The Story Of Us
Vows. They’re like New Year’s resolutions – easy to make and impossible to live up to. Instead of going into a marriage vowing “till death do us part,” maybe the ceremony should include the question: “Do you have any idea how difficult this is going to be?” And, if you really believe that you do, then, and only then, you shouldn’t say “I do,” you should say, ‘TU try.”
Award-winning filmmaker ROB REINER directs a romantic comedy that asks the question: Can a marriage survive 15 years of marriage?
The Story of Us, starring BRUCE WILLIS and MICHELLE PFEIFFER, is the very real and humorous examination of Ben and Katie Jordan’s marriage. After 15 years, the couple is wrestling with the universal paradox: why are the qualities that made them fall in love in the first place now the very things pulling them apart?
Emotionally drained from their relationship, the Jordans attempt a trial separation while their children,Josh, 12, and Erin, 10, are away at summer camp. For both Ben and Katie, fighting has lately become the condition rather than the exception, and they believe that their only option is a silent retreat to neutral corners. During their time apart, both Ben and Katie reflect on the value of their shared history-the dance, perfected over time, that has made them an “us.”
Michelle Pfeiffer is Katie Jordan, the designated driver of the marriage. She likes having everything in its place, knowing that there are answers to the little questions and having a sense of closure. Her career as a crossword puzzle designer fulfills her need to know that the little world on that half page is complete. And this is why Katie fell in love with Ben’s (Bruce Willis) imagination, spontaneity and playfulness.
Ben, a writer, is a true romantic who believes in happy endings. But life demands some attention to details; and Ben doesn’t know where the Bactine is, and he lets his washerfluid light blink incessantly red. Ben’s philosophy, as Katie describes it, is comparable to the children’s book Harold and the Purple Crayon. Harold is a little boy who draws the world the way he wants it to be and not the way it actually is.
How can these qualities that were once so endearing become so infuriating that you lose sight of what is important? At what point do you forget that without the other person you are incomplete?
The Story of Us is a Castle Rock Entertainment production. Universal Pictures will release the film in the U.S. and Canada, with Warner Bros. handling all international territories. Rob Reiner directs and, with writers ALAN ZWEIBEL and JESSIE NELSON, produces the film. JEFFREY STOTT and FRANK CAPRA III are the executive producers.
Reiner also stars as Stan, Ben’s best friend, who speaks metaphorically about life. He is married to Katie’s effervescent, opinionated best friend, Rachel (RITA WILSON). The two couples have been a part of each other’s lives for years-weddings, babies, New Year’s, birthdays. Stan and Rachel are the Jordans’ Fred and Ethel Mertz.
Also starring in The Story of Us are PAUL REISER, TIM MATHESON and JULIE HAGERTY Rounding out the cast, as Ben’s and Katie’s parents, are four extraordinary comic talents: RED BUTTONS, BETTY WHITE, JAYNE MEADOWS and TOM POSTON.
The key craftspeople include director of photography MICHAEL CHAPMAN (Academy Award?’ nominee for The Fugitive and Raging Bull); production designer LILLY KILVERT (Academy Award” nominee for Legends of the Fall); co-editors ROBERT LEIGHTON (Academy Award?’ nominee for A Few Good Men) and ALAN EDWARD BELL (The Green Mile, Ghosts of Mississippi and The American President); composer ERIC CLAPTON (Lethal Weapon series and Rush) with MARC SHAIMAN (Academy Award” nominee for Sleepless in Seattle, The American President and The First Wives Club) and costume designer SHAY CUNLIFFE (A Civil Action, City of Angels and Dolores Claiborne).
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
The history of The Story of Us began with a conversation between Rob Reiner and producer/writer Alan Zweibel when they were working on the film North.
“We started talking about doing a movie about what it means to be married for a long period of time … the ins and outs, the difficulties of staying married,” says Reiner. “Our couple is going through a lot, and they’re going to determine whether or not they’ re able to make a go of it or wind up getting divorced.” Reiner continues that “there are movies about people getting divorced and the trauma of divorce, but you never see movies about all the stuff in between, the difficulties of what it is to have an ongoing, committed relationship.”
The producers/writers, Alan Zweibel and Jessie Nelson, delved into this project utilizing their own personal experiences to truthfully examine marriage. As Nelson says, “No one ever told me how hard it would be. You fall in and out of love. There are magical times, and then there are challenging times.”
