Married To The Mob

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   MARRIED TO THE MOB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Production Information

Angela DeMarco has everything laundered money can buy.
But when her husband leaves for work, she has no idea if he’ll be home for dinner or out on bail. Her Long Island home is decorated in a dazzling diversity of styles, depending on what recently fell off a truck. Her seven-year-old son doesn’t want a toy gun; he knows where Daddy keeps the real thing.
She can’t stand her friends. She hates the life. She wants out.
The opportunity comes with surprising suddenness. When Angela’s husband, Frankie “The Cucumber” DeMarco, ices the “Fat Man” on the 8:10 commuter special out of Mineola, he enjoys the accolades of his business colleagues at the King’s Roost Restaurant. But when he detours to the Fantasia Motel fora quick dip in a Roman bath with cocktail waitress Karen Lutnick, he makes a grievous error in judgment.
Karen is the private property of Frankie’s boss, Tony The Tiger” Russo, who does not take kindly to employee pilfering. The next morning two bodies are found in a tepid hot tub, wearing only identical bullet holes.
Angela is free to start a new life — provided the mob and the FBI will let her.
Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine and Dean Stockwell star in “Married To The Mob,” an Orion Pictures release of Jonathan Demme picture. Directed by Demme from a screenplay by Barry Strugatz and Mark R. Burns, the dark romantic comedy co-stars Mercedes Kuehl and Alec Baldwin. “Married To The Mob” was produced by Kenneth Utt and Edward Saxon with Joel Simon and Bill Todman, Jr. as executive producers. Music is by David Byrne.
As the young widow who tries to escape the past, Michelle Pfeiffer has what she calls a “dream role.”
“I can identify with Angela,” says the actress. “I think a great many women can. Ever since she came out of high school, married Frankie and had her son Joey, Angela has been told what to do, where to go, how to behave, whom to be nice to. Now she’s taking control of her life, which is both exciting and terrifying.”
That her husband was “connected,” adds director Demme, obviously intensifies the challenge.
“Angela has lived well from blood money. Now she makes a conscious decision that from this moment on, she is going to be good.
That’s not as simple as it sounds. In this day and age, surrounded as we are by corruption on every level, trying to be good can seem crazy to many people.
“We don’t want good people around. They make us look bad. There’s a tremendous pressure to conform to corruption. Those who resist are treated with suspicion.”
Still, Angela DeMarco moves out of her home and gives away its contents to Goodwill (apologizing that she can’t find any sales receipts).
Her next residence is a railroad tenement on New York’s Lower East Side, where the paint is peeling away in chunks, the bathtub is in the kitchen and the windows overlook the street — completely — in favor of an air shaft.
In the words of Tony Russo, who has traced her from Long Island, the apartment is “a real shithole.” Tony is confused. Angela obviously finds him attractive; all women do. And since he put the make on her, even before he cooled off The Cucumber, why won’t she accept his well- known generosity?
FBI agent Mike Downey is equally baffled. Armed with surveillance photos of Angela and Tony in a passionate clinch at Frankie’s wake, he has persuaded his superiors to let him tail the widow DeMarco and “catch Tony with his pants down.” But the last place he expected the stake-out to take him was a roach-ridden firetrap on Rivington Street.
He must move in closer, perhaps use his mastery of disguise. Thus it is that Angela DeMarco encounters “Mike Smith,” a flu-ridden handyman, in the graffiti-scarred elevator of the tenement building.
Matthew Modine, who plays Downey, describes the G-man as a “woeful misjudge of character.” He doesn’t know that when Tony embraced Angela after the funeral, she was caught by surprise — and revolted. As she takes her son to school and searches desperately for a job, he sees an ulterior motive in every move she makes. Is she running numbers Making a drop? Hustling crack? What’s coming down?
“Then he gets to know her,” says Modine, “and everything turns inside out. He tries to sabotage the investigation he started in the first place. He dismantles his own phone bugs, files false reports, leads a double life. “Finally, he informs his superiors that Angela is innocent. They don’t want to know. They prefer his original theory, even if it’s wrong.
They order him to step up the pressure on Angela — and nail her.”
Modine, who describes “Married To The Mob” as a “sardonic romantic comedy,” admits he’s attracted to “roles which force me into areas I know nothing about.” Thus, a lunch was set with a veteran police detective (“Jonathan Demme’s cousin’s husband,” he recalls) to discuss the fine points of undercover sleuthing. “It was fascinating,” he says.
Writers Barry Strugatz and Mark R. Burns, devoted considerable research to their first produced screenplay. A film editor and location scout respectively, they sat in on mob trials in Brooklyn and New York to “assimilate a sense of today’s underworld and the arrogance of people like Tony Russo,” says Strugatz. “Some of the hoods are pretty close to life, but we’ve changed the names to protect ourselves.”
Adds Burns: “The current generation of gangsters isn’t confined to the mean streets. They’re people who live next door to you in suburbia. They’re very much into equal opportunity.”
The writers brought the screenplay to the production partnership of Joel Simon and Bill Todman, Jr., whose two-year teaming has sparked some ten projects in development with major studios.
“It was refreshing to find a comedy which grew out of character . . . and had its own quirky viewpoint,” says Todman. Equally gratifying, he goes on, was that when Orion Pictures bought the property, “everyone agreed that Jonathan Demme should direct it, provided, of course, that he shared our enthusiasm.”  He did. Demme’s feeling for the gangster genre dates back to his origins as a youthful movie critic who crossed over into filmmaking with Roger Corman.
“I’ve never known whether the classic gangster portraits of actors like Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and George Raft were based on actual hoodlums or if the mobsters took their cues from the movies,”
Demme observes. “Probably a little of both.”
But in any case, the era of ‘Little Caesar’ and ‘Public Enemy’ seems centuries away. The filmmakers found in their research that today’s upwardly-mobile gangster lives comfortably and discreetly in the stockbroker belt. As far as the neighbors (and the IRS) are concerned, he’s the senior vice president of Acme Toxic Waste Removal or the South Shore Cement Works. His 2 3 kids go to school in the station wagon. His wife is active in the PTA. On Sunday afternoons, there are backyard barbecues.
The onus on the families of upscale hoods is to keep up a respectable facade, adds actress 0-Lan Jones. As one of a quartet of mob wives, she explains, “I can’t be bothered by things like extortion, gambling, prostitution and murder. My husband takes care of business. Mainly, I keep house.”
As Tony Russo’s wife Connie, however, Mercedes Ruehl confronts a common hazard of the sybaritic suburbs, a cheating husband.
Her response, depending on her mood swings, is to “be so warm and loving that Tony will have no desire to stray, or to do something nasty to his private parts which will ultimately have the same effect,” says Ruehl. “Connie makes Medea look mild-mannered.” Adds director Demme:
“Mercedes brings an operatic passion to the role.”
A classically-trained actress, Ruehl developed an accent which she describes as “affluent Long Island, two generations removed from the slums of Bensonhurst.” It was achieved, she explains, “by speaking mostly with the lower lip, moving the top lip as little as possible so it doesn’t get wrinkles.”
