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A SIMPLE PLAN

About The Story
Based on his own best-selling book of the same name, the script by novelist Scott B

Based on his own best-selling book of the same name, the script by novelist Scott B. Smith was what drew the ensemble's fine actors and its other principle players to the material in the first place.

"It attracted me and I suspect Billy Bob, the others and Sam [Raimi] because you so seldom get to do something that's this tragic in movies today," says producer Jim Jacks. "And this is a powerfully emotional piece that demonstrates the frailty of morality and human relationships when forceful elements like money, deception and intrigue come into play."

Jacks knew Raimi from their experience making the classic thriller "Darkman," starring Liam Neeson. And though the director is best known for his intense visual style, that was not what attracted him to "A Simple Plan." Raimi, says Jacks, "is probably one of the great visual directors working today, but Sam was really interested in finding a piece of material where he could be more of an actor's director. And he did."

Sam Raimi was interested in "A Simple Plan" as a chance to make a character-driven piece that was not highly stylized or dependent on intricate camera movements. "This is a change of pace for me because the film is not about shots, but the performance within the frame. I wanted the camera work to be invisible and just allow the actors to tell this very thrilling story."

"The thing that attracted me about 'A Simple Plan,' " says Raimi, "is the fact that the hero is an everyday fellow that I can relate to. The great characters that Scott Smith created both in his book and in his screenplay, these were people that I understood -- and I knew some of them. I thought, how interesting that these real people are in this thrilling situation where they actually find this money. What would they do, what would these real people do? They aren't bad guys. They're just human beings who make a decision and live with the consequences, and they fight to get out of this slowly closing circle that the money has created. This noose that's tightening around them."

Remarks Bill Paxton, "Things can happen in the blink of an eye that completely change one's life. In 'A Simple Plan,' money becomes a contagious disease, a disease that once touched, marks you forever."

Paxton has been fascinated by the story and the character of Hank Mitchell since his father gave him a copy of Scott Smith's book, which he read on location during the filming of "True Lies." He wound up reading it in one night. "I could not lay the book down," he said, and became immediately convinced that he was born to play the part of Hank Mitchell.

Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Thornton, too, was drawn to Scott Smith's story for the intensity of its dark power as a psychological thriller. "I thought 'A Simple Plan' was one of the best scripts I'd ever read. I was engrossed from the first page to the last," he says. "I think it was valuable, too, to show movies that are about the dark side of life because they are great lessons for people."

The method that this movie uses to accomplish this, according to Thornton, is a return to the classic thrillers of the masters of suspense. "What strikes me about this movie is not so much what kind of story it is," he says, "but what kind of movie it is. It's got that flavor and a weird mood and humor. A lot of people don't think of the humor in Hitchcock's movies, but it was

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