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09:00am ET, 10-December-04

 Ashmore Takes Lead In Earthsea

Shawn Ashmore told SCI FI Wire that playing the lead role in SCI FI Channel's upcoming original miniseries Legend of Earthsea meant a dramatic change in his responsibilities. "The entire time we were shooting [Legend of Earthsea], I think I only had three days off," the 25-year-old Ashmore (X-Men) said in an interview. "Looking at that schedule made me realize it was my time to step up."

Ashmore heads the Legend of Earthsea cast, portraying the wizard-in-training Ged and sharing the screen with Kristin Kreuk as Tenar, Isabella Rossellini as Thar and Danny Glover as Ged's mentor, Ogion. Ashmore said that cast and crew shot Legend of Earthsea in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, over the course of three months. The miniseries is based on the best-selling Earthsea books by SF author Ursula K. Le Guin.

"It was relatively quick for a four-hour miniseries," Ashmore said. "It was a nice schedule, because sometimes it's good to not have a chance to stop and catch your breath. This was definitely the most challenging project I'd been on, because we were all over. It was a completely different shooting schedule than X2. That was six months doing a two-hour movie. We filmed both in Vancouver. So that was a coincidence. I was a lot busier on Legend of Earthsea."

Ashmore recalled that he was very nervous on his first day of principal photography. "I had done all the costume and makeup [fittings and tests] already, so I knew what I was going to look like," he said. "I realized that we were creating this world from someone else's work. I had felt that before with X-Men, but to a lesser degree. We were filming in a tavern, and there was fake rain and all the people in costume. I was just shocked, because it was so real. It was an old bar, so it smelled like earth. It felt good once it was done, but the first day was nerve-wracking." Earthsea premieres Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

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The following SF&F movies (and one non-SF documentary) are the nominees for the People's Choice Award for best movie of 2004. Which is your choice?
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Fahrenheit 9/11
The Incredibles
Shrek 2
Spider-Man 2

Finding Neverland received seven Critics' Choice Award nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, including best picture, Variety reported. Other best-picture nominees included Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera.

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