Contact: Amanda Stanton-Geddes
Prairie Home Productions
Phone: (651) 999-1095
GARRISON KEILLOR TO STAR IN ROBERT ALTMAN FILM
Major motion picture will be shot in St. Paul.
(St. Paul, Minn) June 24, 2005 — The feature is still untitled. But the screenplay – written by Garrison Keillor – is ready to go, and the cast and crew of famed director Robert Altman’s town hall meetings, international call-ins, investigative reports, commentaries and cultural programs — as well as an interactive Web site in partnership with the nonprofit organization NetAid.
It’s a stellar cast: Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Lindsay Lohan, Kevin Kline, Woody Harrelson, John C. Reilly, Virginia Madsen, Maya Rudolph and, of course, Garrison Keillor.
Keillor has fashioned a comic fable. As the story unfolds, the players, performers and presiding pooh-bah of a long-running live radio variety show discover that this evening may be the program’s LAST. Long-simmering passions, feuds, misunderstandings and assorted other human complications come to a head. A love affair – or two – comes to light. A dangerous and beautiful woman – who just might be the Angel of Death – haunts the wings. A teenage girl takes the stage in the very spot her mother had long held. There is backstage gossip, dressing room rivalries and a lot of engaging music.
The film’s characters include GARRISON KEILLOR as himself; YOLANDA and RHONDA JOHNSON (Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin), the last two of what was once a five-sister country music act; Yolanda’s daughter, MELISSA (Lindsay Lohan); and the singing cowboys DUSTY and LEFTY (Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly). There is DONNA (Prairie Home regular Sue Scott), the make-up artist, and the DANGEROUS WOMAN (Virginia Madsen), who mysteriously materializes backstage. And there’s GUY NOIR (Kevin Kline), the show’s security guard, who seems to have stepped right out of a Raymond Chandler novel. An imperious STAGE MANAGER (Prairie Home’s Tim Russell) and his assistant, ERICA (Maya Rudolph), try their best to keep an increasingly rudderless show on course.
Keillor holds sway over all of this – hosting the show from the stage, refereeing (and occasionally provoking) disputes and quibbles in the dressing rooms and in the wings. And through it all, the show must go on.
One of America’s most beloved radio hosts and acclaimed humorists, Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since 1974 and of The Writer’s Almanac since 1996. A noted author, Garrison has written more than a dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Love Me and Homegrown Democrat. He has been honored with numerous awards for his contributions to radio, television and literature, including the National Humanities Medal in 1999 and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Throughout his extraordinary career, Robert Altman has surprised, entertained and challenged audiences with vibrant, freewheeling films that stretch the boundaries of the medium.
Altman’s more than 30 features bear witness to an extraordinary creative range: from M*A*S*H to Nashville, from The Player to Gosford Park. He has inverted, satirized and enriched genres like the western (McCabe and Mrs. Miller), the gangster melodrama (Thieves Like Us), the detective film (The Long Goodbye), the biography (Vincent and Theo) and the English drawing-room whodunnit (Gosford Park). His source material has included comics (Popeye), the theater (Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and Streamers), contemporary politics (Tanner ’88) and contemporary literature (Short Cuts).
While his subjects and themes have been diverse, Altman has often cast an irreverent eye on the institutions, mores and foibles of American life, matching that with an encompassing, unsentimental humanism.
Altman has received five Academy Award nominations for Best Director (Gosford Park, Short Cuts, The Player, M*A*S*H and Nashville) and three for Best Film (M*A*S*H, Nashville and Gosford Park).
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