About the Actors
It was Rosenberg who then made offers to Tim Robbins and Jeff
Bridges. Pellington couldn't have been happier with his assemblage
of actors. "Tim Robbins and Jeff Bridges were on the top
of my list since I've always respected and loved their work,"
Joan Cusack, Hope Davis and Robert Gossett round out the cast.
Casting Cusack as Lang's wife "was Tim's idea," says
Pellington. The two were longtime friends. "We considered
Tim's choice 'genius,'" says Pellington. "Nobody would
suspect Joan." It was Tom Rosenberg who suggested Hope Davis
for the role of Brooke. "In the end," remarks Pellington,
"we were blessed with five really great actors."
A veteran of comic supporting roles, Cusack saw the character
of Cheryl Lang as a prime opportunity to play a serious, enigmatic,
conflicted woman. "She's very much a woman who lives the
role of wife and mother and she's very good at the part,"
"I see the film as a kind of psychological thriller,"
she continues. "It's a movie about how everyone is projecting
their own reality onto other people and can't always see the truth
underneath it all."
According to Oscar® nominee Cusack, the role her character
plays in the dynamic of the seemingly average, suburban Lang family
makes a statement that is particularly relevant to women. "I
think it's kind of an interesting modern woman role, because I
think most women today struggle with the idea of having a career
and having a family and having a meaningful relationship. My character
has opted not to have a career and focus just on having a family.
And I think she struggles with-which I think some women tend to
struggle with-thinking for herself. She doesn't know exactly how
to think for herself, and so she's more comfortable being in a
role. If you don't think for yourself, you can be involved in
things that you don't necessarily want to be involved in. Or that
you don't understand the implications of, on a deeper level."
Fleshing out Hope Davis' character of Brooke on the screen proved
a bigger challenge. Pellington and Kruger worked closely with
her to enhance the character. "We made her a fuller, stronger
person and much less of a foil for the other characters,"
says Davis, who was attracted to the suspense aspect of the story,
"which actually suspended my disbelief. I didn't know until
the end what was going to happen, which is very, very rare when
you read a script."
Davis regards the film as a political thriller with some elements
of horror. "Sometimes it seems like it's a morality tale
about where we're at in this day and age, in the 1990s. It's kind
of a psychological drama, where you try to figure out psychologically
who's what-who is what they seem to be and who is not."
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