Chris Nashawaty
July 18, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

SLASHER FLICK If you’re wondering why Face/Off has that odd slash in the title, you’re not the first. Before the movie began shooting, Paramount execs demanded that screenwriters Mike Werb and Michael Colleary justify the punctuation. Werb explained to them that the mark was ”a symbolic dagger… I even discussed that these men were twins in the uterus separated by a slicing membrane. Then, after 20 minutes, I simply said, ‘Without the slash, people are going to think the movie’s about hockey.’ I don’t know what argument won them over.” With Face/Off sitting pretty at the box office, Werb and Colleary are using two slashes for their current project for Universal, Fast//Track, about terrorism on a train. Says Werb, ”We’ve opened up the floodgates for weird title punctuation.”

SPICE GIRL Ray-Ban sunglasses are getting good play in Men in Black, but stay tuned for the Jennifer Aniston comedy Picture Perfect, opening Aug. 1, in which Gulden’s mustard gets more than a product placement — it’s a major plot point. Aniston’s character, a lovelorn advertising wunderkind, takes drastic steps in order to work on her firm’s Gulden’s account. ”I was worried because there’s a Gulden’s guy in the movie who’s a tremendous a–hole, but [the company] loved it,” says director and screenwriter Glenn Gordon Caron (Moonlighting). ”It’s great exposure,” says Ellen Ciuzio, a spokesperson for the mustard’s parent company, International Home Foods. ”And of course, it would be nice if people went out and bought some mustard after seeing the movie.”

SMOKE SCREEN It’s official: Gwyneth Paltrow and Sean Connery will join Ed Norton in the movie version of John Grisham’s 1996 bestseller The Runaway Jury, about a watershed tobacco trial. Norton, in The People vs. Larry Flynt mode, stars as a sharp young legal whiz; in Emma mode, Paltrow plays his luminous but wily coconspirator. Connery’s part, however, is something different for the actor. This time, he’s the villain, a ruthless powerbroker. ”He’s basically Dick Morris,” says director Joel Schumacher, ”except he doesn’t have to pay for sex.”

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