Colin Farrell, Phone Booth
Credit: Phone Booth: Christine Loss

The ”guy” is Farrell, recently of ”Minority Report,” playing a slimy entertainment publicist who sneaks away to call his would-be mistress (Holmes). When the pay phone rings, he picks it up, and is told that if he hangs up, he will be shot. Written by B-movie vet Cohen (”It’s Alive”), ”Phone Booth” initially attracted interest from ”Pearl Harbor” director Michael Bay and actors Will Smith and Jim Carrey. But it was Schumacher who committed, bringing aboard his 2000 ”Tigerland” discovery Farrell. Taking the cheap route, Schumacher made the real-time thriller in downtown L.A. instead of Manhattan. Taking a risk, he shot the film in just 10 days, working from dawn till dusk at a clip of 12 pages a day.

”It went better than I thought, because when we began, I didn’t think we could do it,” quips the director, who hoped the frenetic pace would set the appropriate tone. However, upon wrapping, Schumacher went back into production after opting to recast the sniper: Ron Eldard (formerly of ”ER”) played the villain during principal photography, but Sutherland (Fox’s ”24”) replaced him for the final cut. (Schumacher declined to comment on the switch.)

”Phone Booth” was slated for release last December, but Schumacher says Fox decided to wait and let Farrell’s post-”Tigerland” projects turn him into a household name. But when ”American Outlaws” and ”Hart’s War” both shot blanks at the box office, Fox held off until after ”Minority Report.” ”The guy’s for real,” says Schumacher. ”This is the film that proves it.”

THE LOWDOWN He’d better be right: ”Phone Booth” is largely a one-man show.

Phone Booth
  • Movie
  • 80 minutes