It was the early 1970s, the twilight of the sexual revolution in America, when a sex industry entrepreneur named Larry Flynt leveraged a small string of Ohio strip-clubs into the beginning of a publishing empire. Hustler as a raw and raunchy magazine that pushed the limits of American tolerance. Its publisher, a grade-school dropout and Kentucky redneck, was nobody's hero, but circumstance would cast him as the era's last crusader. It was a role that brought Larry Flynt both ruin and glory.
Woody Harrelson stars as publishing maverick Larry Flynt, who becomes the unlikely champion of the First Amendment when he takes his fight against the Rev. Jerry Falwell all the way to the Supreme Court. Through his life, both public and private, was a tale told to America in soundbytes and headlines, behind the scenes raged a story less familiar but no less striking: a story encompassing love and loss, redemption and despair, madness and healing.
Columbia Pictures presents, in association with Phoenix Pictures, an Ixlan Production of a Milos Forman film, The People vs. Larry Flynt. Directed by Milos Forman and written by Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, the film stars Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love and Edward Norton. Brett Harrelson, Vincent Schiavelli, Crispin Glover, James Cromwell and Miles Chaplin also star. The film features appearances by maverick political consultant James Carville, Good Day New York correspondent Donna Hanover, as well as New York University Professor of Law Burt Neuborne and Memphis Circuit Court Judge D'Army Bailey. Oliver Stone, Janet Yang and Michael Hausman are the producers. Phillipe Rousselot is the director of photography. Patrizia von Brandenstein is the production designer, with Theodore Pistek and Arianne Phillips designing the costumes. The film is edited by Christopher Tellefsen.
Larry Flynt (Woody Harrelson) and his Hustler Clubs were the bane of Ohio's local authorities. Bringing the sex industry to America's heartland was a thankless yet lucrative task, and Flynt and his brother Jimmy (Brett Harrelson) were brazen enough to pursue it. For Larry especially, the clubs were an opportunity to combine business with pleasure -- no less so after forming a deep relationship with an underaged but streetwise dancer named Althea Leasure (Courtney Love).
It was Flynt's home-made "Hustler Newsletter," a publicity handout for the clubs, that launched the clubowner's new career as a publisher. Here was a view of female sexuality presented free of the high-brow conceits and airbrushed glory of Playboy. Recognizing a potential gold mine when he saw it, Flynt gambled all that he owned on transforming his newsprint-and-staples newsletter into a slick national magazine. The first issue was a financial disaster; but when a subsequent issue featured photos of Jacqueline Onassis sunbathing nude in the Greek Mediterranean, Hustler's sales went through the roof.
Outrageous sex and sensation became Hustler magazine's formula for success. Flynt and Leasure entered a loving, but unconventional marriage, to settle into a 24-room mansion of a style befitting Hugh Hefner's blue-collar counterpart. Flynt was at the top of his world.
Then came the maelstrom.
As the nation's mood took a radical shift, Flynt's decision to make his corporate headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio was taken as a personal affront by two anti-porn crusaders, Simon Leis (James Carville), the Hamilton County Prosecutor, and Charles Keating, Jr. (James Cromwell), a financier obsessed with smut. Effectively shut out of the American mainstream with his 1976 arrest on obsenity charges, and shunned by both sides of the political spectrum, Flynt began an arduous fight against the rising tide of censorship and the emerging radical religious right-wing movement.
Complicating matters was his unlikely alliance with evangelist Ruth Carter Stapleton (who also happened to be the sister of then-President Jimmy Carter), portrayed by morning news anchor Donna Hanover. Flynt's spiritual connection with Stapleton would lead this porn king to become a born-again Christian, both alienating Althea and slowing Hustler's seemilngly unstoppable momentum.
Through subsequent arrests, and fighting trial after trial, the unlikely rebel used his millions in a one-man campaign against a new American order -- releasing the infamous John DeLorean/FBI cocaine-sting videotape, then refusing to reveal its source to a court, and offering a million dollar reward for the killers of President Kennedy. When Flynt was paralyzed by a sniper's bullet on the steps of a Georgia courthouse, his fight only gathered steam.
Flynt faced his greatest public challenge when Jerry Falwell (Richard Paul), the leader of America's self-proclaimed "Moral Majority," sued over a scandalous Hustler parody presenting a satirical account of Falwell's first sexual experience -- with his mother in a backwoods outhouse. At the same time, his soul mate Althea succembed to AIDS.
Though cleared of libel charges but told to pay restitution for emotional distress, Flynt chose to appeal his right to free speech to the Supreme Court, which led to a unanimous, precedent-setting decision in Flynt's favor.
As Flynt's permanent contribution to American jurisprudence, it was his greatest victory.
"I usually will read the first 25 pages of any script," says Milos Forman, the two-time Academy Award®-winning director of The People vs. Larry Flynt. "But when I opened the envelope from Ixtlan, not realizing it was Oliver Stone's company, and I saw Larry Flynt's name, the only association in my mind was pornography, sleaze and exploitation. So I put it aside."
When Forman finally go around to reading the Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski script, he was immediately taken by the depths and dimentions of Flynt's turbulent life. "I never bought Hustler, and I doubt I ever will, but there is a great deal about this man's life that you must admire," says the director. "Then I thought, well, I can admire admire this life, but I doubt I could ever like him. It turns out that I like him, a lot."
Forman's initial positive response to the script was not based so much upon Flynt's private persona as it was upon the man's public struggle for freedom. "It was my own life experience that told me I should make this movie,' says the Czech-born filmmaker. I've lived in two societies where it was the pornographers and perverts who were publicly attacked and censored first -- the Nazis and the Communists. We all applauded -- who wants perverts running through the streets, after all?
