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Career need not be interrupted

Hollywood, Nov. 7: Longevity in Hollywood demands great looks and good connections, and any handler worth his 10 per cent commission knows it also calls for a tight hold around the sharp corners of a comeback.

Actress Winona Ryder may be in for a white-knuckle ride over the next few months, but experts across Hollywood said yesterday morning’s conviction for grand theft and vandalism will not have a long-lasting impact on her career.

For an actress who established her screen presence more than a decade ago with offbeat, cynical flicks such as Heathers (1989) and Edward Scissorhands (1990), daily trial coverage has been a jolt of unwanted, unmanaged exposure.

At one point, she injured her arm in the crush of media following her into the courthouse.

Alan Meyer of Sitrick & Co., one of the biggest crisis management companies in the country, said the “injury day” was endemic of how poorly Ryder’s ordeal has been handled from the beginning.

“She was only charged with shoplifting, not felony hit-and-run or child molestation. It should have been a 48-hour story, not a six-month story. Why this wasn’t resolved very quickly, I don’t understand,” Meyer said, adding that the pair of convictions were “a real blow.”

“The easiest way out of something like this is to acknowledge you did it and throw yourself on the public’s mercy. Show remorse. Be contrite. People love that,” he said.

The trial and its preparation has cut into time she spent on developing film projects.

Her publicist, Mara Buxbaum, insists business is booming, but the claim that Ryder was approached this year to star in at least one film could not be independently confirmed.

Buxbaum said Ryder will “definitely not be doing the talk show circuit” after the trial, although the actress probably will sit down at some point for the obligatory tell-all interview.

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