Patty Hearst was beaten, traumatized, and berated. Torture by the Symbionese Liberation Army? No, by Kathleen Turner, who as the titular Serial Mom bludgeoned the newspaper heiress to death in her role as ”Juror No. 8.”
It’s a living. In fact, now that Hearst has done Serial Mom and Cry-Baby and a radio call-in voice for the May 12 episode of Frasier, this is her only living. ”I guess you could classify me as a ‘homemaker,’ whatever that is these days,” Hearst says. ”But my real-life job would be, in fact, making movies.” She laughs. ”Look, I’ve worked more than some people!”
Indeed, as a card-carrying member of the Screen Actors Guild, she gets paid and everything. ”That’s the kind of dumb question my father asks me,” says the wry heiress. ”’They do pay you, don’t they?’ ‘Uh, yeah, Dad. I wouldn’t have taken anything, but the union insisted.”’
Hearst, 40, is actually a veteran of pictures. Sort of. Before making her film debut in 1990’s Cry-Baby, playing Traci Lords’ crossing-guard mom, she had made headlines as the notorious ”Tania,” the beret-wearing bank robber of surveillance photos taken in 1974 after she’d joined forces with her radical- activist kidnappers.
Those stop-action frames ended up serving as a kind of screen test. Hearst was in Cannes with Paul Schrader, who’d directed the biopic Patty Hearst (1988), starring Natasha Richardson, when John Waters approached her at a cocktail party. ”He said he wanted to put me in one of his movies, and I thought, ‘Yeah, right. Like I’m at Schwab’s drugstore sipping a soda. Please.’ But then a year later he called and said here’s a script, and come in and read.” And today? She has head shots and her SAG card, and is looking for an agent. ”I recommend waiting tables, though, over what I went through,” she cautions. ”Mine is more of a don’t-try-this-at-home-kids entree into the acting community.”