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Hollywood's Weight Concerns

A number of films coming soon feature heavier stars than usual

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For celebrities, thin may be in (look at Oprah or Ricki Lake), but in Hollywood, fat is where it’s at. Among the more notable trends in moviemaking these days are films featuring characters who are calorically challenged, yet triumphant. Among those headed for the screen:

*The Nutty Professor Eddie Murphy will star in Universal’s remake of Jerry Lewis’ 1963 classic Jekyll-and-Hyde story — but this one has a a twist: ”This movie is about obesity,” says Murphy, whose character starts out at 400 pounds.

*Heavyweights Expected in the fall from Disney, director Steven Brill’s movie focuses on an 11-year-old boy’s adventures at a camp for overweight kids. ”I got the idea from the back of The New York Times Magazine,” says Brill. Stars include Ben Stiller.

*Muriel’s Wedding An Australian import about a plump girl who is ”obsessed with ABBA and getting married,” says a Miramax spokeswoman. It’s expected to be released this summer.

*Body Language A screenplay by former journalist Andrea King, Language is a Cyrano story. ”Hopefully, I can raise the awareness quotient and still be funny and poignant,” says King, who is reworking the script for Amblin Entertainment. At least one weight-loss guru sees this as a positive trend. Such movies, says Richard Simmons, might ”make the thin population a little more compassionate.”

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