Hey, can anyone remember that one movie starring Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, Michael Madsen, and Michelle Williams? Okay, you cheated. You looked at the title of this post. But think about it: A movie made today with that lineup would be a quiet a head-turning picture. When Species debuted in 1995, however, all anyone was talking about was that thing Natasha Henstridge did with her tongue. While all these other actors soldiered on to bigger, hotter roles, Henstridge’s acting career hit its peak when she burst forth from her coccoon naked and slathered in KY jelly.
Henstridge ought to draw inspiration from the career of Julie Christie. In 1961, Christie appeared in the classic serial drama A for Andromeda, in which a group of scientists decode a signal from outer space. The signal provides instructions for creating a life form, which manifests in the form of a beautiful young woman. But is she what she appears to be, or is she part of an alien campaign to take over Earth? Sound familiar? While Species factors in gallons of goo and the E.T.’s need to breed, it’s obvious that its story is cloned from this British TV original. (Itself remade twice.) Andromeda was Christie’s first major role; she went on to become a celebrated star and Oscar-winner ( Darling , 1965). More recently, she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her tender portrayal of life with Alzheimer’s Disease in Away From Her .
If she can keep her foot (or tentacle) in the door, Henstridge seems primed to echo Christie in her uneven career. Just as Christie turned down roles in Rosemary’s Baby , Chinatown , and The Godfather , Henstridge famously opted out of Men In Black and Independence Day . To their credit, both actresses seem to have a "no regrets" philosophy and continue to turn up in surprising places, shining briefly in supporting roles on film and TV. Look for Henstridge to reunite with her younger alien self, Michelle Williams, in an upcoming (and as yet untitled) film with Hugh Jackman and Ewan MacGregor. We’re rooting for you, Natasha! (Please don’t kill us.)
Species is on AMC tonight, Tuesday January 8 at 10:30 p.m. EST | 9:30C.Read More