The Fisher King is a dramatic comedy that concerns one man's attempt to redeem himself from a life of fatal cynicism through his unlikely alliance with a visionary street person.
Robin Williams portrays Parry, a former professor of medieval history, who lives in a remarkable world of his own creation in order to insulate himself from a tragedy in his past. He now sees a singular New York and has the charismatic ability to permit others to see the world as he does--full of turrets and castles, terrifying Red Knights and damsels in distress.
Jeff Bridges portrays Jack Lucas, a man who has always managed to look down at life from the top. He is the menace of Manhattan's airwaves, the city's No. 1 shock DJ, but his off-handed arrogance triggers an incident which derails him from the fast track and sends him on a precipitous decline through the looking glass into a whole other world he had never imagined. Penniless and without prospects, Jack finds himself plucked from disaster by the most improbable of saviors... Parry.
It is the beginning of an amazing friendship. Parry needs love. Jack needs hope. And the key to their redemption lies in the quest to win the heart of Parry's imperfect perfect vision of a woman.
Shy and inhibited by notions of chivalry, Parry dares not approach Lydia until Jack takes it upon himself to bring the two together. By helping Parry win the heart of the lonely woman he secretly loves, Jack hopes to redeem himself and erase the blight from his own soul. Jack's self-serving deed, however, leads to a more profound result, in which the bruised cynic and his pure-hearted friend both discover the nature of true love.
Portraying the girl of Parry's waking dreams, his perfect maiden--a vision unique to him--is Amanda Plummer.
Mercedes Ruehl is Anne Napolitano, the worldly video store owner who provides solace to Jack after his fall from grace.
Directed by Terry Gilliam, The Fisher King stars Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges in a TriStar Pictures presentation of a Hill/Obst Production written by Richard LaGravenese. Also starring in the Terry Gilliam film are Amanda Plummer and Mercedes Ruehl. The producers are Debra Hill and Lynda Obst.
Several years ago Richard LaGravenese sat down to write his first solo screenplay, one that would incorporate elements of the mythology that he is so passionately interested in. The best he hoped for was that The Fisher King, which he acknowledged as 'offbeat', might be made as a small independent feature film. Instead, the script attracted the attention of producers Debra Hill and Lynda Obst.
When she first received the screenplay, Obst says, "I had to go on an errand and I couldn't stop reading the script. I was driving in the car with the script on my lap. I thought, this is unbelievable. It was a Sunday, but I had to find the agent because the possibility that this script would be made without us was unacceptable."
The producers wanted Terry Gilliam to direct the film and began their campaign to secure the services of the innovative director.
Gilliam confesses to an ulterior reason for being drawn to The Fisher King.
"I made the film to discover whether or not I was a film director. This may seem an odd statement from someone in middle age with several film credits to his name, but it's true. All my other films had initiated with me, had sprung from ideas of mine that had insisted they be made into films. I saw myself as a filmmaker, not a film director. The directing bit was just one of the jobs along the way to getting an idea from brain to script to budget to film to final cut to cinema audience to, finally, out of my hair."
But when The Fisher King arrived on his doorstep, Gilliam found himself tempted to direct it.
"The ideas were totally familiar to me. Here was a writer who saw the world through very similar eyes to mine. On top of that it was brilliantly written. It was funny, sad, surprising. It had wonderful characters, it was emotionally powerful and it had a Holy Grail in it... and I've had some experience with films with Holy Grails," says the co-director of the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Making The Fisher King was an interesting experiment for Gilliam, he says, because of his previous penchant for making films dependent on special effects.
"I think for a lot of people, my reputation is one of making big, spectacular special effects films... visually complex films where the characters were secondary to the world in which they existed. The Fisher King is just the opposite of that. That's one of the reasons I wanted to do it--to show that I can actually work with just four people and out of that create a good film."
LaGravenese's role in the production didn't end when he sold the script. Throughout preproduction, rehearsals and filming, he worked with Gilliam and the cast, collaborating on the making of the film in a way that is rare for screenwriters.
