South magazine [82] HEALTH & WELLNESS 2019 - Page 60

Tom and Laura now call their custom- made Marathon Coach Prevost home, a gleaming luxury RV that they've already taken on multiple trips from coast to coast. They share this space with their two dogs, Lilly and Bagigio ("It means 'peanut' in Italian," says Tom). T here’s an unspoken, but nearly universally accepted, rule that pervades the culture in and around Hilton Head Island. It has to do with a certain resident, one who has quietly lived in the area since 1985 while amassing a legendary career in movies. The rule is if you see Tom Berenger while you’re out and about — and you will — just be cool. He’s just another resident. You know, your typical Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning local. But if you happen to break that rule, don’t worry. Despite the range of hard-boiled characters he’s played, from “Platoon’s” dangerously unhinged Sgt. Barnes to “Hatfield & McCoy’s” boozed-up wild man Jim Vance, Tom Berenger is disarmingly amiable. “It’s not bad,” he said of his occasional fan encounters. “You say hi, they usually want a photo.... It might be worse somewhere else, but I’ve been here a while. I’m not news, really.” Berenger found himself drawn the area after filming 1983’s “The Big Chill” in Beaufort, saying, “I kind of fell in love with Beaufort. I just thought it was magical. It was small and quiet.” Since then, he’s become a fixture of the Lowcountry. Even if he’s rarely in one place long enough to set down roots. “I was just up in Vancouver, (filming) Sniper 20 or whatever it is. I don’t know… it’s seven or eight,” he said with a self-deprecating laugh (for the record, it’s part 6). The working trip up to Vancouver was the latest in a chain of sabbaticals from the solitude of South Carolina that have taken him all over the world. And with each trip, another film gets added to a cinematic legacy that includes films like “Major League,” permanent home at a trailer park near Hilton Head Island. And on this point let us make one thing very clear: whatever mental image pops into your head when you hear the phrase “trailer park,” this is not that trailer park. Weaving the way back to their lot, you’d encounter a small neighborhood of six- and seven-figure RVs parked among lushly landscaped lots boasting exotic flora and permanent paver driveways leading to brick outdoor kitchens. The RV that Tom and Laura call home is suitably impressive for the neighborhood, a Marathon Coach Prevost boasting wide granite counters amid art deco-inspired cherry wood cabinetry. With the slide-outs extended, it could very well be a chic apartment in SoHo or a villa in the south of France. And the couple has definitely put some miles on their swanky mobile palace, taking it out twice on a nationwide loop that stretched from the deserts of Arizona to Bike Week in Sturgis, north into Upstate New York and South to Florida as they criss-cross the country visiting family. You might think living the RV lifestyle and eating on the road might make it hard to stay fit, "I KIND OF FELL IN LOVE WITH BEAUFORT. I JUST THOUGHT IT WAS MAGICAL." 58 SOUTH December | January 2020 “Eddie and the Cruisers,” “Inception,” “Sliver,” “Gettysburg,” and, as mentioned, a whole lot of “Sniper” films. “One year I had four (movies) back-to-back and it was insane.” Insane or not, it’s a nomadic life that Berenger and his wife Laura have embraced whole- heartedly with their latest move: selling off heir real estate and moving into an RV with a semi-