The Grudge: Filming begins in Tokyo later this month on The Grudge, a new production based on the hit Japanese horror franchise Ju-On, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, KaDee Strickland, Clea DuVall, William Mapother, and Bill Pullman.

Director Takashi Shimizu (Ju-On) returns to bring the terrifyingly-real horror thriller to worldwide audiences by directing American stars in an English language remake with new heart-stopping scares and surprises. The Grudge is produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert (Xena, Hercules), creators of such horror classics as the "Evil Dead" trilogy, and world-renowned Japanese producer, Taka Ichise (Ringu).

The Grudge is the curse of one who dies in the grip of a powerful rage which gathers and affects the places in which that person lived. Those who encounter this murderous supernatural curse die and a new curse is born -- passed like a virus, from victim to victim in an endless, growing chain of horror.

Says producer Sam Raimi who is currently working on the post-production of the upcoming Spider-Man 2, "'Ju-On' is one of the most frightening films I've ever seen. Shimizu crafted some of the most unique onscreen scares in his Japanese version. He was relentless in his delivery, leaving you no time to catch your breath. I'm betting that Shimizu will bring the American horror genre to a whole new level."

Filming is taking place at various locations in Tokyo and at Toho Studios. The shoot continues through mid March and some of the original Japanese actors from Ju-On will reprise their roles. Takako Fuji as 'Kayoko' and Yuya Ozeki as 'Toshio' return for this Hollywood version of the cult classic hit.

Roy Lee (The Ring), Doug Davison, Joe Drake (Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle) and Nathan Kahane (Boogeyman) serve as Executive Producers.

The Grudge is the second film to go into production for Ghost House Pictures, a joint venture between Raimi, Tapert and Senator International, that is dedicated to producing commercial feature films with horror, sci-fi and fantasy themes.

Columbia Pictures is handling North American distribution for the movie and plans to release The Grudge in Fall 2004.

Brian B.