Zweibel adds, “A lot of the scenes did, in fact, happen to me in my life. I was living a lot of it, as were Jessie and Rob.” At times, Zweibel says, he had no idea how certain scenes would turn out until he resolved them in his own marriage. Zweibel and Nelson would collaborate on a Monday morning and, says Zweibel, “We got together and it became almost like therapy sessions.”
The title of the film was also a collaboration between Zweibel and Nelson. Jessie went to meet Alan at his home for a preliminary project meeting. During her visit, Jessie noticed a beautiful book-a bound and illustrated narrative written by Alan as a gift to his wife titled The Story of Us. In this book, he composed an account of their relationship’s highs and lows. Zweibel explained that for every holiday, birthday and anniversary he would buy a present for his wife and, inevitably, she would return it the very next day. This gift-giving “ceremony” continued throughout the first decade of their marriage until, for their 1 O” wedding anniversary, Alan created this account of their relationship, which he determined she could not return to any store! Nelson knew that The Story of Us was the perfect title for the project they were scripting.
Nelson remembers the first time she heard Pfeiffer at a table reading. “It was a mind-blowing experience. We knew what an extraordinary actress she was and how moving it would be, but we had no idea how funny she was!”
Recalling her first impression of the script, Pfeiffer says, “It was so funny and smart. I don’t think there has been a movie about this subject matter. When you see a story about a marriage on the rocks, or a relationship falling apart, it is usually the result of something huge. The truth of the matter is, most relationships or marriages fall apart because of the day-to-day grind.”
This daily grind has been felt by a plethora of women, including many crew members who were involved in the making of the film. One member of the crew explained the film to her friend by declaring that “Michelle Pfeiffer is playing me!”
Pfeiffer tends to agree with this statement, “Katie is like a lot of women that I know who are basically juggling everything, and I think [they] get overwhelmed by that and begin to resent their mates for not meeting them halfway.”
“Eventually, over time, you just lose touch with each other, without even realizing it. I think that is what this movie is about. Maybe it is the 3,000 diaper changes or ‘Who’s going to pick them up at carpool?’ You begin, without knowing it, to put your relationship in the back seat. However, I think in the end, you have to learn to see things through each other’s eyes and you have to get back to the things you fell in love with,” explains Pfeiffer.
The theme of the film was not the only element that attracted Pfeiffer. “I am a huge fan of Rob’s, and I thought Bruce would be so wonderful in this part. I think that we haven’t seen him do something like this in a long time. He is really funny and really charming.”
After Bruce Willis starred in such hit action films as Die Hard and Armageddon, he has now come full circle by returning to romantic comedy. Reiner explains, “What [Bruce] does best are these wonderfully romantic and comedic scenes. He has a natural, real feeling to him.”
Willis describes the challenges of the role: “[Comedy] is so much harder than doing any other kind of film because it’s just hard to be funny and to take funny dialogue and try to make human jokes out of it. It was an interesting challenge and a great story-a classic story.”
He continues, “It is about the relationship and about the romance … the vulnerability of both characters and what you go through when a relationship dismantled. is being
The film captures the breakdown of their marriage at a really interesting time. Ben and Katie are right in the middle of it and you see how it all falls apart.”
By emotionally altering, in flashbacks, the way each character responds to situations at different points of their 1 7 -year relationship, Pfeiffer and Willis convey the patterns of the Jordans’ everyday lives. Ben and Katie “know each other’s moves,” describes Zweibel, “the subtleties of talking, or sometimes not talking. It is a routine that two people perfect over time,” and Willis and Pfeiffer magically “fit together really well.”
Extending this unique pairing are Rob Reiner and Rita Wilson as the Jordans’ best friends, Stan and Rachel. Wilson describes Stan and Rachel as representing “different aspects of a relationship with different opinions that we may have about marriage. Michelle’s and Bruce’s characters are going through something we’re very opinionated about-marriage!”
Rachel’s character digs deep into the fundamental problems: “Marriage is the Jack Kevorkian of romance-it is virtually impossible to French kiss a person who leaves the new roll of toilet paper resting on top of the empty cardboard roll!” On the other hand, Stan believes that “fear and guilt are what keep society humming. There are no definitive answers in life; it is all an illusion.”
Paul Reiser adds to the male perspective as Ben’s verbose literary agent, Dave. Reiser states that Dave is “another guy himing in from the bleachers with bad opinions about what women really need in this world.” As a man who believes that fantasizing is not cheating, Reiser states that Dave’s job is to make Ben “feel a little bit less of a loser, because at least he’s not me!”
Being in a scene with Reiner as a fellow actor and as a director was a wonderful experience for Reiser. “Rob is a great laugher and a great comedy fan.”
