KATE & LEOPOLD
KATE & LEOPOLD is filled with characters who just can't seem to manage their romantic
dreams, or even their lives. These include Kate's hilarious brother Charlie, played by Breckin Meyer, an out-of-work single actor who gets a clue or two about women from Leopold. In fact, it is Charlie who winds up translating Leopold's chivalrous rules into his own 21st century expressions.
"Charlie is a great role," Meyer admits. "He's funny he's high energy and yet there's something very real about him. And when he starts to see the world through Leopold's eyes, everything
shifts for him."
In fact, Meyer saw his challenge as revealing a contemporary man's reaction to Leopold's Victorian point-of- view. "At first, Charlie just sees Leopold as this hunky guy who will help him get women," Meyer admits. "But Leopold shows him how to drop the facade, how to speak from the heart and how to enjoy
life one minute at a time. He gives Charlie the confidence to be honest about who he is and to stop trying to cover himself up with attitude. Charlie soaks up
Leopold's way of looking at life and makes it work for him in today's world."
Providing the initial bridge between Leopold's world and ours is Kate's unreliable ex, the renegade scientist
Stuart, played by Liev Schreiber. Although Schreiber's Stuart is mostly concerned with relativity and rips in
the space-time fabric, Schreiber sees the real story as lying in the emotional transformations of the characters. "This is a movie about finding one's place in the world and in time," he comments. "Kate and Leopold are both searching for their places, which they find with one another, and Stuart hopefully finds his as well."
As for Schreiber, he feels drawn to both time periods that Stuart traverses. "You know I'm a gadget hound and I love the 21st century," he admits, "but at the same time I think I yearn for something of that era when time was considered more precious, when there was more formality and structure and romance. I think we all wonder about who we would be in a different time."
One character drawn to old-fashioned romance despite the rigors of modern reality is Kate's office assistant Darci, played by Natasha Lyonne. Lyonne enjoyed the contrast between her character and Meg Ryan's Kate:
"I thought it was very funny that you have Meg's character, my boss, who is so cynical and yet predestined to be involved in an epic romance and then you have my character, a die-hard romantic caught in the business world, who is trying to get Kate to open her eyes." Lyonne found her own romantic instincts awakened by her first meeting with Hugh Jackman in the role of Leopold. "He was such a gentleman and so sweet, I have to admit I was immediately suspicious," she says.
"But of course he won me over. I'm not really an obsessive romantic, but this chivalry stuff is pretty over
One character definitely not overwhelmed by Leopold's charms is Kate's boss, J.J., who views Kate as a woman without
delusions. Bradley Whitford, who moves to the big screen from his popular role on "The West Wing," sees
J.J. as having a secret motivation when it comes to Kate. "I actually think that even thought he's an arrogant, morally bankrupt bastard, he genuinely feels something for Kate," says
Whitford. "That makes things quite tricky for him."
While J.J. might not take Leopold seriously at first, Bradley Whitford sees the character as indicative of something both modern men and women desire. "We've started to take for granted a certain lifestyle that allows for vulgarity, rudeness and treating one another poorly
— and Leopold sheds a certain light on that," he notes. "Obviously, a lot of things in modern times are much better than they were back then, but there's something interesting about getting a chance to jump back in time and maybe taking something useful away from that."
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