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FINALLY, DEBRA WINGER GETS TO PLAY MAMA

By GUY FLATLEY

In 1983, director James Brooks skillfully explored the complicated relationship between an impetuous, disorderly rebel and her sweet, impeccably behaved daughter. Both Shirley MacLaine and Debra Winger received Academy Award nominations for Best Actress of 1983, and mama MacLaine took home the Oscar. Now, 25 years later, esteemed director Jonathan Demme is focusing on another intriguing mother-daughter combo in “Dancing With Shiva.” This time, it’s Debra Winger who plays mom, a divorcee who is not at all happy when her estranged daughter, a neurotic ex-model recently released from rehab, decides to come home for her sister’s wedding.

Perhaps Winger, whose career could stand a little rehabilitation, will nab an Oscar as Best Actress of 2008--though it’s possible that the winner could be Anne Hathaway (shown at right), who no doubt welcomes the chance to soil her squeaky clean image in the role of Winger’s wayward sprout. And speaking of daughters, “Shiva’s” screenwriter is Jenny Lumet, whose father is 83-year-old director Sidney Lumet. Maybe Demme will make this a truly family affair by giving Lumet, a former child actor, a cameo in his grown-up little girl's flick.

 

 

 

DANCING WITH SHIVA: Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Bill Irwin, Rosemarie DeWitt, Anna Deavere Smith, Dorian Missick, Tamyra Gray, Daphne Rubin-Vega (Directed by Jonathan Demme; Written by Jenny Lumet; Sony Pictures Classics) Opening date to be announced