"It was terrific having LaGravenese aboard," Bridges says, "because he was the guy who thought up the whole story, and to ask his opinion was very valuable. It was a very close company, and we all helped and used each other in a most positive way."
"The Fisher King," Gilliam says, is "about the search for the Holy Grail in New York City in the second half of the 20th century." It could also be described as "about a guy trying to get a friend a date so he can feel less guilty. It's about redemption, and what's good about the whole thing is you can't describe it simply."
The Fisher King is the guardian of the Holy Grail which, in medieval legends, is the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper and which was used to collect drops of his blood at the Crucifixion.
"The Fisher King is dying, his kingdom is dying around him," Gilliam says as he describes the various myths surrounding the Fisher King and the Grail. "He's a man who's probably seen too much of life--he's experienced betrayal and tragedy. His life is slowly crumbling, and his kingdom goes barren. He's also lost the Grail. It's the one thing that can save him, but he's lost the ability to see it and experience it. A fool comes along and finds the Grail right next to his bed and restores the king."
The fool, a pure and innocent soul, demonstrates the kind of compassion that can free the king from mortal anguish. Although aspects of both Williams' and Bridges' characters correspond to the fool, it is Parry, in retreat from his reality, who is clearly the more innocent soul.
"Parry is a man with a previous life that was so damaged that he had to create another personality," Williams says. "It's like post-traumatic stress syndrome: Some people respond to traumatic or tragic events by withdrawal; some even create other personalities. Parry is a creation--somewhat Don Quixote, somewhat Groucho Marx--but he's a creation designed to avoid a past event."
In contrast to Parry, Jack is "a cynical fellow who, underneath, is a romantic who's been crushed or hurt in some way," Bridges says. "At the core, he has a lot of goodness that just kind of pops out of him... he can't help it. The film's about redemption, about healing wounds and how giving and getting are really pretty much the same thing. My character really gets the ultimate gift by his giving, not by his receiving."
The Fisher King began filming exteriors in New York, then moved to Los Angeles for the interiors. With the exception of the Central Park scenes, Gilliam says, he was trying to show a New York that was "heavy, stone, monumental... as in a fairy tale. In my mind I was making a fairy tale of people like Lydia imprisoned in this great stone tower working in this publishing house, and bums living under the arches of Manhattan bridge in a setting that's Dante-esque."
In the myth, the Fisher King's kingdom is dying, just as he is, "so I pictured New York as all stone and brutal buildings, with no living things like trees and birds. I put Jack Lucas, who's actually the Fisher King, up in the most minimalistic, severe, cold building I could find."
To help him get the look he wanted, Gilliam turned to New York-based production designer Mel Bourne, two-time Oscar nominee who has worked on numerous Woody Allen films.
One of the film's most overtly fairy-tale-like locations is millionaire Langdon Carmichael's 5th Avenue townhouse. A massive, castle-like structure, it houses the Holy Grail, or so Parry imagines. The townhouse is actually the Armory, at 94th Street and Madison, which was made even more imposing and medieval-looking by the addition of stained-glass windows and gargoyles. Bourne also supervised the construction of an elaborate entryway and double staircase in California, which were shipped to New York and added as a façade to the Armory (Bourne, incidentally, takes a turn in front of the cameras as Carmichael).
In the interest of accuracy, the filmmakers even reversed the flow of vehicles on Madison in front of the Armory, because traffic on 5th Avenue, where the townhouse is supposed to be located, travels in the opposite direction.
In another scene, Gilliam choreographed commuters, not traffic, when he had 1,000 extras spin around the floor of Grand Central Station in a stately waltz. Parry has been following Lydia through the rush hour pedestrian traffic in the station when suddenly all these disconnected souls join in dance.
"The waltz is the only thing that I would claim total credit for because it wasn't in the script," Gilliam says. "A scene takes place at Grand Central Station, so I was there watching the rush hour develop, watching the swarm begin. It started slowly, then the tempo increased and I thought, 'My god, wouldn't it be wonderful if all these thousands of people suddenly just paired up and began to waltz?' And the producers foolishly enough said, 'What a good idea!' Bingo, it's in the film."
