WEIRDLAND: August 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rendition production notes


Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Alan Arkin, Peter Sarsgaard and Meryl Streep head an all-star ensemble cast in Rendition, a compelling thriller from director Gavin Hood (director of the Academy AwardÆ-winning film, Tsotsi) which takes a provocative look at the complex political issues surrounding the U.S. government’s policy of “extraordinary rendition” - abducting foreign nationals deemed a threat to national security for detention and interrogation in secret overseas prisons.

Spanning two continents, Rendition tracks the lives of Douglas Freeman (Jake Gyllenhaal), a CIA analyst based in North Africa who is forced to question his assignment after he witnesses the brutal and unorthodox interrogation of an Egyptian-American by secret North African police; Anwar El-Ibrahimi (Omar Metwally), the Egyptian-American chemical engineer whose family emigrated to the States when he was a boy, and who is now suspected of a terrorist act; his pregnant wife Isabella El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon), who does everything in her power to find her missing husband, who has seemingly disappeared during a flight from Cape Town, South Africa to Washington, DC, by enlisting the help of a politically-connected college friend; Alan Smith (Peter Sarsgaard), an aide to Senator Hawkins (Alan Arkin), who uncovers the troubling fact that Anwar has been shipped off, on the orders of the CIA’s head of terrorism; Corrinne Whitman (Meryl Streep) to a third world country for interrogation; and Abasi Fawal (Igal Naor), the head of the secret prison who has personal problems of his own with a rebellious daughter Fatima (Zineb Oukach) and her Islamic fundamentalist boyfriend Khalid (Moa Khouas).

Rendition boldly explores the gray area between left and right and right and wrong and finds no easy answers. Director Gavin Hood, whose film Tsotsi became the first film from South Africa to win an Academy AwardÆ, makes his American motion picture debut directing screenwriter Kelley Sane's multi-layered story.

New Line Cinema presents in association with Level 1 Entertainment an Anonymous Content Production – Rendition. The outstanding ensemble cast features Academy Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal, Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon, Academy AwardÆ winner Alan Arkin, Peter Sarsgaard, Omar Metwally, Igal Naor and Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, as well as Moa Khouas and Zineb Oukach. [...]

Rendition was filmed in Los Angeles and Washington DC, Marrakech, Morocco and Cape Town, South Africa.

New Line Cinema will release Rendition (the film is not yet rated by the M.P.A.A.) in theaters nationwide on October 19th, 2007.

The film will have its world premiere on September 7th, 2007 at the 32nd Annual Toronto International Film Festival.


Screenwriter Kelley Sane first decided to write Rendition after a lively debate with his friend, Mark Martin, about the American government’s little-known policy of “extraordinary rendition,” which allows for the abduction of foreign nationals, deemed to be a threat to national security, for detention and interrogation in secret overseas prisons.

Sane remembers, “Mark Martin, who is a co-producer on the movie, and I were talking about the potential for abuse, and how it seemed to not follow the lines of the American ideal. Mark suggested that I write a script. I had to think about it because watching someone getting picked up and tortured doesn’t necessarily seem that cinematically interesting. On deeper thought, what really struck me was the fact that if someone disappeared, their family would have no idea what happened. Thousands of people disappear in this country every year, for various reasons, and I could imagine the heartache of not knowing where a loved one is”

Producer Steve Golin first saw the script in its early stages. “David Kanter and Keith Redman, who work with me at Anonymous Content, had found the script along with Mark Martin, who was working with my company at the time,” says Golin. “We worked on it for about a year. It really was a team effort. The thing that impressed me about the script was that it avoided being too preachy and that it really tried to explore “extraordinary rendition” and what the effects are on the individual people. [...]

“One of the first challenges facing the filmmakers was in tackling the script’s multi-layered storylines. Hood explains, “You have to keep everything in balance and let every storyline arc sufficiently because essentially you are making four or five short films and weaving them together. One of the challenges I found exciting was how to get the maximum emotional impact, the maximum plot and story impact in the least amount of time so that you keep your audience moving. That is a tremendous challenge from a storytelling point of view and very exciting because there is no room for fat.”

Jake Gyllenhaal, who portrays CIA analyst Douglas Freeman, adds, "This production was unlike any other I’ve worked on. The Morocco shoot felt like its own separate movie, when in actuality it was just a small piece of a larger picture. I think when we finally see the film it will be exhilarating to see how Gavin has woven the different pieces together."

