But the wheels soon began to fly off when an alleged affair with actor James Woods on the set of their drama The Boost resulted in a major dent to her reputation.
Some of the more outrageous accusations included that Young had left a butchered voodoo doll on the doorstep of their home. Young repeatedly denied that she was the source of the doll, or that she had stalked the couple, telling Entertainment Weekly in that the scandal "[boiled] down to two people plotting to set me up and make me look like I was a crazy person, partially because of their own mental illness, partially because of revenge".
Dramatic tales of Young's antics including the rumour, denied by both parties, that she once superglued Woods's penis to his leg helped create a narrative of wayward behaviour that eclipsed some of the treatment she suffered at the hands of her co-stars.
In , midway through shooting a supporting role in Oliver Stone's Wall Street, her co-star Charlie Sheen stuck a note on her back. Young had already infuriated Stone with her repeated insistence that she should have been cast as the film's leading lady instead of Daryl Hannah, and Sheen's dislike of her convinced Stone to take drastic measures.
Stone cut out Young's entire sub-plot from the script, sent her packing from the set and had her quietly dropped off at a New York bus station. Neither a helpless victim of Hollywood's uglier side, nor the sole orchestrator of her own demise, Young is just as difficult to fully defend as she is to wholly condemn.
And yet, she has become a Hollywood punchline in a career more notable for the parts she has lost than the parts she has played. She was initially cast as Tracy's girlfriend, Tess, who welcomes into their home a young orphan boy named The Kid. According to Star, Peter Biskind's Beatty biography, Beatty had second thoughts about Young's casting when she insulted a young boy auditioning to play the role.
Beatty claimed she wasn't "maternal" enough for the part, and replaced her with Glenne Headly. Young's version of what happened was a bit different. She told Movieline in that Beatty fired her after she rejected his advances: Yet during rehearsals for a scene that ended up not actually being filmed, Young was thrown from a horse.
With less than a week to go before shooting commenced, she was replaced by Kim Basinger. Burton reportedly hid under his desk until she went away. The stunt was widely mocked in industry circles, but Young doubled down.
A month later, she appeared on The Joan Rivers Show in full Catwoman get-up, lambasting Burton for refusing to see her and claimed she was the one true Catwoman. After Catwoman, Young's career nosedived. She would play an evil trans woman stripped to her underpants, her penis protruding from between her legs, in Ace Ventura: From until , she was nominated for seven different Razzie Awards, winning two for her dual roles as twins in the sub-Basic Instinct thriller A Kiss Before Dying.
A speculated comeback in never materialised. At the Academy Awards, she tried to crash the Vanity Fair Oscar party before being escorted out by security. She checked herself into rehab the next day. Now alcohol-free since , she has settled for starring in regional theatre productions on the outskirts of New York and popping up in horror indies.
Sure, there's still kookiness, but there were also moments where Young spoke eloquently about her career. I was a little bit of a whipping girl, and my wings were clipped by a few people that were in a position to do that. But what makes her so endlessly fascinating is the sheer anarchic drama of that downfall.
An admirably unapologetic acting rebel, Young has repeatedly proved herself to be a one-off, even if it cost her the kind of career she seemed so set up to have. Few would ever insult A-list directors while dressed in a costume-shop catsuit on daytime TV. But, then again, few will ever be Sean Young.