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February 21, 1986 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-02-21
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COYER STORY

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By Seth Flicker

NOBODY REALLY knows when it began. It may have started off with
the Bowery Boys, or perhaps with Beach Blanket Bingo, or maybe
even with The Outsiders, but one thing is for sure - it is here, and here to
stay. "It" is the teen audience, and young actors are currently working
more than they ever have to support that audience.
The teen industry is a major part of the film and television business. If
a movie or television show does not appeal to the teen audience, it
generally does not do well at the box office, or generate advertising.
Nearly every movie or television show, whether it features young actors
or not, is geared to an adolescent audience which dominates the filmgoing
population. While people aged 12 to 24 make up roughly 20 percent of the
American population, this group was responsible for 55 percent of the
total yearly theater admissions in 1984.
Most "teen" movies revolve, at a base level, around a "troubled youth"
or a group of such youths. There are many variations on this basic theme:
First, you have the sex/teen flick - a movie like Spring Break or Where
the Boys are '84 which combines intermitant "heavy petting" scenes and
a troubled main character. Second is the "intellectual" teen film, in
which the main character is too smart for his/her own good. Films like
Wargames or Weird Science show how the main character, through his
own naiveness or curiousity, stumbles into a first sexual experience, or
attempts to make sense of "the real world." Then you have the troubled
youths - a group of five or more people each with a different problem of
their own, like The Breakfast Club or St. Elmo's Fire. The list goes on to
include films about curious teens (Risky Business, Gremlins), heroic
teens (Goonies) and tough teens (Outsiders, Rumble Fish).
Television works much in the same way, but with TV, the characters
have to be unique and intersting enough to make you watch the show next
week. Once the audience loses interest in a show's characters, it goes off
the air. Among the more successful TV teen shows are Leave It to
Beaver, My Three Sons, Partridge Family, Brady Bunch , Happy Days,
Square Pegs, Family Ties, Bill Cosby Show and Kate and Allie.
One universal and timeless theme which goes over very well in film and
television industry is the relationship between a parent or parents and the
troubled youth. Parents are a huge and frustrating part of a teen's life.
TV shows like Leave it to Beaver, My Three Sons andKate and Allie ex-
pose these relationships and thus provide a form of escape. Perhaps the
most successful film to deal with this parent-teen relationship is Ordinary
People which won an Oscar for Best Picture, and a Best Supporting Actor
to Timothy Hutton.
There is but one major factor that can make or break a teen movie or
TV show: whether the adolescent audience can identify with the charac-
ters involved. The media is a form of escape. When you see a movie or
television show, you want to experience and feel what the characters are
going through. Dreams may not always come true but witnessing one
comes pretty close. This is why movies like Wargames and Risky
Business did so well at the box office. You may never get a chance to
launch a nuclear weapon or to open a one-night whorehouse, but it's fun to
watch likable characters do so.

KERRI GREEN
SHE HAS red hair, freckles; she's
the all-American girl-next-door
and she's living the young aspiring ac-
tor's dream. Her first movie was
Goonies, produced by Stephen
Spielberg, then one week later, she
started filming her second movie,
Summer Rental, with John Candy.
One day later she started filmingnher
third movie-Lucas. Her name is
Keri Green and she iseonrher way to
sweeping the film industry off its feet.
"I was in a school play. Everyone
was looking like they were having so
much fun, so I said, "Hey, I want to
try that.' I did some school plays, then
somebody came up to my mother and
said that I would be good for commer-
cials. My mom asked me if I wanted
to do it and I said, 'Sure, why not?' I
didn't know what I was getting into. I
didn't know agents or any of that
stuff. I didn't even know that that stuff
existed. Then I met the manager and
went on a couple of calls. Pretty
quickly I got a Jordache commer-
cial."
"I would audition once in a while,"
continued Kerri, "I kept going all
along, but I didn't take it all that
seriously. I was on the gymnastics
team, or playing softball. If
something better came up, I just
wouldn't go on a call. It wasn't as im-
portant to me. As I got older, I got
more into acting, and liked it more
and more. Finally one summer I
stayed hom to just audition and see
what comes up. Then, I got Goonies. It
was good timing."
Kerri had a very busy senior year,
doing three movies right after one
another. She had to study on the set,
or do work and bring it to a local
school.
"It (show business) gives you a dif-
ferent perspective on things. People-
who don't know you treat you dif-
ferently. With people who know you, it
doesn't change at all. Either they are

