Say Anything… Production Notes

Lloyd Dobler, nineteen, is a young non-conformist whose dream in life is to be a kickboxer. Then, one day, he finds a goal…Diane Court. Not only is she lovely, she’s brilliant, a bio-chemistry major who is the recipient of a prestigious fellowship to study in England.

Out of his league? His friends think so. Diane’s father thinks she’s too good for him and will eventually wound him. But Diane thinks there is something singular about Lloyd. He is caring and solicitous, and a pure spirit who chooses to view almost anything in the most optimistic way.

Then, things change. Diane, who has always shared an extremely close, loving relationship with her adoring father, James Court, begins to see another side of him. As she begins questioning their relationship, she grows increasingly closer to the ever-supportive Lloyd. While discovering her love for Lloyd, she painfully comes to learn that things are not always the way they seem and people are not always what she thinks they are.

An unlikely love story starring John Cusack, Ione Skye and John Mahoney, “Say Anything” is a Gracie Films Production which is being executive produced by James L. Brooks, produced by Polly Platt and directed by Cameron Crowe for his original screenplay. Richard Marks serves as co-producer and editor and Laszlo Kovacs as director of photography. The score is by Richard Gibbs and Anne Dudley.

Approximately four years ago, a mutual friend introduced writer/producer/director James L. Brooks and Cameron Crowe. Brooks recalls, “We simply liked talking to each other. My life is very chaotic, and very often you have conversations that have to have a purpose, generally a business one, and I immediately felt that this was a great guy to get to know. I really responded to the way he thought and enjoyed talking about movies with him.”

A short time later, as an outgrowth of Brooks’ belief that “writers should have a real voice in the way their projects are made and that they should stay with their projects in one capacity or another,” Brooks approached Crowe with an idea he had been mulling over about young people. Brooks, an ex-journalist, had followed Crowe’s journalism career and has seen “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” and “The Wild Life,” two films which Crowe had scripted, and he felt that Crowe had “a unique and legitimate understanding of young people. He sees things differently from everyone else.”

During that meeting, Crowe recounts, Brooks said to him, “Let me just share something with you. I was walking in New York, and I saw a beautiful young girl walking with her father. There was something about the way they walked across the street, they way he guided her with a slight touch of her elbow and the way they looked at each other, that was very inspiring. And I thought to myself, ‘What if that man was a crook?’ What do you think of that?”

Crowe found the idea fascinating: “It was an odd subject for me and something I would never have thought of, since I have such a great relationship with my parents. We speak all the time – they’re a big part of my life.” So he began interviewing young people who had problematical relationships with their parents.

Brooks and Crowe began meeting a few hours several times a week, talking together and slowly building the character of James Court. Crowe, whose grandmother lives in a nursing home, began spending a lot of time there and at other homes doing volunteer work and observing, much as he did for his book “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

James Court is a complex, charismatic figure whom people implicitly trust and respect. A very loving and caring father, he is also a successful businessman who manages to run a home for the aged with great humanity.

Initially, Crowe concentrated on delineating the father and daughter relationship. “I had wanted to write an adult character with all the shadings for a long time,” he says. “As for Diane, she was difficult to write. Guys are easy for me. They crack me up. Girls have always been more of a mystery. I had skipped two grades, and they were always older and more mature than I was when I was in school.”

“When I first met Cameron,” Brooks says, “he was talking about another screenplay he was working on and his discomfort about his ability to write woman characters. However, instead of avoiding the issue by saying, ‘Okay, I’ll only write about men, or I’m not going to confront this,’ he began grabbing every woman who passed and really talking to her. It was like a guy working out with weights to develop a more muscular build. Cameron tackled the challenge and has created a wonderful character in Diane.”

“Diane started out as a golden girl,” Crowe explains. “Then, as I began to develop her character, I realized that golden girls don’t really see themselves that way. What makes them golden, intelligent, beautiful, or whatever, is elusive to them. So I began to ignore Diane’s more obvious qualities and began writing about her feelings — how see felt about graduating early or being put in advanced classes, and how it feels to have everyone view you as being different when you’re really not.”

Crowe, whose mother was a teacher, had skipped three grades and graduated early, and he found a way to draw upon his own experiences and feelings and transfer them to the character of Diane. In the process, he has created a unique young heroine. In most Hollywood movies the stereotypical unobtainable girl is more often Bo Derek (“10″) than the beautiful, strong, intelligent class valedictorian depicted in “Say Anything.”

With the father and daughter in place, Crowe began concentrating on his third main character and eventually came up with a boyfriend, who evolved into Lloyd.

