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U 572  



Even as events aboard the stricken Russian submarine, The Kursk, seem destined to be heading towards an ever more tragic conclusion, Hollywood looks set to put its unique spin on the disaster in a bold celluloid project slated for release in the summer of 2001. Although a number of screenplay ideas are already circulating Tinsel Town the first to be green-lighted is a sequel to this summer's submarine hit U-571 which starred Matthew McConaughey and Bill Paxton and depicted a German submarine being boarded by disguised Americans and capturing an Enigma cipher machine during the Second World War, audaciously overlooking the fact that it was the British who actually cracked the cipher.

The new film - provisionally entitled U-572 - will reprise the primary themes of the original box office smash; those being a perilous submarine boarding operation and a courageously total disregard for basic historical accuracy. While the deaths of all 118 Russian sailors at the bottom of the Barents Sea seem assured in reality, mooted-director Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence day) has suggested movie-goers should not be put off by the possibility of a downbeat ending. "No American wants to leave the movies thinking about people trapped and dying in an icy tomb", insisted Emmerich, "Even Russians." Emmerich went on to criticise this summer’s other big nautical hit, Perfect Storm, saying "Personally I think that film lacked a lot in realism - hundreds of fishermen return home safely every day having endured no notable incidents whatsoever; only a small proportion of them drown. Why did that film have to accentuate the negative?"

In that spirit, U-572 therefore, looks set to tell a life-affirming tale of triumph over physical odds and cantankerous orderlies as McConaughey and Paxton (reprising their roles from the first film with the aid of an abundance of prosthetic make-up) learn of the crippling explosion on board the Kursk, whilst languishing in a retirement home in Cleveland. The two octogenarians, in an inspired take-off of a plot-line from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest will manage to escape the home, hire a fishing boat and sail it to Russia overnight, before descending, equipped only with snorkels, one home-made wet-suit, and a blowtorch, to gain entrance to the sub. The story will unfold with the individual rescue of each of the Russian sailors, brought to the surface by McConaughey and Paxton who will then successfully administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in slow-motion to every one of the rescuees . In another brave divergence from fact, it has been revealed that all the Russian roles will be played by women (with Famke Janssen (X-men) and Natasha Henstridge (Species) likely to be among the cast). "I think my audience might have trouble believing that I would willingly kiss over one hundred men", laughed McConaughey in explanation, fresh from the ordeal of being arrested in his Austen home while romping naked with a close male friend.

The project has the enthusiastic backing of Russian Premier Vladimir Putin, who has is very keen to get shooting underway immediately, although his advisor, Igor Motsak, dismisses suggestions the whole idea was floated by Putin - a renowned cineaste who counts Emmerich’s Godzilla as among his favourite movies - himself. "Ideally", said Motsak, "we would like the whole thing wrapped by Monday so we can screen selected and carefully overdubbed highlights on the evening news. We’re hoping Roland will be a little flexible on the issue of the Summer 2001 release."

If U-572 is as big a success as its predecessor it has even been suggested that a third film in the sequence may eventually ensue. "Ultimately it has always been my wish", stated McConaughey, "and this is probably a universal in this country, to make a movie where I basically pilot a submarine up the Thames to London England Europe and fire off a few nuclear missiles at various landmarks and celebrity homes. Mel (Gibson) and I have been bouncing these kinds of ideas off of each other for a number of years now and, if U-572 is as much of a hit as I think it should be, then that dream may soon become a reality".

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