November 18, 1996


Edward Burns recently found himself backstage after a Bruce Springsteen concert schmoozing with the Boss about John Ford's classic film “The Grapes of Wrath”. "Eighteen months ago I wouldn't have been sitting there," says Burns, 28. "I would have been asking for his autograph." The status bump comes from his sudden fame as screenwriter, actor, director and producer or ‑as the buzz in Hollywood has it‑ an Irish‑Catholic Woody Allen. He's already the stuff of legend. Burn's first film, The Brothers McMullen, won the 1995 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize. Made for $25,000 (Burns saved money by casting himself and his girlfriend of eight years, Maxine Bahns, in major roles and having his mother cook for the crew), Brothers took in $10 million at the box office, the kind of return on investment  makes moguls switch on the green light. Burns had no trouble recruiting The Mask's Cameron Diaz and Friends' Jennifer Aniston for last summer’s She's the One, which earned back its $3.5 million cost within two weeks. Currently he’s in preproduction on Long Time Nothing New, about a woman turning 30. He takes his newly acquired power in stride. "I don’t think Ed has a temper,” says Bahns. "He's so mellow that he cools me off. He’s like a perfect guy.” Now that he has some folding money, though, Burns can afford to eat out. Says his younger brother Brian: “No more peanut butter sandwiches for dinner.”