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"When we first find out that we have to die someday, I think most of us wonder what it would be like if we didn't," says Natalie Babbitt, the author of the classic book for children, Tuck Everlasting. "I think that happens when we're very young. I remember being that age very clearly - this was something I wondered about, and I thought I would explore the idea from that vantage point."

"Everybody asks 'What if?'" says Jane Startz, producer of Walt Disney Pictures' new film based on the award-winning classic. "'What if you could live forever? What if you had to choose between the love of your life and living out your natural life, going through the cycles of time, having your own children, seeing them grow and change?' These are the cosmic questions. And Natalie Babbitt framed all these in a Romeo-and-Juliet story with philosophical underpinning that could appeal to parents and children, teenagers and grandparents… I first found out about Tuck Everlasting through my kids, who all loved it - and they never agree on anything.

"Here it was - this simple, sparingly written, wonderful book, was in the pantheon of children's literature," she notes. In fact, written in 1975 and published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Tuck Everlasting has been a bestseller, on the American Library Association's Notable Book list for 25 years, named one of the most important children's books of the 20th century by School Library Journal, and required reading for many elementary schoolchildren.

Startz, who at the time was the creative head of Scholastic Productions, the film and television arm that she co-founded for the publishing company, Scholastic, Inc, brought the book to the attention of Beacon Communications executives. Startz had previously partnered with Beacon's Marc Abraham on the film "The Baby-Sitters Club." She discovered that within Beacon there was already a powerful desire to make the film.

"'Tuck Everlasting' is the culmination of a long and arduous process,'" notes Abraham. "One of my associates at Beacon, Max Wong, first brought me the project - I'd never even heard of the book at the time, but I read it and thought it was touching and powerful, in that it addresses a rare and unusual subject for a children's literature - death. And I agreed with Max and Jane that it could show children a way of looking at this mysterious and frightening idea."

"Tuck Everlasting is actually my favorite book from childhood," says Wong. "I read it in 1977, when I was seven years old - and at the time, it wasn't part of any curriculum, as it is today, but instead, a kind of 'underground' book that one good reader would pass on to the next. When I grew up, on my second day as a Hollywood intern, I took the book to my new boss - and it turned out to be impossible to get the movie made at the time. Fortunately, later, I was lucky enough to meet Jane Startz, who's been passionate about this project maybe even longer than I have. So I've been officially working on this project for five years, and unofficially for twelve."

While trying to find an "absolute, right director" to make the proper auspices complete, Startz went to see Jay Russell's film, "My Dog Skip" and "wept through the whole movie. I thought he had really captured a time and a place, a sense of atmosphere and a sense of loss and what it meant to be a child and grow."

"'My Dog Skip' was a very small picture, but it was a book I knew and Jay had made such a good movie out of it - emotional and poignant, but not sappy," says Abraham. "There's always the danger with children's films of oversentimentalizing, but he never succumbed to it. At that point, I knew we knew we didn't have to look any further."

"Of course, I'd heard of the book, but I hadn't yet read it," says Russell. "So I read the book, and immediately thought it was enchanting, magical, timeless… and that it would make a great movie. And the first thing I did was read the book again, and I thought it would be a very difficult movie to make. It's beautiful in its simplicity - it's poetic - and that's everything I look for, but it's also the most difficult to translate to film.

"The thing that intrigued me most was that though the story takes place in 1914, it could just as easily be 2002," Russell continues. "It's a time of technological and social change. Kids at the time were trying to break out of the mold laid down by their parents. They wanted to experience the new technology, to go out and experience the world for themselves. That describes the present day pretty well, I think.

"This is a love story between a boy and a girl," he notes, "but it also tells the story of the cycle of life and how it is all meant to be. I had not read any young people's literature that dealt with the life cycle and what it would mean to a young person."

Russell, together with Startz and Abraham, undertook a concerted effort to bring together the cast.

"We definitely had a wish list for our actors," notes Abraham, "And we were extremely lucky that each of them responded. I know that many of them were attracted to the project because of their children. Ultimately, I think they were also drawn by the strength and quality of the material, which was made all the more appealing by the fact that Jay would be directing."