“One night, while I was writing,” Crowe animatedly recalls, “a guy from down the street, Lowell, knocked on my door. He told me he was a kickboxer and his family was under investigation by the IRS. His family had given him some money and sent him off to live in Southern California. He wanted to come in and talk, but I explained I was too busy writing. Then he came back a couple of nights later and started going on about kickboxing and how we was a scientific fighter. He wanted to show me his tapes. He had a wonderful mannerism: He always wiped his hand off before shaking hands. He lost most of his fights but remained relentlessly optimistic. That, to me, is truly heroic. I soon realized nothing I could create could be as unique as this guy at my door. So Lowell became Lloyd.”

If Lloyd Dobler is the handmaiden to Diane Court’s future, he is also the master of his own fate. “He’s a pure soul,” according to Crowe, “a man who represents a very specific point of view: Optimism is a revolutionary act. Life keeps bumping up against Lloyd and those around him, but he chooses to say, ‘Why can’t you just be in a good mood? How hard is that?’

“So many people view anyone with a positive attitude as being hopelessly naive, a Pollyanna. Too often heroes are portrayed as glum dark characters whom we’re supposed to admire just because they are so dark. I thought it would be interesting to write about someone who is shamelessly optimistic. There’s a certain power that comes from just blazing through the negativity that’s all around you. You don’t have to be Shirley Temple to have this attitude and energy.”

“Lloyd is someone with a very specific and unusual talent who meets a girl who seems to have no talent still latent,” adds Brooks. “She’s not only beautiful, but she has displayed a great deal of ability. As for Lloyd, I think his latent talent is his gift for loving someone, which is in itself an extraordinary ability.”

“Lloyd recognizes the importance of relationships, romantic and familial,” notes producer Polly Platt. “Even though Diane’s father has done something which she considers terrible, and even though her father dislikes Lloyd and convinces her to break off with him at one point, it is Lloyd who makes her realize she shouldn’t sever the relationship with her father. It is Lloyd who plays the peacemaker and impresses upon her the importance of family relationships. He becomes the bridge that will exist between Diane and her father.”

At Brooks’ urging, Crowe next wrote a ninety-page novella, which became the outline for the film, before tackling the screenplay. While Brooks worked on “Broadcast News,” they continued meeting and working on the script, and a search began for a director. By the time Crowe was polishing the material, Brooks suggested he direct it himself.

“I knew Cameron wanted to direct,” Brooks explains, “and one day I simply said to him, ‘We either have to top you or you should do it.’ And at a certain point, all of us came to believe that we couldn’t really top him. From the beginning, this has been a very idealistic way to make a movie. By idealistic I don’t simply mean that everybody loved everybody and that everything was peaceful. I mean that all the passions were about the right things — about trying to realize a moment and having the film reflect what Cameron envisioned it should be.”

“I thought he had the potential to be a gifted director,” adds Polly Platt. “I also enjoy working with first-time directors because they’re so open to new ways, ideas and stories. It keeps me open. Sometimes I feel that Cameron doesn’t have a dark side. The film reflects his personality: It’s decent, funny, vigorous, energetic and fresh because film is magical and picks up the properties of the people who direct it.”

When it came time to begin casting, the filmmakers immediately settled upon the much-in-demand John Cusack for the role of Lloyd. “John was our first and our last choice,” according to Platt. “Thankfully, we were able to get him to do the role. Not only is John a most gifted actor, but he is the only actor who could serve Cameron’s script. He’s very intelligent — you can see it in his face. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

“I always thought John had a Holden Caulfield-type quality,” Crowe adds. “He’s a wonderful actor who has been able to combine the humor and soulful qualities that the character Lloyd called for. I’d seen all of Cusack’s movies and I knew one thing: He’s incapable of playing a stereotype — there’s too much going on inside of him.”

Ione Skye was signed for the role of Diane Court immediately. “Cameron had shown me a magazine picture of Ione,” Platt recalls, “and my initial reaction was no, she’s far too provocatively sexy. Then, when I saw her in ‘River’s Edge,’ I was tremendously impressed. She came in and read better than anybody else. We tried putting off making a commitment so early in the casting process, but we were so sure that she was special that we went ahead and cast her anyway. We’ve never regretted it. Ione brings a fragility and vulnerability to the role which makes Diane more interesting. Without these qualities Diane’s perfection would be boring.”

“I had seen ‘River’s Edge,’” recounts Crowe, “and Ione jumped out at me because she seemed so real. Then I met her, and she dressed the way I imagined Diane would dress. Like Diane, she’s a subtle beauty. It’s a beauty that comes from not fully realizing how beautiful you really are. Her performance is haunting in the same way. She’s the girl who would send you through the streets at 2 a.m., just to see where she sleeps.”

