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and Present DIE MOMMIE DIE! Directed by Mark Rucker Written by Charles Busch, Based on

and

and Present DIE MOMMIE DIE! Directed by Mark Rucker Written by Charles Busch, Based on his

Present

DIE MOMMIE DIE!

Directed by Mark Rucker Written by Charles Busch, Based on his Stage Play

Starring Charles Busch Frances Conroy Philip Baker Hall Natasha Lyonne Jason Priestley Stark Sands

Production Notes

Running Time: 90 minutes

For further information please contact:

Milestone Film

PO Box 128 Email: milefilms@aol.com

Harrington Park, NJ 07640 Website: www.milestonefilms.com

Die Mommie Die! Credits

Filmmakers

Directed by

MARK RUCKER

DENNIS McCARTHY

Written by

CHARLES BUSCH

Produced by

Based on his Stage Play DANTE DI LORETO

Co-Producer Executive Producer Co-Executive Producer Director of Photography Production Designer Editor Costumes Designed by Charles Busch s Costumes Designed by Composer Casting by

ANTHONY EDWARDS BILL KENWRIGHT FRANK PAVICH LONNY DUBROFSKY NEIL WEINMAN KELLY EVANS JOSEPH B. TINTFASS PHILIP HARRISON THOMAS G. MARQUEZ MICHAEL BOTTARI & RONALD CASE

JEFF GREENBERG, C.S.A. COLLIN DANIEL

Cast

(in order of appearance)

Angela Arden Tony Parker Edith Sussman Bootsie Carp Sol Sussman Lance Sussman Sam Fishbein Shatzi Van Allen

CHARLES BUSCH JASON PRIESTLEY NATASHA LYONNE FRANCES CONROY PHILIP BAKER HALL STARK SANDS VICTOR RAIDER-WEXLER NORA DUNN

Songs

Why Not Me Lyrics by JERRY PATCH Music by DENNIS McCARTHY Vocals by RUTH WILLIAMSON (Opening Credits) Vocals by TODD MURRAY (Closing Credits)

The Salt and Pepper Polka Music by DICK GALLAGHER Lyrics by DICK GALLAGHER & CHARLES BUSCH Vocals by RUTH WILLIAMSON

Spinning Wheel Written by DAVID CLAYTON THOMAS Used by Permission of EMI BLACKWOOD MUSIC, INC.

Synopsis

A fallen pop diva battles her vicious husband, vengeful children and a hornet s nest of secrets in the hilarious comic melodrama Die Mommie Die!, directed by Mark Rucker, and written by and starring the Tony nominated theater veteran Charles Busch. Die Mommie Die! wittily evokes classic Hollywood genres, notably the women s pictures of the 1940-60s and the glossy suspense melodramas of the 1960s. In a performance that won him the Special Jury Prize for Acting at the 2003 Sundance Film

Festival, Charles Busch creates a heroine in the grand tradition of Hollywood s formidable females: a woman who is tough yet tender, ruthless yet seductive, extremely warped yet oddly sympathetic. Songstress Angela Arden (Charles Busch), beloved by millions as America s

Nightingale, appears to have it all.

1967, the glamorous redhead still stirs excitement among those old enough to remember. Now semi-retired, Angela and her husband, veteran producer Sol P. Sussman (Philip Baker Hall) reside in an elegant Los Angeles mansion, where they have raised two lovely children, Edith (Natasha Lyonne) and Lance (Stark Sands). Angela maintains friendships with Tinseltown royalty while tending to her rose garden and the blossoms that bear her name. But appearances can be deceiving, and all is not well in the house of Sussman. Edith Sussman, spoiled and petulant, only has eyes for her father and makes no secret of her contempt for Angela. Lance, beautiful but somewhat dim, shows more promise as a sexual plaything than as a college student. The family s maid, Bootsie Carp (Frances Conroy) is a devoted servant, but a wretched cook. And Angela herself is deep into an affair with Tony Parker (Jason Priestley), a handsome former television star now eking out a living as a tennis pro — and, if the rumors are true, a gigolo. When Sol discovers his wife s infidelity, he is determined to not only punish Angela for the affair but to hold her prisoner in their loveless marriage. But Angela Arden is not a woman to be held prisoner, even if it means murder Sundance Film Series presents Die Mommie Die! directed by Mark Rucker, written by Charles Busch, based on his stage play. Produced by Dante Di Loreto, Anthony Edwards and Bill Kenwright. The co-producer is Frank Pavich and the

Although her music is no longer the fashion in

executive producer is Lonny Dubrofsky. The director of photography is Kelly Evans, the production designer is Joseph B. Tintfass, and the editor is Philip Harrison. The costumes were designed by Thomas G. Marquez, and Charles Busch s costumes were designed by Michael Bottari & Ronald Case. The composer is Dennis McCarthy. The casting is by Jeff Greenberg, C.S.A. and Collin Daniel. Die Mommie Die! Stars Charles Busch, Natasha Lyonne, Jason Priestley, Frances Conroy, Philip Baker Hall, Stark Sands, Victor Raider-Wexler, and Nora Dunn.

