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Zane joins Canuck pic ‘Taxman’

Shows totally different side of thesp

MONTREAL — Billy Zane, currently onscreen in “Titanic,” has segued from the biggest-budget pic in Hollywood history to a modest, low-budget Canuck film, “Taxman.”

Lensing recently kicked off in Montreal on the Canadian production, which is being directed by Montreal helmer Alain Zaloum (“Suspicious Minds”) from a script by Zaloum and Brenda Newman. The cast also includes Valerie Valois (“Scanners III”), Gordon Masten (“Gorillas in the Mist”), Patrick Bergin (“Sleeping with the Enemy”), and Barry Morse (“The Return of Sherlock Holmes”).

Budgeted at C$5 million ($3.5 million), the romantic comedy is produced by Jean Zaloum (the helmer’s father) for Slingshot Prods. Zane plays George Putter, whose life is turned upside-down when he is given a huge bill for unpaid taxes.

“It’s a cross between ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘The Canterville Ghost,’ ” said Zane.

Jean Zaloum said auds will see another side of Zane in “Taxman.”

“He really has a Cary Grant-like quality here,” said Zaloum. “He’s very funny.”

Zane recently starred in and co-produced “I Woke Up Early the Day I Died,” a Cinequanon production based on the last screenplay penned by late B-movie auteur Ed Wood.

“Taxman” will be delivered by Slingshot in October, and it will likely open in theaters in Canada before the end of the year. Equinox Entertainment, a division of France Film, has Canadian rights, with Tradewinds Entertainment of Los Angeles taking care of international sales on the project.

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