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About The Production
"I was drawn instantly to the character of Sybil because of the many layers to her personality,” says Diane Keaton. "This role allowed me to explore so many – often conflicting – emotions. It was fun playing the character who maintains a semblance of order within the chaos that prevails in her household. Sybil is the glue that holds the family together.”

Sybil and her family are not pleased with the arrival of eldest son Everett's girlfriend, Meredith Morton (SARAH JESSICA PARKER). Meredith is an immaculately composed, contemporary New York City-based career woman whose tailored suits, upswept hair and subtle makeup speak volumes about her personality, making an indelible impression on both friends and strangers. When she meets the Stones, the results are chaotic and unforgettable.

"Meredith is different from most of the characters I've played,” says Sarah Jessica Parker. "She's controlling, rigid and tightly wound. She's also intractable and inflexible, and when she finds herself out of her element at the Stone house, she turns into a wreck of a person.

"Meredith tries very hard to relate to the quirky members of her boyfriend's family, and she works hard to join in their conversations,” Parker continues. "But she simply does not understand the ‘room' she is trying to become a part of, so she doesn't realize when she should stop talking. When she tries to dig herself out of these awkward moments, she only makes matters worse.”

After her initial trial by fire with the Stones, Meredith enlists the help of her younger sister, Julie Morton (CLAIRE DANES). Julie, who works at a foundation awarding grants to artists, isn't nearly as tightly wound as Meredith.

"Julie is not under the same pressure that Meredith is experiencing,” says Claire Danes. "She's just there to provide moral support. She arrives when her sister's life is in a state of chaos, and the Stone family – quite eccentric in the first place – seems to be unraveling, and Julie is initially disoriented.”

Danes calls attention to the film's delicate balance of comedy and drama, saying that it challenged the cast to walk a fine line between the two styles.

"I found working on the film an exhilarating experience, because it forced me as an actor to be as honest as possible,” she explains. "You can't hide behind a comic or dramatic acting approach, because you would never be able to create and sustain the wide spectrum of dynamic moments throughout the film.”

Julie enters the "lions' den” with much more ease than her sister, but Julie's visit ultimately leads to further complications, especially for Everett Stone (DERMOT MULRONEY). Everett is a successful executive in Manhattan whose charm comes from the fact that he seems to be utterly unaware of the effect his attractiveness and easy-going nature has on others.

"Playing Everett was a challenge because he starts out very button-downed and straight-laced, but by the end of the story he returns to his real personality,” explains Dermot Mulroney. "Deep down in his heart, Everett isn't the over-achieving, submissive ‘suit' we see at the start of the film; he is really like the rest of the Stone family: loose and kind of Bohemian, with a fondness for free-flowing candid conversation and the laughter that often results.”

Everett's brother, Ben Stone (LUKE WILSON), seems to have strayed the furthest from his family's New England roots. A film editor living on the West Coast, Ben's unpredictable, sometimes mischievous nature is reflected in the ultra-casual clothes he wears.

"Compared to his siblings, Ben is a looser character,” says Wilson. "He's the free spirit of the family who lives in California, and he doesn't have a girlfriend. Ben provides a dramatic contrast to his straight-and-narrow brother Everett.”

Ben's and Everett's sister, Amy Stone (RACHEL McADAMS), is the passionate, outspoken and<


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