The role of James Court, perhaps the most complex of all the characters, was the hardest to cast. “We had a very difficult time finding an actor in that age bracket,” Platt notes, “who could play such a demanding and complicated role. We wanted a relatively fresh face who you would never guess had a negative side. We didn’t get to John Mahoney until a few days before rehearsals began. He’s a wonderful, versatile professional. Once again, we were very fortunate.”

“John Mahoney gives a cutting-edge performance as James Court,” Crowe adds. “It’s amazing how often ‘Dad’ is still portrayed in films as a pseudo ‘Father Knows Best’ figure. Mahoney shows the many layers of a single father who wants to inspire his daughter without being a silver-haired authority figure. This, of course, brings its own set of problems…”

As a contributing member of Gracie Films, producer Polly Platt read “Say Anything” while it was still in development. “I asked to produce this film because it glorifies a lot of values I hold dear in my life and in my daughters’ lives. Diane is a smart and courageous girl. I was drawn to the idea of doing a film about a gifted young woman and the choices she makes. The film is a primer about love and how to love well.”

“I believe that the most important thing about this picture is that we have created a subtly different kind of young hero and heroine,” says Brooks. ‘What makes the hero so special is that he meets a spectacular girl, so spectacular that he automatically is willing to spend his life celebrating hers.”

“In reality, it’s usually the reverse: Women have traditionally served men’s gifts. Although this is something we don’t directly address in the film, it is something we all spent a great deal of time discussing. From a women’s perspective, Lloyd is an ideal man, a dream man. Not many men have the talent to be so supportive, especially when they are eighteen or nineteen years old.”

ABOUT THE CAST…

JOHN CUSACK stars as Lloyd Dobler, a free-spirited old-soul who falls madly in love with Diane Court. Other than wanting to be a kickboxer, he has avoided making concrete plans for his future, whereas she is a gifted scholar who is about to depart for London, having received a prestigious fellowship.

When Cameron Crowe initially approached Cusack about playing the role, Cusack wasn’t interested in even reading the script because “I wasn’t interested in graduating high school again.” But his agent and John Mahoney, who was then filming “Eight Men Out” with him, insisted it was a wonderful script and the part of Lloyd was a great off-beat character.

“I finally read the script and realized it was very well-written,” Cusack explains. “It wasn’t a genre piece, and I liked the character of Lloyd a great deal. He’s somewhat eccentric. He isn’t a tunnel-versioned urban teen preoccupied with sex, school and his job. I realized I would never be twenty again so I might as well cap off that phase of my career on a positive note. I’m glad I took the part.

“Lloyd is a great American character. He’s an individualist who marches to the beat of his own drum and trusts his instincts. He’s a guy who’s well aware of what is going on around him, yet he chooses to be optimistic. It’s a valid and interesting approach to life. It’s certainly more creative than opting for teen angst, which is boring and adolescent.

“Lloyd doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life, but he refuses to be pressured into making a decision. However, since he’s a very focused person, one he figures out what he wants to do, you know he’ll succeed. He’s got a tremendous amount of spirit, and he constantly puts himself on the line — whether it’s kickboxing or his relationship with Diane. He dares to be great instead of playing it safe.”

Only twenty-two years old, John Cusack has already appeared in twelve features since making his film debut at the age of sixteen in “Class.” His roles range from the glib but affable protagonist in Rob Reiner’s “The Sure Thing” to the sensitive and streetwise young man in “The Journey of Natty Gann.” Last summer he was seen in John Sayles’ “Eight Men Out,” in which he portrayed Buck Weaver, the honest third baseman who becomes embroiled in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. His other credits include “Sixteen Candles,” “Grandview U.S.A.” 9both were shot during his high-school vacations), “Stand By Me,” “Better Off Dead,” “One Crazy Summer,” “Hot Pursuit” and “Tapeheads.”

A native of Chicago, where he still resides, Cusack is one of five children born to Nancy and Richard Cusack, an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker. Encouraged by his family, at the age of nine John began taking classes at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston, IL., and continued working with them over a ten-year period, honing his acting and improvisational skills. He also began appearing in industrial films and commercials, where he “cornered the twelve-year-old market for voice-overs.”

While attending Evanston Township High School and the Chicago Academy of the Performing Arts, he appeared in school productions and wrote and staged two musical comedies that were later aired on local cable television. In 1984 he wrote and directed an award-winning program for the Chicago NBC-TV affiliate and produced the Chicago stage production of “The Day They Shot John Lennon.”