Demme cast Dean Stockwell as Tony Russo, he says, after running across a photo of the actor in a trade paper ad. “I’d always loved his work,” recalls the director. “Looking at Dean’s picture in the Hollywood Reporter,
I felt then — with great excitement — that Tony “The Tiger” was sneering back at me.
Stockwell, now deep into his “third career” as a character actor (after childhood stardom and youthful roles in films like “Compulsion” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”), describes Tony “The Tiger” as a “charming, personable guy with legitimate business interests and a way with women.” Wearing an Alphonse Capone fedora and an ankle-length yellow coat for which a colony of vicunas made the ultimate sacrifice, he tells a visitor to the New York location: “That’s my story. I hope you agree, because you seem to have a nice, useful set of kneecaps.”
Extricating his tongue from his cheek, Stockwell adds: “If I played this same character in a super-realistic gangster film, he’d be a lot darker.
And I wouldn’t be having nearly as much fun.”
To producer Edward Saxon, who collaborated with Demme on “Something Wild” and “Swimming to Cambodia,” the humor of “MarriedTo The Mob” is rooted in paradox. “The cold-blooded routine of the Mafia, dealing drugs, dumping toxic waste, wanton murder, is in striking contrast to their strong family values,” he points out. “Think of the phrase, ‘kiss of death.’ Could anything be more ironic’?”
Producer Kenneth Utt, who has roamed New York with sound gun and camera as associate producer of films like “Midnight Cowboy,” The French Connection” and “All That Jazz,” calls “Married To The Mob” “one of the toughest shoots I’ve been involved in. The script was loaded with short scenes in tricky locations throughout Manhattan, Long Island and eventually Miami, which had to be brought in on a realistic budget.”
The pressure might have been eased, Utt goes on, if Demme had succumbed to “lower bids” to film the story outside New York or utilize studio interiors.
Instead, “only one set was constructed for the entire film,” notes production designer Kristi Zea. “For the murder of Alec Baldwin as Frankie DeMarco in the Pantheon Room of the Fantasia Motel, it was necessary to flood the set.” When the risk of water damage made movie immortality an offer any innkeeper could refuse, “we built a swimming pool under a sound stage, then installed the motel room above it,” says the designer.
Otherwise, the crew took to the streets, always open to serendipity.
Recalls associate producer Ron Bozman: “At one point, we encountered a wonderful street musician known as ‘Mr. Spoons.’ Jonathan was entranced, and Mr. Spoons is in the picture.” Manhattan’s pulsating Lower East Side, in the shadow of the ancient Williamsburg Bridge (which would be closed to traffic within a few months when its beams seemed in imminent danger of collapse), proved a colorful, ethnically diverse backdrop for Angela DeMarco’s “new life.”
It is also a neighborhood with a soaring crime rate, notes location  manager Steve Rose. “We took elaborate security precautions. Still, the caterer turned his back for just a few minutes and when he returned the coffee bar was missing. How do you hock a 40-gallon coffee urn?”
Nearby on Centre Street, art and life collided when the camera crew’s dolly track overlapped the entrance to the federal courthouse.
Although it was late at night and the building was deserted, the unit was confronted by armed officers who politely — but firmly — suggested that filming on federal property would be frowned upon.
Throughout the location-scouting process, continues Rose, negotiations were conducted in a mixture of tongues — including Spanish, Chinese, Korean and sign language — with merchants who spoke little English. Among the prized sites was the Solidaridad Humana Community Center, converted from an old schoolhouse, where Mike Downey and Angela DeMarco celebrate their first date by joining a spirited “Cuando” dance.
With the live music of the Brazilian powerhouse samba band, Pe de Boi, for encouragement, the requisite number of takes was completed.
Then the cast and crew stayed on, joined by friends, relatives, extras and local residents, for a storm of samba that continued well into the night. Such rhythms are important to Demme, a respected ethno- musicologist, whose work has included the trend-setting concert film, “Stop Making Sense,” and music videos in a wide range of idioms.
Among some 50 songs scattered through the soundtrack of “Something Wild” was the closing theme, “Wild Thing,” performed by reggae star Sister Carol. Delighted by that performance, he offered the Jamaican-born singer a co-starring role in “Married To The Mob.” As Rita, the soulful proprietress of the Hello Gorgeous beauty shop, she befriends Angela, incurring the wrath of the FBI — and landing on the hit list of the INS.
Other cast members drawn from contemporary music include rocker David Johansen (alias Buster Poindexter), a winner of seven top honors at the 1986 New York Music Awards, led by Best Male R&B Vocalist, and Chris Isaak, whose “Dancint” video caught Demme’s eye.
Johansen plays a Mafia priest, while Isaak, described by Demme as a “minor-key mix of Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison,” is seen as a hit man
Even music supervisor Gary Goetzman, who produced “Stop Making Sense,” puts in a cameo appearance — as the lounge pianist at Tony Russo’s favorite hangout who sings a simpering tribute to the big-tipping “Tiger.”
Under Goetzman’s supervision, the soundtrack features songs by exciting newcomer Jane Child and Q. Lazzarus, who introduced Demme to her ballad, “Transformation,” when he rode as a passenger in her taxicab.
One last musical contribution merits mention. When Matthew Modine tracks Michelle Pfeiffer through the Lower East Side, he briefly, bu tenthusiastically, joins a troupe of street musicians — portrayed by the doo- wop group, True Image — rather than blow his undercover cover.
Describing such scenes, Pfeiffer says that she frequently “felt like the Martin Sheen character in ‘Apocalypse Now.’ I was trying to be straight, and here were all these wild characters, doing crazy things around me.”
To personify that spirit, says casting director Howard Feuer, he joined Demme in “avoiding the obvious, taking a step or two to the right or left.” Included in key roles are Alec Baldwin (almost unrecognizable from the ghostly innocent he plays in “Beetlejuice”) as ambitious gunsel Frankie DeMarco; Oliver Platt, an alumnus of the Manhattan Punch Line Theatre Group (where he was spotted — and recommended to Demme — by Bill Murray), as junk-food addict G-man Ed Benitez; and Paul Lazar (of the avant-garde Irondale Ensemble) as Tony Russo’s wiry bodyguard, Tommy.
The proprietor of the mob wives’ makeshift forum, the Chez Ray Beauty Salon, is played by Charles Napier, who has appeared in all of Demme’s films since “Handle With Care.” Another favorite actor, Tracey Walter, is the manager of the Chicken Lickin’ fast-food franchise where Angela DeMarco is introduced to sexual harassment in the workplace — and the job interview.
While veteran character actor Trey Wilson plays Mike Downey’s relentless FBI boss, Franklin, his tough-talking aide (in an unbilled cameo) is producer Kenneth Utt.
Cinematographer Tak Fujimoto, in his seventh collaboration with Demme, notes that the film’s satirically colorful characters to some degree dictated his own approach. “Mostdirectors want realism,” he explains. ” But for the mob war between rival thugs, for example, we shied away from graphic violence in favor of melodramatic shadows and silhouettes. The lighting style had to match the acting style.”
So, too, did the garish and exotic locations which mirrored the mobsters’ taste in pop culture. “Some people were reluctant to lease their homes — or mansions — to us when they heard the title,” admits Kenneth Utt. On the other hand, the LongIsland Railroad had no qualms about providing a commuter train for the film’s opening gangland execution.
“Anywhere but New York, we’d have been in trouble,” Utt explains.
“But the Long Island Railroad knew that people would accept it as fiction and that nothing we did could tarnish its image.” 