"It's the easiest thing for the government to find support for censorship of pornography. But they are smart; they have ways of formulating the laws, so that you suddenly learn that Shakespeare was a pervert, Jesus was a pervert ... that, in fact, eveyone who does not conform with the government is a super-pervert.
"That is, of course, devastating for creativity, and for the quality of life -- for everything." continues Forman. "Now these regimes have stagnated and disappeared. They may rise up from the ashes under different names. But you will know, because the first thing they will attack will be the pornographers."
Producer Oliver Stone admits that, while he was vaguely aware of Flynt's courtroom battles, he was equally unimpressed by the prospect of the film biography at first blush. "I thought it was a very strange idea," says the Academy Award®-winning filmmaker, who most recently helmed the filmic profile of a no less controversial figure, Nixon. "I had never cared one bit about Larry Flynt; I don't know why -- I supposed I had the normal prejudices that anyone might have regarding the business Flynt was in. The screenwriters, Larry Karaszewski & Scott Alexander, also wrote Ed Wood, so they're obviously somewhat eccentric in their tastes. I had doubts that this would work out. But they turned out a very good script; I loved the character on paper, and later, when I got to know Larry, I liked him as well.
Longtime Stone producing partner Janet Yang, who initially championed the project at the company, was captivated by the details of Flynt's life. "In some vague way, everyone knows who Larry Flynt is," says Yang, whose credits include the Emmy Award-winnning Indictment : The McMartin Trial, as well as The New Age, The Joy Luck Club, South Central, Zebrahead, and Killer. "But it's the details of his life that are fascinating. He was an uncompromising man who won an extremely important Supreme Court case. He was very passionate in his beliefs and lived according to them. Scott and Larry's script captured all of that; their first draft was one of the best I have ever seen.
"There are a number of important aspects to this story," says Woody Harrelson, who stars as Larry Flynt. "Obviously it centers around Larry's fight for the First Amendment, and the fact that it's the most unlikely people who often wind up fighting to secure these basic rights. No one's made him a hero for that, and I don't think this film does, either. But he's spent over 40 million dollars, and a great deal of his time, in court over the last twenty years."
Screenwriters Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski always thought Flynt's life would make a good movie, "But who would make it?" posits co-screenwriter Larry Karaszewski. "It wasn't until after Ed Wood that we could go to someone like Oliver Stone, present a very strange idea, and be taken seriously."
The writing team is drawn to characters with "big, burning passions -- someone strongly motivated to get something done, while everything else is an obstacle" notes Larry Karaszewski. "That's practically the definition of a great biopic. And we'd both been fans of Larry Flynt since his campaign for the Presidency in 1984."
"That was when Flynt practically hijacked the front page of the daily newspapers," continues co-writer Scott Alexander. "Every day, you'd open the paper and he was doing something outrageous. One day he'd be running for President, the next he would show up in a courtroom wearing a diaper. After that, he's pay his fines with garbage bags loaded with one-dollar bills, delivered by hookers. He just kept topping himself, as if he was addicted to getting in the news."
The screenplay's first draft was written without Flynt's knowledge or consent, says Karaszewski, "because Larry went to the Supreme Court to secure out right to do that. Initially, we didn't even contact Larry; we were actually a little afraid of him hearing about it. When he did, he called up and offered to meet with us. When he read the script, he said he was shocked at how much we actually knew about him."
Flynt assisted in some fine-tuning of the script,"but he didn't have veto-power or anyhting like that," Alexander explains. "We never wanted to tell the story from his perspective. He's just go through the script and say, 'This really didn't happen this way,' or 'I was misquoted here.' We already knew what we wanted to say about Larry Flynt. This is a man who came from poverty to create a publishing empire based on porn; along the way he was made a target by the authorities, arrested, shot and paralyzed; he became addicted to painkillers, and that was another struggle. Then he lost the great love of his life to AIDS, and he came to a point where he lost faith in what he thought was a great country. But ultimately he confronts the fact that he is actaully doing something that is important, even though it's a role that he literally stumbled into. By the end of the film, he's realized, 'This is why I was put on this earth,'"
Larry Flynt, today a relatively serene individual, is pleased that the film will set the record straight on certain matters. "People have a very sketchy idea of my life," Flynt says. "They don't know how much time I actually spent in court, or the issues involved. Normally, they wait until you're dead to make a movie of your life; so I'm glad to see it happen."
Flynt was also pleased to have a hand in the script, though he hastens to point out the limits of his role. "Many scenes are embarrassing to me in terms of my behavior, but it's all part of my life. My only real concern was to keep the script accurate."
Flynt also made himself available to director Forman's questions, and welcomed Woody Harrelson into his home for an extended stay. "Once I was comfortable with Larry, I was able to ask him some very pointed questions," Harrelson explains. "He always gave the most candid reply, even to the questions that would insult most people."
The effort was not wasted, according to Forman: "There is not a word, not a moment, where you wouldn't believe him. He simply became Larry Flynt."
Woody Harrelson has seen his share of controversy, having previously collaborated with Oliver Stone in Natural Born Killers. Though initially repelled by Flynt's notoriety, Harrelson was intrigued by the creative forces pushing the project along. "Only the fact that Milos, one of the greatest filmmakers ever, was directing it attracted me at all," the actor recalls. "After reading the script, and looking deeper into Larry's background, I was a little more impressed. With Larry, you may not like the fact that he's a pornographer, and you may not respect some of his outrageous antics, but you have to respect his honesty. He says what he thinks, even when it's crazy. His honesty always comes through."
Harrelson's budding friendship with Flynt put a unique pressure on the actor, as he struggled to create a fitting portrayal. "I was tearing my hair out," he jokes," and I can't afford that. At first I was really overcome with concern -- whether I was doing justice to the person he was, the way he moves and talks. And that was also because I was so blown away by what Anthony Hopkins was able to bring to Nixon. Ultimately, I had to come to terms with that, and tell myself it is what it is. Hopefully, it's good.