To film the scene, the production was able to take over Grand Central Station for two nights from 11pm to 6:10am, when the first commuter train arrives.
"It's a pretty terrifying way to work," Gilliam says, "because you know you've got to be out of there at a very specific moment. In fact, there are shots that we got right as the 6:10 train was arriving."
In spite of the production's good luck at Grand Central Station, filming in New York didn't always proceed smoothly. The filmmakers had found a trash-strewn location off FDR Drive for a scene in which Jack is about to drown himself in the river.
"We asked the city to leave these abandoned cars and garbage piled under there," production designer Bourne says. "Wouldn't you know it, they swept the area clean, so we had to bring in, at major expense, a load of trash and cars and refrigerators, stuff that had been there to begin with."
Parry's mystical New York also harbours evil and terror, which is personified for the former history professor in the Red Knight. Astride a giant horse and emitting what looks like the fires of hell, the knight stalks Parry through the streets, a dark element in a film that, "however funny it is, however outrageous it is, is based on pain, on a tragedy, on loss," Gilliam says.
Keith Greco and Vincent Jefferds of R&R Design in Los Angeles built the Red Knight's armor, working overtime to realise the vision of Gilliam, Bourne and costume designer Beatrix Pasztor.
"The concept was of a 500-year-old incarnation of evil, of corrupted chivalry, that's disintegrated and smouldering inside--a Red Knightmare," says Jefferds. "Our idea was of an illuminated manuscript of a knight with all the flourishing heraldic fabric, so from the front he looks like he's swimming in burning fabric."
Beneath the Red Knight's frightening armour--made from foam latex--was stunt co-ordinator Chris Howell, who carried a 16-pound flame thrower atop his head that shot fire from his helmet. Creative special effects consultant Robert E. McCarthy designed the flame thrower, which used compressed gas and air. In addition to playing the part of Parry's worst nightmare, Howell was responsible for orchestrating all of the stunt work on The Fisher King, which entailed a lot of difficult "near misses" on the streets of New York.
Two horses were used, both Percheron geldings--Lightning, who weighs 2,200 pounds, and Goliath, who weighs in at just under a ton. They are circus horses owned and trained by James Zoppe of Southern California. Each horse was "made up" daily by animal colorist Douglas J. White, who uses non-toxic, vegetable-based, hypo-allergenic paints applied to a natural henna base (both horses are white). Every aspect of the Red Knight was fully supervised by the ASPCA.
LaGravenese, speaking of the experience of making this special film, says: "At times it appeared that for some people working on the movie, individual journeys were being made towards their own particular Grails. This was certainly true for me. I hear it is common; that a movie you're working on can begin to reflect the life you're having around it. For that experience, and for the gift of working with such extraordinary people, I am deeply grateful to those who made it all possible."
Director Terry Gilliam was the American
member of Monty Python--and the one responsible for the group's unique animation.
He became a director when Monty Python began to make films, co-directing Monty
Python and the Holy Grail and directing the opening short film for Monty Python's
The Meaning of Life. He also co-wrote and performed in all the Python films as
well as designed Life of Brian.
As an individual, Gilliam co-wrote and directed Jabberwocky, Time Bandits, which he also produced and which grossed over $50 million in North America, and Brazil, which was named one of the 10 best films of the decade by Time Magazine. Among its many honors, Brazil received best picture, best director and best screenplay awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association even before being released in the U.S. as well as two BAFTA Awards and two Oscar nominations.
Gilliam followed Brazil with the epic The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which he directed and co-wrote, and which earned four Academy Award nominations.
Gilliam was born in Minneapolis, graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles and spent three years in New York. There, he served as associate editor of Help! Magazine, the brainchild of Mad Magazine founder Harvey Kurtzman, while doing free-lance illustration for a number of publications, studying film and learning animation techniques.
