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Pursy Hominy Will // A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG (2004)

A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG

PRODUCTION STORY

» Synopsis
» About the Production
» About the Production (Casting etc.)
» John Travolta - Bobby Long
» Scarlett Johansson - Pursy Will
» Gabriel Macht - Lawson Pines
» Deborah Kara Unger - Georgianna
» Dane Rhodes - Cecil
» About the Filmmakers

Synopsis
A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG is the poignant story of a wayward girl and two men, each scarred by their pasts, who struggle to mend their broken lives and create a home together in a forgotten section of New Orleans. Starring John Travolta, Scarlett Johansson, Gabriel Macht and Deborah Kara Unger, A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG is the feature film directorial debut of Shainee Gabel (ANTHEM), who wrote the screenplay based on Ronald Everett Capps' soon-to-be-published novel, Off Magazine Street. The film is produced by Bob Yari, R. Paul Miller and David Lancaster.

Upon hearing of her mother's death, jaded teenage loner Purslane Hominy Will (Scarlett Johansson) returns to New Orleans for the first time in years, ready to reclaim her childhood home. Expecting to find her late mother's house abandoned, Pursy is shocked to discover that it is inhabited by two of her mother's friends: Bobby Long (John Travolta), a former literature professor, and his young protégé, Lawson Pines (Gabriel Macht). These broken men, whose lives took a wrong turn years before, have been firmly rooted in the dilapidated house for years, encouraged only by Lawson's faltering ambitions to write a novel about Bobby Long's life. Having no intention of leaving, Pursy, Bobby Long and Lawson are all forced to live together. Yet as time passes, their tenuous, makeshift arrangement unearths a series of buried personal secrets that challenges their bonds, and reveals just how inextricably their lives are intertwined...

A story about love and human frailty, A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG is at once a lyrical ode to the rich, decaying romanticism of New Orleans and a powerful drama about lives haunted by the past.

About the Production
"Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length." Robert Frost

A rich, emotionally stirring three-character drama, A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG proved to be a considerable labor of love for writer/director Shainee Gabel. A documentary filmmaker who co-directed the acclaimed cross-country odyssey ANTHEM, Gabel spent five years developing and financing A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG, taking the necessary time to assemble the ideal creative team for her debut feature. When the cameras finally started rolling, she had assembled production elements that most first-time directors could only dream of - the support of stars John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson, a dedicated professional crew, and the streets of New Orleans as her atmospheric backdrop.

Although A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG is her feature directing debut, Gabel found her experience making ANTHEM prepared her well for the challenge. "I don't think there's a better way to study human behavior than toWhen you spend eight months watching the same sixty interviews you learn a lot about human behavior over a period of eight months," says the director. "You get to know the specifics of how someone speaks, what their mannerisms are. It just helps you understand what's real."

"Shainee is to this material as Quentin Tarantino was to PULP FICTION," says John Travolta, who plays the titular character, Bobby Long. "They have the vision. They know how things should sound. They know why they wrote what they wrote, the meaning of things."

Scarlett Johansson, who plays the willful teenager Pursy, appreciates Gabel's respect for her character's quieter moments. "Shainee doesn't fill the voids with words," says the actress. "The silent moments that our characters have and the words that our characters use are filled with so much. She's a brilliant writer. The script is so beautiful. As an actor, you're never fishing for something that isn't there."

While the script for A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG is loosely based on pre-existing material, Gabel credits the city of New Orleans as the source of her inspiration. Years earlier, while shooting ANTHEM, Gabel passed through the city and found herself immediately "visually inspired. There were locations that I knew I wanted to shoot," recalls Gabel. "There are communities built around these corner bars - there were a few that became my favorites - and I would spend a lot of time just sitting. You would find the same people there at ten in the morning as there were you would find at ten at night."

Despite her success with ANTHEM, Gabel always intended to become a narrative filmmaker. Searching for material to adapt for the screen, Gabel confided in her friend musician Grayson Capps that she wanted to make a movie in New Orleans. He soon offered an unpublished manuscript written by his father, Ronald Everett Capps, many years before sifted through the work of Ronald Everett Capps, a largely unpublished writer who happened to be the father of her good friend, Grayson Capps. It was among Capps' stories that Gabel discovered Off Magazine Street, an unpublished manuscript (Off Magazine Street, soon now to be available through MacAdam/Cage Publishing).that The story took place in New Orleans and presented the seeds of what would later become the screenplay.

"There are entire neighborhoods in the city that can be ghettoized and forgotten," says Gabel. "I wanted to set the story among people one wouldn't necessarily see, those on the fringe." In the characters of Bobby Long, an alcoholic professor who's given up on his former life, and Pursy, a teenager with no parents or education, Gabel saw the opportunity to explore flawed, complex people who are too often passed over.

