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THE REAPING

About The Production
Producer Joel Silver, the man behind such blockbusters as "The Matrix,” "Die Hard” and "Lethal Weapon” series, sees "The Reaping” as more complex and layered than your average supernatural thriller. "It's a little more sophisticated than what we've done before at Dark Castle, on top of being a scary movie,” he says. "‘The Reaping' changes the formula of who the good guys and the bad guys are. I like to switch it up.”

The film, which explores a series of bizarre occurrences in the Deep South, is steeped in atmosphere and anchored by one of contemporary film's most acclaimed actresses, Hilary Swank. "Hilary plays a professor who is pushed to question everything she has come to believe,” says Silver. "She brings real honesty and strength to the character. Hilary takes you along on Katherine's journey, letting you into her thought processes and sense of faith, so you are as shocked as she is when you find out what's really going on.”

Swank read the screenplay for "The Reaping” just prior to winning the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the film "Million Dollar Baby.” "It was a page-turner,” she recalls. "Things were happening that I didn't expect, and I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I thought it was a truly scary story while also being smart and dramatic. It really plays to the notion that nothing is as it seems in life. We're so quick to put our stamp of judgment on it, but I think it's important to stay open to incidences that are intriguing. It's a very human thing to do and there are real human moments in this story, in the midst of these extraordinary events.”

The actress adds that Silver's enthusiasm for the project was infectious. "He has such a great spirit,” says Swank. "Joel really gets people excited. He gets a great crew together and he takes really good care of everyone. I had a great time making this film.”

Director Stephen Hopkins, who recently garnered acclaim for the telefilm "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” envisioned the project as the ideal opportunity to bring the bizarre and supernatural into the mundane, everyday world. "It can be very frightening to find the supernatural in the realistic world,” he comments, "and that dichotomy is really at the heart of this story, in which science and faith do battle, in a sense. Our goal was always to frighten people through atmosphere and ideas, rather than just simply outright gore. Although we do include some good old-fashioned horror in this film,” he smiles. "But what's scariest is what's behind it.”

"Stephen and I go back a long time,” Silver says. "We did a movie in the early ‘90s called ‘Predator 2' and I've always wanted to work with him again. ‘The Reaping' was the perfect fit for his style, and he knew immediately how he wanted to shoot it. He also liked the idea of working with Hilary, so it all came together.”

Swank's early discussions with the director yielded a close professional bond between the two. "Stephen Hopkins is so smart, so articulate and so present that it was really fun to collaborate with him,” she says, "I have an enormous amount of respect for him. He has so much energy – always active, always thinking about the next shot. I don't think I ever saw him sit down through the entire production.”

Swank plays Katherine Winter, a woman who lost her faith when her husband and child were killed while they were on a religious mission in the Sudan. "Katherine Winter is a woman who has already been through so much in her life in trying to help people,” Swank describes. "Like anyone, she's just trying to figure out what her life is about, and, in that process, she decides to debunk myths and miracles. She travels around the world figuring out what's really behind them. But at the core of this mission of hers is a feeling that if God and miracles truly existed, how could he

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