A uniquely-crafted comedy set in the key of life, "Elizabethtown" is the story of
an unexpected romance that develops against the backdrop of a hilariously elaborate
memorial. A life-affirming, comic fable that takes on matters of life and death in a
surprising and heartfelt way, "Elizabethtown" is the journey of a young man turned in
an unexpected direction and the woman who helps him brighten his outlook on the
world around him.
Paramount Pictures presents a Cruise|Wagner-Vinyl Films production, a
Cameron Crowe film, "Elizabethtown." The film stars Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst,
Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Bruce McGill, Judy Greer, Jessica Biel and Paul
Schneider. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, the film is produced by Tom
Cruise, Paula Wagner and Cameron Crowe. Donald J Lee Jr is the executive producer.
John Toll ASC is the director of photography. Nancy Steiner is the costume designer,
Clay A Griffith is the production designer and David Moritz is the film editor. Nancy
Wilson is the composer.
"Elizabethtown" will be distributed by Paramount Pictures. Paramount Pictures is
part of the entertainment operations of Viacom Inc, one of the world's largest
entertainment media companies and a leader in the production, promotion and
distribution of entertainment, news, sports and music.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
"How do you say goodbye to someone you've barely said hello to?" asks
writer-director Cameron Crowe in his new film, "Elizabethtown." Crowe, who won an
Academy Award® in 2000 for his original screenplay for "Almost Famous," again draws
on his own experiences - the emotions he felt at his father's unexpected passing - to
inspire a motion picture. "Elizabethtown" is about a quiet Oregon shoe designer who
gets to know his father and his own family roots only after his dad's death. He is aided
in his journey by an unstoppably optimistic woman and a host of family members, who
combine in unique ways to teach him what's it's like to be truly alive.
Crowe says that one of his goals with "Elizabethtown" was to make the type of
film his father liked best: one that could achieve genuine emotion but always with
humour close at hand. "A movie that could blend tears and laughter... that was his
favourite combo," says Crowe. "He and my mom actually had a name for that very
special mix, they called it 'Bread and Chocolate,' after a foreign film they'd fallen in love
with. Later, as a director, it became one of my favourite mixes too - a movie that
introduced you to characters who felt real, who took you into their lives and when that
movie was over... you missed those people you'd met two hours earlier."
Producer Paula Wagner says, "Besides being one of the great writer-directors of
our times, Cameron Crowe is also a chronicler of truth: truth told with a little whimsy, a
lot of charm and great heart. Cameron somehow allows you to laugh at the human
foibles of the character and then, a few moments later, shed a tear or two as well. In
'Elizabethtown,' Cameron takes us on such a personal journey - and he invites us to feel
that the journey is our own."
"Cameron has an ability to take life and put it on the screen," says Orlando
Bloom, who takes on the role of the central character, Drew Baylor. "He makes it so real
and so human that it just breaks your heart and makes you laugh all at the same time."
Kirsten Dunst, who plays Claire, the passionately positive flight attendant who
changes Drew's life, agrees. "This movie is about life. It's not just a comedy or a just a
drama or just a romance - it's just life. It's all about the intimate moments between
people. It has so many different stories combined. It's unpretentious and sometimes
almost 'slice of life' in its reality. But if you look closely, every line and every action
means something. It's a Cameron Crowe movie."
In 1989, Crowe had just seen the theatrical release of his directorial debut, "Say
Anything." The movie had been released quietly, with little fanfare. It's fortunes
changed suddenly when the movie received an important early rave review from Siskel
and Ebert. Crowe's father was visiting family in Kentucky, having just seen the pivotal
positive review and was in the midst of sharing the great news with family members,
when he unexpectedly died of a heart attack. It was a blow for the young filmmaker
and it left a lasting impression on him.
Several years passed and Crowe's career continued to rise as he wrote and
directed films like "Singles," "Jerry Maguire," "Almost Famous" and "Vanilla Sky." All of
Crowe's screenplays possess a very personal connection to the filmmaker and "Almost
Famous" was no exception. The story, a dramatization of Crowe's own early years as a
writer for Rolling Stone, was critically lauded and garnered Crowe an Academy
Award® for best screenplay. All of the performances were top-notch, but Frances
McDormand's portrayal of the mother in that film stands out as a quirky-yet-loving
homage to Crowe's own mother, Alice. With "Elizabethtown," Crowe found it was time
to honour his father.
"It's a funny thing," says Crowe, "but from the very beginning, I'd always resisted
writing very personally about my own life and family. Even the books I loved growing
up were rarely first-person stories. Then, when I turned 18, I wrote an article for
'Rolling Stone' called 'How I Learned About Sex.' It was under assignment, I had run
out of other ways to tell the story. I wrote it in first-person. It was instantly a
breakthrough for me. People responded resoundingly, immediately, wrote me letters.
Friends and editors said, 'I felt like you were writing about my life too.' And it's
happened consistently ever since. The more personal the story, the more it seemed to
matter to people. After 'Almost Famous,' I was asked a lot - what about your dad? What
was he like? I'd written a short story about him called 'My Father's Highway.' It was
one of my favourites, though it lived in my drawer. And then one day..."
It was the summer of 2002, shortly after the release of "Vanilla Sky," and Crowe
was on the road touring with his wife, Nancy Wilson, of the rock band Heart. He found
himself on a tour bus travelling through Kentucky and was struck by the intense beauty
of the landscape. The last time he saw what he calls "these electric blue hillsides" was
when he returned for his father's funeral in 1989. That was all the inspiration he needed.
As Crowe recalls, "I dropped off the Heart tour, got a rental car, got lost in Kentucky
and wrote the whole story for the script in a burst." For Crowe, telling this story was an
extremely personal and often emotional endeavour. It was also a feast of colourful
characters and a vivid glimpse of life and loss and inspiration in modern America. "I
always liked the idea of telling a story populated with failure and fiasco but in the
middle of it is a person who exists only for love," continues Crowe. "I often write about
these characters because they're heroes to me - they breathe in failure and spit it back
out and move on. They believe in carrying on with life and honouring positivity.
Besides, the other option is a lot darker and usually not as much fun."
In the film, Drew is at the centre of his shoe company's fiasco when he learns that
his father has died half a continent away. He is assigned by his mother to travel to
Kentucky, retrieve his father's body and bring him home to Portland, Oregon. That's
when Drew runs headfirst into what Crowe calls the film's "messenger of love," Claire, a
flight attendant with a mission: helping someone in trouble. "She immediately makes a
project out of him," Crowe says.
Dunst was attracted to the role by the director's genuine feeling and the honest
emotion of the film. She says, "I hope that we made a beautiful story that people will
really respond to and get emotionally moved by."
"Even though Drew is having a terrible day, he is not ready for the news that he
receives," says Crowe. "The career problems he's facing at the beginning of
'Elizabethtown' are not real problems, at least not worth the life and death value we
tend to assign most daily disappointments. The real problem arrives and it IS life and
death. Drew's dad is dead and he never got to know his dad while his dad lived. Like
most of us, we assume that somewhere down the line we'll be able to know our parents
as adults, as equals... and we'll do all those things together that we put off, year after
year. With Claire's inspiration and an elaborate map, Drew finally comes to know his
father and himself, on that long-delayed get-together, even though one of them is in an
urn. It's never too late..."
"The movie ended up almost exactly the way I imagined it when it first arrived as
an idea," continues Crowe. "It starts with an ending and it ends with a beginning... and
hopefully you might leave the theatre and look around for a moment and two and
maybe think, 'I miss those people...'"
ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
It is only after his father dies that Drew Baylor - the young man at the centre of
"Elizabethtown" - begins to know his father and to explore his own rich family tree. He
is aided in his journey by Claire, the "warrior of optimism" he meets on his way to the
memorial in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The rich mix of comedy and drama makes it a
movie experience not quite like any other and one uniquely that of a Cameron Crowe
"I remember thinking, 'Wow, we're making a really special, heartfelt story that I
think a lot of people will be able to relate to,'" says Orlando Bloom, who plays Drew.
"When you're sitting in the theatre and you see somebody coming to terms with life and
death, success and failure - which is everything that Drew does - it feels freeing, because
you realize that these emotions escape no one."
