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About The Production
Breakfast of Champions, the dark comedy from America's premier novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., has been a project of passion for Alan Rudolph since he first read the novel back in the ‘70s. Some twenty-five years later, his vision comes to life in his adapted version for the screen. "I first wrote a draft of the screenplay back when I had just started working for Robert Altman," Rudolph offers. "Someone was interested in having him direct "Breakfast of Champions," so Altman asked me if I would be able to write an adaptation in a very limited amount of time. I was young and naive enough to believe I could do it in a hurry but, after I wrote it, it just didn't work out and the project fell apart."

Through the years, as Rudolph made his foray into directing, he never lost the desire to see "Breakfast of Champions" make it to the big screen. "I saw it as an opportunity to tell the truth about our society and our culture," explains Rudolph. "Its use of deep, dark satire as social commentary was so prophetic that, over the years, I kept thinking how much I wished I could make this film. Then, one day, David Blocker found a draft of my original script and wondered if I was interested in making it. So, I re-wrote myself—which is an interesting experience after twenty-odd years. I grounded it and tried to include things that I had learned along life's way."

Bruce Willis read the screenplay of "Breakfast of Champions" a few years after having worked with Rudolph on ‘Mortal Thoughts' in 1991. He immediately called Rudolph to discuss the possibilities of being involved in the project and continued to stay in touch with him over the next few years to discuss making the film a reality.

Willis' involvement in the project was crucial to getting the film off the ground. "Bruce called me right before we started getting realistic about making the film," adds Rudolph. "He wanted to think about the reality of developing the project with ‘what if' scenarios—what if we wanted to make the film? How much would it cost? When could we do it? I said that I could do anything, as long as I know what it is I have to do. We agreed to make a go of it, and it all fell together very quickly after that."

Once the decision was made to make the film, Willis agreed to take the lead role of Dwayne Hoover and immediately began serving as executive producer. "The distortion of this situation—which is really rather interesting—is that you have big stars in this film, including a superstar, in totally opposite categories of film," explains Rudolph. "It's to Bruce's credit as an artist that he is not only interested in other things, but that he completely ‘gets it.' There isn't one degree off in what Bruce and I are hoping this film will be. I think he can identify with playing Dwayne Hoover, the most famous man in town, because Bruce has to deal with his own celebrity, his own power, and his own position in life. It's a parallel for him that he can draw from his own experience and translate through Dwayne."

"Dwayne Hoover is one of the most famous men in Midland City," explains Willis. "Everyone knows him, and everyone shouts his name out wherever he goes—yet he's unhappy. I could be wrong, but I think Dwayne is going completely sane in a world that could be going completely insane. I know that at the time Vonnegut wrote the novel, it was his response to the insanity of the Vietnam War. I was in my early twenties when I originally read the novel, and I really didn't have the perspective on life back then that I have now. I think the madness he was attributing to the Vietnam War has become the madness of consumerism in our world today. The film holds a mirror up to the craziness of life, and Dwayne helps to illustrate that."

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