About the Production

Die Mommie Die! brings together two award-winning theater talents — director Mark Rucker and writer/actor Charles Busch— for a film that is steeped in a love of movies and lavish old-Hollywood style. Die Mommie Die! borrows from a range of movies, from the Bette Davis classic Now Voyager through Joan Crawford s final

vehicle, Trog - with stops along the way at Imitation of Life, Sunset Boulevard, Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte, The Trip, and many more. But the filmmakers love of a good tale is equal to their love of Hollywood, and Die Mommie Die! is built on a solid foundation of ingenious storytelling, clever dialogue, and vivid characters. Celebrating Hollywood star vehicles at their most silken, Die Mommie Die! goes beyond simple pastiche to stand on its own as marvelously crafted entertainment. Throughout his theatrical career, writer and performer Charles Busch has created a host of memorable female characters inspired by the actresses of Hollywood s golden age. His plays, including the long-running Off-Broadway hit

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom,

The Lady in Question, Psycho Beach Party and Red

Scare on Sunset, draw from numerous movie genres, from silent melodramas and patriotic World War II thrillers to horror movies and Cold War expos s.

Busch s cinematic education began in childhood, with the old movies that ran on

afternoon, late night and weekend television.

I ve been doing that research since I was seven! Busch laughs.

lifelong study of Hollywood films and star acting. By the time I was 12, I had basically

absorbed the entire filmography of Ida Lupino. Director Mark Rucker first encountered Charles Busch s plays in the late 80s and

early 90s, while he was a graduate student at the Yale School of Drama.

instant fan. I ve always been a big film buff and Charles plays are very influenced by

Hollywood films, he notes. Back in California in 1992, Rucker attended a screening of

Now Voyager.

Seven years later, Rucker got his chance when a new Charles Busch play, Die! Mommy! Die! opened in July 1999 for a limited engagement at the Coast Playhouse in Los Angeles. By this time, Rucker was an Associate Artist at South Coast Repertory

Theater and had won the 1998 Los Angeles Drama Critics Award for his production of

I became an

People ask me, Do you do research?

I ve sort of made a

I thought, I d love to make movie like this with Charles Busch.

Shakespeare s Taming of the Shrew.

and went to see Die! Mommy! Die! with producer Dante Di Loreto of Aviator Films. As

it happened, Di Loreto and his producing partner, Anthony Edwards, had been

discussing other potential projects with Busch. Rucker remembers, At the end of the

play, Dante asked, What about this?

Busch had written Die! Mommy! Die! while he was in L.A. filming the adaptation

He had begun to think about making his first film

And I said, Yeah!

of his comedy Psycho Beach Party.

occurred to me that it could be made into an independent film fairly easily, because it was a domestic thriller that all took place in one house. So I quickly wrote a

screenplay.

who, of course, were not only interested but already had a director in mind. As Busch

sums it up,

The story is loosely based on the Greek tragedy The Oresteia, specifically the murder of Agamemnon by his adulterous wife Clytemnestra. Explains Busch,

Sometimes it helps me come up with a plotline if I think of a classical piece. I thought about Clytemnestra and somehow the story -- a woman kills her husband and has a young lover and her children hate her — made me think of a 60s melodrama. There were these romantic suspense movies that Ross Hunter produced in the early and mid- 60s. Midnight Lace, with Doris Day; there was a movie called Where Love Has Gone with Susan Hayward; Portrait in Black with Lana Turner. These aren t the greatest movies ever made, but they re certainly entertaining. What makes Busch s work unique, in Rucker s opinion, is the affection underlying

the comic evocations of Hollywood genres.

wonderful gestures that make up Hollywood acting, and making them his own, the

director remarks.

place of love, and that fact shows in the work.

Says Busch, While we were doing the play, it

He mentioned the screenplay when he met with Di Loreto and Edwards,

Two forces coming together — it was serendipitous.

Charles is so clever at recreating all the

But he doesn t do it just to send it up. He comes definitely from a

Die Mommie Die! echoes the Hunter template in combining melodrama and

mystery, packing plenty of genuine narrative surprises along with comedy.

Producer

Anthony Edwards notes that he was impressed not only by the script s humor, but its

accessibility.

who don t know about Charles Busch, don t know about the different movie genres. It

just works as a thriller.

One of my favorite qualities of the script is the fact that it works for people

That was the intent, affirms Rucker.

While the film is undeniably a comedy, we

also wanted the viewer to engage with the suspense/mystery aspects and ultimately become involved with the story and characters on a few levels. The central character, of course, is the fallen diva, Angela Arden, portrayed by Busch. Angela s career began in vaudeville, where she soared in a sister act with her twin Barbara. But the twins were mismatched when it came to talent. The act broke up,

with Angela conquering the Hit Parade, television and films while Barbara descended into petty theft, prison and a premature death. Busch approached his role seriously, realizing that the requirements for screen

acting were different from the stage.

movie, and I wanted to give a real performance, he emphasizes.

99% of the movie, a broad, campy performance could quickly wear out its welcome. At the same time, I m in drag and I m doing a rather stylized piece. It was a real challenge to walk this tightrope and act in the style of an old movie actress, yet really act for the

cinema. Because it s necessary that the audience identifies with my character, and understands Angela s rather complex psychology. Angela recalls the indomitable heroines played by, and personified by, stars such as Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, and Susan Hayward. Like her cinematic

forebears, Angela does things that break the rules of polite society, to put it mildly.

very interesting, because when you think about it, you re not supposed to like a woman

like Angela, Rucker reflects.

doing. I think ultimately you do feel for Angela. Once you understand the whole story.

Portraying Angela s adversaries and allies is a first-rate ensemble that includes Natasha Lyonne as determined daddy s girl Edith Sussman; Jason Priestley as her young lover, the failed actor Tony Parker; Philip Baker Hall as Angela s dyspeptic husband, Sol Sussman; Frances Conroy as the pious family maid, Bootsie Carp; and Stark Sands as perennially confused Lance Sussman. Notes producer Dante Di Loreto, People responded to the script as soon as they read it. We were very lucky that both Jason and Natasha became attached to the project very early on and showed great enthusiasm for the project.

This is the first time I ve ever actually starred in a

Since I m on camera

It s

But you find them compelling no matter what they re

Adds Rucker, What s fascinating about Natasha and Stark is that they don t necessarily know the movie references at all, but they still responded to the genre. They appreciated that style, and the uniqueness and cleverness of the dialogue. Edwards praises the ensemble for giving performances that are faithful to the

mannerisms of the era without straying into self-consciousness or parody.

example, Natasha Lyonne s commitment to the period was huge. I was so impressed

with the way she captured, in her energy and tone, that 60s actress.

For

As Tony Parker, Jason Priestley tweaks his past on the television hit Beverly

Hills 90210.

TV heartthrob in the independent film Love and Death on Long Island.

that Jason was willing in that movie, and in our movie too, to play on his history as a TV

star, says the director.

actor/FBI agent. He was so game to do anything. Like Rucker and Busch, actors Philip Baker Hall and Frances Conroy are

distinguished theater veterans. Busch was inspired by how fully they inhabited their

characters.

them, and they brought such complexity to their roles. As an actor, it really helped me to

work with them, he remarks.

Rucker had admired Priestley s performance as a sweet, none-too-bright

I loved the way

Jason captured this wonderful, slightly wooden quality of this

Frances Conroy and Philip Baker Hall have such emotional weight to

In calibrating the tone of the film, Rucker sought to maintain a fine balance,

allowing the comedy to animate the narrative without overwhelming it. was to understand where the humor lived, but not to push it, he says.

that a lot of the movie doesn t require the laughter to keep you involved in it. But it s

nice when it s there!

The challenge I like to think

Di Loreto notes that Rucker s stage experience lent itself to the smart humor and

cheeky innuendo of Die Mommie Die!

it s Shakespeare or a contemporary play, he s brought great comedic timing to everything he s directed for the stage. Die Mommie Die! summons a vanished era of Hollywood filmmaking with pinpoint accuracy as well as humor. The producers sought out emerging talents for their production team, including director of photography Kelly Evans and editor Philip Harrison. Comments Di Loreto, We were excited to work with Kelly and Philip; they

dedicated a lot of time and energy in the pre-production and preparation of the film,

Mark has a great sense of comedy. Whether

which was critical. Mark, Kelly and Philip developed a strong vocabulary about the different types of film styles. Rucker and his collaborators screened many films from the late 50s through the

1960s, the heyday of Hunter, Douglas Sirk, and the Technicolor melodramas.

We

watched those older Hollywood styles bleed into the mid and late-60s, when they re a

little bit too old-fashioned, comments Rucker.

made with a sense of an earlier Hollywood that s almost on its last legs.

and genres came into play as well, including Italian horror movies and, The Graduate and the LSD chestnut The Trip. Suspense sequences evoke the shadows-and-light aesthetic of film noir and black-and-white movies like Mildred Pierce.

Die Mommie Die! shot in 18 days in June 2002. Standing in for the Sussman mansion was a home in L.A. s stately Hancock Park neighborhood, which came complete with gleaming staircase, swimming pool, terrace, and rose garden. The diligence that went into preparing the film paid off in details both small and

large. Rear-screen projections are absurdly obvious — and are the genuine 1960s article from the Warner Bros. vaults. As Angela Arden, Busch is seen in the kind of pillow-y soft focus that was de rigueur for aging actresses determined to hold onto their glamour. Says Rucker, We filmed Charles with a lot of filter, like the great movie stars would have had. At one point, I said, Kelly, do too much. Let s see what it looks like

with way too much filter on.

okay if the camera was on Philip Baker Hall and you saw his wrinkles, and then you cut to Charles and it was a little bit fuzzy. That s part of the fun.

This movie is set in 1967, and it was

Other films

And to be honest, we never found that too much.

It was

Also intrinsic to the fun are Joseph Tintfass sets, which are the essence of 60s

Hollywood class.

the filmmakers turned to the veteran stage costumers Michael Bottari and Ronald Case, who have worked with Busch for many years. Says Busch, They re two very talented designers. Their costumes really help me create the character. This was their first movie, and so rather than just send the costumes, they decided they would just drive all the clothes to L.A. from New York in their car. Bottari & Case designed new costumes for Busch and also were able to re-use outfits they d create for Busch s stage productions. But they also had to get creative,

and their varied theatrical experience turned out to be invaluable as they culled from

To help assemble the 40-plus outfits required for Busch s character,

their large collection of costumes.

from State Fair,

dress was from Camelot and the necklace was from Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Designer Thomas Marquez created new designs and scoured vintage sources in outfitting the film s other characters. Lyonne is very much the 60s sexbomb-in-training

At one point I m wearing Donna McKechnie s dress When Angela fantasizes that she s Clytemnestra, the

Busch laughs.

with her minidresses and flower-power earrings. Says Rucker, Tommy and his team did an amazing job; there s an incredible array of outfits. Original music for the film was written by veteran composer Dennis McCarthy, who collaborated with lyricist Jerry Patch on Angela s jaunty, extremely apt, theme

song, Why Not Me?

