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STIR OF ECHOES

Supernaturally Speaking
While there were no reports of certifiably unnatural happenings taking place during the production of Stir of Echoes, those making the film have strong opinions about the whole topic of the supernatural world and what impact the movie's portrayal of that

While there were no reports of certifiably unnatural happenings taking place during the production of Stir of Echoes, those making the film have strong opinions about the whole topic of the supernatural world and what impact the movie's portrayal of that world might have on audience members. Those opinions were plentiful, and disparate, by the time Stir of Echoes finished shooting last fall.

Writer/director David Koepp, for instance, concedes that "I don't believe in ghosts at all." Koepp, however, does believe "very deeply in ghost stories." The comment refers to Koepp's extensive research on the history and purpose of ghost stories over the years.

"I researched ghost stories for months," he says. "I really wanted to direct one, even before I came across Stir of Echoes I ended up reading an enormous amount of material - ghost stories and writings about ghost stories. I noticed that most ghostly experiences usually happen to regular people and there are many other similar themes that run through them, even stories written hundreds of years apart. After studying the subject, I came to the conclusion that ghostly experiences usually seem to happen to people who have had recent traumatic experiences - the death of a loved one, a horrible disease, an emotional setback, or even a stressful activity like moving into a new house.

"That's why I'm of the opinion that a ghost story, at its heart, is actually a reassuring story: it suggests that there really is an afterlife, that death isn't the end after all. That kind of idea can be comforting to some people."

Kevin Bacon, the film's star, concedes he is not a "disbeliever" in the supernatural, but insists he has "never seen or heard anything to make me think these types of things can really occur."

In the movie, Bacon portrays an "unusually normal guy" who likewise doesn't believe in such things. Once Tom Witzky is hypnotized, however, he becomes "a magnet for supernatural stuff," according to Bacon. "He ends up not being afraid of the ghost, once he figures out she is not trying to hurt him. She is simply trying to tell him something."

While Bacon doubts ghosts really do exist, he hopes that if they do, they are much like the spirit he encounters in Stir of Echoes.

"I would like to assume that a ghost would not necessarily have to be all bad," says Bacon. "I like to think they might be genteel - at peace. At least, I hope so. In our movie, she is not at peace - she is tragic, tormented. But even here, she isn't bad. I hope they aren't bad, because if I'm wrong and they really do exist, some of us might be in real trouble..."

Two cast members firmly do believe in ghosts, psychics, the paranormal and just about every other supernatural phenomenon you can imagine - Kathryn Erbe and Illeana Douglas, who play sisters Maggie and Lisa in the film.

"I'm a complete believer in ghosts - I'm still even afraid of the dark," says Erbe. "That is a big reason why this project really appealed to me. It was a ghost story, but not an outlandish one. It presented me a way to believe this really could happen, and I really do believe it could happen like this. I even know people who h

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