"I'm also fascinated by Larry's relationshipt with Althea. It was a very unusual relationship. but very toching, and, with her death at an early age, a very painful one. And Courtney, in that role, absolutely blows me away," Harrelson says.
Producer Stone describes the casting of Courtney Love as "the great battle of this picture." As lead of the popular rock band Hole, Love's own fascinating life and music has put her on Time Magazine's 10 Most Influential People list. Stone notes: "I knew the moment that I saw her name in connection with the part that she was the one. I just knew it. She did several wonderful tests for us. She struck me as highly responsible -- maybe crazy in the way that all artists are, and eccentric, but a responsible person, who knew the importance of film and would get it done. Milos loved her, so we both went in and fought hard for her. And eventually, everyone agreed."
In his autobiography, Forman wrote that he will mix experienced actors with newcomers, because one will bring in that technical skill, while the other will bring in a sense of reality. "I've never worked with someone who was that 'in-the-moment' before, to the point that you never knew what she was going to do," says Harrelson. "Courtney's sense of the technical grew in the course of the shoot, but she had this immediacy from the start. The whole life of a scene can come from this sense of not knowing what is going to happen, and that is what it was like to work with Courtney."
"Milos hates acting," explains Courtney Love. "Or at least that's what he tells me whenever I overthink my part. 'I don't like acting,' he'll say. 'I picked you because you don't act.'"
Adds Yang, "Courtney brings some unrepeatable moments to this movie. She can't do anything the same way twice, and that brings life to what is on the screen."
Love, who has made appearances in Sid and Nancy, Basquiat and Feeling Minnesota, was intially attracted to the script and the bold, doomed character of Althea. "Then I had to practically crawl on glass to get it, which became another reason to want it," Love remembers. "And I was up against some pretty huge people for it. I found the idea of working with Milos Forman intimidating. So it became a matter of facing this feat, to see that I could do it."
Leasure, in her final years, was a fixture on the LA rock scene, and Love was ambitious in researching the role. "I got a lot of stories from people who knew her then. I also got a lot from Larry; I prepared as much as I could. Althea had an estranged sister that I just couldn't find, so I didn't get a lot of childhood information, but I got to know her in a way. She was a very strong person. Larry and Althea had strengths and weaknesses that complemented each other, like any good couple. She could weed out parasites. He was very open. He was garrulous, but she always thought before she spoke. She was more goal-oriented that he was, and she was an amazing businesswoman; when she took over Hustler's circulation, it went up 375%.
"Althea was also obsessed with Jerry Falwell. Before he even became prominent as the head of the Moral Majority, she'd nominate him as Hustler's 'Asshole of the Month' every time, because she just hated his guts."
Getting to know Althea also had it's drawbacks, according to Love: "I've had a few very mournful days thinking about the fact that she's not around. I know I absolutely would have gotten along with her like a house on fire."
Edward Norton, who gained widespread acclaim for his feature debut in Primal Fear, appears as Flynt's longtime counselor and friend, Alan Isaacman. "Larry had several lawyers over the years covered in the film, so the character represents all of them, really," says the young actor. "But Isaacman developed the closest relationship with Larry; they're friends to this day. Since he's also the one who delivered the brillant Supreme Court argument that's in the film, the character is 90% Isaacman."
Norton worked for a time with Isaacman more to learn the language of libel law than to create a character study. "Milos and I decided early on that we wouldn't worry about Alan Isaacman specifically," Norton recalls. "There were lots of lawyers in Larry's life during the period of the film. For instance, it wasn't Alan who was shot along with Larry on the courthouse steps in Lawrencevillle. But it was Alan who brought Larry's case to the Supreme Court."
Like Harrelson, the prospect of working with Forman was the initial attraction for Norton. "He's one of the very few people that I'd say I would definitely jump aboard whatever he was doing, and throw a lot of trust his way," says the actor. "I knew very little about Larry Flynt coming into this; what I learned since has been fascinating. And it's thematically close to some of Milos's best films. It's like Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, in that it shows an outsider's struggles against the established order."
In his approach to several of the film's memorable cameos, Forman followed his dictim of placing non-actors side-by-side with experienced actors. County Prosecutor Simon Leis, who sought to put Larry Flynt out of business from the opening of the Cincinnati Hustler Club, is played by James Carville, the Democratic strategist best known for his central role in Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential campaign; NYU law professor Burt Neuborne was cast as one of the several legal adversaries faced by Flynt and counsel, Falwell's high-powered attorney, Roy Grutman; and Memphis Circuit Judge D'Army Baily as Judge Thomas Mantke.
To play Judge Morrisey, who presided over Flynt's very first obscenity trial, Forman decided to call on someone who knew the case inside and out -- none other than Flynt himself. Flynt -- who found the task of handing himself a 25-year sentence "a little unsettling" -- proved a natural to the role, according to Forman. "He's seen so mnay trial," said the director, "he would have to be."
"The process of making this film has had a profound effect on Larry, and it's been no less powerful for the rest of us," producer Yang reflects. "This has been such a unique experience in that it took an eclectic, unusual and formidable group of individuals to get this movie made and in a way it has put its mark on all of us. People who have led dramatically divergent lives have become bonded together by their mutual faith in the project. We are charting new territory with this film, and that requires a certain amount of the pioneering spirit. Even though it's a studio film, it has an independent soul."
"Throughout the film we learned from Larry," says Oliver Stone. "We tried to adapt his pirate attitude. But the beauty of this screenplay is that it doesn't set out to take this life that, in some aspects will shock or disgust certain viewers, and turn it into something sympathetic and warm and cuddly. That is not the point of the movie. It is supposed to be shocking. You are not expected to necessarily like a character; I don't know that you'd want to take Larry Flynt home to meet your parents, but he stands for something. He has a raw, American originality, based on behavior that is, in the best tradition of our country, revolutionary."