Russell and the producers first turned their attention to casting The Man in the Yellow Suit (MITYS). "He's a critical character, and one of the hardest to envision, because he's very mysterious and because Natalie Babbitt has very specific ideas about him that she had conveyed in a drawing of the character for a 25th anniversary edition of the novel."
"Every fantasy has to have a villain," Natalie Babbitt explains. "The MITYS is based on somebody that I actually knew…a completely amoral, hugely powerful, completely selfish person. We are used to villains that know what good is and go against it. The MITYS does not concern himself with good or bad. The only thing he thinks about is what he wants, without regard to what it might mean philosophically or to people's lives."

Russell, Startz and Abraham's first and only choice was Ben Kingsley, whom Russell calls "truly one of our generation's greats."
"When I first met him, I was having tea at his apartment and I was just so intimidated," says Russell. "I had to stop the conversation and I said, 'Ben, I have to tell you, I'm scared to death of you.' And he just set this calm over me: 'No, no, no… we're all in this joke together.' I knew it was going to be a great working relationship."

Kingsley adds, "Every great, lasting children's myth contains a dark side and a light side…two faces constantly struggling for our souls. It's very pleasurable for me to breathe life into the Man in the Yellow Suit because he's an absolutely essential, dark part of the story."

Jane Startz relates, "We wanted someone who had a sense of mystery and elegance to him and who could be intimidating and play a villain with a lot of dimensions. Ben Kingsley has the intrigue necessary for a character that is so mysterious that he doesn't even have a name."
With Kingsley on board, director Jay Russell turned his attention to filling the role of Winnie Foster. Natalie Babbitt notes, "This is Winnie's story at a time when she is beginning to establish herself. It happens at the beginning of adolescence. She is a lot the way I was when I was that age, but she is braver. She has her own ideas about the way things ought to be and isn't afraid to carry out her ideas."

Jay Russell continues, "When I set out to cast Winnie, I had a feeling that I might never find her. She is in practically every scene. It is her movie. Alexis Bledel was the very first person I met for the role, and I knew instantly when she walked in the door that she was Winnie. Alexis has a timelessness about her. She doesn't belong to any particular century or any particular year."

"We were knocked out," says Abraham. "I'd seen Alexis, of course - my daughter loves 'Gilmore Girls.' After Jay and Jane met with her, they were confident that she was Winnie Foster. Alexis has an ethereal quality to her, and because of that, she can play period. That wasn't true with many of the actresses we saw; that's not a put-down, it's just that they bring too modern a sensibility or look. Alexis could be from any age."
"She has an old-fashioned, beautiful face. She's got the girl/woman look to her, which we wanted for Winnie. Alexis is rare because she can play a girl from the WWI period and you believe it," explains Jane Startz.
"Winnie's grown up in a strict environment," Bledel notes. "Her mother wants Winnie to be a somebody she's not - a proper young lady. So, when she meets Jesse Tuck - who's got a fantastic, live-for-today attitude - it's very appealing to her; she's never heard of anybody living their life that way. The Tucks take her under their collective wing."
William Hurt plays Angus Tuck. Jane Startz says, "Angus is a pivotal character in the story. He is very philosophical and has very definite feelings on issues of immortality."

Natalie Babbitt adds, "To me, Angus Tuck is the most important character. He is the one whose advice Winnie follows."

Startz continues, "We knew that William Hurt would bring an intelligence and depth to the character. We didn't want the Tucks to come across as country bumpkins, which is a danger when you have a family who's been living in the woods, virtually forever."

Jay Russell says William Hurt "is one of our generation's great actors. He is meticulous in his preparation. He takes every word that he says with an equal amount of seriousness.

"William brings a sense of gravity and an intellect that would come with a man who has lived for many years," Russell continues. "This is a tough role to play. I had all the faith and confidence that William Hurt was going to find a way into this character."

"I was totally absorbed as I read the script in my living room," says Hurt, "and that doesn't happen very often. So, when one of my sons walked by, he wondered what I was reading. When I showed him, he got really excited: 'Do it, do it, it's great!' So I did it.

"When I read the dialogue, I heard Angus as Scottish," Hurt continues, "and it was very strange, because that was Sissy Spacek's first instinct, too. She had actually taped interviews with a Scottish couple that live near her; she gave me a copy of the videos and we both watched these people."

