Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Stars Swap Ghost Stories

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Stars Swap Ghost Stories

Article excerpt

TORONTO: In real life, Ricky Gervais does not believe in ghosts. Put them on the big-screen, however, and he's more than game to see dead people.

Gervais, who stars in the supernatural romantic comedy Ghost Town, always is willing to tag along with a filmmaker telling a good story about things from beyond.

"I'm a sceptic across-the-board of ghosts and elves and ESP and the afterlife. But it doesn't change the fact that the romance of Hollywood lets you take someone on board on a journey against their will, really, if it's done well," Gervais said in an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, where Ghost Town premiered.

"For an hour-and-half while I'm watching The Bishop's Wife, I believe in angels.

"While I'm watching A Christmas Carol, I do believe in ghosts, and while I'm watching Miracle on 34th Street, I believe in Father Christmas."

Ghost Town casts the British actor as misanthropic Manhattan dentist Bertram Pincus, who likes his job because people cannot talk to him while he's stuffing cotton balls in their mouths or taking moulds of their teeth.

A near-death experience while under anaesthesia leaves him with the ability to see ghosts - and they literally are everywhere, in the park, at his office, crowded around his bed at night. Pincus is the key to letting them rest in peace, if only he can muster the decency to help them clear up unfinished business they have with loved ones.

Greg Kinnear co-stars as Frank Herlihy, a conniving adulterer in life who maintains his scheming ways after he's snuffed out in a sidewalk accident. Frank promises Pincus that he can make the pesky ghosts go away forever if the dentist will break up the impending re-marriage of his widow, Gwen Herlihy (Tea Leoni).

Along the way, Pincus learns that by shutting himself off from love and companionship, he's essentially a dead man walking himself. …

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