and Magnolia Pictures
a Vox3 Films and
Phantom Film Co. Ltd. Production
in association with
Written and Directed by Zoe Cassavetes
HDCam; 1:85:1; 93 min.
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In a startling mature and nuanced performance, Parker Posey plays Nora Wilder, a thirty-something Manhattanite who is cynical about love and relationships, in this astute collaboration with first-time writer/director Zoe Cassavetes. Nora plugs away at her job in a posh downtown hotel and can't help but wonder what it is she has to do to find a relationship as ideal as her friend Audrey's (Drea De Matteo) "perfect marriage." It doesn’t help that her overbearing mother (Gena Rowlands) takes every opportunity to remind Nora that she's still unattached. After a series of disastrous first dates, she meets Julien (Melvil Poupaud), a seemingly devil-may-care Frenchman with a passion for living. Expecting another disastrous ending, Nora tries to avoid making the same mistakes. She finds herself in Paris looking to break old patterns. Inevitably, Nora has to look inward before she can find a new outlook on life and most importantly, love.
Q&A WITH ZOE CASSAVETES
How did you get into filmmaking?
I think it was a natural thing for me to get into. I grew up in a house where films were being made, and I loved the sense of family as well as the creativity that was fostered. My father was a director and an actor. My mother is an actress, and both my brother and sister are writer/directors.
What inspired you to write this story?
When I thought of the idea for BROKEN ENGLISH it was at a time when I was totally overwhelmed by people asking me whether I was married or had a boyfriend. I saw that it was happening to a lot of my friends as well. I think it comes at a certain age where society almost insists that you fall in love, get married and have children. However, it seems that we are all more confused about relationships than ever. I wanted to explore these themes about what it is like to be lonely and to be ashamed of that feeling.
What about the story do you identify with most?
I love truly human stories. I love that these characters can feel pain and insecurity and look at other people's lives and envy what they don't have.
How much of the film is autobiographical?
Is it possible for a writer to not write about things they know? I'm not afraid to use my own stories as part of the bigger picture, but I've also been an observer of others for as long as I can remember.
Why do you think audiences are fascinated by stories of what people will do for love?
Love is a common factor in all human beings and at some point everyone feels both pain and happiness from all types of love. I think it's comforting to know no one ever has it easy when it comes to relationships.
Is your film a traditional love story?
BROKEN ENGLISH is a story that has been told many times before. Yet I don't think of it as a traditional romantic comedy; it's more of a story of self-exploration.
How much does your pedigree influence your filmmaking journeys into probing personal storytelling?
I've always been a storyteller. I've always written. Exploring feelings has always been encouraged in our family.
Which one of your dad’s [John Cassavetes] films has influenced you the most, or is your favorite, and why?
I think my father's films are some of the most painful and daring films I've ever seen. He had a gift for showing people in pain and I have always been attracted to those themes as well. I love that they have different meanings the older I get and the more I've experienced in my own life. I love OPENING NIGHT because it has so many themes and it is shot so beautifully. My mother [Gena Rowlands] is spectacular in it, and she gets to be glamorous even while suffering. The cast is
amazing and I love to see my parents act together, even though my father always seems to cast himself as kind of a brute.
What does your film say about loneliness and love?
It feels so painful to be alone and think you are never going to find "real love." It's brave to really look at yourself and take chances based on what is going to make you happy in life, but that mission can't rest on other people's perceptions of you.
What point should audiences take away from the film?
Try to love yourself.
What’s the most ambitious thing you’ve ever done for love?
I willed this movie to happen.
Parker Posey received an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Lead Actress for her work in Rebecca Miller's PERSONAL VELOCITY, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for her work opposite Shirley MacLaine in the CBS film, "Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay." Other films from her vast repertoire include Thom Fitzgerald's THE EVENT, Christopher Guest's WAITING FOR GUFFMAN, BEST IN SHOW and A MIGHTY WIND.
She has also appeared in THE SWEETEST THING, THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY, Wes Craven's SCREAM 3, Nora Ephron's YOU’RE GOT MAIL, Richard Linklater's SUBURBIA and DAZED AND CONFUSED, CLOCKWATCHERS and THE DAYTRIPPERS and Hal Hartley's AMATEUR, FLIRT and HENRY FOOL.
For her performance in THE HOUSE OF YES, she received a Special Jury Prize at The Sundance Film Festival. She most recently appeared in Warner Bros.' SUPERMAN RETURNS and opposite Danny DeVito in THE OH IN OHIO. She will next be seen in Christopher Guest’s FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION, BROKEN ENGLISH directed by Zoe Cassavetes and SPRING BREAKDOWN opposite Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch.