McCarthy not only caught the Hit Parade jauntiness of the era, but also managed to create a big orchestra sound with very limited resources. Recalls Rucker, We knew

that we needed something that sounded like a big Hollywood score.

script and said, I m just going to call in every favor I ve ever needed, and we ll do it.

We ll just do it. for us.

Rucker had worked with McCarthy, and was thrilled that

Dennis read the

I don t know anybody else that would have been able to do what he did

Looking back on the production, Busch is still somewhat in awe.

There were a

couple of moments where I couldn t believe that this was happening to me. Particularly when we were shooting the very end of the movie and I was standing behind the double doors waiting to come out. Here I was, in this incredible costume, and all these extras out there, the police cars and the boom and the crane. I thought, I can t believe that because I had some crazy notion in my head, that it s all come to this!

About the Cast

Charles Busch (Angela Arden)

Charles Busch is the author and star of such plays as Shanghai Moon,

Question,

Lesbians of Sodom ran five years in New York and is one of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history. He wrote the screenplay and starred along with Thomas

Gibson and Lauren Ambrose in the film version of his play Psycho Beach Party. He recently wrote and directed a short film for Showtime entitled Personal Assistant starring Kathie Lee Gifford. Busch s play The Tale of the Allergist s Wife was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play, won him the Outer Circle Critic s John Gassner Award for Playwriting and ran on Broadway for 777 performances. For two seasons, he appeared

as Nat Ginzburg in the HBO series Oz.

published in hardcover by Hyperion Press and as a Penguin paperback.

The Lady in

Red Scare on Sunset and You Should Be So Lucky.

His play Vampire

His novel Whores of Lost Atlantis was

Busch recently received the 2003 Drama Desk Award for Career Achievement as a playwright and performer.

Natasha Lyonne (Edith Sussman)

Natasha Lyonne became one of Hollywood s most sought-after actresses with her

She

recently completed production on the upcoming Saving Grace with Tim Blake Nelson, and is currently filming Madhouse, opposite Joshua Leonard. She is also featured in Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato s Party Monster.

starring performance in Tamara Jenkins comedy-drama Slums of Beverly Hills.

Lyonne s recent films include Tim Blake Nelson s drama The Grey Zone; Zigzag with Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo; Plan B, opposite Diane Keaton; and Night at the Golden Eagle, opposite James Caan. She portrayed the worldly teenager Vicki in the 2000 box office smash American Pie, reprising the role the next year in American Pie 2.

Lyonne began her professional career at the age of six when she starred as Opal in the

original Pee Wee s Playhouse.

Turns, she made her feature film debut as Meryl Streep s niece in the Mike Nichols s film Heartburn. Additional film credits include Kate and Leopold; Scary Movie II; But I m a Cheerleader; Confessions of a Trick Baby; Detroit Rock City; Woody Allen s musical Everyone Says I Love You; and the vampire thriller Revenant.

After a stint as a contract player on As the World

Jason Priestley (Tony Parker)

One of Hollywood s most versatile talents, Jason Priestley is active in film and television as an actor, director and producer. Priestley was last seen in Finn Taylor s Cherish,

which debuted at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. He was also seen in the VH1 original movie Warning: Parental Advisory.

A native of Vancouver, British Columbia, Priestley has appeared in numerous Canadian

productions, including The Fourth Angel, with Jeremy Irons and Forest Whitaker; Cover

Story; Darkness Falling; Fancy Dancing; and the television special The True Meaning

of Christmas Specials, written and directed by Dave Foley. Priestley s other film credits

include the thriller Eye of the Beholder; Richard Kwietniowski s critically acclaimed comedy Love and Death on Long Island, opposite John Hurt; the dark comedy Coldblooded; the Western Tombstone; and Calendar Girl.

In 2001, Priestley joined ABC Sports Indy Racing League broadcast team. He made

his debut on March 18, covering the late-afternoon Penzoil Copper World Indy 200 live

from Phoenix International Raceway, and went on to deliver commentary on the Indianapolis 500 Race on May 27, 2001.

Priestley made an indelible mark with his portrayal of Brandon Walsh on Fox Television s hit series Beverly Hills 90210. He earned two Golden Globe nominations during the eight seasons he starred on the program. He made his directorial debut on the show in 1993 and produced and directed numerous episodes. His theater credits include the London production of Warren Leight s Tony Award-winning play Side Man, directed by Michael Mayer.

Priestley made his feature directorial debut in 1999 with the critically acclaimed documentary Barenaked in America about the Canadian rock band The Barenaked Ladies. The film, which Priestley produced, premiered at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival, screened at the Slamdance Film Festival and had a successful U.S. theatrical run in fall 2000. For television, Priestley directed an episode of the critically acclaimed comedy Grosse Point (in which he also appeared), as well as the Fox Television telefilm Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, in which he also played a supporting role.

