Lurene Hallett doesn’t get “ordinary life.”
In the mirror of her imagination, Lurene is her heroine, Jacqueline Kennedy. With her platinum blonde hair in a bouffant pageboy, she assumes the style of the First Lady. Like Jackie, she lost a baby last summer, a trauma which strengthened the “bond” between them. Sometimes, when her husband, Ray, speaks to her between supper and prime time, she can almost hear John F. Kennedy’s voice.
But on November 22, 1963, that voice is stilled.
Earlier in the day, Lurene joined the throng at Love Field Airport which welcomed the presidential couple to Dallas. Now, hours later, John F. Kennedy is dead. Lurene feels that she has no choice, even if her husband thinks she’s crazy. Even if she is. She must go to Washington to be with Jackie at the President’s funeral.
On a Greyhound bus, rolling through the south, are a black man and a small black child with enormous frightened eyes. The man calls himself Paul Johnson but his identification reads Paul Cater.
Lurene is certain she has stumbled into something awful. Something criminal. Her awkward attempt to discover the truth will lead to an odyssey, an alliance of fugitives, and the discovery of herself.
Michelle Pfeiffer and Dennis Haysbert star in “Love Field,” an Orion Pictures presentation of a Sanford/Pillsbury production. Jonathan Kaplan (“The Accused, “Unlawful Entry”) directed the dramatic adventure from a screenplay by co-producer Don Roos. The film was produced by Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury (“River’s Edge,” “Desperately Seeking Susan”) and executive produced by George Goodman (“Cousins”) and Kate Guinzburg.
The cast includes Brian Kerwin, Peggy Rea, Louise Latham and eight-year-old Stephanie McFadden in her acting debut. The musical score is by Academy Award winner Jerry Goldsmith (“The Russia House,” “Chinatown”).
Jonathan Kaplan was intrigued, he says, by the juxtaposition of events in Don Roos’ screenplay, “the national tragedy which would change this country forever, and the experience of three people whose lives change simultaneously.”
While the sense of time and place permeates the film, in the crackle of a newscast or the eyes of strangers suffering communal shock, “it is not a political movie,” observes producer Midge Sanford. “It is really about people who are searching for some meaning in their lives.”
As Lurene asks, at one point, “What do you do when you marry someone you grew up with, then discover you have nothing to talk about. There’s always children.” But with the death of her baby, reality blurs. Lurene’ s fascination with the Kennedys becomes an obsession.
Paul Cater has worked very hard to rise above his circumstances. As a black man in the early ’60s, it hasn’t been easy. He escaped poverty for a good life as a pharmacist but he had to give something up. Now, he has returned to the past and the enormity of what he left behind.
Adds Jonathan Kaplan: “On the surface, they have little in common. As Paul puts it derisively, there’s a hell of a lot of differences between ‘being bored and being_ black.’ Yet the joy of the story lies in what they find they share.”
That the relationship evolves against an ever-changing landscape, from a twisting blacktop strewn with the debris of a nightmarish crash to the weathered home of a resilient old woman, pleases the director. “The road lends itself to film,” he says. “People tend to experience time more differently during a long trip. Film can communicate the dreamlike nature of a journey, compressing or expanding time in the same way the characters experience it.”
Kaplan describes his directing approach as intuitive. “The character of Lurene rang true to me. She has all this creativity, energy, imagination and drive. Yet without any way to focus these qualities, she is alienated.”
There is a telling moment, he points out, when Lurene recalls a holiday in Mexico where her husband couldn’t read a newspaper or understand what people were saying. That’s how she feels most of the time. “I loved him then,” she says, savoring the memory.
When casting began, screenwriter/co-producer Don Roos immediately thought of Michelle Pfeiffer. “We needed an actress who could convey Lurene’s youth and vulnerability as well as the pain beneath the smile and chatter,” Roos remarks.
Sanford, Pillsbury and Kaplan agreed. “When Michelle Pfeiffer is in a film, you never know what to expect because she has never been the same twice,” says Kaplan of the actress’ chameleon-like quality. “Instead, she gets under the skin of her character.”
As Paul Cater a.k.a. Paul Johnson, Dennis Haysbert plays his first starring role after making his film debut in the comedy, “Major League” and joining the daredevils in Orion’s “Navy SEALS.” “He has the presence … the inner dignity … that was essential for the part,” observes producer Sarah Pillsbury.
Paul’s scared, shy daughter, Jonell, is played by Stephanie McFadden who won the role after an extensive search involving some 2,000 youngsters. The North Carolina schoolgirl -who had never performed outside of a church choir — received the good news on her sixth birthday.
“Love Field” reunited director Jonathan Kaplan with filmmakers whom he had worked with before, including director of photographer Ralf Bode, A.S.C. (“The Accused”), production designer Mark Freeborn (“Immediate Family”) and editor Jane Kurson (“Immediate Family”). The primary objective of Kaplan and his collaborators was realism without being overly selfconscious of the period — “a slice of life from this weekend,” says Kaplan.
The movie was filmed in North Carolina and Richmond, Virginia, with locations doubling for Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Principal photography began in North Carolina, where the company filmed in Rocky Mount, Wilson, Raleigh, Fountain, Elm City and Red Oak.
The towns and terrain in and around Wilson and Rocky Mount were suitable locations for recreating the Dallas main street and the Readyville, Tennessee bus station, with the company utilizing more than 100 period vehicles. A 215-square foot, vacant textile mill in Wilson served as a complete production facility/studio.
In Richmond, Virginia, a hanger at the city’s International Airport was painted to match newsreel footage of Dallas’ Love Field. Fencing and light standards were constructed and graphics were painted on a DC 3 cargo plane to signify the presidential jet, Air Force One.
While the streets of downtown Richmond became Dallas in 1963 by day; by night, the area adjacent to the State Capitol and the Jeb Stuart Circle was adapted to resemble Washington, D.C.
ABOUT THE CAST
MICHELLE PFEIFFER (Lurene Hallett) was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance as singer Susie Diamond in “The Fabulous Balcer Boys,” a role that also brought her awards from the New York Film Critics, the National Society of Film Critics and the Los Angeles Film Critics. Previously, she received an Academy Award nomination for her portrayal of Madame de Tourvel in “Dangerous Liaisons.” Pfeiffer received Golden Globe nominations for “Frankie and Johnny,” “Married to the Mob,” and “The Fabulous Balcer Boys.”
Pfeiffer’s most recent role was “The Catwoman” in the blockbuster hit “Batman Returns.” Her other films include “The Russia House,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “The Witches of Eastwick,” “Sweet Liberty,” “Into the Night,” “Ladyhawke” and “Scarface.”
The actress made her stage debut in the Los Angeles production “A Playground in the Fall” and also appeared in Joseph Papp’s presentation of “Twelfth Night” in New York.
Raised in the suburban Southern California town of Midway City, Pfeiffer took acting classes at Fountain Valley High School. She attended junior college and a school for court stenography before deciding to pursue acting.
Pfeiffer appeared in several television series before being cast in her first film, “Falling in Love Again.” Later she was selected during a nationwide talent search to star in the musical “Grease 2.” During these formative years she was a student of acting teacher Peggy Feury.
DENNIS HAYSBERT (Paul Cater) began his professional acting career as a guest star on an episode of “Lou Grant.” Shortly thereafter, he was hired for a recurring role on “Buck Rogers in the 21st Century” followed by a stint on ABC’s “Just the Ten of Us.” Haysbert was also a regular on ABC’s series “Off the Rack” and “Code Red.”
Haysbert’s motion picture debut was “Major League” with Tom Berenger and Charlie Sheen followed by Orion’s “Navy SEALS”. This fall, Haysbert co-starred with Tom Selleck in “Mr. Baseball” for Universal.
Haysbert was born in San Mateo, California. One of nine siblings, Haysbert became interested in acting while attending junior high school where he performed in virtually all school plays. After attending the College of San Mateo, Haysbert studied at the Pasadena branch of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Haysbert can next be seen starring as “Davis” in the upcoming CBS mini-series, “Queen,” a sequel to “Roots.”
BRIAN KERWIN (Ray Hallett) has been featured in such films as “Murphy’s Romance,” “Torch Song Trilogy,” “Nickel Mountain,” “Hometown, U.S.A.,” and the upcoming “S.P.0.0.K.S.”
His New York stage appearances include “Emily,” for which he won a Theatre World Award, and “Lips Together, Teeth Apart.” In Los Angeles, he appeared on stage in “A Loss of Roses.” In 1983 his role in “Torch Song Trilogy” in San Francisco and Los Angeles brought him a Drama-Logue Award and an L.A. Drama Critics Circle nomination. For his performance in “Strange Snow,” he won 1987 Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and 1984 San Diego Drama Critics Best Actor awards. Prior to filming “Love Field” in 1990, he starred with Glenda Jackson and John Lithgow in the Los Angeles production of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” directed by Edward Albee.
