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Anna goes Wild

Kiwi star loses her innocence to Hollywood

Cute Kiwi child actress and Oscar-winner Anna Paquin has joined the high-profile cast of the movie HurlyBurly, and in her first adult role takes on Hollywood sleazeballs, '80s drug dens and group sex!

In the role she hopes will make her the next Jodie Foster, teenage Anna goes from beguiling child to saucy teen, playing off some of Hollywood's most talented and outrageous players including Sean Penn, his fiesty wife Robin Wright, Meg Ryan, Kevin Spacey and Garry Shandling.

"After a peek at the script, it's pretty clear there is no turning back for Anna after this movie," says an informant working on the HurlyBurly set in California. "Anna will either show her stuff like Jodie Foster did in Taxi Driver or turn into Tatum O'Neal."

HurlyBurly is an adaption of the Broadway play by David Rabe about the underbelly of Hollywood. Set in the country house of powerful producer Eddie (Sean Penn), it is a sly and brutal comedy that lays Hollywood bare.

Anna plays Donna, a 15-year old drifter who is picked up hitchhiking by obnoxious Artie (Garry Shandling) and taken to Eddie's retreat.

"Donna discovers sex, does mountains of drugs and goes from sweet young thing to strung-out seductress after a wild night when she has sex with Artie, Eddie and yet another Hollywood pal (Kevin Specey) who shows up with more drugs at just the right moment," reveals the source.

Robin Wright plays Sean's strung-out with wife Darlene, and Meg Ryan is a pill-popping stripper.

"The movie takes us into the night-marish world of the fast-living, high-flying '80s. It is full of full-of-themselves Hollywood fast-trackers and self-serving, money-grubbing Hollywood piranhas. These people are spoiled rotten brats - cold, heartless, unfaithful creeps.

"Anna's part is the innocent outsider turned into Hollywood vampire, feeding on the blood and human wreckage of others. She is seduced and sucked into the system, and she becomes as jaded and cynical as her abusers." The script also features a lot of bad language and nudity.

"Donna gets to be naked with every guy in the house... and one of the ladies. She swears like a sailor towards the end, and there are drugs everywhere.

"There's a particular story Donna has to recount that's sure to shatter whatever image you had of that innocent young girl from The Piano. The movie is grotesque, yet strangely riveting."

Anna's other credits include the feel-good bird movie Fly Away Home and she has a small but vital cameo in Steven Spielberg's slaveship drama Amistad, which is already getting good press in Hollywood.

New Zealand Woman's Day, December 15, 1997