No Mistake About It, 'Trust' Star Adrienne Shelley New York

Randy Newman may love L.A, but Adrienne Shelly, who stars in Hal Hartley's new film, "Trust," sings a different tune.

"I am definitely a New Yorker," says the petite Queens native. "I was raised on Long Island and my family and friends are in New York."

And just like fellow Manhattanite Woody Allen, Shelly hates to drive. "I have a terrible sense of direction," she laments. "I get lost all the time. I hate cars."

"Trust" marks the second time Shelly and Hartley have worked together. The actress made her film debut last year in his offbeat comedy, "The Unbelievable Truth."

"I am openly admitting it," she says, "I like 'Trust' better. I think the characters are more rounded in this film."

In "Trust," Shelly plays Maria, a gum-popping pregnant teen-ager who is kicked out of the house by her neurotic mother after she accidentally causes her father's fatal heart attack. While on her own, she meets an angry, violent computer genius who carries a hand grenade and also has been booted out of his home by his brutal father.

Hartley has made Shelly "more honest in her work." He also has taught her to act more subtly. "Hal gives you a fierce amount of direction," she says. "Hal knows exactly what he wants. You have to take his really specific direction and try to keep an emotional reality in the character."

Shelly, who will be seen this fall in Joan Micklin Silver's movie "Stepkids," doesn't want acting to be her life's career. A former film student at Boston University, she founded the Missing Children theater company last year and has written and directed one play.

"I would like to have more control over what happens to me. Being an actor, when it is wonderful it is really wonderful. But then there are periods when nothing happens. It is frustrating. As a writer and director, you have more control over your life and work."

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