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2 items from 2002

Softley turns 'Skeleton Key' for Uni

22 October 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Universal Pictures has picked up the thriller spec script Skeleton Key from screenwriter Ehren Kruger, with helmer Iain Softley attached to direct. The deal was made late Friday evening, the same day DreamWorks Pictures released The Ring, a remake of a Japanese horror feature that Kruger adapted. The film went on to open in the top slot with a $15 million domestic gross. Although a deal for Softley is not yet in place, Skeleton would reunite him with Universal, for whom he directed last year's K-PAX. Skeleton is described as The Ring meets The Sixth Sense. It's about a caretaker working with an elderly couple in their New Orleans home, which happens to have mysterious goings-on. Daniel Bobker is producing the project. Universal executive vp Holly Bario is overseeing with production president Scott Stuber. Kruger, repped by Paradigm, has written such projects as Impostor, Reindeer Games Scream 3 and Arlington Road. Skeleton reunites him with Bobker as the latter is producing the The Brothers Grimm, in development at MGM, which Kruger wrote. Helmer Terry Gilliam is expected to come aboard that project later this week. U.K.-born Softley, repped by ICM, directed The Wings of the Dove, Hackers and Backbeat. »

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Director Frankenheimer Dies

8 July 2002 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Legendary Hollywood director John Frankenheimer, who helmed such films as The Manchurian Candidate and The Birdman of Alcatraz, died Saturday in a Los Angeles hospital. He was 72. Frankenheimer died of a stroke at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he had undergone spinal surgery. The filmmaker's career spanned almost five decades, and his work ranged from social dramas to political thrillers, and included a highly regarded run of feature films in the 1960s. Frankenheimer made his name with the political thriller The Manchurian Candidate in 1962. That same year he made the stirring social drama Birdman of Alcatraz, starring Burt Lancaster as a prisoner at San Francisco's Alcatraz prison who becomes an expert on birds. More recently, he directed Robert De Niro in Ronin (1998), Ben Affleck in Reindeer Games (2000) and this year's HBO special Path To War, an examination of the White House politics leading up to the Vietnam War. Directors Guild of America President Martha Coolidge said in a statement, "John's passion for filmmaking, and his appetite for life, were without equal. He was one of those rarest of people who, simply put, can never be replaced." »

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