By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated October 15, 2002 10:00 AM
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Haley Joel Osment could use a stronger sixth sense when it comes to selecting his movie roles, it appears.

Following his Oscar-nominated role in the 1999 blockbuster “The Sixth Sense,” the child actor went on to star in the unbearably sentimental “Pay It Forward” — though that did have Kevin Spacey fresh from his “American Beauty” Oscar win — and the difficult-to-digest “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” directed by Steven Spielberg. Since those roles, Osment has done some voicework for the Disney movies “The Country Bears” and “The Jungle Book II.”

Now, reports The Los Angeles Times, the veteran actor, 14, is in a movie that may never see the light of day: “Edges of the Lord,” costarring Willem Dafoe as a priest and featuring Osment as a blond, blue-eyed Jew passing for Gentile during the Nazi invasion of Poland. Miramax acquired the film in 2000, but so far the company has not released it.

The actor’s father, Eugene Osment, admits to his son’s and his own disappointment. “We’re trying to understand — why isn’t this in the theaters?” he tells the Times. “It was a difficult movie to make, but it’s even more painful now because the movie isn’t out there for other people to see.”

Approached by the paper and asked about what is a long list of Miramax-acquired movies that appear to be sitting on the shelf, the company’s chief, Harvey Weinstein, explained: “Sometimes you have to face the fact that some movies are better off on TV or DVD than in a theater. You’re asking a lot of an audience to pay nearly $10 to see a movie, so you don’t want them to feel cheated.”

Granting the fact that a Nazi drama isn’t the most commercial of properties, Weinstein did say, “If the critics would champion ‘Edges of the Lord’ … we’d love to put it out.”

Perhaps he should show it to them.