"Even the most enlightened of us judge others," states Gabel. "When we first meet Pursy, she's living in a trailer park and eating junk food. When we first meet Bobby Long, he seems predatory and disgusting, a self-destructive alcoholic. But everybody has a story. No one is what they seem. I wanted to create characters who might be easy to discount, and then develop a story which disproves that."

Producer Paul Miller met Gabel before soon after she had completed her scriptfirst draft.; yet hHe was so impressed by her early draft that he immediately signed on to the project. He and Gabel developed the script together over the course of several years, which included Gabel's attendance at the Sundance Screenwriter's Lab.

"The script is beautifully written," says Miller. "It describes a world that most people aren't aware of - a magical world. It's a story about literature and love - not sexual love, necessarily, but love between human beings on a deeper level."

Producer David Lancaster was brought on to the project during pre-production. He compares Gabel's screenplay to the works of two Pulitzer Prize-winning writers with whom he's previously worked, Marsha Norman ("'night Mother") and Beth Henley ("Crimes of the Heart"). "I've always been attracted to great female writers - particularly Southern," explains Lancaster. "And although Shainee is not Southern herself, this story is uniquely Southern in its feel. Its characters are exquisite. She has an incredible ear for dialogue and for making her characters real."

About the Production (Casting etc.)
"Why stay we on earth except to grow?" Robert Bbrowning

The role of Bobby Long marks John Travolta's return to smaller, more dramatic fare not seen since his riveting portrayals of a philosophical hit-man in Quentin Tarantino's PULP FICTION and the smooth Clinton-inspired politician in PRIMARY COLORS. Travolta was immediately attracted to the character of Bobby Long and the lush, literary quality of the script. "If you are familiar with William Inge or Tennessee Williams," he says, "you instantly identify with this piece as something that is, in my opinion, a contemporary answer to those writings. You see it on every single page of the script, so it was very easy to fall in love with."

As she developed the script, Gabel found that the tragic romanticism of New Orleans became a defining trait for the character of Bobby Long. "There's a freedom in the city and a lack of boundaries which can be incredibly liberating, but in some cases also incredibly dangerous," says Gabel. "People can lose themselves very easily. That dichotomy was something that informed the character. Bobby Long became, for me, the personification of New Orleans, the beauty of decay and the idea of romanticism as an illness."

For Travolta, the script itself was the key to unlocking the complexity of Bobby Long's character. "The writing is spectacular, really," says the actor. "The script is the guideline. All you have to do is build the character from the clues that the script provides. You get wonderful layers just by paying attention to the prose. There are so many things to play at once."

Despite being a major star in Hollywood, Travolta appreciated the risk Gabel took in offering him the role. "I think it's always tricky when you hire me," says the actor. "I wait to find out where I'm going with the character as I discover it in rehearsal and in my research. And there's no guarantee of what interpretation you're going to get. I don't have a standard performance that I give. And that's purposeful. I like the adventure of finding a new character."

"There's such iconography that goes with John," says Gabel. "There are a lot of people that might read the script and never think he would be the guy. But it was actually really organic. He understood Bobby Long. The romanticism and the literacy were things that struck him deeply."

Travolta saw the role as an opportunity to explore something entirely new. "It's more appealing for me to play someone completely different that I can identify with and absorb from an outside perspective," he says. "I enjoy that more because it gives me something to do. Something to create. And something, mostly, to investigate. I love to do my research for a character. There was a great opportunity here to become more familiar with famous writers and pieces of literature that were important to this character."

For the first time since his portrayal of Danny Zuko in the seminal musical GREASE, Travolta also sings on-screen. Working with Grayson Capps, who wrote and performed original music for the soundtrack, Travolta recorded several folk songs that Bobby Long sings in the film. "We worked not didn't work on how John would sing these songs, but on how Bobby would sing them," says Gabel. "We wanted to create the sound of a man who had been singing and playing guitar for the love of it for 20-odd years. John did a great job."

According to Gabel, the role of Pursy always seemed like a natural fit for Scarlett Johansson. Before she even finished writing the script, Gabel had been impressed by the young actress' work in films like MANNY AND LO and THE HORSE WHISPERER. "She was amazing. And it struck me that, even as a little kid, there was this incredible old soul wisdom," remembers Gabel. "She just really understood what she was doing and what she was feeling at such a young age. If there's such a thing as a natural, it's Scarlett."

"Scarlett is a stunning young actor," adds Travolta. "She's impressive. And she knows what she's doing way beyond her years."

Two years after THE HORSE WHISPERER, Johansson read Gabel's script and had the first of several meetings with the director. Despite the several years it took to secure financing for the film, Johansson and her manager/mother, Melanie Johansson, a co-producer, never wavered in their commitment to bring the project to fruition.

"Scarlett is the perfect Pursy," says Miller. "She has an edge and naturalness about her. She seems to inhabit the role."

Johansson immediately reacted to the strength Pursy exhibits in the face of her broken past. "I don't think she feels sorry for herself. That's what's so great about the character," says Johansson. "Pursy has made something of herself with her parents being completely absent. She doesn't dwell on the past or how things could have been. She's very realistic."

