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HURLYBURLY

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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