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About The Story
"I was intrigued by the concept of how really smart students are under such pressure today not only to do well in college, but also to go right into successful careers," says director/screenwriter Stephen Gaghan, whose gripping screenplay for "Traffic" garnered him both an Oscar®, and a Golden Globe Award. "They're expected to make life-changing decisions at graduation. Everything is a possibility until this moment and suddenly their choice of career means the death of other opportunities."

Producers Lynda Obst and Edward Zwick were also interested in exploring a film about how the pressure to succeed can drive young people to emotional or mental breakdowns. They both felt that Gaghan would be the perfect voice to bring to "Abandon" and that it was the right vehicle for him to make his directorial debut.

"The only directing debuts I have ever supported were writer/directors, and I'm proud to include Stephen Gaghan in that group," says Obst. "Writer/directors have completely imagined the film in terms of actors, sets, style and the story's psychological reality. They can reconstruct the reasons they wrote everything, so often they make good directors."

"I love the idea of dealing with the psychological pressures college students are exposed to nowadays," Obst adds. "I think the stress on young people is extraordinary right now -- greater than it ever has been -- and ‘Abandon' certainly reflects that."

Although Gaghan had not previously worked with Obst, he had worked with producer Edward Zwick, who also produced "Traffic," and he was eager to work with him again. The feeling was mutual.

"Steve and I developed a very intense and rewarding relationship while making ‘Traffic,"' recalls Zwick. "I remember he had a particular sensitivity to the bright young characters in that movie as well as a contemporary ear for their language and a current understanding for the issues that shape their lives. He was the right choice for ‘Abandon' in every way.

"The experience I gained working with Lynda Obst was invaluable," says Gaghan, "and I've been an admirer of Edward Zwick's work for a long time. I'm glad to be collaborating with him again."

With the story clearly defined in his heady Gaghan set to work writing a compelling screenplay. What he produced was so cutting edge that it attracted an exciting ensemble cast led by Katie Holmes, Benjamin Bratt and Charlie Hunnam.

Holmes, who is most recognizable for her portrayal of Joey in the popular series "Dawson's Creek," was cast in the lead female role of Katie, a golden girl.

"I got an early draft of the script and just fell in love with it," Holmes says. "There's so much truth in this story, and yet it's still a mystery dealing with human relationships. Stephen's a great writer. He encompasses so much in the screenplay and his directing is dead on."

Benjamin Bratt, who plays Detective Wade Handler, was familiar with Gaghan's work having portrayed a drug dealer in "Traffic." He was also drawn to "Abandon" by Gaghan's screenplay.

"A lot of elements attracted me to this particular film, not the least of which is the extraordinary script by Stephen Gaghan and the chance to be directed by someone with his kind of amazing talent," says Bratt. "Besi

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