“I’m so sorry for all the running around earlier,” says Wright, settling into a red plush chair across from the small table where I’m sitting. “My entire family is in town, and logistically, it’s been challenging, to say the least.” (This explains all the last-minute scheduling changes and elusive emails I received from Nini, saying things like, “We will not know a location until tomorrow morning … stay tuned.” I had begun to think it was some sort of paparazzi-evasion tactic.) Most of Wright’s extended family is in Texas, and, if there’s anything I’ve learned through my research on Wright, it’s that family comes first.
“[All] week I’ve been blowing off the stuff I should do because my daughter, Dylan’s, in town from New York,” she says, “and my son, Hopper, just graduated from high school yesterday.” Wright’s blue eyes light up as she says this, and a wide smile spreads across her face, leaving her beaming. Dylan Frances, 20, and Hopper Jack, 18, are Wright’s only two children, both the offspring of her nearly 20-year relationship with Penn. The two were married for well over a decade before finally calling it quits in August 2009. Now, she says, they are totally amicable.
“We had a rough spell,” Wright says, pressing her lips together and pausing. “I mean, can you imagine? We had a rough spell. It took time.”
It’s just this kind of honesty and vulnerability that’s helped earn Wright legions of loyal fans among audiences and peers. One glance at her IMDB.com page reveals an impressive list of accolades, including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Forrest Gump, three Saturn Award nominations (The Princess Bride, Toys and Forrest Gump) and three Daytime Emmy Award nominations for her work on the NBC daytime soap opera Santa Barbara.
“Really?” she says with a surprised smile when I mention all of her accolades. “I mean, I remember a couple. … I gotta check this out!”
Wright started her professional career as a model before turning to film while still in her teens. After auditioning for a string of John Hughes films in the early 1980s, she landed the part of heiress Kelly Capwell on Santa Barbara, a role she played from 1984 to 1988. In 1986, she starred in her first feature film, Hollywood Vice Squad, a campy dud of a flick in which Wright played a runaway teenager turned prostitute. However, the following year, her role as Princess Buttercup in the 1987 comedic fairy tale and love story The Princess Bride earned Wright the attention she deserved. A moderate success at the box office, the film has since become a cult classic and is ranked at number 50 on Bravo’s 100 Funniest Movies list and 88 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Love Stories in Film.