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Fairuza Balk / Actress

November 01, 1998|Steve Hochman

It's hard to find two more different movies this season than Adam Sandler's comic romp "The Waterboy" and director Tony Kaye's controversy-swamped neo-Nazi tale "American History X." But they have one thing in common: actress Fairuza Balk. Now 24, Balk, who first appeared as Dorothy in 1985's "Return to Oz," hopes these opposites will show her range of interests and talents.

TYPECAST: "As a teenager I played mostly introverted people. Then I went for more challenging roles that I could learn from. I learned a great deal but got pigeon-holed as the dark, scary, crazy girl."

'X' FILES: "The problem with 'American History X,' that's between the studio and Tony Kaye and Edward Norton. In a way it's a little upsetting. I really put a lot into this, a lot of time and research. But once you sign on and do the work, it's in the hand of the companies."

FUN AND GAMES: "On 'The Waterboy,' it's like they've got the formula down. Adam always works with people he's known for a long time. The set was very jokey, very up and funny and light. And I got to work with Kathy Bates, which was amazing, and Henry Winkler and Adam."

COMING ATTRACTIONS: "There's a film called 'Killer's Head' which I've been working in development for a couple of years, being done by the guy who did 'Love and a .45,' C.M. Talkington, who's a good friend of mine."

LABOR INTENSIVE: "This has really been an education, getting financing and finding the right actors. I already had respect for people who do this for a living, but it quadrupled."

HERO WORSHIP: "Meryl Streep was at the premiere of 'One True Thing' when I walked in and my knees got weak. I don't get star-struck often, but I was standing 10 feet from her, and I respect her so much that just being able to look at her in the flesh was wonderful. But I didn't get to meet her."

BREAKING STAR: "Emily Watson from 'Breaking the Waves,' that girl has got the gift, that magical talent. . . . She can change into whatever she wants and do it well and convincingly."

SCREAMED OUT: " 'The Craft' was sort of the start of the wave of teen suspense films, so I did my bit. A lot of these films are great for what they are. But I'm more interested in making a film that will really affect someone as opposed to giving them a great ride for an hour and a half."

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