Since completing “Say Anything,” he has directed a production of “Alagazam… After The Dog Wars” at the Blind Parrot Theatre in Chicago.

Diane Court, a beautiful, independent, gifted scholar, is portrayed by IONE SKYE. Chosen high-school valedictorian of her graduating class, she is universally perceived as unobtainable, when in reality she has been isolated by a focused dedication to her studies and an over-protective father. Then, the summer before her departure for England, where she has received a coveted fellowship, she falls in love with the unlikely Lloyd Dobler and learns that her father is not the man she thought he was.

“Whenever I am performing a role, I always think I’m exactly like my character,” notes Skye. “Then as soon as I step away from the role, I realize I’m not. Diane is a bit more trusting than I am. I understand that people will let you down. It isn’t that I am hardened — I’m very open to loving people and having people love me. I’m just a bit more cautious. I wasn’t as academically oriented as Diane. However, like Diane, by choice, I was very much a loner at school. I’ve also always been comfortable with adults, because when I was little my mother would have guests over, and as they sat around and talked, I was always in the room listening or writing.

“Diane is also stronger than I am. She makes her decisions independent of other people. It isn’t that she doesn’t care about others, but she trusts her own instincts. As I grow older, I feel I’m getting stronger. Maybe I’ve learned something from playing this role.

“Diane is rather isolated. People treat her differently — because she is so gifted and focused, they tend to view her as being unavailable. Her father reinforces this as well. However, Diane doesn’t think she’s better than her classmates. She’s just busy with other things. She is close to her father, studies, spends a lot of time working with the elderly at the senior home her father runs, and usually goes out with older college boys. When she starts seeing Lloyd, he’s a catalyst. He brings her into another world. He’s also a true friend who makes her incredibly happy and makes her realize she has the ability to love.”

At sixteen, Skye made an impressive film debut in Tim Hunter’s controversial “River’s Edge” as Clarissa, a girl who defies pressure and seeks her own path. For a second film, “A Night In The Life Of Jimmy Reardon,” she portrayed Denise, a wealthy, snobby, manipulative tease who regularly spends Saturday afternoon trysting with Jimmy, played by River Phoenix. In “Stranded,” she plays Maureen O’Sullivan’s granddaughter, a girl who befriends extraterrestrials and tries to protect them from a hostile community. She has also appeared in the miniseries “Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story,” as Napoleon’s youngest and favorite sister Pauline. Last September, she filmed “The Rachel Papers,” in which she plays the title role, in London, with Damian Harris directing.

The daughter of folksinger Donovan Leitch and a former model, the eighteen-year-old actress was born in London and lived in San Francisco and Connecticut before moving to Los Angeles at the age of seven with her mother and brother (young actor Donovan Leitch). She attended Los Angeles Immaculate Heart High School, where she excelled in science and history. When she’s not busy performing, she enjoys writing short stories and draws.

There was a time in Skye’s childhood when she recalls coming home from school and repeatedly listening to and singing the lyrics from “West Side Story.” “Although I imagined I would love to act or sing or dance, I never pursued it,” she says. Then a friend of her mother’s invited her to pose for a fashion spread that ran in the L.A. Weekly. Director Tim Hunter noticed her in the lay-out, and she was soon cast in “River’s Edge,” her first acting experience.

In the role of James Court, Diane’s father, is JOHN MAHONEY. A complex man, Court is seemingly a perfect parent who is very protective of his daughter and her brilliant future. His concern for those around him also extends to the elderly whom he cares for with great compassion at the nursing home he owns. Yet his sense of self-righteousness ultimately leads him astray.

“James Court is a fascinating, amoral character,” Mahoney notes. “He never realizes or accepts that he’s done anything wrong. When he’s confronted with the terrible things he’s done, he merely rationalizes them away. He really believes he’s providing these elderly people with a way of life they can’t get anywhere else. Consequently, he feels that he has the right to choose how he is to be repaid for that service. I truly believer he really had the best intentions in the world of providing a good life for these people, but it got to a point where he became dependent on the money he was taking from them to do that.

“I liked the film because the script was well-written and provocative. It’s unusual to find a story about young people treating older people with respect and affection. There’s a tendency to lump older people into an undesirable category and treat them as though they’re idiots, but this film treats all of the elderly residents with dignity.”

