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'Sphere' takes moviegoers to new depths

Sphere clip
clip from "Sphere"   
February 13, 1998
Web posted at: 11:29 p.m. EST (0429 GMT)

From Correspondent Dennis Michael

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- In the new film "Sphere," a psychologist, a mathematician, a biologist and an astrophysicist constitute a team sent to the floor of the Pacific Ocean, supposedly to make first contact with a spaceship nearly 300 years old.

Only the psychologist, played by Dustin Hoffman, knows that the first contact plan is a hoax -- his hoax.

vxtreme CNN's Dennis Michael reports

But then, in one of the film's many twists, a giant sphere found in the spaceship begins to speak to the team of explorers. It becomes like a funhouse mirror, strangely reflecting the humans looking into it.

"This gives you a chance to wonder about the enemy within, because that's what this story is about," says Samuel L. Jackson, who plays one of the explorers. "If you had a chance to delve into your psyche, what would you manifest -- the great things you like or the dark things you worry about?"

"Sphere" is based on a novel by Michael Crichton. In addition to Hoffman and Jackson, Sharon Stone is also in the cast, and the film was directed by Barry Levinson.

"I loved that Barry shot it the way he said he would shoot it," says Hoffman. "He said he wanted make it an action, albeit science fiction, genre, but character-driven at the same time."

"Sphere" may seem a little alien even in the context of science fiction films. But then, the ambition of this film is to take the moviegoer a little deeper.


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