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MATCH POINT

About The Production
In Woody Allen's new film, "Match Point,” the writer/director proposes the notion that you can have great skill and even greater drive, but more often than we care to believe, it all comes down on the side of luck.

"We all like to think that we have so much control over our own lives and of our destinies,” says Allen. "You always hear people saying, ‘I make my own luck.' We think if we work hard we will succeed and, yes, hard work is important. But people are afraid to admit how contingent their lives are on chance and luck.” In "Match Point,” luck plays a large role in the ultimate fates of its central characters, beginning with Chris Wilton, a former tennis pro-turned tennis instructor. As luck would have it, Chris' life takes a decidedly upward turn when he happens to be in the right place at the right time.

Chris has just landed a job as the tennis instructor at a very exclusive tennis club when he meets his first pupil, the to-the-manor-born Tom Hewett. Before long, the two have discovered a mutual interest in opera, and Tom invites Chris to join his family in their private box at the Royal Opera House. There, Chris is introduced to Tom's sister, Chloe, who is immediately smitten by the handsome stranger. This is Chris' entrée into a world of privilege and power, and it is impossible to know just how much of his reciprocal interest in Chloe is driven by Chris' own ambitions. The enticements of wealth, however, prove no match for the seductive power of Tom's stunning—and seemingly unattainable—American fiancée, Nola Rice.

Allen notes, "Chris is married to a very nice, perfectly lovely woman, and he does love her. But he has a passionate, lustful desire for Nola, which leads to problems because he not only has feelings for his wife, he has also been seduced into a very cushy lifestyle. He certainly has no intention of giving that up for Nola…even though he can't keep his hands off of her.”

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who stars as Chris Wilton, offers, "Chris likes Chloe very much; it's just an added kicker that she's got millions. It's when he meets Nola that things really start getting calculated for him. Chris is genuinely greedy and lustful; he wants what he wants. He can be incredibly sweet, but he has great faults. He's like every man out there, I suppose—given the right situation, any man would be tempted to cheat on his wife or girlfriend if the woman of his dreams walked in. Most guys wouldn't think twice about it; they would just go and then suffer the consequences. You know if you go to bed with her, you're in for a world of pain and guilt and lying…and eventually, you'll be found out. You can't get away with it; at some point, it's going to come back and bite you in the ass. But you do it anyway, because your animal instinct wants what it wants. It's like man's morality versus man's nature.”

A clue to Chris' true character might be found in his well-worn copy of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment. It could reveal that he is trying to better himself intellectually…or it might be a sign of his darker nature. Rhys Meyers remarks, "Woody says that Chris is a good guy who gets into a bad situation, but I think there is an undercurrent of danger to him. What he does is so purposeful and so callous.”

Woody Allen, who had first noticed Rhys Meyers in the film "Bend It Like Beckham,” says the actor has qualities that set him apart from others who were considered for the role of Chris Wilton. "The minute I started thinking about him for this role, I couldn't get him out of my mind,” Allen recalls. "Other actors were recommended to me, but I kept coming back to Jonathan. He is a truly great actor—smoldering and intense and full of conflict and passion. He's got enormous power that he is able to project from the screen, which is a wonderful thing.”

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