In fact, it's Pursy's strength that allows her to challenge the status quo of Bobby Long's and Lawson's squalid existence, thereby setting the story in motion. "Pursy quite literally comes in and the shades fly up and the light comes in," says Johansson. "She's putting a mirror up to them and saying, 'I might be young and I might be uneducated, but this is what I see. You guys are a mess.'"

Travolta and Johansson succeeded in developing a powerful onscreen chemistry, lending complexity to a relationship that forms the spine of the film. In one scene, Travolta's heartfelt performance moved Johansson to tears and took the entire crew and cast by surprise. "John is so unbelievably amazing," says Johansson. "He's such an incredible actor, and a sensitive person, and I think that moment just came out of his heart. He's so affectionate both on camera and off camera."

While Gabel had a relatively easy time casting the parts of Pursy and Bobby Long, she had more trouble finding the perfect Lawson - someone intelligent and sensitive who could successfully complete the trio's complicated chemistry. While Gabel had been leaning towards some more established actors, everything changed when Gabriel Macht's audition tape came across her desk. "It was incredibly compelling," she recalls.

Macht flew down to New Orleans and met with Gabel only days before shooting started. The visit landed him the part. "He actually read a piece of an audition monologue at lunch in the restaurant," says Gabel. "I was very impressed."

With just a few days to spare before production started, Macht developed an appropriate accent for Lawson's character and acquainted himself with Lawson's relationship with Bobby Long. "Lawson is a major enabler," says Macht. "Bobby is about bravado and charm, Lawson is sensitivity and compassion. He's an observer."

Adds Travolta, "Lawson and Bobby are really like an old couple, in that they are emotionally completely devoted to each other, although maybe not always for the right reasons."

Travolta was pleased to find that the personal chemistry he had with Macht mirrored their on-screen relationship. "Gabriel reminds me so much of one of my closest friends," says Travolta. "He's quiet and well-mannered and low key, and I'm more gregarious and kind of out there. And I thought, 'This is going to be amazing. This chemistry is better than I imagined because of the differences in us, the differences in our personalities.'"

Macht agrees. "John is an icon. He was an inspiration to me when I was a kid. And so, to have that mentor/disciple relationship, it really works."

"Work as if you were to live 100 years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow." Ben Franklin

From the beginning, Gabel established an "incredibly collaborative" rapport with her cast. "Working with actors is probably the biggest impetus I have for becoming a filmmaker," she says. "And being both the writer and director on this project really helped me answer the actors' questions, since I'd been living with the characters for five years." She and Travolta found that their shared visions of Bobby Long were very compatible. On directing Johansson, Gabel reports, "She's a joy. She'll try it five different ways and each one of the five will be the perfect version of what you're looking for."

Working with cinematographer Elliot Davis, Gabel strove to create a "hyper-real" look for the film. "I wanted to push the look of the city, which is already so much more vibrant and colorful than anywhere else in the United States," she says. "It should feel the way that Bobby Long sees it, which is a little more beautiful than it actually is on an everyday basis. On the verge of being a fable."

Gabel feels that the use of authentic locations was vital in communicating the sensual, hothouse atmosphere of the film. "There's just no way to create that reality on a stage. The house, in particular, is so important in the film. The walls are crumbling and they're wet and dank. You should be able to feel the claustrophobia."

Travolta was adamant about filming the project on location. "This story could not be told anywhere else. New Orleans is a character in this story. The heat is part of the character's personality," he says. "There is something about the South that has this mixture of acceptable hope mixed with tragedy. There's a lot of spirit that has been beaten down on many levels, but at the end of the day, the spirit wins." Knowing how much the heat defines life in New Orleans, Gabel felt it was important that the "density and thickness" of the humidity play a prominent role in the film. The production occurred during the hottest months of the year, and the house, where a large portion of the shoot took place, had no fans or air conditioning. Gabel puts it simply, "It was brutally hot and unbearably humid and it was really unpleasant. But I thought it was very important that the actors really be that hot and that they really feel that claustrophobia."

"The humidity is outrageous," says Macht. "Sitting in here, at times, is incredibly uncomfortable. But it puts you into the character's world and that's helpful."

"You're in an atmosphere that lives," adds Travolta, "and then you become part of that atmosphere. It's so vivid and so complete that it's a glorious thing to feel while you're doing a scene. And a lot of the scenes in this movie have had that, where the heat is a character. The sweat is a character."

Despite these obvious discomforts, the shoot proved to be a unique experience for everyone involved. "I'm just so grateful that our cast is so giving," says Johansson. "We got so lucky. As an actor, it's just been a wonderful experience."

"There have been about a dozen scenes in this movie where you just fall into the zone," says Travolta. "The scenes are like pieces of sculpture. They live on their own. And you just embody that and become the scene. This happened on a few other movies that I've been in, but it rarely happens as much as it happened in this movie, where you just feel like you're being taken by the material."

