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VERY BAD THINGS

About The Production
Very Bad Things is "Peter's mad, crazed comic vision," says producer Michael Schifter

Very Bad Things is "Peter's mad, crazed comic vision," says producer Michael Schifter. "Yet at the same time, it's actually talking about deep and disturbing truths." The auspicious feature film debut of writer-director Peter Berg, who stars in the television series "Chicago Hope," is "dazzling and insane," explains Schiffer, "because when monsters emerge from characters we identify with real people - the kind of people we know and grew up with - we can't dismiss them or hold them at arm's length. By exposing them, Peter's film reveals the demons inside all of us."

Executive producer Scott Kroopf calls Berg's script "the boldest and most daring imaginable. There was nothing formulaic about it. It was innately intriguing."

"The movie had an unusually quick start," adds producer Diane Nabatoff. "We read it in March of '97 and were shooting in September. Peter was a first-time director, but the script was so specifically his vision and humor that it was clear he was the only one who could direct it."

Or, as actor Daniel Stern puts it, "When it comes to deciding whether to do a movie, I love no-brainers. I read Peter's script and I had to do this film."

The five lead characters are men of the Nineties: They guzzle beer, hurl insults and hoot and holler about women's bodies. In Schiffer's description, "They buy their clothes at The Gap. They're not gangsters, hit men or fantasy characters. They just want to be normal. But they're all a little bent, a little over the top. And Peter imbued them with an off-kilter intelligence that adds the final comic twist."

The original idea came to Berg on a visit to Las Vegas. "A lot of men go there to get drunk and look for trouble," he says. "I've seen it over and over in the bars and casinos. Vegas encourages men's primitive side.

"Something tribal emerges," he continues, "and with one false step a group of men could lose control. It's the same kind of energy at bachelor parties."

So he began to wonder what would happen if the line was crossed. What would happen when people engaged in immoral behavior and got away with it initially? What would be the emotional repercussions?

What unfolded in Berg's imagination and now on the screen is a true back-to-basics experience.

"Like Martha Stewart Gone Mad!"

At first glance, both the men and their women look like typical thirty-somethings. Everyone knows a dazed and confused guy like Kyle, a family man like Adam and an out-of-control younger brother like Michael. It seems every group has a Moore in the background and a Boyd up close in your face. There's a wife who grits her teeth when she chirps, "Love you!"

And there's always an angelic beauty who can turn on a dime if she doesn't get her way.

Played by Cameron Diaz, Laura is "the ideal fantasy bride," says Berg. "But she's obsessed with having a wedding rather than a husband. She's like Martha Stewart gone mad!"

Capable of everything from a picture-perfect pout to an outright threat, Laura will do whatever it takes to get the special chairs she's decided her wedding requires. "Do you love me?" she sobs to her fiance "Then you'll straighten out the chair problem." When the best man's funeral takes place the day before her day, Laura is a woman with crystal-clear priorities: "We are locked and loaded here. We are nonref

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