Film: Rushes

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The Independent Culture
ROBERT ALTMAN has just signed Richard Gere to play a "gynaecologist suffering a mid-life crisis" in one of Altman's biggest budget movies in years, Dr T and the Women, written with Cookie's Fortune co-writer Anne Rapp. It's a subject close to Gere's heart: girlfriend Carey Lowell is pregnant with his first child. Shooting begins 15 November just after the star wraps another romantic comedy with Winona Ryder. Meanwhile Sylvester Stallone has decided to slug it out with another sequel - MGM have unveiled a Rocky VI project, to be made on the cheap for $30m in the lo-fi style of the original. No script has yet been approved but Stallone will write, direct and star as per usual.

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SIR IAN McKellen, set to appear in two of the biggest films being made next year, Lord of the Rings and The X-Men, is now joined on the latter by Darth Maul actor Ray Park. Both will play villains: McKellen will play human-magnet, Magneto, and Park will transform into the reptilian Toad. Bryan Singer directs.

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STEVEN SPIELBERG is supposed to be furious with Jan De Bont for the lacklustre $80m Dreamworks spook story, The Haunting, noting that its wrap party cost the same as The Blair Witch Project's entire budget, a film which goes national today in the US after doing astonishing box-office in selected venues. One person has been trying to stop it though: Sam Barber has filed two separate lawsuits against Blair Witch co-director Daniel Myrick and producer Gregg Hale, claiming he has been cheated out of a producer credit and partial ownership of the movie. In the past 12 months, similar suits have been launched against Blade, Never been Kissed, Shakespeare in Love and There's Something about Mary by defendants claiming partial credit. All have been thrown out of court.

Roger Clarke

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