On stage, Parker most recently starred off-Broadway in the acclaimed revival of "Hurlyburly," for which she received a Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress and in Lanford Wilson's "Fifth of July" (a Lucille Lortel nomination for Lead Actress). She also starred in the Los Angeles premiere of John Patrick Shanley's "Four Dogs and a Bone," directed by Lawrence Kasdan, and starred on Broadway opposite Matthew Broderick in Elaine May's "Taller Than A Dwarf."
Drea de Matteo
Drea de Matteo is best known for her portrayal of “Adriana,” Christopher’s loyal and loving fiancée on HBO’s critically-acclaimed series, “The Sopranos.” The role garnered her a Golden Globe nomination (2005) and an Emmy Award (2004) for Best Supporting Actress. She was also nominated for a SAG Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series” in 2005. Along with her cast, de Matteo was nominated for SAG Awards for “Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series” in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005. After her famed death on “The Sopranos,” de Matteo went on to star for 2 years as Matt Le Blanc's sister on NBC's sitcom, “Joey.”
In addition to her television credits, de Matteo has starred in such films as ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 with Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne and WALKER PAYNE (2006 Tribeca Film Festival) with Sam Shepard and Jason Patric. She also starred in Abel Ferrara’s ‘R XMAS (2001 Cannes Film Festival—“Un Certain Regard”), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the NY International Independent Film Festival and garnered her a “Best Actress” award. De Matteo appeared opposite Gina Gershon in PREY FOR ROCK AND ROLL, which premiered at
Sundance in 2003, and she returns to the festival this year with BROKEN ENGLISH and THE GOOD LIFE—both of which are in Dramatic Competition. Most recently, she just completed shooting the independent film LAKE CITY with Sissy Spacek and Troy Garity.
During her downtime, de Matteo goes back to HB Studios in NY where her mother Donna de Matteo has taught playwriting for over 25 years. The two are continually developing and looking out for new writers and projects, as well as working on their own material for the stage.
De Matteo resides in both LA and NY and has a BFA in Film Production from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
Gena Rowlands (born June 19, 1930) is an American actress. Born Virginia Cathryn Rowlands in Madison, Wisconsin, and raised in Cambria, Wisconsin, her father, Edwin Myrwyn Rowlands, was a state legislator, and her mother, Mary Allen Neal, a housewife originally from Arkansas.
The family moved to Washington, D.C. in 1939 when Myrwyn was appointed to a position in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1942 when he was appointed as branch manager of the Office of Price Administration, and later to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Gena attended the University of Wisconsin from 1947 to 1950, where she was a popular student already renowned for her beauty. She left for New York City to study drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Rowlands went from understudy to lead role in the original Broadway production of “The Seven Year Itch,” and opened in “Middle of the Night,” opposite Edward G. Robbins, in 1956. She made her film debut in THE HIGH COST OF LIVING, opposite Jose Ferrer, in 1958. She guest starred in several anthology television series, including “Robert Montgomery Presents,” “Kraft Television Theatre” and “Studio One,” among many others. In 1961 she starred in the well-received television series “87th Precinct,” and in 1964 in “Peyton Place.”
Teaming with her husband, writer and director John Cassavetes, whom she married in 1954, Rowlands starred in many productions, including STACCATO, A CHILD IS WAITING, FACES, GLORIA (nomination for Academy Award for Best Actress), LOVE STREAMS, MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ, SHE’S SO LOVELY, and A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (Academy Award nomination). She starred in THE NEON BIBLE. In 1985, Rowlands played the mother in the critically acclaimed made-for-TV movie, “An Early Frost.” She also appeared in 1998’s “Hope Floats,” opposite Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. In recent years, she has appeared in Paulie and in Mira Nair's HBO movie, “Hysterical Blindness,” for which she won her third Emmy.
She was recently seen in THE NOTEBOOK, which was directed by her son, Nick Cassavetes, and co-starred James Garner, Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. In 2004 she won her first Daytime Emmy for her role as Mrs. Evelyn Ritchie in “The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie.” To name a few, Ms. Rowlands has been nominated for: two Academy Awards; six Emmy nominations, and one
Daytime Emmy; eight Golden Globes; three Satellite Awards; and one SAG Award. Some of her notable wins include: a Silver Berlin Bear; three Emmy Awards and one Daytime Emmy; two Golden Globes; two National Board of Review Awards; two Satellite Awards; and one Prize San Sebastián. In 2005, she appeared opposite Kate Hudson, Peter Sarsgaard, and John Hurt in the gothic thriller THE SKELETON KEY.