Forman shows some reluctance when asked to discuss the film's thematic basis. "To
try to sum up the themes of this film ..." He shakes his head. "I'm not going to do
that -- sum up a man's life. This film is what Larry Flynt is: a man who, at the
beginning, only wanted to make money and have fun. And, while he continued to make
a great deal of money from this business, he was faced with the question: am I free
to this -- to publish -- or not? And he became very interested in that question,
took it up as a cause. This movie is about many things. It's about Flynt, it's about
Althea, it's about their love for each other. It's about the price of fame and
individualism. It's a comedy but it's also a tragedy."
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Principal photography on The People vs. Larry Flynt began on January 17, 1996 on location in Memphis, Tennessee. The people gathered in the city by the Mississippi on that day included some of the film industry's finest talents, many of them longtime associates of Milos Forman.
Producer Michael Hausman had worked with the director on five previous pictures, going all the way back to 1970's Taking Off. Hausman has, in the meantime, established a formidable reputation as producer, with such films as Silkwood, Desert Bloom and The Firm to his credit. Production designer Patrizia Von Brandenstein won the Oscar® for her work on Amadeus, and Academy Award® nominations for Ragtime and The Untouchables. Costume designer Theodor Pisteck also claimed an Oscar® for Amadeus, and a nomination for Valmont.
A newcomer to the Forman camp is Phillipe Rousselot, whose work on Diva, Therese (for which he won the César Award), and The Moon in the Gutter, established him as one of France's premier cinematographers of the eighties. In this decade, he picked up a second Cesar, for La Reine Margot, as well as an Oscar® for A River Runs Through It and Academy nominations for Henry & June and Hope and Glory.
Forman brought the production to Memphis at the suggestion of Michael Hausman, who had produced two previous films in the city, and knew the location would afford everything the filmmakes might need. "It was a city that would allow the proper creative environment," explains Hausman, "and, physically, it was ideal. The film spans three decades, from the sixties to the early eighties. Since the downtown area of Memphis is in a slow process of renewal, there's a great mix of different architectures -- it's always easier not to have to recreate these things. Across the river, and you have countryside, for Flynt's Kentucky home, and the downtown had the look of Columbus, Ohio in the seventies, where Flynt opened his first nightclub. We were also able to find storage spaces large enough for our sets. The local politicians were very helpful, and if all that wasn't enough, they have great barbecue."
For any depiction of this turbulent period in Larry Flynt's life, several court buildings would be needed; fortunately the Memphis area boasted a few that were made available to the company. The production later to moved to Oxford, Mississippi, the home of writers William Faulkner, and more recently, John Grisham, to shoot exteriors of a courthouse daing back to the mid-1800s, which was used for the first Flynt-Falwell trial. "The Supreme Court seemed to have been a little busy," says Hausman, "so we had to build that." Production designer Patrizia Von Brandenstein was able to convert a Memphis train terminal, built in 1929, into a full-sized replica of America's highest court and its viewing galleries, accomodating the filmmakers and over 300 extras.
Another huge undertaking for the production was the re-creation of a bi-centennial party thrown by the Flynts in 1976, set at the publisher's estate in Ohio. Again, Michael Hausman's Memphis expertise came to the fore, as he acquired the use of the estate where Tom Cruise had stayed during location shooting for The Firm. Although not an exact recreation of Flynt's original home, Von Brandenstein decided on an extravagant, nouveau riche look based on Flynt's description of his home in a 1977 interview. "It's natural for people who have grown up with nothing, to want to express themselves," says Brandenstein. "And to have every visible symbol of success. If you've had nothing, you want to explore in every possible way. You may laugh at it, and make jokes, but in your heart, you really want these things, You want all the gaudy treasure, and all the reward you can gather together for yourself. That's where the inspiration for the design and decor of this house comes from."
The estate's most unusual feature was in the basement, a reproduction of the wooden shack that was the Flynt family home in Kentucky. Flynt had built the reproduction in his Columbus mansion "so that I'd always remember where I came from."
The party was also an enormous enterprise for the wardrobe department. For co-designers Theodor Pistek and Arianne Phillips, the challenge was to show the eclectic crowds at the raucous event. Explains Phillips, "At that point in his life, Larry hung out with an extremely diverse group of people. We had several hundred extras in the scene, and we wanted to be able to show a mix -- a banker next to a dentist next to a Hell's Angel, and so on." Phillips and Pistek searched costume houses and thrift stores to acquire the 1970s garb that would both distinguish the extras, and place them in period, filling a 3,000 square-foot area with their finds.
While the guests mingle, Woody Harrelson as Flynt makes a grand entrance across the lawn dressed as a stylized revolutionary war general, accompanied by drummer girls and the Statue of Liberty. Pistek, who once designed uniforms for the Army of the Czech Republic, gave the costumes a unique interpretation that helped the actor and his "honor guard" stand out in the immense crowd.
Other Memphis locations included the Peabody Hotel, Memphis State University, the Shelby County Arena, and two correctional facilities. At the maximum security prison, crew members had to be escorted to and from the set by armed guards at all times. During the three days of filming at the prison, Woody Harrelson, shrugging off the heavy security, relinquished his lunch break in order to play basketball with the inmates.
The final days of filming in Memphis took place in a warehouse-turned-soundstage, where the second floor bedroom of Flynt's Bel-Air mansion was constructed. In one of the picture's most emotional scenes, Flynt, racked by pain that he now describes as "being half submerged in boiling water for five years," has to choose between allowing his doctors to sever his spinal cord -- abandoning all hope for recovery -- or to continue a life filled with blinding pain with mind-numbing drugs. Forman chose Dr. Blaine Nashold, the man who actually performed that surgery on Flynt in real life, to play Flynt's surgeon in the film.
