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Rumour Sept 15 01: An unconfirmed rumor has put Moby in the frame for some of the soundtrack work. Another about the plot - from someone claiming to have recently spoken to Shyamalan - stated that no aliens would appear in the film, although they would be heard and communicate through the language of mathematics. Hmmm....
Update Sept 14 01: Cast and crew are now on location in Bucks County. Filming started as scheduled on Thursday 13th Sept unaffected by recent tragic events. The shoot was meant to be launched on Weds 12th with a low key local press conference in Philadelphia with Shymalan, Gibson (pictured right) and Phoenix in attendance but this was canceled in light of recent events.
According to M Night Shyamalan, Mel Gibson was not his first choice for the role of the farmer in "Signs" and he was initially looking for an older actor to fill the role. Approaches were first made to Paul Newman who said he wasn't interested in the project, then Clint Eastwood who apparently had "scheduling conflicts". As a result Shyamalan decided to drop the age of the character, "Mel was a natural after Mr. Newman declined. They have the same kind of haunted eyes." he said.
Update Sept 10 01: Cherry Jones is to play a policewoman in Signs opposite Mel Gibson. She's well known as a premiere theater actress and has recently appeared in a number of high profile films including Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock, Steven Soderbergh's Erin Brockovich and Perfect Storm (pictured right).
Apparently Mark Ruffalo's role called for intensive sports training, which he was not up to following the recent removal of a minor cyst from his inner ear. So I guess Joaquin Phoenix is down the gym as I type!
We now know where the cast and crew are staying during filming in Bucks County, but we'll keep it under our hat as I doubt they'd appreciate us broadcasting the detail here, but, feel free to try and tempt the information out of us by sending large brown envelopes stuffed with cash!
Andrew Ullman the movie's location manager has said filming in Newtown will likely last two days and take place by the end of October. One day will be outside South State Street's Newtown Hardware House and the other day will be inside the Newtown Book and Record Exchange (pictured right) on South State and inside the vacant Acme Design building three blocks away. The street will be closed during the day of outdoor filming, he said.
Photo: Bill Johnson/Courier Times. The Newtown Book and Record Exchange
A casting call memo from Touchstone gives us some background and character names - Morgan and Bo - for the leading roles of two young children playing Gibson's son and daughter in the film: "Candidates for the role of Morgan, a 10-year-old boy, must be between 9-11 years in age, Caucasian, highly intelligent, sensitive, and intuitive. For the role of Bo, his 4 year-old sister, the actress must be between ages 4 and 6. She too must be Caucasian and demonstrate extreme intelligence, as well as be focused and perceptive. Both children must be extremely bright, honest and real." There has also more recently been a casting call for another boy (aged 6-8) who can speak Portuguese.
Mike Lemon from the agency responsible for casting "Signs" said he put out a casting call for about a dozen parts in the movie, most of which he could not talk about "I have a non-disclosure agreement with the producer, and I can't really talk about the parts or the script." We'd previously heard that the production was looking for a 7ft woman, but Lemon said he's seeking *two* approx 7ft women for minor roles.
We've also heard that "Signs" will leave the audience unsure if the circles were man or alien made.
Top Hollywood special effects company Digital Domain who have both won and been nominated for numerous Academy Awards are on board to create the SFX for "Signs". Other notable Digtal Domain SFX credits include, Apollo 13, Fight Club (pictured right), The Fifth Element, Terminator 2, Titanic, What Dreams May Come and X-Men, to name a few.
Photo: Digital Domain's Fight Club SFX. © 20C Fox
Acclaimed composer James Newton Howard, who has scored more than 65 feature films including Shyamalan's previous two movies "The Sixth Sense" and "Unbreakable" and has earned six Academy Award nominations in the process is on board to score "Signs".
Update Sept 06 01: Joaquin Phoenix (pictured right) who was recently nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of the Emperor in Ridley Scott's blockbuster Gladiator will now play Mel Gibson's brother in Signs. He replaces Mark Ruffalo (see movie page) who had to drop out of the project due to illness. Apparently, the tag line for the movie is going to be "The Signs Of Life".
Photo: Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott's Gladiator
Update Sept 03 01: The main shoot for Signs will take place on 100 acres of corn fields leased to the production until the end of the year by Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, Pennsylvania (pictured right). The shoot is scheduled to start on September 13th 2001 and filming should last for about nine weeks. Additional scenes will be shot at several locations in nearby Newtown. The film is set to bring an economic windfall to the area generating an estimated 20 million for the local economy. Which coincidently, is also rumoured to be the amount Mel Gibson is receiving for starring in the movie. Odd fact, Shyamalan is looking to cast a 7ft woman in the movie! Before moving to Pennsylvania, shooting started in New York state which - for the purpose of the shoot - was masquerading as indian farmland!
Photo: Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The main movie shoot location.
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