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DOUBLE TALK He may have planted his lips on Halle Berry, but Oscar winner Adrien Brody also knows how not to use them at all. In the low-budget indie Dummy, Brody plays Steven, a geeky suburbanite -- still living at home with his parents and sister (Illeana Douglas) -- who quits a sales job to pursue his passion: ventriloquism. The role didn't exactly require Pianist-level Method prep, but Brody still felt challenged. ''You have so much to tackle when you're being a ventriloquist and acting in a scene,'' Brody tells EW. ''You have your dialogue and the dummy's dialogue. The manipulations of the eyes, mouth, and head have to be perfectly in synch.'' With dummy in tow, Steven attempts to woo a lady friend (Vera Farmiga) and is instead served a restraining order. Unsurprisingly, writer-director Greg Pritikin -- who says meeting Brody was a mutual ''love-at-first-sight experience'' -- isn't having any problems attracting potential distributors: Screenings in L.A. and New York just days after Brody's Academy Award victory were packed.

BERRY SCARY Brody's smooch partner just arrived in Canada to film the Warner Bros. thriller Gothika, being helmed by director and sometime actor (best known as Audrey Tautou's amour in Amelie) Mathieu Kassovitz. ''It's a cross between The Ring and The Sixth Sense, a ghost story that's also a psychological thriller,'' Berry says. She plays a psychiatrist who wakes up in her workplace -- a mental hospital for female murderers -- to be told by a doctor (Robert Downey Jr.) that she's axed her husband to death. Is she in fact a psychiatrist? Or a murderous mental patient suffering from delusions? Reluctant to reveal plot tidbits, Berry will only say, ''She struggles to figure out how the hell she got there and what she did. That's why I love it! It's creepy! Creepy!''

Originally posted Apr 11, 2003 Published in issue #704 Apr 11, 2003 Order article reprints