Just four months after getting the boot from The View, Debbie Matenopoulos is staging a comeback. This month she begins shooting the indie flicks Endsville (a dark comedy in which she’ll play a weathergirl) and Home Sweet Hoboken (a romantic comedy in which she’ll play an anchorwoman). Even though her acting resume consists of only a cameo in Diana Ross/Brandy TV movie Double Platinum, Matenopoulos, 24, doesn’t sound too worried. ”At this point I was like, ‘I don’t care, I want to do it, I need the experience.’ I’d rather work in indie film than try to do some blockbuster thing and fall flat on my face.”
— Jeff Gordinier
Here’s the next wave in prepackaged cinema: movie stars you’ve never heard of. Banking on Kevin Williamson’s Midas touch with talent, evident in Scream and Dawson’s Creek, Miramax has already lined up deals with every major cast member in his new TV-series pilot, Wasteland — even though the show wouldn’t air until the fall. Most of the leads — Brad Rowe, Dan Montgomery, Marisa Coughlan, Sasha Alexander, and Eddie Mills — may be unknown now, but, says Miramax cochairman Bob Weinstein, ”If the synergy works, we’d be crazy not to try to sign them for our future movies.”
— Jeff Gordinier (Additional reporting by Dave Karger and Jessica Shaw)
Yoni Berkovits, 22, was a secretary at a New York-based consulting firm in March when he saw a message posted on the Web from L.A.-based managers Chris Bender and J.C. Spink looking for new screenwriters. Berkovits called the pair, and then e-mailed his spec script, Good God. Three weeks later, Bender-Spink got him low six figures from Fox 2000. Now the script — about a fast talker from Harlem who cons his way into heaven — is being considered for either Eddie Murphy or Chris Tucker. ”I was doing a job a monkey could have done, so I wrote a lot at work,” says Berkovits. ”I don’t even care if this movie gets made. I just want Chris Tucker to call me.” Call? What’s wrong with e-mail?