Hood and screenwriter Kelley Sane teamed up for further work on the script prior to the start of production. “When I initially read Kelley’s script, I thought it was structurally brilliant. He has this tremendous twist that happens at the end of the film that really catches you by surprise. All the characters are beautifully drawn in terms of coming from different angles of the story. So my work with Kelley was not about trying to create the story, since he’d already done that beautifully. It was a matter of finding rhythm and pace, which is a director’s job, and to find the emotional arcs of these stories and whether we were in balance within the story. And, then, of course, to ask about the balance from almost a legal point of view. Are we making the argument for the necessity for torture and the other argument against torture? Are these arguments balanced in the film? Because the one thing Kelley and I didn’t want to do was to tell the audience what to think.”

[...] For her part, Witherspoon was instantly attracted to the material. “I liked the idea that the different story lines all lead to similar situations, but not in the way we have seen in other recent films that have multiple interwoven stories. The interesting element to me was that each person’s story is about isolation. It isn’t about connection. It’s about how we are singular in the world.”

“I was also drawn to the role of Isabella because I have a lot of curiosity about what it must be like to be living as part of a Muslim family in America. We have a lot of ideas about certain religions, and a lot of fear has been propagated. I was interested in dispelling some of that fear.”

“Reese is incredibly disciplined and is always completely prepared,” says director Gavin Hood. “She knows exactly where she is going. The only thing that was difficult for us was that it was my first experience working with an actress of her caliber and her fame – so
I’d never before experienced the sight of the paparazzi all over the place!”

Witherspoon researched her role by meeting with Muslim Americans. “I also found communities on the internet and read books,” she adds. “It’s fascinating to me that in this country we have so many different kinds of people and as many different religions. It’s part of the real beauty of America that people are allowed to practice religion without prejudice. But, then again, since 9/11, it has clearly been a more difficult situation for some families.”

Jake Gyllenhaal, an OscarÆ nominee for his role in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, signed on to portray CIA analyst Douglas Freeman. "Jake plays a young man whose sense of right and wrong turns upside down when he finds himself thrown into an extraordinary situation," says producer Steve Golin.

Gavin Hood adds, “Jake had a very difficult role because Douglas in a way is the moral compass to the film. He’s an observer, much like the audience. He is the one character whose opinion on the question of rendition is ambivalent. You don’t know which way he is going to go or quite what he’s feeling as the events of the film unfold around him. Jake did a brilliant job of knowing that his role as an actor was to say and do very little, yet absorb and emotionally reflect a great deal.”

Gyllenhaal was attracted to a role that was so different from anything he’d previously done. "Douglas gets to be in the middle of the action, both emotionally and physically, with no real outlet -- and I found that kind of tension very exciting as an actor," he says. "I think many people in my generation are searching for something - their identity, who they are, what they want to do with their lives. This is where Douglas finds himself. When we first meet Douglas he has resigned himself to a sort of apathy, but he is quickly faced with a haunting reality that shakes him and forces him to face his own humanity. It makes him look into himself and find that thing he was searching for. At the end of the movie, he finds himself where he least expected it—which is ultimately tremendously rewarding for him and also for me as an actor."

Actor Omar Metwally joined the cast to portray the key role of Anwar El-Ibrahimi, who is suspected of being a terrorist, abducted and taken to a secret overseas prison.

“Omar is a highly intelligent, very emotionally in-tune young actor,” says Gavin Hood. “He had a role that in many ways was tougher than some of the other actors because he spent a lot of time in scenes by himself. I’m very fortunate to have an actor of Omar’s ability in the role.”

“There are several scenes where Anwar is alone,” says Metwally. “I think those scenes are very important because torture is an isolating experience. It was one of the things that drew me to this character. It’s such an incredible role, it’s one that I think actors dream about playing because he is a man who’s just pushed to or is experiencing the outer edge of human existence.”

Two-time Academy AwardÆ-winner Meryl Streep portrays Corrine Whitman, head of counter terrorism for the CIA. Gavin Hood relished the opportunity to work with the legendary actress.

“Possibly the greatest privilege on this movie was to work with Meryl, and I know it sounds sort of sycophantic to say, but it is true,” he says. “She is an icon and I can only say she is a consummate professional and so kind to everyone and completely disciplined. When you are ready, she is ready.”

Reese Witherspoon adds, “Working with Meryl – Wow! I’ve been lucky enough to meet her socially, so I knew she was a doll. She is honestly the nicest person, so lovely and gifted, but also a wonderful mother and completely down to earth.”

