August 21, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

SWEET HEREAFTER Casper, call your agent. Thanks to the success of the Nic CageMeg Ryan weeper City of Angels, tales of the afterlife have become the topic du jour in Hollywood. Among the metaphysical movies ready to haunt the multiplex: What Dreams May Come, which will take Robin Williams through heaven and hell in search of his deceased wife (see story on page 38); Jack Frost, starring Michael Keaton as a reincarnated snowman (see page 62); and Love Jenny, likely to feature Will Smith as a widower whose wife comes back in the body of Jada Pinkett Smith. In addition, Something Wicked, about a ruthless female executive who gets a second chance at life, has Jennifer Aniston attached to star, and Julia Roberts is seriously considering Manhattan Ghost Story, a supernatural romance. What’s with all the soul mating? Dreams director Vincent Ward calls it ”one of those end-of-the-century things. There’s a hunger out there for a fresh view of looking at the afterlife.” But Ghost Story screenwriter Ronald Bass thinks it’s just a new look at an old-fashioned sentiment. ”Audiences are interested in a world that says love is stronger than death,” he says. ”That stuff is irresistible.” Not to mention Michael Keaton as a snowman.

ASK ROSEANNE? With three failed marriages and a tumultuous reputation, Roseanne might be the last person you’d expect to succeed Ann Landers. Nevertheless, the wisecracking comedian, whose talk show debuts this fall, was tapped by Marie Claire to pen an advice column for its September issue as part of a roving-celebrity guest spot. ”She’s never held back about talking about her own life,” deputy editor Michele Lavery says of the onetime domestic goddess. ”She’s famous for not mincing her words.” (Indeed. Roseanne’s directive to a reader who complained that her boyfriend said she’d put on weight: ”Liposuction is awesome. Get it done, then get a new boyfriend.”) More than that, she also has experience: Fans may recall the ”Dear Rosey” column the star once penned for the Eldon (Iowa) Beacon-Forum, the newspaper she owned with ex Tom Arnold. Now, if only she would take her own advice.

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