As much as A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG is about words and literature, Gabel recognizes that music also plays a vital role in the story. "Music is a huge part of the movie because music is a huge part of New Orleans," says the director. "It's everywhere, and it's all really good."

While assembling the film's soundtrack, Gabel was careful to avoid music that is traditionally associated with New Orleans, such as Cajun or Zydeco, preferring to focus on an eclectic sampling that spans rock, blues and folk. In addition to John Travolta singing traditional songs, Gabel's friend and New Orleans native Grayson Capps performs his own original music on screen. Capps also composed the original song, "My Heart Is A Lonely Hunter," which plays an important role in the plot of the film.

In light of the diverse source music, composer Mason Larson worked with Gabel to produce an evocative yet simple score that would function as a bridge of musical styles. "We used mostly guitar and violin, and a tiny bit of piano," says Gabel. "Ultimately, our goal was to fuse score, live music and source music into a uniform identity."

Additionally, Gabel wanted the score to evoke the presence of Lorraine, Pursy's mother, a character who never appears in the film yet figures largely in Bobby Long's and Pursy's lives. "Lorraine continues to haunt the characters emotionally," says Gabel, "so we wanted to create something spare and non-traditional to underscore her influence on the present."

Graced with a moving script, a handsome production and exceptional, multi-layered performances from her cast, Gabel hopes that A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG will strike an emotional chord with audiences. "For any storyteller," says Gabel, "the only thing you can hope for is that you will either move somebody or inspire them. And if you accomplish either or both of those things at any moment during the film, then your goal has been achieved."

For Travolta, the film leaves the viewer with a rich range of impressions. "This film is about redemption," he says. "It's about making amends. It's about hope and turning your life around before it's too late. It's about poetry and literature. But mostly, I think it's about the quote that Bobby Long recites at the end of the film: 'We will not cease exploration. But at the end of all our exploring, we will arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time.'"

John Travolta - Bobby Long
JOHN TRAVOLTA has been honored twice with Academy Award nominations, the latest for his riveting portrayal of a philosophical hit-man in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction." He also received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for this highly acclaimed role and was named Best Actor by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, among other distinguished awards.

Travolta garnered further praise as a Mafioso-turned-movie producer in the comedy sensation "Get Shorty," winning the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy. In 1998 Travolta was honored by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts with the Britannia Award; and in that same year he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Chicago Film Festival.

Travolta also won the prestigious Alan J. Pakula Award from the US Broadcast Critics Association for his performance in "A Civil Action," based on the best-selling book and directed by Steve Zailian. He was nominated again for a Golden Globe for his performance in "Primary Colors," directed by Mike Nichols and co-starring Emma Thompson and Billy Bob Thornton.

He previously starred in some of the most monumental films of our generation, including earning his first Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for his role in the blockbuster "Saturday Night Fever," which launched the disco phenomenon in the 1970's. He went on to star in the big screen version of the long-running musical "Grease" and the wildly successful "Urban Cowboy," which also influenced trends in popular culture. Additional film credits include the Brian DePalma thrillers "Carrie" and "Blowout," as well as Amy Heckerling's hit comedy "Look Who's Talking" and Nora Ephron's comic hit "Michael." Travolta starred in "Phenomenon" and took an equally diverse turn as an action star in John Woo's top-grossing "Broken Arrow." He also starred in the classic "Face/Off" opposite Nicholas Cage and "The General's Daughter" co-starring Madeline Stowe.

Most recently, Travolta co-starred in the movie version of the wildly successful comic book "The Punisher," as well as the action-thriller "Ladder 49" with Joaquin Phoenix. Other recent projects include the drama "Basic" directed by John McTiernan, the psychological thriller "Domestic Disturbance" directed by Harold Becker, the hit action picture "Swordfish" with Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman directed by Dominic Sena, and the successful sci-fi movie "Battlefield Earth," based upon the best-selling novel by L. Ron Hubbard. In 2005, he'll also once again play Chili Palmer opposite Uma Thurman's Edie Athens in F. Gary Gray's version of Elmore Leonard's "Get Shorty" sequel entitled "Be Cool."

Scarlett Johansson - Pursy Will
With more than a decade of work under her belt, double Golden Globe nominee and BAFTA winner, Scarlett Johansson has proven to be one of Hollywood's most talented young actresses. Johansson received rave reviews and a "Best Actress" Award at the Venice Film Festival for her starring role opposite Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation," the critically-acclaimed second film by director Sofia Coppola.

Recently Johansson portrayed the title character in "Girl With a Pearl Earring," a film adapted from the novel of the same name about the painter Johannes Vermeer (Colin Firth).

Johansson has finished production on the Weitz brothers' film "In Good Company" which opens on December 29, 2004 and recently finished shooting the "Untitled Woody Allen Summer Project" in London. Johansson also has the film "A Good Woman" opposite Helen Hunt in the can, slated for release in 2005.

