Hollywood news for the week of November 27, 1998 -- ''Saving Private Ryan'' spoof, ''Munchies'' rushed to production, and Mariah Carey's next movie role

Privates Screening
If imitation — with a dose of castration — is the sincerest form of flattery, Steven Spielberg should be thrilled. Saving Private Ryan has ”inspired” the short film Saving Ryan’s Privates, about a team of soldiers (led by former Studs host Mark DeCarlo) who are ordered to retrieve…well, you get the idea. ”Doing a spoof is the best way to get attention in Hollywood,” says the eight-minute comedy’s director, Craig Moss, who shot Privates over a weekend with a budget of $6,500 (contributed by Moss and writers Brent Goldberg and David Wagner). And like other comedic shorts The Spirit of Christmas, Swing Blade, and Troops, the Privates tape is making it into some of the more powerful VCRs in town — Moss, who is shopping around a comedy script, has already gotten praise from execs at Sony, New Line, and DreamWorks. ”The nicest thing I heard was that someone was going to see the original because of our little movie,” he says. ”It’s always nice to be able to help out Steven Spielberg.”

Starved for Attention
MGM has just dug its teeth into Munchies, a horror movie about a group of anorexic high school girls, known as the ”stick chicks,” who cope with their disorder by eating fellow classmates. The script, by David Kukoff and Matt Roshkow, is being rushed into production with an eye toward a premillennial release. ”This isn’t going to be an ABC Afterschool Special about anorexia,” says Roshkow. Of course, like any teen horror flick worth its weight in Biore strips, a sequel is already in the works. The title? ”Munchies 2: The Freshman Fifteen,” jokes Kukoff. ”Let’s just say, it’s not just the cafeteria food.”

Diva Development 101
Maybe while rehearsing for their Prince of Egypt duet, Whitney Houston gave Mariah Carey notes on becoming a movie star. According to insiders, Carey is considering taking a small role in The Bachelor, New Line’s romantic comedy starring Chris O’Donnell as a commitment-phobic guy with 24 hours to find a wife so he can inherit millions. She’d play one of O’Donnell’s exes with whom he tries to reconcile. Although New Line has no comment, a source close to the singer says that role is one option among ”various cameos.”