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Mary-Kate and Ashley Ditch 'Twins'

04/09/2004 4:07PM

One day after news circulated that media moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen no longer wish be referred to collectively as "The Olsen Twins," the Wall Street Journal assesses the chances of the two 17-year-olds of finding a new audience with their $40 million movie "New York Minute," to be released May 7.

The challenge for the Olsen women is not only in finding a group of people eager to observe their antics, but to preserve their core group of pre-teen fans.

After a test screening of the movie, some snips were made because one mother reportedly complained (about what is not revealed), the Journal reports.

"The film is still safe," says Robert Thorne, the chief executive of the Olsens's Dualstar production and marketing company. "There's no nudity or vulgarity."

So, will older teens be turned on to such a squeaky clean vehicle? That remains to be seen.

In addition to the casting of Jack Osbourne and Eugene ("American Pie") Levy in the movie, there also are supposedly edgy scenes in which a guy falls off his bike and lands on top of Ashley, and another in which Ashley suggests (innocently) removing her skirt after it gets caught in the spokes of the guy's bicycle wheel.

Historically, the Journal also reports, child actors -- as in Macaulay Culkin and Gary Coleman -- have trouble making the leap into more mature roles, despite the rare successes of such longtime stars as Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney and Jodie Foster. As for Ron Howard, he went from acting to directing, where he found even greater success than he did as a child star.

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