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Mixed race love on the big screen

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The only thing hotter than ozone-depleted temperatures last summer were the sparks ignited by Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever.

But thanks to the $32 million box office performance of Lee’s low-budget trailblazer, Hollywood is back in the fray — and this time it has raised the stakes. Several films featuring interracial romance are upcoming, including Orion’s Love Field, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Dennis Haysbert; Mistress, with Robert De Niro and Sheryl Lee Ralph; and one of this year’s Sundance Festival award winners, Zebrahead, with newcomers N’Bushe Wright and Michael Rapaport.

How far will Hollywood really go? Whoopi Goldberg and Harvey Keitel break up in the first three minutes of Touchstone’s Sister Act, coming in May. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. is still deciding whether or not Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner will go beyond their professional relationship in The Bodyguard.

Insiders like casting director Robi Reed (Roc, Malcolm X) speculate that Hollywood is interested more in milking a trend than breaking new ground. ”If they really wanted to take a risk,” she says, ”they’d make black-on-black love stories.”

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