About The Production
"Gossip" originated with the successful filmmaker Joel Schumacher ("Batman & Robin," "8MM") as a feature that he was to direct himself While the script was in initial development at Warner Bros. Pictures, Schumacher invited Jeffrey Silver and Bobby Newmyer of Outlaw Productions ("The Santa Clause," "sex, lies and videotape") to join the project as producers.
Silver and Newmyer immediately recognized the universal aspects of the story. "It expands on a very common part of everyone's existence," says
Newmyer. "At some point, all of us have probably taken perverse pleasure in spreading some small piece of gossip."
According to Silver, "'Gossip' addresses a profoundly important subject: The essence and perception of truth. What happens when you can't control your own creation?"
When scheduling conflicts prevented Schumacher from directing, they tapped Davis Guggenheim, whose directing
resume includes such shows as "ER" and "NYPD Blue."
Guggenheim was strongly drawn to the screenplay, its solid structure and ensemble cast, which he credits to Joel Schumacher's involvement. "The concept for this movie originally came from Joel," says Guggenheim. "He had the idea of examining what happens when you let something out and can't get it back. He also shines at directing ensemble works, which is something that interests me as well."
The filmmakers were determined to give the movie a unique style and setting. They wanted the students in "Gossip" to inhabit their own world, living in supercool lofts and
frequenting only the coolest, most exclusive clubs and parties. In class, they learn from the most dynamic professors.
"This is intentionally a very idealized, highly stylized vision of college life," explains Guggenheim. "In creating this film, we worked very hard to come up with a campus life that is hyper-real. Here, Derrick, Jones and Travis are on top of the world. They feel so intellectually superior that they actually see themselves as invincible. This hubris makes them succumb to temptations and makes their fall tremendously harsh and dramatic."
Casting "Gossip" proved to be one of the movie's greatest challenges. "Gossip" demanded actors young enough to be students and talented enough to bring very complex characters to life," producer Jeffrey Silver remembers: "Davis had very concrete ideas about what he wanted for each character. A lot of work went into the process but it was incredibly worthwhile. The payoff is having discovered such uniquely talented actors."
Of all the parts, the most difficult to cast was that of Derrick Webb, the rich and nearly- too-perfect student who leads his roommates into the treacherous territory of literally playing with people's lives. "What Jimmy Marsden delivered in the audition was a revelation. He was incredible. He actually inhabited the character with phenomenal control," Guggenheim recalls. "I knew immediately that we had found Derrick."
Newmyer adds: "Jimmy brought the ability to make this character unbelievably seductive. He's so charismatic that you follow him no matter what he does. Jimmy is just a fireball on screen, and he has that same degree of charisma off-screen as well. I don't think I've ever been more certain that an actor would go on to major stardom as I am about Jimmy Marsden right now."
For Marsden, this was the opportunity to sink his teeth into a complex role and risk everything on his acting skills. "This movie is all about the dialogue, the emotions, the motivations, and ultimately, I hope, about the performances," Marsden says.
Jones, the photographer who eagerly helps to advance the rumor, while oblivious to its eventual consequences, becomes the moral center of the movie. For that role, Guggenheim and his producers selected En
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