About the Cast .. .

Shot into instant widowhood, all that Angela DeMarco can bring to her dash for freedom are a dangerously naive determination, a high school diploma — and a face of elegant planes and eloquent eyes. She is played in all her valiant, spike-heeled vulnerability by MICHELLE PFEIFFER.
Most recently seen as one of the tantalizing “Witches of Eastwick,”
Pfeiffer, who has been called “drop dead gorgeous” by Time Magazine and “one of the ten most beautiful women in the world” by Harper’s Bazaar, had to get past those same assets to be taken seriously as an actress. The role she credits for the breakthrough was Elvira St. James in Brian De Palma’s “Scarface,” ironically enough the wife of a mobster.
A patrician WASP with an escalating cocaine habit, Elvira was the capper to the American dream for Al Pacino’s “Marielito” drug czar, Tony Montana. As such, she could not have been further removed from Angela DeMarco. “Elvira survived in a violent world by never going beneath the surface of her feelings,” explains Pfeiffer, “while Angela lets every joy and fear and hunger hang out.”
Born and raised in Southern California, Pfeiffer lived close enough to Los Angeles to bus in for acting lessons while attending Fountain Valley High School.
The daughter of a conservative Orange County businessman, Pfeiffer clerked in a supermarket to pay for her lessons, but landed an agent through a fluke, when a friend secretly entered her in a beauty pageant. (Miffed at first, Pfeiffer went through with it and won the title — Miss Orange County — as well as representation in Hollywood.)
Just 18 at the time, she was soon cast as “The Bombshell” — “a part so small it had no name” — in the television series “Delta House,” and a month later landed her first film role in the low-budget “Falling in Love Again.” Not wanting to pass up either opportunity, she spent her days with the series, and her nights and weekends working on the movie, for a hectic two-month period.
Then came a rash of small, lightweight roles — a carhop in “Hollywood Knights,” a dizzy debutante in “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen” and the flamboyant “Pink Lady” in “Grease 2” (which she won after entering a nationwide talent search). It was also during this time that Pfeiffer appeared in television’s “Callie and Son,” and co-starred in the TV films “Splendor in the Grass” and “The Children That Nobody Wanted.”
After her superb and critically-acclaimed portrayal of Elvira in “Scarface,” Pfeiffer’s film roles grew meatier and more memorable . . .  from Rutger Hauer’s doomed love in Richard Donner’s medieval fantasy,
“Ladyhawke,” to the imperiled jewel smuggler who cured insomniac Jeff Goldblum in John Landis’ “Into the Night,” to the dual role of starlet Faith Healy and patriot Mary Slocum in Alan Alda’s “Sweet Liberty.”
In addition to “Witches of Eastwick,” Pfeiffer was most recently seen in a return to television drama, starring in the PBS adaptation of John O’Hara’s “Natica Jackson.” (“Played superbly by Michelle Pfeiffer, who is absolutely wonderful,” wrote critic John O’Connor in the New York Times.)

When first encountered in “Married To The Mob,” G-Man Mike Downey is so devoted to the principles of J. Edgar Hoover that his conservative business suit hangs above his bed, ready to be donned at the drop of a felony.
By the time he’s deep into the “DeMarco case,” he’s unplugging his own wiretaps, lying to his partner, and posing as a polyester tourist to prove his quarry’s innocence.

The role marks MATTHEW MODINE’s first foray into romantic comedy, fresh from the critical acclaim he receiv3d as the explosively angry young kidnapper of Alan Pakula’s “Orphans.” (“Modine goes head to head
with Albert Finney, and takes your breath away,” wrote Esquire Magazine.)
One of two films to which Modine contributed vivid performances in 1987, it followed Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket,” in which he played Private Joker, the narrator/observer of the Vietnam experience.
Although he has developed an increasingly singular screen persona in the five years since his bow as Rosanna Arquette’s college boyfriend in John Sayles’ “Baby, It’s You,” Modine has always followed an unconventional trail.
Born the youngest of seven children in Loma Linda, California, he grew up in Utah, where his father was the manager of a drive-in theatre.
“I saw so many movies that I’m sure it influenced my desire to be an actor,” he recalls. But at 18 he headed for New York and the theatre rather than Los Angeles and movie-making
Supporting himself as a chef in a natural-food restaurant, he enrolled with famed drama coach Stella Adler, then made his professional bow doing television commercials.
From there he landed a brief role in the daytime drama “Texas” and appeared in an After School Special entitled “Amy and the Angel,” before segueing into movies with “Baby, It’s You.”
After starring opposite Phoebe Cates in the teenage hi-jinks caper, “Private School,” Modine was cast in Robert Altman’s searing screen version of David Rabe’s anti-war play, “Streamers.” Playing Billy, the drama’s bright but sexually confused anti-hero, Modine shared a unique acting honor when the Venice Film Festival’s Best Actor Award was bestowed on the entire cast.
He next joined Rob Lowe, Jodie Foster, Beau Bridges and Wilford Brimley in Tony Richardson’s “Hotel New Hampshire,” based on John Irving’s best-selling novel. Then came the moody “Mrs. Soffel,” in which he starred with Diane Keaton and Mel Gibson; “Vision Quest,” in which he played a mystical high school wrestler, and “Birdy,” Alan Parker’s harrowing fable about a young man whose lifelong yearning for freedom led him to schizophrenia — and a mental ward.

When Tony “The Tiger” Russo looks in the mirror, says DEAN STOCKWELL, what he sees is “a charming warm-hearted guy whom  women find irresistible and other men admire.”
That, of course, excludes “the FBI buffoons who couldn’t find their noses if they looked cross-eyed,” and fellow hoods, like Frankie DeMarco, who cross — or double-cross — his predatory path.
Now riding the crest of the third wave of his acting career, Stockwell in recent years has scored as the hard-boiled Army commander of “Gardens of Stone” and the pansexual drug dealer of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet,” as well as in co-starring roles in “Paris, Texas,” “To Live and Die in L.A.,” “Dune” and “Beverly Hills Cop II.”
The son of Broadway performers, he was born in North Hollywood, California, and made his stage debut at seven in a Theatre Guild production of “The Innocent Voyage. By the age of nine he began a lengthy career as a child film star, appearing in close to two dozen movies before he reached 15. Included were “Valley of Decision,” “Anchors Aweigh,”
“Gentlemen’s Agreement,” “The Boy With Green Hair,” The Secret Garden” and “Kim.”
Looking for life beyond the studio back lots, Stockwell left Hollywood and roamed the U.S. for five years, then returned to start the second wave of his career with the lead in “Compulsion.” His portrayal of an intellectual young murderer (based on the infamous Leopold-Loeb duo) brought him the Best Actor prize in Cannes, as did his subsequent performance as Edmund Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”
After working nonstop throughout the late 60s and early 70s, Stockwell again took a sabbatical. But with the advent of marriage, fatherhood and a move to New Mexico some five years ago, his zest for motion pictures returned. “I’m enjoying my work in ways I never did before,” he says. “It’s the best time of my life.”
Next up for Stockwell: the soon-to-be-released films “Blue Iguana” and “Tucker.” The latter, directed by Francis Coppola and starring Jeff
Bridges, gives Stockwell a bravura role as Howard Hughes. Then comes “Ronnie Rocket,” a “bizarre project” from “Blue Velvet” director David Lynch.

With the passion of diva gone berserk, MERCEDES RUEHL‘s Connie Russo takes dead aim at anything which threatens her marriage -including other women, guilty or not, and her husband’s anatomy. She does not fear Tony Russo. . . she engulfs him.
In likening Connie to a modern Medea, Ruehl knows whereof she speaks. A classically-trained actress, her portrayal of the willful sorceress who murders her own children brought Ruehl national attention when she played the title role in “Medea” at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Born in New York to an FBI agent and his schoolteacher wife, Ruehl grew up in Silver Springs, Maryland, where she remembers “wanting to be an actress since the age of seven.”
After completing her education she moved back to Manhattan to study acting with noted coaches Uta Hagen and Tad Danielewski, among others. Regional theatre stints in the works of Shakespeare and Moliere led to modern comedies off Broadway, and an Obie for her performance in Chris Durang’s “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” at New York’s Public Theatre. Ruehl also played Judd Hirsch’s daughter for a year in the Broadway hit, “I’m Not Rappaport.”
Her screen credits include “Heartburn,” “Radio Days,” “The Secret of My Success,” “84 Charing Cross Road” and “Big.”

