DOC

THE ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT

By Edward Lawson,2014-08-12 19:33
10 views 0
THE ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT ...

    J E R E M Y W A L K E R + A S S O C I A T E S, I N C.

    Matthew Perry

    Lauren Graham

    Ben Foster

    Ginnifer Goodwin

    Hilary Swank

    in

BIRDS OF AMERICA

    Directed by Craig Lucas

    PRESS NOTES

JOURNALISTS PLEASE NOTE: The filmmakers kindly request that you

    avoid revealing the film’s ending in your coverage.

SALES CONTACT: PRESS CONTACT:

    Dina Kuperstock Jeremy Walker + Associates Creative Artists Agency Dan Goldberg st2000 Avenue of the Stars 160 West 71 St,. No. 2A Los Angeles, California 90067 New York, NY 10023 424-288-2000 212-595-6161

    dkuperstock@caa.com dan@jeremywalker.com

     st160 West 71 Street No. 2A New York, New York 10023 Tel 212.595.6161 Fax 212.595.5875

    www.jeremywalker.com

    CAST

    Morrie .......................................... MATTHEW PERRY Betty ............................................ LAUREN GRAHAM Jay ............................................... BEN FOSTER Ida ............................................... GINNIFER GOODWIN Laura ............................................ HILARY SWANK Paul .............................................. GARY WILMES Gillian ........................................... ZOE KRAVITZ

    FILMMAKERS

    Directed by .................................... CRAIG LUCAS Written by ..................................... ELYSE FRIEDMAN Producer ....................................... DANIELA TAPLIN LUNDBERG Producer ....................................... JANA EDELBAUM Producer ....................................... GALT NIEDERHOFFER Producer ....................................... CELINE RATTRAY Executive Producer .......................... JOHN ALLEN Executive Producer .......................... SCOTT HANSON Executive Producer .......................... PAMELA HIRSCH Executive Producer .......................... ED HART Executive Producer .......................... BRUCE LUNSFORD Executive Producer .......................... ERIC GOLDMAN Co-Producer ................................... ELYSE FRIEDMAN Co-Producer ................................... HOLLISE GERSH Co-Producer ................................... ED GERSH Co-Producer ................................... MARILYN HAFT Co-Executive Producer ...................... CHRIS DAVEY Co-Executive Producer ...................... RACHEL COHEN Director of Photography .................... YARON ORBACH Editor ........................................... ERIC KISSACK Production Designer ......................... JOHN NYOMARKAY Original Music ................................ AHRIN MISHAN Costume Designer ............................ HEIDI BIVENS Sound Mixer.................................... JOSH ANDERSON Key Makeup Artist ........................... PERSEFONE KARAKOSTA Key Hair Artist ................................ THEODORA KATSOULOGIANNAKIS

     2

    SYNOPSIS

    Some of our best artists‟ most resonant work has observed that Americans‟ hunger to secure, maintain and defend their status in the mythic middle class can breed all kinds of deep and conflicting feelings among siblings: think Cheever and Franzen, Solondz and Ball and now

    Craig Lucas.

    The title of his new film refers to the iconic Audubon series of engravings coveted by a certain stripe of the American bourgeoisie, an original edition of which the deceased father of the family in question has left, along with a substantial mortgage, to his offspring, led by Morrie (Matthew

    Perry). The oldest, Morrie ended up raising his younger brother Jay (Ben Foster) and kid sister

    Ida (Ginnifer Goodwin) in the same house in which he now lives with his wife, Betty (Lauren

    Graham). Jay‟s life is a dangerous mess and when he and Ida come to live with Morrie and Betty Jay‟s antics highlight the social tightrope they are walking with the picture-perfect couple (Gary

    Wilmes and Hilary Swank) next door.

     3

    TWO BIRDS IN A NEST

    If you spend just a few minutes with Lauren Graham and Matthew Perry you will learn very quickly that they are fast friends and adore one another‟s company.

Imagine the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, where for over a decade Perry shot the TV show Friends

    and also where Graham spent seven years shooting Gilmore Girls. Now imagine, after he moved on

    to the acclaimed Aaron Sorkin drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which was shot not on the Sunset

    Strip but again on the Warner Bros. lot, that Perry suggested a cameo for Graham on an episode of his new show in which she would play herself, a TV actress on a hit show just dropping by the other show‟s set.

