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7 items from 2003

Diesel Sued for $8 Million Over Dog Attack

4 December 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Vin Diesel is being sued for a massive $8 million by a man who claims he was bitten in the crotch by the movie hunk's dog. Scriptwriter Michael Kerner alleges he was attacked by the Fast And The Furious star's 170 pound mastiff dog, Roman, when he visited his house to discuss a project they were working on together. The suit alleges the dog "lunged at (Kerner) for no reason and clamped down on his crotch", leaving the writer with "deep lacerations, nerve damage, loss of physical sensation, psychological harm and mental distress". Kerner reportedly received hospital treatment and "three stitches in his penis and two in his scrotum" after the incident. The case is due for a jury trial on 16 June next year. »

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Ja Rule joins Rhames' gang for indie 'Day'

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

Ving Rhames and rapper-actor Ja Rule will star in the indie feature Back in the Day for writer-director James Hunter. The film is slated to start production next month in Puerto Rico. The project is about a man (Ja Rule) from the right side of the tracks who does a favor for an old friend (Rhames) who is in the gang life. After doing so, he gets caught up in a situation beyond his control. Joe Morton also stars as a minister whose death sets the rest of the events into motion. Harel Goldstein, Neil Davis and Peggy Fry are producing the project. DEJ Prods. is financing the production, which is budgeted at less than $15 million. The company's Peter Marshall is overseeing Day, with DEJ topper Andrew Reimer executive producing. Kip Konwiser is also producing in some capacity. Rhames, repped by ICM and Brillstein Grey Entertainment, is in production on Universal Pictures' Dawn of the Dead. Ja Rule, repped by UTA and Handprint Entertainment, also has been added to the cast of Miramax Films' Shall We Dance? opposite Jennifer Lopez. The duo have previously collaborated on such songs as "I'm Real" and "Ain't It Funny." His previous credits include Half Past Dead, The Fast and the Furious and Turn It Up. He next appears in Scary Movie 3. Hunter is repped by WMA, Mosaic Media Group and attorney David Webber. »

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Boxoffice preview: Action junkies on tactical alert

8 August 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

For action-crazed fans who were going through withdrawals from having to sit through two weeks of no new action releases, the wait is over. Sony Pictures will attempt to rebound from last weekend's dismal performance of Gigli with the well-marketed actioner S.W.A.T. from producer Neal Moritz (XXX, The Fast and the Furious). Also looking to capitalize on what many call the last good weekend of the summer is Buena Vista, which is hoping to continue its flawless summer track record with its remake of Freaky Friday. The film opened wide Wednesday to PG audiences. S.W.A.T., which stars current "it" guy Colin Farrell and the broad-appealing Samuel L. Jackson, centers on an LAPD officer (Farrell) desperate for another chance to wear the esteemed SWAT uniform. He gets the chance when his team commander (Jackson) is assigned to recruit and train five top-notch officers for a new unit. Michelle Rodriguez and LL Cool J co-star in the film directed by feature newcomer Clark Johnson. Industry insiders expect the film to earn in the $25 million-$30 million range in its opening weekend. Based on the mid-'70s ABC drama, the PG-13 S.W.A.T. should also feel the benefits of being one of the few action movies of the summer without the stigmatized sequel moniker attached to its title. The film bows today in 3,202 theaters and should capture the top spot for the frame. »

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Paul Walker: I Was Too Scared To Play Superman

9 June 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

The Fast And The Furious hunk Paul Walker has explained his reasons for backing out of playing Superman - he was scared. The 29-year-old screen star is one of a long list of actors who have been approached in recent months to take on the superhero role, including Josh Hartnett and Brendan Fraser. And while many people say the unfilled role, originally played by Christopher Reeve, is cursed, Walker admits he shied away from the offer because he wasn't prepared to commit. He admits, "I was scared. I don't know about the curse. It was just scary; it was a long term commitment. I was looking at seven years of being Superman." The casting problems have also left the film without a director after Rush Hour film-maker Brett Ratner pulled out of the project in March. »

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Uni ups Bario to sr. vp production

13 May 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

After 3 1/2 years as vp production at Universal Pictures, Holly Bario has been upped to senior vp production. The promotion comes just as the studio is gearing up to release several high-profile summer features, including Bruce Almighty, starring Jim Carrey, and the actioner 2 Fast 2 Furious, both of which Bario developed and oversaw. Bario joined Universal's production team in 1996 from TriStar Pictures and rose through the ranks. Among the projects she supervised are The Fast and the Furious, Meet the Parents, Dragonfly and Man on the Moon. Currently on Bario's development slate is The Skeleton Key, with Kate Hudson attached to star for director Iain Softley; The Prisoner, based on the 1960s British television series Extortion, with Tyrese attached to star; and Meet the Fockers, a sequel to Meet the Parents. "With her keen eye for untapped talent, acute sense of story and character and great bedside manner, Holly has proven to be an incredible asset to our production team, and we're delighted to announce her promotion," production presidents Mary Parent and Scott Stuber said in a joint statement. »

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Mitsubishi, Uni find perfect fit in '2 Fast'

9 May 2003 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The Fast and the Furious, Universal Pictures' sleeper summer 2001 hit set in the world of street racing, made Vin Diesel a star. Its June 6 sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, doesn't feature Diesel, but it has two new would-be stars: Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution VII and Eclipse Spyder, the "hero cars" of the film. In addition to supplying a dozen cars to the production, Mitsubishi is supporting the release by touring the movie vehicles, creating an ad using footage from the movie and giving away movie tickets and Fast and the Furious DVDs at its dealerships nationwide. The partnership between the studio and the carmaker illustrates the give-and-take that occurs when a marketer agrees to co-promote a film. It also demonstrates the importance of finding the right fit to best achieve the goals of all concerned. "In many cases, the extent to which a product and the message of a partner is a direct fit with the movie is 20%, 30%, 40%," Universal marketing president Adam Fogelson said. "This is a case where I'd say it's much closer to a 100% fit." »

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Walker Angry at Diesel

8 April 2003 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actor Paul Walker is angry with his The Fast And The Furious co-star Vin Diesel - because the A-lister pulled out of the action movie's sequel. Diesel chose not to sign up for the sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, after a problem with contract negotiations. Walker says, "I thought we were partners. It hurt my feelings. But once I stepped back, I realized that I couldn't take it personally - it's all about business." Walker becomes the star in 2 Fast 2 Furious, reprising his role as Brian O'Conner - an undercover cop who has been stripped of his badge and must redeem himself by investigating street racers in Miami. »

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