THEY'RE no angels. Kevin Dillon and Malcolm Danare, the two young stars of "Heaven Help Us," confessed to raising a little hell in Georgetown when they were in town recently.
"Heaven" (formerly titled "Catholic Boys") is a sort of parochial school "Porky's" that captures the chalk-dust feel of a Brooklyn Catholic high school with "Diner's" sensitivity to period.
Dillon (yes, he's teen idol Matt's younger brother) does a fine comic job in his movie debut as Rooney, the school bully and self-styled stud. The role is "50 percent me, 50 percent made up," says Dillon, who remembers getting into trouble with teachers not so long ago, being something of a tough guy himself.
Danare (pronounced Day-nar) who plays Caesar, the despised school egghead, has been seen in "Flashdance" and "The Lords of Discipline."
Though they play natural enemies on-screen, this unlikely duo hit it off immediately on the set, and they're now traveling the U.S. together to promote the movie.
Dillon, 19, lives in Westchester, New York, with his parents, and says the inevitable questions about brother Matt "don't really bug me, as long as they don't introduce me as 'Matt Dillon's little brother.' "
Though Dillon is not exactly a Method actor, he says he did draw on his early memories of Catholic school: the discipline, school uniforms -- and the nuns. A relative newcomer to acting, he's had a few stage roles in high-school productions, his favorite being a biker-style Petrucchio. The family connection netted Dillon his movie break: An agent spotted him at a screening of brother Matt's movie "Tex" and asked if he wanted to give acting a try. "I put the guy's card in my pocket and forgot about it," Dillon shrugs. "So it went through the wash and I thought, 'Oh well, I blew my big chance.' " But "don't call us, we'll call you" obviously has a different meaning if your big brother's a star.
Danare, 22, was born in London but moved to Los Angeles at an early age. His big break came in a more unusual way. "My dad stopped for this guy whose car had broken down," Danare says. "He asked my father to take him to Paramount -- he was auditioning a movie. So my father says, 'My son's an actor!' " True to Hollywood instant-star formula, the mysterious passenger turned out to be director Francis Roddam, the movie was "The Lords of Discipline," and Danare, whose prior acting experience consisted of a high-school drama class, was cast on sight.
Aside from cracking each other up on the set, swapping roles as an acting exercise and sharing secrets, both actors agree that the best part of the movie was the chance to work with the ensemble cast of bright young actors, including Patrick Dempsey, recently at the National Theater in "Brighton Beach Memoirs," and Washington's own Yeardley Smith, who plays the sweetest of the Virgin Martyr schoolgirls.
With the announcement of Academy Award nominations, movie buffs are busily catching up on the nominated films they've missed. You may have a hard time finding two categories of films -- short film documentaries and animated films. But the Hirshhorn Museum will lend a hand on February 28 and March 1, screening those hard-to-see entries as part of its free film series. Along with the nominees, they'll screen some also- rans, too. The films will be shown both nights at 8 in the Hirshhorn Museum Auditorium. For information, call 357-1618. Opera fans love the movies, too, especially when what's on the screen is the filmed version of a favorite opera. Here's an opportunity to catch three opera films, presented by the Reston Community Center and the Northern Virginia Community College (Loudoun campus). The series opens on February 24 in the community center's theater with Franco Zeffirelli's La Traviata, starring Teresa Stratas and Placido Domingo. On March 2 it's Don Giovanni and, on March 18, The Magic Flute, directed by Ingmar Bergman. The films are free but you must obtain tickets at either the Reston Community Center, 2310 Colts Neck Road, or Room 216 on NOVA's Loudoun campus no earlier than 10 days before the film. There's a limit of four tickets per person. For information, call 476- 4500 or 450-2571.