Rounding out the international cast are American born Peter Sarsgaard and Alan Arkin (a recent Oscar winner for Little Miss Sunshine); Israeli actor Igal Naor; Moroccan actress Zineb Oukach; and Algerian actor Moa Khouas.

The topic of “extraordinary rendition” was a daily topic of discussion on the set – from the actors to the filmmakers to the international crew. It remained a hot button issue that fueled a lot of differing opinions. “My reaction when I first learned of ‘extraordinary rendition’ was pretty much disbelief that it was happening,” says Reese Witherspoon. It just doesn’t seem altogether American, to detain people without due process, and without the opportunity to be charged with a crime and to go through a proper trial. And that there is no legal recourse for people who have endured this type of torture is shocking. I am really proud to be part of a project that is bringing this practice to the public’s attention.”

“At the same time,” Witherspoon adds, “it’s a very complicated issue. I’m an actor. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have the responsibility for maintaining national security. There are always two sides of every coin, and I hope this movie shows both sides of this issue.”

“I think one of the dilemmas for us in the West, and in particular here in America, is we find torture unpalatable,” says Gavin Hood. “We don’t do that. But the attitude is, ‘hey, if it’s gotta be done, just don’t tell me about it.’ And that’s where you get the concept of outsourcing the torture…’well, these countries do it anyway, so let them do it.’ That’s a moral cop-out. Just because you are removed from it doesn’t mean you are not involved. The other question is, does torture work? It’s apparent to enormous numbers of military lawyers, FBI agents, CIA agents…not just myself. It’s apparent to a great number of people actually involved in the process that it frequently results in poor intelligence. The information you get is often bad because the person you are getting it from is terrified and wants whatever you are doing to them to stop. They will say what you want to hear so you will stop torturing them.”

Executive producer Bill Todman, Jr. feels that “If a person is rendered and our government let’s that person go and they go to New York and blow up another building, is that right or wrong? If a government renders somebody and treats them and interrogates them in ways we would never do in the United States, and they are innocent . . .is that right or wrong? I am not sure if I have a firm perspective about it.”

“In terms of survival of this country, and fighting for everything that we started out with, I do think the way we deal with things will have to change somewhat,” says Peter Sarsgaard. “It’s just by how much. And if by compromising what we do, do we become a country that we don’t want to be? Is it important to sacrifice one man for the benefit of 7,000. I think it ‘s wrong but it is a compelling argument. Rendition is something that our government could decide not to do anymore. But even if rendition goes away, there will be something else, some other way. We will be living with this for a long time.” [...]

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Beneath (Movie Review)

"An honest life ends in a peaceful death" —Proverb.

"Beneath" is a horror flick released straight to video and marks the directorial debut of Dagen Merrill, co-written with Kevin Burke (who also wrote 2003's "Tahiti", an indie drama that earned some critical praise).Christy Wescot (Nora Zehetner, "Brick") is a 20-year-old pre-med student who cannot fully live her own life since her older sister Vanessa (Carly Pope, "Sandra Goes to Whistler") was killed in a car accident six years earlier, in which Christy was driving.
"Give me the wheel! Christy!" could have been the last words she remembers from her sister, who was also a young mother and the wife of John Locke (Matthew Settle), a local doctor in the town of Edgemont.

The sudden death of family caretaker Joseph (Don S. Davis) prompts a phone call from John to Christy informing her that the funeral services will be held next Saturday. This phone call releases the latent anxiety Christy has been suppressing for the past six years. So when Christy jumps aboard a bus, she's already been fired from her job and is in need of antidepressants for a diagnosed borderline personality disorder spurred by her guilt over her sister's injuries.
"Why did you go away?" her niece Amy (Jessica Amlee) asks her. Christy sardonically replies, "I went to prep school." Now Christy's niece lives in the Locke family home with dad and her grandma, the ominous Mrs. Locke (Gabrielle Rose), whom her cute red-haired granddaughter calls a "weirdo", and she is indeed, since she disappears from the dinner table and prefers to eat alone in her place. Amy is convinced a dark, mysterious thing killed good ol' Joseph and that Grandma is mean and secretive.
Nora Zehetner maintains a mesmerizing tension from the very beginning. When she contemplates her arrival home to the small town from which she's been disconnected for a long time but has never severed her ties to, she does an awe-inspiring job of conveying Christy's conflicting emotions. And this is one of the main reasons the film succeeds, because its plot devices rely basically on our empathy for the lead character. There are moments that as a viewer we can notice the story would dry up if Christy couldn't find a new clue, a new clear thought, an accusatory gaze from some of the townspeople who have become strangers to her.
She finds it difficult to reconnect with a junior high school friend, Debbie Houston (Nicola Anderson) and the townsfolk try to make her move on. Christy must not only hide the pain of her lonely existence and the hallucinations that plague her, she also has to face the humiliation of condescending treatment from the neighbours, nurses, and cops around her; though one of them, Jeff Burdan (Warren Christie), is pretty kind to her, his cop pal Randy (Patrick Gilmore) makes a cruel remark before being introduced to Christy.

