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
"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
"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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