|From Touchstone Pictures and Buena
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
The characters of Romy and Michele first emerged nearly a decade ago in the hit play, "Ladies' Room," which premiered in Los Angeles and starred a pre-"Friends" Lisa Kudrow. Set entirely inside a women's restroom at a pick-up bar, the play's plotline was inspired by a cliche-laced, quintessential California conversation that had been overheard by screenwriter Robin Schiff in a trendy Los Angeles singles club.
"I was standing in the restroom and couldn't help listening to these two incredible women talking," Schiff recalls. "They went on and on, for almost ten minutes, saying things like, `God, I love your hair!' which prompted the other to say, `My hair? You like my hair? I'll give you my hair!' It was so banal that inadvertently it became the most entertaining and perhaps most frightening conversation I'd ever heard," Schiff laughs.
In the original production of "Ladies' Room," Romy and Michele were, as envisioned by the playwright, "ordinary-looking girls who really thought they were hot disco babes." Initially, of the nine characters in the play, Romy and Michele were of relatively minor significance. Yet audiences consistently responded so strongly and favorably to these two that Romy and Michele emerged as the comedic high points within the comedy.
Several years after its original Los Angeles production "Ladies' Room" attracted the attention of producer Barry Kemp, who had created such television sitcom classics as "Coach" and "Newhart."
Kemp was, in fact, so completely captivated with Schiff's play that he financed a second production in San Francisco; he also immediately acquired the rights to the property. "Ladies' Room" generated a huge buzz throughout Hollywood, quickly coming to the attention of several Touchstone Pictures executives who unanimously voiced enthusiasm for the writer and her play. The studio executives met with Schiff to explore the potential for a feature film adaptation focusing exclusively on the play's two most popular characters, best friends Romy and Michele. Schiff agreed to develop a script, working closely with Kemp.
Schiff recalls that having to fully expand and develop the once-marginal roles of Romy and Michele for the film was initially a somewhat daunting-but exciting-challenge. "I had to add further dimension to these two women, and work to develop them and their stories into an interesting movie," Schiff says.
Schiff also recalls a pivotal meeting with Kemp early into writing the screenplay. "Barry asked, `What is it you love about these characters?' And I said, `I love that they say what's on their minds, and I love how much fun they have with each other. But I especially love how much their friendship means to them. Even though the characters are sort of these airheads, I can totally relate to that aspect of them.' That was the key."
From the onset of the film project it was clear that the "Ladies' Room" concept had to be opened up to allow the two leads to have lives outside that singles club. The writer considered a number of story options and ultimately created the scenario for film audiences meeting Romy and Michele as they prepare to attend their ten-year high school reunion. It was a situation ripe with comedic-and perhaps dramatic-possibilities.
As Schiff explains Romy and Michele's life-altering moment when they assess their accomplishments on the eve of their reunion, she says, "They are not really doing much with their lives. But because they are truly happy, this never really occurs to them-until that moment."
And, as executive producer Kemp notes, "It's only when these former teenage misfits consider attending the reunion-to which they were not even formally invited-that they are forced to examine their own lives."
After several years in development, the project caught the eye of producer Laurence Mark. A friend of Schiff and an admirer of her work, Mark was enthusiastic about transforming the two amazing characters from "Ladies' Room" into lead characters in the film.
"The intriguing notion of taking two supporting players who were scoring on the stage and developing their story into a movie seemed like a terrific idea," producer Mark says. "And the play provided a `trial run.' It served as a way for us to educate ourselves in preparing the movie."
Along with Schiff and Kemp, producer Mark was excited about the ten-year high school reunion scenario. "When you do a movie that deals with high school, it tends to strike a universal chord," he notes. "In some ways, high school is a microcosm of everything that you will experience later in life.
"When you go to high school, you ask yourself where you fit in," Mark continues. "You tend to look at yourself during those few hours at your reunion in a way you haven't looked at yourself before, because you're now confronted with a gymnasium full of people who knew you back when. It can be very startling."
Executive producer Kemp concurs, noting, "The twenty-year reunions are great, because everybody's given up trying to impress each other."
Sharing a collective vision for the film's characters and plot development, producer Mark, screenwriter/executive producer Schiff and executive producer Kemp sought a director whose ideas would blend with their own. The team ultimately chose David Mirkin, who makes his feature film-directing debut with this project. Mirkin is widely renowned for his outstanding work as a writer on "Newhart," "Get a Life," "The Tracey Ullman Show" and the television
phenomenon "The Simpsons." Additionally, as executive producer of "The Simpsons," he won an Emmy Award in 1995.
Coincidentally, Mirkin had seen a production of "Ladies' Room" and held the play and Schiff in high regard. "In particular," Mirkin says, "I found the characters of Romy and Michele to be unforgettable."
Thus Mirkin was excited about coming aboard the project. "I had been reading scripts for about a year, and Robin's screenplay was really funny, and original," the director says. "It also had depth."