Frances Conroy (Bootsie Carp)

Frances Conroy is known for her outstanding performances on stage, television and film. She currently stars as Ruth Fisher in the award-winning HBO hit series Six Feet Under, recently winning the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a drama series. Conroy s work in the series has also garnered her an Emmy Award nomination.

On stage, Conroy has originated roles in new plays by Arthur Miller ( The Last Yankee,

Ride Down Mount Morgan,

Broken Glass ), Edward Albee ( The Lady from

Dubuque ), David Hare ( The Secret Rapture ) and Neil Simon ( The Dinner Party ) to

name but a few of the playwrights with whom she collaborated.

Conroy attended the Juilliard School s Drama Division and afterwards toured with The Acting Company, founded by John Houseman. Returning to New York, she embarked

on an extensive theatre career on and off Broadway, performing at such venues as Lincoln Center and the Joseph Papp Public Theatre, alongside such great American stage actors as Irene Worth. Conroy received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in The Ride Down Mount Morgan and Drama Desk nominations for In

The Summer House,

Desk Award for her performance in The Secret Rapture and an Obie Award for The Last Yankee.

Othello, and The Last Rehearsal.

She received the Drama

Conroy s film credits include Maid in America, The Crucible, Scent of a Woman, Sleepless in Seattle, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Rocket Gibraltar, and the Woody Allen films Manhattan, Crimes and Misdemeanors and Another Woman. Independent work includes Terence Davies Neon Bible, Gene Wilder s telefilm Murder in a Small Town, Tina Rathborne s The Joy That Kills, Rebecca Miller s Angela and Marya Cohn s Developing. She also appeared in the PBS American Master s program Eugene O Neill: A Glory of Ghosts.

Philip Baker Hall (Sol Sussman)

Philip Baker Hall received critical acclaim for his starring role in Paul Thomas Anderson s debut feature Hard Eight, culminating in a Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor of 1997. He appeared in Anderson s next two films, the Academy Award ¤ - nominated Boogie Nights and Magnolia. Most recently, Hall co-starred in the hit comedy Bruce Almighty, with Jim Carrey. He will next be seen in Lars von Trier s Dogville, with Nicole Kidman.

Hall s credits include Phil Alden Robinson s The Sum of All Fears, Rod Lurie s The Contender, Michael Mann s The Insider, Tim Robbins The Cradle Will Rock, Anthony Minghella s The Talented Mr. Ripley, and William Friedkin s Rules of Engagement, opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. Other credits include Wolfgang Peterson s Air Force One, Michael Bay s The Rock, Larry David s Sour Grapes, John Schlesinger s An Eye for an Eye, Barbet Schroeder s Kiss of Death, Peter Weir s The Truman Show, Ridley Scott s Enemy of the State, Gus Van Sant s 1998 version of Psycho, and Brett Ratner s hit comedy Rush Hour.

Hall is also recognized for his memorable performance as Richard Nixon in Robert Altman s award-winning Secret Honor, which was filmed subsequent to Mr. Hall s stage presentation of the Donald Freed play, directed by Robert Harders. Hall received a Drama Desk nomination for this role from the New York Theatre Critics Association.

Hall began his career in the theatre, appearing in many Broadway, Off-Broadway and regional productions. In New York, he appeared with Helen Hayes in The Skin of Our

Teeth and with John Cazale in J.B., as well as the title role in

Angeles area, he has starred in plays at the Mark Taper Forum, the South Coast Repertory. At the Los Angeles Theatre Center, he starred in All My Sons opposite Bill

Pullman, Death of a Salesman, among other productions.

Gorky.

In the Los

The Crucible,

Short Eyes,

The Petrified Forest,

Hall is also known to television audiences for recurring roles on David E. Kelley s The

Practice and Chris Carter s Millennium.

He has guest starred on such series as

Seinfield,

3 rd Rock from the Sun, and Chicago Hope.

He was also seen in the NBC

miniseries Witness to the Mob, produced by Robert De Niro.

Stark Sands (Lance Sussman)

Stark Sands grew up in Dallas, Texas where he began acting on stage at age 13. He has appeared as a recurring love interest to teenage Claire Fisher on HBO s award winning series Six Feet Under, and co-starred in Rebecca Gayheart s short film Me and Daphne and in Ian Kessner s independent feature Pack of Dogs. He was also seen in the ABC series Lost at Home.

Sands will soon be seen opposite Rachel Leigh Cook, Colin Hanks and Ben Foster in Greg Marcks s independent film 11:14. He recently completed filming Bart Freundlich s new film Mission Without Permission.

He received his B.F.A. in acting at the University of Southern California. During his four years in the conservatory program, he appeared in more than a dozen plays and

musicals, including Romeo and Juliet,

and

graduation.

Macbeth,

Hamlet,

Pippin,

Guys and Dolls,

The Sound of Music.

Sands professional career began immediately upon

About the Filmmakers

Mark Rucker (Director)

Mark Rucker makes his film directing debut with Die Mommie Die!. A veteran theater

director, he has worked in many major theatres throughout the United States. He is an Associate Artist at the acclaimed South Coast Repertory Theater, where he has directed fifteen productions in the last eight years. Four of these productions were

world premieres, including Annie Weisman s Hold Please.

Angeles Drama Circle Critics Award in 1998 for his production of The Taming of the

Rucker received the Los

Shrew.

He recently staged a new production of Shakespeare s Two Gentlemen of

Verona.

