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CATCHING UP WITH CHRISTOPHER REEVE UP, OUT, AND AWAY

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Christopher Reeve has spent much of the last decade following hisstar-and, in so doing, deliberately evading stardom. Currentlyappearing in The Remains of the Day as the new boss to butler AnthonyHopkins, Reeve, 41, states matter- of-factly, ”I didn’t follow theformula to stay on top.”He certainly started out strong: At 26, Reeve soared as Superman,a larger- than-life role that suited his square jaw, jet-black hair,and athletic 6’4” frame so well that he reprised it in Superman II,III, and IV. But beyond those films, Reeve says, ”the kinds of moviesthat were offered to me that would probably have been commercialsuccesses just didn’t appeal to me.”So the Juilliard-trained actor rejected the flood ofaction-adventure parts that came his way and chose ”quirkier”projects (1987’s gritty crime drama Street Smart, TNT’s 1993 The SeaWolf) that satisfied him creatively. In fact, Reeve broke with anagent over his decision to make an earlier Merchant Ivory film,1984’s The Bostonians. ”I wanted to be an actor, not run around witha machine gun,” he says. ”I’ve stuck to what I wanted to do and feelrewarded by that.”As Reeve’s good looks have matured-the hair has a dash of salt andpepper now, and there are crinkles around the eyes-he has carvedout his niche as a low-key leading man in thoughtful features such asCBS’ upcoming Civil War drama, The Black Fox. Yet he doesn’t dismissthe notion of wading back into the mainstream: He’s now meeting withproducers about playing a ”surprise” villain in an action film. ”Ithink it might be fun,” he says, his voice picking up. ”The way tocast me is as someone you wouldn’t suspect, who seems to be on theright side but is up to no good. I wouldn’t want to do anythingbland.”Reeve’s offscreen life reflects his independence as well. He shunsHollywood for upstate New York, where he lives with his wife, actressDana Morosini, and their son, 16-month-old Will. (His other kids,Matthew, 13, and Alexandra, 9, live in London with their mother, GaeExton, Reeve’s ex- girlfriend.)And even though he’s satisfied with the choices he’s made, Reevesometimes wonders about what might have been. Hoping to direct andstar in The Hunt, a feature film about an anthropologist studying thenomadic Samburu tribe in Kenya, he notes, ”I think it’s ironic thatif I had picked one or two blatantly commercial pieces, more of theparts I like might have come my way.” Such is the price of eludingfame.

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