Anita M. Busch
May 29, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT


Now that Leonardo DiCaprio has signed a $21 million deal to play a brutal misogynistic murderer in Lions Gate’s reported $40 million American Psycho — an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ much-loathed novel — does he risk killing a promising career and alienating the young female audience responsible for much of his success? ”I think it’s a smart career choice, because ultimately it’s just going to show his range,” says Cathy Sandrich, who cast The Man in the Iron Mask, in which DiCaprio starred. ”Because he has such depth of soul in his eyes, it will be very interesting to see how that mixes with this horrific character.” Says Courtney Olejack, a 23-year-old fan from Columbia, S.C.: ”Oh, please! He’s an actor. He’s supposed to pick challenging roles. It won’t bother me one bit. I’ll just be glad to see him [on screen] again.”


Pugilistic director Quentin Tarantino has been ordered to appear in L.A. on June 12 to be deposed in an assault-and-battery case filed by Natural Born Killers producer Don Murphy; Murphy is suing the filmmaker for $5 million after Tarantino punched him in the West Hollywood eatery Ago on Oct. 22. Tarantino’s attorneys were fined $450 after he failed to show up at a scheduled deposition in April; the new court order and a trial date set for Aug. 12 mean that the filmmaker-turned-stage actor will likely have to bow out of his starring role in Broadway’s Wait Until Dark for a few days. ”He hasn’t officially asked for time off for either June or August,” says a publicist for the play. The May 14 ruling from L.A. superior court judge Marlene Kristovich came nearly a week and a half after Tarantino’s temper flared again, this time in the Manhattan restaurant Three of Cups. According to Tarantino acquaintance Barron Claiborne, the filmmaker punched Claiborne’s Somalian girlfriend, Leila Mwangi, after arguing with the couple, who claim that Tarantino made generalizations about the physical attributes of blacks and Jews. ”His comments were offensive,” says Claiborne. ”He tried to sucker punch me…. I ducked, and he hit Leila.” Tarantino’s lawyers declined to comment on the incident, which police are investigating. Mwangi has retained a lawyer and may file a suit.


Greg Kinnear may jump from Meg Ryan’s boyfriend in You’ve Got Mail to Ashley Judd’s worst nightmare. This year’s Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actor is being offered the role of the villain in Paramount’s thriller Double Jeopardy, costarring Tommy Lee Jones…. On the heels of the high-profile release of He Got Game, Spike Lee is expected to end his current deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment and sign with Touchstone — which released his B-ball opus — and move his California office to the Walt Disney Studios lot.

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