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Mischief, Mayhem And Mystery
Director Robert Benton, who celebrates love's astonishing variety of forms in FEAST OF LOVE, is no stranger to chronicling the mischievous inner workings of the heart – though he has never done so in such a magical and unabashedly passionate story before. Benton began his Hollywood career by co-writing the classic 1960s bank robber romance "Bonnie and Clyde,” garnering the Academy Award® in his feature film debut, and influencing countless edgier love stories to come. He would go on to win another Oscar®, a decade later, for directing the quintessential divorce drama/comedy "Kramer vs. Kramer” (for which he also received a Best Screenplay Adaptation nomination), which navigated the treacherous territory of what happens when love falls apart. He then won a third Academy Award® for the original screenplay for the Depression-era, "Places In The Heart;” this time exploring the complexities of family love, which also garnered him an Oscar® nomination for Best Director.

Given Benton's career-long fascination with the different kinds and consequences of love, few directors could have seemed better suited to tackle Charles Baxter's critically praised breakout novel about the wondrous totality of all of love's forms. In his novel, the award-winning Baxter unleashed a kind of "Midsummer Night's Dream” on modern suburbia, following the intersecting paths of both true love and romantic folly that fuel and bind a community behind its closed doors. The book was filled with young lovers finding safety in one another, unexpected lovers tumbling into one another's arms, illicit lovers playing with danger, parents seeking solace for the love of lost children, lost children seeking out parental love, and most of all, the author's search for just how it is that our troublesome, agonizing hearts also see us through life with so much grace and beauty.

The result was a story that was not only funny and sensuous, but that gave readers a rich sense of the human interconnectedness that anchors us all.

In The New York Times, Jacqueline Carey wrote of the book: "Charles Baxter shows us the hard-won generosity of spirit that day-to-day dealings with other human beings require. He builds a community right on the page before us, using a glittering eye, a silvery tongue – and just a little moonlight.”

Among the book's many great admirers were renowned producers Tom Rosenberg and Gary Lucchesi of Lakeshore Entertainment. Rosenberg and Lucchesi have long had a penchant for pairing remarkable literary works with great filmmakers, and in 2005 garnered the Academy Award® for Best Picture with the acclaimed "Million Dollar Baby,” directed by Clint Eastwood, screenplay by Paul Haggis, based on a short story by F.X. Toole.

Rosenberg could not resist Baxter's vast, unflinching way of tackling perhaps the most complex, enigmatic and vital of human subjects. "FEAST OF LOVE is about life,” he says. "In the novel, I think Charles Baxter basically suggests that love is life's most meaningful experience and you have to seek it out and remain true to it, no matter what happens – and that became the powerful idea that drove the film.”

For Lucchesi, the core of the film was deeply personal right from the start. He says, "FEAST OF LOVE embraces the journey of life, and how life and love walk together. I'm 51 years old. I've been married 28 years. I don't know how you get through life if you don't have an emotional side being satisfied. I can tell you that a Saturday morning sitting in my kitchen having a cup of coffee with my wife really pleases my heart – and I think what's so wonderful about FEAST OF LOVE: it celebrates those sort of unheralded emotional moments that keep us going.”

Lucchesi was also drawn to the profound universality of the story, traversing as it does through so many different kinds of entwinings – from friends to lovers to life-long spouses to family relationships. "

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