After three months in Memphis, the cast and crew moved to Los Angeles for two weeks of key sequence. The Flynt Publications building in Beverly Hills opened its doors and offices to the production for filming. Likewise, the mansion in Bel-Air where Flynt lived when he was taken into custody by federal marshals was captured on film. Longtime residents of the exclusive neighborhood experienced a sense of deja vu as once again the mansion was swarmed by government agens.
The final day of production found the company in Washington, D.C. on the steps
of the Supreme Court, where both Jerry Falwell and Larry Flynt held press conferences
following the landmark trial.
ABOUT THE CAST
WOODY HARRELSON (Larry Flynt) is one of a select group of actors that have successfully made the transition from the small screen to motion pictures. An Emmy Award winner for his portrayal of the lovable bartender Woody Boyd in his eight seasons on Cheers, Harrelson has moved deftly between comedy and drama in his choice of films.
He made his motion picture debut as a high school football player in Wildcats, which also featured Wesley Snipes, with who he would later star with in White Men Can't Jump and most recently, Money Train. He starred opposite Demi Moore and Robert Redford in Indecent Proposal and received critical acclaim for his portrayal of the homicidal Micky for director Oliver Stone in Natural Born Killers. His other film credits include Doc Hollywood, L.A. Story and The Cowboy Way. He was most recently seen in the Farrelly Brothers' Kingpin, and will soon be seen in The Sunchaser for director Michael Cimino.
Born in Midland, Texas and raised in Lebanon, Ohio, Harrelson majored in theater arts and English at Hanover College in Indiana. Upon graduating, he moved to New York to pursue a career in acting, and a year later landed his first professional role as an understudy in Neil Simon's "Biloxi Blues."
Harrelson recently returned to his Alma Mater, Hanover College, to star in a
production of "The Diviners." He appeared on the Los Angeles stage in 1993 in "Furthest
From the Sun," a drama he both wrote and directed. He co-starred with Glenn Close and
Laura Dern in 1991's "Brooklyn Laundry." directed by James L. Brooks, and has also
appeared on stage in Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story," the off-Broadway production of
"The Boys Next Door," the San Francisco production of "Biloxi Blues," and a
basketball-themed play, "2 on 2," which he also wrote.
On of the alternative rock scene's most fascinating and popular performers, COURTNEY LOVE makes her major motion picture debut in the role of Flynt's wife, Althea Leasure.
Born in San Francisco, Ms. Love was raised in Eugene, Oregon, as well as a time in New Zealand. She returned to Orego for good when she was 12, and decided at the age of 13 that she was going to be a rock star. In her late teens, she set out on the road, spending a number of years visiting distant locals such as Japan, Taiwan and England as well as extensive travel throughout the United States.
She made her motion picture debut in a small role in Alex Cox's Sid and Nancy. She recently appeared with Keanu Reeves in the film Feeling Minnesota.
In 1989, Ms. Love founded the alternative rock group, Hole. Their first album was the
critically-acclaimed Pretty On the Inside. Their next release, Live Through
This, topped nearly every critic's music poll for 1994, and was certified platinum
in April of 1995.
EDWARD NORTON portrays Alan Isaacman, Flynt's longtime friend and attorney.
Norton was critically acclaimed for his feature film debut opposite Richard Gere in Primal Fear. The actor also appears opposite Drew Barrymore and Goldie Hawn in Woody Allen's feature musical, Everyone Says I Love You.
A member of the Signature Theatre Company in New York, Norton has appeared in
numerous productions, including the premiere of Edward Albee's "Fragments," Brian
Friel's "Lovers" and John Patrick Shanley's "Italian American Reconciliation."
BRETT HARRELSON plays the pivotal role of Larry Flynt's brother, Jimmy.
The youngest of the three Harrelson brothers, Brett was born in Texas, and raised in Ohio. He served a year in the Army, and after his release, returned to Ohio where he spent some time as a clerk in a law office.
Inspired and encouraged by his brother Woody's acting aspirations, Brett studied acting in Los Angeles in 1984, and then hit the road once again. He starred in numerous regional theatre productions including Larry Shue's "The Foreigner," "Wait Until Dark" and "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial." After two years in New York, where he waited tables and furthered his acting studies, Brett returned to L.A. his very first professional audition resulted in his hiring for a guest-starring role on Family Ties. He has since been featured on the series Remington Steele and Mr. Belvedere, and has starred in a number of commercials. He makes his feature film debut in Michael Cimino's The Sunchaser.
In addition ot his acting pursuits, the younger Harrelson spent several years as a
professional motorcycle racer, and finished in the nation's top ten in the AMA pro
series. He is also an avid mountain bike enthusiast, an outdoors activist, and
conducts lectures on health and nutrition.
The People vs. Larry Flynt marks the second time that actor RICHARD PAUL has essayed the role of Reverand Jerry Falwell. He first played Falwell in the TV movie Fall from Grace, starring Bernadette Peters and Kevin Spacey.
A native Californian, Paul earned a bachelor's degree from Claremont Men's College, and a master's degree in psychology from California State University at Los Angeles. Working towards a Ph.D., Paul also began acting in regional theatre, dividing his time between the stage and a state hospital in California, where he served his internship. He also found time for radio appearances with the comedy group, Firesign Theatre, and would go on to appear on two of their albums, Roller Maidens From Outer Space and As Time Flies. His summers were spents in a variey of roles at the Pomona Valley Shakespeare Festival.
Ultimately, Paul gave up his studies for a nine month tour in the title role of W.C. Fields, "80 proof," a two-man show written by Fields's grandson.
