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Pellington, Gere drawn to ‘Mothman’

Pic based on '75 book about strange events in W. Va.

Richard Gere is set to investigate some strange phenomena in “The Mothman Prophecies,” a psychological thriller that Lakeshore Entertainment will finance.

Gere, who has been attached to Fox’s “Unfaithful” for helmer Adrian Lyne, will make that film immediately after he completes “Mothman.”

Gere’s signing came just as Mark Pellington (“Arlington Road”) also closed a deal to helm the pic.

Lakeshore chairman and CEO Tom Rosenberg, president Gary Lucchesi, and Gary Goldstein will produce “Mothman.” Lensing is slated to start in January. Pic will be released domestically by Sony; Lakeshore Intl. will handle overseas distribution.

Richard Hatem’s script is based on a true story documented in a 1975 book of the same title by John A. Keel.

“We’ve had the great fortune to work with Richard Gere and Mark Pellington separately on several projects,” said Rosenberg. “Richard is a remarkable actor and a great gentleman, and Mark is one of the brightest and most exceptional new directors to emerge in the last few years. I know they will make a great team.”

“Mothman” tells the story of a reporter, to be played by Gere, who is drawn to a small West Virginia town to investigate a series of strange events, including psychic visions and the appearance of bizarre entities.

Keel’s account detailed his own investigation of such events in Point Pleasant, W.V., in the late 1960s.

Gere stars in the upcoming Robert Altman film “Dr. T and the Women,” which recently premiered at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

Lakeshore, which is based at Paramount, recently financed Sam Raimi’s “The Gift,” starring Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Hilary Swank, Greg Kinnear, Katie Holmes and Keanu Reeves. Pic will be released by Paramount Classics this fall.

Gere is repped by ICM; Pellington by UTA.

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