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MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

About The Production
A group of accomplished behind-the-camera talent has been assembled, including director of photography CALEB DESCHANEL (Oscar nominated three times -- for Fly Away Home, The Natural and The Right Stuff, production designer JEFFREY BEECROFT (Oscar nominate

A group of accomplished behind-the-camera talent has been assembled, including director of photography CALEB DESCHANEL (Oscar nominated three times -- for Fly Away Home, The Natural and The Right Stuff, production designer JEFFREY BEECROFT (Oscar nominated for Dances With Wolves), editor STEVEN WEISBERG (Great Expectations) and composer GABRIEL YARED (Oscar winner for The English Patient).

The questions about love and fate that compel Garret and Theresa to reach out to one another also prompted the filmmakers to question their own beliefs about how people handle loss and find the strength to move on. Denise Di Novi observes, "Everyone has been hurt, and some people just shut down for the rest of their lives. It takes enormous courage to love again following great pain."

Kevin Costner has a different perspective, noting, "Sometimes, it's hard to recognize the good things that are right in front of our faces because we're too busy looking over our shoulders."

Jim Wilson concludes, "Whether or not you believe in fate, things come into our life for a reason. What we're asking is -- if you had come across this letter, would this be a journey you'd be willing to take?"

When Nicholas Sparks' first novel, The Notebook, was published, it debuted with a splash and showed, in the jargon of the entertainment industry, "real legs." The tender love story spent more than a year on The New York Times list of Best Sellers and eventually sold more than 850,000 hardcover copies. When the author started his follow-up, the news quickly spread through the worlds of publishing and filmmaking.

Denise Di Novi remembers, "I received a copy of Nicholas' second book in galleys and it was only halfway finished; the final chapters were in outline form. But I knew from the first page that there was something very special here. I thought it was one of the most beautiful love stories that I had ever read."

Di Novi's excitement was contagious, and her enthusiasm (conveyed in a late night call to Warner Bros.' executives) was enough for the studio to make an offer on the book the following day; within hours, the property had been acquired. (As of December 1, 1998, the Warner Book novel Message in a Bottle was on its eighth printing with an impressive cumulative total of 636,000 copies; it remained on The New York Times list of Best Sellers for 28 weeks.)

Di Novi had such a firm conviction that the role of Garret should be filled by Kevin Costner that she dreamt about it. She notes, "I felt so strongly about it that the next morning, I spoke with Warners again and said, 'This is Kevin -- it has to be him. It's his role.'"

Kevin Costner comments, "I think successful people visualize what has a strong possibility of happening. Lucky for me that first, Denise saw me in the role and that second, the material presented a story and a sensibility that I wanted to help realize on the screen."

For Costner, the story of a widower coming to terms with the past struck a resonant chord. He continues, "I thought the story was extremely emotional. 'Message' revolves around three people and their inability to reach out to each other, to bypass the wreckage and the walls that separate them."

With Costner signing on to pla

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