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Darren Stein / Director

April 04, 1999|STEVE HOCHMAN

Director Darren Stein debuted in theaters recently with the dark teen tale "Jawbreaker," but it wasn't his first film. The 1996 "Sparkler" got Stein, now 27, his "Jawbreaker" deal with Columbia TriStar. The tale of naive L.A. boys (including Freddie Prinze Jr.) who find common ground with trailer trash (Park Overall, Veronica Cartwright) on a Las Vegas adventure arrives Friday.

FIRST THINGS SECOND: "In retrospect, I'm happy the films are being released out of order. For those who perceive 'Jawbreaker' as formulaic or too commercial, it's nice to follow with 'Sparkler.' If Hollywood thinks I can only do teen movies, now I can point to this."

DO THE FREDDIE: "Freddie hadn't done much when we put him in 'Sparkler.' The casting director said, 'We need to cast him. He's going to be a star.' I wouldn't cast anyone simply for that, but it's interesting how it was almost as if this town conspired to make him a star."

IN CONTROL: "I'm looking forward to the new Kubrick, but he was so notoriously hands-on with even the marketing that you know when the poster comes out, he probably wouldn't have even approved it. His posters are so much part of his films, from 'Clockwork Orange' to '2001' to 'Lolita.' "

READIN': "There's a script I read that's incredible--'American Beauty.' Kevin Spacey is starring in it, directed by Sam Mendes. Hard to describe. So much truth in it, connections in the screenplay that you don't often see in movies."

WRITIN': "I'm in the process of adapting a book myself--a crime novel. I read it when I was a junior at NYU. I'm interested in films like 'Blade Runner' and 'La Femme Nikita' and 'Seven' that create a world you immerse the audience in. This has it."

SOURCE MATERIAL: "Teen movies are pillaging the whole literary spectrum, from 'The Story of O' to 'Cruel Intentions.' 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' was based on a young-adults novel. Maybe they should try the Judy Blume oeuvre--'Freckles,' 'Super Fudge.' "

TRAINING GROUND: "I was a tour guide at Universal Studios after I graduated from Harvard-Westlake High School. It was fun--you get to be this little expert and you have access to the back lot. You can creep around on weekends and pretend you're someone."

PLOT TWIST: "I was fired for being too racy on the tour. I would stray from the Universal bible. You weren't allowed to point out the smog, couldn't mention Disney."

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