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THE HOLLOW MAN

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STARRING KEVIN BACON, ELISABETH SHUE, JOSH BROLIN, GREG GRUNBERG, KIM DICKENS DIRECTED BY PAUL VERHOEVEN

BUZZ-O-METER 6

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Paul Verhoeven (Starship Troopers) meets H.G. Wells.

The pitch is chilling: Verhoeven — known for creepy excess — directs a sci-fi thriller inspired by Wells’ The Invisible Man. The only thing that seems scarier, in fact, is the horror that Bacon went through to disappear. In order to vanish, he had to undergo a tedious process of turning green (or blue or black, depending upon the effect) while wearing contacts he describes as ”the size of half dollars.” And often he couldn’t sit down or talk because it would chip the makeup. ”People are so uncomfortable talking to you because you look like a lizard,” says Bacon, who plays a physicist who tests an invisibility formula on himself. ”You become isolated, and it’s very bizarre.” Bacon’s endurance inspired producer Doug Wick to dub him ”the most patient human in the world,” but you can’t say the star wasn’t warned. ”Paul [Verhoeven] tried to make it as clear as possible how hard it would be,” says Bacon. ”I kept wanting to talk about the back story of this guy and his relationship to the other characters. He kept wanting to find out how bad it was [for me] on The River Wild.” (July 28)