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CRASH

About The Production
For writer/director Paul Haggis, the screenplay for CRASH sprang from a complex web of personal experiences, fears and observations. Haggis was carjacked at gunpoint coming out of a video store in Los Angeles. He went home, changed all the locks in his house...and then started to wonder about the men who stole his car – how long they'd been friends; what they did for fun; whether or not they considered themselves criminals; how they justified their actions. Years later, he decided to write about it – only from their perspective. 

"By then I'd lived in LA for twenty-five years and had been witness to our own subtle brand of race and class warfare,” says Haggis. "I'd seen the many ways we discriminate against each other in everyday life. I'd seen how we rationalize and excuse it, how we organize our lives so that we don't have to deal with it, and how we deny that racial problems exist. But it wasn't until after 9/11 that I understood how to write this piece. Because the movie isn't really about race or class – it's about fear of strangers. It's about intolerance and compassion; about how we all hate to be judged but see no contradiction in judging others.”

"I think that on some level everybody in America is touched by the question of race and racism," says Robert Moresco, who co-wrote the screenplay with Haggis. "There's nobody who has escaped it that I know of."

Adds Haggis, "We live in a society of fear, where people like our President use that fear in order to control us, and the media uses that fear to manipulate us. I wanted to discuss that and how that fear resonates and distorts how we perceive the world around us."

"It is a film that escapes genre categorization because it escapes tonal categorization," says CRASH producer Cathy Schulman. "This is a film about real life. It's also something of a fable and a morality play. And it's a story of hope. There's levity, heartbreak, tragedy, beauty, comedy."

Co-star Sandra Bullock, who portrays Jean Cabot, the lonely and suspicious wife of the ambitious District Attorney played by Brendan Fraser, believes the film reminds us of how insulated modern life can be. "Our reality is so detached that I think it requires a catastrophic event to make us either feel or acknowledge what's actually going on," she says. "We are too comfortable, way too comfortable."

According to co-star Jennifer Esposito, who plays Los Angeles Police detective Ria, the power of CRASH lies in its ability to elicit chuckles at one moment and squirms the next. "This script is one of the most human things I've read,” says the actress. "I believe everyone will have an opinion about this movie. Whether they love it, or they hate it, they will have an opinion. It will bring up conversation. It will entertain. It'll make people mad."

As Haggis notes, the truth often hurts. "This isn't a film about someone else – about those bad people on the other side of the hill. This is a film about good people – people you know; people like us – people who think they know who they are. Then they are tested and realize that they have no idea. None of the characters escape unscathed.”

"Everybody gets their due," says actor Larenz Tate, who portrays car-jacker Peter. "From the black community to the white community to the Asian to the Latino to everyone you can think up under the sun, everyone gets their just due, equally."

The story Haggis outlined, and the screenplay he and Moresco subsequently wrote, involves a tapestry of strangers whose lives collide during the days before Christmas in modern-day Los Angeles. "I wanted to play with stereotypes, with the assumptions we make about strangers,” says Haggis.

"It's a little bit of a morality tale and a cautionary tale," said co-star Ryan Phillippe, whose police officer character Tom Hansen takes a wrong turn he can never make right. "

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