On television Kerwin co-starred for two seasons on the series “The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo” and early in his career he was regular in “The Young and the Restless.” Most recently, Kerwin played a recurring role on the ABC hit “Rosanne.” He also starred opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in “Natica Jackson,” an adaptation of a John O’Hara novella for PBS’ “Tales of the Hollywood Hills.” His telefilm and mini-series appearances include the lead in “Switched at Birth,” I’ Challenger,” “Intimate Agony, 11 “The Blue and the Gray, 11 “Miss All-American Beauty,” “The Chisholms” and “A Real American Hero.”
Kerwin was born and raised in Illinois. He attended the University of Southern California, graduating in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in cinema.
Eight-year-old STEPHANIE McFADDEN (Jonell) makes her acting debut in “Love Field.”
McFadden was born March 17, 1984 in Charleston, South Carolina and moved with her family to Wilmington, North Carolina two years later. She is currently in the third grade at Winter Park Elementary School.
Her mother, Hester, teaches 11th and 12th grade history at Pender High School in Burgaw; her father, Ernest, works for General Electric as a machine operator and troubleshooter. McFadden and her brothers, Jerod, 20, and Jermaine, 15, sing in the Union Baptist Church Choir, a group of 120 young people from ages four and up, under the direction of Jacqueline Goodson.
Since “Love Field,” McFadden appeared in a few episodes of “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” and can be seen in the upcomming PBS movie “Simple Justice.
LOUISE LATHAM (Mrs. Enright) has appeared in such films as “Mass Appeal, 11 “The Philadelphia Experiment,” “92 in the Shade,” “Sugarland Express,” “White Lightning,” “Fury at Firecreek,” and “Mamie.”
Television series in which Latham played a regular or recurring role include “Sarah,” “Eight is Enough,” “Family Affair,” “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” and “The F.B.I.” Her telefilm appearances include “The Haunted,” “Pray T.V.,” “Love Lies On,” “Lois Gibbs and the Love Canal” and “Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill.” Her mini-series appearances include “Fresno,” “Dress Grey,” “Scruples” and “Backstairs at the White House,”
Latham’s New York stage appearances include “Invitation to a March,” “Exit the King,” “Summer of the 17th Doll” and “Major Barbara.” Her off-Broadway appearances include “Lie of the Mind” at the Arena Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Films with PEGGY REA (Miss Heisenbuttal) include “In Country,” “Doin’ Time on Planet Earth,” “Hamburger — The Movie,” “What’s the Matter with Helen?,” “Walk Don’t Run,” and “The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao” and “Love Child.”
On television, Rea was a regular in “The Waltons” and played recurring roles in “The Dukes of Hazzard” and “All in the Family.” Rea also appeared in numerous episodes of “Golden Girls” and can currently be seen as a regular on the ABC series “Step By Step”
Her stage appearances include “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Juno and the Paycock,” “Merton of the Movies,” “The Devil’s Disciple,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and “Heartbreak House.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
For twenty years, JONATHAN KAPLAN (director) has been directing for both film and television. His most recent success came this summer with Twentieth Century Fox’s “Unlawful Entry” starring Kurt Russell, Ray Liotta and Madeleine Stowe. Kaplan’s other film credits include “Immediate Family, 11 starring Glenn Close and James Woods; “The Accused, 11 for which Jodie Foster won the 1988 Best Actress Academy Award; “Project X,” starring Matthew Broderick; “Heart Like a Wheel,” starring Bonnie Bedelia and Beau Bridges; and “Over the Edge,” for which he discovered Matt Dillon.
Kaplan was born in Paris. His father, the film composer Sol Kaplan, was among those Hollywood blacklisted during the McCarthy Era and his mother, actress Frances Heflin (sister to Van Heflin) consequently lost jobs in live television. There were lean years in the Kaplan household, and they instilled in Jonathan an unshakable sense of social injustice.
After two years at the University of Chicago, Kaplan was expelled for anti-Vietnam war protests and transferred to New York University’s film school where he studied with Martin Scorsese and made a short film entitled “Stanley, Stanley” that was awarded First Prize at the National Student Film Festival. It was Scorsese who recommended Kaplan to Roger Corman, and he began directing for Corman’s New World Pictures in 1972. His first big success came in 1974 with Columbia’s “White Line Fever,” starring Jan-Michael Vincent.
Kaplan has always sided with the underdogs and outsiders who live on the fringe of the American dream. He represents in his movies lower class people who have to battle for every scrap of status, dignity and self-esteem they can get.