Rowlands can also be seen in PARIS, JE T’AIME, opposite Gérard Depardieu and Ben Gazzara. In December of 2006 she wrapped shooting on the Lifetime movie, “What If God Were the Sun?”
Melvil Poupaud was born in 1973. He started acting in a Raoul Ruiz movie when he was 10, playing the part of a murderous child. Since then he has acted in more than 30 films, with directors such as Eric Rohmer, Jacques Doillon, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Benoit Jacquot, James Ivory…and Raoul Ruiz with whom he has worked over 10 times. His latest movie was TIME TO LEAVE, by François Ozon, released in 2005.
Twenty three years ago, with the first payment he received as an actor, he bought a video camera and started to make small movies all by himself in his bedroom. Those movies where presented in the “E. Perrotin” gallery in Paris in 2003, and released on DVD by MK2 and Anna Sanders films the next year. His latest movie, and first feature film, is entitled “Melvil”, and was selected at the last Cannes film festival (Director’s Fortnight). In 2006, in addition to appearing in BROKEN ENGLISH, directed by Zoe Cassavetes, he worked with English director Sean Ellis, and French director Pascal Thomas. He is now shooting a movie in Beirut with the Lebanese director, Danielle Harbid.
Justin Theroux is an accomplished film and stage actor who gained industry notice with his unforgettable performance as director Adam Kesher, opposite Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring in David Lynch's MULHOLLAND DRIVE.
He can now be seen in David Lynch's highly anticipated INLAND EMPIRE. INLAND EMPIRE stars Laura Dern, along with Harry Dean Stanton, and Jeremy Irons. Lynch's distribution company is currently releasing the film in select cities. The film had its world premiere at the 2006 Venice Film Festival.
Theroux is currently in post production on his directorial debut DEDICATION. Produced by Plum Pictures' Celine Rattray, Galt Niederhoffer and Daniela Taplin, Theroux develop the script with writer David Brombert. The film stars Billy Crudup, Mandy Moore, Jim Broadban, and Bob Balaban. This romantic comedy centers around a misogynistic children's book writer (Crudup) who is forced to collaborate with a young female illustrator (Moore) when his writing partner and only friend dies.
Theroux recently completed shooting David Wain's THE TEN, a comedy spoofing the Ten Commandments featuring an ensemble cast including Winona Ryder, Amanda Peet, Jessica Alba, Paul Rudd, Ken Marino, Famke Janssen, and Adam Brody. City Lights Pictures and MEGA Films
have teamed to finance and produce.
In addition, in 2005, Theroux also has teamed up with Ben Stiller to pen TROPIC THUNDER which is set up at DreamWorks. In 2004, Theroux returned to the HBO's acclaimed series "Six Feet Under," reprising his role as Joe, Rachel Griffiths's neighbor and new love interest. The season's most featured guest star, Theroux's character was the center of a love triangle between Griffiths and the shows Peter Krause.
Theroux's other film credits include THE BAXTER, STRANGERS WITH CANDY, CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE, DUPLEX, Mary Harron's AMERICAN PSYCHO, I SHOT ANDY WARHOL, Ben Stiller's smash hit comedy ZOOLANDER, Greg Berlanti's romantic comedy, THE BROKEN HEARTS CLUB and ROMY AND MICHELE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION. Theroux's television credits include guest spots on "Alias", "Sex and The City", "Spin City" and "Ally McBeal."
Theroux began his acting career in New York Theater starring opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Shopping and Fucking," followed by "Three Sisters" with Calista Flockhart, Billy Crudup, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Lily Taylor. Theroux last starred in Frank McGuiness' "Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards Somme", an examination of the individual and collective desire to honor one's beliefs and country. For his performance, Theroux was honored with a Lucille Lortel Award as well as the The Boston Critics Award for Best Male Actor.
Theroux was born and raised in Washington D.C., and graduated from Bennington College. He currently resides in New York.