He has made numersou appearances on television, co-starring as Mayor Teddy Burnside in ABC's Carter Country, as well as One in a Million and Herbie the Love Bug, and has been seen in a recurring role in the long-running Angela Lansbury series, Murder She Wrote. In addition to his portrayal of Jerry Falwell, Paul was featured as a man of the cloth on WKRP in Cincinnati, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, Hail to the Chief, Pass the Ammo and Robocop: The Series
Paul's motion picture work includes Eating Raoul, Not for Publication and Princess Academy.
VINCENT SCHIAVELLI (Chester) has lent his considerable acting talents to dozens of motion pictures and television series. He has appeared in four previous Milos Forman films: Taking Off, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Amadeus and Valmont, and is immediately recognizable as Patrick Swayze's phantom guide to the afterlife in Ghost. His feature credits include appearances in Batman Returns, Painted Desert, Fast Times At Ridgemont High, Another You, Nightshift, Buckeroo Banzai, Another Man, Another Chance, Butch and Sundance,The Early Days and Next Stop Greenwich Village, among many others.
The Brooklyn, New York native has also been featured in a host of television series and movies for TV. They include Mantis, The X-Files, Tales From the Crypt, Star Trek: The Next Generation and recurring roles on The Gangster Chronicles and Taxi.
In addition to his work as an actor, Schiavelli recently drew upon the traditions and recipes
of his Sicilian-American family, and has released a cookbook entitled Papa Andrea's Sicilian
CRISPIN GLOVER (Arlo) portrayed pop icon Andy Warhol in Oliver Stone's The Doors. The actor has appeared in a diverse reange of roles in such distinguished films as The River's Edge, At Close Range, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, Wild at Heart, Rubin and Ed and as George McFly in the original Back to the Future. His additional screen credits include Little Noises, Where the Heart Is, Teachers, Friday the 13th IV, My Tutor, Chasers and Racing With the Moon, among numerous others. He has also appeared in the films Crime and Punishment and 30 Door Key, which have not been seen in the United States.
The actor has also authored several books including Rat Catching, Oak Mot,
Concrete Inspection and What it is, and how it is done. Prior to beginning his
role in The People vs. Larry Flynt, Glover made his feature film directorial debut with
What is it?
MILES CHAPIN (Milo) first worked with director Milos Forman in the 1979 production of Hair. He has also been seen in French Postcards, Buddy, The Funhouse, Howard the Duck, The Funny Farm, Bless the Beasts and Children, Ladybug, Pandemonium and the upcoming The Associate, starring Whoopi Goldberg.
On television, Chapin has been featured in the series Murder She Wrote, Kate and Allie, Murphy Brown, Studio 5B, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Andros Targets and the made for television features Tomorrow's Families, Ourstory and The Silence.
Chapin has an extensive background in the theatre, having appeared on, off and off-off Broadway in
productions such as "Summer Brave," "Poor Little Lambs," "Joan of Lorraine," "Terry By Terry," "Three
Welsh Plays," "Macbeth" and many others. He is also an editor and author, with his latest book being an
anthology of fiction, non-fiction, science journalism, explorer's diaries and essays all having to do
with the rain forests, entitled Tales From the Jungle: A Rainforest Reader.
JAMES CROMWELL (Charles Keating) has appeared in dozens of features, television series and movies for television, has toured the country in some of the most prestigious plays and regional theatre. It his most recent role that has garnered him immediate recognition by audiences as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor -- that of the owner of a talking pig who longs to be a sheep dog in the enormously popular Babe. Cromwell was recently seen in the hit thriller Eraser, and will soon be seen in the crucial role of the scientist who invents time warp in the highly-anticipated Star Trek: First Contact, and as a police captain in the forthcoming feature L.A. Confidential, opposite Danny deVito, Kevin Spacey and Kim Basinger, for Warner Brothers. Cromwell is currently filming The Education of Little Tree for Jake Eberts and Allied Filmmakers.
Among his other notabe film credits are Romeo is Bleeding, Revenge of the Nerds (I,II, III), A Fine Mess, Pink Cadillac, The Babe, Oh God; You Devil, Explorers, The Man With Two Brains, The Cheap Detective and Murder By Death.
On television, Cromwell has made guest starring appearances on Picket Fences, The Client,
Star Trek: Deep Space 9, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Home Improvement, L.A.
Law, Partners and Strange Luck. He was a regular on the series Mama's Boy,
Easy Street and All in the Family.
A unique piece of casting finds JAMES CARVILLE, the country's best known political consultant, making his acting debut as Simon Leis. Carville, whose background began in litigation, has managed more campaigns than any other political consultant in American. His efforts were a driving force in the election of Bill Clinton, the first time a Democrat had claimed the White House in 12 years. For his leadership, Carville was honored as the Campaign Manager of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants. Along with George Stephanopolous, Carville was the focus of the documentary, The War Room, an Academy Award nominee. He continues to serve as Senior Political Advisor to the President.
Carville's marriage to Mary Matalin was very much in the public eye, as she was the deputy campaign
manager of George Bush's re-election bid in 1992 and currently hosts her own show on CBS Radio called The
Mary Matalin Show. The two co-authored the best-selling books All's Fair: Love, War, Running For
President, which spent two months on the New York Times Bestseller List.
Carville most recently authored another best-seller, entitled We're Right, They're
Wrong, A Handbook for Spiritual Progressives, which reached number one on the
New York Times Bestseller List and has remained on the list for the past six
Another interesting casting choice by Milos Forman is that of DONNA HANOVER as Ruth Carter Stapleton, the evangelist who briefly convinced Larry Flynt to embrace religion. A familiar face to New Yorkers, Hanover is a contributing correspondent to WNYW-TV's "Good Day New Yokr" and is an anchor of "In Food Today," which airs on the Television Food Network. Ms. Hanover worked as a freelance reporter on WNYW-TV Fox 5 in New York, as well as co-anchor of the evening and midday news for WPIX-TV.
