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Nispel takes an ‘Evil’ turn

Teaser helmer's footage incorporated into pic

“Resident Evil: Apocalypse,” which bows in September, has been transformed into a film with two directors — sort of.

Screen Gems pic is directed by Alexander Witt. But Marcus Nispel will also have several seconds’ worth of footage in the movie.

Nispel, the commercials helmer who broke into feature films with last year’s remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” was hired last year to direct the teaser trailer for “Resident Evil” because of his reputation as a savvy blurbs helmer. Indeed, the teaser is exactly that: a “commercial” for a women’s beauty product called Regenerate.

To unknowing auds, the trailer looks like an ad by the Umbrella Co. (the evil conglom in the pic), depicting a close-up of a woman’s face with the words “age,” “stress” and “sun” fading in and out of focus. But just as viewers may start to wonder where they might pick up a bottle of Regenerate, the woman turns into a zombie, and the teaser moves into amped-up trailer mode: loud music, flashes of light, a scary-looking dog.

The popular trailer has been downloaded 8.5 million times on the pic’s Web site since it bowed last fall.

Screen Gems says it had always planned on incorporating the commercial into the movie, but what it didn’t anticipate was that the footage would belong to an esteemed features director, not just a commercials director-for-hire.

Will Nispel receive a co-directing credit on the “Resident Evil” sequel?

Screen Gems dismisses the idea, saying Nispel’s work was under contract and that Screen Gems owns the right to the footage. Furthermore, the spot is only seconds long.

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