Sissy Spacek was everyone's first choice to portray Mae, according to director Jay Russell. "When I think of an actor who embodies this character, I think of Sissy Spacek. She brings the warmth, the earthy emotional quality that is Mae Tuck. To me the Mae Tuck character is forever the consummate earth mother."

Jane Startz adds, "Sissy Spacek has the spunk, humor and pathos needed to play that role. Both Sissy and Mae have emotional balance and are warm and loving people. That just exudes from them."
"My twelve-year-old daughter said, 'Mom, you should do that. That was my favorite book in third grade.' The title alone sparks people who have read the book, children and adults - they just light up. It's a classic," says Spacek.

"Mae is a very joyful person who lives in the moment," says Spacek. "She finds joy in simply being. She is a very hopeful woman with a lot of faith and acceptance, and hope for the future."

"She's the hub of the family wheel," Spacek continues, describing her character. "She's a mother lion, defending her cubs."

It was the role of Jesse Tuck that became the most difficult to cast. "It took me months to find Jesse," Jay Russell recalls. "I realized after I'd met a number of wonderful young actors that a lot of them have a very modern feel. I was looking for a young actor who had a timeless quality. Handsome, yes, but not just for its own sake. I needed an actor who could be the handsome young romantic hero, but again bringing a depth and a gravity of a much older man. When Jonathan Jackson walked in the room, I got the sense that 50 years from now an audience will still be interested in watching his performance. He won't become dated next year or in 10 years."

Jonathan Jackson relates, "I love the fact that Jesse is very extreme in his joy of life. It's pretty rare to see that in people. I think it's a contagious kind of joy. Jesse's view is that he should try to do everything he can to enjoy being alive, and that includes falling in love."
He continues, "Jesse, like most people, has a natural desire to want to spend his life with somebody; to have a real companion. Winnie is his first love and the only thing that makes sense to Jesse is to have Winnie be able to stay with him, if she wants to."

Sissy Spacek adds, "Jesse is the most like Mae, but while she lives in the moment, Jesse lives for the moment."

"Jonathan was a very good match for Alexis," Abraham notes. "Sometimes, casting comes down to taking a chance and hoping that your actors have chemistry. The director can help foster that, but ultimately, it's in the hands of the actors. Jonathan and Alexis made it seem like they were made for each other."

Scott Bairstow plays Jesse's older brother, Miles. Director Jay Russell discloses, "To me, Miles Tuck is quite possibly the most interesting character in the entire film. Miles is the character who has experienced the tragedy, the loss of his family."

Natalie Babbitt adds, "Miles presents one of life's deeper experiences."
Scott Bairstow recounts, "Miles represents the pain and hardship of life. Whereas Jesse personifies all that's great and wonderful about living, Miles has a lot of questions, a lot of anger, a lot of sadness about his loss of love and the loss of his own wife and children. They all died. He had to live. His take on what's happened is tragic and he is bitter."

"I knew I had to find a young actor who could understand the tragedy. It's Shakespearean, at the very least. Scott came in, and in his cold reading he captured exactly what I was looking for in the part. He became very emotional in his cold reading audition. The words moved him to tears, and I knew he understood the character," continues director Russell.

But Scott Bairstow says, "The one question Jay Russell had for me was whether I could ride a horse. I told him I could."

Casting Mother Foster and Robert Foster, Winnie's parents, presented another, different kind of challenge for Jay Russell. "It was very important for me that the Fosters look like a family and that the Tucks look like a family. Once I cast Alexis Bledel as Winnie, I started thinking about who looks like they could be her parents and are good actors on top of it. Amy Irving was suggested and I thought, perfect. Alexis and Amy look alike and Amy is a terrific actress whom I've admired for a long time.

"Once I locked in on Amy Irving, I then thought about who could be her husband," Russell continues. "I've been a long-time fan of Victor Garber, particularly from his stage work. I'd seen many great performances of Victor's on Broadway and I thought Amy and Victor looked like a couple. They look like they would be Alexis' parents. I cast them as a team. I cast them as a couple."

Victor Garber explains about the quandary in which Winnie's parents find themselves, "The father is trying to do the right thing all of the time. Even though he has a sense of his daughter's individuality, it's a little bit alarming to both parents that she is so independent. In that period, Winnie's mother is very insistent that Winnie sticks to convention. The father is torn because he has to support the mother, but at the same time he recognizes something unique in Winnie."