As G-man Ed Benitez, OLIVER PLATT is Mike Downey’s long-time — and long-suffering — partner. Describing crime-stopping as a “lonely business,” he “sublimates his sexual urges through his bizarre eating habits,” says Platt. “But the job has its compensations; he loves wearing disguises.”
Such character traits attracted Platt to his screen debut. Currently a member of Off-Broadway’s Manhattan Punch Line Theatre Group, he was performing there when he caught the eye of comic Bill Murray, who recommended him to director Demme.
The son of a diplomat, Platt recalls a stimulating childhood spent in Washington, D.C., and various parts of the Orient. Choosing early to pursue an acting career, he earned a degree in drama from Tufts University, then polished his craft in regional theatres and with such classically-oriented groups as the British American Drama Academy and Shakespeare & Company.
After helping found Washington’s “Gramm-Rudman Players,” a comedic cabaret, Platt appeared in such contemporary masterworks as “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ and “The Crucible” as well as in Sheridan’s “The School For Scandal,” then moved to New York in the fall of 1986.
He will also appear on screen in the soon-to-be-released “Crusoe.”

With a house full of free furniture (hot, but what the hey), a kid, a car and a husband on his way up the Family tree, Angela DeMarco should be content already. So thinks her hit-man husband, Frankie “The Cucumber.” “I think these guys sleep like rocks,” says ALEC BALDWIN of his role. “They don’t seem to have any remorse, or any idea that what they do  is unacceptable.”
Baldwin is familiar with the breed. A native of Long Island, he grew up surrounded by the Mafia culture. “People actually wanted you to think they were ‘connected,” he recalls. “My three brothers and I lampooned the Cosa Nostra for 20 years.”
Currently on screen as the newly wed, newly dead hero of “Beetlejuice,” Baldwin began his career shortly after completing his training at the Lee Strasberg Institute. Landing the role of Billy Aldrick in
television’s long-running soap, “The Doctors,” he stayed with the show three years, and also appeared opposite Hal Holbrook and Lloyd Bridges in the miniseries “Dress Grey.”
The spring of ’87 was the actor’s personal high-water mark. While winning the prestigious Theatre World Award for his New York Theatre debut in the Broadway production of Joe Orton’s “Loot,” Baldwin also made his screen bow opposite Hannah Schygulla and Deborah Harry in “Forever Lulu.” In quick succession the same year came “She’s Having a Baby” with Elizabeth McGovern and Kevin Bacon, and then the smash hit, “Beetlejuice.”

Friend, Earth Mother — and proprietress of the Hello Gorgeous beauty salon — Rita is the first person to help Angela DeMarco get started in her new life. Conveying the art of survival power with warmth and hipness is Brooklyn reggae princess SISTER CAROL, in her second teaming with director Demme. (She sang “Wild Thing” to close his “Something Wild.”)
Born Carol East in Kingston, Jamaica, she recalls a childhood spent sneaking down to the corner store to hear Bob Marley and other reggae greats create their spontaneous street music. By the time she emigrated to the U.S. at 14, she had a thorough grounding in its traditions. Soon creating and performing her own songs, she recorded her first album in 1982.
“The words of my songs are to bring people together, to teach them something,” explains Sister Carol, who is now recognized as reggae’s foremost female deejay (rap) performer. (Wrote Beat Magazine: “She has taken the formidable male-dominated world of reggae and infused it with a new and vital consciousness.”)
It was that depth and energy, projected during a 1985 club date, which moved director Jonathan Demme, who was in the audience. “I couldn’t believe the power of this woman,” he recalls. “She left the stage and I was trembling. . . I was determined to find a way that we could work together.”

As Tommy Boyle, PAUL LAZAR has a job guaranteed to offer “early retirement” benefits: he’s Tony Russo’s bodyguard.
A New Yorker who made his film debut in Robert Altman’s “Streamers,” Lazar is currently a corps member of The Irondale Ensemble, one of Manhattan’s most innovative experimental theatre companies.
Recent productions in which Lazar has appeared include “Galileo,” “The Uncle Vanya Show” and the avant-garde classic, “Ubu Roi.”
A drama graduate of Vermont’s progressive Bennington College, Lazar began his career in regional theatre. After performing at the Kenyon Festival Theatre in Ohio and Theatre Three in Dallas, he returned to New York, where he appeared in the Shakespeare Festival production of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales.”
Lazar has also worked with noted stage directors Paul Sills and Ralph Lee.

As the veteran FBI field director, Franklin, TREY WILSON finds agent Mike Downey as hard to understand as he is to shape up. His fears for the future of the Bureau are not unfounded.
Currently on screen as the snake-bitten manager of a Class-A baseball team in “Bull Durham,” Wilson is the product of theatre in Texas, Los Angeles and Broadway.
Born in Houston and graduated in theatre and English from the city’s university, Wilson played L.A. briefly as half a comedy duo, then returned to Texas for a season of summer stock with the Windmill Dinner Theatre chain. After landing his first film role in “Drive In,” he stayed in Los Angeles to voice a character in Ralph Bakshi’s animated “Lord of the Rings,” then appeared in the city’s Civic Light Opera Production of “Annie Get Your Gun.” Cast next in “Peter Pan,” Wilson followed the show to Broadway, where he went on to appear in “Tintypes,” “The First,” “Foxfire,” “Big River” and “The Front Page.”
In addition to the television miniseries “RFK” and “Kennedy,” Wilson has also appeared in the motion pictures “FIX,” “The Believers,” “A Soldier’s Story,” “The House on Carroll Street” and “Raising Arizona.”

ALSO MARRIED TO THE MOB:
Angela DeMarco and Connie Russo have plenty of company in their sisterhood. Included are:
*Wife Rose, played by JOAN CUSACK. Perhaps best known for her yearlong stint on television’s “Saturday Night Live,” she has also appeared in the motion pictures “Sixteen Candles,” “My Bodyguard,” “Broadcast News” and “Stars and Bars.”
*Wife Theresa, played by ELLEN FOLEY. Currently starring on Broadway in “Me and My Girl,” she has also appeared in the films “Fatal Attraction,” “Cocktail,” “Tootsie” and “Hair,” and spent a year as a regular on the television comedy, “Night Court.”
*Wife Phyllis, played by O-LAN JONES. A founding member of the Overtone Theatre, she has performed in over 40 plays in London, New York and San Francisco, and has appeared in the motion pictures “Shoot the Moon,” “The Right Stuff’ and “Miracle Mile”

About the Filmmakers. . .

