'Imaginarium' shoots on hold


VANCOUVER -- Terry Gilliam's "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus," which was to shoot special effects scenes in Vancouver next week, has halted production after the death of co-lead Heath Ledger, according to a local British Columbia craft union.

The $30 million fantasy movie started production in December in London. The Vancouver shoot of interior and bluescreen scenes that was to begin Monday has now been put on hold, Greg Chambers, business manager for craft union ACFC West, told the Vancouver Sun newspaper Thursday.

He added that production has been suspended until producers decide whether to recast or abandon the project in the wake of the 28-year-old actor's death.

Chambers said the production is now listed as force majeure, a contract clause that releases all parties from liability in exceptional circumstances such as the sudden death of a leading cast member.

Gilliam cast Ledger as a member of a theater troupe trying to save a young woman from the devil, to be played by singer Tom Waits. Other co-stars include Christopher Plummer as the 1,000-year-old Doctor Parnassus and Lily Cole as the young woman.

The film was to be produced by Vancouver-based Infinity Features at the Bridge Studios in nearby Burnaby. "I don't have anything at all to comment at this time," Bridge Studios GM Ron Hrynuik said Thursday.

Officials at Infinity Features were not available for comment.