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BY GEORGE? Is George Lucas looking for script assistance on Star Wars: Episode II — As Yet Untitled? A source close to the Star Wars camp says Lucas has approached Jonathan Hales, who wrote episodes of Lucas’ Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV series, for help. Intriguing, considering that another Young Indy writing alum, Frank Darabont, had been asked by the director to write Episode I. (Lucas ended up scripting solo.) A Lucasfilm spokesperson says Lucas is currently writing Episode II alone.

STIR, VIGOROUSLY Studios like to say that good movies find their audiences. The challenge Artisan faces with Stir of Echoes is that its audience may have already been found. Like The Sixth Sense, Echoes centers on a boy with the ability to see dead people, and a father figure (Bruce Willis and Kevin Bacon, respectively) who’s trying to find out why. ”I don’t know if Sense will affect us or not,” says Echoes writer-director David Koepp. ”There are some similarities, but they’re very different kinds of films. Sense seems more of a psychological drama. Mine’s no-bones-about-it horror.” Koepp, currently scripting Spider-Man, is content with Artisan’s marketing; the company, which declines to comment, has supported Echoes by shrewdly piggybacking it to Blair Witch TV ads. ”Far be it from me to argue with the geniuses who did The Blair Witch Project,” Koepp says. But Echoes really shouldn’t be sweating Sense, says analyst Rich Ingrassia of Paul Kagan Associates, not with Stigmata opening the same day. ”That’s going to limit Echoes’ opening to $10 million,” says Ingrassia. ”If Stigmata doesn’t run away with the opening weekend, Echoes has a shot at $30 million.” Enough dollars to cover its production cost — still no Sense.