Hilary Duff and Ellen Burstyn join the cast of “Greta”

Some things simply do not seem to go together. Take, for instance, the idea of a jelly and Brie sandwich. It makes your senses do a double take. That’s what my mind did when I read the news release that Hilary Duff and Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn are currently filming a movie together. Lizzie Maguire and six-time Oscar-nominated Ellen Burstyn? OK, maybe a jelly and Brie sandwich is good eats; what do I know?!

The movie, Greta, is directed by music video pro Nancy Bardawil. Bardawil has directed videos for The Goo Goo Dolls, Dixie Chicks and Hole, so at least there is a chance that the movie will be hip and quick and feature a decent soundtrack. After reading about the premise though, I hope that the movie is not a reGretable one. Duff plays the title role, a waitress who dates an ambitious young African-American man (Evan Ross) with whom she works. She discovers that he has a criminal past and now must defend her relationship with her grandparents, one of whom is played by Burstyn. Hmm … even in 2007, interracial love and relationships are still not very common in movies, but they’re certainly not groundbreaking either. And then adding a criminal past to the African-American male character makes the premise read a little like a stereotype, so here’s hoping it’s well written, well acted, has good music and nice cinematography, and warms the heart!

It’s being reported that the film is fairly low budget, but hey, sometimes good things come in really small packages, right? The casting of the 20-year-old Duff and Evan Ross (Diana Ross’ 19-year-old son) has a cuteness to it that may work well on screen. They both have an innocent appeal and I’m hoping t this movie can capture that more light-hearted tone that may endear them both to the audience. But Ellen Burstyn?

I often wonder what motivates established actors and actresses to sign on to certain projects. And yes, I was immediately intrigued as to what the motivation may be for the 74-year-old acting icon Burstyn to work with a first-time screenwriter, Michael Gilvary, and a first-time feature director, Bardawil, on a low-budget film featuring such young and inexperienced movie actors. Well, Burstyn discussed her motivations for selecting this film in an interview she gave last month. She claimed she’s attracted to the role because it allows her to address, on screen, the societal taboo of the sexual senior. She feels it’s a stereotype that needs to be dispelled. Well … uh, OK,then. Right on. I guess she’s saying that no, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, but this is where she lays her mack down? And here I was thinking that the societal taboo was still the interracial dating thing, but Ellen has bigger taboo fish to fry.

I wish Hilary Duff much success. Maybe this is just the type of vehicle to move her pass her Lizzie Maguire image and help transition her to more adult roles. As a young woman who has grown up in the celebrity spotlight, she seems to have somehow avoided the banana peel pitfalls that are slipping and tripping up her peers as of late. Plus, I loved her audition tape to be a video blogger for AfterEllen.com. OK, fine, that’s not what her video to AfterEllen.com was about. Hey, I have an idea … maybe she’d want to recap Gossip Girl! All that teenage angst and ex-boyfriend drama bursting off the small screen. I just knew the Lohan-Duff teenage feud over an ex-boyfriend would come in handy for her down the line! Oh, right, she’s busy making movies and albums now. Anyway, Greta is currently filming in New Jersey. Look for the film next year.

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