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THE SAVAGES

Finding The Savages
"Casting a family is a lot like casting lovers because you have to have that same kind of ineffable chemistry,” Jenkins notes. "I needed three actors who would each be completely different in their style and approach to the world -- yet who you would believe all came from the same DNA. In the end, I truly got lucky. These are absolutely amazing actors who are at the very top of their game – and as a director, their instincts were very exciting and creatively challenging. At first, no single actor alone seemed to quite make sense, but when I put these three together, they were beyond perfect. I could believe that they were a family.”

As Wendy Savage, Laura Linney gets a chance to create another darkly funny and deeply poignant role on the heels of her Golden Globe®-nominated performance in THE SQUID AND THE WHALE. A two-time Oscar nominee, Linney's range of recent performances, which range from the indie classic YOU CAN COUNT ON ME to the biopic KINSEY to the comedy LOVE ACTUALLY, have established her as one of the most talented and respected actresses working today.

She was attracted right away to THE SAVAGES because of Tamara Jenkins' fearless take on family relations. "Family's complicated – always has been and always will be,” Linney laughs. "But this story takes on a family issue that really hasn't been dealt with. The death of a parent is one of the most significant things that can happen to anybody, but it's a frightening topic that is frequently avoided. It's one of those things in life you can't really prepare for. The only thing you can do is enjoy the relationships while you have them and not take them for granted—which can be difficult because family, especially this family, is so complicated.”

Linney looked forward to the challenge not just of forging Wendy in all of her worries and neuroses but of creating a flesh-and-blood family, albeit a barely functioning family, on the screen. "You can do a certain amount of preparation on your own but when you start connecting with the other actors, that's when things start to grow,” she says. "I was so thrilled to work with the two Phils. I admire them both so much.”

As production began, the filmmakers watched in awe as Linney threw herself into Wendy Savage's harried world with complete abandon. "You think of Laura as such a professional and she's so often cast as someone who's very in control – so it was just so much fun to see her really embrace this role where she's flailing and struggling to make her way in the world,” says Jim Taylor.

Adds Ted Hope: "Laura delivered an awe-inspiring performance. She brought such a great energy to the role. She has great comedic chops, she's sexy and she can hit every emotional high and low. There isn't a moment where it feels like just one thing's happening with her character. So much is going on all the time that she's just fascinating to watch.”

For Tamara Jenkins, some of Linney's most wonderful scenes come with Tony-nominated actor Peter Friedman in the role of Wendy's illicit lover Larry. "She's just so good and her instincts are so right,” says Jenkins. "I was amazed to see the way she took what I had written and made it her own.”

To pair with Linney as her entirely opposite sibling Jon, Jenkins long had in the back of her mind Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the most consistently intriguing character actors working today. The actor received the coveted Best Actor statuette at the Oscars for his role as Truman Capote in CAPOTE just weeks before production of THE SAVAGES began.

The casting of Hoffman was a bona fide coup for the production. "I had the opportunity to work with Phil for the first time on a film I produced called HAPPINESS, and watching his career since then has been a joy,” says Hope. "His performances are so rich you really believe his characters exist off the

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