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IN THE BEDROOM

Production Notes
When it comes to the people we care about most deeply, few of us know just what we are capable of, or what we might do in the name of love. In a moment of crisis, what is in an individual's nature? And do they obey that nature or violate it, forever removing themselves from it? Todd Field's IN THE BEDROOM addresses this question with the story of a family in the midst of such a crisis - and an exploration of the extraordinary actions love can mitigate; pushing any one of us to places off the points of our moral compass.

Winner of the Special Jury Prize for Acting at this year's Sundance Film Festival, IN THE BEDROOM won over film festival audiences with its intense realism and peerless performances from a cast that includes Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Marisa Tomei and Nick Stahl. The film is a Miramax release directed by Todd Field, who makes his feature film debut. The screenplay is by Rob Festinger and Todd Field based on a short story by the late Andre Dubus.

Summer time on the coast of Maine, IN THE BEDROOM centers on the inner dynamics of a family in transition. Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) is a doctor practicing in his native Maine and is married to New York born Ruth Fowler (Sissy Spacek), a choral music teacher. Their only child, Frank (Nick Stahl), home from school for the summer, is working as a part time lobsterman to earn money for graduate school in the fall. He is involved in a love affair with a local single mother (Marisa Tomei). As the beauty of Maine's brief and fleeting summer comes to an end, these characters find themselves in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.

IN THE BEDROOM is the directorial debut from multi-talent Todd Field, an accomplished actor who has been seen in such films as Victor Nunez's "Ruby in Paradise" and Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut." Field took inspiration from the work of the celebrated American short story writer Andre Dubus, who passed away in 1999. Dubus sketched a compassionate, unsentimental portrait of the American soul. Dubus's people perform acts of the most squalid duplicity and stoic, sometimes even heroic, decency — whether at a roadside bar, or a family camp, in the everyday rigors of domesticity or its violent extremes, their lives unfold with an inevitability that is moving, sometimes redemptive and always surprising.

To bring the story alive, Field knew he would need a cast that could make the Fowlers seem as palpably real as Dubus's characters. At the core of the tale is the upended marriage of the Fowler parents: Matt and Ruth, played by Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek. These emotionally charged performances that pendulum from blissful to devastated to resolved- performances that often must say volumes in moments of terse silence.

Spacek was immediately drawn to the story's inherent suspense and emotional fireworks. "Here was this beautiful script with beautifully drawn characters that kept taking totally unexpected twists and turns," she says. "I couldn't put it down. It reminded me so much of the way life really is sometimes where everything's going along in an ordinary way and two seconds later, you're spinning out of control. That's what happens to the Fowlers, but they're so much like the people we know and the people we are, that it really shakes you up.

The actress also felt herself compelled by the complexities of Ruth Fowler, a quiet, controlled woman whose moorings are suddenly cut out from under her. "Ruth is a woman who might love music, but her real career in life has been raising her son," she explains. "I think it's easy to question her actions in hindsight, but, like most mothers, the thing that Ruth most wants is to protect her son from making mistakes in his life."

Spacek found that the story of the Fowlers remained continually fresh during production because the questions raised by their story could never quite

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