Tim Matheson, who plays Marty, Katie’s romantic distraction, agrees with WIIJ Reiser’s philosophy and has “admired [Reiners] work tremendously. He is a real chameleon as a director.”
In concurrence, Willis adds, “There are scenes in the film where I have to be vulnerable and [Reiner] helped me through those. He is a great director. He really knows the material and would continually come up with jokes and little bits to do.”
Casting the children, Erin and Josh, was very important to defining the Jordan family; winning these roles were newcomers Colleen Rennison and Jake Sandvig. Reiner’s main requirement was finding two actors that have the same qualities as Pfeiffer’s and Willis’ characters. “Erin is very intelligent, sensitive and aware of everything that’s going on,” confirms Reiner. “Josh is kind of a wise guy who has fun, jokes around and doesn’t take anything too seriously … chips off the old blocks.”
Four of the most respected comedic actors were cast to portray Willis and Pfeiffer’s parents. Betty White and Red Buttons play Lillian and Amie, Ben’s easygoing and hopelessly romantic parents. Jayne Meadows and Tom Poston are Katie’s parents, Dot and Harry, who have a marriage built around Dot’s obsessive-compulsive ways.
Reiner expresses, “It was great having these great, solid professionals. They have done a lot of comedy and have incredibly great timing.”
This great timing can be seen in one of Ben and Katie’s many therapy sessions. Their doctor explains that there are never just two people in bed together, there are six, including their parents. Taking a glimpse into this observation, Ben and Katie are fictitiously accompanied during a romantic moment in the bedroom by the quarrelers, Dot and Harry, and the romantics, Lillian and Amie.
“This scene is like a fugue for six people,” explains Reiner. “The voices of your parents are actually inside you all the time. They guide you in good ways and in bad ways to navigate your ability to relate to the opposite sex,” says Reiner.
The key craftspeople took great care to ensure that the visual images in The Story of Us would be as genuine as the depiction of Ben and Katie’s relationship. The Story of Us was shot in various locations in and around Los Angeles with a brief trip to Venice, Italy, that adds an essential romantic touch.
Being a true Los Angeles-based family, the Jordans are seen in many well-known locations-Will Rogers State Park, Malibu Lake, Third St. Promenade and downtown’s California Plaza, to name a few. In addition, several of Los Angeles’ most celebrated eateries are featured, including Pinot Bistro, Campanile, Cicada and Miceli’s,
Searching for a possible theme song for The Story of Us was one of Reiner’s biggest challenges. Nothing seemed to perfectly match the sentiment carried throughout the film. Reiner decided to send a rough copy of the film to renowned artist Eric Clapton.
When a few weeks went by without hearing back from Clapton’s representatives, Reiner decided to contact them directly. Reiner was told that “today is just not a good day. Let’s wait to contact him.” Coincidentally, Reiner received a FedEx the very moment he ended this conversation. To his surprise, enclosed was a note from Eric Clapton stating his enjoyment of the film. Since it has inspired him on such a personal level, Clapton immediately wrote several verses and recorded them for Reiner to review. “It was unbelievably perfect! It worked like a charm,” says Reiner. His search had concluded with one of the world’s best musicians attached to his film.
Reiner’s longtime composer, Marc Shaiman, heard Eric Clapton’s bittersweet song and immediately knew that it was an exact fit. These melodies were, in turn, embellished to create the final score for the film.
Being in the studio while Clapton recorded the score was “the single most creative experience I have ever had in my 30 years of show business. I was in a dream world,” recalls Reiner.
The script, locations and music gave the filmmakers the foundation to develop a genuinely heartfelt film based on the universal truths of men and women. Reiner believes that “People who have been in a relationship can understand what happens between men and women and what makes it so difficult. The audience is going to sit there and see themselves in this movie. They are going to identify themselves … laugh at themselves … and maybe have a better understanding of what goes on between them.”
Rita Wilson affirms this sentiment, “There is value in shared history, love and remembering what you first fell in love with. Allowing yourselves to grow in those 15 years … you’re not the same person you started out as. But you have evolved into somebody better.”
As Willis concludes, “Love is the best thing in the world. There isn’t anything else that exists on Earth as a human emotion that has the appeal and power of love. You are continually drawn back to it. The Story of Us reaffirms the strength of love and romance that everyone can relate to.”