British-born actor John Mahoney, although a latecomer to acting, has compiled an impressive array of stage and screen credits in a very short time. On screen, he has recently appeared in “Eight Men Out” (with John Cusack) as William “Kid” Gleason, the tough but fair Chicago White Sox manager, and in “Betrayed” as Shortly, a sympathetic farmer who is also a racist. Prior to these roles he played an ineffectual protocol officer at the American Embassy in Paris in “Frantic” and an amorous college professor who wanders into the life of Olympia Dukakis in “Moonstruck.” His earlier screen credits include “Code of Silence” (which marked his film debut), “The Manhattan Project,” “Streets of Gold,” “Tin Men” and “Suspect.” Since completing “Say Anything,” he filmed Bud Yorkin’s “Love Hurts,” in which he stars at Jeff Daniel’s father.

Born in Manchester, England, Mahoney developed an early interest in the stage, performing the classics with the Stratford Children’s Theatre between the ages of ten and thirteen. After graduating high school, he was briefly associated with the Birmingham Repertory Company. Upon moving to the United States at nineteen, he served a stint in the Army and taught English at Western Illinois University. Then, at 35, after a successful career as an editor of medical journals in Chicago, he decided to change careers and pursue his early love, theatre. He enrolled in classes at Chicago’s St. Nicholas Theatre, where David Mamet was then a moving force, and landed his first professional role in the world premiere of Mamet’s “The Water Engine.” His appearance in “Ashes,” with John Malkovich, led to his membership in Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre. And despite his subsequent successes in film and on the New York stage, he still regularly returns to work with the company.

A consummate stage actor, Mahoney has appeared in over thirty productions at the Steppenwolf Theatre and has been nominated three times for Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award for his work in “The Hothouse,” “Taking Steps” and “Death Of A Salesman.” His New York debut in 1985, as Harold in the off-Broadway production of “Orphans,” brought him a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk nomination. The following year he made his Broadway debut in “The House of Blue Leaves,” winning a Tony, the Clarence Derwent Award and a Drama Desk nomination for his performance as Artie.

For television, Mahoney’s credits include “Chicago Story,” “The Killing Floor,” “First Step,” “Lady Blue” and “Prisoner Of Silence.”

LOIS CHILES portrays Mrs. Court, a stylish woman who lost custody of her daughter, Diane, when she left her husband, James, for a younger man. Diane turns to her when she becomes disillusioned with her father.

Texas born and raise, Chiles attended the University of Texas at San Antonio before transferring to Finch College in New York. Introduced to modeling by a friend, she spent two years with the prestigious Wilhelmina Agency, but not content with a career in modeling, she began studying acting. Most recently seen in James L. Brooks’ “Broadcast News” as Jennifer Mack, she made her film debut in “The Way We Were” as Robert Redford’s girlfriend and went on to star in “The Great Gatsby,” “Coma,” “Death On The Nile,” “Moonraker” and “Sweet Liberty.” Upon completing “Say Anything,” she filmed “Twister,” directed by Michael Almereyda.

For television, Chiles appeared on “Dallas” for one season as temptress Holly Harwood, an oil heiress involved with J.R. Ewing, and “Table at Ciro’s,” a segment of PBS’s “Tales of the Hollywood Hills.” On stage, she appeared in Los Angeles in the Ahmanson Theatre’s 1988 production of “The Best Man,” directed by Jose Ferrer; the Coconut Grove Playhouse’s “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” also directed by Ferrer, and New York’s off-Broadway WPA Theatre’s “The Incredibly Famous Willy Rivers.” She has studied acting with Sandy Meisner, Sandra Seacat and Milton Katselas, among others.

In the role of Constance is JOAN CUSACK. She plays Lloyd’s older sister, a harried, somewhat embittered single parent, who ultimately becomes a sympathetic supporter of her brother’s seemingly hopeless relationship with Diane.

Raised in Evanston, IL., Cusack began her training at the Piven Theatre Workshop. At sixteen, she made her feature debut in “My Bodyguard” and followed with “Class,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Grandview U.S.A.” At eighteen she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, where she majored in history, and while working toward her degree became active with The Ark, an improvisational comedy group based in Madison. After a post-graduate trip to Europe, she auditioned for “Saturday Night Live” and joined the SNL company during its 1985-1986 season.

Since departing SNL, she has appeared in “Broadcast News” (as harried assistant director Blair Litton), “Stars and Bars,” “Married to the Mob,” “Working Girl” and the upcoming “Men Don’t Leave,” directed by Paul Brickman. Since completing “Say Anything,” she has also appeared on stage in New York in Cafe Le Mama’s “The Road.”

Although Cusack and her brother John have appeared in several of the same films — “Class,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Grandview U.S.A.” — this is the first time they will play scenes together.

