FAMILY MAN, THE
About The Production
Producer Marc Abraham, president and co-founder of Beacon Communications, first became aware of The Family Man several years ago when veteran film producers Alan Riche, Tony Ludwig (Duets and Deep Blue Sea) and Howard Rosenman (Academy Award nominated documentary Celluloid Closet) brought the idea to him as a pitch. He was charmed by the uplifting and universal appeal of the premise, reminiscent of many of his favorite films of the 1930s and 1940s but told in a very modern way.
"I love the idea of The Family Man," Abraham explains. "It's very warm and passionate. It has a hero with tremendous dignity who finds himself on an
original, funny, and challenging path."
With a solid screenplay in hand, the filmmakers began to look for a director who could properly present the funny, poignant, and somewhat quirky elements of the material while maintaining a firm tone of sincerity throughout. Ratner, fresh from the phenomenal success of
Rush Hour, was convinced that he was the one and he, in turn, set about convincing the producers.
"Brett had it in his head that he had to direct The Family Man, and I had it in my head that he was extremely talented, but that didn't mean that this was the perfect film for Brett to direct," Abraham recalls with a laugh. 'it just didn't seem like his kind of film. But, after getting to know him during the entire year he stalked me, I finally figured that maybe he was right. He's brought something really original and vibrant to the material. Now I know he was the right guy for the job."
"I didn't plan to be directing a romantic movie," says director Brett Ratner, who recently helmed the
fast-paced action comedy hit Rush Hour, starring Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan. "But when I read the script, I said to myself, 'I have to do this story.' It reminded me of classic films I grew up watching, except it didn't end the way most movies end and that was exciting.
"I felt this one in my gut," Ratner continues. "I always follow my instincts and I realized this was something that I really had to do."
Once Ratner signed on to direct, he turned his attention to Academy Award -winner Nicolas Cage, one of several renowned actors who had expressed interest in the past of Jack Campbell after reading an early version of the script. Ratner felt that Cage was a natural fit for the complex role of a man whose life takes a drastic turn one Christmas Eve.
"Nic Cage was born for this role," states Ratner, emphatically. "He has an innate ability to be real in any situation even if that situation is totally surreal. He's a great dramatic actor but he also has a lighter side and he knows how to balance the comedy with the real moments."
Cage, in turn, was inspired by Ratner's enthusiasm for the project as well as the intelligent, multi-layered script. "There are real laughs in the sense that they're not coming from gags and gimmicks," explains Cage. "It's genuinely poignant and emotional at times and there are tender moments throughout."
For Cage, the appeal of the role was the concept of a man living one life and then suddenly finding himself thrown into an entirely different life that is
totally alien to him and yet completely plausible. "The situation seemed unique to me," he explains, "when you consider the counterpoint of being a single man in Manhattan with a lot of money, enjoying his life the way a single man does, versus a family man, enjoying his life the way a family man does. Ultimately he realizes what's truly important to him."
As for the change in tone from the kinds of r
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