Bloom recalls Crowe's vision for the character as "so specific and detailed but so
loose and free. It is a very incredible way to work - you know he's got all the angles
Paula Wagner notes, "Orlando is a truly gifted actor. He inhabits the role of Drew
with an energy and insight that makes for a transcendent journey. He brings a beautiful
subtlety to his character that is at once charming and humorous as he takes us on the
journey to Elizabethtown and back. His world opens up with the reflection of love and
family that Drew's father held so dear and Claire's character so remarkably infuses into
his world. Through his collaboration with Cameron, Orlando successfully accomplishes
the incredibly challenging role of a man on a journey in search of his truth. He
beautifully reaches an emotional catharsis that allows the audience to share in the
moment. This is such a unique performance. No one has seen Orlando quite like this
before. He conveys such complexities so effortlessly."
"Elizabethtown" marks the second collaboration between Crowe and Bloom.
Crowe had previously directed a 30-second spot for The Gap that featured Bloom and
Kate Beckinsale. Cameron was impressed with the actor (who had been seen only in
"Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and a small role in "Black Hawk Down")
and the two made a pact to work together in the future.
At Crowe's suggestion, Bloom also spent hours studying classic relationship
movies like Billy Wilder's "The Apartment" and George Cukor's "The Philadelphia
Story." Another favourite was William Wyler's "The Best Years of Our Lives." Bloom
watched "The Apartment" numerous times, as did nearly every actor in the film. Bloom
recalls the director's enthusiasm for the film: "He would tell me, 'Just watch Jack
Lemmon.' Drew has the heart of Jack Lemmon and, on a good day, the elegance and
style of a young Cary Grant." As a result of the multiple viewings, Crowe relates,
"Orlando can do a mean Jack Lemmon imitation. But most importantly, he has what the
great actors have: heart and soul and humour and the vulnerability to put it all out
But the most important result of this take-home work was that it helped him get
into the spirit of those classic Hollywood films to which "Elizabethtown" pays homage.
"Movies like that aren't about the visual effects and explosions - they're human stories
about family, about life, about death. I think that's the kind of movie Cameron makes."
Many of Bloom's roles have required the actor to ride horses, wear elaborate period
costumes and master difficult stunt work with weapons and hand to hand combat. For
"Elizabethtown," the actor's biggest physical challenge was to lose his famous British
accent; Bloom plays his first role as an American in this film. He worked diligently on
set and off to perfect the accent and credits his ability to lose his accent in large part to
his dialect coach and to Crowe's focused concept of the character.
For the role of Claire, Crowe knew he would need a radiant presence capable of
becoming, in his words, "the soul of the movie, a character that is pure and simply a
messenger of love." As production began, Cameron was pleased to find that his
instincts regarding Dunst were accurate, noting that "she's finely tuned and amazingly
instinctive." Each new scene took him to new levels of appreciation for her attitude and
technique. "It was a blast working with Dunst," Crowe remarks. "There's nothing
wasted in her acting."
Dunst recalls, "It was one of the best characters that I've ever read for a woman
my age - it was so well written. It was just really easy for me to just slide into these
words." She was drawn to Claire's constant life perspective: "She's not self-deprecating
at all; in fact, she's very positive all the time. She's really just there to help the other
person - I can relate to that."
Claire is an airline attendant who takes her job very seriously. "She's the type of
girl who's there to make people happy and help people," says Dunst. Portraying an
airline attendant came easily for the actress as her mother worked as an airline
stewardess in the 1960s and 70s. "It's in my blood," the actress jokes.
Working with Bloom was also a positive experience for Dunst. "He has such a
vulnerability about him and such a sweetness. He's not jaded at all. He's just so easy to
be around because he's a dork like me; neither of us had to try to be cool with each
other. It was just so very easy."
"Kirsten's portrayal of Claire in 'Elizabethtown' is flawless and honest," says
Wagner. "Besides being a consummate professional, she is truly a naturally gifted
actress who dedicates herself to finding the unmistakable truth that brings her
characters to life. In Claire, she creates a unique individual - although we have not met
her before, we feel as though we have known her for years. As Claire says, 'I'm
impossible to forget but, I'm hard to remember.'"
Like her co-star, Dunst raves about working with Cameron Crowe. Both actors
tout his ability to make the set comfortable and safe. As Dunst describes it, "I've never
worked with a director who's been so involved in my performance. The tone he sets is a
very safe atmosphere and everybody is so supportive."
For the part of Hollie Baylor, Drew's recently widowed mother, the director chose
veteran actress Susan Sarandon. For Crowe, the Academy Award®-winning actress'
wide range of memorable roles in many different kinds of films made her the perfect
choice to portray the character described in the screenplay as "an earthy woman with a
restless intellectualism - a brainy seeker of truth and knowledge."
"Susan Sarandon is iconic as a movie star," says Crowe. "She brings a lot of
power. She has captured people's hearts - she plays characters that people bring into
their homes; they make a personal connection with her."
Sarandon says her part calls on her to be both strong and frail while she deals
with the devastating news that her husband has died. Initially, Hollie crumbles under
the pressure and enlists her oldest son to handle the details. At the memorial service,
she is able to gather the strength to move forward and begin to live a life without Mitch.
During production, Crowe became even more of a fan, noting that her scenes
with Judy Greer, who portrays her daughter Heather, have "magic to them. I can feel
the story of the movie in all their shots." Sarandon felt strongly about fitting the part
and becoming one of the Baylor family. When she first met Orlando and Judy Greer,
who plays her daughter, she looked into their eyes and stated with a laugh, "Yep, we
look like a family." The role required her to expand her already impressive skill set to
include tap dancing. Hollie has a very moving scene at her husband's memorial in
which she dances a soft-shoe number to the tune of "Moon River."
"When her husband passes, Hollie gets a little lost... but she's a strong woman -
she's going to get through it," says Sarandon. "I admired her resolve; Cameron wrote a
beautiful role and it was a dream to work with him. He creates an atmosphere
conducive to taking chances. And he was passionate about this project. I was proud to
be part of this trip and was grateful to be given the opportunity to unleash my dormant
tap dance monster."
Orlando Bloom's experience working with Sarandon made a huge impression:
"She just rocks in this role... she takes this sort of neurotic and terribly painful,
heart-torn woman and puts this brave face on it... she's strong and you know she's
going to survive... and get it all done."
The cast of supporting actors is filled out by a number of accomplished actors,
some well-known veterans and others talented newcomers. Alec Baldwin portrays Phil,
Drew's boss at Mercury Shoes. In addition to his many starring roles, Baldwin has made
a recent career of scene-stealing supporting appearances.
Phil runs Mercury Shoes with a confidence and serenity that has a distinct Zen
Buddhist flair - but it's an attitude that may not be completely genuine. "I think Phil has
been reading a lot of Eastern stuff. There's this self-conscious Asian, Zen-ed out quality
to Phil's marketing and his whole universe," says Baldwin. "One minute it's Zen
Buddhism and the next minute it's Sun-Tzu and The Art of War. For Phil, it's whatever
works - whatever gets that stock price up."
A mega-successful businessman who must make a very difficult decision, Phil
and Drew share an almost father-and-son like relationship - until Drew's new shoe
design brings complete catastrophe to the company. Phil then very methodically
explains that Drew must take the fall and fires him - all in the most
serene-yet-straightforward manner. "Phil is one of those guys who's defined by huge
success and an ability to be a good leader by bringing all his people into this world
"Everybody thinks they're working for a father figure, but the father figure
disappears quickly when he sees you identified with failure," Baldwin continues.
Baldwin had wanted to work with Cameron Crowe for years and considers himself
lucky to have the opportunity. As Baldwin puts it, "Cameron is such a wonderful writer
- he has such an honest way of writing. He is such a sweet guy - clear, enthusiastic and
adventurous and he provides you with that kind of environment where you feel you
can try anything."
"I'm a huge fan of Alec's," says Crowe. "Watching him is like cinema candy and
you can't get enough. I wasn't sure the part was big enough for him. But he sent me a
note after 'Almost Famous' and wrote that he was a huge Led Zeppelin fan. There was
Jessica Biel plays Ellen, Drew's girlfriend, who dumps him upon the ruinous
debut of the Späsmotica, the sneaker that Drew has spent the last eight years of his life
perfecting. The character of Ellen was a difficult task for any actress, as she must do
some outwardly callous things but still remain likable. Biel was honoured to join the
cast of respected actors and can't compliment Crowe's style of direction enough. "He
brings things out of you that you never thought were really there; it feels great," says
Hard working character actor Bruce McGill is Bill Banyon, a former friend of
Mitch Baylor who has a shady past and swindled Mitch out of a large sum of money at
one time; as a result, the Baylor family, especially Hollie Baylor, hates him. McGill has
worked with some of the industry's most respected directors and Crowe made it clear
that he wanted no one else for the part. McGill recalls, "I found it irresistible and I'm so
glad to have been in the film. I knew as soon as we started rehearsing that this was an
unusual project with a great depth of texture to it."
