About The Production
From "In Dreams"' conception to conclusion, paranormal parallels run deep
From "In Dreams"' conception to
conclusion, paranormal parallels run deep.
Initially, the story sprang from an idea surrounding reports of
police departments hiring psychics to track down murderers. Screenwriter
Bruce Robinson was then commissioned to flesh out the plot. Later,
Neil Jordan came aboard, drawn to the alluring yet murky aspect
of the metaphysical world floated in a horror tale.
It was what Jordan calls the "startling image" of the
story's opening that immediately grabbed him: divers probing the
remains of a drowned town for the victims of a serial killer,
while on the surface a tortured Claire Cooper, drowning in her
relentless premonitions, probes the depths of her dreams for clues
to the killer's next move. As the killer stalked his victims,
so too does he stalk her mind. In time, the dark secrets of his
past would play out in both realms.
For Jordan, the gripping metaphor allowed him to delve into the
uncharted waters of a disturbed mind through the underexplored
and scientifically taboo realm of clairvoyance.
It was the underwater town that enhanced not only the story's
dimension of a buried, hideous past but also the plot "driven
by what happens in dreams," notes Jordan. "The visualization
of dreams allowed me to deal with multiple levels of reality,
and afforded me the opportunity to tell the audience something
that the central characters don't know. Only Claire and the audience
see the terrifying truth of her visions."
Producer Stephen Woolley, who counts "In Dreams" as
his ninth collaboration with Jordan, adds, "What we both
found fascinating about this particular story was the strange
blend of psychological drama and the supernatural, horror genre..
.where things are not quite what they seem. Neil and I have always
enjoyed looking at the problems of the inner mind. This film very
much plays on the haunting of the conscious mind.
"Claire is driven to find out the truth of her dreams and
the person behind them. The more obsessed she becomes," Woolley
says, "the more crazed everyone thinks she is. They all misinterpret
her behavior as delusional or paranoid. Only the audience knows
she is right."
So does the killer.
"He knows me and I know him in a way that nobody else can
understand" explains Annette Bening of the disturbing connection
between her character, Claire Cooper, and the killer. "Because
of that, I am drawn to him in a way that no one can understand.
He is able to enter my mind.. .and I eventually enter his."
The opportunity to portray a strong, multi-dimensional female
role had attracted the interest of several actresses during the
casting of Claire. However, Jordan-who had long been an admirer
of Annette Bening-met with her and was convinced that she was
the right choice to handle the challenging part.
At first, Bening acknowledges, she was hesitant about tackling
the role. "This is an uncompromising story and I found it
very scary, very dark, with a terrible sense of dread, delving
into our worst fears."
The actress continues that it was Neil Jordan's approach that
ultimately sealed her involvement in the project. "You can
have a great piece of material but the primary concern is the
director. As an actor you are there to serve the director's vision.
I knew-with a story like this-that Neil was the kind of director
who would explore it in an artistic way, not a sensationalist
one. He made the difference for me."
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