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MOVIES | WHATEVER.

Neal Moritz / Producer

October 04, 1998|Steve Hochman

Neal Moritz's grandfather co-founded and his father later ran American International Pictures, the teen-flick factory that was the unlikely training ground for such talents as Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese. As producer of "Urban Legend" and the upcoming "Cruel Intentions" and "I Still Know What You Did Last Summer," Moritz, 39, is cultivating new talent himself at his Original Film company.

NEW GENERATION: "Lucky for me I've been working with the top young actors today--Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jared Leto, Brandy, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Jackson, Ryan Phillippe. These are up-and-coming young actors who I feel will have long careers."

LEVEL-HEADED: "I really feel all these kids are not doing it because of fame and fortune, but because they like acting and making movies. I'm sure the other happens, but with the actors and young directors I've worked with it's more about what they're doing than what they're becoming."

NICE KIDS: "What's amazing about working with them is they thank you at the end of the day. When you're working with huge stars, you're begging them to do stuff--begging them. And you're paying them millions of dollars to do it."

TEEN SCENE: "Because there's going to be a lot of the same teen material coming now, if you're going to do one, you have to come up with something fresh and new. That's why we did 'Cruel Intentions,' sort of 'Dangerous Liaisons' in the New York prep world, which spins the genre on its head."

IDOL CHATTER: "Vincent Price and Tom Laughlin, who was 'Billy Jack,' those are the two guys I really remember being impressed with from AIP. And Frankie Avalon, he and Annette [Funicello] made all those beach movies. People used to dismiss [AIP], but now they look back with fond memories."

SCRIPT WATCH: " 'Asylum,' which I'm making at DreamWorks, is a great script by Craig Rosenberg. And 'Confessions of a Dirty Mind,' Chuck Barris' story, is fantastic, though I'm not involved with that. One I have is 'The North Men,' a Viking epic I'd love to make, by Randy McCormick, who wrote 'Speed 2' and is writing 'The First Murder in Space' for me."

FUTURE STARS: "Selma Blair who's in 'Cruel Intentions' and stars in a new WB show, 'Zoe Bean,' is fantastic. And Orlando Jones of 'New Jersey Turnpike,' who I haven't worked with, is a star of the future. Another is Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn's daughter, who I've auditioned a number of times and would love to work with."

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