Come this spring, she'll be producing and directing "Flora Plum," a period film about a young waif (Claire Danes) who is adopted by a circus and befriended by a freak who falls for her while running her newfound showbiz career.
The movie is a return to the "freak" territory Foster roamed in so many of her films prior to this winter's regal "Anna and the King." Foster's pre-"Anna" "freaky" string of troubled characters and assorted weirdos dates back as far as 1972 and "Kansas City Bomber" (in which she played the daughter of a female roller-derby star).
The freaky Foster roster also includes: "Taxi Driver" (she's a kid hooker in a creepy nocturnal New York); "Nell" (she's a wolf-girl); "Carny" (she's working in another circus backdrop); the creepy "Little Girl Who Lives Down the Road;" the bizarre "The Hotel New Hampshire;" "Five Corners" (about some violent Bronx creeps); "Little Man Tate" (in which Foster raises a kid genius); and "Shadows and Fog" (she's a prostitute -- again). Even in the more-conventional "Contact," Foster's out there -- as an astronomer who connects with distant voices.
Of course, serious-minded actors and filmmakers such as Foster look for the unusual in the characters and stories they attach themselves to. But Foster may have another reason for leaving "Hannibal" and its grotesqueries behind. She's a new mom, and motherhood demands kinder, gentler, kid-friendly projects.
TAKE IT TO THE IMAX: Disney has just released "Fantasia 2000" on big IMAX screens around the world in 16 countries. We already know the screens can be as tall as eight stories -- so tall, in fact, that the whales that appear in "Fantasia"'s "Pines of Rome" segment appear actual size. But there are other "big" facts that fill IMAX's "tall" tale.
For instance: The total weight of just one "Fantasia 2000" IMAX print is more than 350 pounds. And the total length of this print could cover five miles. (And let's not forget that the IMAX film frame is a huge 15mm x 70mm).
More tidbits: The IMAX film is strong enough to pull a truck; the lamp of an IMAX projector burns as hot as the surface of the sun; and, oh yeah, "Fantasia 2000" is so good, we're hoping its box-office receipts live up to its "big" reputation.
NOT QUITE MODEL BEHAVIOR: Hollywood film and music mogul Ted Field ("Terminal Velocity," "Jumanji," "Runaway Bride,") of Interscope Communications brought his annual New Year's Eve bash east this past holiday, throwing a lavish party at New York's legendary disco haunt Studio 54.
Disco legend and occasional screen presence Grace Jones was hired to entertain the troops. (She reportedly was paid $30,000 for a half-hour's work, which included baring her chest for the revelers.) Those who attended said that the crowd was very young and stocked with models, several of whom did what so many of us do New Year's Eve -- drink and eat way too much.
More than a few of these unfortunates escaped upstairs to Studio's famous dark bleacher balconies to recover as only one can when too much food and drink must be unleashed. (We're praying for an impeccable clean-up since Studio is normally home to the Broadway smash "Cabaret.")
On a happier note, Harvey Keitel, Matt Dillon, "American Beauty" temptress Mena Suvari and singing sensation Enrique Iglesias held their food and liquor nicely, enabling them to party into the wee hours.
BUZZ CUTS ...
A Person Who Doesn't Need People: Barbra Streisand was the talk in Vegas over the weekend, most specifically in some corners of the New Year's Eve party at Las Vegas' Studio 54. The Vegas version of the celebrated club is located at the MGM Grand Hotel where Streisand performed two New Year's Eve shows.
The whispers concerned the comings and goings of Ms. Streisand earlier that day. Seems that while traveling down the private hallways in the inner sanctum of the Grand in her golf cart, Streisand's handlers ordered all others in the passageways to turn and face the walls so they wouldn't see her. One celeb who actually knows Babs was appalled but followed orders like everyone else. ...
Hot Tip: Attention indie film scouts everywhere: There's a feature that has fallen under the radar that will be making a premiere soon at a big upcoming film fest and Those Who Have Seen say its terrif. Titled "East of A" and shot in L.A. in spite of its N.Y. locale, the drama follows three people who share an East Village loft in the 1980s and '90s. Look for action on this one. ...
The French Are En-"titled": The Julia Roberts/Richard Gere smash "Runaway Bride," now playing all over France, has been retitled for the French in English, with "Just Married" replacing "Runaway Bride." A cinephile living in the heart of France explained that the reason for the English title has to do with the "chicness" surrounding English words in France. And "Just Married" is a little easier to understand than "Runaway Bride." ...
Cable Vindaloo Won't Do: The people of India may like their food red hot vindaloo-style, but they won't get their movies very spicy. The folks at HBO, who will be launching their pay-cable service in India in a few months, have found themselves saddled with an unexpected chore: having to sit through just about every film they'll be offering on their service.
The problem is that all hot spots must be removed. No-no's in India include the F-word, nudity and the "Pink Flamingos" brand of scatological naughtiness. (And, yes, that John Waters camp classic is in the HBO-India package. Just not in its "classic" form.)