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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," he says.

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," Cusack says.

"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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