In addition to thirteen feature films and four movies for television, Kaplan has directed numerous music videos for John Mellencamp, Rod Stewart, Barbra Streisand and Paula Abdul.
Kaplan is based in Los Angeles where he lives with his wife, casting director Julie Selzer (“Heathers,” “Robocop,” “Throw Momma From The Train”) and their daughter Molly.
The films of producers SARAH PILLSBURY and MIDGE SANFORD include “Immediate Family,” directed by Jonathan Kaplan; “Eight Men Out,” directed by John Sayles; “River’s Edge,” directed by Tim Hunter; and “Desperately Seeking Susan,” directed by Susan Seidelman. For television, they produced “Seeds of Tragedy,” directed by Martin Donovan.
Sarah Pillsbury was born in New York and raised in Wayzata, Minnesota. She received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1974. In the same year, she moved to Los Angeles, where she attended the UCLA film school. She began her career as associate producer of the feature documentary “The California Reich,” which received an Academy Award nomination, and produced Ron Ellis’ “Board and Care,” winner of the 1979 Best Live Action Short Subject Academy Award. Pursuing a career in dramatic films, she worked as an assistant for Martin Ransohoff, Arnold Kopelson and Moonlight Productions Pillsbury serves on the board of directors of the Liberty Hill Foundation. She and her husband, Richard Kletter, have a daughter, Nora, and a son, William.
Midge Sanford was born in New York City. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College
and later received a California teaching credential from California State University in Los Angeles. She taught elementary school for five years. In 1978, she made the transition to film by becoming a story analyst. She then worked as a story editor and director of development for New American Cinema. When not in production on a movie, Sanford heads a support group once a week for recovering mentally ill women at a mental health facility in Santa Monica, California. She is a member of the board of directors of the Independent Feature Project/West. Sanford has a son, Jonathan, a daughter, Kate and a grandson, William.
Executive producer GEORGE GOODMAN has worked in the film and television industry for more than 30 years. In addition to “Love Field,” he was executive producer of “Cousins.” As production manager, his films include “Funny Farm,” “Nuts,” “King Kong” and “I Never Sang for My Father.” For five years Goodman served as head of production for Taft Entertainment. During this period he was executive production manager of motion pictures (including “Cujo” and “Reuben, Reuben”) and television productions (including “A Deadly Business” and the mini-series “The Key to Rebecca”).
Goodman was born and raised in New York City. He attended Erasmus High School and began his career as a jazz musician, playing the saxophone in clubs at the age of 16. He also wrote songs, including “A Kiss in a Bottle.” After joining the army, he was a musician in the Special Service Band during the Korean War.
Goodwin started his film and television industry career in New York as a messenger before working as an assistant director on two series: “The Defenders” and “N.Y.P.D.” The first movie he produced was the independent film “The Happiness Cage,” starring Christopher Walken and Ronny Cox. For television, Goodman produced the NBC pilot “Mr. Inside/Mr. Outside,” starring Tony LoBianco and Hal Linden; his executive production manager credits include the mini-series “A Rumor of War” and “The Word,” and the telefilms “Children of Anlac,” “A Cry of Love” and “Rage.”
Co-producer/screenwriter DON ROOS wrote this summer’s contemporary hit thriller, “Single White Female, 11 directed by Barbet Schroeder. Since then, he has written “Boys on the Side” which was sold to New Regency Films in October, 1992. He is currently producing “The Answer Man,” for Warner Bros.
Roos was born in Poughkeepsie, New York in 1955, and raised in an Irish-Catholic family of five children in upstate New York and Virginia. After a screenwriting course at the University of Notre Dame taught by alumnus Tony Bill, Roos moved to Hollywood in 1978. Eight years of writing and producing for television followed, until Roos took a sabbatical to write “Love Field” and brought it to producers Sanford and Pillsbury. “Love Field” marked his screen writing debut.
Director of photography RALF BODE. A.S.C. previously worked with director Jonathan Kaplan on “The Accused.” Bode received an Academy Award nomination for “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and has worked on four other movies directed by Michael Apted: “Firstborn,” “Gorky Park,” the Sting concert tour film “Bring on the Night” and “Critical Condition.” His other films include “Uncle Buck, 11 “Cousins,” “Distant Thunder,” “The Big Town,” “Violets Are Blue,” “Raggedy Man,” “Dressed to Kill,” “Rich Kids” and “Saturday Night Fever.”
Born in Germany, Bode was raised in Munich and moved to the United States as a teenager. After graduating from the University of Vermont, Bode studied directing and acting at the Yale Drama School for two years. While in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, Bode studie.d photography and then became a camera operator on commercials and industrials.
