STARRING Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Regina King, Jon Voight, Jason Lee, Gabriel Byrne, Jason Robards, Seth Green, Barry Pepper, Scott Caan, Loren Dean, Jamie Kennedy, Jake Busey
DIRECTED BY Tony Scott
Despite the red-meat presences of producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Smith, and Scott, Enemy of the State — a potboiling gumbo of The Net, The Conversation, and Three Days of the Condor — actually met with constant rejection before it caught fire. Presented with early drafts of the script, the director said no. Hackman said no. Even Disney chieftain Joe Roth gave Enemy a red light. Bruckheimer didn’t give up. After all, he says, ”it took eight years to get Beverly Hills Cop made.” Once screenwriter Aaron Sorkin did a two-week polish on David Marconi’s original script, red turned to green (eventually script doctors Henry Bean and Tony Gilroy came in to punch it up). ”I wanted richer characters; that’s what gets me off now,” says Scott. Smith’s character is a yuppie lawyer whose tony life is turned upside down by a rogue National Security Agency bigwig (Voight). His Fugitive-esque plight brings him into contact with a muckraking radical journalist (Lee), an ex-spy who knows a way out of the labyrinth (Hackman), and a squadron of government goons (Green, Caan, Kennedy, et al.) who look like a Sigma Chi pledge class. ”We had tours of the CIA and the NSA, and it was like being on campus at UCLA,” Scott says. ”Eighty percent of the guys were in their 20s.” (Nov. 25)
THE LOWDOWN Smith’s kiddie audience is growing up. It’s a perfect time for him to do the same.