Sydney, 17th December, 1997 -- Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft, yesterday announced his movie debut – a starring role in a remake of the 1981 Burt Reynolds classic Cannonball Run.
The movie, which will be called Cannonbill Run, focuses on the contestants of an illegal, cross-country race as they try and outrun the police and beat each other to the finish line -- and one million dollars,
Gates will play JJ McClure, the part made famous by the moustached Reynolds and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's executive vice president of sales and support, is set to play his wacky side-kick Victor, who transforms into Captain Chaos -- a role which originally starred funny man Dom deLuise.
"I was waiting until I found the right role before I made the move into acting," said Gates. "And with my love of cars and zany antics, this seemed like the obvious choice. I did briefly consider Smokey and the Bandit, but this one is much more off the wall."
Hal Needham, director of the Cannonball series has agreed to come on board as director and like the original movie it will be an all star cast.
"Obviously I have always been a big fan of Bill's software," said Needham. "So when I found out he was interested in acting, I immediately met with him to discuss his options. When he said how much he enjoyed Cannonball Run and how he would like to star in something like that, I felt that the best move would be to remake it."
"It's been fifteen years since the original and in that time the world has forgotten what it is to laugh at goofy car chase related scenes, except for a brief resurgence in 1984 when we released Cannonball Run II."
Jackie Chan, Roger Moore and Jamie Farr have all signed on to reprise their original roles and Molly Ringwald, Jennie Garth, Neil Patrick Harris, Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer will also appear.
Burt Reynolds, who is rebuilding his career after declaring bankruptcy, will make a cameo appearance as the race organiser.
Filming will commence in January 1998 and the finished movie will hit the cinemas in October.
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