Celluloid Heroes

Hollywood is racing to put out the first 9/11 movie.

While a few feature-length television documentaries have already been aired, and the Apollo 11 producers are in the process of shooting a big-screen, time-lapse chronicle of Ground Zero's rebirth, Tinseltown is rushing to release the first full-length drama about last September's historic events. 

Warner Bros. is said to be working on an epic based on the fall of the Twin Towers, and American Psycho producer Ed Pressman's ode to the World Trade Center firefighters is being edited around the clock to prepare for its Sept. 11 premiere on the first anniversary of the attacks. 

While Steven Spielberg told reporters recently that he "will never make a movie about any of the events of 9/11," other filmmakers are hard at work. 

The Guys, which focuses on a firefighter's relationship with a reporter, began location filming in a Brooklyn church in April and will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 11, along with 11'09'1, a compilation of short documentaries that includes one by actor/director Sean Penn. 

Some of the shorts are said to be anti-American in tone. 

Pressman, who made Wall Street and Conan the Barbarian, said The Guys, which features dozens of New York's Bravest, would be "a very special tribute." He told The Post that it had taken Hollywood a year to begin to address 9/11 because "the world has changed." 

"There were all kinds of emotions and introspection and political turbulence, and when there's turmoil like this, it takes time for an artist to react," Pressman said. 

He added that he expects a rash of movies on the subject. 

"There'll be many other responses now. Filmmakers with ambition are not looking to replicate what you can see every night on television. That's repetitive and redundant," he said. 

Independence Day producer Dean Devlin said that last September's events spurred him on to write a follow-up to his 1996 flag-waving epic. 

"We never intended to have a sequel," Devlin told Cinescape. "After Sept. 11, there was something in the culture that reminded us of the message of the [first] movie and how people came together." 

Devlin said the images of exploding skyscrapers in the first film spurred discussions in the aftermath of 9/11, "and out of those discussions came a way of doing the [sequel]." 

Meanwhile, director Ron Howard is co-producing a minute-by minute documentary of the rebuilding at Ground Zero. The director's Imagine Entertainment company is training six 35 mm movie cameras on Ground Zero day and night from the top of nearby buildings. 

Each camera is programmed to take a picture of the site every five minutes for the next seven years, and producers hope the filmed record of the WTC rebirth will serve as a breathtaking historical document. 

Another 9/11 film is based on a Vanity Fair article written by Bryan Burroughs, called Manifest Courage, which chronicles the interaction between victims and their families on the fateful day. 

Meanwhile, a shocking animated 3-D film about the destruction of the World Trade Center, which won first prize at the International Film Festival in Vierzon, France, has been downloaded thousands of times on the Internet. The film, by the animation team of Kelvin and Kolber, digitally recreates the explosions and collapse of the WTC

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