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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," Smith says.

"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 out."

"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 pe

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