Tim Guinee (Mark) is a versatile actor who has played an extraordinarily broad range of roles in his prolific career. Currently he can be seen in SWEET LAND as Olaf Torvik. Other film work includes Sundance Festival Winner PERSONAL VELOCITY (with Parker Posey), HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT, COURAGE UNDER FIRE, Lasse Hallstrom's ONCE AROUND, LADDER 49, Horton Foote's LILY DALE, BEAVIS & BUTTHEAD DO AMERICA, Oliver Stone’s HEAVEN AND EARTH, Griffin Dunne's Oscar-nominated THE DUKE OF GROOVE, and THE SHOVEL co-starring David Strathairn. On television he has been seen internationally in "Moby Dick" (BBC), Linda La Plante's "Comics" (Channel 4), "Vietnam War Stories" (HBO), The Road From Coorain" (Australian Broadcasting Company), "The Suitor" (PBS), "Elvis", "The West Wing", "Law & Order", "CSI" and many more. He recently completed Hesham Issawi's film "American East". Irish American Magazine named Tim one of the top one hundred Irish Americans.
Influential American film director, writer, producer, actor.
Theatre: Actor, director, Cherry County Playhouse, Traverse City, Michigan, 1955; actor, American Shakespeare Festival, Stratford, Conn. 1956; actor N.Y. Shakespeare Festival 1957; actor Falmouth Playhouse, Falmouth, Mass., 1958; Dir., producer off-Broadway prods.: Odets’
“The Big Knife,” 1959; Williams’ “Camino Real,” Christie’s “Ten Little Indians,” Odets’ “Rocket to the Moon,” 196l; Kaufman & Hart’s “Once in a Lifetime,” 1964.
Films and TV: THE WILD ANGELS (2nd unit dir., co-writer, actor) 1966, Amer. Intl.; “The Great Professional: Howard Hawks” (co-dir., writer, interviewer), 1967, BBC; LIONS LOVE (actor) 1967; TARGETS (dir., co-writer, prod., actor) 1968, Saticoy-Para.; THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (dir., co-writer) 197l, BBS-Col.; DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD (dir., writer, interviewer) 197l, Calif. Arts Comm.-AFI; WHAT’S UP, DOC? (dir., prod., co-writer) 1972, Saticoy-WB; PAPER MOON (dir., prod.) 1973, Directors Co.-Copa-Para.; DAISY MILLER (dir., prod., co-writer) 1974, Directors Co.-Copa-Para.; AT LONG LAST LOVE (dir., prod., writer) 1975, Copa-20th; THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (actor) 1975; NICKELODEON (dir., co-writer) 1976, Copa-British Lion-Col.; OPENING NIGHT (actor) 1977; SAINT JACK (dir., co-writer, actor) 1979, Copa-New World; THEY ALL LAUGHED (dir., co-prod., writer) 198l, Moon Pic-Time-Life-WB; MASK (dir.) 1985, Univ.; “CBS This Morning” (weekly network commentary) 1987-89; ILLEGALLY YOURS (dir., prod.) 1988, DeLaurentiis-MGM; TEXASVILLE (dir.,
prod., writer) 1990, Nelson-Col.; NOISES OFF (dir., exec. prod.) 1992, Amblin-Disney; THE THING CALLED LOVE (dir.) 1993, Para.; Northern Exposure “Rosebud" episode (actor) 11/8/93, CBS; Fallen Angels “A Dime A Dance" episode (dir.) 6/95, Pollock-Showtime; Picture Windows, "Song of Songs" episode (dir.) 6/95, Jewison-Showtime; “Prowler” (dir. pilot) 1995, CBS; “The Price of Heaven” (dir.) 1996, Konigsberg-CBS; “To Sir With Love II” (dir.) 1996, TriStar-CBS; “Rescuers: Two Women” (dir.) 1997, Barwood-Para-Showtime; MR. JEALOUSY (actor) 1998; “Naked City: A Killer Christmas” (dir.) 1998, Para.-Showtime; “Bella Mafia” (actor) 1998, CBS; “A Saintly Switch” (dir.) 1999, Disney-ABC; COMING SOON (actor) 1999; “Orson Welles: The One Man Band” (U.S. version; Prod, Narr)1999, Showtime; “The Sopranos” (actor, dir.) 2000-, HBO; THE CAT’S MEOW (dir.) 2002, Lions Gate; “Out of Order” (actor) 2003, Showtime; “Mystery of Natalie Wood” (dir.), 2004, Sertner-von Zerneck-ABC; “Hu$tle” (dir.), 2004, Orly Adelson-ESPN
Awards: N.Y. Film Critics' Award for Best Screenplay, British Academy Award for Best Screenplay, 8 Academy Award nominations—2 supporting Oscars (THE LAST PICTURE SHOW) 197l; Writer's Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay (WHAT’S UP, DOC?) 1972; Silver Shell, Mar del Plata, Spain, and Hamburg Newspapers Award, Germany, 3 Academy Award nominations—1 supporting Oscar (PAPER MOON) 1973; Best Director, Brussels Festival (DAISY MILLER) 1974; Pasinetti Award, Critics Prize, Venice Festival (SAINT JACK) 1979; 1 Academy Award nomination—1 Oscar win (MASK) 1985; Los Angeles Film Critics Assoc. Awards, Special Citation (Who the Devil Made It) 1997; Italian Film Critics Assoc., Barbari Award (Who the Devil Made It) 1999.
