About The Production
The famous comedy team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May dates back
to Chicago's Second City and its antecedent, The Compass, at the
University of Chicago in the 1950s. On stage, screen and in a
series of classic recordings, Nichols and May were renowned for
their acerbic social observations through the medium of comedy.
Two years ago, Nichols and May reunited for their first official
screen collaboration, the hit comedy The Birdcage. In Primary
Colors, they have found yet another vehicle to illuminate
their insights on human nature and values played out in modern
life. Little did they know just how prescient their adaptation
of Primary Colors would turn out to be.
Apart from its uncanny topicality - life imitating art imitating
life - what the film Primary Colors has become in the hands
of Nichols and May is a labor of love and lunacy that impacts
the soul as hard as the funny-bone. Primary Colors represents
the latest of his films where Nichols holds a mirror up to human
behavior by focusing on a small ensemble of well-defined character
players. The movies for which he has been nominated for the Academy
Award® as Best Director - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,
The Graduate (for which he won the Oscar®), Silkwood
and Working Girl - feature such ensembles and incorporate
signature Nichols elements of riotously funny and wrenching poignant
A work of fiction of such sensitivity that its writer chose to
be credited as Anonymous, Primary Colors was a runaway best-seller
upon its publication by Random House in February 1996. A true
feeding frenzy ensued as the media scrambled to discover the identity
of the author, because this was a book assumed to be a real insider's
look at a very familiar presidential candidate and his most intimate
advisors on the bumpy road to the White House.
Primary Colors unfolds through the eyes of Henry, played
by newcomer Adrian Lester. Henry's unobstructed view of the Stantons
and the nature of contemporary politics creates alternating emotions
of love and disillusion as he discovers that both are part of
growing up American.
Noted for his work on the London stage, the British-born Lester
is virtually unknown to American film audiences, which is just
what the director wanted to further the notion of his protagonist
as an outsider. Surrounding Lester are some of the most critically
acclaimed actors in movies today - John Travolta, Emma Thompson,
Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates - all notably gifted for their
ability to play both comedy and drama.
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