By Amy Ryan
October 10, 2005 at 06:28 PM EDT

Which of these just-announced movie deals is most unsettling?

A. In the thriller 88 Minutes, which begins shooting this weekend in Vancouver, Al Pacino plays a college professor and forensic psychologist who believes he is going to be killed in just under an hour and a half; Alicia Witt (left) will play a teaching assistant who’s also his love interest.

B. Chad Lowe and Hilary Swank have gone into the producing business alongside NBA All-Star-turned-Regis Philbin substitute Reggie Miller. The three are producers on Beautiful Ohio, a coming-of-age indie drama that began shooting last week in Brooklyn. Lowe is marking his feature directing debut on the project, which stars Julianna Margulies, William Hurt, Rita Wilson, and Michelle Tractenberg.

C. Someone’s making a movie out of Paradise Lost.

So, which is the weirdest?

addCredit(“Alicia Witt: Tammie Arroyo/AFF-USA.com/AP”)

Okay, B. isn’t that weird, though I’d have liked to have heard thepitch: ”Well, it’s based on Ethan Canin’s short story ‘Batorsag &Szerelem’… Yes, we’re going to change the title…”

C. is kindaweird: For one thing, Lucifer gets all the best lines in John Milton’s17th-century epic poem about the Fall of Man; for another, I can’t seehow a tale that bored us all into a deep sleep in freshman English willpack theaters, even in the age of The Da Vinci Code. (Again, there’s apitch I would have loved to hear. ”After this one, we’ll do Dante’s Divine Comedy. It’s public domain, like Milton, so the rights cost nothing, but we can make this one a trilogy, like Lord of the Rings.Kids’ll flip for the action figures and Burger King tie-ins.”) Memo toNew Yorker editor David Remnick: There’s a ”Shouts and Murmurs” piecein here somewhere.

But I have to go with A., just for the gaping age chasm between the65-year-old Pacino and the 30-year-old Witt. Aren’t audiences tired ofthis May-December thing yet? Weren’t we creeped out enough by JackNicholson and Helen Hunt, or Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, orWoody Allen and whoever? Any other pairings, readers, you wish youhadn’t seen — or wish to warn Hollywood that you don’t want to see?

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