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THE TRUTH ABOUT BEN : UNLEASHING CHARM ON AND OFF SCREEN, CHAPLIN PONDERS BIG-TIME FILM FAME.



Byline: Claudia Dreifus The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times

It was a blazing California morning and British actor Ben Chaplin Ben Chaplin (born 31 July 1970) is an English actor who first came to public attention for his performance as Matthew Malone in the first series of the sitcom Game On. , 26, was dissecting dis·sect  
tr.v. dis·sect·ed, dis·sect·ing, dis·sects
1. To cut apart or separate (tissue), especially for anatomical study.

2.
 the character he plays in his first American First American may refer to:
  • First American (comics), A superhero from America's Best Comics
  • First American, a division of the now-defunction Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
 film, ``The Truth About Cats and Dogs Cats and Dogs

A slang term referring to speculative stocks that have short or suspicious histories for sales, earnings, dividends, etc.

Notes:
In a bull market analysts will often mention that everything is going up, even the cats and dogs.
.''

``My guy can't read anything going on,'' Chaplin explained. ``He's not the brightest man on earth, but he is sensitive.''

In this comedy, which opened Friday, Chaplin plays a loopy Santa Monica Santa Monica (săn`tə mŏn`ĭkə), city (1990 pop. 86,905), Los Angeles co., S Calif., on Santa Monica Bay; inc. 1886. Tourism and retailing are important, and the city has motion-picture, biotechnology, and software industries.  photographer entranced with the voice of a radio veterinarian veterinarian /vet·er·i·nar·i·an/ (vet?er-i-nar´e-an) a person trained and authorized to practice veterinary medicine and surgery; a doctor of veterinary medicine.

vet·er·i·nar·i·an
n.
, played by Janeane Garofalo Janeane Garofalo (born September 28 1964) is an American stand-up comedian, actress, political activist, writer and former co-host on Air America Radio's The Majority Report. , who runs a call-in show about pets.

Through a series of wild plot turns, he finds himself involved with Uma Thurman masquerading as Garofalo - the latter being too insecure to meet him.

``The Truth About Cats and Dogs'' was written as a modern gender-inversion on Edmond Rostand's ``Cyrano de Bergerac Cy·ra·no de Ber·ge·rac   , Savinien de 1619-1655.

French satirist and duelist whose works include the spirited drama The Pedant Imitated (1654).
,'' with Garofalo substituting for the ego-deficient Cyrano, Thurman replacing the dim-but-gorgeous Christian and Chaplin as the Roxanne love object.

Think: Cyrano plays ``The Dating Game'' in contemporary California. ``At the end of the day,'' revealed Chaplin, who is not related to the silent screen star, ``my character chooses the right person.''

In Hollywood, there is a suspicion that Chaplin may be the next Englishman to begin popping up in American films, a new Hugh Grant. Chaplin vigorously disputes that notion.

``People are only saying that because I have an English accent and play in romantic comedies,'' he maintained with bland reserve. He seemed committed to saying nothing undiplomatic or unkind.

``I've worked with Hugh, and he's a lot more clever, more eloquent, more educated than I. Actually, I don't think anyone can be `the new Hugh Grant.' He's one of the funniest people on the face of the earth.''

The old Ben Chaplin grew up middle-class (``My mum's a teacher, my father is a businessman'') in Windsor, England There are three places called Windsor in England:
  • Windsor, Berkshire, the primary use of the name and home to Windsor Castle
  • Windsor, Cornwall
  • Windsor, Lincolnshire
See also
  • Windsor (disambiguation)
 (``where the royal family lives,'' he said). At age 17, he enrolled in the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Acting, he claims, was something he was always driven to do.

``I was the youngest of four; perhaps that's it,'' he said. ``The youngest wants to show off. You get adored, and you get some limelight.''

After finishing his training, Chaplin moved full time to London, where he joined a repertory theater company. Between work as a statistician for the London Transport Authority and clerical jobs, he began landing roles in BBC BBC
 in full British Broadcasting Corp.

Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927.
 dramas and British movies. James Ivory and Ismail Merchant cast him as a servant in ``The Remains of the Day.''

In ``Feast of July,'' a Merchant-Ivory period film from last year that was directed by Christopher Menaul, he played the romantic lead, a young man who incidentally spends a great deal of time with pigeons. Last year as well, on the British stage, he starred as Tom in a West End revival of Tennessee Williams' ``Glass Menagerie.''

``The Truth About Cats and Dogs'' came to Chaplin after a casting agent recommended him to the producer Cari-Esta Albert. ``We saw a lot of terrific people, but we immediately liked him,'' Albert said. ``He has wonderful eyes, and you see his whole soul come across on the screen. He's incredibly sincere and winning.''

Chaplin described making the movie as tremendous fun and said that Garofalo, the comic who has the ugly duckling role in the film, actually appears ``quite beautiful'' on screen. Garofalo responds that she ``actually looked forward to going to work, smoking cigarettes and shooting the breeze with Ben.''

``He was a most affable fellow,'' she added. ``Everyone in the makeup department had a crush on him.''

The oddest moment in filming came, Chaplin says, when he had to shoot a scene with Hank, a Great Dane Great Dane, breed of very large, powerful working dog developed in Europe more than 400 years ago. It may stand as high as 36 in. (91.4 cm) at the shoulder and weigh up to 150 lb (68.1 kg).  outfitted in roller skates.

``It was quite strange to watch,'' he said. ``The dog had no control about where he was going, but he liked it. He didn't mind sailing straight across the room into couches.''

Chaplin's own life trajectory these days is as wobbly now as Hank's. Before he made this movie, he lived in London with a 16-year-old cat and a girlfriend whose name he won't divulge.

Since the film, he and the girlfriend have rented digs in Venice and are enjoying California beach life; they go to screenings and Lakers games.

As he bides his time and takes meetings with American producers, he nonetheless frets about what big-time movie fame might mean.

``I just wanted to be a good actor,'' he said. ``A certain amount of fame goes with that territory, but it's nothing you want as a concept. It seems like an unhealthy thing.''

CAPTION(S):

Photo

Photo: Of Ben Chaplin, who co-stars with Janeane Garofalo i n ``The Truth About Cats and Dogs,'' the actress says, ``He was a most affable fellow. Everyone in the makeup department had a crush on him.''
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:L.A. LIFE
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 30, 1996
Words:795
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