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About The Production
The philosophical battles that lie at the heart of I HEART HUCKABEES – battles between meaning and futility, interconnectedness and individualism, idealism and conventional success -- have long been waged in the mind of writer/director David O. Russell, which is what led him to the creation of Albert Markovski, the Existential Detectives and the script for I HEART HUCKABEES. "I became intrigued by the idea of a detective following someone around not for any criminal or personal intrigue, but rather as part of a very serious investigation about existence itself,” he says. "This was a funny idea to me yet also full of ideas that are very serious.”

In writing the screenplay, Russell drew on the concepts of several different conflicting strains of philosophy – from the non-dual, interconnectedness theories of Eastern philosophy, which influence Bernard and Vivian, to the Sartrean notions of a more meaningless universe that demands a profound individualism, which are found in the words and actions of the Existential Detectives' alter ego, Caterine. He also consulted leading physicists to further understand quantum physical reality.

Russell says, "I have often wondered why it is that in today's many ‘smart indie films' the characters often seem to struggle and lead these very dark existences, yet never have recourse to the mysterious traditions of investigating consciousness that have existed throughout human history. In our materialist culture, we have such a strong bias toward ‘dark' stories in which everyone is just depressed and struggling and that's life. I think there should be other paradigms and opportunities.”

At the center of I HEART HUCKABEES lies Albert Markovski, whose curiosity about a niggling coincidence sparks him to hire Existential Detectives who will stop at nothing to examine the very contours of his existence. An earnest and devoted environmentalist fighting to preserve dwindling open spaces, Albert Markovski has reached a crossroads he hopes the detectives can see him through: should he continue fighting for his dream of wild marshes or give them up entirely and start all over?

The character holds a place near to director David O. Russell's own heart. "I have been, in my day, an organizer for a cause or two, and I have been in parking lots talking to people and handing out fliers, and I've had people mock me for it, but I didn't care,” admits Russell. "These characters are my favorite kind of people - searchers who will not let business as usual get in their way of experiencing or finding the truth.”

Most of all, Albert dares to tackle questions that a lot of people relegate to midnight sweats. Russell continues: "Albert isn't fooling around when it comes to asking, What is this experience we're having? How can we make sense of the world? Are things hopeless or is there the possibility for hope? He's passionate about these questions, which is what I like about the character. But like most people in investigations, he's also hiding crucial information from himself, information he isn't prepared to deal with -- principally, his humiliating relationship with Brad Stand.” Albert Markovski's wild journey really kicks off once the Existential Detectives, Bernard and Vivian Jaffe, decide to take on his complicated case. To play these metaphysical private eyes, David O. Russell was thrilled to be able to cast two cinematic icons: Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin.

"They're both intense people -- very smart and interested in politics and ideas, with huge hearts -- and they play these roles very real, which is exactly what I was looking for in the film; a kind of comedy that fun, but also real and committed. They both possess an incredible intuition and were able to constantly find the balance and know when to cross the line into broader humor,” says Russell. "I think they mak

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