Judy Greer is Drew's stressed out sister Heather Baylor, who is forced to witness
firsthand their mother's grief and subsequent management of it. Crowe is a huge fan of
Greer's and, as filming progressed, he observed that her scenes with Sarandon had a
very special quality. "They make a great team - funny and deep," says the director.
After screening the film "All the Real Girls," Crowe chose relative newcomer Paul
Schneider to portray Drew's cousin, Jessie Baylor. The role is pivotal because, in many
ways, Jessie serves as Drew's interpreter and guide while he is in the midst of the Baylor
family experience. Jessie is somewhat lost in his life and ends up taking his own journey
as the film progresses. The single father to a rambunctious five-year-old named Samson,
Jessie has thoughts of reliving the former glory of his high school rock-n-roll band,
Ruckus. To give Schneider some background in the Louisville, Kentucky music scene,
Cameron sent the actor on the road with local band My Morning Jacket for a week.
Having played in college bands, he and the band bonded immediately. He was also
required to play drums, an instrument he was already familiar with and sing the vocals
on the seminal Lynyrd Skynyrd tune "Free Bird."
Cameron Crowe films are renowned for their memorable and talented cast of
characters and "Elizabethtown" is no exception. Crowe and his regular casting director
Gail Levin assembled one of the most diverse and interesting groups of people to
inhabit the world beyond the featured roles. The extended Baylor family includes the
Food Network's Paula Deen of "Paula's Home Cooking" as Aunt Dora. "She's a natural,"
says Crowe of Deen, who makes her motion picture debut in "Elizabethtown." "Gail
Levin saw her on the Food Network and was blown away by how personable and real
she is on camera. She just makes you feel good. Plus she's unflappable. Watch her with
her favourite guest, Jimmy Carter - she's amazing. And of course she's an amazing cook,
which is perfect for the movie - when you meet her, she's cooking and she cooks
throughout the movie. She expresses love with the food that she cooks."
Deen says that her character and her director were both perfect matches for her as
she made her motion picture debut. "I'm exactly like Aunt Dora," she says. "I try to
make my house exactly like hers - a warm, friendly place where the smell of home
cooking invites you in. When I got the part, I was nervous at first, because I've never
acted before - but Cameron created such a positive, safe atmosphere that it was easy just
to channel this part of myself and become Aunt Dora."
Other actors playing Baylor family members include acclaimed singer/songwriter
Loudon Wainwright as Uncle Dale and Crowe's own mother, Alice Marie Crowe, as
Aunt Lena. It's no surprise that Cameron Crowe tapped several actual musicians for
small parts in the film. In addition to Wainwright, the renowned singer-songwriter
Patty Griffin is seen as Baylor family friend Sharon and the fictional rock band Ruckus
is actually made up of members of My Morning Jacket and musician Charlie Crowe
ABOUT THE MUSIC
Like all of Cameron Crowe's films, "Elizabethtown" has a strong connection to
music. "It often starts with music when I write a script," Crowe says. "I have a notebook
I keep that's packed with songs that I want to be a part of the movie I'm working on. At
a certain point, the notebook of songs becomes twice as big as the script - I'll have 50
songs for one scene. But the best part of the job is when you get into the editing room,
you bust out the iTunes and you find out that the one that you thought of in the dark
quiet of the night is right." For "Elizabethtown," Crowe chose a soundtrack of authentic
American modern roots music and a mix he calls "The Great American Radio Station."
Paula Wagner notes that Crowe's mastery of music makes him a unique director.
"A filmmaker with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the music of his times, Cameron has
a unique ability to match music to images in an unforgettable way," she says. "He
chooses music that perfectly reflects the heart of the moment, as he writes about love
and loss, heartache and redemption."
But music is also an integral part of Crowe's on-set directing process; he uses
music as a resource throughout filming. Prior to the start of nearly every scene, the
director cues up a song that he feels evokes the emotion of the moment or that might
inspire the actor or actors to see the scene or their part more clearly.
The director was pleased by the fact that his lead actors came prepared for this
technique. "Kirsten and Orlando love music and soak it up," says Crowe. "They came
packing iPods filled with great stuff. Often our rehearsals started late because we were
playing each other songs." "He plays a lot of music on set - which makes sense, because
that is the way he writes," says Bloom. "He's got the music in his head... there is a
rhythm to it all."
The process began during the casting meetings. Crowe played a song he had
been listening to while writing the part of Claire: "It'll All Work Out," by Tom Petty, a
track from one of the rock star's more obscure albums, "Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)."
"We played that at the first meeting with Kirsten and it was perfect," says Crowe.
The song became Claire's theme in the final film. "I just got so emotional - it was such a
beautiful song," says Dunst. "It is so nice to have somebody who feels the same way
about music as I feel."
Another song that takes on an important role in the film is Elton John's "My
Father's Gun," a song off the performer's highly regarded album "Tumbleweed
Connection." The song plays as Drew sees his father's body for the first time and
reprises during Drew's road trip at the end of the film. "Elton John's album
'Tumbleweed Connection' is an important album to anyone who hears it," says Crowe,
"and 'My Father's Gun' is one of the real showcase songs on the album. The whole
album is, in many ways, Elton's own take on America and family and roots. It's HIS
'Elizabethtown.' So the DNA was there to begin with. I'm honoured he let me use 'My
Father's Gun.' It's one of my favourite songs and like Kirsten's character, it's a song that
starts out quiet and a little sad and turns into a celebration of life."
The musical heart of the film is the homemade CD compilation that Claire gives
to Drew to accompany his road trip with his father's remains. A long sequence featuring
many songs from several musical genres, the sequence literally underscores both the
emotion of the scenes and Crowe's wide-ranging musical taste and expertise.
In addition to the song score, several moments feature original music written by
Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson of the rock band Heart. Wilson has participated in a
musical capacity, as composer, songwriter and/or singer, on all of Crowe's films. The
pair also worked together writing songs for the fictional band Stillwater in "Almost
Famous." "Nancy wrote all the incidental music for 'Elizabethtown' - she's the full-time
musician in the family," says Crowe.
THE ROAD TO "ELIZABETHTOWN"
"When I was a lot younger and writing for Rolling Stone, I'd be in a place like
Arkansas or Oklahoma or Texas and fans would come up to me and say, 'Why doesn't
your magazine write about people here? Are you going to mention our city in your
movie?'" relates Crowe. That idea - to focus on people who live outside New York or
Los Angeles - was one more inspiration for "Elizabethtown." "I didn't want to write a
story that could only happen in a huge city that everybody knows. I thought, 'What
about the people in-between? What about the people in Elizabethtown, Kentucky?'"
Shooting "Elizabethtown" in Kentucky in the summer was extremely important
to Crowe. The "otherworldly heat and deep humidity," as described in the script, is such
an important part of the story that the director did not want to think about shooting
anywhere else at any other time. Almost all of the lead actors had never been to
Kentucky and the introduction to that environment set the tone for the film.
"Cameron's screenplay is infused with the references to a specific place: it
eloquently describes the bluegrass, the cicadas and otherworldly heat," says Paula
Wagner. "There was no question that we had to shoot in Kentucky: it was the best way
to be honest to the story. We were treated so well by the people there and hopefully
shooting in Kentucky further illuminated the beauty of the characters and this magical
Elizabethtown is a real place, 45 miles south of Louisville. The town itself had no
real significance to the project until Crowe began his research. He came upon
Elizabethtown and the name struck a chord with him. "I loved the name... and after
never having a title for 'Almost Famous' until the last minute, I wanted to say, very
early on, 'The name of this movie is "Elizabethtown."'" The town is also midway
between Louisville and Nashville, TN - a road that provides an opportunity for Drew
and Claire's second face-to-face meeting. "I really like that corridor of travel and I like
the idea that the two characters live along that road," recalls Crowe.
The crew spent six weeks in Kentucky, shooting some of the most significant
scenes from the film in the Louisville and Lexington areas. The production's base was
located in Louisville and immediately upon their arrival, the cast and crew warmed to
the city. As Crowe puts it, "Louisville, Kentucky is infectious... it is not quite a huge city
and not quite a small town - it is a young adult of a city and you'll feel its character in
From the very beginning, Crowe had a distinct vision for the look of
"Elizabethtown." He and production designer Clay Griffith used several artistic
resources to refine the look. They talked at length about the work of Norman Rockwell
and the way it depicts America and family; for Griffith, Rockwell was always the
In addition, the filmmakers were also heavily influenced by the black-and-white
photography of Robert Frank, Elliott Erwitt and Gary Winogrand. These artists all made
photographs in the 1950s, 60s and 70s that captured moments of America, Americans
and Americana that were the inspiration for many of the more poignant moments
Cinematographer John Toll was responsible for bringing this look to life. Toll,
who had shot the film "Simpatico" in Kentucky, was thrilled at the opportunity to
return to the area. "Elizabethtown" marks Toll's third collaboration with Crowe. "In my
heart, I know this is the one we were both most suited to make together," says the
The beauty of Kentucky in the summer came through on-camera and off-.
