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selected from Shivers #73

New Argento
Because Phantom of the Opera was a reasonable hit in Italy – and Finland, of all places – and sold well around the world, Dario Argento has just signed a deal with the Italian production company Medusa to direct a new giallo currently sporting the working title I Can’t Sleep. Insomnia was being considered as a title option but Argento doesn’t want to cause any confusion with the Stephen King novel...

Although he originally wanted Rod Steiger to play the lead role, Argento’s wish-list now includes Richard Attenborough who is a great personal friend of Ronnie Taylor, his Opera and Phantom of the Opera D.o.P. Shooting begins in Rome next April.

Asia Argento, here with Julian SandsWindows Open
Dario won’t make I Can’t Sleep until April because he’s currently helping his daughter Asia Argento put the finishing touches to her feature debut Scarlet Diva for his Opera Film company. Asia stars as actress Anna Batista in this semi-autobiography about being a famous Italian star and the trappings of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Asia’s co-star in Scarlet Diva is Vera Gemma, daughter of Spaghetti Western star Giuliano Gemma.

But once she finished her role in Asia’s debut, Vera went off to star in one of the most anticipated Italian movies on the 2000 schedule. Pupi Avati, the cult director of The Arcane Enchanter and Zeder, is remaking his most famous horror film La Casa Dalle Finestre Che Ridono / The House with the Windows that Laugh (1976) and asked Vera to play the lead.

The 26 year-old Gemma told me, “I met Pupi at a film festival and when he told me he was remaking what is one of my favourite ever Italian movies, I begged him to be in it. He laughed because he was always considering me for it anyway. It’s important to work with artists of Pupi’s calibre, people who are not merely technicians.”

Hungry like the wolf
Alexis Productions, headed by Broadway producer Anita Waxman, will make the screen version of Kelley Armstrong’s book Hungry Like the Wolf about a female werewolf. Set in upstate New York, the story is told through the eyes of a lyncanthropic narrator when she is both in human and werewolf state. Over the course of the plot, a love triangle develops between her, her boyfriend and another werewolf.

It looks like werewolves will be big news in 2000 as Anthony Hickox is currently directing the I Was A Teenage Werewolf remake and the big budget Dog Soldiers arrives at Pinewood Studios in January. The latter tells the story of an Second World War army platoon on manoeuvres in Hungary who get bitten by a rabid werewolf pack. When they return home, they start infecting the entire base with lycanthropy.

Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction