YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
About The Production
In YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS, his first film since the acclaimed and controversial "In the Company of Men," writer/director Neil LaBute continues to watch, and listen to, the human condition
In YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS, his first film since the acclaimed
and controversial "In the Company of Men," writer/director
Neil LaBute continues to watch, and listen to, the human condition.
While his first film plumbed the depths of mental cruelty practiced
by two modern corporate players, the new feature unearths the
dark side, and darker humor, of intimate relationships among today's
upscale urbanites. The ensemble cast of six (three women, three
men) portrays characters engaged in intricate manuevers leading
to sexual deceit and self-immolation. In seeking the most basic
human contact -- to only connect with another person --the characters
find their motives misunderstood, curdling, and betrayed.
"We humans are a fairly barbarous bunch, and I don't think
we've changed much over the millenia," says LaBute. "Society
does shape how we act, though, by laying down rules of the game
-- and the people in YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS play by the
rules of the late 20th Century. These characters represent a fair
cross-section of our society today."
LaBute speaks from experience: he had worked in the mental health
field while attending
Brigham Young.University..He later attended the University of
Kansas, before entering the
Graduate Dramatic Writing program at New York University. Over
the years, LaBute authored
several plays, and later completed several screenplays.
When preparing to direct his first feature film, LaBute found
himself "torn between this script [YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS]
and 'In the Company of Men,"' another screenplay he had written.
Ultimately, "there was only so much money to do whatever
film it was going to be," and the smaller number of characters
and locations required for "In the Company of Men" tipped
the scales in its favor. LaBute made "In the Company of Men,"
which starred Aaron Eckhart, a friend and collaborator since BrighamYoung
days (who reteams with LaBute on YOUR
FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS).
"In the Company of Men" screened at the 1997 Sundance
Film Festival, with LaBute on hand. The film quickly emerged as
the most controversial movie of the Festival, and earned the Filmmakers
Trophy. Also at Sundance that year was Alix Madigan-Yorkin, who
had recently joined Fleece, Jason Patric's production company
based at Propaganda Films, as head of development. LaBute and
Madigan-Yorkin met up at Sundance, and Madigan-Yorkin in turn
recommended LaBute's work to Patric.
Having formed Fleece, Patric was looking for the right film to
mark his debut as producer. He recalls, "I had seen 'In the
Company of Men,' and I thought it was very strong -- one of the
most unique movies in years. I took a look at the [YOUR FRIENDS
& NEIGHBORS] script, and I found it even more audacious. Initially,
I was reading it more as a producer, not knowing that there was
a part I was going to play." Patric quickly realized not
only that "it helped to get it made if I played something,"
but also that the movie shaped up as "an actor's dream."
Patric remembers, "I took the script to Propaganda and said,
This is a movie I'd like to make."' Propaganda Films' Steve
Golin, who had recently produced Barry Levinson's "Sleepers,"
in which Patric starred, remarks. "Jason came in with a vision
for bringing the movie to the screen. When I read the screenplay,
I knew right away that his instincts were cor
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