Production designer Tony Burrough was responsible for the look of the movie and the design of the numerous sets. He began his undertaking by "visualizing the world the story is set in."

When Natalie Babbitt wrote the book, the setting in which she placed the Foster house was exactly like her family's weekend house in central New York State. With this in mind, Tony Burrough continued to gather his research and his thoughts about the specific people that fill the story.
"You try to think yourself into the way the people live and the style of world they'd occupy," he explains. He took into account not only what sort of house they would live in, but also how they would look and how they would behave in their rapidly changing environment. The year was 1914…just before the War. Gaslights were making way for electricity; horse drawn carriages were making way for horseless buggies and families of means were looking to Paris for the latest in fashion.

In concert with director Jay Russell and director of photography James L. Carter, Burrough followed his instincts to make the settings as real as possible, passing up the chance to make them more theatrical and stylistic.

He concentrated on not leaving out the slightest detail, "in order to give the director the maximum setting in which to bring beautiful pictures to the screen."

Both the Tuck family and the Fosters gave Burrough justification to create very busy, very cluttered worlds.

"The Foster house had a late Victorian, Edwardian kind of clutter, but ordered; a tidy showplace house where Mrs. Foster would show off her possessions," says Burrough. "The Tuck world was just a clutter; an accumulation of things they had acquired during a long time of living."
Additionally, it was important to Tony Burrough and to Jay Russell that the whole film would have an overall look that would blend the scenes together. Burrough's basic theme for this movie was that it takes place in a green-toned world because so much of it takes place in the woods. So green and autumnal, woody, natural colors are used throughout the interiors.

Obviously, this would be the case in the Tuck cabin that was constructed out of what the surrounding land provided since the Tucks are closely tied to nature.

Unexpectedly, finding the right site for the Tuck cabin was not easy. Both the director and the production designer wanted to find a location that might actually be undetectable by outsiders. After a time of searching, the task became a little daunting because every accessible location was just that…accessible. It seemed unlikely that any of the beautiful, woodsy locations they found would, in fact, go undiscovered by others.

Then Russell and Burrough were taken to a very little cove in a very little valley. Just beside the cove was a beautiful waterfall and in front of the proposed cabin site was a deep-water lake. They immediately determined this was going to be the site of the Tuck family's home.

Building a cabin in that hidden location was another matter entirely. The construction crew was intrigued and challenged by the assignment given them; "Build the Tuck cabin and a small dock right here and have it ready in four weeks."

The carpenters, painters, set decorators and greens men accepted the challenge, first building a slide on which to lower wood and other building supplies. They also put together some rope banisters to help them climb up and down the mountain themselves and they did so much climbing they all got physically fit in the process. The cabin and dock were completed in the four weeks' time allotted.

When filming began at the cabin, the slide was used again to lower some of the equipment. Additionally, a seemingly endless staircase was built to get both cast and crew, as well as the remainder of the equipment, about half way to the site of the cabin.

From there on, it was an exercise in making one's way across the side of a mountain on safe but narrow, hikers' pathways.

The Foster house also underwent a great deal of construction work before filming began. Fortunately, this house sat on flat ground. As previously determined the colors of the Foster house wallpaper and furniture were shades of green, naturals and woody textures and tones. Clear reds and blues were basically eliminated from the pallet.

"The biggest production challenge - and one of the most important decisions - was where to shoot the film," notes executive producer William Teitler. "Since it was set in 1914, we needed to find an area that was rich in historic architecture, but we also needed pristine wilderness. We considered, and extensively surveyed, various locations, including Northern California, Vancouver, Toronto, and North Carolina, but ultimately chose the Baltimore area. The defining moment occurred when Jay Russell and I saw the Victorian house that became the Foster mansion. We looked at each other and said, 'We have to shoot the film here.'

"When we found the town of Berlin, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, which became the fictive town of Treegap, and discovered the two-hundred-year old Oak Tree and surrounding woods of the Susquehanna State Park, our instincts were confirmed," Teitler continues.
The town of Treegap would be the one important location shared by the Tucks, the Fosters, and the MITYS. Treegap is a town where shopkeepers filled their windows with wonderful displays and filled their shops with everything a person would need for a good life. Foster Mercantile sported the town's newest addition; a gas pump with gas selling for 4 cents a gallon.

