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selected from Shivers #93

Pheonix and Gibson: the Signs are looking goodSign of the Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix, star of Gladiator and 8mm will star with Mel Gibson in Signs, the latest supernatural thriller written being directed by M Night Shyamalan of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable fame. Phoenix will replace Mark Ruffalo who was forced to exit the project because he is recovering from a minor ear operation.

Signs, which has been shooting since mid-September, is set in Bucks County, Philadelphia, and revolves around the mysterious appearance of an array of enormous circles and lines carved into the crops of a farm family. Rory Culkin, the younger brother of Macaulay and Kieran, has also been cast based on his performance in You Can Count on Me (alongside Ruffalo) for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

The House of the Dead
Mindfire Entertainment has begun casting up-and-coming actors along with established Hollywood stars for its first film based on Sega’s popular The House of the Dead Horror video games. A director has yet to be chosen for the Dan Bates, Mark Altman and Dan Kletzky produced $20 million R-rated shocker with principal photography set to begin in mid-January. The film, a prequel to Sega’s three adult-rated video games, is expected to première between Halloween 2002 and February 2003.

Based on a script by Altman (Free Enterprise) and Dave Parker, the story takes place on an island off the coast of Florida that is inhabited by zombies, monsters and creatures that wreak havoc on land, in the air and in the water. A rave attracts a group of partygoers to the island where they must battle for their lives against an evil entity. “The House of the Dead games are very cinematic,” Altman said. “The games are divided into chapters and use filmic camera angles to keep the action flowing. They provide a great template for us to work with in the film."

Rod Lurie, writer-director of last year’s political drama The Contender, will helm Knowing, a psychological thriller that begins when a time capsule buried behind an elementary school is prematurely unearthed by a water-main break revealing the chilling predictions of a child clairvoyant from four decades earlier. Sifting through drawings by kids who were imagining what the modern world might be like, the chairman of the town’s historical society discovers that one child accurately foresaw some of the greatest tragedies in recent history and sets out to prevent one terrible event that has yet to occur.

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