Most of Alan Rudolph's movies are slightly off center, whimsical things in which romance and comedy are casually intertwined. Some (''Made in Heaven,'' ''Choose Me'') win recognition, and some (''The Moderns,'' ''Love at Large'') do not.
So how did Rudolph get to direct ''Mortal Thoughts'' which, with its high-power names, may be the most commercial film Rudolph has ever done?
''I don't know,'' said Rudolph. ''I was brought in on this at the very last minute. The first director left, and I was called in. I had three days to prepare. Usually, you get three or five months. It was a little like sex without foreplay. They gave me the script and I read it while flying to Toronto.
''Yes, it differs from the rest of my films. It's about violence, and it's supposed to be real. It has to have the impact of reality, and most of my films are basically romantic.''
Demi Moore and Bruce Willis are the stars of ''Mortal Thoughts,'' and it was Moore who asked Rudolph to join them. She not only stars, she is also the co-producer of the movie, in which she is a housewife whose best friend has been accused of murdering her husband. The best friend's husband, the victim, is played by Willis who in real life is married to Moore.
''This one is different,'' said Rudolph. ''I've never really had a film that was released properly, and this one is an exception because it has a known cast. People will come to see it. This one is more like Italian food than Chinese. It's still with you five days later.''
He speaks very highly of the stars. ''These are great performers,'' Rudolph said. ''Hollywood requires people to bring honesty to dishonest films, and this has no value if the actors don't do well. These do. They're the smartest of the bunch. They're creative. Bruce makes us care about the character, what the character might have been. I like actors who give what they know, and Bruce has a lot of ideas.
''Another nice thing about these two is that they each say good night to the crew. It's a good gesture. They're really with it.
''I've never really had a bad experience with an actor,'' said Rudolph. ''It has to do with trusting them and them knowing they can trust me.''
And what's it like to direct a star who is also the producer of the film?
''Well, she's better looking than most,'' he said. ''I did 33 days of shooting in a 35-day schedule, and it never confused her. She has a wonderful internal barometer. She had just finished a film, was having a baby and was always in control.''
Asked if he would ever like to act, Rudolph said, ''Are you kidding? I'm good at acting out but not as an actor.''
Tomorrow, we will have his and her concerts playing at local theaters. The his concert is ''Dice Rules,'' starring the one and only Andrew Dice Clay. Hers, ''Truth or Dare,'' is Madonna's, done when she did her Blond Ambition Tour, and if you haven't heard anything about either of these, you've been away for a long time.
Twentieth Century Fox was supposed to have distributed the Dice movie, but when he was given so much bad press for his ''obscene'' material, backed away. Seven Arts picked it up, and now you'll be able to know what all the Dice fuss is about. ''Dice Rules'' will play only at the Golden Ring Cinema. The Madonna movie will play at six houses. (Both films will be reviewed in tomorrow's Accent section.)