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POLLOCK

About The Production

In August of 1949, Life Magazine ran a banner headline that begged the question: "Jackson Pollock: Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?" The article pictured Pollock in a now-famous pose, wearing a worn black jacket and blue jeans, his arms crossed defiantly over his chest and one of his kinetic canvasses stretched out behind him. Already well-known in the New York art world, he had become a household name-America's first "Art Star"-and his bold and radical style of painting continued to change the course of modern art. But the torments that had plagued the artist all of his life-perhaps the ones that drove him to paint in the first place, or that helped script his fiercely original art-continued to haunt him. As he struggled with self-doubt, engaging in a lonely tug-of-war between needing to express himself and wanting to shut the world out, Pollock began a downward spiral that would threaten to destroy the foundations of his marriage, the promise of his career, and-on one deceptively calm and balmy summer night in 1956-his life.

"Pollock" is directed by Golden Globe winner and Academy Award nominated actor Ed Harris, who makes his directorial debut, stars in the title role, and serves as a producer. The film is a look back into the life of an extraordinary man, a man who has fittingly been called "an artist dedicated to concealment, a celebrity who nobody knew."

Harris had been working ideas for "Pollock" over in his mind for nearly a decade. "During the years I spent reading and thinking and feeling about Pollock," says Harris, "and I spent time 'painting' and trying to understand emotionally what it is to be a painter-I had to trust that something had seeped into my bones that would allow me to portray Pollock honestly. I had no difficulty in choosing an interpretation because it all has been very personal and of all that I read and heard I had to go with what touched my soul and what made sense to me both intellectually and emotionally."

"I've never been interested in exploiting Pollock," Harris continues. "In fact, there were times I would say to myself, 'Why are you making a movie about this guy? Let him rest in peace. But then I realized that was only a desire to leave myself in peace. It's tricky, but I never wanted to pretend to be Pollock. I wanted to be Ed Harris using all of his tools as an actor and as a person to allow Pollock's experience on this earth to touch me, inspire me, lead me to an honest, true performance."

In portraying Pollock, Harris made a concerted effort to accurately show Pollock's artistic process, which was utterly revolutionary and confounded many people at the time. To accomplish this, Harris began to explore paint and painting techniques in the early 1990's. "I've been painting and drawing off and on since I became committed to making this film," says Harris. "I had a little studio built so I'd have enough floor space to work on larger canvases."

"It's preposterous to think I could ever paint as he did," Harris continues, "and yet I had to paint in the film. The most challenging part of all that was gaining enough confidence to paint for myself in the style in which he painted... to be committed first to myself as a painter, to try and keep my focus on creating art and not recreating someone else's."

Harris believes that the need for approval motivated much of Pollock's work. "A desperate need for approval usually forces one into doing that which is recognizable," says Harris. "To do something similar to that which has gained approval elsewhere. Pollock's need for approval bordered on the psychopathic and yet his even deeper need to create art that had no h

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