ONE NIGHT AT MCCOOL'S
About The Production
Marking a return to his filmmaking roots as an independent producer, One
Night at McCool's is the first film to come from two-time Academy Award®-winning producer and actor Michael Douglas' new production company, Furthur Films.
"I came out of the box with 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' [19751 as my first producing effort," recalls Douglas. "It was independently financed outside the studio system. Over time, my companies got larger and larger until I was able to finance the movies myself — and I found myself feeling almost like a mini-studio, having to fulfill a menu of different kinds of pictures. So, this go-round with Furthur Films, I've decided to kind of go back full circle to where I started from, to limit the amount of development that we do."
He explains, "By that, I mean, maybe for every two scripts you develop, one of them's going to get made, not 20 or 30 scripts developed for every 1 picture that gets made. So, we're being much more selective. I'm also looking for more projects that I can star in, but there's a real shortage of good material, so I have to take it much more upon myself to develop material that I can do."
When asked what drew him to Stan Seidel's screenplay for One Night at
McCool's , Douglas comments, "I'm always attracted to characters that are in a gray area. I don't see all good or all bad in anybody. Jewel is a young lady who has learned at an early age to get what she wants in life through the qualities that she has: her beauty, her body, her charm. Jewel is 'the Madonna and the whore,' depending on what you're looking for."
Producer Allison Lyon Segan adds, "Michael and I both felt that Stan's script was one of the most original voices we'd read in years."
For the film's directorial chair, Furthur Films sought to tap another talent fresh to feature films. Norwegian-born (and now Los Angeles-based) director Harald Zwart, a noted music videos and commercials director, fit the bill. The director responded to the film as "a dark comedy about the power of women over men, and how a group of people can all perceive different realities. It's the same story told from three different points of view, and each time we tell the story, we try to reveal a little bit more about what actually happened, which nobody really knows."
The first-time feature director was joined behind the camera by an estimable filmmaking team, including production designer Jon Gary Steele ("American History X"), director of photography Karl Walter
Lindenlaub, A.S.C. ("The Haunting"), and costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (a longtime creative collaborator of Michael Douglas', both as actor and producer). These creative talents worked closely together to visually delineate the differing perspectives of the film's three lead male characters by way of color, lighting, lenses, and costumes. Zwart cites just one of
many examples: "When Detective Dehling sees Jewel, the scene is backlit and she looks beautiful. When Carl sees her, she's all cleavage and legs. When Randy sees her, she's almost — almost! — plain."
As conceived by screenwriter Seidel, the audience is privvy to the three wildly divergent perspectives of Randy, Carl, and Dehling as each man spills out his version of the story to a "confessor" he has turned to in desperation. In Randy's case, his confessor is
Burmeister, a low- rent, bingo-playing hit man played by Michael Douglas. Carl consults a psychiatrist, Dr. Naomi Green (Reba
McEntire). Dehling picks a real father confessor — Father Jimmy, who is also Dehling's brother (Richard Jenkins).
The shifting perspectives and "threepeat" story structure afforded the cast a field day, especially the lead actress.<
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