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LAKEVIEW TERRACE

About The Production
"Not everybody here is someone you'd choose to live next to.” – Abel Turner

"A lot of people have asked me what the whitest white guy in America is doing writing a movie that deals with interracial issues,” says Lakeview Terrace screenwriter David Loughery. "I wanted to challenge myself and kind of get outside my comfort zone, so I wrote a thriller that dealt with issues we don't usually see in that context.” 

Loughery thinks many people will see themselves in the characters he has created. "I think people will identify with the situation. Whatever feelings they have about race and color and relationships, they'll bring to the theater and they will compare it to the action we're seeing on screen.” 

Director Neil LaBute exploded onto the movie scene with his 1997 feature film debut, In the Company of Men, a razor sharp exploration of sexual politics. In the succeeding years, LaBute has built a reputation as a controversial filmmaker and playwright who is unafraid to pull back the mantle of civility covering the ugliest side of human nature. 

For Loughery, La Bute's unique sensibilities made him the perfect director for Lakeview Terrace. "This is a guy who really knows how to push an audience's buttons,” he points out. "The films he makes and the plays he writes are—in a good way—excruciating to sit through, because the situations he creates are so incredibly uncomfortable. I knew that Neil would bring something to this movie that another director couldn't. He brought a real tension to it, so the behavior between these characters feels very, very real.” 

When the script for Lakeview Terrace came his way, LaBute saw an an opportunity to create a complex story, set in Los Angeles, that could be interpreted on many different levels. "I'd been living in Los Angeles long enough to be aware of the idea of fires encroaching on homes and racial tension and that kind of road rage thing,” says LaBute.  Although the clash of opposites in the movie is racially charged, LaBute and Loughery are in agreement that the issue of race is just one facet of the escalating battle between neighbors in the story. "Lakeview Terrace isn't so much about race as it is about personal space, boundaries, turf and the lengths people will go to protect their property,” says the writer. "I think everybody has had a situation here they've just moved in next to somebody who is ruining the quality of your life. It may be a barking dog or a kid with a garage band or something else, but we all know how little things between neighbors can escalate into gigantic feuds. This is the ultimate version of that story.”

"The conflict is about someone who has grown up with a certain set of values and doesn't believe in the kind of arrangement he sees across the fence,” says the director. Everyone has lived next door or under or over another person, and felt ‘Oh my God, what are they doing in there? Why are they making that noise at this time?' When one of those neighbors is a policeman, it removes that first line of defense and makes for a very suspenseful sense of, ‘What do I do now?'

"That element is certainly not a racial element,” LaBute continues. "You could pick a good actor of any ethnicity for the part of Abel Turner. Tommy Lee Jones, Edward James Olmos, they could play the part of this man who is someone who will not give in to his neighbors.” 

In the end, says Loughery, he wants the audience to be uncomfortable watching Lakeview Terrace. "I want them to kind of twitch in their seats, but at the same time I want to make sure that they're entertained and have a great time.”

Samuel L. Jackson had read the script and agreed to play the role of Abel when the film was still in the early stages of development. "At the first reading, I though it was a compelling story,” says Jackson, whose substantial body of work includes such accla

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