High concept invertebrates

Producers and dealmakers in Hollywood are kicking themselves for not rushing to get the rights to this surefire property. But the China Film Group Corporation and Beijing Filmblog Media Company beat them to making a film about Paul the Octopus, the amazing German cephalopod whose uncanny gift for predicting the outcome of World Cup soccer matches led to international celebrity (a lot of ink, one might say) -- but also attracted the kind of unwanted attention that goes with such success, namely public acrimony and death threats.

It proved too much for Paul, who has since retired to the obscurity that these shy, intelligent, and, if properly prepared, rather tasty creatures prefer. But his legend will live on in the ominously titled "The Murder of Paul the Octopus," which has already been shot in South Africa over a few weeks using a "body double."

But filmmakers should not despair in their search for the next big, invertebrate sea creature star. The anonymous 40-pound lion's mane jellyfish that managed to posthumously sting scores of people on a beach in Rye, New Hampshire, is as yet unrepresented.


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