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November 17, 1987|DEBORAH CAULFIELD and RICK SHERWOOD | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack is the latest director at the helm of "Rainman," the Dustin Hoffman-Tom Cruise project scheduled to start filming in February. Pollack succeeds Martin Brest and Steven Spielberg on the United Artists production, which has been kicking around the studio for almost five years. Brest left due to artistic differences with Hoffman. Spielberg's office said the film maker dropped out because he was dissatisfied with the script and felt that important changes wouldn't be made before production started. Cruise plays a greedy young man who frees his institutionalized brother Hoffman, an idiot savant with total recall. Pollack worked with Hoffman on "Tootsie" in 1982. "Rainman" will be Pollack's first directorial stint since his Oscar-winning "Out of Africa" in 1985.

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