In 1967, Gilliam moved to London, where he was an illustrator for various publications. He began to do animation for British television, and in 1969 he formed Monty Python's Flying Circus with John Cleese, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.
Since then, like a tree, he has managed to add another ring of fat to his spreading girth. But, unlike a tree, he hasn't managed to grow any taller. He hopes to be survived by his wife, Maggie, their children, Amy, Holly and Harry--but not by their dog, Bryn.
Writer Richard LaGravenese worked
side by side with Terry Gilliam and the cast throughout preproduction, rehearsals
and filming. Constantly on the set to consult and make last minute script
changes, LaGravenese collaborated on the making of the film in a way that is rare
for screenwriters. The Fisher King is his first solo effort at an original
LaGravenese was trained as an actor at New York University's Experimental Theatre Wing and began writing dialogue when he formed a comedy team. He has a passionate interest in mythology, an interest he shares with Gilliam.
LaGravenese lives in New York City with his wife, Anne, and daughter, Lily.
Debra Hill is a prominent film
producer with extensive experience and film credits to her name. Hill began her
film career in various capacities: as a script supervisor, film editor,
assistant director and second-unit director before writing and producing the
hit horror classic Halloween, with John Carpenter. She continued her
collaboration with Carpenter for several more films, including the Halloween
sequels as well as The Fog and Escape From New York.
Following her association with Carpenter, Hill produced the critically acclaimed film The Dead Zone. She followed that with the big business satire Head Office, the comedy mystery Clue, and Big Top Pee-wee.
In 1985, Hill joined forces with longtime friend and colleague Lynda Obst to form the independent production company Hill/Obst Productions. Together they produced the movie Adventures in Babysitting, directed by Chris Columbus and written by David Simkins, as well as the CBS pilot based on the film. Hill/Obst also produced Heartbreak Hotel, written and directed by Chris Columbus.
In 1988, Hill signed an exclusive development and production deal at Walt Disney Pictures for her new company, Debra Hill Productions. She produced many short films for the Disney/MGM Studio Tour theme park in Orlando, Fla., as well as the feature Gross Anatomy, starring Matthew Modine and Christine Lahti, for Touchstone.
Hill executive produced, with John Carpenter, a western entitled El Diablo, starring Louis Gossett, Jr., and Anthony Edwards, for HBO in association with Joe Wizan; the film won two ACE Awards in 1990. A sequel is presently in development. She also produced The Disneyland 35th Anniversary Special for NBC-TV starring Tony Danza, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.
In addition to her many film and TV projects in development, Hill completed her first directorial assignment--an episode of Monsters for Laurel Entertainment. She is currently in pre-production on two features: Gone Fishin', written by Jeffrey Abrams (Regarding Henry) and Jill Mazursky to be directed by Stephen Herek (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) for Hollywood Pictures, and First Step (working title), a satirical comedy directed by 10 trop directors from around the world and financed by The Guber Peters Entertainment Company. All proceeds from the film will be donated to The Friends of the Earth, the largest environmental organization in the world.
Hill is also an environmental activist presently serving on the board of ECO (Earth Communications Office).
Producer Lynda Obst began her
professional career as editor/author of The Rolling Stone History of the Sixties,
followed by three years as an editor of the New York Times magazine, where she
covered subjects ranging from science to publishing to entertainment.
In 1979, she joined Casablanca/Polygram as a vice president of creative affairs where she developed a number of films, most notably Flashdance. Joining The David Geffen Company in 1982, Obst was involved in the development and production of its motion picture roster.
Three years later she formed the independent production company Hill/Obst Productions with longtime friend Debra Hill. Following an exclusive deal with Paramount, the team moved on to Touchstone to make Adventures in Babysitting, directed by Chris Columbus and written by David Simkins, and Heartbreak Hotel, written and directed by Columbus.
