The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 24, 1998 · Page 57
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 57

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Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 24, 1998
Page:
Page 57
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Straight Talk ADVICE Let art help you think: "When I'm working as an actor, trying to figure out a character, painting him helps. Even a pad and pencil or charcoal, which you can feel with your fingers, helps you focus." IV talk shows "are like the Roman arena, where you get thrown to the lions in front of the public." (A fictional talk show plays a key part in Whitaker's | new movie, Hope Floats.) Love yourself: "It's one thing to say, 'I know I'm attractive. I know I'm this or that.' It's another thing to love the way you feel inside and the way the world looks at you, no matter what your flaws are." The lesson in Witing to Exhale: "It's about finding out how to feel good about yourself without relying on a relationship to validate you. The women in Exhale learn this after clinging to men who mistreat them. ASK. WHITAKER FOR ADVICE Whitaker will write or call one reader who seeks advice. Write by May 31 to "Straight Talk," RO. Box 3455, Chicago, III. 60654 (fax: 312-321-2812; e-mail: talk@usaweekend.com). Zaslow is an advice columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times Co. By Jeffrey Zaslow rOrBSr WI1ir3K6r! The Waiting to Exhale director and Crying Game actor is Hollywood's "gentle giant." His calm approach works: This week he directs Sandra Bullock in a new movie. • SMALL, PORTABLE WATERFALL gurgles in the Ik corner of Forest Whitaker's office on a Hollywood •A movie lot. The actor-director finds the sound of trick- Wk ling water therapeutic, and visiting him, you can't help but be drawn into his calm. At 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, the soft-spoken Whitaker has been called a gentle giant. The description fits. After winning praise for roles in Good Morning Vietnam, The Crying Game and Bird, he tapped into his feminine side by directing the female ensemble hit Waiting to Exhale. Now Hollywood's top actresses want him to helm their movies. Hope Floats, starring Sandra Bullock as a heartbroken former prom queen, is Whitaker's latest directorial effort. Whitaker, 36, who grew up in tough L.A.-area neighborhoods, believes hope can keep you afloat, even in terrible times. You need an ability "to cherish things in a certain way," he says. Where others see only ugly cracks in a sidewalk, "you see the flower in the crack." Whitaker's spiritual approach to dealing with people has helped to build his reputation as a women's director. Rather than barking orders on the set, he meets with everyone individually. "It's the only way," he says, "because everyone communicates differently." He suggests that all bosses "take the time to really look at people. Listen to them. See how they move. Most bosses do that only when something is going wrong." Whitaker is gentle in other ways, too. During the filming of Hope Floats, Bullock's widely panned Speed 2 was in theaters. "Sandra asked me not to see it," Whitaker says. Though watching Speed 2 might have helped him understand Bullock as an actress, he honored her wish. When Whitaker pauses, the only sound in his office is that soothing fountain, which cost him about $100. He says he recently gave one as a gift to a colleague, who then bought fountains for 10 friends. If the trend spreads, Whitaker could become the father of a fountain movement. "A lot of life," he says, "is about state of mind." ca PRESIDENT, CEO & EDITOR: Marcla Bullard . PUBLISHER: Charles Qabrlelson . VICE PRESIDENTS: Dave Barber, Bill Coakley, Beth Lawrence, Thomas Melsel Senior Editor Dan Olmsted Senior Associate Editor Brenda Turner Associate Editor.: Gayle Jo Carter, Carol Clurman, Patricia Edmonds, Constance Kuiz. lorrie Lynch, Kathleen McCleary ^AOmewwDajfEdtorfemelaBrawn Staff WHter Dennis McCafferty Researcher: C&arG. Soriano EdtorialAMteMichete Hatty, Mianda Walter H-BOin3!nEEI33IEIH Hnunv RonroA Fnroman Mnnii,^ f:n» m , n >i:, u,__ «..__..„,_..___«_._,.,___.._..,_.__ — _ . . -. .. <;USA WEEKEND -- 1,0 * •"!*••. weiiim miAxiiiciiy nMotuunr. ixadr u. auratiu cunurw/two. miuinenauy, mmrtuii nawer uuiivuaiuuuKmiiUijQ KM Barnes, Ken Bill Roger Cossack. Stephen Covey, George Foreman, Monika Guttman, Mia Hamm, Stephanie Mansfield.Tom McNIchol, Jill Nelson, Soledad O'Brien, Cokle Roberts, Steve Roberts, James Trefil, Greta Van Susteren Jeffrey Zaslow Assistant Art Directors: Clay Auch, Nathaniel Levine Photo Deste Molly Roberts, Cindy Sorgen-Elcher Techmdojy Manager. Treva Stose Office Staff: Kate Bond, Chris Martin EEOEB Director New Media: Merck Ca^iman"' "tM*M- Vm Narayanan.AmellaStephenson, Casey Shaw Advertising: Doug Knepper tESBSSammSOSaa 535 Madison Ave..NewYork,N.Y. 10022 HanaaEnEOHa 1000Wilson Blvd.,A casselman Editorial. TIM nugazln* Amarloa rBvpomta to 18 USA WEEKEND • May 22-24,1B98

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