At the age of 14, Johansson attained worldwide recognition for her performance as Grace Maclean, the teen traumatized by a riding accident in Robert Redford's "The Horse Whisperer." She went on to star in Terry Zwigoff's "Ghost World," garnering a "Best Supporting Actress" award from the Toronto Film Critics Circle. Johansson was also featured in the Coen Brothers' dark drama "The Man Who Wasn't There," opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Frances McDormand.

Her additional credits include Rob Reiner's comedy "North;" the thriller "Just Cause," with Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne; and a breakthrough role in the critically-praised "Manny & Lo," which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for "Best Female Lead."

A New York native, Johansson made her professional acting debut at the age of eight in the off-Broadway production of "Sophistry," with Ethan Hawke, at New York's Playwright's Horizons.

Johansson currently divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.

Gabriel Macht - Lawson Pines
Gabriel Macht (Lawson), will be receiving a "Hollywood Breakthrough Performance Award," from Movieline Magazine for his role in, "A Love Song for Bobby Long." Macht was last seen in Roger Kumble's critically acclaimed, smash hit production "Turnaround," opposite Jonathan Silverman and Mark Feuerstein. He was also seen in the Disney/Spy Glass film "The Recruit," opposite Al Pacino, Colin Farrell and Bridget Moynahan. Macht is currently in production in Latvia on the telefeature, "Archangel," for BBC co-starring Daniel Craig.

Prior to "The Recruit," Macht starred opposite Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins as a CIA operative partnered with Hopkins in Disney's action comedy "Bad Company" for director Joel Schumacher and producer Jerry Bruckheimer. He was also seen in 20th Century Fox Studios' box office hit "Behind Enemy Lines" with Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. He won rave reviews for his portrayal of 'Frank James' in the Warner Bros. action-comedy "American Outlaws," opposite Colin Farrell and Kathy Bates.

Macht's other film credits include "The Object of My Affection" with Jennifer Aniston and the critically acclaimed independent film "The Adventures of Sebastian Cole" from Paramount Classics. On television Macht was most recently seen starring in NBC/Dreamworks' sci-fi series "The Others." He also starred opposite Jennifer Love Hewitt in the ABC made-for-TV biopic "Audrey Hepburn," playing love interest 'William Holden.' His other television credits include his comic turn as 'Barkley the Modelizer' on "Sex and the City," the 'Naked Guy' on "Spin City" and two movies of the week, "Follow the River" with Sheryl Lee and "Guilty Until Proven Innocent," with Brendan Fraser and Martin Sheen.

As a child actor, Macht made his debut starring as 'Jorge' in the MGM feature "Why Would I Lie?" with Treat Williams. His performance earned him a Youth in Film Award Best Actor nomination.

On stage Macht portrayed Elvis Presley (a.k.a. 'The Visitor') in Steve Martin's Off-Broadway smash hit "Picasso at the Lapin Agile," and starred in the Joanne Woodward directed "La Ronde" at the Williamstown Theater Festival. He remains active in theater through his association with the avant-garde Mad Dog Theater Company in New York, which performed the play "To Whom It May Concern" at the Belgrade International Theatre Festival.

Deborah Kara Unger - Georgianna
Deborah Kara Unger most recently starred opposite Sir Ian McKellan in Carl Bessai's upcoming feature film "Emile," and screen legend Sophia Loren in Edoardo Ponti's "Between Strangers," with Mira Sorvino and Gerard Depardieu, for which she received a 2003 Genie Award nomination.

Since graduating from the prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Art, she has co-starred in such films as Norman Jewison's "Hurricane," with Denzel Washington; "Payback," with Mel Gibson; David Fincher's "The Game," with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn; David Cronenberg's "Crash," with Holly Hunter and James Spader, which received 1997's Special Jury Prize at Cannes; and Istvan Szabo's award-winning epic "Sunshine," with Ralph Fiennes and William Hurt, which garnered her a 2000 Genie Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Other feature film credits include "The Salton Sea," with Val Kilmer; "Signs and Wonders," with Stellan Skarsgard and Charlotte Rampling; "No Way Home," with Tim Roth; Bette Gordon's critically acclaimed "Luminous Motion"; and "The Weekend," with Gena Rowlands, which received the 1999 Best Ensemble Acting Award at the Seattle Film Festival.

Other films include "Leo," with Dennis Hopper and Sam Shepard; "Fear X," with John Turturro; "Stander," with Thomas Jane; "13," with Holly Hunter; and "1.0," directed by Marteinn Thorsson and Jeff Renfroe. Ms. Unger made her feature film debut in the award-winning WWII drama "Prisoners of the Son," with Russell Crowe.

On television Unger appeared as Ava Gardner in HBO's 1998 drama "The Rat Pack" and in the award winning mini-series "Bangkok Hilton" with Nicole Kidman.