Throughout the location shoot, local people would gather with lawn chairs, cameras
and items for autographed keepsakes as they respectfully watched the filmmakers at
work. Everywhere the production visited, they were greeted with warmth, civility and
excitement. This response served to reaffirm the decision of the filmmakers to shoot in
After shooting several scenes in Elizabethtown, Versailles and Louisville,
Kentucky, the production began filming Drew's "Sojourn," the emotional heart of the
film and its climax - the road trip that Drew takes with his father's remains. The
production was pared to 100 essential members as crew flew to and filmed in four
different states in six days.
First stop was Memphis, Tennessee, where the production schedule dictated
shooting in three separate locations in one short day: The Arcade Restaurant - where
Drew samples "the greatest chilli in the world"; Earnestine and Hazel's Blues Bar; and
the National Civil Rights Museum, the last built utilizing the façade of and parts of the
Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. The Museum
(opened to the public in 1991) was built to preserve the historic site and chronicle key
episodes of the American civil rights movement in order to inspire participation in civil
and human rights efforts globally through their collections, exhibitions and educational
programs. Crowe had visited the Lorraine in the 1980s and had never forgotten the
The second stop on the Sojourn was Eureka Springs, Arkansas and Dinosaur
World. A sprawling 65-acre park boasting over 90 life size prehistoric replicas, Dinosaur
World was built in 1972 and billed as "The World's Largest Dinosaur Park."
The crew then travelled to Beaver, Arkansas (population 95), to shoot on a
beautiful yellow suspension bridge that runs over the White River. Built in 1949, the
Beaver Bridge is considered a historic bridge of the Midwest. The crew's arrival was
likely the most exciting thing to happen in Beaver in quite a while - with the number of
crewmembers nearly eclipsing the total population of the town.
By far, the most powerful moment of the trip was experienced at the Oklahoma
City National Memorial, built on the site of the Alfred P Murrah Federal Building that
was destroyed by a bomb on 19 April 1995. Director Cameron Crowe had always
envisioned this location as part of his story. The afternoon was spent shooting five
scenes throughout the Memorial.
The crew then flew to Scottsbluff, Nevada and the national monument there for a
series of interior and exterior shots of Drew in his car as he continues his road trip. The
sequence would be Drew's long-delayed emotional breakthrough... finally he would cry
over the loss of his dad. These were intense shooting days, days Bloom had planned for
and had come to crave. Crowe says, "The Nebraska sky is beyond words... it naturally
fills you with thought and a sense of where you fit in the big picture." The last shot of
the sequence is at sunset on a mountain peak overlooking the Platte River as Drew
walks to the tip of the overlook.
Bloom's experience allowed the actor to see more of the United States than he had
ever imagined and although he was impressed with every aspect, he still had a desire to
see more. He decided to forego the flight back to Los Angeles the next day and take his
own road trip home from Scottsbluff. "I just took my dog and we got in the car - just hit
the road." As the trip progressed, the actor was struck by "how phenomenally beautiful
and vast this country is." Upon his return, Bloom reflected, "It was an amazing
experience -a road trip of my own that helped with the character of Drew. It gave me a
bit of clarity."
ABOUT THE CAST
ORLANDO BLOOM portrays shoe designer and lost soul Drew Baylor, whose
father's death leads him on a journey to a new life.
Bloom, who had his first starring role in a feature film as elven warrior Legolas in
Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" has captivated audiences
and filmmakers alike. His appearances in the second and third instalments of the "Lord
of the Rings" trilogy, "The Two Towers" and "Return of the King," as well as his role as
Will Turner in Jerry Bruckheimer's blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the
Black Pearl," have cemented his status as a true box office star. He most recently starred
in Ridley Scott's crusades epic, "Kingdom of Heaven."
In 2004, he played the love-struck Paris in Wolfgang Peterson's epic "Troy"
opposite Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. Other film credits include: Gregor Jordan's "Ned
Kelly" with Heath Ledger, the indie comedy "The Calcium Kid" as
milkman-turned-boxer Jimmy and Ridley Scott's war epic "Black Hawk Down."
Bloom was born in Canterbury, England and at age 16 moved to London where
he joined the National Youth Theatre for two seasons and then gained a scholarship to
train with the British American Drama Academy. On completion of his scholarship,
Bloom played the lead in "A Walk in the Vienna Woods" and made his big screen debut
with a small role in the feature film "Wilde," based on the life of Oscar Wilde.
He was then accepted to Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and
chose to put his screen career on hold for the opportunity to further his education.
During his time at Guildhall, Bloom performed in several productions including "Little
Me," "A Month in the City," "Peer Gynt," "Mephisto," and "Twelfth Night."
Bloom is also currently in production on the second and third instalments of the
hugely successful "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise - reprising his role as Will Turner
for director Gore Verbinski and opposite Johnny Depp and Keira Knightly. He also
executive produced and stars in the indie film "Haven," directed by Frank E Flowers.
KIRSTEN DUNST (Claire) is the ever-optimistic airline attendant who enters
Drew's life and gives him a new perspective.
Kirsten Dunst most recently appeared in the romantic comedy "Wimbledon" as
young tennis ace Lizzie Bradbury opposite Paul Bettany. Also in 2004, she reprised her
role as Mary Jane in "Spider-Man 2," the blockbuster sequel to "Spider-Man" and
appeared in the critically acclaimed "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," written by
Academy Award® nominee Charlie Kaufman, directed by Michel Gondry and starring
Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet and Mark Ruffalo. In 2003, she was seen opposite Julia
Roberts, Julia Stiles and Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Mona Lisa Smile."
Dunst's additional credits include "Spider-Man" opposite Tobey Maguire; the
independent film "Levity" co-starring Billy Bob Thornton and Morgan Freeman; "The
Cat's Meow" playing Marion Davies in the semi-biographical murder-mystery directed
by Peter Bogdanovich; the surprise box office hit "Bring It On;" Sofia Coppola's critically
acclaimed and haunting film "The Virgin Suicides," with James Woods and Kathleen
Turner; "Crazy/Beautiful" directed by John Stockwell; "Drop Dead Gorgeous" with Ellen
Barkin and Kirstie Alley; "Dick" with Michelle Williams; "Little Women" with Susan
Sarandon and Winona Ryder; "Jumanji" with Robin Williams; "Mother Night" with Nick
Nolte; the Barry Levinson film "Wag the Dog" starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert De
Niro; Neil Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire" opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt;
and "Small Soldiers" with the late Phil Hartman.
Dunst has amassed a growing list of accolades. Her performance in "Interview
with the Vampire" earned her a Golden Globe nomination, the Blockbuster Video
Award for "Best Supporting Newcomer" and an MTV award for "Best Breakthrough
Artist." The Hollywood Reporter also named Dunst "Best Young Star" for her portrayal
of a teenage prostitute in NBC's hit series "ER."
Dunst got her showbiz start at the tender age of three, when she began filming
television commercials. With more than 50 commercials under her belt, she made the
jump to the big screen in 1989 in Woody Allen's "New York Stories."
Her career has not been limited to the big screen. In addition to a critically
acclaimed recurring role on the hit television drama "ER," she starred in Showtime's
"The Outer Limits" and "Devil's Arithmetic," produced by Dustin Hoffman and Mimi
Rogers; the telefilm "Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy;" the Wonderful World of
Disney's "Tower of Terror;" and Lifetime Television's "15 and Pregnant."
The actress recently reunited with director Sofia Coppola for "Marie-Antoinette,"
portraying the ill-fated monarch opposite Jason Schwartzman. She is also looking
forward to another reprisal of her role as Peter Parker's love, Mary Jane, in the
extremely successful "Spider-Man" series.
SUSAN SARANDON portrays Hollie Baylor, Drew's mother who begins the
arduous process of putting the pieces of her life together after the death of her husband
The extremely versatile actress brings her own brand of sex appeal and
intelligence to every role - from her fearless portrayal in "Bull Durham" to her
Oscar®-nominated performances in "Thelma and Louise," "Lorenzo's Oil," "The Client,"
and "Atlantic City" to her Academy Award®-winning and SAG Award winning role in
"Dead Man Walking" as Sister Helen, a nun consoling a death-row inmate.