The exterior of Berlin, Maryland's shops and famous, circa-1895 Atlantic Hotel were era perfect. When changes were made in a structure's façade, they were based largely on photos found in the Calvin B. Taylor House Museum.

Unlike the grids of most modern towns, the streets of Berlin are all angled towards the town center. Just before filming began, modern light fixtures and signs came down and the streets were resurfaced with tons of dirt.
While the adults and young girls shopped, the town's young men played ball in the dirt streets, adroitly dodging the traffic, as city youngsters have always done.

Although some of the structural changes may remain, the dirt was removed from the street in just over a day after filming there was completed.

Costume designer Carol Ramsey worked closely with Tony Burrough to make certain that the period wardrobe followed the same basic guidelines as his sets. Like the rest of the movie's look, the costumes reflected the changing times. Fashion for the Fosters and their peers was somewhat a mixture of the soon to be out of favor Edwardian style and the newer Parisian look.

On the other hand, the Tucks still wore the simple, practical clothing seen on the less affluent people of the land.

Different still was the distinctive wardrobe of the Man in the Yellow Suit. Constructed in an intimidating, unforgettable shade of yellow not expected on a man of middle age, this somewhat dated wardrobe never changed, bringing with it an immediate tension to every scene in which the MITYS appears.

All of this was created by an outstanding assembly of motion picture artists and craftsmen to provide director Jay Russell with the background he would need to make "Tuck Everlasting" a special kind of story; one in which reality and mythology blend together seamlessly.


ALEXIS BLEDEL (Winnie) makes her film debut in "Tuck Everlasting," and only recently made her television debut in the WB Network's "Gilmore Girls," but the 21-year-old Houston, Texas native has already spent years in front of the camera as a model.

Alexis began acting when she was 8 years old, appearing in community theater in her hometown. She went on to perform in productions of "Our Town," "The Wizard of Oz" and "Aladdin," and later was scouted in a local mall to model.

She began her modeling career while still in high school, traveling the world to locations such as Tokyo, Milan, New York and Los Angeles. After graduating, she attended NYU, where she completed her first year as a film major. However, her college plans were put on hold when she landed the coveted role of Rory Gilmore.

For her work on "Gilmore Girls," Alexis was recently honored with the 2002 Family Friendly Forum Award for Best Actress in a Drama. She also earned a nomination for Best Actress Drama at the 2002 Teen Choice Award.

SIR BEN KINGSLEY’s (Man in the Yellow Suit) recent performances in both film and television have garnered him numerous awards and nominations for his work. He recently received an Oscar® nomination, a Broadcast Film Critics Award, as well as both a SAG and a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Supporting Actor" for his portrayal of the psychotic Don Logan in Fox Searchlight's critically acclaimed "Sexy Beast." Sir Ben also recently portrayed 'Otto Frank,' father of Anne, the only one who survived the horrors of the Holocaust, in the 4-hour Disney/ABC production of "Anne Frank," for which he received a SAG Award as well as Emmy, Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations as "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie." Kingsley was most recently seen in Paramount Classics' "Triumph of Love," starring opposite Mira Sorvino. This 18th Century comedy of manners, written and produced by Bernardo Bertolucci and directed by Claire Peploe, was released in April 2002.

Sir Ben was recently in Prague filming his starring role in Warner Bros.' "Sound of Thunder" for director Peter Hyams. The story centers around a game hunter (Edward Burns) who goes on a time-traveling safari owned and operated by Kingsley's character to hunt dinosaurs in the prehistoric era. When he kills a butterfly, he unknowingly sets off a chain reaction that will erase humanity from existence. From Prague, Kingsley traveled directly to New Mexico to begin production on Paramount's "Suspect Zero" for director Elias Merhige. This psychological thriller also stars Aaron Eckhart and Carrie-Ann Moss. Sir Ben will then continue his dedication to his trade and begin filming DreamWorks "The House of Sand and Fog" for director Vadim Perelman. This drama, based on the Andre Dubus novel of the same title, also stars Jennifer Connelly. Kingsley has also signed on to star opposite Russell Crowe in director Ridley Scott's "Tripoli" for Twentieth Century Fox which will begin principal photography in January 2003.

