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Thursday, 7 November, 2002, 12:06 GMT
Can Winona bounce back?
Winona Ryder with Martin Scorsese
Ryder was one of the darlings of Hollywood in the 1990s
As Winona Ryder faces life as a convicted criminal, BBC News Online looks at whether she can bounce back into the A list.

Actress Winona Ryder was widely seen as being kooky and a little "out there", but the video showing her bizarre shoplifting spree has only added to her reputation.

The Hollywood machine is notorious for spitting out its actors after their used by date but it also has a habit of giving fallen stars a second, third or fourth chance.

Hugh Grant, Halle Berry and Robert Downey Jr are all examples of stars who have walked on the wrong side of the law and been welcomed back into the celebrity fold.

She will probably bounce back from this - she hasn't murdered anyone after all

Polly Hudson
Heat magazine
Ryder must now get her public relations team working overtime if she is to make a comeback.

With a prison sentence looking unlikely, Ryder can set to work building bridges and reassuring movie executives she is reliable.

But her box office bankability had already been on the wane, with several box office bombs including Autumn in New York in which she starred opposite Richard Gere, and Lost Souls.

Her days of cult hits such as Heathers and Edward Scissorhands appear long gone, but with heightened interest in her every move after the celebrity trial of the year, her career could be on the up.

"She will probably bounce back from this - she hasn't murdered anyone after all," said Heat news editor and celebrity commentator Polly Hudson.

"It's actually something interesting about her, she has not exactly been one the hottest of properties of late."

Hollywood itself also looks set to forgive and forget her crimes

"Hollywood has the biggest heart in the world, and if there is any place where someone would be forgiven, it's in this town," said producer Tom Sherak, who was a executive at 20th Century Fox when the studio released Ryder's 1996 film The Crucible.

"She is a celebrity, a wonderful actress, and I'm sure that she will act again."

Others, however, warn that Ryder's image has been hit.

"I think Hollywood is a forgiving place, and more than that, I think it likes bad boys, but it doesn't have a short memory.

"Nothing is forgotten," said Daily Variety editor-in-chief and former studio boss Peter Bart.

Hugh Grant mugshot
Hugh Grant: Became one of the UK's biggest stars
Ms Hudson thinks Ryder's first move should be to conduct a warts and all interview on one of the big talk shows telling the honest truth about what happened and what was going through her mind.

Hugh Grant's infamous encounter with prostitute Divine Brown in Los Angeles in 1995 could have spelled the end of his blossoming career.

But he took the wise decision to come clean on US TV talk shows including Jay Leno and Larry King.

By publicly apologising for his indiscretions and the hurt he caused his then girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley, the public took him to their hearts and forgave him.

And his career went stellar with hits such Notting Hill and Bridget Jones's Diary and his face is adorning the December issue of the US GQ magazine under the title Man of the Year.

Halle Berry at the 2002 Oscars
Halle Berry: Made history at the Oscars
Halle Berry is another star who has bounced back from the indignity of facing a judge while trying to make her name as an A-list actress.

In 2000, she ran a red light, hit another car and left the scene without immediately reporting the accident.

The driver of the other car suffered a broken wrist, while Berry had a gash to her head that required stitches.

She was placed on three years probation, fined $13,500 (9,000) and ordered to do 200 hours community service after pleading no contest.

There was no doubt Berry was already a star, but she was far from the league of Julia Roberts et al, and had appeared in some flop movies including Baps and The Rich Man's Wife.

Robert Downey Jr in court
Downey Jr: Sentenced to three years in prison in 1996
Two years on, she became the first black star to win a best actress Academy Award and her tearful acceptance speech has gone down in Oscars history.

"Had she mishandled the situation in a way that led people to think she was guilty, it could have - maybe not have ended her career - but have held it back to the point that she would never have gone on happily two years later to win the Oscar," her PR supremo Alan Mayer told the BBC's David Willis.

Robert Downey Junior is another example of a star who bounced back.

He was arrested in 1996 after cocaine, heroin and a pistol were found in his vehicle and was sentenced to three years in prison for violating probation in 1999.

He served one year, but was arrested again in 2000 after he was found with cocaine.

Winona Ryder in court
Ryder was reportedly sent film offers during the trial
But that did not stop him winning a Golden Globe - one of the biggest awards in Hollywood - for his role in TV comedy Ally McBeal while waiting to appear in court.

When he was arrested again in 2001, he was dropped from the show - but is lined up to play the lead role in a big screen version of The Singing Detective, due out in 2003.

As for Winona Ryder, there are reports that she has been sent film offers while standing trial.

As Hollywood tolerates a bit of bad behaviour and the case has catapulted her back into the spotlight, the trial could turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to her.

See also:

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