In 2004, Sarandon was seen in "Alfie" opposite Jude Law, in "Shall We Dance"
with Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez and in "Noel" with Robin Williams, Paul Walker
and Penelope Cruz. She also starred in the 2003 CBS Movie "Ice Bound" as Dr. Jerri
Nielson - based on Nielson's real life survival story - and as Princess Wensicia Corrino
in the Sci Fi Channel Mini Series "Children of Dune."
Sarandon made her acting debut in the movie "Joe," which she followed with a
continuing role in the TV drama "A World Apart." Her early film credits include "The
Great Waldo Pepper," "Lovin' Molly," "The Front Page" and the 1975 cult classic "The
Rocky Horror Picture Show." In 1978 she played Brooke Shields' mother in Louis
Malle's controversial "Pretty Baby" and went on to receive her first Oscar® nomination
in Malle's "Atlantic City."
More recently, Sarandon was seen in Brad Silberling's "Moonlight Mile," with
Dustin Hoffman; in the comedy "Igby Goes Down," with Jeff Goldblum; in "The Banger
Sisters," with Goldie Hawn and Geoffrey Rush; opposite Paul Newman and Gene
Hackman in "Twilight;" in the poignant comedy "Stepmom" with Julia Roberts; in the
erotic farce "Illuminata," directed by John Turturro; Tim Robbins' drama "Cradle Will
Rock"; Wayne Wang's "Anywhere But Here"; and Stanley Tucci's "Joe Gould's Secret."
In addition to her many onscreen credits, she lent her vocal talents to the
animated features "Rugrats in Paris," "James and the Giant Peach," and "Cats & Dogs"
and served as narrator for Laleh Khadivi's documentary "900 Women," about female
The hard-working actress has made a career of choosing diverse and challenging
projects both in film and television. Her additional feature credits include: "King of the
Gypsies," "The Hunger," "Compromising Positions," "The January Man," "White Palace,"
"The Buddy System," "Sweet Hearts Dance," "A Dry White Season," "The Witches of
Eastwick," "Bob Roberts," "Light Sleeper," "Little Women," and "Safe Passage." She also
starred in HBO's "Earthly Possessions," based on the Anne Tyler novel and directed by
James Lapine; in the CBS Movie "Women of Valour;" and the HBO Miniseries
"Mussolini: The Decline and Fall of Il Duce" opposite Bob Hoskins and Anthony
On Broadway, Sarandon appeared in Gore Vidal's "An Evening with Richard
Nixon" and received critical acclaim for her performances Off-Broadway in "A Couple
of White Chicks Sitting Around Talkin'" and the thriller "Extremities." She also
appeared, Off-Off-Broadway, in the moving post September 11th stage play "The Guys."
Sarandon recently appeared in the TV Movie "The Exonerated," directed by Bob
Balaban. She will soon be seen in a musical comedy for director John Turturro entitled
"Romance and Cigarettes," starring opposite James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet and Steve
Buscemi. She will also soon star opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Seann William Scott in
the comedy "Mr. Woodcock." She was most recently seen in a cameo role, as herself, in
Martin Short's comedy "Jiminy Glick in La La Wood."
ALEC BALDWIN, who portrays Phil, the Zen-like founder of Mercury Shoes, has
received wide acclaim for his many roles in motion pictures, on television and on the
Born 3 April 1958, Baldwin grew up in Massapequa, Long Island, where his
father was a high school teacher for 28 years and his mother raised six children,
including his sisters, Beth and Jane. Alec is the eldest of his brothers, Daniel, William
and Stephen Baldwin, all of whom are actors in film and television.
Baldwin attended George Washington University and planned to attend law
school, when he auditioned for the New York University Undergraduate Drama
Program on a dare. He was accepted and in 1979 began what would become his
professional training. In 1980, he was cast in the daytime TV series "The Doctors" on
NBC and he has worked in nearly every venue as a professional actor ever since.
Whether in regional theatre or on "Saturday Night Live," blockbuster movies or
Broadway, literary festivals or television mini-series, Baldwin has always attempted to
balance his love of communicating with an audience with the demands of a motion
On Broadway, Baldwin recently appeared in The Roundabout Theatre
Company's 2004 revival of Hecht and MacArthur's "The Twentieth Century," directed
by Walter Bobbie, co-starring Anne Heche. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his
performance in the 1992 revival of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire,"
was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for the television
movie of that same production, won an Obie Award for the 1991 off-Broadway
production of Craig Lucas' "Prelude to a Kiss," and a Theatre World Award in 1986 for
his turn in Joe Orton's "Loot" on Broadway. He has also performed on Broadway in
Caryl Churchill's "Serious Money." Other stage includes David Mamet's "Life in the
Theatre," (directed by the late AJ Antoon), the Williamstown Theatre Festival and at the
Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbour, New York, where he performed in Ira Lewis' "Gross
Baldwin has starred in several films, including "The Hunt for Red October,"
"Miami Blues," "Prelude to a Kiss," "Malice," "The Shadow," "Glengarry Glen Ross,"
"Heaven's Prisoners," "Ghosts of Mississippi," "The Edge," "Pearl Harbour," and "The
Cat in the Hat," among others. In 2004, Baldwin received a Best Supporting Actor
Academy Award® nomination for his role in Wayne Kramer's "The Cooler." That year,
Baldwin was awarded the National Board of Review Best Supporting Actor honour for
"The Cooler." He also recently appeared in "The Last Shot" with Mathew Broderick and
Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator." Later this year, Baldwin can be seen in Jim Carrey's
new comedy "Fun with Dick and Jane," also starring Tea Leoni and directed by Dean
His production company, El Dorado Pictures, has co-produced "The Confession"
(winner of the 2000 Writers Guild Award for best adapted screenplay by David Black)
for Cinemax Television, "Nuremberg: Infamy on Trial" for Turner Network Television,
"State and Main," a motion picture comedy written and directed by David Mamet and
TNT Productions "Second Nature" co-starring Powers Boothe.
Baldwin is an outspoken supporter of various causes related to public policy,
including environmentalism, the government's support of the arts, campaign finance
reform, animal rights and gun control. He serves on the board of directors of The Bay
Street Theatre (Sag Harbour, Long Island), The New York University/Brennan Centre
for Justice Program Advisory Board, People For The American Way and the Carol M.
Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, dedicated in honour of his mother. He is a
vigorous supporter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and The
Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Baldwin is a dedicated supporter of the
East Hampton Day-care Centre.
He is a graduate of New York University (BFA, Tisch School of the Arts), 1994.
He has a daughter, Ireland Eliesse.
BRUCE McGILL, who plays Bill Banyon, has been one of the industry's most
recognizable and prolific character actors for more than 25 years - with over 60 motion
pictures to his credit. He was most recently seen in Ron Howard's critically acclaimed
drama "Cinderella Man." Prior to that, he was the villainous Pedrosa opposite Tom
Cruise and Jamie Foxx in Michael Mann's thriller "Collateral" - marking his third feature
film collaboration with the director following "Ali" and "The Insider." His history
working with Mann goes back to the mid-1980s when he was given a guest role on
Mann's popular TV crime drama "Miami Vice." He also recently starred in "Runaway
Jury" with John Cusack, Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman; Ridley Scott's
"Matchstick Men;" and the hit comedy "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde."
McGill first came to fame when he rode his motorcycle up the staircase of the frat
house as Daniel "D-Day" Simpson in the classic "National Lampoon's Animal House."
His numerous film credits include: "The Sum of All Fears," "Shallow Hal," "Exit
Wounds," "The Legend of Bagger Vance," "Lawn Dogs," "Rosewood," "Courage Under
Fire," "A Perfect World," "Cliffhanger," "My Cousin Vinny," "Silkwood," "The Hand"
and "Handle With Care," in which he made his feature film debut.
McGill has had an equally prolific career in television, garnering starring and
supporting roles in some of the most acclaimed television movies of recent years. He
was last seen as CNN reporter Peter Arnett in the HBO movie "Live From Baghdad."
His additional TV-movie credits include: "Path To War" and "61*" both for HBO and
"Running Mates" for TNT. He has also been featured in guest or series regular parts in
several popular television series including: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "The
Practice," "Home Improvement," "Quantum Leap" and "MacGyver."