Castle Rock Entertainment presents a ROB REINER film, The Story of Us. Music by ERIC CLAPTON with MARC SHAIMAN. Editing by ROBERT LEIGHTON and ALAN . EDWARD BELL. Production designer is LILLY KILVERT. Director of photography is MICHAEL CHAPMAN. Executive produced by JEFFREY STOTT and FRANK CAPRA III. Produced by ROB REINER, JESSIE NELSON and ALAN ZWEIBEL. Written by ALAN ZWEIBEL & JESSIE NELSON and directed by ROB REINER.
ABOUT THE CAST
MICHELLE PFEIFFER (Katie Jordan) is an exceptional actress, combining elegant beauty with incredible dramatic ability.
A former Miss Orange County, Pfeiffer worked at a local supermarket before she ventured to Hollywood, where she debuted in an episode of Fantasy Island and worked in television commercials. Her riveting performance as Al Pacino’s wife in Scar/ace led to her portrayal as a naive single mother in The Witches of Eastwick, also starring Cher, Susan Sarandon and Jack Nicholson; and as a gangster’s wife in Married to The Mob.
Pfeiffer went on to win an Academy Award” Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in Dangerous Liaisons. Following Dangerous Liaisons, Pfeiffer’s torch singing atop a grand piano became famous in The Fabulous Baker Boys and garnered her a Best Actress nomination.
She starred in Martin Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence, with Jack Nicholson in Wolf and with Robert Redford in Up Close and Personal. Pfeiffer then starred in the hit high school drama Dangerous Minds, in which she portrayed a devoted teacher.
Through her production company, Via Rosa, Pfeiffer has developed her own projects, including Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Thousand Acres. She also produced and starred in the dramatic story of a mother’s journey to recapture her relationship with her missing son in The Deep End of the Ocean.
Pfeiffer appeared as Titania, Queen of the Fairies, in director Michael Hoffman’s Shakespearean tale, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She is currently shooting Dream Works’ What Lies Beneath opposite Harrison Ford.
BRUCE WILLIS (Ben Jordan) has demonstrated incredible versatility and extraordinary talent in a career ranging from action blockbusters to romantic comedies.
Beginning his career in off-Broadway plays and television commercials, Willis made his breakthrough in 1984 when he replaced the lead in Sam Shepard’s play Fool for Love. Later that year, he was selected from 3,000 contenders to star as David Addison in the hit television series Moonlighting, for which he won an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award.
Willis began his feature film career starring opposite Kim Basinger in the comedy Blind Date before going on to star in Die Hard, which led to an internationally successful feature film series, including Die Hard 2: Die Harder and Die Hard 3. Willis co-starred in Quentin Tarantino’s highly acclaimed drama Pulp Fiction, opposite Paul Newman in Nobody’s Fool and in 12 Monkeys with Brad Pitt. His additional film credits include Sunset, In Country, Look Who’s Talking, Last Man Standing, The Fifth Element, The Jackal, Mercury Rising and the 1998 blockbuster Armageddon.
Most recently, Willis starred in the critically and popularly acclaimed psychological thriller The Sixth Sense. Next, he can be seen starring in Breakfast of Champions, which he also executive produced.
RITA WILSON (Rachel) captures the hearts of audience members and brings charm and depth to every character she portrays.
Wilson recently appeared with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts in Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy Runaway Bride. Her numerous film credits include: Sleepless in Seattle,Jingle All the Way, Now and Then, That Thing You Do!, Nora Ephron’s Mixed Nuts, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Volunteers and Gus Van Sant’s Psycho.
On television, Wilson most recently starred in Invisible Child, an original Lifetime telefilm directed by Joan Micklin Silver and written by Ron Bass and David Field. Last year, Wilson had a recurring role in the Emmy Award-winning HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. She also appeared in HBO’s critically acclaimed Barbarians at the Gate.
Early in her career, Wilson accepted an invitation to work and train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. During her year in England, she appeared in numerous stage productions at the Macowan Theatre in London, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Oresteia and ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore. Her performance as Celia in As You Like It at Los Angeles’ John Anson Ford Theater earned her a Drama-Logue Award as best actress. Wilson serves on the board of Shakespeare/LA., a non-profit theater group in Los Angeles.
JULIE HAGERTY (Liza) is perhaps best known for her starring role in the classic comedy film Airplane!.
She was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she began taking acting classes at an early age. After graduating from high school Hagerty moved to New York, where she performed in her first play in her brother’s Off-OffBroadway cheater company. She was soon asked to audition for the slapstick comedy Airplane! and won the role that launched her career.
