RETURN TO PARADISE
Loosely based on the 1990 French film Force Majeure, this poignant and superbly crafted drama is a Propaganda Films production in association with Tetragram
Loosely based on the 1990 French film Force Majeure, this poignant
and superbly crafted drama is a Propaganda Films production in
association with Tetragram. Distributed by PolyGram Films, Return
to Paradise is produced by Alain Bernheim and Steve Golin and
executive produced by David Arnold and Ezra Swerdlow. Bruce Robinson's
original script was enhanced by screenwriter Wesley Strick. Reynaldo
Villalobos is the director of photography. Bill Groom is the production
designer. Juliet Polcsa is the costume designer. Mark Mancina
composed the original score. Andrew Mondshein and Craig McKay,
A.C.E. edited the film.
"This story could easily have been about you or me. It could
happen to anyone," says Ruben. "This film is about the
choices we make, about two friends facing a life and death decision...
choices that call for major sacrifices. But it really boils down
to one essential question: would you put your life at risk for
someone you knew for five weeks?"
While Lewis' life literally hangs in the balance, it is Sheriff
who becomes the focal point of the film. Casting Vaughn in the
role of such a layered, complex individual was a no-brainer, insist
Ruben and Golin. "When I saw Swingers, I knew he had
the chops to play Sheriff," Golin recalls. "He brings
humanity and a sense of humor to the role that ultimately defines
Exploring the depths of the trepidation and fear this moral dilemma
brings is exactly what attracted Ruben and Strick to this dramatically
updated and altered retelling in the first place. After all, such
territory is quite familiar to both: Ruben directed Sleeping
With the Enemy and The Good Son, Strick wrote Cape
Fear. The two previously worked together on True Believer.
It was Ruben who brought on Strick after reading Robinson's original
script. Robinson wrote The Killing Fields, based on a true
story. "With this, I wanted to do something that was loosely
based on reality," says Ruben. "It is a fictionalized
account based on `What If.' The reality is, `What If' is not that
far from the truth. Who doesn't remember the American flogged
in Singapore for graffiti? I recall one case of an Australian
hanged in Malaysia for drug dealing -- his mother tried to save
him by talking to the press and it backfired. It infuriated the
government and they killed him. It shows how easily westerners
can run afoul of the law."
Putting a spotlight on the media element is where Strick came
in, who meticulously researched the back story elements. Ruben
attributes the M.J. Major character to Strick who used her primarily
as a device to heighten the tension for Heche's Beth -- M.J. being
another debilitating obstacle thrown in her path. While Beth pressures
Lewis' friends for a quick response to her unappealing offer,
Major pressures Beth for Lewis' story, forcing Beth into a hopeless
juggling act with her client's life.
But M.J. is not Beth's only distraction. There is more to Beth's
argument with Sheriff than just helping her client's cause. His
judgment becomes clouded by his feelings for her.
"Anytime two people come together and are under a lot of
duress, they will find each other's raw side," contemplates
Heche. "I think there is something very appealing about that."
She hopes the on-screen heat between Beth and Vaughn's Sheriff
"will ignite a fire in everybody watching."
For Conrad, the challenge of pla
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