Salvatore Stabile's rags-to-riches story was not quite what he initially foisted onto journalists, claiming at times to have had an older brother who died of a drug overdose, bragging at other times of mob connections or confessing to a string of misdemeanor arrests and rotation through drug rehab at 14. Far from leaving home at 17 because his parents threw him out, Stabile hailed from a solid working-class family, but the Cinderella facts remained equally fantastic in the light of the more mundane truth. "Gravesend" (1997), the movie he began shooting at age 19, debuted at the 1996 Seattle Film Festival, and within months Bob Bookman of the Creative Artists Agency had signed him, Oliver Stone had agreed to take a presentation credit on the film and Steven Spielberg had given him a two-picture deal. Applauded for his "edgy sense of form" and "surprisingly original feel for film language," Stabile had sold much of mainstream Hollywood on his talent, yet the question remains: Can Sal Stabile go the distance like a Spielberg or a Stone? Initial critical reaction to "Gravesend" was mixed to negative.