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HEREAFTER

About The Production
A massive tsunami tears through a small beach town in Indonesia, dragging a French journalist under the waters and into a fleeting death. On the streets of London's harsh projects, an accident causes a young twin to be cut off forever from the brother that has always guided him. And across the world, in San Francisco, a man disconnects from life to shut out the voices of the dead.

What happens after death? How can someone so close just disappear? How can those left behind continue to live? "Hereafter” is a drama that explores three characters' search for answers about their own lives in the face of what lies beyond.

"We don't know what's on the other side, but on this side, it's final,” says director Clint Eastwood. "People have their beliefs about what's there or what's not there, but those are all hypotheticals. Nobody knows until you get there.”

"I think we all want to believe that there's something beyond and we're not sure what that might be,” adds producer Kathleen Kennedy. "It sounds funny to look at it this way, but I think life is often defined in the face of death.”

"Death touches the three characters in this film in ways most people don't experience,” says producer Robert Lorenz. "But, in one way or another, we can all relate to the core emotions of the story—love, loss, loneliness and connection. These are things we all experience.” Matt Damon, who stars in the film, agrees, noting, "The point isn't to sit there and be a lonely nihilist. The point is to reach out to the other people that are here on the planet with you. And I think that's ultimately a very life-affirming message.”

Peter Morgan wrote the screenplay for "Hereafter” shortly after having lost a dear friend in an accident. It forced him to mull the question everyone considers at some point in their lives. "He died so suddenly. So violently. It made no sense. His spirit was still so alive around us, at his funeral I was probably thinking what everyone else was: ‘Where has he gone?'” poses the screenwriter, who also served as an executive producer. "We can be so close to somebody, know everything about them, share everything with them, and then they're gone and suddenly we know nothing. I wanted to write a story that asks some of those questions. There's kind of an epic quality to that search.”

Morgan's idea evolved into the film's three converging stories. "As I was writing it, I was unaware of the fact that I'd created three very lonely characters who were somehow seeking completion from one another,” he offers. "It was a very unusual screenplay for me. Normally my screenplays are researched, and based on fact. This felt very instinctive and very emotional…unplanned, unschematic. It was a thrilling story to write.”

Years after completing the script and putting it in a drawer, Morgan found himself discussing the story with Kennedy while both were in the midst of other films. "Peter mentioned to me that he was working on this script, called ‘Hereafter,' that was very different from anything he had done,” recalls Kennedy, who was in post-production on a film with her partner, Frank Marshall, and Steven Spielberg, both of whom serve as executive producers on "Hereafter.” Kennedy was taken with the script and gave it to Spielberg to read. "Steven instantly loved the screenplay and said to me, ‘I know exactly who should direct this—it's Clint.' There was something about it that Steven recognized would appeal to Clint's sensibilities.”

Spielberg, who had worked with Eastwood on his dual films about Iwo Jima, called Eastwood while the latter was in France. Lorenz, Eastwood's longtime producer, arranged to have the script sent over. "I remember reading it in a little cabana in the South of France, which is a sort of otherworldly experience in itself, and I liked it a lot,” Lorenz recounts. "It's a simple, realistic but highly original story written with the clear, concise storytelling that Peter has a gift for. Clint read it that same afternoon and said, ‘I want to make that movie.'” "

The way it was laid out, it seemed to be something I had never seen before, and had such great dilemmas and dimensions,” says Eastwood. "I liked the way Peter wrote three stories that stand alone but at the same time are connected.”

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