Hailing from Texas, McGill earned a BFA in acting from the University of Texas
and began his career on the stage. He made his professional debut as a member of
Rhode Island's Trinity Square Repertory Company. Relocating to New York, McGill
appeared in the New York Shakespeare Festival's presentation of "Hamlet," produced
by the legendary Joseph Papp. This began a long association with Papp and the NYSF,
which encompassed roles in such classics as "Henry V" and "Othello." On Broadway,
McGill co-starred in the 22-month run of the musical "My One and Only." His other
theatre work includes performances at New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre, with the
National Shakespeare Company in Washington, DC and at the Kennedy Centre for the
With a genuine gift for comedy and an engaging on-screen presence, JUDY
GREER, who portrays Drew's sister Heather Baylor, has quickly become one of
Hollywood's most captivating young talents.
This autumn, Judy will reprise her hilarious guest-starring role as Kitty Sanchez
on Fox' critically acclaimed hit show, "Arrested Development."
She will then star in CBS' and Sony Pictures Television's new show "Love
Monkey," opposite Tom Cavanaugh. Greer plays Bran, a stylish, sweet, smart woman
who is a producer for a night-time news magazine show. Bran is best friends with Tom,
a laid-back guy with a keen love of rock and roll and an even keener eye for the ladies.
Tom hits a low point when he loses his record company job and girlfriend in the same
day. Underneath Bran and Tom's platonic friendship, there is a definite sexual
chemistry between the two and Bran thinks she might be the woman Tom needs in
order to settle down.
Greer has also recently signed on to star opposite Sigourney Weaver and David
Duchovny in the indie satire "The TV Set," which follows the making of a television
pilot. This comes after just finishing production on Paul Weitz' new film "American
Dreamz," opposite Hugh Grant and Mandy Moore. Greer recently wrapped production
on Danny Leiner's "The Great New Wonderful" opposite Thomas McCarthy. She will
also be seen in the independent film "The Moguls" opposite Jeff Bridges and Jeanne
Tripplehorn, slated for release next spring.
Greer starred in writer/director M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village" opposite
Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, Sigourney Weaver and William Hurt, which Disney
released in the summer of 2004. She also starred opposite Jennifer Garner in Revolution
Studios' romantic comedy, "13 Going On 30." The film was directed by Gary Winick and
released by Columbia Pictures.
Other credits include writer/director Adam Goldberg's psychological drama "I
Love Your Work" (debuted at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival), "The Hebrew Hammer"
(debuted at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival), Charlie Kaufman's critically-acclaimed
"Adaptation," "The Wedding Planner," "What Women Want," "What Planet Are You
From?," "Three Kings," "Jawbreaker," "The Specials," and "Kissing a Fool," among
Greer was born and raised outside of Detroit. She trained for nearly ten years in
classical Russian ballet and then shifted her interest to acting and was accepted into
Chicago's prestigious Theatre School at DePaul University.
JESSICA BIEL (Ellen), with her striking good looks and wide range of talent, has
become one of Hollywood's most sought out actresses. Her television series-acting
debut on the WB's number one rated show "7th Heaven" has helped her emerge as a
breakout star. Biel recently finished filming "The Illusionist" in Prague alongside Ed
Norton and Paul Giamatti.
Biel recently wrapped production on the independent film "London," the drama
that follows the warped relationship of two young adults. This film will premiere at the
2005 Montreal Film Festival.
Biel can currently be seen starring in Sony Pictures' "Stealth" alongside Josh Lucas
and Jamie Foxx in the drama about three pilots in a top-secret military program struggle
to bring an artificial intelligence program under control before it initiates the next world
Biel was most recently seen in New Line Cinema's "Blade: Trinity," in which she
co-stars with Wesley Snipes, Kris Kristofferson and Ryan Reynolds. Biel's other film
credits include New Line Cinema's Blockbuster hit remake of "Texas Chainsaw
Massacre," New Line Cinema's "Cellular," co-starring Kim Basinger and Chris Evans,
Lions Gate Films' "The Rules of Attraction" for director Roger Avary, the Warner
Brothers romantic comedy "Summer Catch," co-starring Freddie Prinze Jr and the
Disney holiday film, "I'll Be Home For Christmas" with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. In an
impressive display of versatility, Biel garnered rave notices for her portrayal as the
rebellious daughter in Victor Nunez' critically acclaimed film, "Ulee's Gold," with Peter
Fonda. Selected as the Centrepiece Premiere for the 1997 Sundance Film Festival and
presented at Cannes, the movie opened to glowing reviews.
As a child, she initially pursued a career as a vocalist, performing in musical
theatre. Starting at age nine, she starred in such productions as "Annie," "The Sound of
Music," and "Beauty and the Beast." A natural beauty, Biel soon turned to modelling
and commercial work by competing in The International Modelling and Talent
Association's Annual Conference in 1994.
After completing a year and a half of college at Tufts University in Boston, Jessica
plans on going back to school in California for the remainder of her college years. In her
spare time, Biel is involved with charities such as Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and
PETA. Her hobbies include ballet, soccer, running, yoga and hiking with her dog, East.
Biel currently resides in Los Angeles.
PAUL SCHNEIDER, who plays Drew's cousin Jessie, is breaking through as an
actor with starring roles in highly anticipated films. He will soon appear in 20th
Century Fox's comedy "The Family Stone" opposite Luke Wilson and Claire Danes and
was recently cast as a lead actor in "The Assassination of Jesse James" opposite Brad Pitt
and Casey Affleck. He will also lead the cast of the heist comedy "Live Free or Die."
Schneider was most recently seen in the romantic comedy "50 Ways to Leave
Your Lover" and in the satirical comedy "Crude." His other film credits include "George
Washington," written and directed by David Gordon Green; "Security Colorado;" and
"The Rough South of Larry Brown." In 2002, Schneider starred in and co-wrote the
critically acclaimed indie film "All the Real Girls," directed by David Gordon Green. The
film was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and Schneider
was nominated for a Gotham Award for his performance.
Schneider studied film editing at the North Carolina School of the Arts and two
of his films, "All The Real Girls" and "George Washington," were made by a collective of
friends that he met during his tenure studying film. When he is not acting, Paul attends
to his interview and photo series - a project for his website that consists of articles and
photo essays focusing on artists and their work.
Hundreds of patrons line up everyday in front of The Lady and Sons restaurant
in Savannah just to catch a glimpse of the owner. PAULA DEEN's (Aunt Dora)
bestselling cookbooks, hit show - the Food Network's "Paula's Home Cooking" - and,
most importantly, her personal story have become a positive force for millions of
Living with a 20-year agoraphobia affliction and a crumbling marriage, Deen was
left with two growing sons and no source of income. As a girl reared in the Deep South,
Southern cooking was in her heritage and the kitchen became her only hope. With only
$200 and her sons, Deen launched a home-based lunch delivery service called The Bag
Lady in June 1989. The business model was simple: she made the sandwiches and her
sons went out and sold them.
Two years later, with The Bag Lady growing too quickly to stay a home-based
operation, Deen opened her first restaurant on Savannah's Southside. Called The Lady,
within five years it also became too successful for a small space with limited seating. In
January 1996, Deen and her sons moved an operation that had started as tuna fish
sandwiches wrapped in saran wrap to a downtown restaurant in Savannah's City
Market. The Lady and Sons opened its doors to faithful customers, a celebrity clientele
and thousands of Savannah visitors seeking out Deen's world-famous fried chicken.
Deen self-published her first cookbook in 1997, The Lady and Sons Savannah
Country Cookbook. When a literary agent unexpectedly came into the restaurant for
lunch to escape a thunderstorm, she immediately saw its potential and bought the book.
A major publishing house soon picked it up and the following year, Deen began her
road to national recognition by promoting its sale on QVC television; quickly, it became
one of the best-selling cookbooks. In 1999, she published her second bestseller The Lady
and Sons, Too!; her third, The Lady and Sons Just Desserts, followed in 2002. Simon &
Schuster published her most recent cookbook, Paula Deen & Friends, in April 2005.
"Paula's Home Cooking" first aired on the Food Network on November 16, 2002
to rave reviews; the show was immediately embraced by the public. Her special, "Paula
Deen's Wedding," ranks as the highest special for the Food Network.
In 1999 USA Today awarded The Lady and Sons restaurant the "International
Meal of the Year" and a guest appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" triggered
hundreds of letters from women who took charge of their lives after watching Deen tell
Deen's deft hand in the kitchen, combined with her flair for dramatic touches, has
set her restaurants and cookbooks apart from any other. Her determination, hard work
and innate, warm Southern charm have done the rest.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
CAMERON CROWE (Writer/Director/Producer) was born on 13 July 1957 in
Palm Springs, California. He was raised in San Diego by his father, James, a residential
real estate agent and mother, Alice, who taught sociology and English literature at the
local college. Recognizing that Crowe was gifted at a very young age, his mother
pushed him to excel. He skipped kindergarten and two grades in elementary school
and, by the time he attended the University of San Diego High School, he was quite
obviously younger than the other students.
