By Chuck Arnold
February 22, 1999 12:00 PM

Little girl lost

Audiences who remember Anna Paquin as Holly Hunter’s pint-size daughter in The Piano may be surprised to see her as a teenage runaway in the screen adaptation of Hurlyburly. “People don’t realize I’ve kept growing,” says Paquin, 16, who won the 1993 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her virtuoso Piano performance. “For them it’s a jump from The Piano. But I’ve had all the in-between stages—the 13-year-old, the 14-year-old, the 15-year-old.” Paquin appears to be reversing the aging process in her next film, A Walk on the Moon, due April 2. “I made it a couple years ago, before Hurlyburly, so I look a lot younger,” she says. “I have my first kiss.” And what about in real life? “I’m not saying when the first kiss was,” Paquin says coyly. “But I’m not sweet 16 and never been kissed.”

Hitting the (thunder) road

Although Max Weinberg has a different boss these days as the band leader on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien, he will be leaving the show on Feb. 26 to reunite with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band as the group prepares for their summer tour. So how did the drummer, who will return to Late Night in the fall, swing the time off? “It was really Conan’s call,” says Weinberg, 47, who has kept up the Night-ly grind since 1993. “But we have everything covered here, with my band [the Max Weinberg Seven]. And I’ll be doing some comedy bits from the road.” Weinberg admits he’s looking forward to reliving his glory days. “My drumming is the best I’ve ever drummed,” he says. “I’m definitely ready to rock!”

Family planning

“I’m done with stupid movies—I want to be taken seriously again,” says Melanie Griffith, 41, who hopes to revive her career with starring roles in the current drama Another Day in Paradise and in the first movie ever directed by husband Antonio Banderas, Crazy in Alabama, due this spring. “It was fantastic,” says Griffith of working with hubby. “We didn’t fight for one minute. He’s a really good director, and I’ve worked with a lot of the good directors. He was so into it. I would say Antonio is right up there with Jonathan Demme and Mike Nichols.” (How’s that for a Best Supporting Wife candidate?) Next up for the couple could be another collaboration. “Antonio and I want to have another baby by the year 2000—it’s our latest project,” reports Griffith, who already has one child, daughter Stella, 2, with Banderas and two others (Alexander, 13, with ex-husband Steven Bauer, and Dakota, 9, with ex-husband Don Johnson). “And we’re working all the time to meet our goal for the millennium.”

Auto motive

Also on the baby track, Mel Gibson and his wife of 19 years, Robyn, are expecting their seventh (yes, seventh) in April. So what does the Aussie actor have to say about child-rearing? “I don’t spoil ’em,” says Gibson, 43, who stars in the new suspense thriller Payback. “They get what they need, but if they want a few extra bucks, they have to work for it: ‘Hey, go wash my car. Make it real shiny.’ It’s not a bad thing to instill at an early age.” Speaking of wheels, Hannah, 18, twins Edward and Christian, 16, William, 14, Louis, 11, and Milo, 9, shouldn’t be expecting any cars of their own as birthday presents. “We wouldn’t do that,” says Gibson. “That way lies a car accident. Or you’ll become a grandfather before you’re supposed to.”