In November 1988, Obst struck her own producing deal with Columbia Pictures and established Lynda Obst Productions. She most recently completed producing Nora Ephron's directing debut, This Is My Life, written by Nora and Delia Ephron and based on the book This Is Your Life, by Meg Wolitzer, to be released by Twentieth Century Fox.
Obst is also the co-author of a novel about Hollywood and has written a number of satirical essays for periodicals such as American Film, California Magazine, Harper's and Premiere.
Director of Photography Roger Pratt B.S.C. shot Brazil for Terry Gilliam and The Crimson Permanent Assurance, the short film that was shown with Monty Pythons's The Meaning of Life. He was also responsible for lighting the model work on The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Solo credits include Mona Lisa and Batman. He is also director of photography of the upcoming release The Year of the Comet.
Mel Bourne, production designer for
The Fisher King, received his first feature film credit in 1977 as the production
designer on Annie Hall. That was the beginning of a long collaboration with
Woody Allen that has included Manhattan, Zelig, Broadway Danny Rose and Interiors,
for which he received his first Academy Award nomination. His second Oscar
nomination came for The Natural.
Among his many other credits are Reversal of Fortune, Thief, The Accused, Still of the Night, F/X, Manhunter, Fatal Attraction, Cocktail and the debut episode of Miami Vice.
Bourne has just completed Man Trouble for PentAmerica Pictures starring Jack Nicholson and Ellen Barkin.
Film editor Lesley Walker has been winning recognition in her native England since 1979, when she cut the film adaptation of James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Her credits include the epic miniseries Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years for British television and the films Letter to Brezhnev, Mona Lisa, Cry Freedom, Buster and Shirley Valentine.
Costume Designer Beatrix Pasztor earned a degree in medieval art in Hungary before beginning work on stage and in features. Her credits include Drugstore Cowboy, My Own Private Idaho and the upcoming release American Heart, starring Jeff Bridges.
Composer George Fenton has received
Oscar nominations for the music of Dangerous Liaisons, Cry Freedom and Gandhi.
In addition, he received an Oscar nomination for best song for the film Cry
Fenton's other film scoring credits include White Palace, Memphis Belle, We're No Angels, The Long Walk Home, The Dressmaker, High Spirits, 84 Charing Cross Road, The White of the Eye, Clockwise and The Company of Wolves.
Fenton also wrote the scores for two upcoming releases: Final Analysis and China Moon.
Robin Williams stars as Parry, a
street person who lives in a world of his own creation to insulate himself from
a tragedy in his past.
Twice nominated for the best actor Oscar--for Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society, Williams first gained widespread attention when he landed a guest-starring role on the TV series Happy Days as Mork, a manic extra-terrestrial. Viewer response to the episode was so great that Williams was signed to do the spinoff series Mork & Mindy. The show, which premiered in 1978, was a success and soon led the actor into motion pictures.
Williams made his film debut in 1980 playing the title role of Popeye. Other films he has starred in include The World According to Garp and Moscow on the Hudson. He also stars in the Peter Pan extravaganza Hook, with Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins and Maggie Smith, which will be released by TriStar Pictures in December 1991. Steven Spielberg directs the film from a screenplay by Jim V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo, screen story by Jim V. Hart & Nick Castle, and based upon the original stageplay and books written by J.M. Barrie.
Williams has balanced his movie career with work in comedy clubs and workshops where, in front of live audiences, he can experiment with new material and hone his improvisational skills.
In 1986, Williams completed an SRO 23-city tour of America, including an evening at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the first time a solo comic has taken the stage of the renowned hall. The concerts were taped for the HBO special Robin Williams Live at the Met.
Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams saw much of the U.S. as a child during frequent family moves. After a brief stint at Claremont Men's College in Southern California, Williams studied theatre at Marin College before entering Juilliard in New York, where he spent three years under the tutelage of John Houseman and other noted professionals.
Returning to San Francisco after college, Williams joined a comedy workshop and began performing in small nightclubs. In 1976, he headed for Los Angeles and began appearing on a regular basis at the Comedy Store, where he was spotted by casting agents who thought his offbeat sensibilities might have a place in television, and his career took off.
