NEXT STOP, WONDERLAND
Brad Anderson had actor Alan Gelfant in mind for Alan even before the script was written
Brad Anderson had actor Alan Gelfant in mind for Alan even before
the script was written. "I'd seen him in a film called 'The
Destiny of Michael Fine' at Sundance and in that film he was a
guy whose life was completely preordained, who had no choice in
his destiny. I really liked his style and it seemed exciting to
give him a character who has a completely opposite relationship
with fate," says Anderson.
To cast Erin, Anderson held auditions, but they were quickly brought
to an end when he saw Hope Davis. "Hope has this quality
where she's a little bit detached yet also soulful; she's melancholy
but also radiant. She was a perfect fit with the character
of Erin. The minute she read for us I knew she was definitely
the one. We also wanted someone a little unconventional -- a twist
on the fairy tale princess. The way she looks, the way she is,
it all just felt right. And I was glad that she had done a lot
of stage work prior to her films. That's great preparation for
the off-the-cuff way that I shoot."
Hope Davis was surprised by Anderson's unusual take on the romantic
comedy. "I liked how uncompromising the story was, how it
wasn't just another falsely saccharine portrait of happy-go-lucky
single life," she says. "On the surface the character
of Erin seems a little bit dark for a romantic comedy but she
has good reason to be pessimistic given what's out there, as we
soon find out. And she's also still really grieving for her father,
which is tied up in her search for perfect love. She struck me
as very real and very true, a single woman who actually spends
time alone the way we all really do."
The amount of time Erin spends on her own is quite uncommon for
a romantic lead and presented a unique challenge for Davis, who
must fill the screen with a strong, silent energy. "I didn't
want to portray Erin as sitting slumped by her fridge waiting
for the phone to ring," she comments "Her moments alone
are filled with melancholy but also with a certain comfort with
herself. It's something every single person, even in a crowded
city, can relate to - a part of the search for love is learning
to be alone."
Davis got a particular comic kick out of Erin's droll dating sequences.
"The dating scenes are frighteningly true to life and Erin
reacts as many women would like to. You know, Erin might come
off as cynical but the men really warrant her cynicism. They're
full of lies and poses and none of them can really just be themselves.
She just wants someone who will talk to her like a human being!"
Davis also believes that Erin desperately wants someone to help
her believe in magic and love again -- despite her protestations
to the contrary. "Erin talks about not believing in fate
but when she's alone, she knows she's looking for a path. These
issues of destiny and fate are something that Brad really, really
thought about a lot while working on the film. For me, they're
a little too frightening to ponder all the time, but I think there's
something to both sides. It's interesting to me that when Erin
begins to find the integrity of being alone, love finds her."
Alan Gelfant was also attracted to Erin's unusual love story and
the idea of a movie "that was a woman's story of dating and
finding love, a story we hadn't seen before. I like a romantic
comedy that doesn't insult your intelligence." As for his
own character he notes: "I'm probably the only person in
the movie who doesn't want something from Erin, who's not trying
to manipulate her
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