Crowe began writing for the school newspaper and by age 13 was contributing
music reviews for an underground publication called the San Diego Door. He then began
corresponding with legendary rock & roll critic, Lester Bangs, who had left the Door to
become editor at the national rock magazine Creem and soon Crowe was also
submitting articles to Creem, Penthouse, Playboy, Crawdaddy, Music World, Circus and the
Los Angeles Times.
After graduating from high school in 1972 at age 15, Crowe joined the staff of
Rolling Stone as a Contributing Editor and later went on to become an Associate Editor
for the magazine. During that time, he profiled such influential music-world figures as
Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Neil Young, Eric Clapton and the members of Led Zeppelin.
When Rolling Stone moved its offices to New York, Crowe decided to try his hand
in other artistic endeavours. Though he would continue to freelance for Rolling Stone on
and off over the years, he turned the focus of his attention to a book about teens
growing up in the late 70s.
In 1979, Crowe (then 22) went undercover as a southern California high schooler
to research his book on teen life. Fast Times at Ridgemont High became a bestseller and
Universal Pictures tapped Crowe to write the screenplay. Released in the spring of '82
and directed by Amy Heckerling, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" became one of the
year's biggest hits and launched the careers of such stars as Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason
Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Forest Whitaker, Nicolas Cage and Eric Stoltz. The Writers
Guild of America awarded Crowe with a nomination for Best Screen Adaptation and
the film became an instant cult classic.
In 1989, Crowe made his feature film directorial debut with his original
screenplay "Say Anything..." starring John Cusack and Ione Skye. Cameron's second
movie, set in Seattle, was the 1992 romantic comedy "Singles."
Crowe's next project, "Jerry Maguire" starring Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger and
Cuba Gooding Jr, was released in 1996 to enormous box office success and critical
acclaim. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards® including Best Original
Screenplay and Best Picture and Cuba Gooding Jr took home the Oscar ® for Best
Supporting Actor. Cameron also received a nomination from the Directors Guild of
America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film.
Conversations with Wilder, a collection of interviews with legendary director Billy
Wilder, was published in November of 1999 by Knopf.
"Almost Famous," released in September 2000, was the culmination of a ten-year
journey to put Cameron's experiences working for Rolling Stone on film. It was cited on
over 150 critic's Top 10 List's for 2000 and received six Golden Globe and four Academy
Award® nominations. The film received two Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture -
Comedy/Musical and Best Supporting Actress (Kate Hudson) and Cameron received
his first Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay.
Cameron's next film, "Vanilla Sky," a retelling of the Spanish film "Abre los Ojos"
(Open Your Eyes), starred Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. "Vanilla Sky"
was a worldwide box office success, with Cameron Diaz receiving wide critical acclaim.
Paul McCartney's title song was also nominated for an Academy Award®.
TOM CRUISE (Producer) has blazed a meteoric trail of success as an actor,
producer and humanitarian in an unparalleled career that spans two decades. A
three-time Academy Award® nominee, the combined force of his work on film as both
an actor and producer has earned more than six billion dollars at the box office
Cruise's most recent film, the international blockbuster "War of the Worlds," set
new career highs for largest opening day, largest opening weekend, largest single day
and largest total worldwide gross. "War of the Worlds" marked Cruise's second
collaboration with director Steven Spielberg; in 2002, Cruise starred in Spielberg's
futuristic thriller, "Minority Report."
Under the banner of Cruise|Wagner productions - which Cruise formed in 1993
with his partner, Paula Wagner - Cruise is currently filming the third instalment of the
blockbuster "Mission: Impossible" franchise, which has grossed over one billion dollars
worldwide to date.
Cruise made his feature film debut in 1981 at the age of 19 in the romantic drama
"Endless Love," followed by the critically acclaimed "Taps," co-starring Sean Penn and
Timothy Hutton and Francis Ford Coppola's "The Outsiders." His breakout
performance in "Risky Business" earned him his first Golden Globe nomination in 1983.
The role of Maverick in Tony Scott's "Top Gun" catapulted Cruise to international
stardom as the film went on to become the highest grossing picture of 1986.
Cruise followed up on the tremendous success of "Top Gun" with a string of both
critically acclaimed and commercially successful films, including "The Colour of
Money" (1986), co-starring Paul Newman; "Rain Man" (1988), co-starring Dustin
Hoffman; and director Oliver Stone's "Born of the Fourth of July" (1989), for which
Cruise received an Academy Award® nomination and his first Golden Globe for Best
Actor. In 1992, Cruise starred with Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men," for which he
received his third Golden Globe nomination. He starred in the legal thriller "The Firm"
in 1993 and in "Interview with the Vampire" in 1994.
In 1996 Cruise starred in and produced the blockbuster "Mission: Impossible"
which was followed the same year by Cameron Crowe's highly acclaimed "Jerry
Maguire," for which Cruise earned a second Academy Award® nomination and a
second Golden Globe for Best Actor. In 1999, Cruise earned a third Academy Award®
nomination and won his third Golden Globe, for Best Supporting Actor, for his
powerful performance in Paul Thomas Anderson's ensemble drama, "Magnolia." That
same year, he starred in Stanley Kubrick's final film, the psychological thriller "Eyes
Wide Shut," bringing a range of diverse projects from both new and established talent
to the screen.
In 1997, C|W received the Nova Award for Most Promising Producers in
Theatrical Motion Pictures. Since that time Cruise|Wagner Productions has gone on to
release a host of critically acclaimed films, including "Without Limits," "Mission:
Impossible 2", "Shattered Glass," "Narc" and "The Others." In 2003, Cruise and Wagner,
along with Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, produced "The Last Samurai,"
which grossed over half a billion dollars worldwide. Cruise's performance in the film
earned him a sixth Golden Globe nomination. "The Last Samurai" received a Producers
Guild of America nomination for Best Picture and was named one of the top 10 films of
the year by both the National Board of Review and the American Film Institute.
Cruise has been the recipient of countless awards and tributes, reflecting both
critical and commercial recognition within the industry and the broad popular support
of audiences worldwide. This November, Cruise will receive the Stanley Kubrick
Britannia Award for excellence in film from the British Academy of Film & Television
Arts. He was recently honoured with the MTV Generation Award, which celebrated
Cruise as the actor of his generation. And, in April 2005, Cruise received a David di
Donatello award for lifetime achievement.
He has been honoured twice by the People's Choice Awards and received two
Screen Actors Guild nominations for his work in "Jerry Maguire" and "Magnolia." He
was recognized by the Chicago Film Festival as the Actor of the Decade in 1993 and
earned the NATO/SHOWEST Meritorious Achievement Award that same year. Cruise
has also been honoured with two Chicago Film Critics Awards, for "Born on the Fourth
of July" and "Magnolia"; a Saturn Award for "Vanilla Sky"; a Blockbuster Award for
"Magnolia"; and MTV Awards for "Jerry Maguire" and "Mission: Impossible II."
Other tributes Cruise has received include Harvard's Hasty Pudding Man of the
Year Award, the John Huston Award from the Artists Rights Foundation, the American
Cinema Award for Distinguished Achievement in Film and the American
PAULA WAGNER (Producer) and Tom Cruise partnered to form C|W
Productions in 1993 and have been based at Paramount Pictures for the past 12 years.
The company has released eight diverse, groundbreaking films - earning multiple
awards, widespread critical praise and international box office success. Together Cruise
and Wagner have produced films that range in scope from the action blockbusters
"Mission: Impossible" and "M:I 2" to Cameron Crowe's "Vanilla Sky" and Alejandro
Amenabar's chilling supernatural thriller "The Others," as well as Robert Towne's
critically acclaimed portrait of the late runner Steve Prefontaine, "Without Limits," and
forthcoming adaptation of John Fante's novel "Ask the Dust," starring Colin Farrell and
Wagner most recently served as executive producer of "War of the Worlds," an
Amblin Entertainment/Cruise|Wagner production starring Tom Cruise and directed by
Steven Spielberg. Wagner and Cruise were also producers on Ed Zwick's "The Last
Samurai," starring Cruise and Billy Ray's directorial debut "Shattered Glass," starring
Hayden Christensen and Peter Sarsgaard. Wagner and Cruise are currently in
production on the third instalment of the "Mission: Impossible" series, a franchise that
has earned over a billion dollars to date.