Christy investigates some circumstances that occurred during the six months of rehabilitation that Vanessa received in Locke's home immediately after the accident, a losing battle against a certain death. Christy finds out this rehabilitation took place in a room beneath Locke's house where Vanessa was attended by a nurse named Claire Wells (Eliza Norbury) whom supposedly left town and moved to Portland, Maine.
Christy also investigates the details about Vanessa's burial, as well as her medical files (which are now in private access for John Locke), all the while succumbing to near psychotic states when she suffers random seizures that lead her to draw darkly artistic portraits of people and threatening symbols. The laid-back manner of the townspeople grate on Christy's nerves as they stubbornly deny her suspicions regarding her sister's death. Christy is constantly perceived as an unstable, meddling girl, which fits these simple-minded locals struggling in a post-mining economy ruled by Locke's dynasty.

But as another character says to Christy at the beginning of the story, "Death is always hardest on the living." And this obsession with her sister's death makes the heroine's lunatic mind spin frantically like a profaned coffin. "It lives in my walls. I hear it crying". "I take pictures 'cause I can't draw", Amy says.

Passageways designed for escaping the mines, locked entrances, insects-plagued basements will confuse us as much as they confuse Christy in her confused mental state; the film is soaked with the romantic, timeless beauty of Nora Zehetner, whose performance as an isolated young woman with a precipitous imagination elicits our innate sympathy and conquers our hearts in the end. Zehetner's Poe-like heroine maybe is a paraphrenic without love life but she's the last voice standing against the apathy and lack of conscience that the town represents. Christy awakens our sedated morals, defending her right to unmask her tortured soul, a beautiful, vulnerable but never weak, Miss Lonely in the land of guilt". Published today in

"In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?"

"A DREAM", poem by Edgar Allan Poe (1850).


Friday, August 24, 2007

Possible future roles

"It takes Bell less than three seconds to come to the conclusion that he has no regrets and slightly longer to decide if he has yet to experience professional disappointment.

"I don't go up for a huge amount of stuff because most of it is bad. But Walter Salles is making a movie of Jack Kerouac's On the Road and I went to meet him and do a reading. And straight away the part was offered to Jake Gyllenhaal. He's a great actor, older, more experienced but I was bummed. It would've been amazing to work with Salles."

Later that evening, Bell swaps his tweed trousers, T-shirt and battered trainers for a shiny suit and expensive shoes.

Introducing the film, he is slick and sure of himself but when he apologises sweetly to his mother for the sex scenes, there's a glimpse of the boy. At the party, Scots Franz Ferdinand perform an acoustic version of Hallam Foe Dandelion Blow, the song they wrote for the film after Bell found himself next to the guitarist on a plane". Source:

"They were the rock stars of their day, a moment in which Levi's were the hot American import, neon lights were beginning their gaudy transformation of Parisian boulevards. Tattoos and piercing were omnipresent. Coke -still laced with cocaine- was imbibed.

Those five artists were Picasso, Chagall, Rivera, Soutine and Modigliani! This true story has never been told. But it will be now, if producer/director/writer Linda Yellen has her way. Yellen, of "Playing for Time," "Chantilly Lace," "Parallel Lives," "Sweet Bird of Youth" fame, has a fascinating script ready to go, titled "The Hive." James Franco
and Gena Rowlands are attached, and almost every hot young actor in the business has been approached, and many have expressed interest, in playing one of the legendary painters. Yellen's dream cast? The already onboard Franco, followed by Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix and -but of course- Leonardo DiCaprio.

Linda says, "No film has really been able to capture the energy and vitality of what it was like to live on the Left Bank then, to be young and ambitious and wildly sexual. The film won't look like anything seen previously. I'm working with Hybride, the SFX house that Robert Rodriguez uses to create the look for the movie." (Apparently, MAC Cosmetics liked the script concept so much they agreed to create special face and body makeup for "The Hive.")