"We talked extensively about the film, and it became clear we had the same focus on the project," says screenwriter/executive producer Schiff about director Mirkin. "We saw things the same way. We just connected."
"There were a few things I wanted to change about the script, some structural and some emotional," Mirkin says. "And everyone was very open to it."
When the director demonstrated his ability to enhance the material with his unique directorial skills and comedic vision-without altering the message or the humor-Schiff felt completely assured that Mirkin was the ideal choice for director.
"This has been one of the very best experiences I've ever had," Mirkin says. "It's been a blast-a complete and total blast, from start to finish."
For his part, producer Laurence Mark says, "David has incredible respect for the written word. He has really allowed the script and the actors to shine. Furthermore, David has given `Romy and Michele' an edgy, sardonic spin which hopefully makes it all the more interesting on many different levels."
Securing Lisa Kudrow for the film was enormously important to the writer and producers. As executive producer Barry Kemp says, "Robin's writing and Lisa's involvement are the foremost things that have always interested people about this project. And it's all the more gratifying because, in a way, Robin and Lisa `discovered' each other, long before Lisa became a huge television star with `Friends.'"
Director Mirkin concurs, noting, "Lisa was always Michele. Lisa certainly elevated my interest in the film project, because I knew how brilliant and hilarious she was in the original play. She had been Michele from the very beginning."
"We did the play for many years," Kudrow says, "and when Robin started writing the script for a film version, I read just about every draft. I was always hoping they'd let me do it."
Kudrow holds the film as a career highlight, and credits director Mirkin for crafting a highly rewarding, positive experience throughout filming. "David made me laugh so hard," Kudrow says. "That's the great thing about working with him. He is so funny. We have the same sense of humor."
Kudrow is particularly fond of the role of Michele-and of this film project. "I love the character of Michele," the actress says. "I think what I like best about her is that she doesn't judge herself. She doesn't judge her life or what she is doing. She's just having fun living. Michele always thinks she's making a good point and that she really understands what she's talking about-even when she doesn't. She makes me laugh."
Producer Laurence Mark recalls the filmmaker's dilemma in searching for the right actress to portray Michele's best friend, the more aggressive and assertive character of Romy. "The challenge was finding a Romy that went with our Michele," he says.
The producers sought Kudrow's ideas for casting the role. "Michele is dependent on whomever Romy is," she told them. "They're best friends, and Michele isn't Michele without Romy."
Kudrow did have one definite edict in casting. "Lisa," says director Mirkin, "wanted a very strong person to play against."
Academy Award-winner Mira Sorvino was on the immediate A-List of the producers. Sorvino burst into worldwide prominence with her indelible portrayal of a colorful prostitute in Woody Allen's acclaimed "Mighty Aphrodite."
At the time of casting "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," Sorvino had just been nominated for the Oscar. "This project became all the more exciting when we were able to get Mira," says Barry Kemp.
For his part, producer Laurence Mark says, "Generally speaking, Academy Award nominees, and in Mira's case, winners, often ponder too much about what their next movie should be. They tend to choose very serious, sometimes pretentious roles. They tend to play it safe. I think taking on `Romy' was a very bold move for Mira to have made."
Sorvino relished the opportunity to immerse herself into the superficial-yet ultimately complex-character of Romy. "I was looking for something lighthearted," says the actress, "and Romy was just the right role at the right time."
Sorvino had recently completed the HBO special "Norma Jean and Marilyn," portraying troubled screen legend Marilyn Monroe. "I didn't want my next project to be another tragedy, or a dark story," she says.
Sorvino was in the enviable position of having her pick of virtually every script in town before choosing "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion." As she notes, "Most of the comedies with female leads were rather generic. But this is more like a male-buddy comedy-only much smarter. And funnier."
Of Schiff's script, Sorvino offers singular praise. "Her writing is seductively subversive and edgy. It's social commentary, incisive and moving, but presented in a highly entertaining, very funny way."
"We were incredibly fortunate to get Mira," says screenwriter/executive producer Robin Schiff. "We sent her a copy of the script and we weren't sure whether she'd want to take on this stylized comedy after winning an Oscar. But Mira said she loved the script and decided she wanted to do it."
Sorvino notes another element that sealed her decision to come aboard this project. "There's a soul to the piece, and that was the ultimate draw for me. The great paradox of the characters is that they are exactly all the things they say they don't like in other people. And, while Romy and Michele may seem a little unaware about life, their story is very real, and told with great observation and much humor."
Sorvino reflects of her character in the film: "Romy is the defender of Michele. She thinks of herself as the smarter and stronger one. So the film explores friendship at its strongest. I don't think I've ever seen a movie that's explored this kind of close friendship-and in such an original, funny way. This really is a story that touches the heart."
Although the filmmakers were thrilled to have such gifted actresses in the lead roles, they also were well aware that the true test of the screen union would come when the two came together on the set to film their first scene. The moment arrived and their chemistry and humors were instantly apparent. "Things seem to sizzle on the screen when the two of them play off each other," says producer Mark.