In May 2003 Unger was honored as the first actor to be the recipient of the "Libertae" Award at the Dubrovnik International Film Festival for her work in and commitment to the spirit of the independence in film.

Dane Rhodes - Cecil
Dane Rhodes makes his screen debut with "A Love Song for Bobby Long." Rhodes is the artistic director of a theater company in New Orleans where he both acts and directs.

About the Filmmakers
SHAINEE GABEL (Director) is a filmmaker/author who makes her directorial debut with "A Love Song for Bobby Long" from her script (inspired by the novel "Off Magazine St." by R.E. Capps). Her first feature "Anthem," a documentary co-directed with Kristin Hahn, received a national theatrical release, was honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences as one of that year's "outstanding" documentaries, and received an International FIPRESCI Critics Prize. A companion narrative, "Anthem: An American Road Story," was published by Harper Collins.

Prior to "Anthem," Gabel spent two years as the first Programming Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival and three years as the Director of Programming for the IFP/West where she produced her first short while running a film-mentoring program for young women in Los Angeles.

R. PAUL MILLER (Producer) most recently produced "Prozac Nation," directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg and starring Christina Ricci, Jessica Lange and Anne Heche. Previously, he teamed with Maggie Renzi to associate produce John Sayles' feature "The Secret of Roan Inish," and to produce -- again with Maggie Renzi -- Sayles' Academy Award nominated feature "Lone Star" and "Men with Guns" ("Hombres Armados"), shot entirely in Mexico in Spanish.

Together with Norwegian director Erik Skjoldbjaerg, Miller formed Escape Pictures Ltd. through which he produces films for Skjoldbjaerg to direct, as well as projects for other directors. He has developed Frank Deasy's screen adaptation of "The Escape Artist," to be directed by Skjoldbjaerg in Ibiza in the Spring of 2004, and is developing the John Sayles and Rob Buckler film adaptation of Doris Lessing's book "The Fifth Child," to be directed by Udayan Prasad. Miller is again teaming with director/screenwriter Shainee Gabel on the production of "Covering Katie Bloom," the contemporary adaptation of Henrich B ll's seminal novel set in New Orleans. The project is being developed with the assistance of the NRW filmstiftung and produced in collaboration with German co-producers, and is set to go before the cameras in Summer 2004. Miller is also producing newcomer Ann Marie Hess' debut feature "Because," based on her award-winning short "The Speed of Light."

Miller graduated with a degree in Zoology from University College in London where he spent four years making natural history documentaries, including "Rhino Wars" for National Geographic Society and "Forces of Life" for Survival Anglia, as well as several series, including "Brave New Wilderness" for London Weekend Television. Following this, Miller attended Britain's National Film and Television School where he produced several short films, including "Vinterveien" ("Way to Winter") with Skjoldbjaerg directing, and "Private View" with director Kallwass, both of which were successful at international festivals and later on television. Miller's production company, Escape Pictures Ltd., is based in London and New York, and he works with both European and US filmmakers, reflecting a personal and industry history.

DAVID LANCASTER (Producer) Since beginning his career producing theater on Broadway in the 1980s, David Lancaster has been involved in the development, finance, production, and distribution of more than 23 motion pictures and the production of several major stage plays.

In addition to "A Love Song For Bobby Long," Mr. Lancaster is currently in post-production on two other projects: the sci-fi time travel film "Slipstream," starring Sean Astin, Vinnie Jones, and Ivana Milicevic, shot in Capetown, South Africa, and on the Stephen King thriller "Riding the Bullet," starring David Arquette, Jonathan Jackson, Erica Christensen, Cliff Robertson, and Barbara Hershey.

He has just completed the high intensity action-comedy "Blast!," directed by Tony Hickox, starring Eddie Griffin, Breckin Meyer, Vinnie Jones and Vivica A. Fox. In 2002 Lancaster produced three pictures for HBO: the top-rated, critically-acclaimed action thriller "Consequence," starring Armand Assante and Rick Schroder, also directed by Anthony Hickox; "Pavement," directed by Darrell Roodt, starring Robert Patrick and Lauren Holly; and the psychological thriller "Borderline," starring Gina Gershon and Sean Patrick Flanery.

In 1999 David Lancaster produced the hip urban romantic comedy "Loving Jezebel," written and directed by Kwyn Bader and starring Nicole Ari Parker and Hill Harper. After winning the Audience Award at SXSW in 2000, the film was then distributed by Universal Focus and the Shooting Gallery. Preceding "Loving Jezebel" was Lancaster's production of the Disney Channel's family film "Don't Look Under The Bed," directed by Kenneth Johnson; the award-winning, film festival hit "Sadness of Sex," directed by Rupert Wainwright; Emmy award- winning director George Hickenlooper's "Persons Unknown"; and thriller "Woman Undone," directed by Evelyn Purcell and starring Randy Quaid, Mary McDonnell, Sam Elliot, and Benjamin Bratt.