Hagerty has starred in numerous feature films, including A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Robert Altrnan’s Beyond Therapy, Albert Brooks’ Lost in America, What About Bob?, Noises Off and U-Turn. She has also done extensive work in cheater and won the Drama Critic’s Award for her role in Raised in Captivity and the Theater World Award (given to Broadway’s most outstanding newcomer) for The House of Blue Leaves. She has also appeared in The Odd Couple, Moon Over Miami, Born Yesterday, The Front Page and others.
On television, Hagerty has starred in the movies London Suite, The Visit and Necessary Parties. She starred in the television series Reunited and has made guest appearances on the series ER, Everybody Loves Raymond and Murphy Brown.
PAUL REISER (Dave) is a seasoned stand-up comedian and actor who continues to add to his list of accomplishments on stage, screen and television.
Born and raised in New York City, Reiser performed at local comedy clubs while attending college to receive a degree in music. Upon graduation, Reiser continued the comedy circuit and landed the role of Modell in Barry Levinson’s now-classic film, Diner.
For seven seasons Reiser starred in the critically acclaimed NBC series Mad About You, which garnered him Emmy, Golden Globe, American Comedy Award and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Actor in a Comedy Series. Mad About You, which he co-created, has earned 25 Emmy nominations and also received top honors from Viewers for Quality Television. Reiser served as executive producer on the show.
In film, Reiser has starred in Crazy People, Aliens, Beverly Hills Cop, Beverly Hills Cop II, The Marrying Man and Bye, Bye Love. He also wrote, produced and starred in the HBO special Paul Reiser: Out on a Whim and the Showtime special Paul Reiser: 3½ Blocks From Home.
His successes also include writing the New York Times number-one bestseller Couplehood. This book was a followup to Babyhood, his humorous take on the adventures of being a first-time father.
TIM MATHESON (Marty) has wide-ranging credits in feature films and television as an actor, producer and director.
Matheson was an aspiring actor who received immediate attention in his first television role on the series Window on Main Street. This led to leading roles on many popular series: The Twilight Zone, Leave It to Beaver and My Three Sons. More recently, Matheson has appeared in the dramatic telefilms Rescuers: Stories of Courage-Two Families opposite Daryl Hannah for Showtime and CBS’ Forever Love with Reba McEntire.
He made his feature film debut co-starring with Debbie Reynolds and Dick Van Dyke in Divorce American Style and then he starred in Yours, Mine & Ours opposite Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. His portrayal of Otter in John Landis’ hit film Animal House solidified his comic appeal. Matheson went on to star in Steven Spielberg’s 1941, A Little Sex, One for the Money, Fletch, Drop Dead Fred, A Very Brady Sequel, Black Sheep and She’s All That.
As a producer, Matheson brought Rutger Hauer’s Blind Fury to the big screen. He also produced, as well as starred in, his own ABC series,Just in Time.
Matheson’s premiere directorial effort was an episode of St. Elsewhere, which led to USA’s Breach of Contract. Previously starring in Buried Alive Matheson returned as director and star in Buried Alive II. He recently directed Showtirne’s The Agency, which stars Tom Berenger and Ron Silver.
COLLEEN RENNISON (Erin) is a young Canadian actress who has appeared in feature films, movies and series.
Rennison began her career television with a principal role in director Charles Wilkinson’s Canadian film Max. Her other film credits include Dream Man, John Dahl’s Unforgettable with Ray Liotta, Carpool opposite Tom Arnold, and Nicholas Kendall’s Exhuming Mr. Rice.
Continuing her relationship with Charles Wilkinson, Rennison appeared in his television series, Highlander. The following year she had a lead role on Outer Limits and a costarring role on University Hospital. Most recently, she was a series lead on CBC’s These Arms of Mine. Colleen has also guest-starred on such series as Poltergeist, Millennium and Stargate. Her love of singing landed her a part in Loyal Opposition, a television movie for Fox Family Channel. Rennison’s other television movie credits include Sin and Redemption, Out of Nowhere and Madame Curie.
JAKE SANDVIG Gosh) makes his feature film debut in The Story of Us. His mother knew acting was his forte when, at age three, he would mimic, sing and perform every chance possible.
Sandvig began his career in print ads and soon appeared in numerous commercials, receiving callbacks on over 75% of his auditions. Sandvig starred in his first theatrical performance in a short film about child abuse, My Way Home.
RED BUTTONS (Arnie) has been enrerrarnrng audiences for over seven decades. Whether performing on a New York City street corner, amusing troops in World War II or appearing on the Broadway stage, Red Buttons 1s considered a respected talent in all genres.
