”THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS”
“The Fabulous Baker Boys” is the story of two brothers, cocktail-lounge piano players, who find their lives disrupted when a beautiful young woman joins their failing act and unexpectedly revitalizes their career.
Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges star in the title roles of Jack and Frank Baker, marking the first occasion that the two real-life brothers have acted together in a major motion picture. Michelle Pfeiffer stars as Susie Diamond, the woman who enters and irrevocably changes the lives of ”The Fabulous Baker Boys.”
The film, which combines romance, drama, music and comedy, chronicles the changes in the personal and professional lives of the Baker brothers following the arrival of Susie. Hired to bring a touch of glamour to the duo’s long-established and charmless act, Susie also causes Jack and Frank to examine their relationship to each other and to their music. When Jack and Susie find themselves drawn into a tentative love affair, the changes intensify in the lives of ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” a touching, funny salute to friendship, family and following your dreams.
A three-time Academy Award nominee (“The Last Picture Show,” 1971; “Thunderbolt and Light foot,” 1974, and “Starman,” 1984), Jeff Bridges most recently starred in the title role of Francis Coppola’s ”Tucker The Man and His Dream” and in Alan Pakula’s ”See You in the Morning.” He is currently starring in Peter Bogdanovich’s “Texasville,” the sequel to ”The Last Picture Show.”
The role of Susie Diamond marks the latest in a series of diverse screen characterizations brought memorably to life by Michelle Pfeiffer. One of America’s most sought-after young actresses, she starred in three films during the past year: as the saintly Madame de Tourvel in Stephen Frears’ “Dangerous Liasons,” for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress; as wealthy restauranteur Jo Ann Vallenari in Robert Towne’s drama “Tequila Sunrise,” starring opposite Mel Gibson and Kurt Russell, and as Angela deMarco, the wife of a Maf ia enforcer trying to regain control of her life in Joanthan Demme’s ”Married to the Mob,” for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.
Since making his film debut at age four in ”The Red Pony,” Beau Bridges has portrayed such disparate characters as a wounded soldier who stands up to terrorists in Larry Peerce’s ”The Incident”; cub reporter Ben Hecht in Norman Jewison’s “Gaily, Gaily”; Sonny Webster, the devoted husband who sticks by his controversial wife in Martin Ritt’s ”Norma Rae”; and most recently, a powerful judge who suffers through his wife’s kidnapping in ”Seven Hours to Judgement,” which also marked Bridges’ feature film directorial debut.
A Gladden Entertainment Presentation of a Mirage Production for Twentieth Century Fox release, ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” is written by Steve Kloves (“Racing With the Moon”), who is making his directorial debut with this film. ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” is produced by Paula Weinstein and Mark Rosenberg. Sydney Pollack is the executive producer. Bill Finnegan co-produces the picture, which was filmed in Los Angeles and Seattle. Among the distinguished production team are director of photography Michael Ballhaus (“Broadcast News,” “Working Girl”) , production designer Jeffrey Townsend (“After Hours”) , film editor William Steinkamp (“Tootsie,” ”Out of Africa”) and costume designer Lisa Jensen (“Mannequin”) . . The music is by Dave Grusin, a five-time Academy Award nominee who won the Oscar f or Best Original Score for ”The Milagro Bean field War.”
History of the Project
In the spring of 1985, screenwriter Steve Kloves, fresh f ron seeing his script “Racing With The Moon” realized as a motion picture, sold his next work, ”The Fabulous Baker Boys,” to producers Paula Weinstein and Gareth Wigan of WW Productions. They in turn made a deal with Mark Rosenberg, then president of worldwide production at Warmer Bros. , to make the film.
Several years later, as often happens in Hollywood, WW Productions had disbanded and Weinstein was named executive consultant to the worldwide film division of MGM by chairman and CEO Alan Ladd, Jr. , with whom she had previously been associated at The Ladd Company. Rosenberg had since left Warners to form Mirage Productions in partnership with producer-director Sydney Pollack. Weinstein approached Mirage, who quickly and happily agreed to partner in the project at Metro. When Ladd left MGM, the producing partners looked for a new berth for their project, which now had siblings Jeff and Beau Bridges lined up to star.
Three years after the screenplay was first acquired for production, the picture was greenlighted by Gladden Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox with Kloves directing.
”What initially appealed to me about Steve’s script,” says Rosenberg, “was the incredibly well-observed, high quality of the writing. I had not read dialogue like that in many years. Also, the fact that the story was a love story between brothers. I was wild about the character of Susie Diamond and loved the idea of making a quasi-musical.”
For Sydney Pollack, too, it was the writing which first attracted him to the project. ”It was always a script that was fresh, original, full of talent –and eccentric in its own positive way. It had an understatement to it. The first thing that struck me was its sense of atmosphere, mood and leanness. Steve is a minimalist, and there is something extremely evocative in the understatedness of the way he writes , ”
Paula Weinstein, who had known Kloves since before “Racing With The Moon,” felt that ”here is a full-blown writer who understands people and who understands how to write f or the screen using few words to evoke every feeling. What amazed me when I put the script down was that had anyone read a line to me later, I would have known immediately which character had said it. There was a uniqueness of voice to each of Steve’s characters.”
Initially it was decided to have a more experienced filmmaker direct. However, as Rosenberg recalls: “Over the course of the three years, Steve became a close friend of Paula’s and mine, and what we perceived was a kind of esthetic judgement, an unflagging ability to know what he wants, and a level of taste that led us to believe that he should direct his screenplay. That Steve at the age of 23 had written a story with elements, feelings, emotions and characteristics well beyond his years, made us sense he might be somebody special. There is something in Steve that allows him to see, in cinematic language, the drama he wrote — a kind of camera in his brain.”