Calling “Married To The Mob” a “gangster movie with a funny back spin,” director JONATHAN DEMME admits that he found the idiosyncratic humor of the Strugatz-Burns script as irresistible as its surprising central character. “It’s a Mafia movie, with all those melodramatic tough-talking gangsters . . . and yet the story is Angela’s,” he says with obvious relish.
“She discovers that there’s good and evil in the world . . . and they’re both out to get her.”
While a fascination with the humor and humanity of eccentric behavior has long marked the work of the self-confessed “movie addict,” Demme’s lifelong interest in film didn’t crystallize until he was in college.
Born in Rockville Center, New York, he was raised in Miami, Florida, and was already enrolled in the University of Florida’s school of veterinary medicine when, after writing film reviews for the student newspaper and the Coral Gables Times, his career direction changed.
Following a brief stint with the U.S. Air Force, Demme worked as a publicist at Embassy Pictures, United Artists in New York and Pathe, and wrote reviews for the trade paper Film Daily. Moving to London, he soon joined filmmaker Roger Corman during the production of “Von Richtofen and Brown,” then relocated in Los Angeles with Corman’s New World Pictures.
There he honed his talents, as he co-wrote and produced “Angels Hard as They Come,” directed “Caged Heat” and filmed “Crazy Mama.”
After directing “Fighting Mad” for Corman and Twentieth Century Fox, Demme directed “Handle With Care” (a spoof of the citizens-band radio craze) and the suspense thriller “The Last Embrace,” followed by “Melvin and Howard.”
The whimsical portrait of loser Melvin Dumar’s “encounter with hitchhiking recluse Howard Hughes opened the 1980 New York Film festival, won Best Picture honors from the National Society of Film Critics, won Oscars for writer Bo Goldman and co-star Mary Steenburgen, and brought Demme himself the New York Film Critics’ Best Director award.
He followed with the World War II home-front tale “Swing Shift” (which brought Christine Lahti an Oscar nomination), then indulged his musical enthusiasm with “Stop Making Sense.” Filmed during an appearance by David Byrne and the Talking Heads, the “Walpurgisnacht Boogie”(Time Magazine) brought Demme his second major award from the National Society of Film Critics — for Best Documentary.
The comically lusty thriller, “Something Wild,” continued Demme’s unconventional approach to ffirrunaking Starring Jeff Daniels as a button- down businessman, Melanie Griffith as a wayward wanton and Ray Liotta as her ex-con husband — none of whom were what they seemed — it led  Mike Sragow of American Film to write, “Demme has evolved into a compassionate observer of Americana.”

Demme followed with “Swimming to Cambodia,” a one-man screen show starring Spalding Gray and his behind-the-scenes adventures as an actor in “The Killing Fields.”
Demme has kept busy in other media as well, directing music videos with UB40 and Chrissie Hynde, Sandra Bernhardt, Fine Young Cannibals, Suzanne Vega and the “Sun City” video of Artists United Against Apartheid. For public television, Demme filmed “Accumulation With Talking Plus Water Motor,” a study of Trisha Brown’s choreography; “Trying Times,” a dramatic special by Pulitzer Prize winner Beth Henley, and “Who Am I This Time?” a sensitive romance starring Christopher Walken and Susan Sarandon. He most recently made the impressionistic documentary, “Haiti Dreams of Democracy,” which aired on the Bravo network. Currently learning Haitian Creole, he plans other projects both fictional and documentary, to be filmed on the Caribbean island.
Meanwhile, Demme is preparing to co-produce “Miami Blues” in conjunction with Edward Saxon, Kenneth Utt and Gary Goetzman George Armitage will direct the film from his own screenplay, based on Charles Willeford’s novel.


Producer KENNETH UTT has been accurately dubbed “the dean of New York production.” His career in motion pictures and television dates back to “the golden age” of live TV dramas, most of which originated from Manhattan studios.
Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he graduated from Elon College, then won a fellowship to New York’s Juilliard school of music. After a brief time out for World War II — during which he served with Moss Hart’s “Winged Victory” unit — Utt returned to Juilliard to finish his education.
Beginning his career as a featured performer in the hit Broadway musical “Carousel,” he soon turned to production, serving as stage manager on such major Broadway shows as “Peter Pan” and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.”
Segueing into television, he served ten years with the legendary “Studio One” and “DuPont Show of the Month,” and was associate producer of such popular series as “The Defenders,” “Coronet Blue” and “NYPD.”
He did the Ed Sullivan Show when it was called “Toast of the Town,” served as executive in charge of production with D’Antoni-Weitz television, and later was production manager of “Liza with a Z.” More recently, Utt produced the special and series “Baker’s Dozen,” and the television film “Intimate Strangers.”
Entering motion pictures in the late 1960s, he was associate producer of “Midnight Cowboy,” “The Subject Was Roses,” “The French Connection,” “All That Jazz” and “Eyewitness,” and served as production manager for “Bye Bye Braverman” and “The Wiz.” After producing “Star 80,” Utt served as co-producer of “Something Wild.”

Producer EDWARD SAXON has enjoyed a prolific collaboration with director Jonathan Demme. The executive producer of “Something Wild” and associate producer of “Swimming to Cambodia,” he is partnered with Demme in “Clinica Estetico, Ltd.,” a production company active in feature film documentaries, public television and music videos. Saxon worked with Demme on the Grammy-winning documentary “The Making of Sun City,” then co-produced Demme’s “Accumulation with Talking Plus Water Motor” for the PBS series Alive From Off Center. Their most recent teaming was the provocative documentary, “Haiti Dreams of Democracy.”
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Saxon attended McGill University in Montreal, where he remained to co-found the Cafe Theatre, which showcased avant-garde performing artists. After producing and directing  several shows by the Cafe’s own troupe, he moved to Los Angeles, enrolled at USC, and received his master’s degree from the university’s motion picture producing program. During his two years as a student there, Saxon produced and hosted “E.D.,” a half-hour weekly experimental series, on cable television.

“Married To The Mob” marks the first of ten motion-picture projects which executive producers JOEL SIMON and BILL TODMAN, JR. have developed with major studios since they formed Todman-Simon
Productions two years ago. During this same period they have also signed an exclusive televison term deal with Lorimar Telepictures.

Both are New Yorkers. Simon was born and raised in Manhattan.
After earning his BA degree from the University of Miami, Florida, he settled in Los Angeles, where he formed his own company, Simon Marketing. During thirteen years of creating worldwide promotions for  such major firms as McDonalds, he became increasingly involved in a wide range of entertainment ventures.
His new career direction was cemented by the partnership with Bill Todman Jr., and the development of “Married To The Mob.”
Todman, who was born in suburban Scarsdale, was raised in a show-business atmosphere. The son of Bill Todman, Sr., co-founder of the Goodson-Todman television game-show empire, he was educated at Hobart College in New York and Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. After earning his BA, he put in his tutelage with the family firm, then segued to MGM-TV, where he served as program executive for such hit series as “Chips,” “Fame” and “Chicago Story.”
Following a brief stint as in-house television producer at Twentieth Century Fox, Todman moved to Lorimar, where he joined forces with Joel Simon. He is 32.