Rucker has also directed at the Yale Repertory Theatre for five seasons, where his credits included the world premiere of James Magruder s adaptation of Moli re s The

Imaginary Invalid.

the La Jolla Playhouse; the world premiere of Anna Deveare Smith s House Arrest at Arena Stage in Washington D.C.; Amy Freed s The Beard of Avon at ACT in San Francisco; Dracula at San Diego s Globe Theatre; and the world premiere of the musical The Birds with Culture Clash at the Berkeley Rep. He directed two seasons at the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, and also worked with the Indiana Repertory Theatre and The Acting Company, the only touring rep company in the United States.

Other credits include: Donald Margulies

The Model Apartment at

Rucker has directed almost 20 professional productions of Shakespeare s plays in major theatres and festivals across the U.S. He has worked in new play development at the South Cast Rep and the Pacific Playwright s Festival as well as The O Neill Playwright s Festival, A.S.K. in Los Angeles, and The Sundance Theatre Lab. He is a graduate of UCLA and the Yale School of Drama.

Charles Busch (Writer)

Please see About the Cast.

Dante Di Loreto (Producer)

Dante Di Loreto is a Producing partner and co-founder of Aviator Films where he has developed an eclectic library of projects since launching the company with the 1997 romantic comedy Don t Go Breaking My Heart, starring Anthony Edwards, Jenny Seagrove and Jane Leeves. Produced in Britain, it became the year s fifth highest- grossing British film. Next, Di Loreto produced the Ron Bass screenplay Borderline, a suspense drama directed by Ken Kwapis for NBC, starring James Le Gros, Sherry Stringfield and Elizabeth Pena. They next developed and produced the Showtime original film My Louisiana Sky, starring Juliette Lewis and Shirley Knight. Adam Arkin

directed this family film, which won numerous accolades, including three Emmy Awards, the WGA Award, the Humanitas Prize and the Andrew Carnegie Medal. Additional nominations included the DGA Award for director Arkin and an ACE award for editor Paul Dixon.

In addition to their projects for NBC and Showtime, Di Loreto and partner Anthony

Edwards are producing films for HBO, F/X, TNT and CBS. Upcoming feature projects including Aftermath, directed by James Le Gros from an original screenplay by Tom Rayfiel; My Dead Boyfriend from Billy Morrisette, directed by Edwards; and True Til Death, from director Frank Pavich.

Di Loreto was a Master s Fellow at The American Film Institute and a graduate of the

University of California at Santa Barbara.

Anthony Edwards (Producer)

Anthony Edwards is probably best known as Dr. Mark Greene on the hit series ER, a role that has earned him four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Edwards has won six Screen Actor s Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series and Best Ensemble Cast and a Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.

Edwards has starred in more than twenty features, including Top Gun, Jackpot, Playing by Heart, The Client, The Sure Thing, Gotcha!, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Revenge of the Nerds. He was most recently seen in the Polish brothers Northfork.

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, California, Edwards is the youngest of five children. He developed his love of acting via exposure to live theater and by the age of 16 had appeared in dozens of musicals and plays.

Edwards is active in several philanthropic organizations, including Project Angel Food and the Los Angeles Youth Network, a shelter for homeless youth in Hollywood. He is also a board member of Cure Autism Now (CAN).

Bill Kenwright (Producer)

Bill Kenwright is one of Britain s most accomplished and successful stage producers. His 1997 production of Ibsen s A Doll s House played to packed houses at Broadway s Belasco Theater and won four Tony Awards. The following year, the Theatre de Complicite s production of Ionesco s The Chairs completed a critically acclaimed season at the Golden Theatre and was nominated for six Tony Awards. Other award-

winning productions include Medea,

His production of Willy Russell s award-winning musical Blood Brothers has played in the West End since 1988 and ran for nearly three years at the Music Box Theater on Broadway, receiving seven Tony nominations.

An Ideal Husband and Travels With My Aunt.

Kenwright is Executive Producer of the Theatre Royal, Windsor. As director, he is responsible for the record-breaking tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor

Dreamcoat.

He was nominated for a London Theatre Critic s Best Director Award for

West Side Story at the Shaftesbury and for a Tony Award for Blood Brothers .

Kenwright produced the comedy Don t Go Breaking My Heart, starring Anthony Edwards, and the coming-of-age film Zoe. He has co-produced two films, The Day After the Fair and Stepping Out, directed by Gilbert Lewis and starring Liza Minnelli. With Elvis Presley Enterprises, he co-produced the extremely successful Elvis — The Concert national arena tour. He is Deputy Chairman of the Everton Football Club.

Kenwright received an honorary fellowship from Liverpool s John Moore s University and is an Honorary Professor of Thames Valley University, London. He received a BASCA Gold Badge for his contribution to British entertainment industry. In January 2001, he was made a CBE in the Queen s New Year Honours List.

Kelly Evans (Director of Photography)

Kelly Evans s feature film credits include Let s Talk About Sex and Bury Me in Kern County. She began her film career as a camera assistant, gaining an education in camera and lighting while working with esteemed cinematographers Harris Savides, Mark Plummer and Paul Laufer. In 2001, Evans moved to Prague to shoot commercials and short films. She postponed her plans to return in 2002 to work on Die Mommie Die!.

