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8 items from 2003

'Rise' shines for Gutierrez, Senator Int'l

2 December 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Sebastian Gutierrez has signed on to direct Rise, an original thriller that he also wrote. Senator International will produce alongside Greg Shapiro of Kingsgate Films. Rise is a supernatural thriller in which a young female reporter wakes up in a morgue to discover that she is no longer among the living. She vows revenge against those responsible for putting her there and hunts them down. Casting for the lead will start immediately. Senator International will be fully financing the film and handling worldwide distribution. Nathan Kahane and Aubrey Henderson will oversee the project for Senator. Gutierrez wrote the Halle Berry starrer Gothika as well as the upcoming Elmore Leonard adaptation The Big Bounce, starring Owen Wilson and Morgan Freeman. Rise will mark his third outing as writer-director. He handled double duty on Judas Kiss, starring Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, and HBO's She Creature, starring Carla Gugino and Rufus Sewell. Shapiro produced the upcoming New Line release Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle for Senator International and produced last year's The Rules of Attraction, directed by Roger Avary. Gutierrez is repped by WMA and Warren Dern of Offer, Weber and Dern. Kingsgate was repped by David Matlof of AHJTW. »

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'Bruce Almighty' Leaves Woman with Hellish Torment

28 May 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Jim Carrey's new comedy Bruce Almighty has caused a Florida woman to suffer constant harassment - because her number was given out in the movie as a direct line to God. In the film, Carrey stars as a regular guy who receives the powers of God - played by Morgan Freeman - after complaining too much about life. God tries to reach Bruce Nolan, Carrey's character, by repeatedly leaving a phone number on his pager. But instead of the usual 555 prefix most TV shows and films use in phone numbers, God's number is Pinellas Park glassmaker Dawn Jenkins' mobile phone number. Jenkins, who has been getting about 20 calls per hour, with callers asking for God before hanging up complains, "What am I to do? I e-mailed Universal Studios about this issue... I think I want payment." Jenkins isn't alone in her plight. The number on Carrey's pager also matches the one to a South Carolina woman who says she's been "getting aggravated to death" by the incessant calling. It also matches the number for a call center to a group of five Colorado talk-radio stations. Ron Nickel, senior vice president for the Radio Colorado Network, says, "My receptionist is going to go crazy." »

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Manheim finds 'Unfinished' job with Miramax

28 April 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

NEW YORK -- Camryn Manheim has joined the cast of the Jennifer Lopez-Robert Redford starrer An Unfinished Life for director Lasse Hallstrom, Miramax Films and Revolution Studios. Also rounding out the cast are Damian Lewis (Dreamcatcher) and newcomer Becca Gardner. Morgan Freeman and Josh Lucas also star in the film, which is shooting in British Columbia. Unfinished Life centers on a down-on-her-luck woman who is desperate to care for her daughter, forcing her to move in with her estranged father-in-law. Over time, they learn to forgive each other and heal old wounds. Manheim will play Lopez's friend and co-worker, Lewis takes the role of Lopez's husband, and Gardner is cast as her daughter. »

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MGM flashes hip-hop 'Colors' with Freeman

20 March 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

MGM, the studio known for such classic musicals as Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris, is mounting a contemporary hip-hop-themed musical titled Colors Straight Up, based on the Oscar-nominated documentary by Michele Ohayon. Morgan Freeman's Paramount Pictures-based Revelations Entertainment is producing, with Freeman expected to take one of the strong supporting roles in the film. Colors, penned by Bob Doleman, is near a green light at MGM with a tentative start date of June 23. The project tells the story of two male teachers -- one white and one black -- who overcome their personal differences to teach kids from Los Angeles' Watts neighborhood to come together using music and drama at a performing arts center for inner-city youth. »

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Uni shakes hands with Shadyac, 'Bob'

15 March 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Universal Pictures has picked up the original comedy pitch One Nation Under Bob, which screenwriter John Scott Shepherd will write as a vehicle for Tom Shadyac to direct. Shadyac's studio-based company Shady Acres Entertainment will produce the project with Shutt-Jones Prods. Bob, an original idea developed at Shady Acres and Shutt-Jones, is a high-concept comedy centering on an average man who inherits a plot of land only to discover that it is a country unto itself and he is now the owner of a sovereign nation. The intent is to develop the project for a major comedic star. Shady Acres' Michael Bostick is producing the project with Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones. Shady Acres executive Amanda Morgan Palmer will oversee the project with Universal's Holly Bario and Scott Stuber. Shepherd has written such projects as Joe Somebody and Life or Something Like It. Shadyac next directs the Universal/Shady Acres comedy Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey, Jennifer Aniston and Morgan Freeman. »

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Freeman Set to Play Mandela

9 January 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hollywood star Morgan Freeman is set to play celebrated former South African president Nelson Mandela in a new biopic. The Shawshank Redemption star was invited to play the coveted part by director Shekhar Kapur who has been developing the project for years. Elizabeth director Kapur says, "Mandela is a spiritual hero like Mahatma Gandhi. Mandela did not have to fight a bloody battle to win. I am delighted Morgan has accepted the role. He is ideal." Freeman, who has been Oscar nominated three times, has struck up a friendship with heroic Mandela and the pair have an agreement to meet up every time they are within 1,000 miles of each other. And Mandela has agreed to speak frankly to the star about his life and work. Freeman, 65, says, "I am honored, and completely terrified that I won't live up to the job of realistically representing this great man. But it is a role I feel I cannot turn down. It is an honor." »

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Spielberg Eyes Briton for Starring Role

8 January 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

International fame and fortune could be on the cards for Brit-actor Damian Lewis following the news that movie mogul Steven Spielberg is keen to sign him up for the second series of highly successful American TV program Taken. The star, who teamed up with Spielberg in his TV hit Band Of Brothers, spent an entire day with the director. A source says, "Steven pulled out all the stops to impress Damian. He believes Damian is the man to make the second series of Taken even bigger. It's normally impossible to get to spend a whole day with Steven as he's always busy. But when he heard Damian was in town just before Christmas, he invited him to spend the day at his mansion." Lewis was in Hollywood finishing off new movie Dreamcatcher, in which he stars alongside Morgan Freeman, when he got the call. »

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'Seven' Sequel, But No Pitt

2 January 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

A sequel to hit film Seven is to be made - with original star Morgan Freeman but minus hunk Brad Pitt. The grisly serial killer movie wowed audiences in the 1995 who watched as Pitt's character Detective David Mills was left bereft after his wife and unborn baby became the last victims of Kevin Spacey's eerie psycho. Instead the action will center on Freeman's character William Somerset, who partnered Pitt in the first film, as he comes up against another serial killer - who has psychic abilities. An insider says, "The gruesome climax had previously ruled out a sequel. But bosses think they have the right script now. Brad's character will be mentioned, but he will not appear. He will be in a mental hospital." »

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