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Letter To Portal
A Hot Little Star With Lots of Cool
Santa Cruz by Rithe Stein
What do you do for an encore after you're played a 12-year-old prostitute who really takes to the life? Brooke Shields, who did that number in her first movie, "Pretty Baby," is now here filming "Tilt," in which she has the tittle role of - a pinball wizard.
"Tilt" director Rudy Durand describes the part as that of "a little virgin, so pure, so bonest, so vulnerable, you can't help but want to put your arms around her," catching his breath and adding, "but not in any kind of sensual way." Perhapts because of all the publicity Brooke has had over the sex scenes in "Pretty Baby," Durand implores, "Please no more sex stories about Brookie. This is a movie about pinball. No one touches her. There is not even a brotherly peck."
Sitting in her trailer between takes the other day, Brooke looked in her blue jeans and red T-shirt like any other 12-year-old, only more beautiful. A model since she was 11 months old, she has enormous blue eyes, creamy skin and long shiny dark hair - she was once a Breck girl in an advertisement for the shampoo. She loaded up her lunch tray with pork chops, mashed potatoes, cream of mushroom soup, apple sauce, salad and chocolate pudding, much of which went uneaten "I like to sample everything, she explained."
She described the "Tilt" character as a little girl who "pretends she is really tough and likes boys and things like that, but could really care less about them." Brooke herself has boyfriends "but nothing serious" and wonders if some boys will be afraid of her now because she is on the verge of becoming famous."
Brooke seemed at times like any other 12-year-old, talking about the subjects she is studying in three-hours-a-day classes worked in between her shooting schedule, her passion for horses and the kitten she nursed, back to health. She and her girlfriend Kate Palladino, who goes to school with Brooke in New York and came to Santa Cruz to keep her company, giggled about a romance they had been observing on the set. "Actually," said Brooke, "that woman has a romance going on with about five men."
But she was incredibly self-possessed when talking about having once posed nude for a photo book. "I happened to have been 9 years old at the time, and when you are that age not much matters.... Now that I'm getting older I am starting to be more aware of the way my body is developing. Every once in awhile I wear a bra: if I'm running, it is painful. But my doctor says I won't have my period for two more years these bad times that Teri Shields departed the set of "Pretty Baby." "We both thought it would be good if we had a little rest from each other." she said, adding softly, "I really love her."
Although Teri Shields has made a point of staying away from the set of "Tilt," except to drive her daughter to and from work, she was very much in evidence the other day. Wearing a leopard coat and blue jeans stuffed into boots and looking like a woman who must have been very pretty ten years ago, she had come to take her daughter to the orthodentist to remove a band that was causing her some discomfort (Teri Shields has been divorced from Brooke's father, a Revlon executive, for more than ten years. Watching her daughter do a scene, she said. "No, I don't wish it was me. I'm pleased because she is a part of me. I want only all good to come to her.
"I believe I am no more attached to Brooke than she is to me, I have other interests. I go with a fellow, Brooke doesn't like the idea of my going out, but I understand it is because of her age now."
Brooke is so much in demand now, according to her mother, that producers have even offered Teri a part to be able to get her daughter. "They would be using me, if I accepted, so the idea just makes me laugh. But at least my name was mentioned, as the phrase goes."
She said she plans to stay on managing the business end of her daughter's career "until I can collect Social Security." If Durand is any judge. Teri Shields may well be able to do that. After watching the rushes from "Tilt," he called Brooke "the most brilliant, interesting actress I have ever come across, and this is no hype. I promise you, you are going to hear from this girl for a long, long time."
Gregory Walcott, who plays Brooke's father in the movie, said, "Sometimes I have a feeling with child actors they have a mother off screen prompting them for certain reactions. But Brooke has a natural spontaneity. You have the feeling with her, you are not really talking to a 12-year-old, but to an adult."
If Brooke has any trepidation about having two multimillion-dollar movies resting on her delicate shoulders, she is not letting on. "It would make me feel happy to know that i helped to carry a movie. I would feel proud." But if it doesn't work out "I'll know it isn't supposed to like that."
Yeas, she said, she has heard the stories about the unhappy ending some child stars have come to. But she said, "I'm not Judy Garland. I'm not any of them. I'm Brooke Shields, and I'm different."
16 San Fracisco, PEOPLE, Monday, November 21, 1977
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