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MELINDA AND MELINDA

Production Information
MELINDA AND MELINDA combines romantic comedy and drama in a way that Woody Allen, unique among filmmakers, likes to contrast. It takes place in Manhattan and chronicles a pair of crises that give great reign to the funny and serious talents of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Will Ferrell, Jonny Lee Miller, Radha Mitchell, Amanda Peet, Chloë Sevigny and Wallace Shawn. All the usual Allen areas are explained—the fragility of love, marital infidelity, sophisticated romance, the inability to communicate. As a character in the movie puts it, "He's despondent, he's desperate, he's suicidal. All the comic elements are in place.”

The Fox Searchlight Pictures Presentation MELINDA AND MELINDA is written and directed by Woody Allen and produced by Letty Aronson. Executive Producer is Stephen Tenenbaum. Co-executive producers are Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe. Co-producer is Helen Robin. The creative team includes Director of Photography Vilmos Zsigmond, A.S.C., Production Designer Santo Loquasto, Editor Alisa Lepselter and Costume Designer Judy Ruskin Howell. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Will Ferrell, Jonny Lee Miller, Radha Mitchell, Amanda Peet, Chloë Sevigny, and Wallace Shawn.

By his own admission, writer/director Woody Allen has far more ideas for movies than he will ever have time to put on film. The concept for MELINDA AND MELINDA was one of many he spawned over the past several years, but it was one of the most intriguing.

In this film, Allen, one of the most respected filmmakers on the international film landscape for over three decades, explores some of his most beloved terrain: personal struggles with morality, identity, intimacy, jealousy and the vagaries of romantic love. The twist in MELINDA AND MELINDA is introduced in the film's opening scene, in which four sophisticated New Yorkers enjoy a dinner out on a rainy night. An anecdote provokes a discussion between writers Max (Larry Pine) and Sy (Wallace Shawn) about the dual nature of human drama, symbolized by the comedy/tragedy mask of theater. Ultimately a comic tale unfolds, pitted against a more dramatic version of itself—both centered around a somewhat enigmatic woman named Melinda (Radha Mitchell). "It's something that occurs to me many times in my movies. They can often be treated comically or dramatically, and I usually opt to treat them comically,” says Woody Allen. "But it occurred to me that you could get a story and you could fool around with it both ways.”

In MELINDA AND MELINDA, Allen has chosen to return to his signature work—an ensemble piece populated by accomplished, artistic, occasionally neurotic men and women living in modern day New York whose lives become increasingly complicated. But Allen didn't plan it that way. "For me, it's just chance. This was just the idea that came out of the box,” he says. "I have a lot of ideas for stories. They come to me all the time.”

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the film is that neither ‘Melinda' story— comic or tragic—is real, according to Allen. "They're both fabrications that Sy and Max glean from the story in the restaurant. One person distorts it comically, the other dramatically. Sometimes they overlap, sometimes they don't.” "I always thought the circumstances were similar for each Melinda,” offers Radha Mitchell, who plays the title character. "One saw circumstances dramatically, and one lived with hope.”

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