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Ben Affleck: Duke Nukem?Duke Nukem
Cartoon crime fighter Duke Nukem is the latest animated computer star set for the movies with fan Ben Affleck in the role. Affleck confirmed his interest in the part last year having been approached by movie makers after confessing in an interview to being a fan of the whisky-swilling computer game star who is the toughest guy on the block when it comes to terminating alien scum, getting the girl and saving the planet. Dimension Films has acquired the rights to bring the gaming world’s most testosterone-fuelled hero to the big screen.

Duke Nukem: The Movie will be a co-production between Dimension and multimedia giant Threshold Entertainment, the company that first licensed the property from game designer 3-D Realms three years ago and who had a huge hit with Mortal Kombat. “I am extremely thrilled to bring this massively successful video game to the big screen,” said Dimension co-chairman Bob Weinstein. “This type of franchise action film, is the perfect fit for Dimension.” While a script is still being readied, the plot will be straight out of the video game with the beer-guzzling gunslinger taking on an alien ship on a collision course with Mother Earth...
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Hellish Nell
Dame Judi: Hellish? Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi Dench will play the lead in producer Judy Sokolov’s mega-budget Hollywood bio-pic about Helen Duncan, one of the last women in Britain to be tried for witchcraft .Born in the last decade of the 19th century, Duncan, nicknamed Hellish Nell, earned fame and fortune from the séances she held around Britain. Although many considered her a fake – she regurgitated cheesecloth shapes and passed it off as ectoplasm – there are still people alive who swear she did indeed have extraordinary psychic powers and put them in touch with their deceased loved ones.

But Duncan’s fame turned to infamy when, in 1944, she was tried at the Old Bailey under the ancient 1735 Witchcraft Act and sentenced to nine months in prison. Her crime was divulging wartime secrets from ’The Other Side’ to inquisitive families about their armed forces relatives which came too close to the truth for the government’s comfort. So did she really have a gift? Or was she just another spiritualist defrauding the bereaved with the war revelations being lucky guesses? That’s the thrust of the movie in which Dench will have to be padded out to enormous size to play the grossly overweight Duncan (detractors said that’s how she could swallow the fake ectoplasm) who died of heart failure in 1956 after another misguided arrest.

Slaughter Studios
B-movie mogul Roger Corman is up to his old tricks. The well-known film-maker who’s behind hundreds of low-budget cult movies has demolished the remainder of his Concorde/New Horizons studios in Venice, California, in the name of his latest project. In February 2000, Corman sold the soundstages to a Santa Monica-based real estate developer for $4.3 million who planned to tear down the 21-year-old facility to make way for commercial space and apartments. As usual, Corman saw an opportunity and wrote a script around the demolition. Titled Slaughter Studios, the script is about a character that hates Horror films and blows up a studio.

“When I say blow it up, I’m making it sound a fraction more dramatic,” said Corman. “We tore down and burned out the interior and the roof, leaving a lot of the shell still there so that we didn’t have to get into major explosives. Almost nothing was left of the interior. We started a fire then blew up the flaming section.” The scene took a couple of hours to film and Slaughter Studios is due out late summer...

Features © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction