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Gibson, Phoenix Set to Film M. Night Shyamalan's Supernatural 'Signs' for Disney

5 Sep, 2001 By: Staff Reporter

Joaquin Phoenix has been tapped to replace Mark Ruffalo in M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming feature Signs for the Walt Disney Co. The project is setto start shooting this month.

Ruffalo was forced to drop out last week for health reasons following surgery to remove a cyst from his inner ear. Phoenix will star in the role opposite Mel Gibson.

Although the project is being guarded closely, it is described as a supernatural thriller focusing on thesudden appearance of mysterious crop circles on a family farm in Bucks County, Pa.

Producing Signs are Shyamalan, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer along with executive producer Kathleen Kennedy -- the same team that collaborated on Shyamalan's 1999 sleeper hit The SixthSense. Touchstone Pictures has slated Signs for a 2002 release.

The casting move comes on the eve of the world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival of Phoenix's Buffalo Soldiers, a dark war comedy in which he stars opposite Ed Harris.

Phoenix was nominated for an Academy Award for hisperformance opposite Russell Crowe in DreamWorks/Universal Pictures' Gladiator, which won the Oscar for best picture.

His other recent credits include Quills and The Yards, and Phoenix recently wrapped shooting It's All About Love for director Thomas Vinterberg.

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