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‘Jack’ pairs Hogan with Gooding Jr.

Cuba Gooding Jr. has been set to co-star with Paul Hogan in the Western action-comedy “Lightning Jack.” The $ 25 million, Australian-financed production will begin filming early August on location in Arizona.

The story centers on an Australian who fought in the Civil War and moves west , where he falls into outlaw ways. When his gang is wiped out, he attempts to go it alone. Gooding plays a mute, small-town rube who’s taken hostage by Hogan during a failed bank robbery and forces himself upon the title character as his new partner in crime.

“We’re hoping to follow the same route as ‘Crocodile Dundee,’ ” said Greg Coote, Village Roadshow president and the film’s co-producer. “It’s being financed in a rather unique way out of Australia. It will be ready to be screened at the end of the year and what we’re looking for is a one-stop deal.”

The Lightning Jack Co. was recently incorporated and will be listed on the Australian stock exchange within two weeks (Daily Variety, June 1). Investors will buy shares in the production via brokers. Coote said it is the first time that raising money in in this manner has been used in Australia.

Despite U.S. locales, the film easily qualifies for Australia’s 90% film investment tax deduction. In addition to Hogan and Coote, Oz talent includes director Simon Wincer and cameraman David Eggby. Additional location work and post-production will be done Down Under.

Hogan, who wrote the screenplay, has been absent from the screen since 1990’s “Almost an Angel.” His two “Crocodile Dundee” films were major worldwide successes.