“Love Field” reunites production designer MARK FREEBORN with director Jonathan Kaplan and producers Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury. “Imme.diate Family” in 1989 was their first project together. Freeborn’s first film as production designer was “Cousins.” He was art director for “Distant Thunder” and began his motion picture career as a set decorator or property master for such films as “Children of a Lesser God,” “Switching Channels,” “The Big Town,” “Dead of Winter,” “One Magic Christmas,” “A Christmas Story” and “Porky’s.”
For television, Freeborn was the art director for the Canadian series “High Hopes,” and his telefilms include “Anything to Survive” and “The Lady Forgets.”
Prior to his film and television career, Freeborn was an art director and technical director for stage productions, including for the St. Lawrence Theatre and the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.
Born in Ottawa, Ontario and raise.cl in Kingston, Ontario, he moved to Toronto after receiving a Fine Arts degree from Kingston’s Queens University.
Costume designer PETER MITCHELL’s films include “Boris and Natasha,” “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” “Ernest Saves Christmas” and “The In-Crowd.” His telefilms include “Caroline?” and “The Incident.”
Mitchell was born in Victoria, Australia. He graduate.cl from the Design College in Sydney in 1975 and began designing clothes for theatre, opera, ballet and television. He also started a couture business, specializing in evening clothes, under his “Elan” label.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1979, Mitchell began working on theatre productions there as well as continuing to work on his couture collection. He has also designed clothes for such recording artists as Melissa Manchester, Whitney Houston and George Michael. His “Peter Mitchell” line of women’s and men’s clothes now sells in retail stores throughout California.
Costume designer COLLEEN ATWOOD‘ s films include “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Joe Versus the Volcano,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Torch Song Trilogy,” “Married to the Mob,” “Fresh Horses,” “For Keeps,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Manhunter” and “First Born.”
Educated at the Comish School in Seattle, Washington, she worked in the fashion business in the ’70’s. Atwood moved to New York City in 1980, where she attended New York University’s film school before becoming an assistant to production designer Patrizia Von Brandenstein on “Ragtime” that same year. She then worked as assistant or associate costume designer on a number of independent features.
For television, Atwood was the costume designer for ten comedy films for “Saturday Night Live,” music videos for Eric Carmen and Billy Joel, the telefilm “Zigo’s Choice” and presentations of PBS’ “Tales from the Hollywood Hills,” including “Natica Jackson.”
Film editor JANE KURSON previously worked with director Jonathan Kaplan and producers Midge Sanford and Sarah Pillsbury on “Immediate Family.” Her other films include “Beetlejuice,” “Happy New Year,” “Hotshots” and “Neighbors.” She was co-editor of “The Karate Kid: Part IT” and associate editor of “The Formula.” She is an Emmy-winner for the CBS special “The Body Human: The Body Beautiful.” Kurson is currently working on the feature, “Amos and Andrew.” A Boston native, Kurson began her career working in animation before editing documentaries and features.
Composer JERRY GOLDSMITH is responsible for some of the most significant scores of the past thirty years, having composed more than 125 motion pictures. He won an Academy Award for his score for “The Omen” and has garnered 14 additional Oscar nominations, seven Grammy nominations, four Emmy Awards, two additional Emmy nominations and six Golden Globe nominations.
His music has graced such films as “Basic Instinct,” “Total Recall,” “Ruby,” “Sleeping With the Enemy,” “Gremlins 2: The New Batch,” “The Russia House,” “Star Trek — The
Motion Picture,” “Hoosiers,” “Innerspace,” “Explorers,” “Gremlins,” “Under Fire,” “Twilight Zone — The Movie,” “Psycho IT,” “First Blood,” “The Secret of NIMH,” “Poltergeist,” “Outland,” “Alien,” “The Boys From Brazil,” “I..ogan’s Run,” “The Wind and the Lion,” “Chinatown,” “Papillon,” “The Other,” “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” “Patton,” “Planet of the Apes,”
“The Sand Pebbles” and “A Patch of Blue.” Goldsmith’s television work includes “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” “The Waltons,” “Barnaby Jones” and “Police Story.”
Goldsmith’s first motion picture score was for “Lonely Are the Brave” in 1960. In addition to numerous concert appearances as conductor, Goldsmith has composed “Music for Orchestra” and three ballets, including “Othello,” which is in the permanent repertoire of the National Ballet of Australia.
Goldsmith’s upcoming credits include “The Vanishing” and “Dennis the Menace.”