Says Weinstein: “Steve doesn’t write in paragraphs, in a literary way. He writes for actors, leaving room for them to act, so it’s not hard to have faith if someone like that wishes to direct.”
And so, four years after initiating a deal for ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” as the screenwriter, Kloves saw his dream of directing his script become a reality.
”The entertainment business perse doesn’t interest me,” says Kloves, recalling the origins of the screenplay and the film, ”but the Baker Boys are really blue-collar entertainers. They’re like guys who work in a Ford factory who put on bumpers 350 days a year, because they play the same songs 250 nights a year. There’s a certain generation where everyone’s mother gave them piano lessons, and it came as a kind of curse, because if they really did love it, there’s no place to do it, other than lounges.
“Obviously Jack and Frank are two brothers who took piano lessons together from the time they were very young. And I think they’ve known each other so long that they no longer know each other. It takes another person to come in and shake them up. Because when you’ve known someone that long, you almost don’t see him anymore –you make up your own caricature of him. It takes someone else to come in and shed a new light, and that’s Susie.”
When Kloves was imagining a cast for his movie, Jeff Bridges was his first choice for the role of Jack Baker, and after meeting with Jeff ‘s brother, Beau Bridges, he knew he had found his ”Baker Boys.” Michelle Pfeiffer, a friend, had read the script soon after it was written and had expressed interest in portraying Susie, and so ”I was able to get exactly what I wanted,” explains the young writer-director.
“Jeff , for me, is like the old-time actors who you never know are acting; he’s seamless –you just never see him working at it. Once we started rehearsals, the natural camaraderie he has with Beau came across perfectly. Beau has the most wonderful knack of making memorable moments out of simple gestures. And Michelle is the icing on the cake. Her ‘Susie Diamond’ is right on the mark –and she is a wonderful singer. Michelle is an actress with unlimited range.”
“I personally think it’s one of the greatest female roles I’ve ever read,” adds producer Rosenberg. ”It .always reminded me, in an odd way, of Marilyn Monroe in ‘Some Like It Hot.’ Susie is the motor of the piece — a woman who knows the world, has a bit of cynicism, has been hurt before. Her relationship with Jack is a kind of minuet between two people who don’t want to go through the pain of a love affair and do anyway. But as Michelle plays her, she’s so spicy, so colorful and full of life that even Jack, dispirited as he is, has to perk up and pay attention.”
“Susie’s a wise lady,” comments Sydney Pollack. “I think she’s wiser than she’s able to articulate, and she intuits a lot. She creates a kind of raw situation among the three of them that forces the two brothers to confront an unspoken emotional distance that has grown between them.”
For Michelle Pfeiffer, Susie Diamond “is one of the most alive characters that I’ve played. She’s kind of a life force, and there’s something of the gypsy about her. She’s a purely emotional creature, which `gets her into trouble, but she’s also smart –trashy, cocky and real smart. She’s not afraid to take risks, and she doesn’t lie to herself . If she makes a mistake, she doesn’t blame anybody else. There’s a purity in her honesty that I really respect.”
”The role of Frank Baker had all the elements I look for when reading a script,” says Beau Bridges. ”I like humor, even in tragedies, because I think that happens in real life. I think this is a growth process for Frank. When we first meet him, he enjoys his work because it allows him to support his family and he’s proud of that: He and his brother have been playing piano together for over thirty years, so there’s a consistency to his life. He’s concerned about his brother, sees himself sort of as his brother’s keeper, and part of the growth in the movie is when he realizes just how much he loves his brother, how much Jack means to him, and also how much he needs to let him go.
”One of the things that interested me is that you don’t hear these brothers telling each other how wonderful they are –they tell other people. There’s such a closeness, and sometimes when you get that close, you stop communicating – you figure, ‘Who needs to talk anymore.’ But that’s not true. For one thing, when there’s such a strong family bond, you can get stif led to the point of losing your own identity, and I think that’s also part of the story –particularly when it comes to Jack’s situation.”
Explains Kloves, ”Frank has a life beyond the lounges. He’s married, he has two children and a house in the suburbs. He’s a real 9-to-5er in a sense, whereas Jack has nothing. He lives in a ratty apartment with a sick dog; one of the few relationships he has is with a little girl who lives upstairs and takes refuge in his apartment while her mother ‘entertains. ‘ When he works he plays completely by rote – he’s nearly comatose. It’s only the few times that he escapes to the jazz club and can play from his soul that he becomes alive. And Susie recognizes that.”
”You know, we really can control our destiny,” comments Jeff Bridges. ”It’s just that sometimes the choices seem overpowering. Steve once said about Jack that he had two things in his life, music and sex. To keep his creative juices at bay, Jack has made a second career of being a ladies’ man. Then he meets Susie, someone who can put him up against the wall — someone who makes him take a good hard look at his life and face how empty it is. Susie really sees through Jack Baker, and that appeals to him in a way.
”Jack is very complicated. What you don’t see at first is that he’s also frightened –he’s terrified of getting close and becoming committed to anyone or anything. He’s even, in some strange way, afraid of his talent: If he doesn’t succeed, he can’t fail.”
Says Steve Kloves: “Susie and Frank are really very similar, because Frank never lets anything defeat him, and Susie is the same way. They both have a strength that Jack does not possess. And Susie sizes Jack up as a loser right away. She’s a former escort girl, where her whole job was to size up guys, and she can read this guy a mile away. Then she hears this incredible beauty coming out of him when she walks down to the ballroom and overhears him playing things he never plays on stage.