LILI TAYLOR plays Corey Flood, a gifted musician, who is one of Lloyd Dobler’s best friends. A native of Glencoe, Illinois, the 22-year-old actress attended New Trier High School and spent a year at the Goodman Theatre School of De Paul, in Chicago, before making her professional debut at eighteen in Del Close’s “No Laughing Matter,” a one-hour television special. She followed with roles in “Bing and Walker” at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre, the television film “Night of Courage,” and the Actors Theatre of Louisville productions of “The Love Talker” and “Fun.” In May 1987 she went to Czechoslovakia with the Actors Theatre and participated in The American Theatre Today Exhibition performing the monologue “Talking With” from “Clear Glass Marbles.”

Taylor made her film debut this fall in “Mystic Pizza,” as Jojo Barboza, the feisty bride-to-be who faints at the altar and backs out of her impending marriage. After this project, she participated in a two-week workshop with John Cusack, Tim Robbins and other members of the Actor’s Gang of Los Angeles, perfecting commedia technique. This fall she appeared on stage at New York’s Public Theatre production of “What Did He Say?”, directed by Richard Foreman.

In the role of Joe, Corey’s obliviously callow ex-boyfriend, is LOREN DEAN. The nineteen-year-old actor made his feature debut in Martha Coolidge’s “Plain Clothes,” as Arliss Howard’s younger brother. Born in California, he was raised in New York and Los Angeles, before settling in New York at seventeen to seriously pursue theatrical studies at HB Studios with Herbert Bergoff and Uta Hagen. Dean began performing in school productions at an early age and is also a gifted musician who plays piano and composes music.

AMY BROOKS portrays D.C., the somewhat introverted mediator between her close friends Corey and Lloyd. The seventeen-year-old native Californian made her film debut in “Broadcast News” as Ellie Merriman, the daughter of the TV station’s managing editor. Currently a senior at Los Angeles’ Newbridge School, she has been interested in acting since early childhood. While attending Beverly Hills High School, she participated in their theatre program and won various student awards in city-wide competitions.

In the role of unctuous IRS Agent, Stewart, is RICHARD PORTNOW. The bi-coastal actor was born and raised in Brooklyn and graduated from Brooklyn College, where he majored in speech and theatre. Since his feature debut in 1981′s “Roadie,” he appeared in “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Radio Days,” “Tin Men,” “The Squeeze,” “Weeds,” “Hiding Out,” “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “In Dangerous Company,” “Twins” and “Life On The Edge.”

His television credits include “Dear John,” “Wiseguy,” “Hooperman,” “Perry Mason: The Case of the Missing Madam,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The House of Blue Leaves” (in which he and John Mahoney reprised their Broadway roles for PBS), “Almost Partners,” “Courage,” “Tales From the Darkside” and “The Equalizer,”

On stage, he has appeared in the Broadway productions of “A Month of Sundays” and “The House of Blue Leaves.” He is an original member of the La Mama Ensemble and has participated in such off-Broadway productions as “The Chopin Playoff,” “Bleacher Bums,” “Merton of the Movies” and “Szechuan Dynasty.” His regional theatre work includes the Long Wharf’s “A Grand Romance,” the Berkshire Theatre Festival’s “Sabrina Fair” and “A Loss of Roses,” “Cleveland’s Playhouse in the Park’s “The Dresser,” and the Philadelphia Drama Guild’s “The Front Page.” he also appeared in the original production of “Moonchildren” at London’s Royal Court Theatre.

BEBE NEUWIRTH makes her feature debut as Mrs. Evans, a tenacious high-school counselor who tries to pressure John Cusack into attending college. Currently in her third season as the long-winded psychotherapist Dr. Lilith Sternin on “Cheers,” she won a Tony in 1986 for her performance as the prostitute Nicky in “Sweet Charity.” Her other Broadway credits include “A Chorus Line,” “Dancin’” and “Little Me.” She also toured internationally with “A Chorus Line” and “West Side Story.” Off-Broadway, she appeared in Martin Charnin’s “Upstairs at O’Neil’s.”

JEREMY PIVEN plays Mark, a rather raucous classmate of Lloyd’s. Piven was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, where his parents, Byrne and Joyce Piven, co-founded and run the Piven Theatre Workshop, which has produced such young talents as John and Joan Cusack, Aidan Quinn, Rosanna Arquette and Jami Gertz. A longtime member of the Young People’s Company at the Piven Theatre Workshop, Jeremy began studying there at the age of eight and has appeared in numerous productions there, including the Emmy Award-winning series “Ready Or Not,” a local program which ran on Chicago’s NBC affiliate. He also studied theatre at Drake University, New York University, London’s National Theatre and the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. Piven made his feature debut in “Lucas” and followed with roles in “One Crazy Summer” and the upcoming “Major League,” directed by David Ward. A former member of Second City’s National Touring Company, he numbers among his other stage credits the Actors’ Gang of Los Angeles and The Tiffany Theatre last spring, including their production of “Violence,” which was staged in Los Angeles and later, Chicago. He also appeared in the Bailiwick Repertory Theatre’s production of “As You Like It” and spent last fall performing in “Alagazam… After The Dog Wars,” directed by John Cusack, at Chicago’s Blind Parrot Theatre. Piven is a resident of Chicago.