Before settling in New Yokr City, Ms. Hanover anchored and produced programs at a variety
of television and radio stations around the country, including Miami, Pittsburg, Columbus,
Utica and Danbury. She received a Masters Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia
Univeristy's Graduate School of Journalism, and earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political
Science from Stanford Univeristy. In addition to her broadcasting work, Ms. Hanover has served on the
Board of Governors at the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in New York, as an
as an assistant Adjunct Professor in the journalism department at New York Univeristy, and is
currently on the Boards of Wagner College and St. Mary's Hospital.
In his attempts to inject as much authenticity into his screen characters, Milos Forman chose New York University Professor of Law BURT NEUBORNE to portray Roy Grutman, the attorney who tried Larry Flynt in the Jerry Falwell case.
A native New Yorker, Neuborne was educated at Cornell University and Harvard Law School. He first worked as a tax lawyer on Wall Street before becoming staff counsel for the New York Civil Liberties Union in 1967. He becamse as Associate Professor of Law at NYU in 1974, and a full professor two years later. In 1990, Neuborne received the Distinguished Teaching Medal from the university. He served as National Legal Director of the ACLU from 1982-1986.
For the past 30 years, Neuborne has been one of the nation's most active civil liberties lawyers. Among his most celebrated cases were the challenge to the constitutionality of the Vietnam War and the first challenge to the nations's flag desecration statutes.
Newbourne has made numerous appearances as an expert in First Amendment and Evidence issues on
CourtTV, and currently hosts his own show, On Appeal, for the network.
Memphis Circuit Court Judge D'ARMY BAILEY (Judge Thomas Mantke) has enjoyed a long and diverse career as an activist a politician, an attorney, a writer and columnist, a public servant and a jurist.
Judge Bailey joined hundreds of other students in protest demonstrations against segregation in Baton Rouge while attending Southern University. He was consequently expelled because of his involvement and finished undergraduate studies at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
After graduating from Yale Law School in 1967, Judge Bailey worked in New York as National Director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council.
He practiced law in San Francisco and served on the Berkeley, California City Council from 1971 to 1973. However, he returned to Memphis in 1974, began a law practice with his brother, and was elected to the position of Circuit Court Judge in 1990.
The cause of civil rights has been a passion of Bailey's. He is the founder of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel, the site where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally wounded.
Today Judge Baily resides in Memphis with his wife Adrienne, and two sons, Justin and Merritt.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Throughout his life and work, MILOS FORMAN (Director) has managed to combine and assimilate the best of European and American filmmaking. In a career which has seen him twice awarded the Oscar® for his work, Forman has managed to achieve international success without being pigeon-holed by genre or nationality.
The youngest of three sons, Forman was born in Caslav, a town 45 miles from Prague. At the age of nine, his parents were arrested by the Gestapo and perished in the death camps, leaving him to be raised by relatives and friends. He became interested in theatre while attending a boarding school for children who were left parentless by the war. He found himself especially taken with the comedies of Chaplin and Keaton, and the westerns of John Ford.
Forman enrolled in the Univeristy of Prague's Film Institute, where he studied with Ivan Passer. After graduation, he wrote his first screenplays and made several short semi-documentaries. His first feature came in 1963, an autobiographical account of a teenager in a small Czech town entitled Black Peter. The film became a hit at film festivals such as Cannes, Montreal and New York, and led to Forman's first visit to America.
His next two films, Loves of a Blonde (1965) and Fireman's Ball (1967) brought the director even more international acclaim. When Soviet tanks rumbled into Prague in August of 1968, Forman was in Paris to negotiate the making of his first American film. He returned briefly to Prague, and moved to New York to make Taking Off. The film was the official United States entry at the 1971 Cannes film festival, where it was awarded the jury prize. He next participated in the collective documentary about the 1972 Munich Olympics, Visions of Eight, in a segment about the decathlon.
In 1973, the director was approached by producers Michael Douglas and Saul Zanentz with a copy of Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and asked Forman if he's be interested in directing the film version. The film swept the top five 1975 Academy Award® categories -- best picture, best script, best actor, best actress, and Forman took home the statue as best director. He followed Cuckoo's Nest with the film version of the long-running musical Hair (1979), and then lured James Cagney out of retirement as part of the ensemble cast of Ragtime (1981).
Eight years after Cuckoo's Nest, Forman reteamed with producer Saul Zaentz, and returned to his homeland of Czechoslovakia to make Amadeus (1984). Once again, Forman was presented with the Oscar as best director, and the film claimed a total of eight Academy Award®s, including best picture. 1989 saw the release of Forman's next project, Valmont.
Forman became an American citizen in 1975, and resides in New York. In 1993, he penned his autobiography,
Turnaround: a Memoir.
OLIVER STONE (Producer) has, over the course of twenty years, established himself as one of the most successful, inventive and controversial filmmakers of our time.
To date, Stone has been personally nominated for ten Academy Award®s, as screenwriter, producer and director. He has won three Oscar®s: one for writing (Midnight Express) and two as director (Born on the Forth of July, Platoon). His films have received a total of 37 Academy Award® nominations. His credits as a director are Seizure, The Hand, Salvador, Platoon, Wall Street, Talk Radio, Born on the Fourth of July, The Doors, JFK, Heaven and Earth,Natural Born Killers and Nixon.
Stone was born in New York in 1946. He studied at Yale before leaving for the Far East to teach at a Catholic high school in Saigon. he enlisted in the US Army in Vietnam, and was wounded in battle twice, receiving the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star He completed his undergraduate studies at NYU Film School and wrote eleven unproduced screenplays before the success of Midnight Express. His other writing credits include The Hand, Scarface and Platoon. He co-wrote Seizure, Conan the Barbarian, Year of the Dragon, Salvador, Wall Street, Talk Radio, Born on the FOrth of July, The Doors, JFK, Natural Born Killers and Nixon.
