Further evidence that Miami is fast becoming a hot spot for big-budget filmmakers, following the recent flicks “Bad Boys 2” and “2 Fast 2 Furious”‘ stints here: Revered horror-film director Wes Craven (“A Nightmare on Elm Street,” the “Scream” trilogy), is in South Beach shooting the psychological thriller Red-Eye.

Here’s the basic plot of the film: Directly after takeoff, a woman on a night flight to Miami discovers her seatmate is involved in a plot to kill a high-powered businessman – and she’s the key to his success.

She must cooperate, or her father will be killed by an assassin awaiting a call from her seatmate.

Craven took time Thursday to discuss the film with The Miami Herald:

• On “Red-Eye” being a departure for Craven from pure horror like “Elm Street” and horror spoofs like “Scream”: “I think it’s a bit more adult fare, a psychological thriller – there’s no one chasing them around the kitchen with a knife … no wait! There is. But it’s more suspense, more humor, more entertainment things. It’s more sophisticated and a little less primal.”

• On when we can see the film: “It’s a bit of a secret – not even I know, because there’s another, similarly-themed film coming out sometime in the summer, with Jodie Foster. So I think there’s some internal studio espionages. It’s gonna be sometime this year.”

• On whether he regrets even a little being forever associated with “Elm Street’s” infamous monster Freddy Kreuger: “No – never regret success. When you’ve been in The New York Times crossword puzzle five times, you suddenly realize you’ve created something spectacular. I think if I had my career to do over again I’d probably try harder to do other material as well. But I think I’ve done a lot to redefine horror, and it’s not so bad. What’s wrong with rising to the top of an entire genre?”

Paul to kick off tour at halftime

Paul McCartney will take advantage of media focus surrounding his halftime performance at Feb. 6’s Super Bowl XXXIX to announce his upcoming tour of North America, Billboard.com reports.

The Beatles legend will play 38 North American cities beginning Sept. 16 in Miami at a venue to be named and running until the end of November.

Tickets are expected to go on sale the last week in February. McCartney last visited North America in 2002 as part of a world tour that grossed more than $126 million and drew nearly one million fans.

McCartney is working on a new album for Capitol, but no timetable has been set for its release. He has collaborated with producer Nigel Godrich (Beck, Radiohead) on the set, which will be his first studio album since 2001’s “Driving Rain.”

Swank thanks coach

Boxing coach Hector Roca may call Hilary Swank his “best champion” now after her Oscar nomination for “Million Dollar Baby,” but that wasn’t always the case.

When Swank started the three-month-long preparation for her role as a boxer with the tough-as-nails trainer from Panama, Roca reportedly said the slender actress looked like a “worm” and started her on a strict diet and exercise schedule to help build muscles.

But there are no hard feelings since Swank thanked Roca in her acceptance speech at the recent Golden Globe Awards.

“Did you hear what she said to me on television?” he recently told The New York Daily News. “The thing is, I know she means it.”

Roca’s other Hollywood trainees include Jennifer Lopez, Wesley Snipes, Michelle Rodriguez and John Leguizamo.

Vartan: Garner did not like ‘Elektra’

Jennifer Garner has declared her latest movie “Elektra” “awful,” according to her ex-boyfriend Michael Vartan.

Us Weekly reports that Vartan, who briefly dated his “Alias” costar in 2003, maintains a friendship with Garner, who reportedly told him her “Daredevil” spin-off wasn’t her proudest piece of work.

Vartan is quoted as saying, “I heard “Elektra’ was awful. Jennifer called me and told me it was awful. She had to do it because of “Daredevil.’ It was in her contract.”

Vartan, who claims in the interview that he dated Garner for only a month and a half, also insists he has no problem with seeing pictures of his ex-girlfriend with Ben Affleck on magazine covers – even though he still loves her “to death.”

He adds, “Why would it be weird? I don’t know Ben. I don’t know how happy they are.”

Turner’s Hitler gaffe

CNN founder Ted Turner has blasted Fox News Channel as a “propaganda voice” of the Bush administration and compared the channel’s popularity to the rise of Hitler, TV Guide Online reports.

“Adolf Hitler was more popular in Germany in the early “30s than … people that were running against him,” he said in a speech Tuesday at the National Association of Television Programming Executives in Las Vegas. “So just because you’re bigger doesn’t mean you’re right.”

Fox News wasted no time lashing back, saying in a statement, “Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network and now his mind – we wish him well.”


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