Primary Colors: About The Production

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The famous comedy team of Mike Nichols and Elaine May dates back to Chicago's Second City and its antecedent, The Compass, at the University of Chicago in the 1950s. On stage, screen and in a series of classic recordings, Nichols and May were renowned for their acerbic social observations through the medium of comedy.

Two years ago, Nichols and May reunited for their first official screen collaboration, the hit comedy The Birdcage. In Primary Colors, they have found yet another vehicle to illuminate their insights on human nature and values played out in modern life. Little did they know just how prescient their adaptation of Primary Colors would turn out to be.

Apart from its uncanny topicality - life imitating art imitating life - what the film Primary Colors has become in the hands of Nichols and May is a labor of love and lunacy that impacts the soul as hard as the funnybone. Primary Colors represents the latest of his films where Nichols holds a mirror up to human behavior by focusing on a small ensemble of well-defined character players. The movies for which he has been nominated for the Academy Award® as Best Director - Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Graduate (for which he won the Oscar®), Silkwood and Working Girl - feature such ensembles and incorpor ate signature Nichols elements of riotously funny and wrenching poignant scenarios.

A work of fiction of such sensitivity that its writer chose to be credited as Anonymous, Primary Colors was a runaway best-seller upon its publication by Random House in February 1996. A true feeding frenzy ensued as the media scrambled to discover the identity of the author, because this was a book assumed to be a real insider's look at a very familiar presidential candidate and his most intimate advisors on the bumpy road to the White House.

Primary Colors unfolds through the eyes of Henry, played by newcomer Adrian Lester. Henry's unobstructed view of the Stantons and the nature of contemporary politics creates alternating emotions of love and disillusion as he discovers that both are part of growing up American.

Noted for his work on the London stage, the British-born Lester is virtually unknown to American film audiences, which is just what the director wanted to further the notion of his protagonist as an outsider. Surrounding Lester are some of the most critically acclaimed actors in movies today - John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates - all notably gifted for their ability to play both comedy and drama.

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