“So she’s willing to give it a chance, because she’s always willing to take a chance. But she regrets it almost immediately, because it means the act is over.”
“This is a story about brothers who come to terms with the limitations of their own lives,” says producer Pollack. ”These guys are not going to be famous or world-class on any level. Susie is the catalyst, moving in and out of their lives. Inadvertently, she creates a type of peace between them, a coming to terms with who they are.”
”And yet,” continues Weinstein, ”these are people who actually, without ever talking about it, have great insight about themselves. And that’s what is revealed, like peeling off layers of an onion, all the way through the movie. It’s like a Greek theatre. Each character has his distinct voice –an aria, if you will. And without each other, they couldn’t survive. ”
The casting for ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” was inspired on another level as well, for this is the first time that brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges have appeared together professionally. The sons of noted actor Lloyd Bridges, they did, at ages 16 and 24 respectively, rent a flatbed truck and drive to various supermarket parking lots throughout Los Angeles, sulrmon a crowd with a bullhorn and enact scenes from Nell Simon’s “Come Blow Your Horn.” They have not worked together since, despite the fact that they were once referred to as ”the most promising talents and appealing movie brothers since Groucho, Harpo and Chico.” (Well-known director Hal Ashby died during the production of “Baker Boys.” A curious but sad side note is the I act that Beau Bridges starred in Ashby’s first film, ”The Landlord,” while Jeff starred in his last, “8 Million Ways to Die.”)
”One of the things that’s interesting about the characters of Jack and Frank Baker is that they are dif ferent in many of the same ways that my brother Jeff and I are,” notes Beau Bridges. ”The obvious thing that attracted me to the role was the opportunity of working with Jeff . I think the best way to do that, as brothers, is to take advantage of who we are to each other.”
”Of course,” says younger brother Jeff , ”the fact that we’re playing brothers –that’s about as real-life as you can get. We have all that history that goes beyond language, all those experiences we’ve shared. And there are things that we’re probably working on from our subconscious that we’re not even aware of . Of course, it’s made for some riotous moments on the set.
”It’s been a little strange for me as an actor, because normally in the process of making a movie, I’m still discovering the character all the way through the shooting. The real-life element in this film throws a monkey wrench into that process. On the other hand, we’ve both been drawing on the same memories, and how often do you get to cash in on that?”
Director Kloves concurs wholeheartedly: ”I’m amazed that I’m the first to ever cast them together, and delighted that I got the opportunity to do that. It’s been fascinating to watch them work together, because the character moments, the way Jeff and Beau are together physically, is wonderful. And they’re both just tremendous actors.”
”Jeff and I both had the same teacher, my dad,” says Beau. “One of the main lessons he taught us was: ‘Before anything else, your responsibility is to tell the truth. Go. with your heart and gut instinct and let that be the statement, because anything else is going to be a lie and people will recognize` that. ‘ ”
“Working on this film,” says Jeff , ”reminds me of the days when Beau and I would create and improvise shows on the flatbed truck. It’s been fun playing together like that again, and Michelle has been so terrific to work with. Beau and I like to surprise each other during scenes, and it turns out Michelle likes to work that way, too.”
”I thought it might be a problem working opposite brothers,” Pfeiffer comments. ”1 was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to connect as quickly or solidly as I would want to. But they have been the best. It’s been like playing with really good ball players — whatever I threw at them, they threw it back to me. And that helps me because it encourages me to be spontaneous — knowing that if I really go out there on a ledge, they’ ” be there for me.”
Steve Kloves, she says, ”was always so open to new ideas. He doesn’t believe that anything is trivial. One day I said that I thought I should be eating caviar in a scene, and Steve and Wally our prop man caLme up with it. Any small thing, any small movement, any small piece of business is important to him. We’ve got kids, we’ve got dogs, we’ve got pianos, we’ve got playback –it’s amazing what we have in this movie, and he hasn’t compromised once.”
“A great thing about Steve,” says Beau Bridges, “is that he doesn’t feel overly protective of his own vision. He sees everything as teamwork, which, to an actor, is very important ,
”When you respect a director as much as I do Steve,” adds Jeff Bridges, “you want to please him and give him his vision, so if I’m not entirely comfortable with a piece of dialogue, ” “I think about it before I change it. I try to make it work because of ten that very thing that makes you uncomfortable can be a key to the scene, can be that thing that separates you from the character.”
As for Steve Kloves, the choice is very easy. On the set, directing from his own script, what does the writer in him say about the action? ”He’s not allowed on the set,” laughs the writer-director.
One of the more intricate aspects of ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” was the music. Jeff and Beau Bridges, who had both studied piano as young boys, spent several months in pre-production learning how to play the songs that are included in the script.
“All the songs in the film are Steve’s idea –from the pieces the Baker Boys play in their act to the songs that are sung at the auditions. He knew exactly what he wanted,” recalls Paula Weinstein.
”I never wanted to compromise the music,” explained Steve Kloves. ”These songs were chosen because they’re accurate for lounges as they are today. They also reflect the characters, I think –especially Frank’s character. They’re the songs he would think of as hip, and of course, they’re not at all.
”Dave Grusin did a magnificent job putting it all together. It’s not something that most people will pick up on, but when Jack and Frank play, each man has a different personality in the way he plays. Jack is much more complicated, while Frank is very straightforward, by the numbers . ”
”To help the guys with the technical aspects of the piano playing,” says Dave Grusin, ”John Hammond and I laid down tracks of the songs while a video player recorded the way our hands looked. Jeff and Beau worked for months learning not only the notes and how to play the tunes, but also how they would appear to an onlooker. Both Jeff and Beau are such perfectionists that we had piano keyboards in their trailers, and during the entire shoot they would practice.
