STARRING Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Meg Ryan, Garry Shandling, Chazz Palminteri, Anna Paquin, Robin Wright Penn
DIRECTED BY Anthony Drazan
It was THE Broadway event of 1984. Directed by Mike Nichols, featuring William Hurt, Christopher Walken, and Sigourney Weaver, David Rabe’s sulfurous play captured the chest-pounding, coke-driven rush of early-’80s Hollywood. Audiences loved it, but the playwright was unhappy with Nichols’ satiric direction. ”It was a difficult time,” Rabe says. ”But that’s ancient history.” In 1988, Rabe staged his own version, in L.A., with Sean Penn starring as the foulmouthed, self-destructive wannabe player. But for the past decade, Hurlyburly has languished in repertory limbo. ”There were occasional film nibbles,” Rabe adds, ”but I never thought it would happen.” Enter Drazan, who’d dreamed about shooting Hurlyburly. With a new screenplay from Rabe, he finally delivered. ”I wasn’t interested in just filming a play,” Drazan says. ”And Rabe made sure we’d transcend the stage.” (Dec. 25)
THE LOWDOWN Those who saw Penn in 1988 say his work was unforgettable; 10 years should only have enriched it.