3000 MILES TO GRACELAND
About The Production
When the project drew talent of the magnitude of Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell and
Courteney Cox, director Demian Lichtenstein knew he had something special. "These actors are masters of their craft," he says. "I had hoped the script would attract a solid cast, and I scored the dream team."
Armed with storyboards and brimming with enthusiasm for the project. Lichtenstein approached Costner first. The actor recalls, "Demian came to my house a few times before, but not
specifically to discuss this project. He was very careful and respectful to not immediately let his desire erupt like a volcano. But Demian's pitch was great. This guy had the right stuff and seemed ready to make a movie."
Though Lichtenstein always envisioned Costner playing Michael, the hero of the piece, and Kurt Russell portraying the villain, Murphy, the actors had a different response: Costner was drawn to the bad guy. "Michael seemed similar to the part I played in 'A Perfect World,"' says Costner. "I had portrayed characters pushed to the limit whose fuses snap and they find themselves no longer guided by their conscience. But I had never played a sociopath with no conscience at all. That was the character I was most interested in. So,
I asked Demian what he thought about me playing Murphy."
After teaming up with Costner and Lichtenstein, producer Richard Spero brought the film to Franchise Pictures and the production company's founder and chairman, Elie Samaha. Samaha gave the picture its green light, and the filmmakers began their casting process.
Kurt Russell had always been a hero of Lichtenstein's and the director was thrilled to have him take the role of Michael. "Kurt's involvement had a great impact on the project," says Lichtenstein. "He's a remarkable man with such integrity and intensity. Kurt made his character fallible and brought so much humor to the role. He made a criminal lovable."
"It was a real coup for the movie, and for me personally, to have him on board," Costner adds. "He's a good actor and a great guy.
At the center of the combustible battle between Michael and Murphy is the thoughtfully- drawn female character, Cybil. A seemingly simple, small-town girl. Cybil proves herself to be remarkably adept at handling nefarious, corrupt individuals like Michael and Murphy. Finding an actress who could capture the complexities of this femme fatale and hold her own opposite two actors of such stature was essential.
To Lichtenstein, Cox as Cybil brought "the soul of the picture to the forefront. Courteney brings beauty, grace and power to this role, really reaching from within to deliver complexity and
heart to the film."
"She's fabulous." adds Russell. "Cybil goes through such steep emotional swings and Courteney didn't flinch. She did a great job."
Playing Cybil was a departure for the actress, lovingly known to fans as the fastidious and competitive chef Monica on the hit television series,
"Friends." "She's completely opposite to the character I play every day on TV," says Cox. "Cybil is a free spirit who loves adventure, a bit of a grifter who is always looking for something better around the corner. She's tough and vulnerable, but definitely not a victim. I think audiences will root for her because she has such a zest for life."
With the main cast in place, "3000 Miles to Graceland" was ready to roll. "I'm totally blown away and completely shocked that they all appear in the movie," says director Lichtenstein.
In Vancouver. Canada, a local boy named David Kaye was found by the film's casting director to fill the shoes, or rather cowboy boots, of Cybil's son, Jesse Waingrow. Although he had previously appeared in several films, the 11-year-old had never landed a role of this size opposite such major stars. "I we
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