Zoe Cassavetes – Writer/Director
Zoe Cassavetes, a multi-talented artist, has worked in many facets of filmmaking. She began her career by creating and hosting the experimental digital video show "High Octane" with longtime friend Sofia Coppola. Airing in 1993 on Comedy Central, the show mixed cultural commentary with humorous skits and featured Martin Scorsese, The Beastie Boys, and Keanu Reeves and experimental artists such as painter Robert Williams and stunt driver Buddy Joe Hooker.
Following "High Octane," Zoe hosted episodes of MTV’s "House of Style"
and was the Assistant Director for the independent films MASCARA and Sofia Coppola’s LICK THE STAR. In 1997, she moved from Los Angeles to New York City where she made her first of several short films, MEN MAKE WOMEN CRAZY THEORY, an official selection at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. The short achieved “cult classic” status and critical acclaim in the United States and France.
Zoe has extensive commercial directing experience with varied clients such as Chase Manhattan Bank and designer Anna Sui, and music videos for Duncan Sheik and Nancy Boy. In Europe, Zoe has recently completed a commercial for Advair, an EPK for V2’s new band Chromeo, and a video for Warner Brothers politically-charged rock band Arkol. She has also recently completed a video for comedian Chris Rock.
Recently Zoe’s first film, BROKEN ENGLISH, premiered in the Dramatic competition at 2007 Sundance Film Festival. She has also just completed directing an in-house video for hotel mogul Andre Balazs, as well as three minute short advertisement for French handbag company Lamarthe in the Nouvelle Vauge style starring Elletra Rosselini.
Andrew Fierberg – Producer
Andrew Fierberg (Producer) is a principal of Vox3 Films, which he created with director Steven Shainberg and producer Christina Weiss Lurie. Fierberg co-founded double A films and has produced films under his own label, Studio Fierberg.
As Producer, Fierberg most recently completed producing Gina Kim¹s NEVER FOREVER, starring Vera Farmiga and Jung-woo Ha. Also in competition at 2007 Sundance, NEVER FOREVER marks a new break through in collaboration between Korean (Now Films) and US independent film companies. He has also just finished Matt Mahurin’s FEEL, starring Billy Baldwin and Kevin Corrigan.
Fierberg’s recent films include Sally Potter’s YES, starring Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian and Sam Neill; Lodge Kerrigan’s KEANE, starring Damian Lewis, which was presented at the Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals. Fierberg also produced Isaac Julien’s BALTIMORE, a moving-image art installation, starring Melvin Van Peebles, which premiered at the FACT Gallery in Liverpool, won the prestigious Grand Jury Prize at the Kunstfilm Biennale in Cologne and is represented by Metro Pictures Gallery.
Previously, Fierberg produced Steven Shainberg’s critically acclaimed SECRETARY, which won a Special Jury Prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature, and introduced Maggie Gyllenhaal in her first feature starring role; Jill Sprecher’s 13 CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING, starring Matthew
McConaughey, John Turturro and Alan Arkin; and Michael Almereyda’s HAMLET, starring Ethan Hawke, Sam Shepard, Bill Murray and Julia Stiles.
His past producing credits include SUNDAY, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival; STRINGER, starring Burt Reynolds; CORPS PLONGES, directed by Raoul Peck; and NADJA, which was produced with David Lynch.
Fierberg was supervising producer of a series of six short films that accompanied THE CONCERT FOR NEW YORK CITY, which helped to raise more than $30 million for 9/11 related charties. Fierberg collaborated in the effort with directors Woody Allen, Spike Lee, Martin Scorcese, Ed Burns, Kevin Smith and Jerry Seinfeld.
Fierberg is an Associate at Harvard University Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. He sits on the Finance Committee of the Film Forum and is Secretary of its Board of Directors.