More than ten years after they met at film school, screenwriters BARRY STRUGATZ and MARK R. BURNS combined their long-standing friendship and comedic rapport into the creation of “Married To The Mob.”
After leaving their shared alma mater — New York University — both enjoyed success in separate areas of film production. Brooklyn-born Strugatz worked as a location scout and production assistant on “Hair,” “They All Laughed,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo” and others, while also producing and directing documentaries and industrial films.
Burns, a native of Long Island, served as editor of such films as
“Death of a Salesman,” “Love is Ever Young,” “Almost You” and “Old Enough,” and constantly found himself drawn to writing. “As an editor,” he recalls, “I would sometimes feel that the real problem lay in the material.”
In 1987, each took a break from regular work, sat down and “plunged into the story of ‘Married To The Mob.”
“We wanted to write something with a strong woman character,”
says Burns, “and we thought the situation of a m would make an interesting story. We saw it from the outset as a comedy.”
“The mob may be an intriguing subject,” says Strugatz, “but from the point of view of a woman, it’s the most oppressive of environments . . . one of cultural strangulation. A lot of the characters’ misconceptions in our story stem from the mob’s attitude toward a woman in a man’s world.
Angela has to fight that stereotype.”
Next up for the duo: “Life and Loves of a She-Devil,” a dark comedy of revenge to be directed by Susan Seidelman for Orion. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                    MICHELLE PFEIFFER
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Biography

It isn’t easy to sever “family” connections.
Angela DeMarco makes that discovery when her husband, hit man Frankie “The Cucumber,” is cooled by his capo, Tony “The Tiger” Russo.
Angela wants to start a new life. But to both the Mafia and the FBI she’s still very much “Married To The Mob.”
“No matter how hard she tries to do her best, people think the worst,” explains Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays the spirited young widow in Orion Pictures’ wry comedy directed by Jonathan Demme. Coming at her from both sides of the law are Matthew Modine as the gee-whiz G-man assigned to her case, Dean Stockwell as the preening “Tiger” who considers her fair game, and a Sicilian chorus of suburban mob wives convinced she’s sold out their sisterhood.
Pfeiffer suspects that within the underworld satire is a core of truth to which many women will relate.
“After years of being well kept — and kept down — they reach a point where they shake up everything and break loose. That’s what Angela does.
And in a very different way of course, what I did in my own life.”
Born in California to a conservative Orange County businessman, Pfeiffer decided to pursue an acting career while still attending Fountain Valley High School. Clerking in a supermarket, she earned enough money to take dramatic lessons in Los Angeles, a short bus ride away. •
It was her extraordinary beauty, however, which first brought her recognition, (Recently called “drop dead gorgeous” by Time Magazine, Pfeiffer has always played down such praise, preferring to be acknowledged for her acting ability). When a school friend secretly entered her in the Miss Orange County beauty contest, Pfeiffer, then 18, was miffed at first, but went through with it and won both the title and, more important, a Hollywood agent.
She was soon cast as “The Bombshell” — “a part so small it had no name” — in the television series “Delta House,” and a month later landed her first film role in the low-budget “Falling in Love Again.” Not wanting to pass up either opportunity, she spent her days with the series, and her nights and weekends working on the movie, for a hectic two-month period.
Then came a rash of small, lightweight roles — a carhop in “Hollywood Knights,” a dizzy debutante in “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen” and the flamboyant “Pink Lady” in “Grease 2” (which she won after entering a nationwide talent search). It was also during this time that Pfeiffer appeared in television’s “Callie and Son,” and co-starred in the TV films “Splendor in the Grass” and “The Children That Nobody Wanted.”
The role she considers her dramatic breakthrough was Elvira St. James in Brian De Palma’s “Scarface.” A patrician WASP with elegant lines and an easy confidence, Elvira was the capper to the American dream for Al Pacino’s “Marielito” drug czar, Tony Montana. But when her escalating cocaine habit turned her into a full-time junkie unable to hide her boredom, her contempt or her fading appeal, she turned Tony’s dreams to dust.
She outlived her mate, however — the only similarity Pfeiffer sees between the two mobsters’ wives she has portrayed. “In addition to the obvious class difference, their entire personalities are poles apart. Elvira survived by never going beneath the surface of her feelings,” she explains,
“while Angela lets every joy and fear and hunger hang out.”
The critical acclaim heaped on Pfeiffer for her Elvira brought her a succession of memorable roles, chosen with a “conscious effort to confuse people about my image,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll play a role just because it’s such a different character from anything else I’ve done.”
In Richard Donner’s medieval fantasy, “Ladyhawke,” she played Isabeau of Anjou, a bird of a different feather indeed — doomed to spend her days as a hawk, while her lover (Rutger Hauer) became a wolf each nightfall.
Pfeiffer followed this 14th century legend with John Landis’ very contemporary “Into the Night” — a fast-paced suspense thriller in which, as a first-time jewel smuggler, she led insomniac Jeff Goldblum on an eye- opening chase through the world of L.A.’s conspicuous consumers.
With her next film — Alan Alda’s “Sweet Liberty” — she had the best of two worlds, playing starlet Faith Healy and Revolutionary patriot Mary Slocum in the movie-within-a-movie. Then came the tantalizing “Witches of Eastvvick,” in which Pfeiffer starred with Cher and Susan Sarandon as a trio of witches bothered and bewildered by satanic Jack Nicholson.
During the filming of “Married To The Mob,” Pfeiffer returned to television to play the title role in John O’Hara’s “Natica Jackson.” Aired on PBS, it inspired New York Times Critic John O’Connor to write, “Played superbly by Michelle Pfeiffer in a glamorous haze of blonde hair and brittle vulnerability, Natica is a star on the rise. Ms. Pfeiffer is absolutely wonderful.”

To the actress herself, Angela DeMarco is clearly “the most unusual role I’ve played yet. I feel like the Martin Sheen character in ‘Apocalypse
Now,’ trying to be straight while everyone else does these crazy things around me.

“Married To The Mob” is an Orion Pictures release of a Jonathan Demme Picture starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Mathew Modine and Dean Stockwell. Mercedes Ruehl and Alec Baldwin co-star. Kenneth Utt and Edward Saxon produced the film which was directed by Demme from a screenplay by Barry Strugatz and Mark R. Burns. Joel Simon and Bill Todman, Jr. are executive producers. Music is by David Byrne.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  MATTHEW MODINE
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Biography

As an eccentric young G-man who would clearly rattle the ghost of J. Edgar Hoover, Matthew Modine stars with Michelle Pfeiffer and Dean Stockwell in Orion Pictures’ “Married To The Mob.”
His character, Mike Downey, starts out straight enough — if one can overlook some odd mannerisms, like sliding directly from the top of his bed into his pre-buttoned shirt, pants and jacket.
But as he digs into his present assignment, the case of “notorious” mob widow Angela DeMarco, he jettisons the stake-out he himself began and jeopardizes his gang-busting future. Against every rule in the FBI handbook, he falls hook, line and wiretap for his suspect.
“Married To The Mob” marks Modine’s first foray into romantic comedy after dramatic roles in films like “Full Metal Jacket” and “Orphans.” But, says director Jonathan Demme, “there’s an idealism
about him and an eccentric streak just this side of goofy. . . that made us pursue him to play Mike Downey.”
Modine himself describes the FBI rookie as “very bright . . . just a lousy judge of character. He knows he made a terrible mistake when he accused Angela DeMarco of being in collusion with the ‘boys.’ But even after he tells his superiors how wrong he was, they still prefer his original theory. . . and he has to lead a double life.”
Although Modine has developed an increasingly singular screen persona in the five years since his bow as Rosanna Arquette’s college boyfriend in John Sayles’ “Baby, It’s You,” he has always followed an unconventional trail.
Born the youngest of seven children in Loma Linda, California, he grew up in Utah, where his father was the manager of a drive-in theatre.
“I saw so many movies that I’m sure it influenced my desire to be an actor,” he recalls. But at 18 he headed for New York and the theatre rather than Los Angeles and movie-making.
“I knew what I wanted,” he recalls, “but I didn’t lmow how to go about it. I only knew that you couldn’t just say ‘I want to be an actor’ and start acting.”
He supported himself as a chef in a whole-foods restaurant on the corner of 37th Street and Third Avenue. (Still an aficionado of macrobiotic nutrition, he enjoyed the irony of hacking up large slabs of meat as an undercover butcher — one of Mike Downey’s many disguises in “Married To The Mob.”) Between stints at the restaurant, he studied with famed drama coach Stella Adler, then made his professional bow doing television commercials.
From there he landed a brief role in the daytime drama, “Texas,” and appeared in an After School Special entitled “Amy and the Angel” before making his movie bow in “Baby, It’s You.”
After starring opposite Phoebe Cates in the teenage hi-jinks caper, “Private School,” Modine was cast in Robert Altman’s searing screen version of David Rabe’s anti-war play, “Streamers.” Playing Billy, the drama’s bright but sexually confused anti-hero, Modine shared a unique cting honor when the Venice Film Festival’s Best Actor Award was bestowed on the entire cast.
He next joined Robe Lowe, Jodie Foster, Beau Bridges and Wilford Brimley in Tony Richardson’s “Hotel New Hampshire,” based on John Irving’s best-selling novel. Then came the moody “Mrs. Soffel,” in which he starred with Diane Keaton and Mel Gibson; “Vision Quest,” in which he played a mystical high-school wrestler, and “Birdy,” Alan Parker’s harrowing fable about a young man whose lifelong yearning for freedom led him to schizophrenia — and a mental ward — while serving in Vietnam.
In what could be viewed as a logical dramatic progression, Modine returned to Vietnam in his next film, playing Private Joker, the narrator/ observer of Stanley Kubrick’s epic, “Full Metal Jacket.” The picture’s excellent reviews foreshadowed another triumph for Modine later that same year, 1987, in Alan Pakula’s “Orphans” His remarkable portrayal of Treat — an explosively angry “white-trash kid from Queens” — brought high critical praise: to wit, “Modine goes head-to-head with Albert Finney and takes your breath away” (Esquire Magazine).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DEAN STOCKWELL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Biography