Lancaster's body of work also includes the HBO releases "Federal Protection," starring Armand Assante and Dina Meyer, "Lone Hero," starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Robert Forster, the political thriller "Caracara," starring Natasha Henstridge and Lauren Hutton, and "Second Skin," also starring Natasha Henstridge, as well as Academy Award-winner Peter Fonda.

David Lancaster began his career on Broadway as co-producer of Marsha Norman's "'night, Mother," starring Kathy Bates. He then served as Associate Producer of David Mamet's "American Buffalo," starring Al Pacino, and Beth Henley's "The Wake of Jamie Foster," the follow-up to her Pulitzer Prize-winning "Crimes of the Heart." Off- Broadway, Lancaster produced the American premiere of Brian Friel's "Volunteers," starring John Goodman. His numerous regional theater credits include the Mark Taper Forum production of James McLure's "Wild Oats" and Marsha Norman's "Traveler in the Dark," starring Sam Waterston.

Broadway led Lancaster to his feature film debut: the Golden Globe-winning feature film adaptation of "'night Mother," starring Anne Bancroft and Sissy Spacek for Universal. He subsequently produced the award-winning Robert Altman drama "The Laundromat" for HBO, starring Carol Burnett and Amy Madigan; the Viacom Pictures release "Scam," starring Christopher Walken and Lorraine Bracco; "Quick," starring Teri Polo; and the Stephen Tobolowsky comedy "Two Idiots in Hollywood."

In 1990 he founded David Lancaster Productions with the mission of producing unique, compelling, high quality motion picture and television projects. Experienced in many varieties of tax subsidies and foreign co-production financing, he consistently demonstrates his ability to shepherd projects from the development stage to final delivery while staying "on time and under budget." A Native Texan, Mr. Lancaster lives in Los Angeles, with his wife, Karen, and his son, Jack.

BOB YARI (Producer) began his career with Edgar J. Scherick Associates in Hollywood after receiving a degree in Cinematography. He served as Assistant Director and Technical Advisor on the NBC miniseries "On Wings of Eagles," starring Burt Lancaster and Richard Crenna; Assistant Director on "Check Point"; Director of the MGM release "Mindgames," starring Maxwell Caulfield and Edward Albert, Jr.; and as Producer on "Perfect Fit."

His ventures in the real estate industry have included syndication, construction, development and redevelopment of commercial and residential assets. He has a controlling interest in over fifty properties located across the country, including New York City, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles and Phoenix, consisting of over six million square feet of office, retail and residential properties. He recently completed a $50,000,000 residential community comprised of 146 single-family units in Santa Barbara, California, redeveloped six regional malls in Texas, and restructured the Mexmil Company, an aerospace contractor with over 1,000 employees. He also operates an active construction company and a real estate management company with two regional offices located in Houston and Los Angeles.

Over the past two years, he re-entered the film industry with the formation of four independent production and financing entities, including STRATUS FILM COMPANY in partnership with Mark Gordon, which is in production on "Hostage" with Bruce Willis, "Crash" with Sandra Bullock, and "Winter Passing" with Ed Harris. He will soon be shooting "Painted Veil," starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts, and "Killing Pablo" with Javier Bardem and Antonio Banderas. He is also a partner in the television and motion picture development company BULL'S EYE ENTERTAINMENT with partners Tom Nunan and Cathy Shulman; EL CAMINO PICTURES with the William Morris Agency and BOB YARI PRODUCTIONS. He is currently producing over ten films in various stages of production and is credited as Executive Producer on several others including "Laws of Attraction" with Pierce Brosnan and Julianna Moore, and "Agent Cody Banks" (I and II).

EL CAMINO PICTURES (Producer) In 2003 William Morris reaffirmed its commitment and passion for independent films by forming an alliance - El Camino Pictures - with financier Bob Yari. The film financing entity, fully owned and backed by Yari, is represented by William Morris Independent, headed by Cassian Elwes and Rena Ronson.

The groundbreaking venture will finance at least ten independent films per year and is funded through a combination of private equity, U.S. or international tax incentives, and bank gap financing. The partnership is focused on, but not exclusive to, William Morris Agency's clients.

In its first year in existence, El Camino Pictures has established itself in the independent marketplace with a strong slate of films, including "A Love Song for Bobby Long," starring John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson, which will have its world premiere at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, and "Haven," starring Orlando Bloom and Bill Paxton, which will premiere at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival.

Some of El Camino Pictures upcoming films include "Chumscrubber," starring Ralph Fiennes, Glenn Close, Carrie Anne Moss and William Fichtner, "First Snow," starring Guy Pearce, and "Coming Out," which will be produced by Catherine Zeta-Jones, with Joel Zwick directing.