Yet, Sorvino and Kudrow credit Schiff for providing the impetus for the successful screen teaming. As Kudrow says, "Robin's the kind of writer who is open to actor's suggestions, and she knows she can trust her actors."
Of Sorvino, Kudrow praises, "I was thrilled to work with Mira. Everything she does is so grounded. She believes with all her heart that she is this character. She's such a strong actress. She's so smart about everything-and very, very funny.
"Mira does the kind of comedy I aspire to do-very non-commentary. Just being that particular person in the world when she plays the scene. That's the most hilarious kind of comedy. It comes from intensity and spontaneity."
Sorvino holds Lisa Kudrow in equally high regard. "She honestly is the funnier of the two of us. She is so talented, and such a great person. It has been a thrill to work with her. And her sense of humor is absolutely hysterical."
Of the actresses playing these two roles, screenwriter/executive producer Schiff says simply, "Mira and Lisa have completely brought the characters to life. I couldn't be more pleased or thrilled on every level. Both Lisa and Mira not only were wonderful in the dialogue I wrote, but both are brilliant improvisers. They both added so much."
Paying tribute to the outstanding supporting players in "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," director Mirkin says, "We got our dream choices for every role. Janeane Garofalo plays Heather Mooney, a high school misfit who has become a sharp-tongued, very successful businesswoman. And Janeane delivers a string of truly caustic, biting lines, in an incredibly funny way."
Screenwriter/executive producer Schiff says of Garofalo, "Janeane was born to play Heather." And, she happily adds, "Janeane was thrilled because she didn't have to smile through the entire movie! She got to chain-smoke and be cynical and she got to swear."
During the filming of "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," Janeane's performance in "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" met with critical and popular acclaim. "I was thrilled that `Cats and Dogs' was doing so well," director Mirkin says. "It confirmed to me what I always knew-that Janeane was a major star."
Mirkin had, in fact, worked with Garofalo on "The Larry Sanders Show" when she played Garry Shandling's ever-acerbic talent booker. "Janeane was the prototype for the part of Heather," he says. "If she had turned down the part, we would have been saying to every agent in town, `Get us a Janeane Garofalo type for this role."
Janeane Garofalo says, "David Mirkin is a dream director. It's such a thrill working with him. He encourages you at every moment. That's my favorite kind of director. He knows what is funny.
"Also, working with Mira and Lisa is another dream come true, because we were three actors working on the same page, so to speak. We were each willing to be spontaneous, to try different things, as we went along."
The filmmakers offer praise for costume designer Mona May in helping to fully realize the characters on the screen via wardrobe choices. May-who won particular acclaim for her work in the blockbuster hit comedy "Clueless"-had worked with director Mirkin on numerous projects over the years. Coincidentally, she had also designed all the costumes for the San Francisco production of "Ladies' Room," so she was totally familiar with the characters of Romy and Michele.
"The costumes help create each character," May explains. "Here, these characters are young and hip and cute and have beautiful bodies. It was important that the clothes reflect that."
Both Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino strongly agreed with May's costume choices for their roles. As Sorvino notes, "These girls [Romy and Michele] are always going to be wearing quirky kinds of clothes, dressing in bold, wacky fabrics, choosing items that have a sense of humor about them. It gives them a certain energy. And they know that when they put these clothes on and go out in public, they had better be willing to accept the challenge!"
Lisa Kudrow says, "The characters have a certain look, and that's exactly what's called for in the script. As an actor, your instinct is to try to look good, even if your character isn't supposed to look good. Somehow, Mona managed to make me feel good-even when she covered me in plastic fruit."
"If there is a moral in `Romy and Michele's High School Reunion,' notes executive producer Barry Kemp, "it's that the only person you ultimately have to impress is yourself. Having a dear friend, a best friend, an only friend, is much more important than having the best job in the world.
"Romy and Michele are incredibly lucky to have each other," Kemp continues. "That they've been able to sustain their friendship for so long makes it all the more special. Somewhere, for every Romy there is a Michele. And if they can only find one another, how fortunate they will be."
ABOUT THE CAST
Academy Award-winning actress MIRA SORVINO (Romy) experienced her breakthrough performance as the unaffected, helium-voiced call girl/porn actress Linda Ash in Woody Allen's "Mighty Aphrodite" which earned Sorvino Best Supporting Actress Awards from the New York Film Critics, the National Board of Review, a Golden Globe and ultimately a 1995 Academy Award.
Most recently the versatile actress starred as a brilliant scientist in Guillermo del Toro's "Mimic," a sci-fi morality tale about what can happen when a scientist upsets the balance of nature and how that can lead to a catastrophe; starred in the drama "Sweet Nothing" as the wife of a crack addict (Michael Imperioli) trying desperately to keep her family together; starred opposite Matt
Dillon as his anorexic troubled girlfriend in Ted Demme's "Beautiful Girls"; and played a cameo with Harvey Keitel in Wayne Wang's "Blue in the Face."