All that happened on TV because it also happened in „real life.‟

    You learn this on a rainy Saturday in Beverly Hills, over lunch with Graham and Perry at a lounge in a famous hotel that is near the Sunset strip, a restaurant at which stars who live nearby routinely keep business appointments such as this. Indeed, it was Perry who suggested you meet here, which on this particular afternoon also hosts Reese Witherspoon, Vince Vaughan, „Law & Order‟ creator Dick Wolf and, incongruously, Stephen Dorff in a tuxedo (Dorff, you observe later, is participating in a family wedding).

    Graham arrives a few minutes before Perry and starts to recount how she became involved in BIRDS OF AMERICA.

“I was in New York and full of conflicted feelings about Gilmore Girls coming to an end,” she says.

    “We‟d just shot the final episode and I still hadn‟t even become used to not having to be up at six

    every morning. So I was at dinner in New York when my phone rang with the news that Craig Lucas wanted to meet me the next day. The meeting went great and we started shooting two weeks later.

    “BIRDS OF AMERICA was very different

    from what I‟d been doing,” Graham continues. “Gilmore Girls was very „rat-a-tat-tat,‟ a high energy

    show with lots of language. We‟d shoot nine, ten eleven pages a day, but we always had time

    time to rehearse, talk, prepare. On this movie, we worked insanely quickly: I remember hearing

     4

    „rolling!‟ the second I‟d set foot on set. Now, I‟m not someone who needs a lot of rehearsal but this was like „hey, guys, tell me where we‟re going!‟ I‟d never been in a position where I actually wanted to do more takes; if you love a scene, you don‟t want to let it go. But two, three takes later

    and it‟s like „we‟re moving on!‟”

The talk turns to Graham‟s great speech in BIRDS OF AMERICA, when her character responds to

    a sarcastic question from her husband‟s brother (Ben Foster) about whether she loves her washer-

    dryer.

“One thing I‟ve noticed, now that I‟m out in the world and reading scripts, is that these kinds of

    secondary female parts tend to further the action without commenting on it. With that speech I thought it was really beautiful the way this woman gets to explain to the audience how a new washer dryer made everything whole and clean and fresh in a house and possibly a marriage that

    is otherwise old and breaking down.”

     Graham explains that her friend Matthew Perry was involved with BIRDS OF AMERICA long before she and that making the movie was “a very different process for him. It must have been hard

    for him. Craig comes from the theatre, and --

    Perry arrives. He is friendly and funny and self-deprecating and a bit unkempt. While Graham has shown up in a skirt and jacket, Perry wears jeans and a polo shirt over what looks like the top of a set of long underwear. He admits he looks like he just got out of bed because, well, he did: he is shooting a “major motion picture” right now that had him working until three this morning.

Graham teases Perry: she is usually the late one, and he is always on time. “I was just saying how

    Craig comes from the theatre and how BIRDS was a different process for you.”

“I ended up loving the way Craig works,” Perry says, “but I had to get used to it.”

Graham and Perry explain that Lucas didn‟t allow the actors to talk to each other about their

    characters.

“Usually you sit around with the cast and say, „I‟ll do this, why don‟t you do that thing you do.‟

    You work it out beforehand. That‟s the way we did it for years on Friends.

     5

“We could talk with him,” Perry says of Lucas, “just not each other.”

You have no idea where the scene is going to go,” Graham interjects. “Nothing was familiar, and

    that‟s a very precarious place to be as an actor.”

He wanted me to drop every single shred of charm I usually bring to a role” – here Perry grins

    “and as you can tell, I‟m a pretty charming guy.”

Graham, again: “Anything you think of when you think of Matthew Perry his sarcasm, his natural

    sense of irony Craig would say „don‟t do that.‟”

    “Ultimately it was very freeing,” Perry says. “I had to throw away all of my crutches, all of the things I normally rely on as an actor.”