After working as the youngest burlesque comedian in the business, Buttons made it to Broadway in 1942 in Vicki and Wine, Women and Song. While in the Army Air Corps, Buttons was in the Broadway show Winged Victory and then appeared in the motion picture. Immediately following, Buttons joined Mickey Rooney entertaining troops all throughout the World War II European Th eater of Operations. Upon his return, he played Broadway movie houses with big bands and the cafe circuit.
On television, he starred in The Red Buttons Show, where he won an Academy of Radio Television Arts and Science Award (the Emmy precursor) for Best Comedian. Red also appeared in the television series The Double Life of Henry Phyfe and has guest-starred on many shows including Ed Sullivan, Andy Williams, Dinah Shore and, more recently, Roseanne and ER.
Red’s film work consists of Sayonara; Imitation General; The Longest Day; Gay Puree; Harlow; Stagecoach; They Shoot Horses, Don’t They; The Poseidon Adventure; Pete’s Dragon; 18 Again and It Could Happen To You. He was awarded an Academy Award'” for Best Supporting Actor for Sayonara and Golden Globe and Academy Award” Best Supporting Actor nominations for Harlow and They Shoot Horses, Don’t They.
JAYNE MEADOWS (Dot) has built her career as a Broadway star, a dramatic film actress and a television luminary with innumerable prestigious dramatic and comedy roles.
In her teens, Meadows made her debut on Broadway in the hit comedy Spring Again and went on to star in six more Broadway shows. It was the Broadway hit The
Gazebo that established Meadows as a top comedienne. Her career in Hollywood, however, turned the comedienne into a serious dramatic actress in such films as Undercurrent with Katherine Hepburn, David and Bathsheba with Gregory Peck, Lady in the Lake with Robert Montgomery and Enchantment with David Niven.
Her television career began in The Golden Age of Television and continues today with credits including Hallmark Hall of Fame, General Electric Theater, Kraft Television, Meeting of Minds, Medical Center, It’s Not Easy, High Society and Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass. She also appeared as a regular panelist for seven years on I’ve Got a Secret, which made her the second highest-rated actress on CBS after Lucille Ball.
Meadows has earned rave reviews for her return to theater in Neil Simon’s Lost in Yonkers and, more recently, for the two-character play Love Letters with her husband Steve Allen. Her performances have earned her an Emmy, five Emmy nominations, a Grammy nomination, the Susan B. Anthony Award, a Drama-Logue Award and the prestigious International Platform Association Award for her onewoman show, Powerful Women in History.
TOM POSTON (Harry) is a versatile performer whose roles have provided a showcase for his comic talents.
While a student at the American Academy of Dramatic Art, Poston landed a part in Jose Ferrer’s Broadway production of Cyrano de Bergerac. Next came a job hosting the live daily television show, Entertainment, which eventually led him to an Emmy Award-winning career on television series such as The Steve Allen Show, Mork and Mindy, Newhart and Grace Under Fire.
His recognition from The Steve Allen Show led to starring roles in top Broadway productions and touring companies that included A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum; Come Blow Your Horn; Bye, Bye Birdie; Drink to Me Only; Mary, Mary; Forty Carats; Golden Fleecing; Romanoff and Juliet and Fiddler on the Roof Postori’s extraordinary list of television credits also includes a long-standing position as a panelist on To Tell the Truth and his own series, titled Split Personality.
BETTY WHITE (Lillian) has charmed television audiences for decades and, most recently, focused her comedic talents on the big screen in Lake P !acid.
White’s career began when she won roles on the successful radio series Blondie, The Great Gildersleeve and This Is Your FBI. In 1949, after joining disc jockey Al Jarvis on a local Los Angeles daily television program, White took over the show and was on-air 321/2 hours a week for three years.
Forming her own production company, she produced Life With Elizabeth, a situation comedy, for which she won an Emmy in 1952. White’s first appearance on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in its 1973-74 season led to her permanent role as Sue Ann Nivens, for which she won two Emmys, in 1975 and 1976.
White appeared often on The Merv Griffin Show and on several episodes of The Love Boat and Mama’s Family. For 20 years she narrated the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade on television, and for 10 years she narrated the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. From 1985 to 1992, she played Rose Nylund on the hit television show The Golden Girls, for which she was nominated six times and won the 1987 Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.
In addition to her four other Emmys, White won for Best Daytime Game Show Host on Just Men. In 1987, she received the American Comedy Award for Funniest Female in a TV Series, and in 1990, she received the American Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award.