In 1994, Sorvino was seen in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show," as the wife of the man (Rob Morrow) investigating possible quiz show fraud. Prior to that, she co-starred in Whit Stillman's critically acclaimed film "Barcelona," as the Catalan trade-fair girl Marta. For these two roles Sorvino was awarded the Premiere Newcomer of the Year Award from the Motion Picture Bookers Club of America. In "Tarantella" she starred as a young woman coming to grips with her
Italian roots through the death of her mother. In her feature film debut, she played the role of Laura in Robert Weiss' "Amongst Friends," an audience favorite at the 1993 Sundance Film Festival.
Sorvino's appearances in three films at the 1995 Seattle Film Festival including "Blue in the Face," "Tarantella" and "Sweet Nothing" garnered her recognition as "runner-up for best actress." Her roles in short films include "The Second Greatest Story Every Told," Brian Cox's "The Obit Writer" and Susan Seidleman's Academy Award-nominated "The Dutch Master."
Constantly challenging herself, Sorvino is presently in production on the action-thriller "The Replacement Killers," the first American movie for Hong Kong action superstar Chow Yun-Fat. And in the fall she expects to begin starring in a dramatic independent feature opposite Harvey Keitel entitled "Dreaming of Julia."
On television, Sorvino earned 1996 Best Actress Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations for her remarkable portrayal of the legendary Marilyn Monroe in the HBO production, "Norma Jean and Marilyn." The same year she played Julie, the young dead wife of Alan Alda's character in the CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of Neil Simon's "Jake's Women." She also appeared with Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands in the Showtime production of "Parallel Lives," and as Conchita Closson in the BBC miniseries "The Buccaneers" based on Edith Wharton's unfinished novel which aired on Masterpiece Theatre.
On stage, Sorvino has appeared in Joyce Carol Oates' "Greensleeves" and in "Best Schools" in UBU Repertory's Festival of New Plays.
Raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, Sorvino is a magna cum laude graduate from Harvard University, where she majored in East Asian languages and civilizations, living for eight months in Beijing and writing a Hoopes Prize-winning thesis on racial conflict in China. After working on social-programs targeting illiteracy and prejudice, Sorvino gravitated toward acting; she has been working steadily every since. Sorvino lives in Manhattan with her dog, Deer.
LISA KUDROW (Michele) is a native Californian and a graduate of Vassar College with a degree in biology. After college Lisa intended to pursue a career in research to work with her father, a world-renowned headache specialist. But her creative side led her to audition for the famed Los Angeles improvisational theatre group, The Groundlings, where she was inspired by company member Jon Lovitz, a childhood friend of her brother. Lisa ultimately became a regular performing member of The Groundling's main company.
Kudrow has enjoyed starring in two television series, appearing as Phoebe in "Friends" and as Ursula, the ditzy, but lovable waitress on NBC's comedy series "Mad About You." In fact, the two characters are sisters which provide opportunities for her to go back and forth between two of the most popular series on television.
Kudrow's recent feature film credits include the featured role of Albert Brooks' awful date in his acclaimed film "Mother" and as Paula in Clockwatchers," which debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival. She has been nominated for Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG and American Comedy Awards.
In her free time, Kudrow enjoys challenging herself by teaching and performing periodically with The Groundlings. She recently was a guest host on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."
Kudrow currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Michel Stern.
ALAN CUMMING (Sandy Frink) is an award-winning actor whose eclectic career has included seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company, feature films, stand-up comedy, writing for his own television series and directing the acclaimed short film "Butter."
This June Cumming stars opposite Renee Russo in "Buddy" for Sony Pictures. He recently completed "For My Baby," a European production filmed in Budapest, dealing with the Holocaust.
He was most recently seen as the Reverend Elton opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in "Emma" for Miramax. Cumming played computer whiz Boris Grishenko in "Goldeneye," and appeared as the amorous yet conniving Sean Walsh in Pat O'Connor's "Circle of Friends." He was also heard as the title role in "Black Beauty." Other feature film credits include "Prague," for which he received Best Actor honors at the Atlantic Film Festival, and "Second Best" with William Hurt.
Born in Perthshire, Scotland, Cumming grew up on a country estate near Dundee where his father was a forester. At 16, he left school and began writing for a magazine before moving to Glasgow to train at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. While still a student he made his professional debut in television and theatre projects, as well as in the feature film "Passing Glory."
After three years of theatre and television work in Scotland, Cumming made his West End debut in 1988 at the Royal Court in "The Conquest of the South Pole," and was nominated Most Promising Newcomer for that year's Laurence Olivier Awards. He went on to win an Olivier Award for "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" at the Royal National Theatre in 1991, and was nominated again the following year for his performance in "La Bete" at the Lyric Hammersmith. He
appeared as the Emcee in Kander and Ebb's "Cabaret," earning a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. In total, Cumming has been nominated for a record four Olivier Awards.