Among his comic recordings are Reality... What a Concept!, for which he won his first Grammy Award, Throbbing Python of Love and Evening at the Met, for which he won his second Grammy Award. Pecos Bill, a children's album, also garnered a Grammy. He is the recipient of Emmys for appearances on A Carol Burnett Special: Carol, Carl, Whoopi & Robin and for ABC Presents a Royal Gala.
Williams has also starred in an adaptation of Saul Bellow's Seize the Day on PBS and in Mike Nichols' stage production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, opposite Steve Martin, at New York's Lincoln Center.
Williams is involved with several humanitarian organisations and is a primary force in Comic Relief, an annual benefit to aid the homeless.
Jeff Bridges stars as Jack Lucas,
an arrogant DJ whose life becomes both tragically and wonderfully intertwined
Bridges most recently starred in Texasville, in which he reprised the role of Duane Jackson from the 1971 film that earned him an Oscar nomination as best supporting actor: The Last Picture Show. Currently he is filming American Heart in Seattle. He both stars and serves as one of the producers.
Before making Texasville, Bridges was one half of The Fabulous Baker Boys, acting opposite his brother Beau, and Michelle Pfeiffer in the critically acclaimed hit, which garnered four Academy Award nominations. In the past few years he has also starred in See You in the Morning with Alice Krige and Farrah Fawcett; Tucker: The Man and His Dream, in which he plays Preston Tucker, the visionary car designer; the romantic comedy Nadine, with Kim Basinger; the thriller The Morning After, with Jane Fonda; and one of the highest grossing films of 1985, Jagged Edge, with Glenn Close.
Bridges made his first film appearance in 1950, at the age of four months, in the arms of Jane Greer in The Company She Keeps. He got the opportunity to re-team with Greer in the 1984 remake of Out of the Past called Against All Odds with Rachel Ward and James Woods.
Born in Los Angeles, Bridges attended University High School there and later journeyed east to study acting at the Berghoff Studio in New York City. In 1969, he made his feature film debut in Halls of Anger, followed by a role in The Yin and Yang of Mr. Go, written and directed by Burgess Meredith, and his Oscar-winning performance in The Last Picture Show. Bridges starred with Stacy Keach in Fat City and received another Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his performance opposite Clint Eastwood in the 1974 release Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.
Among his other starring roles are Hearts of the West; the 1976 remake of King Kong with Jessica Lange; Somebody Killed Her Husband with Farrah Fawcett; two films opposite Sally Field, Stay Hungry and Kiss Me Goodbye; The Last American Hero; and Bad Company.
He was one of the principal characters in Heaven's Gate, played a young computer-game jockey in Tron and portrayed an ex-cop in 8 Million Ways to Die, with Rosanna Arquette. In addition, Bridges has starred in some cult classics that continue to play in repertory houses across the country--Cutter's Way, Winter Kills, Success and Rancho Deluxe--and in the American Film Theatre's "filmization" of Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh with Robert Ryan, Fredric March and Lee Marvin.
His performance as the earthbound alien in Starman garnered Bridges his third Oscar nomination--his first as best actor--as well as a Golden Globe nomination in the same category.
In the course of his career, Bridges has worked with such distinguished directors as Peter Bogdanovich, Alan Pakula, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Benton, Sidney Lumet, Taylor Hackford, John Huston, Michael Cimino, John Carpenter and Hal Ashby.
An accomplished musician and composer, Bridges has written more than 70 songs, one of which he sang for Quincy Jones' soundtrack to the film John and Mary. Bridges is also a painter and photographer and has had gallery exhibitions in Los Angeles and Montana.
Amanda Plummer stars as Lydia, the
klutzy, lonely woman who has unknowingly captured Parry's chivalrous heart.
The role reunites Plummer with Robin Williams, with whom she appeared in The
World According to Garp. Plummer is best known for her work on the New York
stage, where, for her performance in Agnes of God, she won a Tony, Drama Desk,
Outer Critics Circle and Boston Critics Award. Other honours include Tony Award
nominations for her Broadway debut, A Taste of Honey, and for Pygmalion.