“With the song I wrote for Jeff, ‘Jack’s Theme,’ which is supposed to be something that Jack works on throughout the film, I had enormous input from Steve Kloves. He’s a big fan of that type of jazz piano and knows a great deal about the genre, so it was easy talk to him and figure out what he wanted to hear, because we both had the same frame of reference .
“Once ‘Jack’s Theme’ was written, I made a version of it for solo piano and another with a jazz trio. Then we went to the script and started pulling it apart, figuring out which sections of the music Jack would be ‘noodling’ in which scenes of the movie. Also, for certain scenes we needed to know how long it would take the camera to get to him and how much of the piece he could play in that time.”
An accomplished musician (guitar) and composer, Jeff Bridges has written more than seventy songs, one of which he sang for the Quincy Jones soundtrack of the film ”John and Mary.” ”A great thing about my job,” says Jeff Bridges, ”is that I get to do things that maybe in my normal 1if e I wouldn’t do –one of those things is playing the piano. Playing this character is allowing me to live out a dream.”
”It had been years since I sang,” Michelle Pfeiffer explains, ”and even then I was never a professional singer. I hadn’t had a voice lesson in about seven years, so two months before we started shooting this movie, I started taking lessons. I was terrified.”
According to her voice coach, Sally Stevens, ”Michelle has a very, very good musical instinct — also a good sense of rhythm and phrasing. One of the areas we worked on together was the phrasing for the songs which Steve Kloves had selected for the film. Michelle wasn’t familiar with some of the older jazz standards. Her frame of reference was more the popular music from ten years ago or so, so we worked on getting her away from pronunciation which would have pegged it as a rock version of the song.”
”You know,” Pfeiffer adds, ”those older songs were written for singers; they weren’t written for guitars, synthesizers and drums, so the phrasing is very different. I had to work really hard to change my style — it was an entirely new way of listening to songs.
”Aside from doing the exercises to strengthen my voice, because you really do need strength for those ballads, I listened to a lot of different singers to hear how their performance was different from what I had been attempting. Once I trained my ear, I started hearing what they were doing. You can’t really appreciate what singers like Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington or someone more contemporary like Rickie Lee Jones do with a song until you try it yourself . And I had to make Susie look and sound like a professional.”
”Michelle is very brave,” comments Stevens. ”She was singing these songs in a very exposed way — no strings or lush orchestrations to hide behind, just a piano. She worked ten hours a day in the studio and then took the tapes home with her to study them. I also suspect that her enormous talent as an actress overlapped her preparations as a singer. She can be very proud of her vocal work in the film. She found her nuance, her direction, and went full-steam ahead.”
”The music,” says Sydney Pollack (who has worked with Dave Grusin on five previous films) , ”shows the limitations of the brothers’ piano act, which is necessary for the truth of the story. The temptation always is to make it too good. But Frank and Jack as a duo have a kind of corny sound that twin pianos often have, and I think Dave has made the music good enough to be enjoyable, and corny enough to be fun.”
Principal photography began December 5, 1988, in Los Angeles at the Ambassador Hotel, the home of the worldfamous Coconut Grove nightclub, which was used for several scenes in the film. Situated on 23 prime real-estate acres, with a history which includes moments from Hollywood’s glamorous past as well as the darker day an assassin’s bullet forever changed the nation, the hotel was shuttered shortly after the production vacated the premises.
Although the film’s story is set in Seattle, Washington, the producers chose to film mainly in Los Angeles to avoid the Pacific Northwest’s hotoriously inclement weather. For production designer Jeffrey Townsend and location manager Robin Citrin, this posed an interesting set of problems. ”One of the key things we had to watch for,” says Citrin, ”was that nothing which remotely suggests Southern California appear in frame. We found several locations which might have been perfect, except for the top of a palm tree visible in the distance . ”
With a crew that ranged from 50 to 75 people, the company zig-zagged across the Los Angeles Basin for two months, a travelling film studio with all the equipment, personnel and transportation carriers that the image implies. For most of the shoot, each location was for one day only, which means that unlike a circus which comes to town for a week at a time, the ”Baker Boys” troupe pulled down its tents and slipped away at the end of each day, only a memory to the area’s residents.
Offering locations that ranged from downtown Los Angeles’ courtly Biltmore Hotel (site of the founding banquet for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927) and Variety Arts Theatre (a 1923 Italian Renaissance building recently designated an historical landmark) , to one of the city’s better-loved delicatessens in the Fair fax district, to a Pasadena piano showroom originally built as a roller rink during World War 11, to Hollywood’s newest renovation, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (which boasts the only public pool in the world painted with a mural by renowned British artist David Hockney) , the “City of Angels” easily doubled for Seattle. According to co-producer Bill Finnegan, doubling Los Angeles for almost anywhere ”is never that much of a problem. Steve very clef initely saw his characters and visualized the locales when he was writing the script, which made the process somewhat easier. ”
Adds Academy Award-nominated director of photography Michael Ballhaus: ”When Steve and I had our first meeting, he asked me how I felt the movie should look. I told him, ”It’s all there, it’s all in your script,” because his script was so visual that I could translate it easily into images. The entire atmosphere of each scene was already there in the writing . ”
”Steve is the perfect director to design for,” says production designer Jeffrey Townsend, ”because he knows his story and his characters inside out. He has a good visual sense — you can bounce ten ideas at once off him, and the only ones that will stick are the ones that resonate with the story.