ELLIOT DAVIS (Director of Photography) most recently served as director of photography on the hit comedy "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde" and "Thirteen," starring Evan Rachel Wood, Nikki Reed and Holly Hunter, which debuted to great acclaim at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. His other recent credits include "White Oleander," starring Alison Lohman, Michelle Pfieffer, Robin Wright Penn and Renee Zellweger; "I Am Sam," starring Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer; and "40 Days and 40 Nights," starring Josh Hartnett. Davis' other film credits include several films with Steven Soderbergh including "Out of Sight," "Gray's Anatomy," "The Underneath" and "King of the Hill." He served as cinematographer on "Happy Campers," "The Next Best Thing," "Light It Up," "Forces of Nature," "Breakfast of Champions," "Lawn Dogs," "Get on the Bus," "Mortal Thoughts," "Bloodhounds of Broadway" and "Miles From Home."

Davis received IFP Spirit Award nominations for his work on Soderbergh's "The Underneath" and Alan Rudolph's "Equinox."

SHARON LOMOFSKY (Production Designer) most recently created the look for films such as HBO Films' "Undefeated," co-directed by John Leguizamo and Enrique Chediak and starring John Leguizamo, as well as "I'm With Lucy" for Sony Pictures Classics. Prior to that, she was production designer for "Lone Star State of Mind," a Screen Gems/Bedford Falls production, starring Monica Potter, Anthony LaPaglia and Henry Thomas, directed by David Semel; Greenstreet Films' "Pinero," based on the 1974 Tony nominated play "Short Eyes" and starring Benjamin Bratt with Leon Izchaso directing; "Bring It On" directed by Peyton Reed; Miramax Films' "Committed," directed by Lisa Krueger, which won the 2000 Sundance Award for Best Cinematography and nominated for the Festival's Grand Jury Prize the same year; "Claire Dolan," directed by Lodge Kerrigan which was nominated for the Golden Palm at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival; "Manny and Lo," directed by Lisa Krueger and starring Mary Kay Place, Scarlett Johansson and Aleksa Palladino, which made its debut at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, won the Open Palm at the Gotham Awards and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award; and "Before the Rain," directed by Milcho Manchevski, winner of The Golden Lion at the 1994 Venice Film Festival and nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Film of 1995.

JILL OHANNESON (Costume Designer) has designed costumes for feature films that include "Instinct," "Home Fries," Mouse Hunt," "A Smile Like Yours," "The Crossing Guard," "Unsung Heroes," "Black Sheep," "Josh and Sam," "Indian Runner," "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," "Once Bitten" and the 1997 Sundance Film Festival entry "Eye of God." Ohanneson has received a Cable Ace nomination for her contributions to HBO's "Truman," starring Gary Sinise, and "Last of His Tribe" starring John Voight, as well as an Emmy nomination for "Citizen Cohn," starring James Woods.

LEE PERCY, A.C.E. (Editor) has worked with director Barbet Schroeder on his films "Our Lady of the Assassins," "Desperate Measures," "Before and After," "Kiss of Death," "Single White Female" and "Reversal of Fortune." Three of his films have won top acting Oscars: William Hurt for "Kiss of the Spiderwoman," Jeremy Irons for Schroeder's "Reversal of Fortune" and Hilary Swank for "Boys Don't Cry." Most recently he edited Henry Bean's "The Believer," winner of the 2001 Sundance Grand Jury Prize, as well as "Lift," a Sundance Grand Jury Prize nominee. He also edited "Center of the World," his second film with director Wayne Wong. Percy was recognized by his peers when he received an American Cinema Editors Eddie Award for his work on HBO's "Against the Wall," directed by John Frankenheimer. He originally trained as an actor at the Julliard School and finds his theater background invaluable to his work.

LISA FRUCHTMAN (Editor) began her professional career in film as an editor at the National Film Board of Canada. After a move to San Francisco in 1974, she was hired by Francis Ford Coppola as assistant editor on "Godfather Part II." Over the next several years, she went on to edit "Apocalypse Now," "Heaven's Gate," "The Right Stuff," "Children of a Lesser God," "Godfather Part III," "The Doctor," "My Best Friends Wedding," "Dance with Me," and "The Woodsman," Among others. For television she has edited "Shimmer" for American Playhouse, and "Truman, Witness Protection" and "Normal" for HBO FILMS.

"Apocalypse Now" received both American and British Academy Award nominations for Best Editing. In 1984 Ms. Fruchtman won an Oscar for Best Editing on "The Right Stuff." "Children of a Lesser God," on which she was sole editor, was nominated for Best Picture, and "Godfather III" was nominated for Best Editing. "Truman" won both the Emmy and Cable Ace awards for Best Picture, and Ms. Fruchtman won the Cable Ace for Best Editing.

In addition to editing, Ms. Fruchtman is developing, producing and directing projects. She has directed a twenty minute dramatic short as part of the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women, as well as two television spots. She was admitted as a director to the Sundance Institute Filmmakers Lab with "Catford Street," a feature film script. She is also developing "Shoebag," based on a children's book, as producer, and "Masquerade," an original screenplay, as writer/ director.


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