Former Juneau student part of 'Hannibal' menu

Posted: Sunday, February 11, 2001

Duff Mitchell is not in the least surprised that a four-eyed kid he knew from Capitol School is now the toast of Hollywood, starring in the newly released gourmet cannibalism flick, "Hannibal."

"Hey, a lot of famous people travel through Juneau," Mitchell said Friday.

In an interview for a story appearing today in the London Sunday Mirror, Julianne Moore told British journalist Annette Witheridge that she had a crush on Mitchell when they were in grade five at Capitol, 1971-72.

"She's a very beautiful woman now. I'm flattered that she had these things to say about me," Mitchell said, "but I really don't want this kind of publicity."

"I don't usually go to this kind of movie; I like comedies," Mitchell said, "but I guess I have to go see this one."

Mitchell is the chief operating officer of Kake Tribal Corp., and had a hand in developing fish products such as Alaska Bits and a new salmon pizza topping.

"I think Julie was here for a year or a year and a half," Mitchell said. "Her publicist told me her family moved 23 times (during her childhood). That would be pretty hard on anybody."

"All I remember is hanging around with her on the playground. We were grade-school chums. You call it 'boyfriend and girlfriend,' and that's what it was; nothing more and nothing less."

Other classmates Mitchell recalled included Johanna Boucher Keith and Talia Miller. Dave Jenness was their fifth-grade teacher. Dave Dillman was the principal at Capitol, which has since closed and is now used by the Alaska Legislature. Jenness is teaching in New Mexico.

Julianne Moore, then known as Julianne Smith, described herself as an average kid on the Mr. Showbiz Celebrities' Web site: "In grade school, I was a complete geek. You know, there's always the kid who's too short, the kid who wears glasses, the kid who's not athletic. Well, I was all three."

Mitchell has a different impression. "She was real little but she was tough. She wasn't the kind of person who was going to break on you. She got in there and played all the sports even though she didn't have the build for them. I respected her tough inner spirit for doing that," he said.

Moore earned a bachelor's degree in acting from Boston University and then appeared in a number of late-1980s off-Broadway plays. She branched out into television with the daytime soap "Edge of Night," which led to a three-year stint (1985 to 1988) playing half-sisters Frannie and Sabrina on "As the World Turns." For her dual role, she earned an Outstanding Ingenue Emmy in 1988.

In 1993, her career picked up significantly when she appeared fleetingly opposite Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones in "The Fugitive." She appeared as Hugh Grant's pregnant girlfriend in the comedy "Nine Months" and as the electronics security expert targeted by Antonio Banderas in "Assassins."

Because her new film, "Hannibal," the long-awaited sequel to "Silence of the Lambs," was just released, Moore, 40, is a hot property. Many film buffs were skeptical anyone could pick up the role of Clarice Starling where Jodie Foster left off 10 years ago, but her co-star, Anthony Hopkins, had good things to say about Moore at the premiere. The role put her on the covers of Vanity Fair, Premiere and Jane this month.

A representative of her publicist, Stephen Huvane of Beverly Hills, said Moore would not be available for interviews for the next two months. She is in Florida working on "The Hours," in which she co-stars with Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at achandonnet@juneau

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