In 1993, Cumming won rave reviews for his performance as Hamlet in London's Donmar Warehouse production. For his performance he earned a Martini Rossi Best Actor Award as well as a Shakespeare Globe Award nomination.
Mixing his film and theatre success with a diversity of other work, Cumming is also known on the stand-up circuit as the latter half of the comedy duo Victor and Barry. He has adapted plays for the Royal National Theatre and was the co-writer and star of the cult BBC sitcom "The High Life." Cumming's other television credits include the films "Bernard and the Genie," for which he received Top Television Newcomer at the 1992 British Comedy Awards, "The Last Romantics" and "Micky Love."
JULIA CAMPBELL (Christie) recently starred on the ABC comedy series "Blue Skies."
The daughter of an army officer whose career required the family to frequently relocate to posts throughout the U.S. and Turkey, Campbell began her entertainment career as a dancer. She further developed her talent during eight years with the Washington Ballet Company, and at Webster University Conservatory in St. Louis. While with the ballet, Campbell auditioned for acting assignments
and won the Irene Ryan Scholarship Award. She subsequently moved to New York, and was cast on the daytime drama "Ryan's Hope."
Campbell's other television series credits include the regular role of Lynn on "Cutters," the recurring character of girlfriend Elizabeth on "Herman's Head," a regular role on "Night and Day," and the lead role of Vicki in the comedy "Women in Prison." Most recently, she starred in "A Whole New Ballgame."
Her made-for-television movies include "Young Indiana Jones in Hollywood," "Ned Blessing: My Life and Times," and "Johnny Ryan." She also appeared in the feature films "Livin' Large" and "Opportunity Knocks."
JANEANE GAROFALO (Heather) was recently seen in "Larger Than Life" with Bill Murray and "The Truth About Cats and Dogs" as Abby, a radio-show veterinarian who becomes mired in a charade with her neighbor played by Uma Thurman. She has had scene-stealing turns in the films "Bye Bye Love" and "Reality Bites."
Garofalo is also well known for her numerous television appearances and roles. Most of her fans know and love her most as Paula, the acerbic talent booker on "The Larry Sanders Show" and as a member of the "Saturday Night Live" cast in fall 1994. In 1995 she produced and hosted "Comedy Product," a series of sketch and stand-up for Comedy Central. She also received critical acclaim as a cast member of "The Ben Stiller Show," the former FOX sketch show now airing in re-runs on Comedy Central. Garofalo has recently made television appearances on "Ellen," "Seinfeld," "The Late Show With David Letterman," "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," Comedy Central's "Dr. Katz," MTV's "Alternative Nation" and "Squirt TV."
During her senior year in high school, Garofalo's family moved from New Jersey to Houston, Texas. There she began watching comedy at Houston's Comedy Workshop, one of the country's pre-eminent experimental comedy clubs. Garofalo attended Providence College in Rhode Island and began performing stand-up in her senior year. Shortly after graduating with a degree in American Studies and History, she moved to Los Angeles and made her national television debut on "The Dennis Miller Show."
Garofalo still loves stand-up comedy, and can often be spotted doing sets at several comedy venues in New York and Los Angeles, and she will be shooting an HBO one-hour special this summer.
VINCENT VENTRESCA (Billy) currently stars as a series regular on the television sitcom "Boston Common," and was a regular on "Crazy Love" and "Medicine Ball." His recurring role as the character known as Fun Bobby on "Friends" is a highlight of that hit series.
After earning his B.A. in theatre and psychology from Indiana University, Ventresca began establishing his career as an actor. His long list of stage credits include productions of "The Prophets," "Ubu in Chains," "Choices," "The Dining Room," "Burn This," "A Man's Man," "Ubu Roi," "Oresteia," "The Visit," "Julius Caesar," "Ah! Wilderness," "Insignificance," "4-H Club" and "Eminent Domain."
CAMRYN MANHEIM (Toby) has appeared in a long list of hit films, as well as television and stage productions. Her recent motion picture credits include "Eraser," "Jeffrey," "The Road to Wellville," "Bonfire of the Vanities" and "Wide Awake." On television she was a series regular on "The Practice," and has
guest-starred on "Chicago Hope," four episodes of "Law and Order," "New York Undercover," as well as the movie-of-the-week "Deadly Whispers" and the ABC Afterschool Special "Notes For My Daughter." A popular actor on daytime dramas, Manheim has appeared on such programs as "Loving," "One Life to Life" and "All My Children."
A graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz with a BFA in acting, Manheim received her Master's degree in acting from New York University. Her many New York stage appearances include her one-women show "Wake Up, I'm Fat" for The Joseph Papp Public Theatre; "Two Gentlemen of Verona," "Woyzeck" and "Henry IV Parts 1 and II" for the New York Shakespeare Festival; as well as "St. Joan of the Stockyards" for Yale Repertory Theatre. Her other stage
credits include the roles of Gemma in "Missing Persons," for which she received a 1995 Obie Award; Corine/Hermidas in "Triumph of Love," The Queen of Hearts in "Alice in Wonderland" and Val/Ghost in "Fen," directed by Tony Kushner.
