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About The Production
"Random Hearts," loosely based on Warren Adler's 1984 novel, had been owned by Rastar since its publication. Over the years, several screenplays were written, but none made it into production. Pollack had seen an early screenplay of the film in the '80s and had discussed the project with Harrison Ford in 1995, but the two men at that time began filming Pollack's 1996 romantic comedy "Sabrina." The film began its journey out of development and into reality when Rastar's Marykay Powell sent the book to screenwriter Kurt Luedtke, a master of the complex who had worked with Pollack on "Absence of Malice" and "Out of Africa." When Powell convinced Luedtke to write a new screenplay for "Random Hearts," Pollack's interest in the project was rekindled. Luedtke turned in a first draft in early 1996. By August 1996, Pollack and Luedtke were hard at work getting a draft together to submit to Columbia Pictures for production approval.

After some six months of refining the screenplay, it was sent to Harrison Ford, whom Luedtke was asked by Powell to think about as the male lead as he wrote the first draft. Ford was not only won over by the project, but he was particularly attracted to the character of Dutch because he had depth-and imperfections.

"What I like to do is see people overcome daunting circumstances, and whether they come out whole or diminished by the experience, or made more capable or understanding by the experience," he says. "I like stories that are not necessarily about heroes. We can hardly call Dutch a hero, except he's certainly a survivor.

"He's not a perfect policeman. As he begins to develop a degree of paranoia resulting from the discovery of his wife's infidelity, he begins to lose track of the very thing that made him a good policeman."

For Dutch, a person whose very career revolves around catching people telling lies, the fact that he is unable to detect his own wife's deception is devastating. Says Ford, "I see Dutch grieving in every scene, in every frame of the movie. And that's the story-the tension between the past and some potential in the present or future."

When Pollack began looking for someone to cast as Kay Chandler, he decided on Kristin Scott Thomas, Oscar-nominated for her performance as Katharine Clifford in "The English Patient."

Kay's stiff-upper-lip way of coping with her husband's death and infidelity is not foreign to Scott Thomas. "Kay does something that is very familiar to me as an English woman. It's just to go into this deep state of denial, to be able to get on with your life and pretend that nothing awful has happened.

"We meet this character as someone who won't accept lies. And yet she's accepting the biggest lie, that her husband was true to her and loved her. Here is this woman who's battling for truth and honesty in her workplace, being true to the voters and representing her supporters, and at the same time, in her own home, it's all falling apart."

Superb casting remains a hallmark of all of Sydney Pollack's work. With "Random Hearts," he worked with frequent collaborator and renowned casting director David Rubin. The supporting players include Bonnie Hunt, Richard Jenkins, Edie Falco, Kathleen Chalfant and Lynette Du Pre. The ensemble also includes Charles S. Dutton, Blair Brown, Peter Coyote, Dennis Haysbert, S. Epatha Merkerson, Lynne Thigpen, Brooke Smith and Bill Cobbs. Sydney Pollack also makes an appearance in the film as Carl Broman, Kay Chandler's media consultant.

"Random Hearts" began principal photography in Washington, D.C. (absorbed in its own drama at the time due to the release of the Starr report) on September 10, 1998. With production offices based in Alexandria, Virginia, the company traveled to locations throughout th


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