ABOUT THE FILM MARKES
ROB REINER (Director/Actor) has directed some of the most popular and influential motion pictures of the past two decades, deftly moving among many styles. He has created films that win both audience en~husiasm and critical acclaim.
The versatile filmmaker has been immersed in the entertainment business for much of his life, succeeding first as an actor, then as a director and producer. He performed in many television and feature productions (including his Emmy-winning work as a star of the long-running hit television series All in the Family) before finding success as a director with the acclaimed “rockumentary” comedy This Is Spinal Tap in 1984. He followed with the road comedy The Sure Thing and the adaptation of Stephen King’s youth adventure Stand by Me. The latter film brought him his first nomination as Best Director from the Directors Guild of America. The Princess Bride, adapted by William Goldman from his book, followed in 1986 and has since become a beloved classic.
Reiner’s succession of box office hits include When Harry Met Sally … , Misery, A Few Good Men, The American President and Ghosts of Mississippi.
ALAN ZWEIBEL (Producer/Writer) has received five Emmy Awards, six CableACE Awards and three Writers Guild Awards for his work in television, which includes Saturday Night Live, PBS’ Great Performances; specials for Steve Martin, Paul Simon and Jon Lovitz; I Am Your Child (starring Tom Hanks); and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, which he created and produced.
His plays Between Cars and Comic Dialogue enjoyed successful off-Broadway runs in New York, as did Bunny, Bunny: Gilda Radner-A Sort of Romantic Comedy which he adapted from his best-selling book.
Zweibel co-wrote the screenplay for Dragnet as well as for North, which he adapted from his own novel. His fiction has appeared in such diverse publications as Mad Magazine, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthlv. His new novel, The Good Humor Man, will be published in the fall.
Alan and his wife, Robin, have three children, Adam, Lindsay and Sari.
JESSIE NELSON (Producer/Writer) began her career as an actress in the experimental theater company Mabou Mines at the Joseph Papp Public Theater. She went on to work with the New York Shakespeare Festival, starring in The Tempest, Green Card and Another Part of the Forest. Brought out to Los Angeles by the Columbia Pictures talent development program, she has appeared extensively in television and film.
As a filmmaker, Nelson directed the documentary My First Time, which paved the way for her acceptance into the prestigious Chanticleer program, where she directed the award-winning film To the Moon Alice for Showtime. Nelson went on to write, direct and produce her first feature film, Corinna, Corinna, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Ray Liotta and Tina Majorino. Most recently, she co-wrote the Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts starrer Stepmom.
Next, she will direct Sam I Am for Fox 2000 and That’s All Folks with Martin Scorsese and Barbara DeFina producing.
Jessie is married to filmmaker Brian Gordon and lives in Los Angeles with their daughter, Molly June Gordon.
JEFFREY STOTT (Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager) has worked with Rob Reiner on all of the director’s films beginning with This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing and Stand by Me. He co-produced the films The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally … , Misery and A Few Good Men. He executive produced North, The American President and Ghosts of Mississippi.
Serving as Executive Vice-President, Production Management for Castle Rock Entertainment, Stott oversees all television and film production when not producing for Reiner.
He received a master’s degree in Art from Brigham Young University and earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Prior to joining Castle Rock Entertainment, he was the executive in charge of film production for Embassy Pictures.
FRANK CAPRA III (Executive Producer/I:’ Assistant Director) most recently served as executive producer on The Deep End of the Ocean, starring Michelle Ffeiffer, and as co-producer and first assistant director on Warren Beatty’s Bulworth.
Capra has had a longtime collaboration with Rob Reiner, having served as co-producer and first assistant director on Ghosts of Mississippi. He was also first assistant director to Reiner on The American President, North and A Few Good Men.
As first assistant director, Capra has also worked on the films Eraser, I.Q., The Distinguished Gentleman, My Cousin Vinny, Honey, I Blew Up the Kids and Oscar.
MICHAEL CHAPMAN (Director of Photography) is a two-time Academy Award” nominee for his outstanding work on The Fugitive and Raging Bull.
Chapman has an impressive list of motion picture credits that include Six Days, Seven Nights; Space Jam; Primal Fear; Rising Sun; Doc Hollywood; Ghostbusters II; Scrooged; Shoot to Kill; The Lost Boys; Personal Best; Hardcore; The Wanderers; The Front; Taxi Driver The White Dawn and The Last Detail.
LILLY KILVERT (Production Designer) was nominated for an Academy Award'” for her work on Legends of the Fall. Most recently she designed such films as City of Angels, The Crucible and The American President. Her other credits include Strange Days, In the Line of Fire, Ruthless People, I Love You to Death, To Live and Die in L.A. and The Sure Thing.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Kilvert attended Bard College in New York, where she studied art, physics and photography.
