Jeff Daniels Happy With New Movie

Monday, October 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DETROIT (AP) — Jeff Daniels got a little surprise during the premiere of his film ``Escanaba in da Moonlight,'' the saga of a luckless hunter who bags his first buck.

``I was hoping it would be funny, and it was hilarious,'' Daniels said Sunday after the movie's premiere at the Fox Theatre. ``I was very happy with it and very happy with the reaction.''

Profits from the premiere of the movie, written by and starring Daniels, will benefit his theater in Chelsea, a community about 50 miles west of Detroit.

The film is set in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where the first day of deer hunting is sacred. It tells the story of Reuben Soady, who's considered jinxed because he's never shot a buck.

The movie received countless laughs from the thousands in attendance. A particular high point occurred when Daniels' character recounts the story of his uncle, who only managed to shoot a buck while in an outhouse.

Five years after Daniels' ``Escanaba in da Moonlight'' opened as a stage play at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea in 1995, Daniels decided to turn it into a movie.

``You know, I've been to a lot of these,'' Daniels said. ``This one means the most because usually it's just me. ... This time it's just a lot of Michigan people.''