Kim Basinger's scruples cost her 6m pounds: Actress only prepared to consider roles featuring 'artistic' nudity

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The Independent Online
LOS ANGELES - The actress Kim Basinger, one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols, has been ordered to pay dollars 8.9m ( pounds 6m) in damages for backing out of a film deal, in a verdict which has huge implications for the film industry, writes Phil Reeves.

A jury at Los Angeles Superior Court ruled against Ms Basinger, 39, after hearing that she acted in bad faith when she made the last-minute decision to break an oral agreement to star in Boxing Helena only four weeks before shooting was due to start. The actress also faces additional punitive damages, in a hearing due to begin in the next few weeks.

Ms Basinger, co-star of the hugely successful blockbuster Batman, listened impassively as the award was made against her. Earlier she had told the court that one reason she pulled out of the film was because she was only prepared to consider roles featuring 'artistic' rather than 'graphic' and gratuitous nudity.

The case attracted widespread attention, not least because of her steamy nude scenes in the film 9 1/2 Weeks - a role which she admitted had benefited her career. 'The more flesh you show, the further up the ladder you go,' she told the court.

The decision was a triumph for Boxing Helena's first-time producer, Carl Mazzocone, who mortgaged his house to raise funds for the project, which ultimately flopped. It was finally made starring Sherilyn Fenn, of Twin Peaks fame, but notched up total sales of only dollars 2.7m.

The award was made to Main Line Pictures Inc, after the jury deliberated for less than two days. It includes dollars 7.4m in general damages and dollars 1.5m for the specific loss of Ms Basinger's services. She made an oral agreement to make the film, which is about a surgeon who holds a woman hostage and amputates all her limbs, after the role was turned down by Madonna.