From her feminist sexpot in Saved by the Bell to her lap dancer extraordinaire in the camp classic Showgirls (released in a special DVD boxed set this month), Elizabeth Berkley's moxie has always suggested there's more to her than meets the eye. Well, these days, in Broadway's revival of Sly Fox, she's gone against type as a virginal, unsuspecting prude, and we're really shocked.
Musto: Hi, Elizabeth. Sly Fox is slyly changing your image, isn't it?
Berkley: It's definitely a departure in terms of what some people's perceptions might be. But as far as I'm concerned, it's one more in the line of roles I've been playing. I've been clear in my mission of not repeating myself.
Well, I happen to know about your stage roots, honey. At 9 you tried out for Annie!
Yes, but I was too tall. That was my first dose of the beautiful rejection that can happen in this crazy business. But it was like an amusement park, where they have a height requirement'I was over the height.
Me, too'by four feet. Speaking of amusement, why is Showgirls such an enduring gay phenomenon?
I don't really know. The gay audiences have been so supportive of it. It was supposed to be campy and fun and playful while exposing one side of that world, which, by the way, is campy and fun and over-the-top. But some people are afraid of that, and some are willing to take a look at it and have fun. For a movie they call a bomb, it's made money and had a tremendous life.
To read all of Musto's interview with Berkley, pick up the August issue of Out.