The filmmakers of "Analyze This"
assembled an extraordinary ensemble of actors to bring their story
to the screen, beginning with Lisa Kudrow as Ben's newscaster
Kudrow was delighted to play Laura, a fastidious, determined woman
who's far from happy when she finds her wedding plans in a state
of disarray because her serious, sober-sided husband-to-be is
unexpectedly involved with a Mafia don.
The other roles for the characters from Ben's world were filled
by Kyle Sahiby ("Ed TV") as Michael, Ben's mouthy teenage
son, and Bill Macy (TV's "Maude") and Rebecca Schull
("The Odd Couple II) as Ben's self-absorbed parents. Molly
Shannon, of NBC's "Saturday Night Live," was cast as
of one his more intractably neurotic patients, and Jimmie Ray
Weeks was signed as an FBI agent who mistakes Ben for a gangster.
The roles of Vitti's "people" were filled in a rather
more unconventional manner. "We sort of adopted the Martin
Scorsese-Bob De Niro method of casting when it came to the Mob
roles," Ramis says. "This consists of Bob and Marty
walking the streets of Little Italy, spotting a civilian, saying,
'Hey, that guy would look good,' and signing him up. Joe Rigano,
for example, was cast this way in his first Scorsese film. We
use him for Manetta, Vitti's mentor, who's gunned dawn in a scene
in which Vitti narrowly escapes with his life. He's perfect."
From the more traditional dramatic ranks came Chazz Palminteri,
an Academy Award nominee for Woody Allen's "Bullets Over
Broadway"; Leo Rossi ("The Accused"); and Richard
Castellano, a former boxer who started his entertainment career
as a stand-up comic, also play Mob characters.
The key role of Jelly, Vitti's lieutenant/bodyguard/confidante
-- a character Ramis calls "the Sancho Panza of the film"
-- is played by Joseph Viterelli. Viterelli, who recently also
completed production on "Mickey Blue Eyes" with Hugh
Grant and appeared in the Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau comedy
"Out to Sea," is possessed of an oversize frame and
an oval, rubbery, sad-eyed mug, making him an unforgettable figure.
As Crystal notes, "We have a collection of great faces here,
faces that make each and every character ring true."
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