William Russell meets a young actress destined for screen stardom

SHE looks remarkably like the young Moira Shearer, heart-shaped face,

freckles, shoulder-length golden red hair. Tell her this and she thinks

I mean Norma Shearer, reacts with puzzlement, and says people have told

her she looks like the Hollywood Maureens, O'Hara and O'Sullivan, which

is true, but less so.

Fay Masterson is an actress, just 16, comes from Eltham in South

London, and her next film will be with Mel Gibson, the first the

superstar will direct. There is no way she is going to be another Sinner

from Pinner, the nickname attached to Jane March, the teenager who

starred in the French film, The Lover.

There will be no nudity for Fay Masterson. Not yet anyway. She is far

too clever to say never, because one day the right script, the right

part, might come along. But it will be when she is grown up, and

established, and by then she will not need to strip to further her

career. Nakedness leads only one way, and she is not going to be

typecast at 16.

''No way,'' she says firmly. ''It does not appeal to me. People are

going to be more interested in your body than your acting performance.

If I did it now I would do nothing else but those kinds of movies and I

don't want to become typecast. It is the variety of roles that keeps you


We clear up the Moira Shearer misunderstanding, and she says she loved

The Red Shoes. She just loves seeing films. Before she decided acting

was to be her profession she trained to be a dancer, which would seem to

make her perfect casting for The Shearer story when it comes to be made,

as one day it will. She gave up dance at 11 after getting a part in an

American children's film, The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking. Her

mother saw an advertisement for an open audition held in Mayfair, they

went, and Fay was the lucky one in 3000.

A role in Jake's Journey directed by Hal Ashby followed, as did

television parts.

She was then picked by John Avildson to play a young South Afrikaner,

Maria Marais, in his film, The Power of One, about an English boy

growing up during the last war who comes face to face with the

iniquities of apartheid. Maria's father is a leading Boer politician,

and, after falling in love with the boy, she has to unlearn the

prejudices of her upbringing.

The role is small but effective and Fay gets to play opposite Stephen

Dorff, one of the current crop of American leading men of tomorrow. That

role led the casting director at Warner Brothers to suggest her for a

part in Mel Gibson's Man Without a Face, due to start shooting later

this year in Maine.

Meantime, having promoted The Power of One, she is off to Los Angeles

to stay with a friend and see and be seen. She is going alone. Why is

her mother not going? Because she hasn't asked her.

''She knows I am sensible enough to make out what is right from

wrong,'' she said. ''I told Mum, 'I love you, but I am going.' I am

either incredibly stupid or incredibly brave, but it is dead easy to

handle LA as long as you have the right attitude and your head is

screwed on. My mother has always said, 'Right, whatever you want to do,

I support you. I will be happy as long as you are happy.' I want to do

this on my own and she has a life here.''

Then she adds. ''I must be off my trolley.'' But she is nothing of the


She is also actress enough already to be elusive about her age. I

spent the entire interview under the impression she was sweet 16. She is