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Kris Kristofferson finding new screen life

Web posted on: Thursday, September 24, 1998 4:46:05 PM

From Correspondent Michael Okwu

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A star is reborn?

That's the buzz in Hollywood as Kris Kristofferson, who hit it big in 1976 in "A Star Is Born," is making his mark again on Hollywood. The first hint came when Kristofferson went from playing a vampire hunter with Wesley Snipes in this season's popcorn hit, "Blade," to an eyebrow-raising highbrow role in "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries."

Kris Kristofferson has been acting for more than 20 years; in all that time, he's only been nominated for one Oscar. What was it?

A. Best actor, 1976, "A Star Is Born."
B. Best lead actor, 1980, "Heaven's Gate."
C. Best original song score, 1984, "Songwriter."

'Uniquely qualified'

A Merchant-Ivory production (the team is known for romantic period pieces), the film is adapted from the memoir by Kaylie Jones, the daughter of James Jones and the author of "From Here To Eternity."

"When I read the script I felt like I was uniquely qualified to play the role," Kristofferson says. "You know, my life had sort of conditioned me to be this character."

Like Jones, Kristofferson served time in the military. But for Kristofferson, 62, a former Rhodes scholar and aspiring novelist, the draw to the role was Jones' life as a writer.

"We felt like we expressed ourselves best in our writing," Kristofferson says. "Writing is what we were both sent down to the planet to do."

The film weaves a variety of subplots and characters together. In following the Joneses as expatriates in Paris and as aliens back in their native United States, they struggle as Kristofferson's character battles illness.

Watch the theatrical preview of "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries"

Windows Media: 28k or 56k
Real: 28k or 56k

Slice-of-life, coming-of-age

The creators and actors of "Soldier's Daughter" each seem to have discovered their own storyline in the film.

"It's an episodic, slice-of-life family film I suppose, set in two countries, but I can't pin it down," says director James Ivory.

"This is very much a coming-of-age film with also being an outsider," says Leelee Sobieski, who plays Kristofferson's daughter. "Everybody has been an outsider, even though they don't want to admit it."

Kristofferson seems the outsider as he reemerges on the big screen in other upcoming projects with Mel Gibson, Martin Landau and Brenda Blethyn. For Kristofferson, acting is fine, but writing is closest to his heart.

"I would like to be like Shakespeare," he says. "He was an actor, but he's a lot better known for his writing."

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