Joseph B. Tintfass (Production Designer)

Joseph Tintfass production design credits include Role of a Lifetime, NewsBreak, the independent comedy Dirt Merchant, Shiloh 2: Shilo Season and the mockumentary The

Making of

ranks of film art departments, starting as a Scenic Artist and moving on to art direct projects for designers Roy Christopher and Rene Lagler, among others.

And God Spoke

. Previously Tintfass had worked his way through the

Tintfass began his design career at the age of 13, as an apprentice to award-winning designer Dean Tavoularis at Francis Ford Coppola s Zoetrope Studios. He designed various theatrical productions as a teenager and received dual degrees in Cinema Production and Theatre Arts from USC s School of Cinema-Television.

Philip Harrison (Editor)

Philip Harrison has edited several short documentaries including Fighting for Care, an in-depth portrait of the organ transplant system. He edited Kelly Reichardt s Ode, presented at the 1999 Venice Film Festival, and he recently co-edited Laura Nix s The Politics of Fur, named Best North American Feature at the 2002 Outfest.

Harrison has collaborated as an assistant or associate editor on films including Greg Mottola s The Daytrippers; Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson s documentary These Girls Are Missing; Ang Lee s Ride With the Devil; Mary Harron s American Psycho; and Rose Troche s The Safety of Objects.

Thomas G. Marquez (Costume Designer)

Thomas G. Marques stage credits include Northshore Music Theatre s production of

Chicago and Sweet Charity.

Other credits include the world premiere of Lullaby of

Broadway,

MTW; Dreamgirls, Carousel, and Damn Yankees for the Civic Light Opera of the South Bay Cities; the world premiere of Bingo for the Hermosa Beach Playhouse; and

Showboat,

Swing, and I Love You, You re Perfect, Now Change for

Evita,

Pippin,

42 nd Street,

A Chorus Line,

City of Angels,

Seven Brides for

Seven Brothers,

was nominated for the Ovation Award for Once on This Island and Crazy for You (for which he received the Drama-Logue Award).

Grease, and Singing in the Rain for American Musical Theatre. He

Marques has designed costumes for the television series The Wonder Years,

Rock from the Sun,

credits include Bit Players and Outpatient.

That 80 s Show and currently What I Like About You.

Third

Film

Michael Bottari & Ronald Case (Charles Busch s Costumes)

Michael Bottari & Ronald Case have been a design team for over thirty years. They have designed both costumes and scenery for Broadway productions including State

Fair, and Prince of Central Park.

his plays Shanghai Moon,

They have designed costumes for Charles Busch in

Times Square Angel.

Lady in Question,

Their Off-Broadway credits include Little Me, After the Fair, Opal, Man Who Shot

Lincoln, and Carnival.

Arnaz; Camelot with Richard Harris; Shenandoah with Ed Ames; Man of LaMancha with Richard Kiley; the 25 th Anniversary of The King and I with Yul Brynner; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Mickey Rooney; Damn Yankees with

Dick Van Dyke; and Al Jolson Tonight with Larry Kert. They also designed the world tour of My Fair Lady with Noel Harrison.

They have designed for national tours of I Do! I Do with Lucie

Bottari & Case were recently nominated twice for the National Broadway Theatre Awards for their work on the Fiddler on the Roof and Man of LaMancha tours. Other regional credits include the costume designs for the much-lauded Gypsy revival with Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson at the Paper Mill Playhouse; the hit revival of Dames at Sea, which garnered them numerous West Coast critics awards for their sets, costumes and projections in San Francisco; and Cabaret at the Walnut Street Theatre, which earned them a Barrymore Award for Best Costume Design. The have worked for many years at the Burt Reynolds Theatre, earning two Carbonell nominations, and the Westchester Broadway Theatre.

Bottari & Case have designed clothes for numerous actors, among them Carol Lawrence, Lucie Arnaz, Lorna Luft, Deborah Gibson, Andrea McArdle, Donna McKechnie, Betty Buckley, Susan Egan, Janis Paige, Margaret Whiting, Nanette Fabray, Shani Wallis, Van Johnson, John Raitt, and Laurence Luckinbill. They created the puppets for Disney s workshop of Carnival! and designed the last three national tours of Fiddler on the Roof with Theodore Bikel. They are currently teaching set and costume design for American Ballet Theatre s educational program.

Dennis McCarthy (Composer)

Dennis McCarthy has been writing music for television for over twenty years. He began his career as a conductor/arranger for Glen Campbell, after which he worked as a musical director on several television variety series including The Barbara Mandrell

Show.

composing for episodic and long-form television.

He then became an orchestrator for film composer Alex North and began

McCarthy has written music for numerous television films and series including

Dawson s Creek,

Star Trek: The Next Generation,

Deep Space Nine,

Voyager,

V,

MacGyver,

Parker Lewis Can t Lose.

He won an Emmy Award for his main title

theme for Star Trek Deep Space Nine and another Emmy for his score on Star Trek:

The Next Generation.

He recently scored the opening episodes of Enterprise, and is a twelve-time winner of ASCAP s most-performed composer award. His music can also be heard on the South Coast Repertory productions of Much Ado About Nothing and Of Mice and Men.

He also composed the music for the film Star Trek Generations.