In 1982, Kingsley's extraordinary performance in the title role of "Gandhi" won him the Academy Award® as Best Actor, as well as the British Film and Television Awards for Best Actor and Best Newcomer. In addition, the film was rewarded with Oscars® for Best Picture, Best Director for Sir Richard Attenborough, and Best Cinematography.

"Gandhi" was followed by a startling performance in the film adaptation of Harold Pinter's play "Betrayal" which secured him the London Evening Standard Award for Best Actor. Since that time, Kingsley has worked non-stop on screen and stage with many of the world's greatest directors.

Notable highlights among his varied screen roles include leads in "Bugsy" in 1992, with Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, for which he received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor, "Searching for Bobby Fischer" for Stephen Zaillian, and "Pascali's Island" directed by James Dearden. He treasures his performances in Tony Palmer's "Testimony," Roman Polanski's "Death and the Maiden," Phil Alden Robinson's "Sneakers," with Robert Redford, Ivan Reitman's "Dave," with Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline, and his acclaimed portrayal of 'Ishtzak Stern' in Steven Spielberg's epic holocaust drama "Schindler's List." For the latter, he again won the London Evening Standard Award and a BAFTA nomination. The Spielberg film was winner as Best Picture and of six other Oscars. He recently re-teamed with Steven Spielberg as the narrator for Steven Spielberg's film "A.I."

On television, among other distinguished performances, Kingsley has received the SAG Award for Best Actor in John Schlesinger's "Sweeney Todd," and has portrayed Nazi hunter 'Simon Wiesenthal' in HBO's Emmy-winning production "Murderers Among Us." More recently, he was nominated for an Emmy as Best Supporting Actor for his role in TNT's biblical epic "Joseph."

Originally a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Kingsley returned to the stage at Stratford in 1985 to take the lead in "Othello," and again in 1997 to appear in Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" at the Old Vic, directed by Sir Peter Hall.

WILLIAM HURT (Angus Tuck) trained at Tufts University and New York's Juilliard School of Music and Drama. He spent the early years of his career on the stage and between schooling, summer stock, regional repertory and Off Broadway, appearing in more than fifty productions including "Henry V," "5th of July," "Hamlet," "Richard II," "Hurlyburly" (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award), "My Life" (winning an Obie Award for Best Actor), "A Midsummer's Night's Dream" and "Good."

Hurt is currently shooting the mini-series "Hanssen" for CBS, to air this November. In 2001, Hurt starred in the independent film "Rare Birds" co-starring Molly Parker and directed by Sturla Gunnarson. The film made its debut at last year's Toronto Film Festival. Other recent film credits include a supporting role last year in Steven Spielberg's "A.I." and a cameo appearance in April 2002 in Paramount's "Changing Lanes" starring Samuel Jackson.

In early 2001, Hurt starred in "The Flamingo Rising" for CBS. Based on the novel by Larry Baker and directed by Martha Coolidge, Hurt starred opposite Brian Benben and Elizabeth McGovern in the story of an eccentric dreamer who builds the world's largest drive-in movie theater across the street from a funeral parlor.

In April 2001, Hurt starred in "Varian's War" for Showtime. Directed by Lionel Chetwynd and produced by Barbra Streisand's Barwood Films, the film co-starred Alan Arkin, Julia Ormond and Lynn Redgrave, and followed the story of Varian Fry (Hurt) who rescued prominent European artists and more than 2,000 others from Nazi persecution during World War II.
In 2000, Hurt delivered a memorable performance in "Sunshine," opposite Ralph Fiennes. Directed by Istvan Szabo, "Sunshine" received three Genie Awards, including one for Best Motion Picture. In addition, Hurt also appeared in "The Simian Line" with Lynn Redgrave and Eric Stoltz and "Dune" for the Sci-Fi Channel.

In 1980, Hurt appeared in his first film, "Altered States." He received a Best Actor Oscar® nomination for "Broadcast News" and "Children of a Lesser God." For "Kiss of the Spider Woman" he was honored by an Academy Award® and Best Actor Awards from the British Academy and the Cannes Festival.

Among his other films are "Body Heat," "The Big Chill," "Eyewitness," "Gorky Park," "Alice," "I Love You to Death," "The Accidental Tourist," "The Doctor," "The Plague," "Trial by Jury," "Second Best," "Smoke," "Confidences a un Inconnu" "Jane Eyre," "Michael," "Dark City," "The Proposition" "The Big Brass Ring" and "One True Thing."