Camryn is also a sign language interpreter, rides a Honda CB650 motorcycle and teaches improvisation at New York University.
MIA COTTET (Cheryl) most recently played supporting roles in the features "Nine Months" and "Not Again."
On television, she has starred in a wide variety of sitcoms and episodes including "Men Behaving Badly," "Fortune Hunter," "In the Line of Duty," "Coach," "Raven," "Tequila and Bonetti," "Herman's Head" and "Two Women." She also starred as a series regular on the pilots "We Can Keep Her," "Platypus Man," "The Long Game" and "Alhambra Nights."
An alumnus of the School of American Ballet, Cottet is also a veteran of numerous theater productions. In New York she acted on stage in "The Lizard King," "No Real Picnic," "Fields" and "Little People's Theatre Co." Internationally, she has performed as a singer/dancer/comedienne in Monte Carlo, Montreal and Japan.
Cottet has also appeared in a long list of commercials.
ELAINE HENDRIX (Lisa) makes her feature film acting debut in "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion."
Originally from Tennessee, Hendrix moved to Atlanta, Georgia when she was 15 years old, and began attending Northside High School of Performing Arts. By her senior year she was dancing professionally with the Gary Harrison Dance Co., and performed in the Atlanta portion of the AIDS benefit "Heartstrings, The National Tour."
After traveling the world dancing and modeling for such companies as NIKE and Levi's, Hendrix moved to Los Angeles where she continued dancing and studied acting with such renowned drama coaches as Jeff Corey and Joanne Linville. She made her professional acting debut for director Jonathan Kaplan on the
Showtime series "Fallen Angel," and subsequently worked for director Wes Craven in his NBC pilot "Laurel Canyon."
In addition to guest-starring on numerous television series such as "Ellen," "Married ... With Children," "The Adventures of Brisco Co., Jr." "Evening Shade" and FOX's "Get Smart," a remake of the `60s classic, Hendrix has starred in several pilots, including ABC's "Boys and Girls," co-starring with Nancy McKeon, and David Kelly's "Mixed Nuts." She was most recently seen in the FOX-TV holiday special "The Munster's Scary Little Christmas."
In addition to her acting career, Hendrix's humanitarian efforts include volunteer work for Heart of Los Angeles Youth (HOLA), a center for inner city youth, as well as contributing to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and the American Cancer Society Research Fund.
KRISTIN BAUER (Kelly) most recently starred in the FOX television series "The Crew" and has guest-starred on some of the most popular sitcoms and dramas of recent years. Her talent for comedy has been displayed in guest-starring roles on "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Seinfeld," "Cybill" and "Dave's World." As a dramatic actress she has guest-starred on "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," "L.A. Law," "Colombo" and "Deep Space Nine." She also co-starred in the films "Glory Dayz," "Galactica" and "Nutty Nut."
Bauer's most memorable stage work includes the role of Maggie, in "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof"; Cherie, in "Bus Stop"; Catherine, in "A View From The Bridge"; as well as roles in "Lady Audley's Secret" and "The Star Spangled Girl."
JACOB VARGAS (Ramon) will soon be seen in Warner Bros. "Selena," starring as the real-life brother and musical composer of the slain Tejano singer. He also stars as an ambitious college student in "Santa Fe," an independent film which was presented in competition at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
Vargas' impressive list of major film credits include "My Family/Mi Familia" for which he won the 1995 NCLR Bravo Award as Emerging Artist of the Year; "The Principal," starring Jim Belushi; and director Allison Anders' independent hits "Gas, Food, Lodging" and "Mi Vida Loca." Vargas also starred in Edward James Olmos' "American Me" and appeared in memorable roles in "Crimson Tide," and "Get Shorty." He has also appeared in over 20 television series including a critically acclaimed episode of "ER."
Born in the state of Michoacan along Mexico's southern Pacific coast, Vargas was little more than a year old when his father left the village to make a new home for his family in Los Angeles. Vargas was raised in Pacoima, California. He often volunteers as a bilingual aide in one of L.A.'s poorest neighborhoods and remains committed to helping Latino youth.
JUSTIN THEROUX (Cowboy) previously appeared in director Mary Harron's acclaimed feature "I Shot Andy Warhol," and for director Kurt Voss in "Below Utopia."
After earning his B.A. in acting from Bennington College, Theroux entered the British American Drama Academy where he performed in productions of such classic works as "Much Ado About Nothing," "Twelfth Night" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream." His long list of additional stage credits include "The Three Sisters" on Broadway; "Hide Your Love Away" and "Water and Wine" off-Broadway;
as well as regional productions of "Loot," "A Winter's Tale," "Alice in Wonderland," "Caucasian Chalk Circle," "Nothing to Say," "American Dream," "Translations," "Tango," "Getting Out" and "School for Husbands."
