken foot, and the possibility of all sorts of steamy acrobatics - it's enough to melt the Amstel Light in my fat little fingers.

Anyway, in a moment we'll get into how exactly Sascha was injured - look, I'm not about to reveal it right here and have you blow off the rest of the column for Doonesbury or the TV listings. What, you think I'm some kind of rube?

But first we should mention that Wolhandler runs a well-known catering business in town and owns Sascha's 527 restaurant on Charles Street with her husband, Stephen Suser.

She's also a long-time pal of John Waters, having done catering for his film sets and appeared as an extra in Pecker.

And she has a terrific sense of humor, which you sort of need to play a sex addict, it seems to me.

This time she was appearing as an extra in Waters' new film A Dirty Shame, which stars Chris Isaak and Tracy Ullman and is billed as a comedy about sex addiction on Harford Road.

(I know, I know ... hasn't everyone done a comedy about sex addiction on Harford Road?)

The film just wrapped up shooting - it's scheduled to be released sometime next year - but not before giving Sascha Wolhandler a story she can milk for the rest of her life.

OK, we're getting to the good part now - well, as good as it's going to get in a family newspaper. (Look, I'm not about to lose my job just so you people can have a few cheap thrills.)

So last month, they were shooting this scene at a convenience store where the "neuters" - people opposed to the sex addicts - are outside protesting with picket signs and the 30 or so sex addicts inside are doing, well, what sex addicts do.

(C'mon, who doesn't go to the convenience store to have sex? Hey, if you're still pulling up to the 7-Eleven for bread and milk and lottery tickets, you better get a life, my friend.)

Things were going along swimmingly when all of a sudden the actor who played Wolhandler's sex partner - "my young boy-toy" as she calls him - tripped and fell on Sascha's foot.

She doesn't know whether it was the guy's elbow or knee that landed on her. But whatever it was, it hurt like hell.

Sascha cried out in pain. This brought the filming to a rather dramatic halt.

It would be one thing, I suppose, to hear a cry of ecstasy during the filming of a sex scene in a convenience store. You pretty much figure that would be part of the script.

But this was a rather different cry altogether, and the fact that Sascha was now crumpled on the floor definitely indicated a veering off from the plot line.

"However, as a true star," laughs Sascha, "I got up, Mr. De Mille and Mr. Waters, for my final take."

This shining example of being a trouper did not go unappreciated by Waters and the rest of the cast and crew.

"Sascha, it's great," Waters told her. "You're suffering for art."

A few minutes later, though, Wolhandler had enough of that suffering for art business and appeared in the emergency room at Union Memorial Hospital.

When you limp into the ER and say something like "Well, that's the last time I play a sex addict in a movie and have a 25-year-old stud fall on me," you tend to get noticed.

"They certainly looked up from the front desk," Sascha recalled. "It's a better story than `I fell off the curb.'"

Oh, you betcha.

X-rays revealed a fractured metatarsal, and after she saw her orthopedist, Dr. John Namen, the story of how she hurt her foot was already office legend.

After a week on crutches, she's been getting around in a walking cast. The cast is supposed to come off next week.

For the self-described "stiletto queen" - the Manolo Blahniks won't come out of the closet for a while - a few fashion adjustments have been necessary.

But don't cry for Sascha Wolhandler.

John Waters has called several times to see how she's coming along, and the whole cast sent her beautiful flowers.

"It hasn't hurt too much," laughs Wolhandler of her injury, "and I got a lot of bang for my buck from this story."

And I got a column out of it.

I'm telling you, if more people got hurt playing sex addicts in films, this would be an easy gig.

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