Prior to producing, Wagner spent nearly 15 years at CAA as one of the industry's
top talent agents. Before becoming an agent, Wagner was an accomplished stage
actress, appearing at the Yale Repertory Theatre as well as on and off-Broadway. Also a
published playwright, she co-authored "Out of Our Father's House."
In 2001, Wagner was honoured by Premiere magazine with the Women in
Hollywood Icon Award and was featured the following year in Bravo's "Women on
Top," a documentary profiling top women in entertainment. She has been the recipient
of the Producers Guild Nova Award, as well as their Vision Award in 2004.
Additionally, Wagner is on the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Mellon University and
serves on the Executive Committee of the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television.
She is a member of the American Cinémathèque's Board of Directors and returns this
year as co-chair of the Hollywood Film Festival for the third year in a row.
DONALD J LEE JR (Executive producer), a native of Pittsburgh, PA and a
Cornell University Graduate, moved to New York City in 1981 and began working as a
set production assistant on such films as "Legal Eagles," "Wall Street," and "Someone To
Watch Over Me." In 1987, Lee joined the Directors Guild of America as an Assistant
Director and worked on several film classics including "Bull Durham," "Born on the
Fourth of July," and "Sleepless in Seattle."
His producing credits include: Executive Producer on "The Perfect Score" in 2002;
Co-Producer on "Vanilla Sky" in 2001; "Lucky Numbers" in 1999; "You've Got Mail" in
1998; Associate Producer on "Gloria" in 1997; and "Michael" in 1996.
Lee continues to reside in Greenwich Village with his wife Kathie and three
children, Brendan, Caitlin and Anna Grace.
JOHN TOLL ASC (Director of photography) is one of only a few
cinematographers to have the distinction of winning back-to-back
Academy Awards® for Best Cinematography: he won his first in 1995 for
Edward Zwick's sweeping romantic drama "Legends of the Fall," and his second in 1996
for his work on Mel Gibson's epic drama "Braveheart," which additionally brought him
a BAFTA Award and the American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding
His work on Terrence Malick's World War II drama "The Thin Red Line" earned
him an Oscar® nomination, an American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding
Achievement Award as well as a nomination from the British Society of
Cinematographers. In addition, the New York Film Critics Circle and Chicago Film
Critics Association presented him with awards for Best Cinematography and he
received a Jury Special Mention at the Berlin Film Festival.
Toll's most recent work can be seen in his second collaboration with director
Edward Zwick on "The Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise. The film garnered huge
critical acclaim and received a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in
Cinematography in Theatrical Releases from the American Society of
"Elizabethtown" marks Toll's third project with writer/director Cameron Crowe
as he previously photographed "Almost Famous" and "Vanilla Sky." He also lensed the
romantic drama "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." Among his additional credits as a
director of photography are Carroll Ballard's "Wind," Francis Ford Coppola's "The
Rainmaker," and "Simpatico."
Early in his career, Toll served as camera operator on some of the most
memorable films of the late 1970s and 1980s including: "Norma Rae," "Urban Cowboy,"
"Scarface," "The Falcon and the Snowman," "Peggy Sue Got Married" and "Black
Widow." His work will next be seen in "Rise."
CLAY A GRIFFITH (Production designer) started his film career as a set
decorator and quickly moved into the select ranks of that field to work on some of the
most distinctive and memorable films in recent years including: "Seven," "As Good As It
Gets," and "Sleepless in Seattle."
"Elizabethtown" marks Griffith's fifth film with writer/director Cameron Crowe.
Early in his career, he was fortunate enough to work with Crowe on his debut film "Say
Anything..." The association proved fruitful for both men as their relationship
continued with Griffith serving as set decorator on "Singles" and "Jerry Maguire."
Crowe then offered him his first opportunity as production designer on the filmmaker's
critically acclaimed "Almost Famous." His production design for that film garnered a
nomination for Excellence in Production Design from the Art Director's Guild.
His additional production design credits include: "Radio," "Sweet Home
Alabama," "Domestic Disturbance" and "Prozac Nation." Griffith's work will next be
seen in writer/director Curtis Hanson's Las Vegas poker drama "Lucky You," starring
Eric Bana and Drew Barrymore.
DAVID MORITZ (Film editor) marks his 2nd collaboration with writer/director
Cameron Crowe as he was co-editor on "Jerry Maguire." Moritz is also known for
editing nearly all of writer/director Wes Anderson's quirky and entertaining films
including "Bottle Rocket," "Rushmore" and, most recently, "The Life Aquatic with Steve
Other recent projects include "Second-hand Lions," "A Guy Thing,"
"Knockaround Guys," "The Affair of the Necklace" and "Town and Country."
Additional feature credits include: "The Evening Star," "Sleep With Me" and "Fifteen
Minute Hamlet." His early credits include associate film editor on James L. Brooks' "I'll
Do Anything" and first assistant editor on the films "Father of the Bride," "One Good
Cop" and "Dick Tracy."
NANCY STEINER (Costume designer) has worked extensively in film,
commercials, music videos and print. Her most recent efforts can be seen in Sofia
Coppola's award winning film "Lost in Translation." She previously collaborated with
Coppola as costume designer on "The Virgin Suicides;" and on the Air music video
"Playground Love" (co-directed by Roman Coppola).
Steiner's film credits include Miguel Arteta's "The Good Girl," Michel Gondry's
"Human Nature," Wim Wenders' "Million Dollar Hotel," Alex Cox' "The Winner," and
Todd Haynes' "Safe."
Her commercial campaigns include Levi's, Gap, Nike, Volkswagen, Pontiac,
Adidas, Earthlink, Volvo, Bacardi, Puma, Lincoln and Miller Beer.
In the past decade, Steiner has been particularly well represented on MTV,
designing the costumes for six short "Rock the Vote" films as well as for numerous
music videos. The latter include Mick Jagger's "God Give Me Everything I Want"
(directed by Mark Romanek), David Bowie's "Thursday's Child" (directed by Walter
Stern) and Sheryl Crow's "Steve McQueen" (directed by Wayne Isham). She has
frequently collaborated with directors Michel Gondry (on Björk's "Bachelorette" and Foo
Fighters' "Everlong"), Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (on several music videos
apiece for Smashing Pumpkins and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and Sophie Muller (on
three No Doubt music videos, including "Don't Speak").
Her print career includes work with Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Milla
Jovovich, Sheryl Crow, Sandra Bullock, Tom Hanks, REM and Sade and her work has
appeared in Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Dazed & Confused, Interview, Allure, Us, The
Face, Premiere and ID.
Next up, Steiner's designs will be seen in the comedy "Shopgirl" directed by
Anand Tucker based on Steve Martin's popular book and screenplay. The film, which
stars Martin and Claire Danes, recently premiered at Sundance and will be released
later in 2005. Her work will also be seen in "Little Miss Sunshine," starring Steve Carrell,
Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear.
NANCY WILSON (Composer) has been a prolific force in the music world for
over three decades. She and her older sister Ann Wilson created one of the first
formidable female rock bands in 1974 and saw the release of their debut album
"Dreamboat Annie" rise up the charts. Heart has sold over 30 million records, had 21
Top 40 hits, sold-out arenas worldwide and inspired a generation of female rockers.
The sisters formed another band, the Lovemongers, in 1991. This band gave them
a chance to get back to their roots and bring a new freshness to their music by allowing
them to, once again, play smaller venues and clubs. As the Lovemongers and Heart, the
two women have released several albums and re-releases and have continued to mount
successful live concert tours.
Not content to limit herself to world of the rock 'n' roll, Wilson began to expand
her musical horizons to include film score composition and writing and recording
singles for film. She provided additional music for her husband Cameron Crowe's
directorial debut "Say Anything..." in 1989 and went on to score and write two songs
including the theme "We Meet Again" for the Oscar®-winning film "Jerry Maguire,"
written and directed Crowe. Nancy also composed the entire score and co-wrote six
original songs for Crowe's Oscar® and Grammy-winning motion picture "Almost
Famous." Most recently, she composed the score to Crowe's film "Vanilla Sky" and
contributed the song "I Fall Apart."
In early 1999, Nancy recorded a solo album, "Live at McCabe's," released by Epic
Records that led to her debut solo tour earning high praise from the New York Times
among others. In mid-2004, Heart released their latest work "Jupiter's Darling." The
album has received positive reviews and widespread acclaim. Adding to her long list of
achievements, Nancy earned an Emmy for her narration of "Baby Wild," a multi-part
nature series on whales, otters and other wild life.
Wilson and Crowe have been married for nineteen years and currently live in Los
Angeles with their twin boys William and Curtis.