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Emmy Award-winning producer DAVID MIRKIN (Director) began his career in 1982 writing freelance scripts for both television series and movies while working as a stand-up comic in the Los Angeles comedy clubs The Comedy Store and The Improv.
Mirkin's television career took off when he joined the staff of "Newhart," serving as executive producer, writer and occasionally as director from 1984 to 1988. In 1987, he received an Emmy nomination for a "Newhart" episode he wrote. In 1993, Mirkin joined Fox Broadcasting Company's "The Simpsons" as executive producer, for which he won an Emmy Award in 1995. Within one year, he directed
performances by Michele Pfeiffer, Meryl Streep, Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder, Kathleen Turner, Anne Bancroft, Mel Brooks, James Woods and Albert Brooks. He was also the recipient of two Arc Trust Genesis Awards and two Environmental Media Awards.
His other television credits include three Fox series: "Get A Life," on which he was executive producer, co-creator and director; "The Tracey Ullman Show," for which he was a writer; and "The Edge," of which he was creator, executive producer and director. He was also a consultant on "It's Garry Shandling's Show" and "The Larry Sanders Show."
Mirkin, who was born in Philadelphia, resides in Los Angeles.
LAURENCE MARK (Producer) has traveled through the motion picture industry from publicity to marketing to production, and he now runs his own company, Laurence Mark Productions, headquartered at The Walt Disney Studios.
Mark began his career as an executive trainee at United Artists after graduating from Wesleyan University and from New York University with a master's degree in cinema. He then worked as assistant to the producer on various films such as "Lenny" and "Smile."
After holding several key publicity and marketing posts in New York and Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures, Mark was appointed Vice President of West Coast Marketing at that studio. He then made the transition into the production area and worked as Vice President of Production at Paramount before joining Twentieth Century Fox as Executive Vice President of Production. At those studios, he was closely involved with the development and production of such films as "Terms of Endearment," "Trading Places," "Staying Alive," "Falling in Love," "The Fly," and "Broadcast News."
As producer or executive producer, Mark's credits include Bob Rafelson's "Black Widow," Mike Nichols' "Working Girl," Nicolas Roeg's "Sweet Bird of Youth" for NBC, Susan Seidelman's "Cookie," and Herbert Ross' "True Colors," as well as "One Good Cop," "Sister Act 2," "The Adventures of Huck Finn" and "Tom and Huck."
Most recently, Mark produced "Jerry Maguire" along with James L. Brooks, Richard Sakai and Cameron Crowe, directed by Crowe and starring Tom Cruise. The film has been nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture.
Upcoming films for Mark include "Deep Rising," starring Treat Williams and directed by Stephen Sommers, "Old Friends," starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear and directed by James L. Brooks, and, for Disney/ABC-TV, "Oliver Twist," starring Richard Dreyfuss and Elijah Wood and directed by Tony Bill.
Mark made his debut as a stage producer in 1991 with "Brooklyn Laundry" by Lisa-Maria Radano at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles. The play starred Glenn Close, Laura Dern and Woody Harrelson and was directed by James L. Brooks. He also produced the Broadway musical version of "BIG," which played at the Shubert Theatre in New York last year.
ROBIN SCHIFF's (Screenplay by/Executive Producer) past television credits include co-creating and producing the series "Princesses" for CBS, starring Fran Drescher, Twiggy and Julie Hagerty. Schiff's theatrical credits include writing the play "Ladies' Room" starring Cynthia Stevenson, Lisa Kudrow, Talia Balsam
and Nana Visitor which ran at the Tiffany Theatre (1988-89) and the Theatre on the Square (1992). She was also a writer, performer and instructor for the famed Groundlings theatre troupe in Los Angeles for over three years. Most recently Schiff co-created and executive produced the CBS series "Almost Perfect," starring Nancy Travis." She has a number of other projects in development, including "Body Language," for Amblin Entertainment.
A UCLA Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Schiff is married and lives in Los Angeles.
RICHARD LUKE ROTHSCHILD (Co-producer) previously served as executive producer for Touchstone Pictures' "Last Dance," starring Sharon Stone and Rob Morrow, and served as executive production manager for Hollywood Pictures at The Walt Disney Studios. During his three-year tenure there, he was involved in the making of "Born Yesterday," "Encino Man," "The Distinguished Gentleman" and
"Straight Talk." Before that, he produced the television movie "Parent Trap Hawaiian Honeymoon" for Disney, plus many films for USA Cable Network. He earlier worked as a production manager and a first assistant director with credits including Bruce Beresford's "Tender Mercies" and "Crimes of the Heart."
BARRY KEMP (Executive Producer) is widely admired for creating and producing such hit comedy series as "Coach," "Newhart" and the first comedy miniseries "Fresno."
Born in Hannibal, Missouri, Kemp graduated from the University of Iowa in 1971 after earning a bachelor's degree in speech and dramatic arts. Five years later, Jerry Van Dyke gave him his start in the entertainment business.
