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Early word on ''Proof''

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First Gwyneth Paltrow fell in love, swooning for David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a daughter hounded by her math-wizard father’s twin demons of genius and mental illness. So she called her friend, Shakespeare in Love director John Madden, about launching a stage production in London. Then she speed-dialed Miramax heavy Harvey Weinstein — ”He would have killed me if I hadn’t, put a Jewish Mafia-style hit on me” — and gave him first dibs on buying her the movie rights. A handshake and huzzahs for her London performance later, the trio went to work, bolstering their ranks with Anthony Hopkins. Jake Gyllenhaal swoops onto the scene as Paltrow’s numbers-geek suitor, and Hope Davis (”my new idol”) plays her tightly wound sister. Add them up, and Miramax figures the result could be Oscar.

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