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DE-LOVELY

The Man
Kevin Kline's introduction to Cole Porter came when he saw a friend in a performance of "Anything Goes” in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Since then he's gone on to become an Academy Award® winning actor (A Fish Called Wanda) and a two-time Tony winner for his musical performances on Broadway ("On the Twentieth Century” and "The Pirates of Penzance”). Like any musical theater performer worth their chops, Kline had long admired Porter as a songwriter, but he had never given much though to Porter the man. That all changed when Irwin Winkler asked him to play the composer in De-Lovely.

Kline, Winkler, and Cowan worked together on Winkler's last directorial outing, Life as a House. "Kevin gave a wonderful performance in that film, and I was very happy with our working relationship,” says Winkler. "He's so incredibly talented, and he's an actor willing to take risks. As we worked on the script, I knew we had to have him as Cole.”

"Kevin's very particular about what he wants to do,” adds Cowan. "But it was key for us to get somebody who was going to pull out the detail of the role. Porter was very detailed and intricate, and Kevin's portrayal is just as detailed and intricate, right down to his mannerisms and playing the piano. Kevin loves doing the research and the detail work; he really embodied the character.”

"When Irwin first proposed the idea of me playing Cole, I was intrigued and terrified at the same time,” says Kline. "Having been an aspiring pianist and composer when I was in school, I thought it would be a nice way to get back in that world, and I love Porter's music so much.”

"We got incredible commitment from Kevin,” says Winkler. "He worked on this project for almost nine months, honing his piano skills, working with a voice coach – he was a consummate professional, and turns in a stunning performance as a result.”

In addition to the challenge of portraying a historical figure, Kline was attracted to the film for its exploration of Cole and Linda Porter's relationship. "It's a unique love story, a particular kind of love Cole and Linda had for one another,” says Kline. "We weren't going to pull any punches about his homosexuality and wanted to portray the truth – and from all the biographies I read he was rather unapologetically promiscuous – but Linda was Cole's muse, his inspiration, and taskmistress. The bottom line is that they had a deep and abiding love for one another that was their own, that was unique, and that was very refreshing to play.”

Though Linda knew about Cole's sexuality, she didn't accept it when he was indiscreet. "Unlike today, there was a time where it wasn't everyone's business what one did in one's bedroom, or in any other rooms for that matter,” Kline says. "People didn't talk about such things and Cole kept his private life to himself. But apparently when he came to Hollywood he ‘went Hollywood,' and biographers concur that things got out of control and he ran the risk of his indiscretions becoming public.” That's when Cole and Linda separated for a period of time and Linda went back to Paris. "But once Cole had his accident,” Kline continues, "Linda came back and never again left his side, and that's a matter of historical fact.”

As mentioned, the filmmakers wanted to showcase Kline's music skills. Kline worked diligently to perfect his piano playing onscreen – a daunting task when portraying someone who made his living by composing on a keyboard. Another impressive aspect of Kline's performance was his insistence upon singing his songs live while filming. Years ago, when he was making the film of The Pirates of Penzance, he was frustrated when he had to record a song then lip-sync to match the recording weeks later during filming. "It takes much of the spontaneity out of it,” says Kline. "You're unable to invest real emotion into it because you're trying t

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