About The Production
Hurlyburly was adapted for the screen by Anthony Drazan and David Rabe from Rabe's award-winning off-Broadway play
Hurlyburly was adapted for the screen by Anthony Drazan
and David Rabe from Rabe's award-winning off-Broadway play. Together
they transformed the intimate theater piece into a fast and furiously
kinetic comedy with a biting moral edge. Their screenplay in turn
attracted a stellar cast that brings a new energy to the work.
But how does one take a work like Hurlyburly, which is
about language and behavior. which originally took place in a
condo living room, and make it come alive cinematically? It all
began long before Drazan was a director, when he first saw the
play in New York. It was an intense experience - a searing, lightening-quick
conversation about life between four ambitious men looking for
love and happiness while getting hung up on the pursuit of sensation.
Says Drazan: "I loved the language, the hyper-real tone,
how absorbing and deep the themes were, and at the same time how
they were explored through clever humor."
Years went by and Drazan developed a reputation as a talented
young writer-director on the heels of his debut work Zebrahead,
which won the Sundance Film Festival Filmmaker Trophy. Zebrahead
rook on such complex themes as racism, bigotry and inter-racial
love. His second feature, Imaginary crimes, addressed family
relations, forgiveness and the American Dream. For his third feature,
he wanted to take on something equally rich but with a different
tone - and that's when Hurlyburly resurfaced. "I saw
the story as being about the hollow feeling that comes from the
inability to love or be loved, so common in our current times,
and I found that worth exploring." he says.
Reading the stage play, Drazan was struck with an idea that would
both contemporize the story and make it more cinematic - switch
the point of view from the detached, sarcastic Mickey to the yearning,
searching Eddie and allow for the slight, glimmering possibility
of Eddie's redemption as he begins to do something he hasn't done
in a long time: care.
Drazan contacted playwright David Rabe and told him about his
ideas. Rabe was intrigued. Thus began a two-year process that
kicked off with Anthony Drazan moving to Connecticut to work with
Rabe on the adaptation. The two spent long days and nights discussing
the characters. humor and themes, then cutting and restructuring
the whole thing into a screenplay. "Our goal was to find
a way to tell the story cinematically without ever letting it
get bogged down. says Drazan. ''It's meant to be a roller coaster
ride - not of action, but of emotions and language and human motivations.
We wanted it to be intense, to demand the audience invest themselves,
but also to be as wickedly funny as the play." Throughout
their collaboration, Rabe had the task of overseeing "the
mind, the soul and the poetry" of the piece while Drazan
would watch out for the cinematic energy and cohesion.
For Drazan. the sudden shift into the slowed lifestyle and genteel
civility of New England only heightened his sense of the manic
pace he wanted Hurlyburly to have on the screen. "Once
you're outside L.A. you begin to realize that there's something
about this place, about driving on these freeways, talking on
our car phones, feeding on this compulsive energy. that makes
for this high-adrenaline, rattetata way of talking and being,"
observes Drazan. "The screenplay had to viscerally reveal
this kinetic mania.
But Drazan also wanted the screenplay to be more than just a wild
barrage of fast<
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