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Behind The Scenes

ANYWHERE BUT HERE, a comedy-drama about the evolving relationship between a mother and daughter trying to make a new life for themselves in Beverly Hills, stars Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman, with Wayne Wang directing. Laurence Mark produces the screenplay by Alvin Sargent, based on the acclaimed book by Mona Simpson. Ginny Nugent is the executive producer.

Co-starring are Bonnie Bedelia ("Die Hard," "Heart Like a Wheel"), Shawn Hatosy ("Outside Providence," "In & Out") and Hart Bochner ("Die Hard," "Rich & Famous").

The production team includes director of photography Roger Deakins, A.S.C./B.S.C. ("Kundun," "Fargo"), production designer Donald Graham Burt ("Donnie Brasco," "The Joy Luck Club"), costume designer Betsy Heimann ("Jerry Maguire," "Pulp Fiction") and editor Nicholas C. Smith, A.C.E. ("Fly Away Home," "Bram Stoker's Dracula"). Music is by Danny Elfman ("Sleepy Hollow," "Batman") and Deva Anderson is the music supervisor.

According to producer Laurence Mark, ANYWHERE BUT HERE's themes and characters apply to virtually everyone. "All of us at some time or another have been embarrassed by our mothers," says Mark. "But at the end of the day, we often realize how less colorful the world would be were that not true."

Mark first read the novel by award-winning author Mona Simpson four years ago and soon thereafter brought the book to Fox 2000 Pictures. Fox then acquired the rights from another studio where the project lay dormant.

"I read a draft by Alvin Sargent, the initial screenwriter," says Mark, "and called to ask if he would be interested in revisiting this project with me, which he agreed to do."

Mark considers the two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "Julia" and "Ordinary People" the perfect choice to adapt Simpson's novel. "'Ordinary People' proved that Alvin has strong insights into the American family," says Mark. "ANYWHERE BUT HERE's Adele and Ann are a family, albeit an odd one."

"Julia," which detailed the extraordinary friendship between two women, also displayed Sargent's ability to depict vivid and compelling relationships. "That's also a key aspect of our story," points out Mark, "because it focuses on a relationship between two female best friends who happen to be mother and daughter."

Mark and the studio's choice for a director was Wayne Wang, who had demonstrated his skill at portraying varied and complex relationships between women in the critical and box-office hit "The Joy Luck Club," a film about several generations of mothers and daughters. "'The Joy Luck Club' was such a perfect movie to show what he could do with ANYWHERE BUT HERE," Mark explains. "It was clear that he could tap into the female sensibility, which is exactly what was required for this film."

While finishing up his most recent independent film, "The Chinese Box," Wang began to look for his next project. After looking at numerous scripts, Wang decided on ANYWHERE BUT HERE.

The themes behind Mona Simpson's novel and Sargent's screenplay were the strongest attractions to Wang, who had dealt with these situations in earlier films, such as "Dim Sum" and "Eat a Bowl of Tea," as well as "The Joy Luck Club." "ANYWHERE BUT HERE is about letting go of the people you love," states Wang. "And that applies to both sides - parents and child both have to let go at a certain point.

"I'm always drawn to simple, human stories, especially family stories," Wang continues. "ANYWHERE BUT HERE is about family, people, dependence, ind


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