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4/17 - Filmmakers Have a Lot of Fun on the Job

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www.watertowndailytimes.com Brian Taylor said creating "Crank" and "Pathology" with Watertown native Mark B. Neveldine is "kind of like therapy" for the pair.

"We're kind of sick people and we have problems," said Mr. Taylor during a phone call from Los Angeles. "Our movies are a way to work out our problems on screen."

Prepare yourself, then, for plenty of upcoming sessions.

The partners are overseeing editing of "Game," a futuristic thriller due out next year, which the pair wrote and directed. They'll start shooting "Crank 2: High Voltage," a sequel to their 2006 high-octane action film, in less than two weeks.

They even recently found time to finish a script for "Jonah Hex," which Mr. Taylor calls their "gritty, dark, dark version of a Western" adapted from the DC Comics series. Warner Brothers, which is producing the film, wants the pair to direct.

"Half of the reason we do movies is to give ourselves access to things we could never do," said Mr. Taylor. "We made 'Game' just to hang out with the new and exotic guns and explosives and play with them."

In "Game," the line between reality and role-playing has become blurred. Humans are given control over other humans in a massive multiplayer online game, which has dire consequences for society. The film stars Gerard Butler ("300") and Michael C. Hall (TV's "Dexter").

"We think this is another movie that people haven't seen," said Mr. Taylor.

The partners said they were so impressed with Milo Ventimiglia, who stars in "Pathology," that they included him in "Game." Mr. Ventimiglia is playing Rick Rape, one of the humans being controlled.

Mr. Neveldine, now of Los Angeles, said the role is "so different than what Milo is in 'Pathology' and 'Heroes.'" It also comes with its own unique outfit: silver teeth reminiscent of Jaws, the assassin in "Moonraker," and a tight latex suit.

"Rick Rape is as visually disturbing as he is (messed) in the head," said Mr. Ventimiglia, during a recent phone call from Los Angeles.

Mr. Neveldine said the partners want to add a "goofy character" to "Crank 2" in hopes that Mr. Ventimiglia can make a third appearance.

Mr. Ventimiglia believes he's very fortunate to "find myself in the graces of Mark and Brian because of what they're looking to do as innovators. As an actor, it was definitely the umbrella I wanted to be under."

He added: "I'm fans of theirs, and as long as they'll have me, I'm very happy."

Mr. Neveldine said there may be another movie after "Jonah Hex" and before "Crank 3," which he categorized as "a story without pages at the moment."

"If we do it, we will shoot it in 3-D," he said. "If we all have the same experience on this ('Crank 2') as we did on 'Crank,' I know Jason Statham is game for it."

"Crank," which had a $12 million budget, was the surprise second-place finisher during a strong Labor Day weekend in 2006, eventually grossing $27.8 million at the domestic box office. The total from foreign and domestic box office, DVD sales, downloads and TV sales is approaching $100 million.

Mr. Neveldine said Lakeshore Entertainment, which produced "Crank," greenlighted the pair's original draft for "Crank 2." The filmmaker said the partners consider it a better script than the original and plan to make it in Los Angeles for "pennies more" than the first film.

The pair have persuaded Mr. Statham, Amy Smart and Dwight Yoakam to reprise their roles from the first movie.

"Everybody that we work with wants to come back," said Mr. Neveldine. "We definitely have a lot of fun when we're shooting. Brian and I don't take ourselves seriously. I'm literally shocked that people hire us."

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