She has also been acclaimed for her guest-starring roles on television, receiving an Emmy nomination for L.A. Law and an ACE nomination for Tales From the Crypt. In addition, Plummer starred in two PBS specials, Gryphon and The Courtship, and is starring in the upcoming Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of Miss Rose White, with Maureen Stapleton and Maximillian Schell, which is based on the play A Shayna Maidel.
In feature films, Plummer has appeared in Hotel New Hampshire, Made in Heaven, Daniel and Cattle Annie and Little Britches. She stars with Buck Henry and Crispin Glover in the black comedy L-Dopa, an upcoming release, and recently completed a cameo role in Freejack, starring Emilio Estevez and Mick Jagger.
Plummer began her career as an apprentice at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and made her New York stage debut in Artichoke at the Manhattan Theatre Club in 1979. Her other stage productions include the Broadway revival of The Glass Menagerie, opposite Jessica Tandy, and A Lie of the Mind.
Mercedes Ruehl stars as Anne Napolitano,
the worldly video store owner who gives Jack love, a home and a job after his
plummet into despair.
Ruehl won a Tony Award as best actress this year for her starring role in Neil Simon's hit Broadway play Lost in Yonkers and has also won the American Film Critics Award as best supporting actress for her hilarious portrayal of Connie, the Mafioso housewife, in Married to the Mob.
Ruehl recently starred with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder in Another You, for TriStar Pictures. Her other film credits include Big, Heartburn, Radio Days, Crazy People, Warriors, Slaves of New York, The Secret of My Success, Leader of the Band and 84 Charing Cross Road.
Before her Broadway triumph in Lost in Yonkers, Ruehl appeared on the New York stage in Other People's Money (winning the Clarence Derwent Award), The Marriage of Bette and Boo at the New York Shakespeare Festival (receiving the Obie Award), Coming of Age in Soho and American Notes. She appeared both on and off-Broadway in Herb Gardner's Tony-Award winning play I'm Not Rappaport.
Ruehl has performed extensively in regional theatres around the country, starring in Medea, Much Ado About Nothing, Misalliance, Androcles and the Lion, The Three Sisters, Tartuffe, Private Lives, Vanities, Monday After the Miracle and June Moon.
On television, she was a guest lead on The Cosby Show, starred in the ABC After School Special The Great Skinner Strike, appeared in the ABC series Our Family Honor and was featured in the CBS pilot Late Bloomer.
Michael Jeter plays the homeless
cabaret singer rescued in Central Park by Parry and Jack. He later repays their
kindness with a unique display of his singing and dancing abilities.
Jeter received a 1990 Tony Award as best featured actor in a musical for his performance as Otto Kringelein in Grand Hotel, having already received the Clarence Derwent Award as the most promising male actor on the metropolitan theater scene as well as the Outer Critics Award and a Drama Desk Award.
A Tennessee native, Jeter began his professional acting career in New York City in the late 1970s, when he made his motion picture debut in Hair and won a Theatre World Award in 1979 for his first Broadway show, G.R. Point. His credits off-Broadway include The Boys Next Door, Greater Tuna, and Cloud 9.
Jeter's other film credits include Zelig, The Money Pit, Soup for One, Tango & Cash and Dead-Bang, and his appearances on TV range from the series From Here to Eternity to Crime Story to Designing Women to Hot House, on which he was a regular.
Most recently Jeter received an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for his role as Herman Styles in Evening Shade.
TriStar Pictures presents a Hill/Obst Production of a Terry Gilliam Film starring Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges, The Fisher King. Also starring are Amanda Plummer and Mercedes Ruehl. Terry Gilliam is the director and Debra Hill and Lynda Obst are the producers of the film, which is written by Richard LaGravenese. Roger Pratt, B.S.C., is the director of photography, Mel Bourne is the production designer and Lesley Walker is the editor. The music is by George Fenton.