SAY IT ISN'T SO
About The Characters
"When people think about broad comedy, they always think that you must play it crazy, wild and funny," notes Peter
Gaulke. "But the best way to approach comedy is to play it real. And that's exactly what we needed for Gilly — someone real. I don't think there are many guys who could do this role, but Chris was great, just perfect."
"When we were writing the script, we were thinking along the lines of a younger Nicolas Cage," Swallow admits, "because he has Gilly's kind of
likeability and gullibility. And, when we saw Chris in 'Election', he had those same qualities. He really makes us believe that Gilly could get into this much trouble. And, when things go bad for him, you really, really feel for him."
Rogers credits the Farrellys for helping land Heather Graham for the role of Jo. "When Peter and Bobby attached their names to the project, it allowed me to get the cast I wanted," he points out. Graham's performance confirmed Rogers's notion that she was perfect for the part. "Heather embodies the ideal girl, in that she is beautiful, likable and sophisticated at the same time," Rogers observes. Heather and Chris did a great job of playing the two straight men', with this bizarre world swirling around them."
Adds Peter Gaulke, "Heather and Chris bring a quality of normalcy to their roles that you really have to have. These two characters are like the eye of the storm, the two most normal people in the whole movie. There has to be something about them that comes not just from their acting the parts, but something that is really part of their nature. And, both Chris and Heather have a real nice, down-to-earth nature."
"Down to earth" and "beautiful" certainly describe Graham's role as Jo
Wingfield. So does "incompetent" — at least in her chosen profession of hairdresser. Her hapless clients, including
Gilly, sometimes get more than their hair cut off. To at least approximate the moves of a hairdresser, however unskilled, Graham practiced on a willing resident of Pomona, California, which served as one of the film's first locations. "The production hired this guy so I could just
butcher his hair," the actress recalls. "The worse I could cut it, the better, so I just lopped this guy's hair off in big patches; it was pretty outrageous."
Graham cracked up the crew when it came time to actually cut Klein's hair — with the help of veteran hairstylist Kim Santantonio ("Here on Earth, "The Adventures of Rocky &
Bullwinkle"). Santantonio spent hours each day with Klein applying a bevy of bad wigs to highlight Jo's questionable talents as a hairdresser. Santantonio also created a special "beaver cut" look that Klein endures for one of the film's jaw-dropping jokes.
Two-time Academy Award® winner Sally Field adds to the film's hair-raising antics as the vindictive
Valdine, a character director Rogers calls "white trash with a fashion sense gone wrong. And that's putting it mildly." To the filmmakers's surprise and delight, Field took on the challenge of a playing a role very much against type.
"Sally is a great actress, but you always think of her playing sweet or noble characters," says Bobby
Farrelly. "But Valdine's got some venom in her, and it was really something to watch Sally embrace the part." Adds Peter
Farrelly, "Sally became nothing less than the heart and soul of the movie."
Costume designer Lisa Jensen ("The Fabulous Baker Boys," "Grumpy Old Men," "George of the Jungle") worked closely with Field to create Valdine's signature loud patterns, tight clothes, and wicked hairdos. Field and Jensen poured over a popular photo essay book called Suburbia to gather inspiration for a role that Jensen admits began
"with the visible panty lines under spandex pants that were two sizes too small.
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