MGM/UA took another giant step toward re-establishing itself as a major Hollywood distribution force Wednesday when “Cliffhanger” director Renny Harlin confirmed that Michael Douglas and Geena Davis will star in “Cutthroat Island.”

The ambitious international production is skedded to be MGM/UA’s tentpole release of 1995. Harlin expressed confidence that a newly energized MGM/UA could handle distribution of the big-budget release and said, “I must confess that since I was a child, it has been my dream to have that lion’s roar at the beginning of a movie.”

“Cutthroat Island” is skedded to start production in the middle of the summer. Harlin said locations in the Caribbean will almost certainly be used, while Thailandand European locations are also under consideration.

Set in 1659, in the lawless Caribbean enclaves of Tortuga and Hispaniola, “Cutthroat Island” is about a band of pirate captains who bury a shared treasure on an island, promising to return years later and split the loot. The plan goes awry when renegades find out about the doubloons and try and beat them to it.

As previously reported, Carolco Pictures is a partner on the movie and will sell “Cutthroat Island” in international territories. Company chairman Mario Kassar was a driving force behind the picture and will executive produce.

In tackling the pic, Harlin acknowledged that the 85-day shoot is one of the most challenging of his career because “shooting boats on the water is always difficult.” He said computer generated shots recreating 17th century Pirate ships have been tested, and will be used in the film.

Harlin stressed that “Cutthroat Island” will be rated PG-13.

A rewrite of Michael Beckner’s original screenplay delivered by Ray Gideon and Bruce A. Evans helped push “Cutthroat Island” over the top, Harlin said. Producers of the movie will be Laurence Mark, James Gorman and Harlin. John Baldecchi will co-produce.

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