During the course of Orion Pictures’ “Married To The Mob,” gangster Tony “The Tiger” Russo dispatches torpedos to complete a gangland contract on a New York commuter train, murders his most trusted lieutenant, tries to seduce the hit man’s widow, and has a gunfight with the clown at a fast-food burger stand.
Despite this rap sheet, Dean Stockwell, who plays the role, describes “The Tiger” as a “charming, personable guy with an eye for the ladies — and a few jealous enemies.” Among them, he numbers the FBI (“a bunch of buffoons who couldn’t find their noses with their eyes crossed”), grand juries, rival gangsters, and almost everyone who crosses his path in suburban Long Island or on Miami’s Gold Coast.
Jonathan Demrne, who directed the sardonic thriller starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine, observes that Stockwell’s performance “is informed by the archetypal gangsters we’ve come to know from motion pictures. He could go toe-to-toe with Scarface, Little Caesar,
Mad Dog Earle, the best of them. . . yet at the same time he has the flamboyant, debonair quality, the perverted sense of style, of today’s ‘Yuppie’ hood.”
While Stockwell is deep into what he calls his “third career,” this is the first time he has ever portrayed a a mob boss.
The son of Broadway performers (his father was the voice of Prince Charming in Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”), Stockwell was born in North Hollywood, California, and made his stage debut at seven in a Theatre Guild production of “The Innocent Voyage.” “My father heard about this play that needed a lot of kids,” he recalls “and brought my brother Guy and me to the auditions. The next thing I knew I was in the show, and then MGM signed me to a long-term contract. There were plenty of times when I wished I were out playing, just being a kid. But we made three or four pictures a year.”
By the time he was 15, Stockwell had appeared in “Valley of Decision,” “Anchors Aweigh,” “Gentlemen’s Agreement,” “The Mighty McGurk,” “Song of the Thin Man,” “The Boy With Green Hair,” “Down to the Sea in Ships,” “The Secret Garden,” “Kim,” “Stars in My Crown” and “Cattle Drive.”
Looking for life beyond the studio back lots, Stockwell left Hollywood and roamed the U.S. for five years, then returned to catch the second wave of his career with the lead in “Compulsion.” His portrayal of an intellectual young murderer (based on the infamous Leopold-Loeb duo) brought him the
Best Actor prize in Cannes, as did his subsequent performance as Edmund Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s “Long day’s Journey Into Night.”
Other memorable performances during this time were his Paul Morel, D.H. Lawrence’s alter ego in “Sons and Lovers,” and a man on the run in John Guillermin’s intense sensitive romance, “Rapture.’
After working nonstop in such films as “Psych-Out,” “The Loners” and “Werewolf of Washington” through the late ’60s and early ’70s,
Stockwell again took a sabbatical. He married, fathered two children and moved to New Mexico, convinced that he was ready to try something else.
But five years ago, he suddenly found himself gearing up for the third wave of his career, being offered roles he couldn’t refuse. From Wim Wenders’ critically-hailed “Paris, Texas, and William Friedkin’s gritty “To Live and Die in L.A.,” to “Dune” and Beverly Hills Cop II,” Stockwell served notice he was back.
His most recent triumphs include the hard-boiled Army commander of “Gardens of Stone,” the pansexual drug dealer of David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” and “Gambler III,” a TV movie-of-the-week in which he co-starred with Kenny Rogers.
Next up for Stockwell: the soon-to-be-released films “Blue Iguana” and “Tucker.” The latter, directed by Francis Coppola, stars Jeff Bridges and gives Stockwell a bravura turn as Howard Hughes. He then segues into “Backtrack,” co-starring with Dennis Hopper and Jodie Foster. He will also be seen in the upcoming “Palais Royale” with Kim Cattrell.
All of which is fine by Stockwell. “I’m enjoying my work now in ways I never did before,” he says. “It’s the best time of my life.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                       MERCEDES RUEHL
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Biography

As the first lady of one of Long Island’s leading Mafia clans, Connie Russo — wife of the notorious Tony “The Tiger” — will do anything to cling to her privileged status.
If that means matching wits with the felines who flock to the Tiger’s lair, so be it. If it requires declawing her husband — or otherwise lacerating his libido — she’s ready.
Playing Connie like a “diva gone bersek,” Mercedes Ruehl co-stars with Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine and Dean Stockwell in “Married to the Mob,” Jonathan Demme’s high-spirited comedy about modern-day mobsters for Orion Pictures release.
Describing the qualities of a mob wife, Ruehl explains, “you have to possess a certain level of venality. There’s definitely a sense that you have a price and somebody paid it.”
In Connie Russo’s case, her terms of endearment include “the cozy comforts of affluent suburbia, and a sense of power, however false.” When both are threatened by Tony’s passion for beautiful widow Angela DeMarco (Michelle Pfeiffer), Connie calls on the Family to protect the family. She thereby becomes more dangerous to her husband’s machinations than the FBI and rival gangsters combined.
A classically-trained actress who has appeared on and off Broadway and in six major films, Ruehl likens Connie Russo to the murderous Medea of Greek mythology, with one qualification: “Connie makes Medea look mild-mannered.” Ruehl speaks from experience. She playedEuripides’ possessed sorceress — and won national attention — with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
Born in New York to an FBI agent and his schoolteacher wife, Ruehl grew up in Silver Springs, Maryland, where she remembers “wanting to be an actress since the age of seven.”
After completing her education she moved back to Manhattan to study acting with noted coaches Uta Hagen and Tad Danielewski, among others. Then came regional stints in the works of Shakespeare and Moliere, which led eventually to New York theatre and an emphasis on modern comedies.
Amassing strong credits, Ruehl won a coveted Obie for her performance in Chris Durang’s “The Marriage of Bette and Boo” at New York’s Public Theatre, then moved on to Broadway for a year’s run as Judd Hirsch’s daughter in “I’m Not Rappaport.”
Since her screen debut in the acerbic “Heartburn” in 1986, Ruehl has appeared in Woody Allen’s “Radio Days,” with Michael J. Fox in “The Secret of My Success,” in the charming “84 Charing Cross Road” and the current comedy hit, “Big.”
Commenting on her performance as Connie Russo, she notes that one intriguing challenge was developing a “Long Island accent two generations removed from Bensonhurst. The trick is to use the top lip as little as possible, so it won’t develop creases. That’s very hard on words with lots of ‘t’ and ‘z’ sounds.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                    JONATHAN DEMME
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Biography