    You rewind BIRDS OF AMERICA in your mind‟s eye. You recall Perry‟s character, Morrie, as a man who has worried his whole life: about his brother and sister, whom he raised; about paying the mortgage, which he inherited when his father died when they were young; about making tenure, and about plans for children of his own, which he and his wife have put on hold until their future is more certain.

“To use a bad baseball analogy,” Perry continues, “I‟ve always been the pitcher in movies before this,

    the guy who starts all the action. For this one, I am more like the catcher the character is

    completely beaten down by everything and everyone around him.”

    Like Graham, Perry began work on BIRDS OF AMERICA shortly after his series ended, and he was exhausted. Studio 60 was just really hard work,” he says. “Lots and lots of dialog, long hours, and

    on top of it not enough people were watching.” In fact, there was a moment Perry considered

    letting go of the feature, but the quality of the script brought him back.

“It‟s so rare you actually get to the end of a script,” he says. “This one was so emotional and I so

    connected with these people, I couldn‟t bear the idea of it going to someone else. So I think I took

    the fact that I was tired and frustrated by Craig‟s restrictions and put them back into Morrie.”

    BIRDS OF AMERICA was shot in idyllic Norwalk, Connecticut over the course of five weeks, most of it in one main location. Before production began, Lucas staged a table-reading with the cast, only he instructed each actor to read a part that was not their own.

“He wanted us to feel no pressure to act, but rather for us to listen to the language,” Perry says.

It was the first time Perry and Graham had worked with Foster and Goodwin.

    “I had met Ginnifer once,” Graham says, “but not Ben. During production they stayed in Norwalk, and I commuted in from my place in New York, which felt right since my character is related to them by marriage and not blood. It helped me to be more of an outsider. But I think both of them in their own way sort of fell in love with Matthew.”

     6

Adds Perry, “What I immediately learned from meeting them for the first time is that they are very

    serious actors, and I remember thinking „I guess we‟ll really have to pay attention.‟ They were

    really focused on the characters, their motivations, how we would relate to each other. I‟ve done

    whole movies when the cast never talked about that stuff once. They are both really dedicated and

    really fun to work with. Their careers are about to take off.”

    One of the very first scenes Lucas shot had Morrie discovering that his brother is homeless and living in the woods. “It was a total fish out of water experience for me,” Perry recalls. “We were

    in this park behind a baseball field, surrounded by trees and bugs and I‟m in this suit and Ben‟s

    acting like gangbusters. I felt just as unsure and off-balance as the character.”

    He remembers, when he and Goodwin shot the scene in which Ida suggests Morrie ought to try having sex with his wife, that Craig was „all about keeping Ginnifer in motion while I had to stay absolutely still: if I was leaning on my left leg, Craig would tell me to stop.”

Both Perry and Graham observe that it was a supporting actor with a much smaller role Hilary

    Swank that may have shaped their performances the most.

    “This extremely anxious couple is so focused on the future,” Graham says. “Their mentality is, „if we can just get through the next few days, everything will be OK. When Hilary came to shoot her scenes, we were all of course aware that her company helped get this movie made, and we all wanted her to like us! We wanted this huge movie star to think everything was going really well! And those feelings really would have clicked for Morrie and Betty, who share this uniquely American desire for your neighbor‟s approval, the desire to fit in.”

     7

    ABOUT THE CAST

    MATTHEW PERRY - MORRIE

    Although Matthew Perry is best known for his Emmy-

    nominated role as 'Chandler Bing' on Friends, his recent

    projects have brought him critical acclaim for his dramatic

    performances.

    Currently, Perry is in production on the New Line film

    SEVENTEEN directed by Burr Steers (IGBY GOES

    DOWN) and co-starring Zac Efron and Michelle

    Trachtenberg.

    Perry has received Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award

    nominations for his starring role in TNT‟s “The Ron Clark

    Story” which aired on August 13, 2006. Based on a true

    story, Perry stars as Ron Clark, a teacher who leaves his

    hometown in North Carolina to teach in one of New York City‟s worst schools. Clark‟s efforts and his students‟ successes earned him Disney‟s “Teacher of the Year” in 2002. “The Ron Clark Story” was TNT‟s highest-rated original movie since 2004‟s The Librarian.