ROBERT LEIGHTON (Editor) has collaborated with filmmaker Rob Reiner on each of his feature directorial efforts. Those films include This Is Spinal Tap, The Sure Thing, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally … , Misery, A Few Good Men, North, The American President and Ghosts of Mississippi. He received an Oscar® nomination for his work on A Few Good Men.
Other motion picture credits include Castle Rock’s upcoming film, The Green Mile; two Ron Shelton films, Bull Durham and Blaze; Life With Mikey; Courage Under Fire; Wavelength; and Delusion.
Leighton was born in London, where he studied his craft at the London Film School. He first worked for the BBC as an assistant editor before emigrating to the U.S. in 197 5.
ALAN EDWARD BELL (Editor) has worked with Robert Leighton on many of Rob Reiner’s films. Bell was assistant editor on Misery, A Few Good Men and North and associate editor on The American President and Ghosts of Mississippi.
Bell’s previous editing credits include Rob Reiner’s ABC special on early childhood development entitled I Am Your Child and the action film Icarus Descending. He worked in various capacities on Heathers, Blaze and Life With Mikey. Bell provided additional editing on Castle Rock Entertainment’s highly anticipated film, The Green Mile. Next, Bell will edit Castle Rock’s action comedy Bait, which stars Jamie Foxx.
Alan, a native Angeleno, is producer of the awardwinning entertainment website www.directorunknown.com.
ERIC CLAPTON (Music) is one of the greatest guitarists of all time and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of both The Yardbirds and Cream.
Clapton’s love of the blues and American R&B led him to learn guitar and study the masters of that music form. After pinch-hitting in a number of British blues bands in the early ’60s, Clapton rose to prominence in The Yardbirds. He left in 1966 to join John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers; after that he formed Cream with bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker. The band quickly became the preeminent rock trio of the late ’60s; its winning combination of psychedelica blended with fiery remakes of such blues standards as “Spoonful,” “Crossroads” and “Born Under a Bad Sign” further elevated Clapton’s reputation.
Clapton’s post-Cream undertakings were equally admired. He formed Blind Faith in 1969, a band that enjoyed tremendous popularity with its self-titled No. 1 album. In 1970, he followed with a debut self-titled solo album.
Albums in the ’70s and ’80s such as There’s One in Every Crowd, E.C. Was Here and No Reason to Cry were all Top 20 chart hits. In 1988, Clapton released the double-platinum
Crossroads, covering every phase of his career. Clapton reached new heights in 1992 with the release of the soundtrack to the motion picture Rush and its Grammywinning Top 5 single “Tears in Heaven.” That same year, Unplugged, recorded live on the MTV program, hit No. 1 for three weeks straight and earned six Grammy Awards.
Clapton has made his presence felt in the realm of film soundtracks with contributions to such movies as Rush, Back to the Future, The Color of Money, Lethal Weapon 3 and Lethal Weapon 4. His greatest soundtrack success came with “Change the World,” the endearing smash hit from the film Phenomenon which won three Grammy awards.
After nearly a decade since the release of a new album of original material, Clapton recently released the critically acclaimed Pilgrim.
MARC SHAIMAN (Music) is one of the most accomplished composers in the industry. He has received three Oscar® nominations for Sleepless in Seattle, The American President and The First Wives Club. Shaiman has also composed scores for such films as Patch Adams, Simon Birch, In & Out, George of the jungle, When Harry Met Sally … , A Few Good Men, Misery, City Stickers, The Addams Family, Sister Act and Mother, among others.
In addition, Shaiman scored Part 11 of the Emmy Award-winning HBO/Tom Hanks miniseries From the Earth to the Moon.
As a writer, Shaiman has earned an Emmy Award for Billy Crystal’s Academy Award” Show medley and has been nominated for a Grammy Award for his work with Harry Connick, Jr. He is also very proud of his contributions to Bette Midler’s Emmy Award-winning performance on the final Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.
SHAY CUNLIFFE (Costume Designer) recently worked on A Civil Action, City of Angels, Lone Star, Limbo and Multiplicity. Her numerous credits include Dolores Claiborne, Greedy, The Man Without a Face, Of Mice and Men, Fires Within, The Long Walk Home, Miles From Home and Believers.
An honors graduate of the University of Bristol, England, Cunliffe began her career designing for the stage, to which she still frequently returns, most recently for Beauty and the Beast.