7EVENTY 5IVE, 2006 Projector
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Bob Shallit: Magic Johnson lends his star power to indie film
By Bob Shallit -- Bee Columnist
Published 2:15 am PST Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A local film company is getting a huge assist - from basketball star-turned-entrepreneur Magic Johnson.

We reported last year that Hooks & Taylor Entertainment was discussing a deal with Johnson, the former L.A. Lakers star and NBA Hall of Famer. Now, a Johnson Enterprises spokeswoman confirms, the deal is done.

Johnson will become executive producer of "7eventy5ive" - the local firm's horror film that was shot last year mostly at the company's soundstage, a former pear warehouse in the Delta town of Hood. Johnson's role will include backing an unprecedented publicity campaign for an independent film.

The film will get "cross-promoted" at Johnson's Burger King restaurants, movie theaters, TGI Friday's restaurants and 24 Hour Fitness centers. A tour of TV talk shows is planned.

And, with the help of Def Jam Records' marketing department, filmmakers Deon Taylor of Sacramento and partner Brian Hooks will do a grass-roots marketing campaign at colleges, nightclubs and local TV shows.

"This takes us to a whole other dimension," says Taylor, a one-time Florin High basketball standout who went on to play college and pro hoops and then got into the music and movie business.

The upshot: Taylor says the film could get enough traction to duplicate the success of another small-budget horror film, "Saw," which brought in more than $100 million.

Current status: Reshoots of a few scenes are being completed later this month at H & T's studio in Hood.

Hip-hop musician Wyclef Jean is starting to work on the score for the film, which revolves around a college prank that goes gruesomely awry. The planned theatrical release date? Fittingly, Halloween Day.

About the writer:
Reach Bob Shallit at (916) 321-1049 or bshallit@sacbee.com. Back columns: www.sacbee.com/shallit.

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