The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sept. 11, 2002 — to commemorate the one year anniversary of the events the play is based on. The movie features the stageplay's former cast members Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia as well as the director Jim Simpson.
The Guys, based on Nelson's real experiences, is a dialogue between a fire captain — who has lost most of his men in the Sept. 11 attack — and an editor who helps him write the eulogies as she struggles herself to come to terms with the event. Both find out, as quoted from the text, "We have no idea what wonders lie hidden in the people around us."
Simpson (the husband of Weaver) makes an appearance in the film as the husband of Weaver's character. Their daughter also is featured. Irene Walsh, the actress who understudied the female role for the entire New York run of the stageshow, plays the sister of the editor.
The movie is billed as a ContentFilm presentation of an Open City Films production and is executive-produced by Edward R. Pressman, John Schmidt, and Bonnie Timmermann. The producers are Joana Vicente and Jason Kliot. The screenplay is credited to Anne Nelson and Jim Simpson, based on the play by Anne Nelson. The director is Simpson.
"The Guys," has a running time of 88 minutes and is rated PG (for thematic elements and brief language). Simpson, in a released statement, said "I’m pleased that ContentFilm and Open City Films have embraced this unique project. The Guys puts a human face on this catastrophe and its intimacy should transfer well to the screen." Nelson concurred saying "I’m deeply gratified that a film version of The Guys can come to life through this team."
The New York cast of The Guys included Bill Murray, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Irwin, Anthony LaPaglia, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Swoosie Kurtz, Tom Wopat, Amy Irving, Carol Kane, Marlo Thomas, Stephen Lang, Terrence Mann, Polly Draper, Dan Lauria and Peggy Lipton before it closed Dec. 20, 2002.