June 29, 1998 12:00 PM

Leo’s Role Call

Romeo pulls a Hamlet as Leonardo DiCaprio mulls his future

Focus

When it comes to making career decisions, Leonardo DiCaprio‘s motto seems to be: You jump, I may or may not jump, but my team of agents will definitely get back to you. Since Titanic and The Man in the Iron Mask, DiCaprio has completed one small part (in Woody Allen’s upcoming Celebrity) but has yet to decide what film to grace with his next star turn. It may be a jolt to his fans: Among the parts he’s considering are a serial killer (an adaptation of the sicko novel American Psycho, which Oliver Stone is interested in directing, according to Variety); a punk rocker/porno star who’s mistaken for a serial killer (the Spike Lee project Summer of Sam); and a traitor who leaks atomic secrets to the Soviets (Bombshell, a film to be produced by his father, George). Other potential parts are less shocking: a street magician in Trick Monkey and an orphan wrestling with his conscience about abortion in the film of John Irving’s The Cider House Rules. By contrast, Matt Damon, who hit stardom at virtually the same instant, has a supporting role in next month’s Saving Private Ryan, has already finished one follow-up, will soon finish another and has three more starring roles lined up, including one, All the Pretty Horses, that DiCaprio had been thinking about. The only production that Leo is starring in at the moment is Manhattan’s downtown club scene. “If he wants to party, he should,” says publicist Pat Kingsley, who represents several major stars. Adds Titanic producer Jon Landau: “I think he’s being very smart in taking his time. If [his next film] happens to be great material, and it’s just not the type of character that women around the world want him to play, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t play it.”

THE NAME’S THE SAME: Harrison Ford

It took a pepperoni pizza for retired dairy farmer Harrison Ford, 76, to realize “there was another Harrison Ford out there more important than me.” As he and his wife, LaVon, now 75, waited at a local restaurant to pick up a pie, the counterman shouted out, “Indiana Jones!” when it was ready. “I didn’t even make the connection,” Ford says, “until my wife said, ‘That’s you.’ ”

Talk about living in a galaxy far, far away. Ford—who married his high school sweetheart 57 years ago and who, after farming, spent 19 years as chief of the Pierce County, Wash., road-weed-control program—has never seen a Harrison Ford movie. “Isn’t that sad?” he says. “I’ll have to do that one of these days. I’m ashamed to say I don’t know anything about him.”

Not like that’s stopped Ford from trying to cash in on his accidental fame. “Sometimes I throw my credit card out and say, ‘I’m Harrison Ford. Can I get a discount?’ Of course it doesn’t do any good.”

Ford, who has two grown children and four grandkids, wants to buy some land adjacent to his property and turn it into Harrison Ford Park. Should that happen, he’d like to invite the star for the dedication, but whether he’ll know more about him by then is doubtful. “We rent movies when my grandchildren are visiting,” he says, “but I usually fall asleep.”

Popped Out

Last week’s news that Mariah Carey and New York Yankee Derek Jeter had whiffed on love seemed to come out of left field. Billy Brasfield, a Carey pal, says the duo liked dating, but “the entire time they were together was incredibly stressful” because of “ridiculous” press reports. And besides, “the fans would harass Derek from the stands” about Carey, Brasfield said. “In his job he has to be very, very focused.”

Katie Lives for Today

At the 1998 Avon Women of Enterprise Awards in Manhattan on June 11, the woman who spends much of her time before cameras asked that they be turned off. Then, without fanfare, Katie Couric spoke publicly for the first time about losing her husband, lawyer Jay Monahan, 42, to colon cancer last January. “The last year of my life is still too difficult to grasp and too painful to recount,” said Couric, who was honored with an award for outstanding achievement in journalism and selected to give the 15-minute keynote speech. “The painful lesson that I’ve learned is that life is tenuous and short. Don’t let the b.s. get in the way of what’s really important.” Couric, like many of the 1,300-plus guests at the luncheon honoring women who have succeeded in business, grew teary during her talk. “I admire her courage,” said honoree Lois Benjamin-Bohm, who took full control of a New York City moving company after her first husband and their three children died in a 1988 car accident. “You have to go on.”

HOT PROPERTY

DI’S PRE-PRINCESS DIGS

The three-bedroom London apartment Diana Spencer lived in during her Friends phase is yours for $738,000—a mere $625,000 more than her parents paid for it in 1979 as a coming-of-age present for the 18-year-old Diana. The self-described (on her bedroom door) “Chief Chick” charged each of her three female flatmates $40.68 a week in rent and giggled about her courtship with Prince Charles; she moved out the night before her engagement was announced in February 1981. “She sometimes came out to get the papers in her nightdress with a coat over the top,” remembers Peter Hines, who operates a nearby newsstand. The current owners plan to donate 10 percent of any amount they get above the asking price to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

Mary Green WANTS TO KNOW

With July 4 approaching, what would you like to be independent of?

Actor Samuel L. Jackson

“I’d like to get rid of all my bogeys so I can play scratch golf. I’m looking forward to that.”

Ellen DeGeneres

“Smoking. When I do try to quit, I’m not going to do the patch. I’ll just tape cigarettes to my arm instead.”

3rd Rock From the Sun’s John Lithgow

“The tyranny of the King of England and taxation without representation. I’m a little behind the times.”

Kubrick’s Odyssey

Nineteen months in the making—so far—Eyes Wide Shut, the Stanley Kubrick opus starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, is raising eyebrows.

The movie, which began filming in London in November 1996, was thought to have been wrapped last January. Since then, Kubrick (The Shining, Dr. Strangelove) has summoned Cruise for reshoots, Jennifer Jason Leigh has been replaced by actress Marie Richardson, and an entirely new role—to be played by Dharma & Greg’s Thomas Gibson—has been added.

Is all that time a good sign? For comparison, here’s a look at how some other long-in-gestation projects fared:

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

Watch This Station

Forget the latest late-night boîte; one of the trendiest addresses in New York City may be 321 East Fifth Street, home to the NYPD’s 9th Precinct station house. The building has long served as a perfect TV front—it was used in Kojak, and it’s home base for Sipowicz & Co. in NYPD Blue. Lately showbiz has been sending business its way. On June 1, Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland was brought in after allegedly buying heroin nearby. Ten days later, Pulp Fiction actor-director and amateur pugilist Quentin Tarantino, who had been accused of punching a woman, turned himself in for booking. “It’s a happening place,” says one veteran detective.

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