About The Production
"Angel Eyes" was born out of discussions at The Canton Company between producer Mark Canton and screenwriter Gerald DiPego, in search of an original screenplay.
"We considered a number of ideas but this is the one I was most excited about," Canton recalls. "It was very original from the inception. I especially liked the inner-city police beat as our setting and the way the two leading characters were developed as brave but damaged souls.
"There have been a number of romantic films like Ghost,' and more recently
'City of Angels' and 'Michael,' in which people are touched and changed by some otherworldly force, like an angel," Canton continues. "In this case, I wanted to explore a reality-based story about ordinary human beings in whom we might find qualities that are considered angelic."
After developing the material for over a year with DiPego and director Luis
Mandoki, Canton was pleased to learn that the script had attracted the interest of Jennifer
Lopez. He then brought it to the attention of Elle Samaha, Chairman and CEO of
Franchise Pictures and a producer with a long and wide-ranging list of feature film credits.
Canton and Samaha were working together at the time, with Neil Canton, to produce the
2000 update of the classic 1971 action thriller "Get Carter." They selected "Angel Eyes"
as their next filmmaking collaboration.
Recalls Samaha, "When Mark told me of Jennifer Lopez's commitment to this film and her passion for the story, my response was, 'Let's do it'."
Samaha had already heard high praise about director Luis Mandoki from Kevin Costner
who worked with Mandoki on the romantic drama "Message in a Bottle," and
considered him the perfect choice to helm "Angel Eyes." Mandoki is known for his sensitive treatment of love stories.
"I surround myself with talented filmmakers on all Franchise films," says Samaha, citing some of the most respected names in the industry with whom he has recently worked including Michael Caton-Jones, David Mamet, Sean Penn, Agnieszka Holland, Renny Harlin and Jonathan Lynn. "On this project," he continues, "I knew I was in good hands with a gifted director like Luis Mandoki and a producer like Mark Canton who has excellent taste for material."
"Luis Mandoki understands this genre better than most directors," says producer Neil Canton. "His questions go right to the heart of the matter. Actors are comfortable because they know he's attuned to their individual performances at the same time he's envisioning the overall film."
Jennifer Lopez agrees. "It's not so much that Luis is sensitive to love stories," she clarifies,
"'it's that he is sensitive to human beings and the human condition. He understands what people go through in their daily lives and, because of that, he can tell any story well."
"I've done many love stories," Mandoki says, "so I tried to resist doing another. But this one was so compelling. All the elements appealed to me, even the setting. These characters meet on the street, literally, which is the most unlikely place for people to reveal hidden vulnerabilities to strangers -- a place where vulnerability might cost you your life. They are drawn to one another but they resist. Right away there seems to be an ethereal influence at work and yet these two are always fully grounded in reality which is, for both of them, the downtown streets of Chicago. There was just so much richness to the story that I wanted to bring it to the screen the way I imagined it."
The director credits his stars for helping convey the depth of emotion in their characters with the right subtlety. "Both Jennifer and Jim understood immediately," he explains. "Their interaction on screen has to be intense but subdued. Conversation and looks exchanged have to suggest far mo
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