Linda recently attended a screening of Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" and was impressed by the writer-director's modern twists on the tragic tale of France's doomed Queen. "I don't know that I'd use rock music, though that was a daring, brilliant gimmick, but like 'Marie Antoinette,' I certainly see 'The Hive' as a movie a young, modern audience could relate to. Those creative men and women of 1912 were the MTV generation of the early 20th century!"

Ms. Yellen hopes to have full cast and crew ready to go by the spring or summer of 2007". Source:

Water and snacks

"Reese Witherspoon spends time with her kids —daughter Ava, 7, and son Deacon, 3 1/2— while vacationing at Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair earlier this week.

On-again off-again lover Jake Gyllenhaal was also spotted earlier this week at The Chilmark Store, where he stopped for snacks while vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard". Source: Just

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Torsos, summer and heat

Jake Weird will be temporarily closed ON VACATION. I just need to go to the beach, the swimming pool or something, my fingers just slide off the keyboard. But, don't sweat it too much, I'll come back soon. Whilst enjoy the summer in good company.
See you, weirdos!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Double indie play

"Joseph Gordon-Levitt continues his indie streak, booking starring roles in back-to-back features.

First up for Gordon-Levitt is "Uncertainty," the latest film from David Siegel and Scott McGehee. The film is loosely based on a script by Siegel and McGehee, who also are producing, with dialogue to be developed in collaboration with the actors.

The story revolves around a young couple faced with having to make an important decision, and the film is split into two versions of the same Fourth of July in New York, presenting a new series of unexpected choices the characters make.
Siegel and McGehee wrote and directed "The Deep End" and co-directed "Bee Season" ["Bee Season" screenplay was written by Naomi Foner, Jake's mom, based on Myla Goldberg's novel].

Shooting is under way in New York.

Gordon-Levitt then will hop to Intermedia and GreeneStreet Films' "The Frog King," a coming-of-age dramedy that is due to enter production in the fall. Darren Star ("Sex and the City") will direct the film, which Bret Easton Ellis adapted from a novel by Adam Davies.

Gordon-Levitt will play an educated wannabe writer slaving away as a peon at a New York publishing house. The one bright spot in his life is his girlfriend, whom he loses and then has to win back.
Gordon-Levitt has been on a strong indie streak since wrappingthe sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun," notching starring turns insuch films as "Mysterious Skin","Brick" and"The Lookout". He next stars opposite Mickey Rourke and Diane Lane in John Madden's "Killshot" as well as Kimberly Peirce's Iraq War drama "Stop Loss" for Paramount. He is repped by Gersh and Industry Entertainment Partners".

Monday, August 13, 2007

"The Lookout" DVD release

AVC: "The character also feels this lingering shame about his responsibility in causing the accident.

JGL: That's true. And I think that Chris suffers from that more than he suffers from the brain injury. And that's something we can all identify with, whether you've been hit in the head or not. You know what it's like to be ashamed of yourself, to regret something. And those are powerful feelings, and they can tear your life apart. And I think that they are tearing Chris apart even more so than the scratches on his brain." Source: Avclub/content

"The Lookout" has a strangely purposeful way of tipping its narrative "surprises".
Pratt, for instance, takes a menial job swabbing floors as the lone overnight employee at a rural bank. This is a situation that an unscrupulous person could exploit, and when just such a shady character (Matthew Goode) befriends Pratt, "The Lookout" immediately tips us that he's up to no good.

Frank also lets us know, right away, that Pratt's gorgeous new girlfriend (Isla Fisher) is too good to be true.

This studied series of anticlimaxes (a variation of the techniquein "Zodiac") handled better may be Frank's way of saying the movie isn't really about twists and turns, but people.

But so was the livelier "Memento," since its final twist revealed the ghastly truth about its lead character, played with sardonic intelligence by Guy Pearce."

"Gordon-Levitt effortlessly burrows into the character's frazzled mental and emotional state. He makes Chris a sympathetic stand-in for anyone who has ever felt crippling self-pity over failing to achieve one's dreams.
Fisher plays Luvlee with a sweetness that nicely contrasts against the usual femme fatale archetype, while the most memorable supporting performance comes from Goode, oozing riveting menace and persuasive charm as the heavy". Source:

"Gary eventually clues Chris in on his plan to rob the bank after the bank receives an influx of cash from the winter harvest. Gary promises Chris a cut of the heist’s proceeds and a shot atnormalcy with Luvlee. Chris agrees to become the lookout for the heist. But Gary isn’t to be trusted, Chris begins to have second thoughts, Lewis suspects something is amiss, and the winter harvest money is due to arrive any day now.
From the emotionally and cognitively impaired hero haunted by his past, to the gang leader who induces the hero into breakingthe law, to a femme fatale who seduces the hero with the promise of intimacy, to the build up and execution of the heist, double-crosses, and voice over narration, it’s obvious we’re firmly in noir world". Source:

"Frank wrote the screenplay for “The Lookout” almost 4 years ago, and it has long been rumored, like Lem Dobb’s still unproduced “Edward Ford”, to be one of the greatest unfilmed scripts on the studio shelves. David Fincher toyed with it a bit before chasing the “Zodiac” instead and left it for Frank to direct himself. Frank acquits himself very effectively in the director’s chair, but this isn’t so much a director’s picture as it is a true “auteur” film, as in “author”.

The film’s effectiveness is entirely within the pages of the script, and the talent of its fine cast. Like John Huston, who debuted with his own crime adaptation, “The Maltese Falcon”, Frank clearly sees writing and casting as the most important parts of making a successful film. Huston once remarked that 75% of a picture’s success could be attributed to good casting. If the material is any good, the director merely has to photograph it cleanly." Source:
"Between The Lookout and Brick, it's interesting how Gordon-Levitt's become a sort of post-modern noir hero. In Brick, he was the classic detective; in The Lookout, he's the classic sap." from Source: review.
"Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt the new king of neo-noir? Could be. [...] It’s an extension of - and, yes, improvement on -his stunning, multifaceted turn in “Brick” subtly layered and richly realized. New king of neo-noir? Undoubtedly, and after this performance, most deservedly." from Source:

"In the old-school noir pictures that The Lookout nods to —such as "Black Angel" and "Somewhere in the Night" —the heroes needed to remember what they did to get to the end of their stories; here, Chris has to remember who he is. For real." from Source:

"Scott Frank's "The Lookout" makes atmospheric use of the wide spaces at its outskirts and surrounding farms to tell a compellingly neo-noir tale of an unusual recruit in a bank robbery. Film noir may have been born in an urban world (Los Angeles, perhaps, with a few childhood visits to San Francisco and New York) and defined by the look of a labyrinth of seedy bars, dark alleys, mansions in the hills, crowded lunch counters and broad sidewalks, but modern noir is just as likely to be found in Midwestern suburbs as in your pick of America's big, bad cities." from Source:

"I’ve been ripping through the pulp noir of Charlie Huston recently, so I slipped comfortably into "Get Shorty" screenwriter Scott Frank’s directorial debut -a dark neo-noir about ChrisPratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt of last year’s criminally overlooked Brick), a high-school hockey standout whose future crashed into a stalled combine on Highway 24 along with his Mustang, girlfriend and two passengers - without hesitation. [...] Frank gets a lot of the little stuff right. He nails the tragic, stupid, teenage romanticism of Chris’ accident and the stiff shot of humor provided by the blind roommate (Jeff Daniels). The Lookout could have been a bit of a tougher talker. Also, stories like this -good guys pressed into morally questionable action by really bad guys don't usually end like this one does. A tougher Lookout could have scared two broken thumbs up out of me". -Drew Wheeler. Source:

Jeffrey M. Anderson: "I was curious about the restaurant that Lewis wants to open with Chris, "Lew's Your Lunch." Does everybody have a secret dream of opening a restaurant?
Scott Frank: "Well, in the movie, it's such a ridiculous idea. It's so clearly a "Lewis" idea. It's another example of someone imposing their agenda on Chris. The only one who's being honest is Gary. He's telling the truth: you're not independent, you have no friends, you have no life, you have nothing. You think you're doing fine; you're not. Whereas Lewis, because Lewis doesn't want to be left alone, so "Let's open this restaurant together." He kind of imposes it on Chris. I wanted to make it a real Lewis thing". Source:

Andrew O'Hehir: "And it seems like you hit on the idea that one of the main things that manifests for Chris is that he gets angry when he's not able to do something the way that the so-called normal part of him would want to. Was that one of the key things for you?
JGL: It's true, there's two edges to an injury like this. There's the injury itself, which does change your brain, but then I think the even more severe and painful truth of the condition is that he remembers who he used to be and wishes so badly that he could be that and isn't. So it makes him insecure and it makes him feel bad about himself, and that's way more painful than not being able to have your brain work like it used to -- way more painful. I think that's something he has in common with everybody. Everybody's fears and insecurities, those are the real demons. The problem is when you're scared. The problem is when you don't love yourself. And Chris has a healthy portion of lack of self-love, and that's what's really holding him back, I think, even more than the brain injury". Source: