PROOF OF LIFE
About The Casting
The story revolves around three characters—'Alice Bowman.' 'Terry Thorne' and
' Peter Bowman'-- as played by Meg Ryan, Russell Crowe and David Morse. Meg Ryan was the first to join the movie, which
filmed in three different countries, far from the safety of Hollywood.
Taylor Hackford offers, "I have known Meg for a long time and thought she would be a wonderful choice for this film. Most people think that Meg's giddy, comedic film persona is who she really is. In reality she's serious, intelligent and complex. I sent her Bill's original article, which she loved, but she knew that we weren't shooting the article, we were creating a totally new story. Before committing she wanted to see what we were going to do with this material. When she finally read Tony's first draft, she was immediately excited and had many specific suggestions for her character. When she knew we would be responsive to her idea she signed on."
Meg Ryan, an actress loved around the world by audiences of all ages, volunteers her initial reaction to Prochnau's article and Gilroy's script, "I had an absolute fascination because I had no idea that kidnapping was such a big business, or that there was any such thing as kidnap insurance. It was all brand new information that I found really captivating."
The casting of Russell Crowe in the key role of 'Terry Thorne' proved to be a stroke of luck for the production. Hackford points out, "Russell had done "L.A. Confidential," which I
was impressed with. However, I'd heard that Russell had two films in the can, 'The Insider' and 'Gladiator' that no one had seen. I called both directors who are my colleagues and asked them a major favor: to go into their editing rooms and see Russell's unreleased work. I first saw Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator.' I fully expected Ridley to paint a huge canvas, but I was particularly impressed by how Russell Crowe dominated that canvas. His physicality was palpable, but there was also a real intelligence shining through all that physicality," remembers Hackford.
"Then I went across town into Michael Mann's editing room and saw an actor who'd gained forty-five pounds playing an entirely non-physical, intellectual character involved in a crisis of conscience. I thought, 'this guy is an incredible actor and he's definitely going to be a star!' I found myself facing Martin Shafer, President of Castle Rock Pictures and Alan Horn, then Chairman and C.E.O. of Castle Rock Entertainment, now President and Chief Operating Officer of Warner Bros.. stating
'Russell Crowe is the right guy for us,"' recounts Hackford.
Crowe, who packed audiences into theaters with his performance in this past summer's "Gladiator" reveals, It's a pretty similar situation to the other scripts that I read and end up doing in that something within the story is new or fresh
There is a lot of information in this story that we haven't seen before, the fact that
' K&R' is such a huge business and how it directly affects Americans."
Regarding his character "Terry Thorne," Crowe states, "He's got a very good bedside manner. He's very calm and reassuring to the client, but there is a distance. He has his business sincerity level but at the same time what happens in our story cuts through his ordinarily objective persona where he is affected more emotionally by the people involved."
The casting of the key role of 'Peter Bowman' proved to be harder, but Morse's work in the Castle Rock Entertainment's "The Green Mile" convinced everyone that he was the right actor for the job.
David Morse, who has been working nonstop since he wrapped filming on "The Green Mile," remembers, "I got a call from Martin Shafer at Castle Rock Entertainment and was told to be prepared for a very difficult role—physically difficult. I responded by telling him that it was fine by
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