About The Production
"I think science fiction, fantasy and horror are at
their most powerful if you believe in and care about the people involved,"
says Dreamcatcher writer/director/ producer Lawrence Kasdan.
Since co-writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, The
Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi early in his career,
Kasdan has been looking for a story that would allow him to direct a big effects
movie. Known for personal, humanistic films such as The Big Chill, The
Accidental Tourist, Grand Canyon and Mumford, Kasdan sought an
emotionally engaging story that was rooted in reality.
"In my movies I've always tried to find the most
potent metaphor," says Kasdan, "and one of the things Stephen King
does really well is find interesting, extravagant metaphors for things that
embody our deepest fears. Dreamcatcher is about controlling the fear of
the chaos that's out there, whether it's somewhere in the universe, outside
in the dark, or in your body as it begins to rebel against you. Then there are
all the things I've tried to deal with in my other movies, the relationships
between characters, friendships, issues of loyalty and redemption; but as with a
lot of King's writing, they're married to an exotic, horrifying action
story. That's something I've always wanted to try."
By the time Kasdan heard about Stephen King's best-selling
novel Dreamcatcher, a script was already in development for Castle Rock
Entertainment, the company that produced the films Stand By Me, Misery,
The Shawshank Redemption, Dolores Claiborne, The Green Mile
and Hearts in Atlantis, all based on King's books or stories.
"This is the first really successful horror/suspense
movie made from one of my books in at least fifteen years," says King.
"Not surprisingly, the last one was also a Castle Rock film: Misery,
with Kathy Bates. Castle Rock is the one company that has never treated me as a
horror commodity. They've been able to see that these are actually stories
about human beings, and that sometimes the monsters and the elements of horror
are good ways of looking at the things that really trouble us in real
Two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman
(Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men),
who had previously adapted King's novels Misery and Hearts in
Atlantis for Castle Rock, took on the task of distilling the essence of the
six-hundred-page book down to a couple of hours of screen time. Then, as is his
custom, Kasdan wrote the final shooting script himself.
Dreamcatcher is the story of four friends who perform a
heroic act as children and are changed forever by the supernatural powers they
gain in return. Over time, Jonesy, Henry, Pete and Beaver grow up to be men who
feel isolated from the rest of the world, never quite recapturing the thrill of
heroism that they felt in their youth. Unable to understand or master their
powers, they are left with the nagging frustration of possessing great
potential, but not the ability to realize it.
When the time came to begin casting, the filmmakers needed
actors who could not only embody the characters, but also convincingly portray
the strong bond between the friends that sustains them through their loneliness
and frustration and forms the core of their story.
Dreamcatcher benefited from Kasdan's expertise in
bringing together a strong ensemble. "This movie is full of wonderful young
actors," the director attests. "I feel I've been very lucky in
finding terrific actors all through my career, and this is a new crop of great
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