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Updated 10:00 AM November 2, 2009

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NCRC to serve as location for movie starring Clive Owen

The feature film "Trust," starring Clive Owen and directed by David Schwimmer, will begin production at the new North Campus Research Complex in November.

U-M purchased the complex in June, about 18 months after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer vacated the 30-building campus on Ann Arbor's north side. The research and development facilities currently are vacant as U-M plans to turn it into a center for innovative research and education. The site is not open to the public.

The script for the film, co-written by Schwimmer and Andy Bellin, is a suspense-drama that sensitively addresses the topics of cyber stalking, rape and a father's rage over his daughter's trauma.

"Of all the scripts I've read in reviewing proposals for use of campus space for films, 'Trust' is the most meaningful and important," says Lee Doyle, director of the U-M Film Office. "We are delighted to be able to accommodate the project and are eager for the opportunity it presents for our students and to stimulate the economy of our state."

U-M opened its film office in 2008 to address the steady number of requests to use university locations that have arisen since the State of Michigan passed its tax incentive program for filmmakers.

The crew of "Trust" expects to hire students as production assistants and extras. Directors are interested in providing educational opportunities to U-M students.

Schwimmer, who is an active member of the board of directors of the Rape Foundation of Santa Monica California, says "Trust" is a project of great personal significance.

In the film, Owen and Catherine Keener play the parents of a 14-year-old girl who are stunned to discover she has been victimized by an adult who gained her trust posing as a teenager in a chat room. Viola Davis plays a sexual assault counselor.

"I have heard countless stories and met many victims of rape and sexual assault (men, women and children), and know well the devastation of this trauma — to both the victim and his or her loved ones," Schwimmer wrote about the project.

The effort to use the vast NCRC facilities is a massive project that is well under way at U-M. The new complex is expected to house cutting-edge innovative research with global impact, create thousands of new jobs, help U-M recruit top-notch faculty, students and staff, and spur public-private partnerships.

The purchase of NCRC represents the largest physical expansion of U-M's campus in nearly 60 years. U-M already is one of the nation's largest research institutions and officials expect the purchase of the former Pfizer property will help U-M researchers attract even more grant funding for research.

"We are tremendously excited about the potential at NCRC, and this film provides some icing on the cake," says Ora Pescovitz, executive vice president for medical affairs.

"It's wonderful that the producers of this film have found a good fit at NCRC. We know this is just the start of efforts to stimulate Michigan's economy by breathing new life into the site."

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