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VIEW FROM THE TOP

About The Production
”I think the title says it all," remarks director Bruno Barreto, "VIEW FROM THE TOP is a fable about the American dream, about the dream we all have to make it to the top, to live well, and to have a good life.” 

The premise for this modern day fairy tale began in the wildly creative mind of screenwriter Eric Wald, who received his MFA in screenwriting from UCLA. A friend of Wald's was hired as a ticketing agent for a major U.S. airline and was sent to complete a program at their learning center in Texas. "She described this surreal place where you walk down a hallway, open a door and all of a sudden be inside an airplane cabin,” Wald remembers. ”She told me about the training program for flight attendants and its beauty classes, lectures on stealing, and role playing exercises on how to deal with disgruntled passengers. I knew there was a comedic story there." 

Like his romantic protagonist Donna Jensen, Wald had some big dreams of his own. While in the screenwriting program, Wald entered his script in a year-end student competition that is judged by motion picture development executives. One of the judges was Brad Grey Pictures executive Laura Hopper who instantly responded to Wald's script. 

Life imitated art, as Wald found his very own Sally Weston to guide him to the top. 

Hopper passed the script along to Brillstein-Grey Entertainment Chairman and CEO Brad Grey. Grey then met with Miramax Films, who bought the project. With the script in place, filmmakers turned their attention towards securing a director. They were particularly keen on Bruno Barreto, who had created a remarkable combination of romantic whimsy and comedy with Bossa Nova that would translate well with the ideas they had for the film. 

For Grey, the choice of Barreto was an easy one. "After reading a draft of View From The Top, I happened to see Bossa Nova. Bruno's sensibilities seemed well suited to our project. When I subsequently met with him, I was impressed with his comedic vision for the film and his passion for the material." 

After meeting with Barreto, View From The Top star Gwyneth Paltrow agreed that the director would lend an added dimension to the material. "I think women really interest Bruno,” she says. ”He's in touch with the feminine sensibility and is fascinated by it. He was the perfect man to direct this film." 

Barreto's vision employed asking his actors to stay "two feet off of the ground." He asked that his cast push the envelope as much as possible while keeping their characters as grounded as possible. "I love comedy," says Barreto. "I think people go to the movies in order to forget reality and to see it the way we would like it to be." 

"Bruno said to me, ‘That was really good, but can you do it a little less real?' If I ever thought, in my life, that would be my direction," Paltrow laughingly remembers. ”It's been a good lesson for me, though. I've never done a comedy of this nature before, so I'm learned a lot about it as I went along."

Barreto holds the theory that film audiences like to discover different sides to their favorite actors. This was put to the test when Paltrow's name was first suggested for the role of Donna, the feisty girl with lofty aspirations. "Gwyneth Paltrow is a sensational actress and a classic beauty, but playing a girl who grew up in a trailer park?" Barreto remembers thinking. "Casting against type is always tricky, but when it works, it's great." 

The Academy Award® winner's talent for broad comedic characters has been well showcased in her acclaimed appearances on "Saturday Night Live.” Paltrow welcomed the opportunity to show her comedic chops on the big screen. 

As per usual, Paltrow immersed herself in the elemental aspects of the character, from t

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