THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER
When Paramount Pictures first purchased the rights to DeMille's seventh novel, they had no idea that producer Mace Neufeld (who has spent the last nine years of his career making films for the studio) was also interested in the property
When Paramount Pictures first purchased the
rights to DeMille's seventh novel, they had no idea that producer
Mace Neufeld (who has spent the last nine years of his career
making films for the studio) was also interested in the property.
"I had read the book and tried to option it, but Paramount
got in ahead of me," says Neufeld. "I told them I'd
like to develop it for them. I've always been a DeMille fan; he's
one of my favorite authors. His books are eminently doable for
movies. Most of them have been optioned and I'm just delighted
that I was able to be involved with the first to come to the screen."
THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER marks the first film
produced by Neufeld's newly formed company, Mace Neufeld Productions.
According to the long time producer of such hits as THE HUNT FOR
RED OCTOBER, PATRIOT GAMES and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, hopefully
it is also the first in a long association with director Simon
West. Neufeld tapped the director to helm the project and immediately
knew he bet on a winning combination.
"Simon brings great passion to the project,"
says Neufeld. "It cannot be overstated how important that
is to making a good film. He's a superb visualist. But I think
audiences will also find that he's a great actor's director and
really knows how to make a complex drama."
West, who was being overwhelmed with offers
following the enormous success from his debut film, CON AIR, was
looking to find a second project with dramatic resonance. "While
it was fun blowing things up on CON AIR, I preferred directing
the dramatic parts of the story," says West. "I really
wanted to exercise that muscle and find a project that was rather
more serious. When THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER popped up, I read the
book, loved it and jumped on board.
"I've seen Mace's name on films since
I was very young," the director says. "So it's very
strange when you begin working with someone you know by reputation
and by the movies they've done over the years. And even though
the movies are great epic pictures, as soon as you begin working
together, you find you just concentrate on the work as opposed
to thinking about working with this enormously successful Hollywood
"One of the best things about Mace is
that he's so funny. He's got a million jokes, he plays the piano
and he acts. He's really an entertainer. We put him in the film
and gave him lines, but he still complains that I only gave him
two takes," the director jokes.
Neufeld and West spent the next eight months
shaping the screenplay, scouting locations and assembling the
all star cast. They continued to work throughout the shooting
of the film to bring the fine details that made the 1992 book
so successful to the screen.
"The book was written in a very screenplay-like
fashion," the director explains. "It was very visual,
which piqued my interest right away. It was like a 400-page script
that we had to edit down to normal movie length. There were so
many great scenes; we would just pluck them straight from Nelson's
text. It's a good old fashioned drama about betrayal and conspiracy
along with lots of sexual tension. It's<
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