For radio, Hurt read Paul Theroux's The Great Railway Bazaar, for
the BBC Radio Four and soon to go to air, The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx. He has recorded The Polar Express, The Boy Who Drew Cats and narrated the documentaries "Searching for America: The Odyssey of John Dos Passos," "Einstein - How I See the World" and the English narration of Elie Wiesel's "To Speak the Unspeakable," a documentary directed and produced by Pierre Marmiesse.

In 1988, Hurt was awarded the first Spencer Tracy Award from U.C.L.A.

SISSY SPACEK (Mae Tuck) won an Academy Award® as Best Actress for her performance in the 1980 feature film, "Coal Miner's Daughter" for which she did her own singing, and a Grammy nomination as Best Country Vocal Performance, Female for her rendition of the title song.

Spacek's original career plans were to become a singer. Following her high school graduation, the Texas native moved to New York and began singing in coffeehouses and working as a background vocalist for commercials. Using the name Rainbo, she recorded "Johnny, You Went Too Far This Time."

When she decided to turn to acting, she studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatrical Institute before taking on her first movie, "Prime Cuts." She followed with "Badlands," for which Spacek was nominated by BAFTA as Best Newcomer. It was also on "Badlands" that she met her future husband, the film's art director, Jack Fisk, whom she married in 1974. Since then they have worked together several times; Sissy as an actress, Jack as art director or director.

For her portrayal of a telekinetic teenager in the 1976 film, "Carrie," Spacek not only achieved audience recognition but also received her first Oscar® nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

She followed with several small films and television movies until she was cast in the starring role of Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner's Daughter." In addition to Spacek's receiving an Oscar®, this performance also garnered, a Golden Globe as Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy, and Awards as Best Actress from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle.

"Raggedy Man," directed by Jack Fisk, was Sissy's next film and she received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Motion Picture Actress-Drama.

Spacek has since garnered four more Academy Award® nominations for Best Actress, for her roles in "Missing," "The River," "Crimes of the Heart" (for which she also received a New York Film Critics Circle Award and a Golden Globe), and, most recently, "In the Bedroom" (for which she also received the Golden Globe and honors from the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics).

Recent motion picture credits include "Blast from the Past" and "The Straight Story." Recent television movies include "Songs In Ordinary Time" and "Midwives."

Whether on stage, film, or television, AMY IRVING (Mother Foster) has left a distinguished mark of excellence. Irving first came to the attention of the film world in the 1970s, when she starred in director Brian De Palma's early films, "Carrie" and "The Fury." Irving went on to starring roles in "Voices," "Honeysuckle Rose," "The Competition," "Yentl," "Micki and Maude," and the popular film, "Crossing Delancey."

Irving's feature career is currently flourishing. She most recently co-starred in the critically acclaimed "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing," directed by Jill Sprecher. Irving co-starred opposite Michael Douglas in Academy Award® winner Steven Soderbergh's film "Traffic," and starred in "Bossa Nova," directed by her husband Bruno Baretto. Baretto also directed her in "Carried Away," and "A Show of Force." Other recent feature films include "Deconstructing Harry,"directed by Woody Allen, and "I'm Not Rappaport," directed by Herb Gardner.

Irving recently received critical attention for her recurring role on "Alias," and has appeared on the series "Law and Order: SVU," and "Spin City." She starred in the CBS television movie "The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics," and the hit mini-series "Anastasia."

In theater, Irving trained at the American Conservatory Theater and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She recently starred in "The Guys" for the Flea Theatre, which reflected on the tragedy of September 11. Irving received critical acclaim on Broadway in Arthur Miller's "Broken Glass" at the Booth Theater. For "Broken Glass," she was nominated for both the 1994 Drama Desk Award and The Outer Critics Circle Award. She has also starred in the Broadway production of "Amadeus" and "Heartbreak House," and won an Obie Award as Best Actress for her performance in "Road to Mecca." She also had the leading role in the 1991 Los Angeles premiere of "The Heidi Chronicles."

VICTOR GARBER (Robert Foster) knew from the time he was a child that starring on Broadway was his goal. While still very young, he went to the London Theatre in London, Ontario and began to take acting classes. His first role at the London Little Theatre was that of Tom Sawyer.

