A PERFECT MURDER
Bring In The Cast...Bring On the Crew
As the filmmakers assembled a first-rate crew--including innovative Polish-born director of photography Darius Wolszki, Oscar-winning production designer Philip Rosenberg, acclaimed costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and film editor Dennis Virkler (an Acade
As the filmmakers assembled a firstrate crewincluding
innovative Polishborn director of photography Darius Wolszki,
Oscarwinning production designer Philip Rosenberg, acclaimed
costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and film editor Dennis Virkler
(an Academy Award nominee for his work on "The Fugitive")an
outstanding cast also began to evolve.
"Michael Douglas as Steven Taylor is the best thing that
could have happened to my script," says Pat Kelly. "This
character is the center of gravity in the story, an improvisational
predator who plans the perfect murder. And when it goes wrong,
as it must, the heart of the piece is about how Steven manipulates
himself and others like chess pieces, in an attempt to win the
game. As Steven, Michael is charming, scary and poised, all at
the same time."
Adds MacgregorScott, "Michael is also a consummate
filmmaker in his own right. In fact, he's made more pictures as
a producer than I'm likely to do in my entire career. He understands
the innumerable challenges of motion picture production, and works
as a complete professional in every sense."
Douglas was, in this case, drawn to his character and to the acting
challenges of his complex role. "Steven is a real mixture:
a successful, charming man and a conniving, potentially lethal
mate," explains Douglas. "He makes a murderous decision
when he learns his wife has been unfaithful, a choice that makes
him easy to hate, but I wanted the audience to care what happens
to him anyway to understand how he loved his wife, how
many pressures he was carrying inside himself, and what a blow
to his ego it was for him to come face to face with the man who
had cuckolded him.
"This character is the first villain I've played since 'Wall
Street,' and it was fun to revisit the type; I usually think the
bad guy is the most interesting character in the story. Of course,
in this story we're all villains, so maybe that's the best
part of it!"
A perfect choice for the role of Emily Bradford Taylor, Steven's
beautiful and resilient wife, was Gwyneth Paltrow, one of the
most respected young actresses today. Paltrow was drawn to the
script's rollercoaster twists and turns and to the validity
of its characters.
"The nice thing about Emily is that she's an intelligent
woman who's also emotionally motivated," she comments. "Emily's
emotions catalyze almost everything she does. She's very aware
of what's going on, but so much has been hidden from her, both
in her sheltered upbringing and her equally sheltered marriage
to Steven, that it takes a long time for her to uncover what's
"But when she does," Paltrow continues, "she responds
with strength and character."
Paltrow also appreciated that although the script paid respectful
homage to Knott's original play, "A Perfect Murder"
also strove for originality. "Some broad fundamental strokes
are the same," she comments, "but only in big structural
ways. I wouldn't dare to presume to fill Grace Kelly's shoes.
I just think that we're making our own movie. The Hitchcock movie
is, of course, its own lovely thing. We've taken a good idea and
adapted it, making it modern and, hopefully, fun and scary."
The third member of the triangl
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