In 1977 Kemp became a staff writer for the first season of "Taxi." He moved up to executive script consultant and during his three seasons with the show, he wrote a total of 14 episodes. Kemp's work on "Taxi" earned him an Emmy Award nomination and two Writers Guild of America Award nominations.
In 1981, Kemp created the long-running CBS hit "Newhart," starring Bob Newhart. He remained with the series through the end of its second season, earning two Emmy Award nominations, a Golden Globe Award nomination and a People's Choice Award nomination for Best Comedy Series. After setting up the show's third season, he went on to create and produce the five-part CBS comedy miniseries "Fresno," starring Carol Burnett. He simultaneously created his next series for CBS, "The Popcorn Kid."
Joining Universal Television in January of 1987, Kemp and Emily Marshall began work on the CBS series "Coming of Age." The comedy, which aired in the spring and fall of 1988, starred Paul Dooley and Phyllis Newman. He then created "Coach" for ABC, starring Craig T. Nelson, Shelley Fabares and Jerry Van Dyke.
Kemp lives with his wife Maggie, a professional interior designer, and their son, in Los Angeles, California.
The films of REYNALDO VILLALOBOS (Director of Photography) include the recently completed "An Alan Smithee Film," "Telling Lies in America," "Roosters," "A Bronx Tale," "American Me," "Sibling Rivalry," "Coupe De Ville," "Major League," "Punchline," "Lucas," "Desert Bloom," "Grandview, U.S.A.," "Blame It On Rio," "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez," "Mike's Murder," "9 to 5" and "Risky Business." He began his cinematography career with "Urban Cowboy."
Villalobos was born and raised in Los Angeles. After high school, he attended El Camino College and Cal State Dominguez Hills with a major in art and design. He then enlisted in the Navy where he worked as a photographer.
Returning to civilian life, Ray was employed as a studio laborer, painting and hauling equipment, before being hired as an assistant cameraman for "The Young Lawyers" in 1970.
After only eight months of camera crew experience, Ray was promoted to first assistant cameraman. He worked in that capacity for eight years before becoming a camera operator.
Ray was nominated for an Emmy Award for his cinematography on the CBS miniseries "Sinatra." He was also nominated for the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers for the same program.
A graduate of New York University MAYNE BERKE (Production Designer) received his Master of Fine Arts degree in art direction and theatrical design from the Tisch School of Arts. With roots in a diverse design background, Berke's credits in feature film as production designer or art director include "The Fan," "From Dusk Till Dawn," "Grace of My Heart," "Four Rooms," "Double Dragon," "Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III," and "The Reluctant Vampire," among others. Berke recently designed the award winning Levis "Elevator Fantasy" commercial directed by Michael Bay ("The Rock"). Berke, a New Yorker, resides in Los Angeles.
AVID FINFER (Edited by) has edited a long list of feature films including, most recently, "Escape From L.A.," "Fair Game," "Exit to Eden," "The Fugitive" and "Boxing Helena." Among his other prominent credits as editor are "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey," "Defending Your Life," "Heart Condition," "Warlock," and "Back to the Beach." Additionally, he edited "Soul Man," "Inside Out," "Lost in America," "Modern Romance," "Defiance" and ""Real Life."
MONA MAY (Costume Designer) is perhaps best known for costume designing "Clueless."
Born in India, her father was a diplomat with the Polish Consulate in Calcutta and her mother is an art dealer from West Germany. They lived in India for five years before moving to Warsaw. Ms. May spent her formative years traveling the world with her parents, becoming fluent in several languages, including Russian, German, Polish and English. At 17, her family moved to
West Germany, where she studied at Freiburg University. She continued her studies in costume design and illustration in France and Italy.
Her cross-cultural background and interest in travel led her to the United States, where she entered the Fashion Institute of Los Angeles in 1982. Upon her graduation, she returned to West Germany to work as a designer for the prestigious house of Cirstein, Willhelm and Krauze. She traveled the fashion and trade show circuit, buying fabrics for the collections and working with designers from all over Europe.
The keen eye she developed in the international fashion scene has proved invaluable in her career designing costumes for feature films, television and theater. Ms. May is currently designing "The Wedding Singer" starring Drew Barrymore. Her other credits include "High School High" produced by the Zucker brothers and Jon Turteltaub's "3 Ninjas."
STEVE BARTEK (Score by) began his industry career as lead guitarist and co-producer of the rock band Oingo Boingo. His longtime association with Oingo Boingo leader/film composer Danny Elfman resulted in his orchestrating all of Elfman's films including "Batman," "Beetlejuice," "Edward Scissorhands," "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "To Die For," "Black Beauty," "Dolores Claiborne" and "Mission Impossible."
As a composer, Bartek has scored such films as "Coldblooded," "Cabin Boy," "Guilty as Charged" and the erotic thriller "Past Midnight." He composed the music for a Walter Hill-directed episode of the Steven Spielberg/Tim Burton animated series "Family Dog," and is currently writing the theme, as well as scoring 13 episodes for the new Disney animated television series "Nightmare Ned."
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