About The Production
Body Shots is about the search for love," explains its
director, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Michael Cristofer. On the face of
it, the story of eight young men and women and a single night that changes their
lives, written with the now signature grittiness of screenwriter David McKenna (American
History X), seems to be at a considerable distance from affairs of the
heart. But Cristofer, who in addition to directing, did rewrites on the script,
places love and the longing for intimacy at the center of this unusual story.
"At the heart of the story is a search for some kind of connection, for
some kind of love," says Cristofer . "You look at the actions these
kids take or the choices they make and you know right away they are desperate
Early in 1998, Cristofer, the acclaimed director of the award-winning HBO
movie, Gia, was approached by New Line and producer Jennifer Keohane to
direct Body Shots.
"We were looking for a writer/director," recalls producer
"someone who could help humanize the script." Keohane's association
with the project began in 1995 when the screenplay landed in the office of
Colomby/Keaton, a company that had a reputation for working with young writers.
McKenna's writing stood out from the stacks of scripts on Keohane's desk.
"I read the first four pages of the script," she recalls, "and
was really blown away."
Jennifer Keohane set out working with the then-unknown screenwriter David
McKenna. "I was so struck by the authenticity of these characters."
she recalls. "The script mirrored the lives of so many people I know. David
doesn't skip over the uncomfortable things, he puts a magnifying glass on them
and I think people need to see the kind of films that David writes. "
Upon his initial reading of the script, Michael Cristofer was unsure if the
project was really for him. "It was a lifestyle that on the surface was
foreign to me," Cristofer recalls. "There are so many films now in
which young people misbehave in some nihilistic way. It's fashionable to feel
that way when you're in your twenties. I didn't want to do a picture like
Still entertaining other projects, Cristofer noticed there was something
about the story that stayed with him. "I began to become more and more
fascinated by what I perceived as their dilemma," says Cristofer. "I
agreed to do it and asked New Line to let me play with the story a little."
"I went back to the script approaching it, not from the perspective of a
twenty-six-year-old," Cristofer continues, "but from the vantage point
of someone older, someone my own age. I began to have not just curiosity, but a
kind of sympathy for these young people who were living this somewhat brutal
lifestyle. I found a way into these characters. I saw a sadness in the story, in
their lives. I felt for them and I thought I could make an audience feel for
Cristofer honed the script and added a new level of raw honesty and
compassion to McKenna's characters. "The absence of intimacy and the
difficulty of finding love is, unfortunately, a pretty universal theme. I wanted
to make a film that explored how this generation approaches sex and
The story starts out much as a night out with eight
with anticipation, excitement and se
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