overly friendly, or overly cold. I don't
think that it has changed my pet-
sonality, because I started when I was
so old with-the kids that I worked with,
I can see how it did change them...
they grew up in the business. But with
me, I already think that I established
a personality. Little things are going
to change, whether it's a movie or
college. It will change you, but not
completely. What it did was in-
troduce me to a whole different type
of person. People in the movies aren't
like the type of people I went to high
school with. Show business gives you
a lot more experience and a lot more
knowledge of people."
No matter how hard her senior year

was, Kerri still made Vassar and goes
to school there now.
"I'm not sure if I want to act for the
rest of my life-that's why I'm at
college. First semester was hard. I
wasn't there much. I just
dealt with it no matter what came up.
Basically, I try to make it as simple as
possible-while I'm at school, I'm at
school, while I'm working, I'm
working."
Lucas, which opens up March 28th,
is about Maggie, played by Kerri, who
moves into a new town. During the
summer, her parents split up. She
doesn't meet anyone all summer until
she meets Lucas, played by Corey
Haim (Silver Bullet). Their friendship

becomes strong, but, unfortunately,
Lucas falls in love with Maggie.
Maggie, meanwhile, falls in love with
a football player. The story is about
how Lucas tries to win her back.
"It is about accepting yourself as
you are. It's about unrequited love.
It's about real situations and real
people," Kerriadded.
"Your teenage years are your most
informative," said Kerri. "It's when
you dream the most. You are in an un-
stable position. Your life could take
any direction. You dream about it a
lot and think about it a lot. Most of the
movies work out so wonderfully that it
is kind of a dream. Our world, a lot of
it, is really safe. Most people know
that they are going to get their next
meal. There is not really any danger
going about from day to day. You're
not scared that wild animals are going
to attack you. Movies put in all the
stuff that technology has taken
away."
Kerri started off in show business
when she was rather old; thereby
giving her a different perspective on
it.
"It adds something that I think
most people don't have. I feel lucky as
hell to have experienced it. Right now,
I consider myself a college student'
because that is what I have been
doing. I love acting but it is not the
only thing life has to offer."
"If you want to go into acting," said
Kerri, "give it your all-one hundred
percent and go for it, but don't make it
the only thing. You can't make it more
important than it is. There is nothing
saying that you will make it whether
you're good or whether you're bad.
It's a lot of talent but it's also a lot of
luck. If you make it the only thing that
is important to you, then your whole
self-image is shot."

ZACH
GALLIGAN
Z ACH GALLIGAN is on his way to
a fantastic career. Zach has been
seen on television in A VeryaDelicate
Matter, Prisoner Without a Name,
Cell Without a Number (with Liv
Ullman and Roy Scheider), Surviving
(with Molly Ringwald) and in the up-
coming miniseries Crossings.' He
starred in the mega-money-maker
Gremlins which, as of January first
has grossed close to 150 million
dollars, and starred in the cult movie
Nothing Lasts Forever. Currently
Zach is starring in Biloxi Blues on
Broadway as Eugene Jerome. -
"I started donig high school plays.
Juliet Taylor, an agent, came to my
school and asked my drama teacher
who he considered to be five of the
most enthusiastic actors," said Zach.
"He picked me and four other guys. I
did a couple of auditions for her over a
period of about ten months. She said
that if I wanted to go professional,
that she'd be more than willing to set
me up with a couple of agents. My en-
tire career has been going to auditions
and getting parts."
Zach's experience makes him
somewhat of an authority on teen
films. Gremlins, produced by Steven
Spielberg, was a mega-hit and one of
the top-grossing films in the past
years.
Most of the audience is made up of
teenagers. I guess that they figured
that a logical way to make money is
the make movies that appeal to the
major proportions of the audience.
The fact of the matter is that they
started to underestimate teenagers'
taste. They thought that if they put
anything on that was teenager

