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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 really happening.

"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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