About The Production
A singer steps up to the microphone.
The spotlight shines brightly, mercifully blinding the view of the crowd. A roomful of eyes is watching the performer's every movement and gesture.
The music begins.
The pulse quickens. The singer's eyes are fixed on the video monitor, waiting for the lyrics to materialize on screen...
This is the world of Karaoke, where anyone can be a star for three minutes and twenty seconds.
Director/producer Bruce Paltrow discovered the "Duets" screenplay when it was submitted to his production company by screenwriter John Byrum. Paltrow and Byrum had been friends since the early '70s, when both were struggling to carve out writing careers in Hollywood.
Paltrow was very impressed with the originality of the story. "It's a unique story-- very funny, yet very serious," he says. "it's about three pairs of people--three duets--all of whom are searching to find something missing from their lives, and their paths converge.
When producer Kevin Jones first read the script he was not previously familiar with the world of Karaoke. He found the depiction of its inhabitants to be highly engaging. It's a fascinating glimpse at the people who inhabit
Karaoke bars--what they're looking for and how they behave," he explains.
The genesis of the project began one night when writer/producer Byrum went down to the bar of a hotel where he was staying, and they were having a Karaoke contest. He was amazed at how seriously the contestants treated the competition. "These folks were trying to be as good as they could be, without trying to get a record contract. They just wanted to go up on stage and
After that experience, Byrum returned home and within two weeks, he had written the first draft of "Duets."
Coincidentally, director Paltrow already had a passing familiarity with Karaoke from an episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street" that he had directed a couple of years earlier. He knew it could be the perfect backdrop for this character-driven story. Since its introduction into the United States in 1988, the Karaoke phenomenon has gradually swept across the country, spreading from the Midwestern hotel bar scene to some of the trendiest nightspots in New York and Los Angeles.
The director had also been looking for an opportunity to work with his daughter, actress
Gwyneth Paltrow, and felt that she would be perfect in the role of Liv, a third-generation Las Vegas showgirl whose mother's untimely death
brings about an unexpected reunion with her long-lost father.
Miss Paltrow, who won both the Academy AwardÂ® and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress for her role in "Shakespeare in Love" has amassed an impressive list of credits since her breakthrough performance in the 1993 drama "Flesh and Bone." Among her most memorable recent credits are "Emma," "Sliding
Doors," "A Perfect Murder," " Hard Eight," "Seven" and "The Talented Mr. Ripley."
"It's hard to believe, but five years ago I gave the script to Gwyneth, and she loved it," says director/producer Paltrow.
The actress recalls, "W
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