WILD WILD WEST
About The Production
Recognized for his sensibilities in finding commercial material like "Batman," "The Witches of Eastwick" and "Rain Man," producer Jon Peters saw a tremendous opportunity to mine the cinematic potential of the popular 1960s television series "The Wild, Wil
Recognized for his sensibilities in finding
commercial material like "Batman," "The Witches
of Eastwick" and "Rain Man," producer Jon Peters
saw a tremendous opportunity to mine the cinematic potential of
the popular 1960s television series "The Wild, Wild West."
"I thought the show had enormous potential for grander scale
entertainment," says Peters. "I've always gravitated
to material that has a base that you build upon -- add magic and
create spectacle. I wanted to treat the unique concept of the
series with a unique approach to the film."
Peters' first decision was to bring producer/director Barry Sonnenfeld
on board. Celebrated for his wry and sophisticated humor and stylish
vision in such films as the "Addams Family" duo, "Get
Shorty" and 1997's smash hit, "Men in Black," Sonnenfeld
was the perfect candidate to bring "Wild Wild West"
to the big screen.
"Barry is really unparalleled in the tone of his films and
in his inventiveness," says Peters. " He's so wonderfully
imaginative and truly funny."
"I grew up watching 'The Wild, Wild West' and loving it,"
says Sonnenfeld. "It was like James Bond in the West with
all these cool gadgets and sexy women each week. It was really
fun for me to put my own spin on the feature film."
In true Sonnenfeld style, one of his first contributions to the
film was in the area of casting. Will Smith, who starred for Sonnenfeld
in the worldwide blockbuster "Men in Black," would play
James T. West, government agent/provocateur.
Smith has starred in some of the most successful films in recent
box office history, including 1998's "Enemy of the State,"
1997's "Men in Black" and 1996's "Independence
Day." "I do think that Barry understands how to take
something that may be a little different and spin it in such a
way that makes it unusual and special and fun and exciting,"
"I basically told Will I didn't want to work with anyone
but him ever again, which could be a problem if I ever direct
an all-girl review," says Sonnenfeld. "All kidding aside,
Will is inventive and smart, and knows this character inside and
"West is a man of action -- very impulsive," says Smith.
"He's straightforward, simple and direct. There's a certain
way you do things -- a code -- and that's what he lives by."
Will Smith as James T. West is joined by Kevin Kline as Artemus
Gordon, government agent, master of invention, disguise -- and
cuisine, for that matter.
"Artemus is more cerebral than instinctive," says Kline
of his character, "more a man of reflection than a man of
action. He abhors violence and vulgarity. He uses his wits to
survive -- devising fabulous inventions or disguises that not
only gratify the Renaissance man in him, but also, in the long
run, help him avoid violent confrontation."
"Kevin has this wonderful theatricality in his performance
when it's called for, yet he's also able to keep the reality of
his character while having a great time with it," Sonnenfeld
adds. "I wanted an actor's actor for this role who had a
grandness about the way he views life. Kevin couldn't be more
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