“One of the things that intrigued me when I f irst read the script was that if it weren’t for the specific song choices and a few words of dialogue, this movie could be taking place anytime from the Forties to the present. I sensed from Steve that it was the characters’ dreams that were of another generation –that Susie’s idea of being a singer is more from her mother’s record collection than from a contemporary sound, and that what Jack and Frank have been aspiring to, ever since they were children, is something their parents pictured for them, rather than something they desired. All of .that is a source f or the underlying tension in the story, which is that these people are not keeping pace with reality.
”What we tried to do, without beating anybody over the head with it, is to suggest in the succession of lounges that these are the dank little clubs they have always played and that they probably look the same as when they were first booked into them — fifteen or twenty years behind in the decor, with years of drinks spilled on the carpets and smoke-infested upholstery. Once Susie joins them, suddenly we see a little more outdoors –windows overlooking ponds, greenery, trees and rooms on higher floors of buildings.”
An emotional self -exile, Jack Baker lives in a kind of netherworld of tuxedos and glamorous hotels that he can’t afford to frequent. His apartment needed to be an easy walk to the hotels where he and Frank had their gigs, and it had to reflect his seedy, alienated lifestyle. It also had to be a place where a man could play the piano to his heart’s content at all hours of the day or night.
The perfect site was found on the third floor of Masin’s Furniture Store. Three flights up was a little-used warehouse which the art department transformed into Jack’s “pad,” complete with bricked walls, room for a grand piano and a fire-escape window overlooking Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square .
About The Cast. . .
Jeff Bidges (Jack Baker) made his first motion picture appearance in 1950 when he was four months old, in the arms of
Jane Greer in “The Company She Keeps.” He co-starred with Greer again in 1984 in the remake of ”Out of the Past,” Taylor
Hackford’s “Against All Odds” with Rachel Ward.
Born in Los Angeles, Bridges attended University High School there, then journeyed east to study acting at the Berghoff Studio in New York City. From 1968 to 1975 he fulf illed a military service requirement in the Coast Guard reserve .
In 1969 Bridges made his feature f ilm debut in ”Halls of Anger.” His next film, ”The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go,” written and directed by Burgess Meredith, was shot on location in Hong Kong. He then returned to America and Texas for ”The Last Picture Show” and his first Academy Award nomination (for Best Supporting Actor ih 1971) .
John Huston directed Bridges in the 1972 film ”Fat City,” in which he co-starred with Stacy Reach. In 1974 his second Oscar nomination came f or his perf ormance in a supporting role opposite Glint Eastwood in ”Thunderbolt and Light foot,” Michael Cimino’s writing and directing debut.
Among his other starring roles are the remake of “King Kong,” “Somebody Killed Her Husband,” “Stay Hungry,” ”Kiss Me Goodbye” and Robert Benton’s writing and directing debut, ”Bad Company.”
Bridges was one of the principals in Cimino’s ”Heaven’s Gate” and a computer-game jockey in “Tron,” and has also appeared in Ivan Passer’s critically acclaimed ”Cutter’s Way,” “Winter Kills” and ”Success” (both by William Richert) and Thomas MCGuane’s ”Rancho Deluxe.” Bridges’ more recent screen roles include “Against All Odds,” ”Starman” (which earned him his third Oscar nomination, as Best Actor, for his portrayal of the Earth-bound alien) , “Jagged Edge” opposite Glenn Close, ”The Morning After” opposite Jane Fonda and directed by Sidney Lumet, and the late Hal Ashby’s film noir ”8 Million Ways to Die.” In 1987 Bridges starred opposite Kin Basinger in Robert Benton’s Texas-based comedic love story, ”Nadine.”
The actor’s most recent appearances were in Francis Coppola’s ”Tucker The Man and His Dream,” in which Bridges played the title role, and ”See You in the Morning,” directed by Alan Pakula, in which he co-starred with Farrah Fawcett and Alice Krige. He is currently filming “Texasville,” Peter Bogdanovich’s sequel to ”The Last Picture Show.”
An accomplished musician and composer, Bridges lives with his wife and three children in Santa Monica. In his spare time, he works on behalf of many humanitarian causes, most notably Project Concern and the End Hunger Network.
Michelle Pfeiffer (Susie Diamond) , a native of Orange County just outside Los Angeles, became interested in acting when she took theatre classes at Fountain Valley High School. On the advice of a friend, she entered and won a local beauty contest, and although she didn’t win the title of Miss Orange County, she did get an agent.
The actress landed her f irst prof essional role on the television series ”Delta House.” One month later, she made her feature film debut in “Falling in Love Again.”
Pfeiffer next co-starred as Suzie-Q, the carhop in “Hollywood Knights,” and as a debutante in “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen.” She later won a nationwide talent search and the singing role of the “Pink Lady” in “Grease 2.” Her television film roles included a floozy haunted by her past in “Callie and Son” and Jenny in “Splendor in the Grass.”
Between film assignments, Pfeiffer portrayed a feminist student in the Los Angeles theatre production of “Playground in the Fall”
The actress made a resounding impression in her next film role, as AI Pacino’s icy bride in ”Scarface.” That film was followed in quick succession by Richard Donner’s “Ladyhawke,” a medieval fantasy filmed in Italy; ”Into the Night” opposite Jeff Goldblum, directed by John Landis, and the dual role of actress Faith Healy and her screen counterpart, American Revolutionary patriot Mary Slocum, in ”Sweet Liberty,” directed by and starring Alan Alda.
