HEARTS IN ATLANTIS
About The Production
When the phenomenally successful writer Stephen King published his acclaimed 1999 collection of interconnected stories, Hearts In Atlantis, the property quickly found a home at Castle Rock Entertainment, which has enjoyed a successful string of collaborations with the
author from 1986's "Stand By Me" through such films as "Misery," "The Shawshank Redemption" and most recently. "The Green Mile."
Novelist and Oscar® winning screenwriter William Goldman, who in 1990 adapted King's Misery to universal acclaim, quickly signed on to adapt Hearts In Atlantis after reading King's book. "I was so moved by it," says Goldman, who is currently adapting King's best selling sci-fi epic Dreamcatcher. "I love King most when he's not dealing with monsters but dealing with human monsters. The thing that most moves me in Hearts is Bobby, Carol and Ted, all that stuff they're dealing with trying to get through their lives. It is just so moving and beautifully done. He has a brilliant narrative mind."
Out of the four novellas and one short story in King's book, Goldman chose to adapt the first and longest piece, "Low Men In Yellow Coats," and the final short story, "Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling," for the film.
"Stephen King wrote a story that has a universal appeal to it," says director Scott Hicks. "Our job was to elucidate that visually as best we could, but it was the story that spoke to me first. I was really affected by this relationship between Bobby and Ted and with the mother, Liz, and the friends of Bobby's childhood. A movie has to have its own life and a story has to take on its own terms when it's presented in another medium. So, that's what we tried to do with
'Hearts in Atlantis.' At the core of it are these relationships which Stephen King created, which are very personal and very intense, and you feel there must have been something from his own childhood experience that was invested in this remarkable story."
Once Hicks signed on, the next most critical challenge was casting. What the filmmakers didn't know, was that their first choice to play Ted, Anthony Hopkins, was at that very moment reading William Goldman's latest non-fiction book, Which Lie Did I Tell? while on location in Florence for "Hannibal." "He was talking about Kathy Bates and 'Misery.' I liked the book and was thinking it would be good to do a Stephen King novel. And three or four days later my agent was m Florence and said, 'I've got a book for you to read. And a script by Bill Goldman. It's called Hearts In Atlantis, by Stephen King.' So, I thought it was kind of propitious. It's a gentle, small film, not a big story, and I just liked it."
To create the character of Ted, Hopkins needed only to look into his past. "Ted Brautigan reminds me of my grandfather on my mother's side of the family," says the actor. "I was very close to him as a child. And he was very close to me. He had a profound
influence in my life — a very gentle, but profound influence. He gave me some courage and hope that I wasn't the dummy I thought I was. He was very encouraging in his life and this is what Ted Brautigan is with this boy."
Hopkins also felt an affinity with a scene in the film in which Ted reminisces with Bobby about a famous football player, Bronko Nagurski, who against all odds defeated the Chicago Cardinals in the 1940s. This event is a touchstone by which Bobby can remember his father. "Bill Goldman wrote about this experience when he watched Nagurski, a great, great football player back in the forties," Hopkins reflects. "It's a beautiful allegorical little scene, which I was very pleased with."
"In the film, we learn that both Bobby's father and Ted saw Bronko Nagurski in this marvelous football game," adds Goldman. "This was an even
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