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Ellen Barkin takes on a rare "woman's role'

Ellen Barkin is heading off to Vancouver and romance with Robert De Niro. We're talking movies here.

The busy Ms. Barkin's latest project is the role of Caroline, the mother, in This Boy's Life.

"It's great material, which I think is all too rare, and also a wonderful woman's role, which is even rarer," Ms. Barkin said. "This Boy's Life is taken from the Tobias Wolff book, a memoir of a period of his childhood when he and his mother took a trip cross-country searching for uranium, and she wound up meeting a man from the Seattle area and ultimately married him.

"Basically, this movie is about this four-year period in his life, and the husband turns out not to be what he seemed."

In the film the husband is played by De Niro, and the boy, in his early teens, by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Ms. Barkin said that when the book was published in 1989, her husband, Gabriel Byrne, who starred in Miller's Crossing, was reading it when he said, "Someone should make this into a movie, and you'd be great for the mother."

Others agreed. When Linson and Caton-Jones cast This Boy's Life, they offered Ms. Barkin the job. She'll be in Vancouver three months.