related, and have it make money. But
teenagers appreciate quality as much
as old people do. It backfired on them
a little because they started putting
out Porky's VII and nobody cared
anymore because it was just a piece of
schlock. Young people want just what
anyone else would want in a film: a
tight plot, good performances, well-
developed and interesting characters,
and an interesting storyline."
"First of all," said Zach, "(teens go
to movies because) it's the ideal place
to take a date. Second of all, teens are
the only people hardy enough to stand
in line in any type of weather. Now
with home videos, almost everyone
over 25 would much rather go to the
store, pick up a movie, and watch it on
their own television, on their own
time. You don't have to go to a
crowded theatre with popcorn on the
floor-you can stay home."
Nothing Lasts Forever was a film
that was completed in the MGM
studios back in 1983, but was never
released. A few months ago it started
being shown at the famed Eighth
Street Playhouse in Greenwich
Village. The movie centers around a
young men, played by Zach, who wan-
ts to become an artist. The movie
takes place in a futuristic, wacked-out
Manhattan. Zach can be seen in the
miniseries Crossings on February
23, 24 and 25. Based on a novel by
Danielle Steele, the movie deals with
a love affair between a steel magnate
and a wife of a French ambassador
during World War II.
It would seem that Zach, with all
this going on would't have time for
much more, but Zach manages to go
to school at Columbia.
Being the right age, being in the
right movies and having the right type
of experience, one might consider
Zach to be part of the so-called "brat-

pack."
"The brat pack is a label designed
by one journalist," Zach said, "It's
impossible to categorize them
because they are all different. The
brat pack is mainly west coast Los
Angeles thing, becuase they all live
there. I saw the other day that they
are trying to make a New York brat

pack.
that i
stick
have
I
an op
doing
try it
and it

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3
I.;

ARE MEYERS
KATE AND ALLIE is a televison
show that relates successfully to
the teenage audience. Kate and Allie
has been consistently in the top 10 of
the Nielsen ratings, and has received
an Emmy nomination for the best
comedy series. Kate and Allie, played
by Susan St. James and Jane Curtin,
are divorced mothers who share an
apartment in New York City. Both
Kate and Allie have teenage
daughters, and Allie has an
adolescent son as well. Jennie and
Emma, the two daughters do
everything that you were afraid to do
- they break the rules, sneak out af-
ter curfew, ruin the house. Becuase
the audience can strongly relate to
these characters, the show succeeds.
An acting break is one of the har-
dest feats to accomplish in show
buisness. You might be suddenly
discovered while walking down the
street in Los Angeles, or while you're
eating a hamburger in a restaurant
but it may take years to get a break -
if one comes along at all. Ari Meyers,
who plays Emma, started out a little
differently.
"When I was five or six, in kin-
dergarden, Ford modeling agency was
starting a children's division," said

Ari. "They came to my school and thy
chose some kids to be in it. I was one
of them. I really wanted to do it so my
mom said O.K. I started to do com-
mercials. I stopped for a while
because I got tired of it. I wanted to
be with my friends, I guess. Then, af-
ter two or three years, I decided that I
missed it andwanted to go back to it.
I started acting again when I was
around 11 or 12. I started acting alot.
From then on, I really loved it."
Schooling becomes a problem when
you're on the set of a regular series.
It's not all the glamour it's made out
to be.
"Television movies only take a cer-
tain amount of time, then you're back
in school. Kate and Allie is the whole
year and part of the summer. I'm
really not in school at all. It's like a
regular job - you come in every day,
all day," said Ar.
Instead of going to school Ari gets
tutored on the set. "I don't really
think that I miss out of anything im-
portant," said Ari. "I miss out on
day-to-day school but I really think
that I gained so much more not only
by being on the show, but by learning
responsibilities like how to handle
work and school because it's really
difficult."

