Though David Rabe's Broadway drama Hurlyburly featured an all star cast (including Sigourney Weaver, Cynthia Nixon and William Hurt) satirizing the movie business, it's taken nearly 15 years to bring the work itself to filmdom.
Now, however, Variety reports the Hurlyburly movie is completed and will be distributed by Fine Line Features. Anthony Drazan directed the film, which has a screenplay by Rabe. Sean Penn (who appeared in the play in a 1988 L.A. Production) stars with his real-life wife Robin Wright Penn, Meg Ryan, Kevin Spacey (The Iceman Cometh), Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale), Gary Shandling and Anna Paquin.
Rabe won the 1972 Tony Award for Sticks and Bones, an examination of the effect a blinded Vietnam veteran has when he returns home to his middle-American family. Rabe's other plays include A Question of Mercy and Streamers, set in an Air Force barracks. Before Mercy, Those the River Keeps starring Paul Guilfoyle and Annabella Sciorra, had a brief run Off-Broadway in early 1994.
The Hurlyburly film, budgeted at less than $10 million and sold to Fine Line for $2 million, was produced by director Drazan, Richard Gladstein and David Hamburger. Variety reports that although the major studios were very interested in distributing the finished film on the indie circuit, the studios all turned down producing the pic originally, due to its dark and "negative" subject matter.
Fine Line president Mark Ordesky told Variety (July 15), "It's a tough film, but we're thrilled to take it on... This is challenging material, but it has knock-out artistic credibility." -- By David Lefkowitz