CULT FICTION: PATTY HEARST AND “SERIAL MOM”

Once the most sought-after woman in America, Patty Hearst now leads a fairly normal, private life – outside the presence of John Waters and the psychotic derelicts who wander about suburban Baltimore.
Every kid growing up in the 70′s remembers seeing pictures of Patty Hearst just about everywhere. I thought the shot of her holding an automatic weapon while robbing a bank was the ultimate in cool and cursed my parents for not being rich, and thereby depriving me of ever being kidnapped by a bunch of fun-loving radicals.
These days, Patty is still very cool and still looks pretty good. The whole day on the set, she kept staring at me. I coulda had her too, if my loser colleague would’ve found somewhere to hang out and quit scaring her and the rest of the chicks away. We did, however, manage to get a few minutes alone with her and a bunch of crazed, dangerous idiots with some serious B.O.
[ We haven't read the script yet, so tell us what part you're playing. ] ^ I’m a juror in the end trial scene, but I don’t know if I can really tell you anything. I’m really not supposed to discuss it…
(Psycho#1, a middle-aged woman with an instamatic camera, interjects.) “Do you mind if I take one photo of you?”
Uh, no, sure…
(She takes it.) Oh thank you! That made my day!
[ Gee, you have fans everywhere, don't you? ] ^ Well, like I said, I’m not really supposed to talk about my part…
(Psycho#2, a transient-looking weirdo, suddenly (and loudly) cuts her off.)
“Hi, are you Patty Hearst?”
Yes…
“I’m Howard. I saw you here yesterday. How’re you doin’?”
Great…thank you…
“There must be a lot of excitement with all the publicity that was in the paper yesterday…read all about it.” (He hands her copy of the Baltimore Sun.) “If I could just get you to sign this. Are you coming back next week?”
I should really, uh…
“Are you coming back next week?”
(Signing.) Yes.
“Okay, I’ll see you later. Bye.”
Bye, bye. (He wanders off.)
[ Is he your number one fan? ] ^ (Patty laughs nervously.) I really can’t say anything about my part, so you’re going to have to ask John about anything that I do…
(Psycho#3, wearing a Mao Tse Tung T-shirt and mumbling in a southern accent that could only be the result of generations of inbreeding, cuts her off.) “Are you Patty Hearst?”
Uh, yes…
“Hi, I survived the Symbionese Liberation Army and I want to start up again. Would you consider joining?”
(The epitome of cool.) I’m right in the middle of an interview right now, so you’ll have to ask me later.
(Stunned.) “Oh, uh, could I get you to sign this?” (He hands he a ragged, political-looking poster.)
I don’t think so, I’m right in the middle of an interview.
“ALL right.” (He also wanders off.)
[ Let's change the subject and talk about kooks. ] ^ Well, how did that come up? Usually that doesn’t happen, but that was definitely the oddest of all time. I thought my answer was just strange enough to throw him off. Did you see his whole face change? He wasn’t ready for that kind of answer.
[ You're a huge star, we didn't see nearly as many people approaching anyone else on the set. ] ^ Well, that’s why they usually keep everyone close to John. We just sit up there and visit, but I suppose there are other reasons. Maybe as soon as you get out of the safety zone they somehow know.
[ Maybe you should learn to start saying "No" when people ask if you're Patty Hearst. Have you found that you have to ignore your identity? ] ^ Usually I don’t have to. It only happens, of course, when reporters are sitting here.
[ Did you ever see Paul Schrader's film, "Patty Hearst"? ] ^ Yes, I liked it a lot. It was dark and surreal – and almost nobody saw it – so I liked it. It was a really cool movie. If you have to have something like that done about your life – but I haven’t seen any of the TV movies.
At that point, the nervous, chain-smoking publicist arrives to take Patty away. “You block for us and we’ll take Patty back, ” I joke. “Huh?” he responds, eyes still locked on Psycho#3 only a few yards away. “Let’s just get out of here.”
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Posted on April 13, 1994 in Interviews by
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