    Perry was most recently seen starring in NUMB, an independent film directed by Harris Goldberg. The film screened at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and also stars Mary Steenburgen, Kevin Pollak and Lynn Collins. In 2006, Perry returned to series television to star in Aaron Sorkin‟s NBC drama, “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” in a role that was written for him.

    In July 2005, Perry took his talents to the athletic arena as he hosted the 2005 ESPY Awards. The broadcast earned the highest rating in the 12-year history of the ESPYs.

    In 2004, Perry starred alongside Bruce Willis in the Warner Bros. film THE WHOLE TEN YARDS, the sequel to the box office hit THE WHOLE NINE YEARDS in which he also appeared. Perry received critical acclaim once again for his undeniably unique talent for physical comedy. He also received an Emmy nomination in the category of “Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series” for his role as „Joe Quincy‟ on “The West Wing.”

    That same year Perry made his directorial debut with an episode of the off-beat hit comedy “Scrubs.” Perry also guest-starred in the episode playing the role of a man willing to donate a kidney to his ailing father until complications arise. The role of the ailing father was played by John Perry, Matthew real-life father.

Perry‟s feature film debut was in 1988 in A NIGHT IN THE LIFE OF JIMMY REARDON starring

    River Phoenix. In 1999, Perry starred with Neve Campbell, Dylan McDermott and Oliver Platt in THREE TO TANGO. His other feature film credits include ALMOST HEROES with the late Chris Farley and Eugene Levy; FOOLS RUSH IN with Salma Hayek; and SERVING SARA with Elizabeth Hurley.

     8

    Perry realized one of his personal challenges when he made his stage debut in London‟s West End in the spring of 2003 in David Mamet‟s “Sexual Perversity in Chicago.” He co-starred alongside

    Minnie Driver, Hank Azaria and Kelly Reilley. The play broke the record for the largest box-office advance for a West End show.

    Born in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Perry was raised in Ottawa, Canada. At age 15, he moved to Los Angeles to live with his father, actor John Bennett Perry. In addition to performing in several high school stage productions, he was an avid tennis player. He ranked number seventeen nationally in the junior singles category and number three in the doubles competition.

    Matthew continues to support and host the annual gala for the Lili Claire Foundation which raises funds for those born with Williams Syndrome and other neurogenetic birth defects.

     9

    LAUREN GRAHAM BETTY

    Lauren Graham recently completed

    production on FLASH OF GENIUS

    with Greg Kinnear for Universal and

    Spyglass Entertainment.

    Graham garnered critical acclaim for

    her performance as Lorelai Gilmore

    on “Gilmore Girls;” a series on which

    she also served as producer in its final

    season.

    For her work on the show Graham has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress in a Drama Series,” two Screen Actors Guild Awards for “Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series” and two Television Critics Association Awards for “Individual Achievement in Drama and Comedy.” Additionally, she has earned two Teen Choice

    Awards for “Choice Parental Unit,” a “Best Actress” nod from Viewers for Quality Television and was recently honored by Planned Parenthood as a “Champion of Choice” for her work with family issues on and off-screen. In addition to “Gilmore Girls,” Graham‟s list

    of television credits includes parts in “NewsRadio,” “Law & Order,” “Seinfeld” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

Graham‟s additional feature film credits include Universal‟s blockbuster comedy EVAN

    ALMIGHTY, alongside Steve Carell; BECAUSE I SAID SO, opposite Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore; BAD SANTA, with Billy Bob Thornton; THE PACIFIER, opposite Vin Diesel; “THE AMATEURS, opposite Jeff Bridges and Tim Blake Nelson; the thriller NIGHTWATCH, starring Patricia Arquette and Ewan McGregor, and ONE TRUE THING. In 2002, Graham made a notable appearance on stage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival starring in “Once in a Lifetime,” the 1929 comedy about the advent of motion pictures.

    Growing up an avid equestrian in Northern Virginia, she attended Barnard College in New York, where she majored in English. She then earned an M.F.A. in Acting from Southern Methodist University. Graham currently has residences in both New York and Los Angeles.

     10

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email
cust-service@docsford.com