Besides being on a teen-aimed
television show, Ari, who is 15 years
old, is, a part of the teen market.
'It (film) is a fantasy world in a
way, depending on the film. It is also
a way to relax. Since teenagers, in
general, have a lot of pressures,
movies are a way to have fun."
"(A good teen actor) has to be at-
tractive, not necessarily good-
looking, but something about them
has to make them likeable to the
public. They have to be good actors
and actresses and they have to make
you feel something in their parts...and
maybe something you can feel in
yourself and relate to, touch to."
"If you want to go into acting you
should study, work hard, audition,
and get an agent. Don't give up. It's
not always a reflection on you or your
ability. You may not get a job just
because of your height, or your
general appearance. It's whether you
match up to the mother, or the father,
or the other people in the show. It's
coincidence, so don't get
discouraged."
Ari, wants definitely to go to
college and to continue acting. She
has been in Author, Author and many
televison movies.

I don't really miss out on that. A lot of
times I'll go out with my friends after
work if I don't have to much
homework. I miss the social life of
school, but I'm in school once a week
so it is not that bad," added Allison.
Doing the dame part day after day
can get a little boring. According to
Allison, you may go through days
where you can sit for eight hours and
only have maybe four or five lines.
"I don't get bored of the part.
Sometimes there are long days with
not a lot to do. It's not my show - it's
Jane and Susan's. I keep on having to
remind myself of that. I wouldn't say
that I'm bored doingait. It's just that
you think that you don't really have to
be here, you can be with your friends
at school."
By being in a show which bases it-
self on the relationships between ad-
ults and children. Allison has for-
med her own opinion about the in-
crease of teen-aimed media.
"I think that teenagers nowadays
are a really big subject. Grown-ups
have become a lot more aware about
the feelings and pressures of
teenagers. There are a lot of top-
notch 20-year-olds who are really good
actors, and they can play the roles.
"They have proven themselves,"
Allison continued, "I mean if a movie
gets a lot of publicity, and of course if
it's about teenagers, a lot of teenagers
will want to see it. Teenagers aren't
really going to see Sissy Spacek in a
movie about her life going down a
drain. They're going to want to see

the school, and the guys and the girls,
and the dances, the proms and
everything. I think that because
teenagers are so interested in that,
that they'll go, especially when that
group (of teen actors) has proven
themselves. They'll keep going and
(these teen actors) will keep being a
hit."
Allison has three goals which shw
would like to accomplish in the near
future. "I want to have a hit record,
do a movie of the week and do a
feature film. These are the three

COLLEEN CAMP
COLLEEN CAMP may not be a
young aspiring actress. But there is
no doubt that she once was, thereby
giving her a different perspective on
the teen actors and movies today.
"They have been making a lot of
movies that are oriented towards
teenagers," said Colleen. "I think that
most of the studio heads have been
trying to gear these movies for those
teenagers. I think that it is real silly
because a good movie is a good
movie. Tootsie is not a teenage
movie but it's a very successful
movie becuase it is good. I don't think
that one has to cater to a teenager
necessarily to get teenagers into an
audience. Movies don't have to have
teenagers in them to have teenagers
see them. It's like the copycat
system."
"I infact," continued Colleen, "I

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ALLISON SMITH
Allison Smith plays Ari's
housemate, Jennie, on Kate and Allie.
Allison's "discovery" is quite similar
to Ari's.
"I was in a fourth-grade play," said
Allison, "and my art teacher, who
knew something about the business,
told me that there was an audition for
Annie on Broadway. I got that and
went on from there doing children's

specials and after-schools specials."
Allison, like Ari, doesn't really have
time for school and gets tutored with
Ari on the set.
Kate and Allie has made my life a
lot busier; a lot more exciting. I'm
lucky because I have more advan-
tages than the average sixteen year
old. It has changed my thoughts and
morals."
"I have a steady boyfriend (Brian
Bloom from As the World Turns) so

6 Weekend- February 21, 1986

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