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MOONLIGHT MILE

About The Production
"Comedy in the midst of tragedy is a natural dynamic," observes writer-director Brad Silberling of his latest film, "Moonlight Mile." "What should be a somber situation ends up being unexpectedly funny, because people's behavior in heightened life circumstances is absolutely unpredictable. Though the film is a piece of fiction, its emotional roots lie in a defining moment earlier in my life when I experienced a loss much like Joe's. And the behavior depicted, the family's unusual mode of grieving, plays against expectations for one simple reason: because it's real, it's as I experienced it, it's specific. Sometimes life is just your best co-writer."

"Ironically, I liken the comic tone of this screenplay to ‘The Graduate,"' remarks producer Mark Johnson. "Here is a young man who is trying to figure out what to do with his life and everybody has a helpful hint, like the guy in the party scene in ‘The Graduate' who recommends plastics to Dustin Hoffman's character."

In "Moonlight Mile," Jake Gyllenhaal plays Joe Nast, a young man immobilized by a tragic event who feels it may be his duty to remain with his fiancee's parents, Ben and JoJo Floss, played by Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon. The film's tersely comic tone reflects Joe's conflicted romance, as he is torn between fulfilling the role of the bereaved he believes he's meant to be playing and following his own heart.

"In the wake of a loss like this," says Silberling, "Joe doesn't know if he is bound by a certain degree of fidelity to what was supposed to be or if he should be able to go on with his life. It's very confusing and there really are no rules.

"Take that young person caught in these unusual circumstances and throw in his unexpectedly meeting another woman, a real soul mate," Silberling continues. "Suddenly, he's skulking around in the shadows in a really weird situation. But love happens when it happens.

"Sometimes, we can tell strangers anything, because there are no consequences," observes Ellen Pompeo, who plays Bertie Knox, a new love in Joe's life. "Through Joe, Bertie learns a lot about herself, and by being open with her, he learns a lot about himself, too. At first, what these two have in common is loss, but later, they have something hopeful and beautiful."

"We want to root for Joe," says Johnson. "At some point, everyone finds events sweeping them along before they are able to take matters in hand. In Joe's situation, that's so extreme that he's awash in indecision, but he finally does something very honest and powerful."

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