About the Sundance Film Series

Announced by Robert Redford at a press conference at the 2003 Sundance Film

Festival, the Film Series has been developed as another extension of the overall Sundance mission to support the work of independent artists and offer opportunities for audiences to discover that work. It brings full circle the cycle of support that Sundance can offer filmmakers ranging from the programs of the Sundance Institute, including the Filmmaker Labs and the Film Festival, to Sundance Channel and its home

entertainment line.

support the programs of the not-for-profit Sundance Institute.

Sundance Film Series is presented by Loews Cineplex Entertainment, Coca- Cola, Entertainment Weekly, Kenneth Cole Productions, and Volkswagen.

The films to be featured in the theatrical series are Mark Rucker’s Die Mommie Die!; Mark Decena s Dopamine; Michael Winterbottom’s In This World; and Emilio Martinez-Lazaro s The Other Side of the Bed. Each of the four films in the Sundance

Film Series will be released theatrically in ten markets exclusively in Loews Theater

locations on separate dates beginning in September 2003.

York, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC.

Any proceeds from the program will go to the filmmakers and to

The ten markets are New

will go to the filmmakers and to The ten markets are New With more than 14

With more than 14 years experience in art-house film distribution, Milestone has earned an unparalleled reputation for releasing classic cinema masterpieces, new foreign films, groundbreaking documentaries and American independent features. Thanks to the company s rediscovery, restoration and release of such important films as Mikhail Kalatozov s award- winning I am Cuba, Pier Paolo Pasolini s Mamma Roma, and Alfred Hitchcock s Bon Voyage and Aventure Malgache, the company now occupies an honored position as one of the most influential independent distributors in the industry. In 1999, the L.A. Weekly chose Milestone as Indie Distributor of the Year.

Amy Heller and Dennis Doros started Milestone in 1990 to bring out the best films of yesterday and today. The company has released such remarkable new films as Manoel de Oliveira s I m Going Home, Bae Yong-kyun s Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?, Hirokazu Kore- eda s Maborosi, and Takeshi Kitano s Fireworks (Hana-Bi).

Milestone s re-releases have included restored versions of Luchino Visconti s Rocco and His Brothers, F.W. Murnau s Tabu, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack s Grass and Chang, Henri-Georges Clouzot s The Mystery of Picasso, and Marcel Ophuls s The Sorrow

and the Pity. Milestone is also working with the Mary Pickford Foundation on a long-term project to preserve, re-score and release the best films of the legendary silent screen star. In recent years, Milestone has re-released beautifully restored versions of Frank Hurley s South:

Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition, Kevin Brownlow s It Happened Here and Winstanley, Lotte Reiniger s animation masterpiece, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Michael Powell s The Edge of the World (a Martin Scorsese presentation), Jane Campion s Two Friends, Gillo Pontecorvo s The Wide Blue Road (a Jonathan Demme and Dustin Hoffman presentation), Conrad Rooks Siddhartha and Rolando Klein s Chac. Milestone s

newest classic film, E.A. Dupont s Piccadilly

of her finest roles nationwide in 2004.

starring the bewitching Anna May Wong in one

played at the 2003 New York Film Festival and is opening theatrically

For 2004, Milestone will also be releasing The Big Animal, Jerzy Stuhr s wonderful film parable (based on a story by Krzysztof Kieslowski) Tareque and Catherine Masud s The Clay Bird.

Milestone has fruitful collaborations with some of the world s major archives, including the British Film Institute, UCLA Film & Television Archive, George Eastman House, Museum of Modern Art, Library of Congress, Nederlands Filmmuseum and the Norsk Filminstitut. In 2000 Milestone s 10 th Anniversary Retrospective was shown in venues nationwide and Milestone donated revenues from these screenings to four major archives in the United States and England to help restore films that might otherwise be lost.

In 2003, Milestone released an important series of great silent restorations including the horror classic The Phantom of the Opera; an early neorealist adaptation of Emile Zola s La Terre; and

an historical epic of Polish independence, The Chess Player. Other video highlights for the year included Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton s The Cook & Other Treasures, and three incredible animation releases: Cut-Up: The Films of Grant Munro; Norman McLaren: The Collector s Edition; and Winsor McCay: The Master Edition.

In 1995 Milestone received a Special Archival Award from the National Society of Film Critics

for its restoration and release of I am Cuba. Eight of the company s films

Killer of Sheep (to be released in 2004), F.W. Murnau s Tabu, Edward S. Curtis s In the Land of the War Canoes, Mary Pickford s Poor Little Rich Girl, Lon Chaney s The Phantom of the Opera, Clara Bow s It, Winsor McCay s Gertie the Dinosaur, and Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B.

Schoedsack and Marguerite Harrison s Grass

National Film Registry. On January 2, 2004, the National Society of Film Critics awarded Milestone Film & Video their prestigious Film Heritage award for its theatrical and DVD presentations of Michael Powell’s The Edge of the World, E.A. Dupont’s Piccadilly, Andr Antoine’s La Terre, Rupert Julian s Phantom of the Opera, and Mad Love: The Films of Evgeni Bauer.

Charles Burnett s

are listed on the Library of Congress s

Cindi Rowell, director of acquisitions, has been with Milestone since 1999. In 2003 Nadja Tennstedt joined the company as director of international sales.

Since its birth the Milestone Film & Video Co. has steadily become the industry s foremost

boutique distributor of classic and art films

and probably the only distributor in America

whose name is actually a guarantee of some quality. William Arnold, Seattle Post-Intelligencer