CHYNNA PHILLIPS plays Mimi, Joe’s plastic girlfriend with whom he two-timed Corey. The daughter of Michelle and John Phillips, she was raised in Los Angeles, where she attended the Newbridge School. At eighteen she made her film debut as Mia in “Some Kind Of Wonderful” and followed it with roles in “Caddyshack II,” “Moving Target” and “The Comeback.” She has appeared in commercials and is featured as the Neutrogena Girl. Having inherited her family’s musical gifts, she has also been cutting an album with an unusual group of female singers — The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson’s daughters, Wendy and Carnie. She is scheduled to play her mother in the feature film version of Michelle Phillips’ autobiography.

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS…

Writer/producer/director JAMES L. BROOKS serves as executive producer. For his feature debut, “Terms of Endearment,” which won eleven Academy Awards, he personally won three awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay Adapted From Another Medium. For his second film, “Broadcast News,” which was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won five awards from the New York Film Critics Association, he was nominated by the Academy for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay and was also nominated by the Directors Guild and the Writers Guild.

Prior to his involvement with features, he helped create such beloved television series as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Lou Grant,” “Taxi,” “Room 222″ and the currently acclaimed “The Tracey Ullman Show,” winning a total of eight Emmys for his contributions. Born in New York and raised in New Jersey, he started his career in television as a copyboy and was quickly promoted to newswriter. In 1966 he moved to Los Angeles and worked for David Wolper’s documentary production company, until he created his first series, “Room 222,” in 1969. A year later, he and writer partner Allan Burns were approached by Grant Tinker to create a comedy vehicle for Tinker’s then-wife, Mary Tyler Moore. The result was the much cherished “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which ran seven years and for which Brooks alone won four Emmys. The popular spin-offs “Rhoda” and “Lou Grant” followed, as well as the short-lived “Paul Sand In Friends and Lovers.”

In 1977 Brooks and fellow writer/producers David Davis, Ed Weinberger and Stan Daniels moved over to Paramount, where they founded their own production company. Their first series, “The Associates,” although highly praised, was not highly rated, but their second series, “Taxi,” scored on all counts. It ran for five years, receiving Emmy nominations as Best Comedy Series yearly and winning three times out of five.

When Brooks was approached to write his firm film, an adaptation of Dan Wakefield’s “Starting Over,” the project lapsed, so he proceeded to option the book, write the screenplay and co-produce the film with director Alan Pakula, whom he had involved in the project. Both of the film’s female leads, Jill Clayburgh and Candice Bergen, received Academy Award nominations for their performances.

Under the auspices of Gracie Films, the production company he set up at Twentieth Century Fox in 1984, Brooks has been involved with several other projects: He produced (with Robert Greenhut) last summer’s hit comedy-romance “Big,” directed by Penny Marshall and starring Tom Hanks, which was nominated for two Academy Awards; currently oversees the highly lauded “The Tracey Ullman Show,” and is producing “The War Of The Roses,” which Danny DeVito will direct and star in with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

Producer POLLY PLATT is a contributing member of Gracie Films. She became involved with Brooks when he sought her out to arrange an introduction to her long-time friend Larry McMurtry, who wrote the novel “Terms of Endearment,” among many others. Over the three years Brooks spent developing “Terms of Endearment,” he continually relied on her advice, and she eventually agreed to become the production designer on the film, for which she won an Academy Award nomination. On Brooks’ second film, “Broadcast News,” she served as executive producer.

Long one of the industry’s most distinguished production designers and the first woman to became a member of the Art Directors Guild, she numbers among her credits “The Last Picture Show,” “Paper Moon,” “What’s Up, Doc?”, “The Bad News Bears,” “The Thief Who Came to Dinner,” “A Star Is Born,” “Young Doctors In Love,” “The Man With Two Brains” and “The Witches of Eastwick.”

After “A Star Is Born” Platt, who had written several screenplays, was approached by Louis Malle to write his first American film, the controversial “Pretty Baby,” on which she served as associate producer.

Born in Texas and raised and educated in Europe, Platt returned to the United States for her junior year in high school, graduating from the Milton Academy in Boston. While studying scenic design at Carnegie-Mellon, she fell in love with theatre and jettisoned her aspirations of becoming a painter.