At age 15, he became the youngest member of the University of Toronto's Hart House acting group where he took a very intensive acting course, designed primarily for teachers. The knowledge and experience he gained there solidified his desire to be in the theater.

Garber was also part of a very successful music group, "The Sugar Shoppe," for a large part of his late teen years. The Canadian group appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" and "The Tonight Show," which gave him a professional introduction to New York.

He began to concentrate on acting with his first professional film role in the 1973 film, "Godspell." He was playing Jesus in a Toronto company of "Godspell" and the film's director, David Green caught the opening night. He cast Garber in the same role in the movie, filmed in New York. When the movie was completed, Garber stayed mostly in New York to work in the theater.

On Broadway he received Tony Award nominations for his roles in "Deathtrap," "Little Me," "Lend Me a Tenor" and "Damn Yankees." He has also appeared in "Sweeney Todd," "Arcadia" and "Noises Off."
In 1988 he received the Drama League Award as one of the Outstanding Artists of the 1997-98 Season for his performance in "Art" and the New York Outer Circle Critics Special Achievement Award to the ensemble cast of "Art."

As a television guest star, Mr. Garber has appeared in "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues," "Law and Order," "The Outer Limits," "Rogers & Hammerstein's Cinderella" and "Liberty! The American Revolution" and in ABC-TV's Wonderful World of Disney production of "Annie."
His films include "Titanic," "The First Wives Club," and "Sleepless in Seattle."

JONATHAN JACKSON (Jesse) was only 9 years old when his family took a vacation in Southern California and included in their itinerary a visit to Universal Studios. He became so interested in the whole idea of filmmaking that upon his return home he began taking acting classes.
When Jonathan was 11 years old, he moved to Los Angeles. He was cast in several commercials and then was selected from several hundred youngsters to play the role of Lucky Spencer on ABC-TV's "General Hospital." His first air date was in October 1993. He stayed with the show for five years, working 48 weeks a year. During that time he was nominated for six Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Younger Leading Actor. He received the Emmy three times: in 1995, 1998 and 1999. In 1999 he also won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Young Lead Actor and the Young Star Award for Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Daytime TV Program. That same year, he was also nominated for a Young Actor Award for his performance in the motion picture, "Deep End of the Ocean."

Along with his brother Richard Lee Jackson, an actor and musician, Jonathan has written several scripts. The short film, "Crystal Clear," which they co-wrote and co-directed, won the Festival Award for Best Narrative Short - Drama at the Brooklyn Film Festival as well as the Coen Brothers Directors Award for Duo Filmmakers. They have recently formed a production company.

When not writing, directing, or acting, both Richard and Jonathan play in their band, Jono and the Rock. Jonathan is featured on guitar and vocals, and Richard on drums. Playing mostly rock, they've been seen on the Sunset Strip and have several other appearances scheduled.
Among Jonathan's other television credits are "Prisoner of Zenda, " "The Legend of the Ruby Silver" and "Trapped in a Purple Haze." Other films include "Skeletons in the Closet," "On the Edge" and "Insomnia."

SCOTT BAIRSTOW(Miles) has built a diverse and impressive body of work in both feature films and television.

Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Bairstow began his professional acting career at the age of ten.

It was his highly acclaimed performance as a troubled child in television's "There Was a Little Boy" that jumpstarted his already growing career. His next television role, that of upbeat and optimistic Newt Call in the 1994 television miniseries "Lonesome Dove," and as a drastically changed Newt Call in the 1995, "Lonesome Dove: The Outlaw Years," provided him with opportunities to receive more acclaim as well as to hone his horse riding skills.

Bairstow's other television credits include "Party of Five" as Ned, and lead roles in "Harsh Realm" and "Significant Others." In addition, he delivered memorable guest star appearances on "The X-Files," NBC's MOW "Killing Mr. Griffin," and the TNT western, "Two for Texas." Most recently, he was a series regular on the CBS drama, "Wolf Lake"

On the big screen, Bairstow will next be seen in"Dead in the Water" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance." Other film credits include "The Postman," "Wild America" and "White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf."

Scott Bairstow, whose parents are both classical musicians, has now taken a more intense interest in music. He writes music, plays the guitar and sings, although he emphasizes he is still learning. While continuing to develop his own, unique style, he intends to intensify his study of classical music. He also has plans to direct and perform on his own music video.

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