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Salesman on the Prairie
Those driven agribusinessmen are embodied in Henry Whipple, portrayed with depth and
desperation by DENNIS QUAID in a performance that the Toronto International Film
Festival calls "the role of a lifetime."
"Henry's a guy with a lot of grey areas," says Quaid. "He's devoted to his family but
very selfish at the same time. He's so caught up in the family legacy and expanding his
farm that he's blind to what's really going on -- he's pretending that they have this great
traditional family when everything is twisted under the surface. He's sweating to keep up
Like Bahrani, Quaid spent time living with Henry's real-life counterparts to hone his
portrayal. "We ate meals with farmers and their families, heard their stories and felt them
out. They were very generous in opening up their lives to us. The movie really reflects
what is going on in modern day America, how people are struggling to keep up with the
As Quaid recalls, "When I read the script I thought -- it's Willy Loman on the prairie.
We're really doing Death of a Salesman in a way."
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