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NEXT STOP, WONDERLAND

About The Story
Two strangers meet on a train, setting off sparks -- it's a classic concept in Hollywood romance, one that often leads to romantic mayhem, twists of fate and comedic outcomes

Two strangers meet on a train, setting off sparks -- it's a classic concept in Hollywood romance, one that often leads to romantic mayhem, twists of fate and comedic outcomes. Brad Anderson's NEXT STOP WONDERLAND takes this familiar story and inventively propels it backwards in time, exploring how such seemingly random accidents between a man and a woman occur in the first place. In NEXT STOP WONDERLAND, the romantic mayhem, twists of fate and comedic outcomes all occur before the lovers even meet -- driving them unwittingly towards one another.

Anderson skillfully follows two parallel lives -- each a funny, honest and distinctive portrait of coming to terms with dating, destiny and meaning in your 30s. Erin, played by Hope Davis, is a night nurse who has been dumped by her politically correct boyfriend and is convinced she'll never find a man who can hold a candle to her deceased father, a paragon of the brilliant, sensitive man. Alan, played by Alan Gelfant, is an East Boston plumber who wants nothing more than to leave behind his debt-wracked father and the family plumbing business -- to start a passionate new life as the marine biologist he's always dreamed of becoming. Both are struggling with the past, uncertain in the present and learning to be happily alone in a tough, crowded city.

What are the odds these two will meet? As Erin dates a hilarious barrage of posers, losers, wanna-bes and wimps -- and as Alan mires himself in a nefarious fish-napping and other comically criminal attempts to settle his debts -- it seems less and less likely. But just when they each begin to get right with themselves. their paths unforgettably cross.

"The intent of the movie was to play on the issues of fate and destiny, to explore how people in their private moments create guidance and structure to see themselves through the difficulties of finding love," explains writer/director Brad Anderson. "I wanted to explore the two sides of the romantic fate coin. On one side is the belief that your love life is designed and controlled by some higher force. On the other is the more rational, scientific perspective that life is nothing more than a random series of accidents and chaotic events. I don't think the story really comes down hard one way or the other -- you could interpret the events through either perspective. But the point is that you're left in a state of wonderment, a joyful curiosity about what's going to happen next."

From the beginning, Anderson wanted to take the conventions of a typical romantic comedy and turn them on their side, leaving open questions of how, when and why romance blossoms in a life. He chose a hand-held, documentary-like style for the film that subverts the usual wide-angle slickness of most romantic comedies. He went for a naturalistic, improvisational relationship with his actors that has a rawness not common to the genre. He set the whole thing to a cool, jazzy Bossa Nova soundtrack that contrasts slyly with the contemporary Boston setting. And he and co-writer Lyn Vaus created a lead character who embodies the Bossa Nova concept of saudade: a kind of sadness that is a longing for happiness -- a concept with much resonance on the modem relationship front.

"I have always loved Bossa Nova and I wanted to create a character who embodies the mixed emotions of that sound. I also wanted to create a very real, very strong female character, a complex woman struggling to meet the right guy. I w

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