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The Characters
When the filmmakers first auditioned newcomer Leslie Stefanson, the decision to hire her was immediate and unanimous

When the filmmakers first auditioned newcomer Leslie Stefanson, the decision to hire her was immediate and unanimous. "Leslie is simply a very good actress," says Neufeld. "She's indescribably beautiful, so it's easy to overlook her talent at first glance, but then you watch her work and you know how good she is. We all felt completely confident about her ability to handle this role. It's an important role because it's the title character, and I think audiences will make a great new discovery when they see her. It's also important because so many of the revelations that occur throughout the story are exposed via her character."

"I only saw one woman in the role and it was Leslie," adds Travolta. "She was the only one who got the layers of the character. She was smart, charismatic, beautiful, assertive, and she wasn't afraid of the anger or the complexities. Leslie had to play dichotomies and that's not easy, only a savvy actor can do it well and she handled it effortlessly. I had no doubt or reservation - she was The General's Daughter."

"Elisabeth is a very complicated woman," agrees Stefanson. "She is the perfect military woman, but she has a sadistic side. Her relationship with her father is complex - she worshiped him and he betrayed her so she uses the skills she's perfected in Psychological Operations (where she works) to defeat him both mentally and professionally. As an actress it was a very challenging role because of her many layers and personality. Elisabeth is facile enough to switch from the regimen of military life to a life much darker in a matter of moments."

"Everybody's got a mask on," says West of the many characters in his film. "You're never sure who the real person is." And that includes General Joseph Campbell. A blending of Norman Schwartzkopf, Colin Powell and Dwight D. Eisenhower, the General is a national hero on his way up the political ladder. He is 100% U.S. Army and will do anything within his power to minimize the sensational aspects of his daughter's murder and bizarre lifestyle. His devotion to the corps knows no bounds; it's a habit he learned long ago -- a loyalty that eventually destroyed his relationship with his daughter when he made the choice to protect an institution instead of his child.

"Campbell is a three star general who's about to retire and go into politics after a distinguished career in combat," describes James Cromwell. "And when his daughter asks to be stationed at his command post, the already difficult relationship between them becomes very stormy. She feels that he has betrayed her and spends her adult life trying to get her father to recognize his responsibility in that betrayal. Out of his own guilt and an insensitivity to his daughter's plight, he consequently feels little remorse - by the time of the murder, he's been backed into a corner. He's defensive, and at the same time, very aggressive in his anger and disappointment with her."

"Jamie had such a great take on the General," notes West. "Originally the General was a little more straight and clean cut, but Jamie wanted to give him a much darker side. He didn't want the General to be particularly regretful of the terrible mistakes he'd made, which was an interesting way to go because most actors need to have a reason why their character turned out to be bad. But Jamie didn't want any of that. The General has to make some tough decisions and it's going to be interesting to see how<

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