Then, in 1960, she met Peter Bogdanovich, and while he directed plays, she designed them. They married in 1962, moved to New York, where they mounted a revival of “Once In A Lifetime,” and became increasingly obsessed with film. In 1964 they moved to Los Angeles, ready to take on the industry. Together, they collaborated on such projects as “Targets” and “The Last Picture Show.” After their divorce, their working relationship continued on such projects as “Paper Moon” and “What’s Up, Doc?” They have two children, Antonia, 20, and Alexandra, 18.

Writer/director CAMERON CROWE makes his directorial debut, directing from his original script. Born in Palm Springs, California, and raised in San Diego, Crowe began his career in journalism at fifteen, writing for such publications as PenthousePlayboyCircusCreem, and The Los Angeles Times. At sixteen, he joined the staff of Rolling Stone, where he served stints as a contributing and associate editor. Extremely passionate and knowledgeable about music, he contributed profiles of such legendary figures as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton, among others, which chronicled a seminal period in the history of American music and culture.

Then, in 1979, he returned to high school to research and write a book on teenage life for Simon and Schuster. “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” became a best-seller, and Universal Pictures optioned the book while it was still in galley form, signing Crowe to write the screenplay. Released in the spring of 1982, “Fast Times At Ridgemont High” was an enormous boxoffice success. Directed by Amy Heckerling, the film launched the careers of such performers as Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold, Forrest Whitaker, Nicholas Cage and Eric Stoltz.

Crowe and producer Art Linson followed their success with “The Wild Life,” which was released in the fall of 1984. Crowe’s original screenplay was a hilarious examination of the precarious move from high school and life at home to young adult living. Produced by Crowe (with Linson, who also directed), the film starred Christopher Penn, Lea Thompson, Eric Stoltz, Rick Moranis and Randy Quaid.

Since then Crowe co-directed and produced the acclaimed MTV special “Heartbreaker Beach Party,” a profile of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; tackled a biography of Neil Young; and began researching what will be his next project, “Singles,” a look at the dating rituals of those in their mid-to-late twenties. He continues to make occasional journalistic contributions, such as his Grammy-nominated liner notes for Bob Dylan’s career-spanning anthology album, “Biograph.”

One of the most highly regarded editors in the business, co-producer/editor RICHARD MARKS began his association with James L. Brooks on “Terms Of Endearment” and continued with “Broadcast News,” receiving Academy Award nominations for both. “Say Anything” marks her first co-producer credit. Born and raised in New York, he attended New York University and graduated from City College, where he majored in English Literature. Starting off as a messenger in an advertising boutique, he soon discovered his love of editing and carved out a career as an editor for commercial and trailer houses in New York. However, anxious to break into features, he “took a step backwards” and became a sound assistant on “Rachel, Rachel,” where he formed a relationship with Dede Allen, becoming her assistant on “Alice’s Restaurant.” Working with Allen, he was the associate editor on “Little Big Man” and co-editor on “Serpico.” In 1979 he moved to Los Angeles. His other credits include “Apocalypse Now” (for which he received an Academy Award nomination), “The Last Tycoon,” “Pennies From Heaven,” “The Godfather, Part II,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Pretty In Pink” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”

The highly esteemed cinematographer LASZLO KOVACS is also part of the production team. His numerous credits include such classics as “Easy Rider,” “New York, New York,” “Five Easy Pieces,” “Shampoo,” “Nickelodeon,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Paper Moon,” “What’s Up Doc?”, “Alex in Wonderland” and “The King of Marvin Gardens.” His other credits include “Mask,” “Frances,” “The Last Waltz,” “The Last Movie,” “Marriage Of A Young Stockbroker,” “Harry And Walter Go To New York,” “Legal Eagles,” “Ghostbusters” and “Little Nikita.”

Costume designer JANE RUHM was raised in Los Angeles and did her graduate work at UCLA Film School. While there, she attended a Women In Film seminar at which Polly Platt, who was then a prominent production designer, spoke. Ruhm was so impressed by Platt that she decided to become a production designer.  Starting out as a production designer for Roger Corman, however, she gravitated toward costume design, which she found more gratifying. She worked for Corman for five years. Her costume design credits on his films include “Death Race 2000,” “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden,” “Eat My Dust” and “Grand Theft Auto.” She began working on such union pictures as “Cutter’s Way” before becoming involved with Steven Spielberg’s series “Amazing Stories,” working there two seasons until the show was cancelled. She then segued onto James Brooks’ “The Tracey Ullman Show,” where she is currently serving her third season as the show’s costume designer.

Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox