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STAY

About The Production
With STAY, director Marc Forster creates a truly psychologically-based thriller – forging an intensely symbolic and hypnotically visual world of dreams, delusions and the most unsettling states of mind human beings ever experience.

From the very opening minutes of the film, events take a deliberate hairpin curve into the surreal. "I wanted to make it clear right away to the audience that the story they're about to see isn't taking place in reality,” comments the director. "I wanted them to know that the lead characters are intertwined, so they can go on this journey into an alternate, imaginary reality without feeling manipulated.”

Indeed, at the heart of STAY are two men who at first glance would seem to have little in common – yet are inextricably bound together by fate. Sam Foster is a savvy, successful, if emotionally guarded, psychiatrist who usually handles the straight-forward cases of neurotic professionals; although one of his most cherished successes is his girlfriend, Lila, a fragile yet insightful artist Sam saved from attempted suicide. Henry Lethem, on the other hand, is a truly haunted soul, a despondent college student obsessed with the romance and tragedy of death, who becomes Sam's patient by accident when his own therapist mysteriously takes ill. Shortly after they meet, Henry shocks Sam with his resolute statement that he plans to take his own life this coming Saturday at midnight – and spurs him into an obsessive quest to keep Henry alive no matter the cost.

As Henry's desperate need to die is met with Sam's urgent desire for him to stay among the living, the two become increasingly enmeshed – and not just in their therapy sessions. Sam's life is taken over by his concern for Henry, until Henry's memories, fears and even his eerie hallucinations and splintered sense of what is real start to come alive for Sam as if they were his very own. With their identities blurred and dissolved into one another, it becomes unnervingly evident that Henry and Sam are caught in an "in between” world that is neither life, nor death, but lies on the very precipice that divides them.

The story of STAY first came to life in a screenplay by David Benioff, an accomplished literary writer and author of the acclaimed novel The 25th Hour, the story of a New Yorker's last night of freedom, which he adapted for the screen version directed by Spike Lee. Benioff's screenplay work also includes Troy for director Wolfgang Peterson and the forthcoming Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman. But it was his breathlessly suspenseful and consistently thought-provoking screenplay for STAY that first drew intense interest from Hollywood. 2

When director Marc Forster read STAY, he was drawn to it not so much as a thriller with a twist but as an opportunity to create, from whole cloth, a dream realm that would follows its own tempestuous rules of logic yet also mirror the more familiar world of feelings and emotions we all recognize. Forster has always been drawn to stories both of intense dramatic power and those that explore the shadow-lands where reality, imagination and illusion meet. With the release of Monster's Ball in 2001, he emerged as a major filmmaking talent. He then went on to garner further international praise and awards for Finding Neverland, an enchanting and emotionally rich take on the life and imaginative powers of Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie.

Despite its thriller wrappings, Forster saw within STAY resonant themes that have long intrigued him. "I have always been inspired by dreams and fascinated by alternate versions of reality,” Forster says. "I saw this movie as being about things that interest me deeply, especially the inner workings of perception and identity. I think these are especially relevant themes right now, in our world today, when we are surrounded by so much media and so many different versions of ‘reality,' and in which perception has become so much

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