The actress was next cast by George Miller as one of three friends who work their supernatural charms on Jack Nicholson in ”The Witches of Eastwick.” In 1988 she starred as a Mafia enforcer’s wife who is dismayed to find that she is ”Married to the Mob” in Jonathan Demme’s acclaimed comedy, a role which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. She also won praise I ron critics for her portrayals of a cool-headed business-woman in love with Mel Gibson and Kurt Russell in Robert Towne’s “Tequila Sunrise,” and of the saintly Madame de Tourvel in Stephen Frears’ “Dangerous Liasons,” starring opposite Glenn Close and John Malkovich. That performance won her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Beau Bridges (Frank Baker) made his stage debut while still a toddler in a production of ”A11 My Sons.” A short time later, director Lewis Milestone gave the youngster a small part in the film ”The Red Pony,” with Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy.
After graduating from high school in Los Angeles, Bridges spent six months in the Coast Guard as a member of the Reserve Unit. He attended UCLA for two and a half years, transferred to the University of Hawaii and finally decided that acting was the profession that best suited him.
Beginning with small parts in feature films and in more than eighty television shows, he played his first adult role in a feature film in Larry Peerce’s ”The Incident” in 1967. He next co-starred with Sidney Poitier in “For Love of Ivy” and portrayed Ben Hecht as a cub reporter in Norman Jewison’s “Gaily, Gaily.” Bridges starred in Hal Ashby’s first film, ”The Landlord,” then teamed with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in “Harrmersmith is Out.” He has played an athletic coach in Sidney Lunet’s ”Child’s Play,” the boyfriend of an ill-fated skiing champion in ”The Other Side of the Mountain,” Richard Pryor’s buddy in “Greased Lightning” and Sally Field’s
husband in ”Norma Rae.”
Bridges has worked with some of the industry’s most respected directors, including John Schlesinger ( “Honky-Tonk Freeway”) , Delbert Mann (“Night Crossing”) , Jonathan Kaplan (“Heart Like a Wheel”) and More recently, the actor starred in ”The Killing Time” with Kiefer Sutherland and Wayne Rogers and ”Iron Triangle” opposite Haing S. Ngor.
Only recently, Bridges branched out to directing. To date he has directed three movies for television and two f or theatrical release, doubling as an actor in four of them. He made his theatrical directing debut with ”The Wild Pair,” in which he co-starred with his father, Lloyd Bridges, as well as his sons, Casey and Dylan –certainly one of the few times, if not the only time, that three generations of a family had appeared in a motion picture. Bridges’ son Casey worked behind the scenes in ”Seven Hours to Judgment,” which Bridges directed and starred in for Transworld Entertainment. Bridges also directed his son Jordan in the Disney television f ilm “Thanksgiving Promise,” which was the highest-rated Disney television film ever broadcast. other television directing credits include the After School Special ”Don’t Touch,” which was nominated for an Emmy.
In addition to his film career, Bridges has continued to appear both on television and on the stage. Among his television f ilms and/or “Special” credits are “The Four Feathers” (which was released theatrically overseas) , ”The Man Without a Country,” ”The President’s Mistress,” “Medical Story,” “Behind the Iron Mask,” ”Witness for the Prosecution,” “Stubby Pringle’s Christmas,” ”The Child Stealers,” the mini-series “Space,” the weekly series ”United States” (written by Larry Gelbart) and an “Amazing Stories” episode directed by Glint Eastwood. He recently finished ”One for Sorrow, Two for Joy,” an American Playhouse presentation for airing on PBS, co-starring Vincent D’Onofrio.
Bridges has appeared on Broadway in ”Where’s Daddy?”, written by Willialn Inge, and ”Who’s Who in Hell,” written by Peter Ustinov. His other stage credits include the original production of ”The Trial of the Catonville Nine” f or Los Angeles’s Mark Taper Forum and ”Narrow Escape,” an Equity-waiver presentation he directed, which featured his mother, Dorothy.
Married and the father of four children, Bridges makes his home in Los Angeles, California
About The Filmmakers. . .
Steve Kloves made his professional writing debut in 1984 with “Racing With The Moon,” directed by Richard Benjamin and
starring Sean Penn, Elizabeth MCGovern and Nicolas Cage.
Born in Austin, Texas, Kloves relocated with his family to California when he was two years old. Upon graduating from high school, he moved from Northern California to Los Angeles, where he briefly attended college, dropping out after a year and a half to pursue screenwriting. “Racing With The Moon” was his third script and the first to become a film.
His next screenplay was ”The Fabulous Baker Boys,” a film he says ”1 always knew I wanted to direct.”
On December 5, 1988, that wish became a reality.
Paula Weinstein started her career in the late Sixties and early Seventies working as an apprentice and later assistant film editor in New York. She then took a position with the of f ice of New York Mayor John Lindsay as special events director, bringing plays, ballet and street festivals to the city’s various communities.
After working as a talent agent for International Famous Agency, International Creative Management and the William Morris Agency, she joined Warmer Bros. as a vice president of production, overseeing such films as ”The Late Show,” starring Art Carney and Lily Tomlin. Weinstein moved to Twentieth Century Fox, where she soon became a senior vice president of worldwide production. While at Fox, she played a key role in the production of such films as ”9 to 5″ and ”Brubaker.”
In 1979 Weinstein joined The Ladd Company, Alan Ladd, Jr. ‘s, newly formed independent production company. After overseeing such productions as “Body Heat,” which marked the directorial debut of Lawrence Kasdan, she moved to United Artists in 1981 to become president of the motion picture division. While at United Artists, she supervised all production, which included ”WarGames” and ”Yentl.”