Jonathan Demme admits that he had wanted, for some time, to make a gangster movie. But what drew him to the script of “Married To The Mob” was the story’s break with underworld tradition.
Instead of blasting their way through the teeming slums, its hoodlums live in suburban style, mixing back-yard barbecues and PTA meetings with extortion, robbery and occasionally murder (like the opening scene, a gangland execution nonchalantly carried out on a crowded commuter train).
Even more appealing, “it’s a gangster story from a woman’s point of view,” says Demme. She is Angela DeMarco, the young widow of Frankie “The Cucumber,” a trigger man whose romantic recklessness costs him the trust of his capo, Tony Russo, in favor of a high-priced mafia funeral.
Portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer, Angela does the unthinkable. She moves out of her Long Island split-level and into a dilapidated Lower East Side tenement.
“She is determined to escape the past and lead a decent, honest life with her young son,” continues Demme. But Tony Russo wants her as his mistress. The FBI wants her as a decoy. The other mob wives, who believe they’ve been snubbed, want her in east hell.
“Nobody accepts the truth,” says Demme, “that after years of living on blood money she is simply trying to be good. That’s so insane in this dayand age that she must have some ulterior motive. So, from both sides of the law, they conspire to corrupt her.”
An Orion Pictures release, the comedy thriller co-stars Pfeiffer and Matthew Modine as the FBI man who triggers the investigation of Angela DeMarco, then tries to stop it in its incognito tracks, Dean Stockwell as the notorious Tony “The Tiger” Russo and Mercedes Ruehl as Connie Russo, the “Medea” of mob wives.
That Demme would be taken by the tale’s ironic twists comes as no surprise. The rich incongruity of human behavior has characterized much of his work. The recent “Something Wild,” which teamed Jeff Daniels as a strait-laced financier, Melanie Griffith as a seductive free spirit with a split personality and Ray Liotta as her ex-con ex-husband (none of whom were what they seemed), led Magill’s Cinema Annual , 1987, to describe it as “the most involving film” of its kind to mine the “conflict between the call of society and the call of the wild.”
A self-confessed “movie addict,” Demme’s lifelong interest in film didn’t jell until he was in college. Born in Rockville Center, New York, he was raised in Miami, Florida, and was already enrolled in the University of Florida’s school of veterinary medicine when he began writing film reviews for the student newspaper and The Coral Gables Times. The extracurricular pursuit soon changed the direction of his career.
Following a brief stint with the U.S. Air Force, Demme worked as a publicist at Embassy Pictures, United Artists and Pathe Contemporary’s theatrical division, and contributed reviews to the New York trade paper, Film Daily. 

After moving to London, he joined filmmaker Roger Corman during the production of “Von Richthofen and Brown,” then shooting on location in Ireland. Demme later relocated in Los Angeles with Corman’s New World Pictures, the launching pad for such filmmakers as James Cameron, Martin Scorsese and Joe Dante.
Like his fellow alumni, Demme honed his talents on low-budget, high-energy exploitation films. He co-wrote and (with director Joe Viola) produced “Angels Hard as They Come,” went to The Philippines for “The Hot Box,” made his directing debut with “Caged Heat” (singled out by The Los Angeles Times as a “definitive” entry in its genre, despite its miniscule budget of $175,000), then filmed “Crazy Mama.”
Still with Corman, he directed “Fighting Mad” for release by Twentieth Century Fox. After scoring with “Handle With Care,” a free wheeling comedy about the citizens’-band radio craze, and “The Last Embrace,” an intricate suspense thriller staring Roy Scheider and Janet Margolin, he directed “Melvin and Howard.”
The whimsical portrait of loser Melvin Dumar’s “encounter” with hitchhiking recluse Howard Hughes opened the 1980 New York Film Festival, won Best Picture honors from the National Society of Film Critics, won Oscars for writer Bo Goldman and co-star Mary Steenburgen, and brought Demme himself the New York Film Critics’ Best Director award.
Turning next to television, Demme gave PBS a widely-praised adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Who Am I This Time?” with Christopher Walken as the painfully shy amateur actor who lives vicariously through his little-theatre roles.Demme returned to motion pictures with “Swing Shift,” the World War II home-front tale which brought Christine Lahti an Oscar nomination, then pursued his musical enthusiasm with “Stop Making Sense.” Filmed during an appearance by David Byrne and the Talking
Heads, the “Walpurgisnacht Boogie” (Time Magazine) brought Demme a second major award from the National Society of Film Critics — for Best Documentary.
Acclaimed as one of the best of contemporary concert films, “Stop Making Sense” has replaced the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at midnight showings around the country, where it is still running three years after its release. It so impressed New York Times critic Janet Maslin that she wrote, “Jonathan Demme is our most direct contact with the avant-garde.”
Demme’s musical taste has also been reflected in innovative videos with UB40 and Chrissie Hynde (“I Got ‘U’ Babe), Sandra Bernhardt (“Everybody’s Young”), Fine Young Cannibals (“Ever Fallen In Love”), Suzanne Vega (“Solitude Standing”), and in the “Sun City” video of Artists United Against Apartheid.
Maintaining his rapport with public television, Demme filmed “Accumulation With Talking Plus Water Motor,” devoted to the choreography of Trisha Brown, and an installment of “Trying Times,” by Pulitzer Prize-winner Beth Henley, starring Rosanna Arquette and David Byrne in a darkly-comic tribute to the accident-prone.
Demme’s fascination with music has carried over into his dramatic films. “Something Wild,” for instance, featured more than 50 songs on its soundtrack, highlighted by good friend David Byrne’s “Loco de Amor” and the closing theme, “Wild Thing,” performed by reggae princess Sister Carol (whom Demme later cast as owner of the Hello Gorgeous beauty parlor in “Married To The Mob”).
The filmmaker’s flair for the unusual surfaced once again in his most recent motion picture, “Swimming to Cambodia.” A one-man show starring Spalding Gray (a “new-wave Mark Twain”), it stemmed from Gray’s comically revealing experience as an actor in The Killing Fields.”
During a visit to Haiti in 1986, Demme was powerfully impressed by the spirit of the Caribbean island’s people. Returning with a small camera crew and co-director Jo Menell in February 1987, he filmed the impressionistic documentary, “Haiti Dreams of Democracy,” which was financed by Britain’s Channel 4 Television, and aired in the U.S. on the Bravo network.
Planning further projects in Haiti, both fictional and documentary, Demme is currently learning to speak Haitian Creole.
Meanwhile, he is preparing to produce “Miami Blues” in conjunction with Edward Saxon, Kenneth Utt and Gary Goetzman. The Orion Pictures release to be written and directed by George Armitage from the novel by Charles Willeford, will star Alec Baldwin and Fred Ward.
Demme, director Martin Scorsese and actor/director Danny De Vito are acting co-chairmen of Filmmakers United Against Apartheid, a group of more than 100 prominent filmmakers whose goal is to involve their films in the cultural boycott against South Africa.