April 24, 2009 at 12:00 PM EDT

Explain this to me: In the span of a week, Stephen Dorff has landed a role playing a porn star in a comedy co-penned by Adam Sandler called Born to Be a Star, on top of the lead role in the next Sofia Coppolamovie, Somewhere. Quick: Can you name one Stephen Dorff movie? I couldn’t. I know his face, but had to do an IMDB check for a refresher on his career. He’s been steadily working since the ’80s, but his recent work seems to be comprised of the schlock-horror and direct-to-DVD variety. And, the forgettable Oliver Stone opus, World Trade Center.

I have to ask, in all fairness and with all due respect: What did he do to earn this career resurgence? Sure, an Adam Sandler-written comedy isn’t a huge get, but this one co-stars Christina Ricci (who’s great) and has a funny premise about a couple discovering their parents were famous porn stars. The Coppola movie, on the other hand, is kind of a big deal, if only because they are as rare as solar eclipses, or McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes. Her last film was 2006’s Marie Antoinette, which came and went, but she did propel Bill Murray to critical acclaim and awards glory for Lost in Translation. And Dorff’s role in Somewhere, where he’ll play an excess-loving actor with an 11-year-old daughter (Elle Fanning) who suddenly enters his life, sounds like a perfect platform to turn heads. But certainly you’ll agree, it’s odd to see him transition from Fear Dot Com and a Britney Spears video to these high-profile roles and a bit part in this summer’s Public Enemies. It’ll be interesting to see how this all goes down.

Are there any Stephen Dorff fans out there? Will his volatile, hard-edged persona be good for these movies? And do you think he’s headed for a Mickey Rourke-style comeback into the hearts of audiences and casting agents everywhere?

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