August 21, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Permanent Midnight

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
performer
Elizabeth Hurley, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Owen Wilson
director
David Veloz
author
Jerry Stahl
genre
Drama

STARRING Ben STILLER, Elizabeth HURLEY, Janeane GAROFALO, Maria BELLO

DIRECTED BY David VELOZ

To play the hero of this harshly comic cautionary tale about a TV sitcom writer with a heroin habit, Stiller went straight to the source: He hung out with Jerry Stahl, the former Alf scribe (and former addict) who penned the autobiography upon which the film is loosely based. ”I gave him the full tour,” says Stahl. ”We saw dope fiends, crackheads, drug dealers — then we actually left the studio.” Originally, David Duchovny was cast as Stahl, but backed out to make Playing God (oops). Stiller lost 30 pounds for the performance (”I basically just stopped eating”) and aptly calls ”the tone of the film … different from anything I’ve done. I showed the script to Marilyn Manson, and he said it made him never want to do drugs again.” (Sept. 16)

THE LOWDOWN Stiller has done groundbreaking comedy on the big and small screen, but can he pull off a dramatic role? Early buzz says he can.

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