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Summer Movie Preview - June

‘Minority Report’, ‘Scooby-Doo’, ‘Mr. Deeds’ and more…

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Minority Report

Starring Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow, Neal McDonough

Written By Scott Frank, Jon Cohen

Directed By Steven Spielberg

Wondering about that shot in the trailer in which a blindfolded Cruise is attacked by mechanical creepy crawlies? Keep wondering. ”Those are spiders, and I’m in big trouble,” is all Cruise will say. Yes, folks, this is another one of those sworn-to-secrecy movies. But here’s the pitch: In a future Washington, D.C., a law-enforcement agency employs three seers (including Morton) to anticipate homicides and gung ho cops (including Cruise) to bust the would-be murderers. But when Cruise himself gets fingered, he starts running.

The actor first read an early screenplay by Ronald Shusett and Dan O’Bannon (Alien) in 1997 and saw it as an opportunity to work with longtime friend Spielberg. Shooting was set to begin in fall ’99, but honing the script proved tricky; ultimately, Report didn’t start rolling until last year, a delay that reportedly cost the film the participation of Matt Damon, who was replaced by Farrell. ”The story needed to be more personal, less about the sci-fi,” says Cruise. ”We didn’t want to get too caught up in the whole ‘What’s it going to be like in the future?’ thing. We just wanted the world to be there.” Though Cohen provided some crucial early help, Cruise and Spielberg credit Out of Sight‘s Frank for cracking the case. Spielberg also solicited ideas from scientists and novelists to help flesh out a media-saturated society, where people drive magnetic cars and live for 100-plus years.

With their initial collaboration finally in the can, Spielberg says he looks forward to his next four films with Cruise. ”He’s said no to me five times over the years; he brings me one movie and I say yes,” the filmmaker laughs. ”I’m thinking he still owes me.” THE LOWDOWN Sure the trailer’s cool, but that secrecy and Spider-Man’s and Star Wars’ publicity blitzes have made for a lack of buzz. In the end, though, Spielberg and Cruise should be a potent box office combo. (June 21)


Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini, Rowan Atkinson

Written By Craig Titley, James Gunn

Directed By Raja Gosnell

The full title of the old cartoon, first unleashed on CBS in 1969, was Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? And that’s what the new movie’s actors kept asking, since the mystery-solving Great Dane was an on-set mystery himself, a blank spot to be filled in months later. ”We flirted with using an animatronic Scooby for about five minutes,” says director Gosnell (Big Momma’s House). ”But for Scooby to do all the things people expect, we needed CGI…. That’s certainly a financial commitment.”

In other words, at $80-90 million (so the cast hears), this could end up the most expensive Freddie Prinze Jr. movie ever made. Prinze plays Fred, an ascot-wearing dude who debunks apparent hauntings. (Latest target: Spooky Island theme-park owner Mondavarious, played by Atkinson.) Fred’s cohorts include go-go-booted Daphne (Gellar, Prinze’s fiancee), brainy Velma (Cardellini), and the screen-time-hogging anchors of the cartoon: Scooby and the peckish Shaggy (Lillard).