In 1983 Weinstein went into independent production with Columbia Pictures. Soon after, she teamed up with producer
Gareth Wigan to form WW Productions. Under the WW banner, they produced “American Flyers” for Warmer Bros. , starring Kevin Costner and directed by John Badham, and “Illegally Yours,” starring Rob Lowe and directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
In 1987 Weinstein was named executive consultant to the worldwide film division of MGM by chairman and CEO Alan Ladd, Jr. Her third film is the current ”A Dry White Season,” starring Donald Sutherland, Susan Sarandon and Marlon Brando in his first screen performance in eight years.
Weinstein continues to work on several projects under her own banner at MGM. Some of these include a film about the life of photographer Diane Arbus, to be directed by Doris Dorrie, and the American screen adaptation of Dorrie’s German film “Men,” starring Richard Dreyfuss, which she is producing with partner Bernie Brillstein. In addition, she is partnered at Warmer Bros. with the Hawn Sylbert Company on ”Babe West,” to star Goldie Hawn.
She was married in 1984 to producer Mark Rosenberg. The couple live in Santa Monica, California.
Sydney Pollack’s films have received 43 Academy Award nominations, including four for Best Picture. Pollack himself has been nominated three times, and in 1985 ”Out of Africa,” which he both produced and directed, won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. His 1982 film “Tootsie” won the producer-director the New York Film Critic’s Award, the NATO Director of the Year Award and prizes at the Moscow, Taormina, Brussels, Belgrade and San Sebastian Film Festivals .
Mark Rosenberg was born in Passaic, New Jersey, in 1948. He attended Bard College and the University of Wisconsin. A political activist between 1966 and 1971, Rosenberg first became involved with movies as a f ilm critic and editor of the Universit Review Ma azine in 1971 and 1972.
After moving to California in 1973, Rosenberg worked brief ly for Seiniger and Associates Advertising before becoming a literary agent at International Famous Agency and later International Creative Management. In 1975 he joined Adams, Ray and Rosenberg as a literary agent representing such directors and writers as John Badham, Paul Brickman, David Seltzer and Alvin Sargent.
Rosenberg joined Warner Bros. in 1978 and spent over eight years as a senior production executive of the worldwide theatrical production division, playing a key role in the production of such films as ”Time After Time,” ”The World According to Garp,” “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes,” the James Bond film ”Never Say Never Again,” and the Academy Award-winning ”The Killing Fields.” In 1983 he was promoted to president of Warmer Bros. Theatrical Production Division.
In 1985 Rosenberg resigned his post at Warner Bros. to partner with producer-director Sydney Pollack in Mirage Productions. The first film the two produced under this banner was the 1987 United Artists release “Bright Lights, Big City,” adapted from Jay Mclnerney’s acclaimed novel. The film starred Michael J. Fox and was directed by James Bridges. Next came the hit baseball comedy “Major League,” written by Academy Award-winning writer David S. Ward (“The Sting”) and starring Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen.
On Mirage’s production slate for 1989, also to be produced by the Pollack-Rosenberg team, are ”White Palace” from Glenn Savan’s novel, directed by Luis Mandoki (“Gaby”) , and “Presumed Innocent,” starring Harrison Ford, which is adapted from the best-selling novel by Scott Turow, currently under the direction of Alan J. Pakula (“Klute,” “Sophie’s Choice,” ”All the President’s Men”).
In 1984, Rosenberg married film producer Paula Weinstein. The couple make their home in Santa Monica, California.
Co-producer Bill Finnegan returns to the feature film arena with ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” following a successful career in television.
Finnegan is partnered with his wife, Pat Finnegan, and Sheldon Pinchuk in the Finnegan-Pinchuk Company, a leading supplier of quality television projects and series. The company most recently has been involved with the television series “Molly Dodd,” “Baby Boom” and the upcoming ”Dream Street.” The Finnegan-Pinchuk Company also produced the Emmy-nominated ”The Dollmaker,” starring Jane Fonda; ”Gore Vidal’s Lincoln”; “King,” and ”Hawaii Five-O.”
Prior to starting the television company, Finnegan served in various executive production capacities. Among the major feature films he supervised were “Bobby Deer field,” starring AI Pacino and directed by Sydney Pollack. In addition, he supervised “Little Big Man,” starring Dustin Hoffman, and “A Man Called Horse,” starring Richard Harris. Producing credits include the James Garner film “Support Your Local Gunf ighter” for United Artists, ”North Shore” for Universal and “The Night of the Creeps” for Tri-Star.
Finnegan is a charter member and served on the board of directors of the Producer’s Guild and is a member and former board member of the Director’s Guild of America, as well as a member of both the Writer’s Guild and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Director of photography Michael Ballhaus has photographed films for some of the most celebrated directors in Europe and the United States.
Born in Berlin, Ballhaus spent two years studying photography to learn the basics of lighting, lenses and composition before entering the movie business. In collaboration with Rainer Werner Fassbinder, he shot fifteen films, including ”The Marriage of Maria Braun.” He also worked with Margarethe von Trotta (“Sheer Madness”) , Volker Schlondorff (“Just For the Fun of It”) and Peter Lilienthal on four films, including ”Dear Mr. Wonderful.”
In 1982 Ballhaus crossed the Atlantic and began working with American directors. His first American feature was John Sayles’ “Baby It’s You.” He followed that with “Reckless,” ”Old Enough” and ”Heartbreakers.” He has worked three times with Martin Scorsese, on ”After Hours,” “The Color of Money” and ”The Last Temptation of Christ.” After “The Color of Money,” Paul Newman hired Ballhaus to photograph his feature adaptation of ”The Glass Menagerie.” Ballhaus’s work on James L. Brooks’ “Broadcast News” brought him an Oscar nomination in 1987. More recently, he shot Mike Nichols’ “Working Girl” and Frank Oz’s “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”
Ballhaus now makes his home in New York City. His sons Florian and Sebastian are both pursuing careers in film. On ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” Florian served as first assistant cameraman while Sebastian was a production assistant. In addition, Florian’s wife, Pan Katz, was second assistant cameraman.
