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I HEART HUCKABEES

About The Production (Continued)
Another character who poses a challenge to both Albert Markovski and the Existential Detectives is Jude Law's Brad Stand, the quintessentially upwardly mobile young man with a perpetual tan and blinding grin. While climbing the corporate ladder at Huckabees, Brad has never had a second thought about the costs of his ever-accelerating life . . . until now.

Like everyone else in the cast, Law spent his own restless nights wondering about the film's story. "It's a story that's filled with all kinds of themes, potential messages and filmic conceits,” he observes. "But I think it's ultimately about those questions that everyone asks themselves: am I really happy?...How can I make myself really happy?” For Law, these questions were key to playing Brad Stand, who is forced against his far more superficial instincts to dive deeper and deeper into his well-hidden anxieties and fears during the course of the film. "I think Brad is the character in the film who has the most layers to unravel,” he explains. "Brad is so firmly entrenched in the personality he puts forward to the world that he's basically stopped asking himself: ‘who am I and what makes me tick?' He's all about pleasing people, but only in the most political and fake way. So, when he starts to unravel, he has a lot of interesting revelations.”

Part of Law's challenge was also to humanize Brad. "I think there are parts of each of the characters in this film in everyone. And when it comes to Brad, we all have some of his qualities,” he says. "I'm as guilty as anyone of sometimes putting on a phony face or putting on a pretense so I don't ever have to question the world or my existence. I want to please people, as well. Don't we all?”

David O. Russell says of Law's performance, "Jude has a golden quality, an ability to be almost too gorgeous and likable and human. As an actor, he is fearless and fun and willing to investigate what is in front of him with body and soul. He managed to play the role without making it in any way a cartoon. His character is the toughest nut to crack. Everybody else kind of gets penetrated and busted down in the course of the movie, but Brad hangs on.”

Brad's shimmering world of success first starts to crash at his feet when he tries to take over Albert Markovski's Open Spaces Coalition. In the ensuing conflict with Albert, Brad comes face to face with a conflicted soul he was previously unaware of even having. Law notes that the intense production brought he and Jason Schwartzman, like their characters, closer. "Jason and I pretty much went through everything that Albert and Brad go through together,” he says. "We found ourselves fighting and arguing, having probably the most heartfelt fun on camera that I have ever had.”

Law continues: "In a sense, I feel like I have gone to the Existential Detectives in making this film. None of us could have played these parts without asking some of these questions of ourselves. But of course, they're still there, and if Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman really were Existential Detectives, I think I would make an appointment.”

Then there is Brad's girlfriend Dawn, the Barbie-blonde spokesmodel for Huckabees, who puts a hitch in his plans when she makes some radical changes in her own life and appearance. "Brad's relationship with Dawn is fascinating because it's the shallowest kind of emotional bond that's all about both of them relying on one another to reinforce who the other person is,” says Jude Law. "She's very beautiful and successful, and he's never considered what would happen without those things.”

Playing Dawn is versatile, award-winning actress Naomi Watts in an unusual comic turn that drops facades – literally. "Working with Naomi was absolutely terrific,” notes Law. "We both came to the set ready to dive into this head first. We had a lot of fun br

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