Following his work on ”The Fabulous Baker Boys,” Ballhaus was reunited with director Martin Scorsese on ”Good Fellas.” He is currently reunited with director Mike Nichols on the film version of Carrie Fisher’s “Postcards From the Edge,” starring Meryl Streep.
Production designer Jeffrey Townsend briefly attended Bennington College, the Rhode Island School of Design and the San Francisco Art Institute, before settling in New York City, where he pursued a career in advertising as a copywriter and graphic designer. Evenings, however, he found himself working on student film productions, doing whatever needed to be done –title sequences, lighting, editing, animation and so on.
Townsend managed an introduction to noted production designer Philip Rosenberg and earned his f irst credit behind the cameras as Rosenberg’s assistant on ”All That Jazz.” He went on to assist Santo Loquasto and Pato Guzman, among others, before designing his first movie, Peter Lilienthal’s “Dear Mr. Wonderful” in 1981. It was the first of many associations with ”The Fabulous Baker Boys” cinematographer Michael Ballhaus. The two have since worked together on John Sayles’ “Baby It’s You,” James Foley’s “Reckless,” Marisa Silver’s ”01d Enough” and Martin Scorsese’s “After Hours.” In 1986 Townsend designed ”Maid to Order” for Any Jones.
In addition, Townsend designed the title logos for ”Willie and Phil,” “Baby It’s You” and ”Reckless.” The animated title sequence he designed for the Fox Broadcasting Company’s ”The Tracey Ullman Show” won an ADLA Award in 1987. He was also associate producer on the show for its first season .
A fledgling director, Townsend made a 27-minute film for PBS, “Landscape With Waitress” (photographed by Ballhaus) , which received excellent notices in 1986. In 1987, a series of five spots he directed for ”New Video,” a New York retail video chain, won Townsend a CLIO Award.
He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Costume designer Lisa Jensen began her career working with Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park, then went on to work on the original Broadway stagings of ”The Pirates of Penzance” and ”A Chorus Line.” At the same time, she was designing everything from off-Broadway ”blue jean” theatre to rock videos.
The designer moved to California in 1983, where her first screen credit was ”Gimme an ‘F’ .” Her other motion picture credits include ”Rented Lips,” with Robert Downey, Jr. ; “Mannequin,” starring Andrew Mccarthy and Kin Cattrall; the breakdance film “Breakin”‘; “Mustang,” for Motown Pictures; the classic ”A Nightmare on Elm Street,” and ”Maid to Order” with Ally Sheedy and Beverly D’Angelo.
Jensen has also designed the costumes for the CBS Afternoon Special ”The Color Game” and Showtime’s miniseries “Home fires,” both directed by Michael Uno, as well as “Jessie,” which Glenn Jordan directed for CBS.
More recently, she completed assignments on New World Pictures’ ”Dead Heat” and Vestron Pictures’ “Big Man on Campus,” directed by Jeremy Kagan and starring Corey Parker, Jessica Harper and Cindy Williams.
William Robert Steinkamp along with his father, Frederic William Steinkamp, received Best Film Editing Oscar nominations for Sydney Pollack’s “Tootsie” in 1982 and “Out of Africa” in 1985. Also with his father, he has edited ”White Nights” (1985), “Against All Odds” (1984) and ”Hide in Plain Sight” (1980). His other film credits include ”Adventures in Babysitting,” “Burglar,” “King of the Mountain” and, most recently, “Scrooged.”
Dave Grusin has created the original scores f or countless motion pictures, including ”The Graduate,” ”The Front,” ”The
Goodbye Girl,” ”…And Justice For All,” “Reds,” ”The Little Drumlner Girl,” ”The Goonies,” ”Clara’s Heart,” “Tequila
Sunrise” and “The Milagro Bean field War,” for which he won an Oscar for Best Original Score as well as a Golden Globe nomination .
He also received Academy Award nominations f or Best Original Score for ”On Golden Pond,” “Heaven Can Wait” and ”The Champ,” and a Best Original Song nomination for ”It Might Be You” from “Tootsie.”
Grusin has also created the themes for the television shows “Baretta,” “Maude,” ”Good Times” and ”St. Elsewhere.”
In between film work, he has arranged many albums for Quincy Jones, Paul Simon, Billy Joel and Grover Washington, Jr., as well as the hits ”Fool on the Hill” and ”The Look of Love” for Sergio Mendez. In 1976 he formed a production company with Larry Rosen. Together they have produced such artists as Earl Klugh, Lee Ritenour, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan and Patti Austin, among others, as well as introducing such artists as Angela Bofill, Dave Valentine,Kevin Eubanks and Tom Browne.
In 1983 he and Rosen formed their own record label, GRP Records, Inc. The jazz-oriented label, whose roster includes vocalist Diana Schuur, The New York Voices and The Rippingtons, received eight 1989 Grammy nominations. Upcoming releases include a new acoustic album from Chick Corea, the long-awaited album from Omar Hakim, plus new albums from David Benoit and Eric Marienthal. In addition, Grusin’s own compositions, such as the albums ”Sticks and Stones” (featuring him with his brother Don) , “Collection” and “Cinemagic,” have all been best-sellers.
Grusin’s most recent work includes the score for the current ”A Dry White Season,” which Paula Weinstein produced for MGM. Also on his agenda is a musical contribution to television’s “History of America,” starring the ”Peanuts” characters, for which trunpter Wynton Marsalis and pianist Dave Brubeck also wrote scores.