As he does on The People vs. Larry Flynt, Stone has previously taken on the role of producer or
executive producer on Reversal of Fortune, Blue Steel, Iron Maze, South Central,
The Joy Luck Club, The New Age, Freeway, and for television, Wild Palms and the
Emmy Award winning Indictment: The McMartin Trial.
In addition to her producer role on The People vs. Larry Flynt, JANET YANG is now a partner with former Columbia Pictures president Lisa Henson at their Sony Pictures-based Manifest Film Company, which was formed in Septemer of 1996. Prior to that, Yang was President of Ixtlan, Oliver Stone's production company, responsible for all development an production under the company banner.
Ms. Yang recently received a Golden Globe award as well as an Emmy for the HBO presentation of Indictment: The McMartin Trial, on which she served as executive producer. Her other credits as a producer, executive producer and co-producer include The New Age, The Joy Luck Club, South Central, Zebrahead and Killer.
Prior to her association with Oliver Stone, Ms. Yang was production executive with MCA/Universal, and worked closely with director Steven Spielberg. In 1986, she was Spielberg's liason in China, and facilitated the production of Empire of the Sun. While at Universal, she initiated the biopic, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. From 1985-87, she also functioned as a link between the major studios and The People's Republic of China, brokering the placement of such classic films as Spartacus and Roman Holiday in the Chinese market.
Ms. Yang holds a B.A. from Brown University in Chinese studies and M.B.A. from Columbia University. She
presently serves on the Board of Directors for Independent Feature Projects/West as well as Women In Film.
The People vs. Larry Flynt marks the third time, MICHAEL HAUSMAN (Producer) has brought a production to the city of Memphis, Tennessee. He previously served as the executive producer of The Firm and A Family Thing, both of which utilized Memphis as a backdrop.
The production also reunited Hausman with director Milos Forman for the sixth time. Their association goes back to 1970, as Hausman was both production manager and associate producer of Taking Off. He continued as the first assistant director on Hair, executive producer of Ragtime and Amadeus, and producer of Valmont.
Hausman had received credit as executive producer on Nobody's Fool, No Mercy and Places in the Heart, and producer on Homicide, Things Change and House of Games for writer/director David Mamet, as well as Desert Bloom, Silkwood, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, One Trick Pony, Heartland, Rich Kids, Alambrista! and Mikey and Nicky.
Hausman is a member of the Board of Directors of Du-Art Laboratories, and serves as an adjunct
professor of film at Coumbia University. A native New Yorker, Hausman graduated from Cornell University.
When not filming in Memphis, he resides in New York.
SCOTT ALEXANDER & LARRY KARASZEWSKI (Screenwriters) wrote the screenplay for The People vs. Larry Flynt after receiving critical acclaim for their first biopic, Ed Wood.
Alexander, a native of Los Angeles, began his career in the entertainment industy as a music editor of low-budget horror films. He wrote for HBO's Tales From the Crypt and the series Monsters, which he also directed. Karaszewski was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, and worked as a film critic for the NBC affiliate's nightly news program, before writing and directing Beyond Our Control, a weekly half-hour satirical television show which won the Grand Prix Award for television at the Chicago International Film Festival.
The pair met as roommates in their freshman year at the University of Southern California. In their senior year, they decided to write a screenplay together, which sold one week after their graduation. Their first produced film was the highly successful Problem Child, followed by Problem Child 2. These films has since been spun off into a cartoon series and an NBC-TV movie. After writing The People vs. Larry Flynt, they have completed screenplays for the Disney remake of That Darn Cat, and have reunited with Ed Wood director Tim Burton for the sci-fi extravaganza Mars Attacks! Their upcoming projects include the animated musical Cats Don't Dance and a live-action version of The Jetsons.
Currently, they are writing another unusual biopic, which they will direct themselves.
PHILLIPE ROUSSELOT (Director of Photography) is one of many Academy Award® winners assembled for the production of The People vs. Larry Flynt. Rousselot won the Oscar® for his stirring visualization of the Montana countryside in A River Runs Through It, as well as nominations for Hope and Glory and Henry and June. The inventive lighting he created for the internationally successful French film Diva won him a César, as did his work on Therese.
His other credits include The Emerald Forest, We're No Angels, Trop Belle Pour Toi,
The Bear, Sommersby, Interview with the Vampire and most recently, Mary Reily.
Immediately following The People vs. Larry Flynt, Rousselot will make his directorial debut.
Production Designer PATRIZIA VON BRANDENSTEIN received the Academy Award® for Amadeus, and was
nomiated for her work on another Milos Forman film, Ragtime. Her work was also honored with a
nomination for The Untouchables. Her many credits include films such as The Quick and the
Dead, Six Degrees of Separation, Leap of Faith, Sneakers, Billy Bathgate,
No Mercy, Postcards from the Edge, Working Girl, The Money Pit, A
Chorus Line, Silkwood, Heartland and Breaking Away, among others. The Arizona
native is married to another prominent production designer, Stuart Wurtzel.
Before working with Milos Forman on The People vs. Larry Flynt, CHRISTOPHER TELLEFSEN (Editor) most recently edited David O. Russell's critically-acclaimed comedy Flirting with Disaster, starring Ben Stiller, Particia Arquette, Mary Tyler Moore, Lily Tomlin and Alan Alda. In 1995, Tellefsen simultaneously edited Larry Clark's urban teen tragedy Kids while also working on Wayne Wang and Paul Auster's improvised feature Blue in the Face, starring Harvey Keitel. Also to his credit are the two urbane comedies by Whit Stillman, Metropolitan and Barcelona.
Tellefsen is now editing Gummo, the debut film by writer/director Harmony Korine, the writer of
THEODOR PISTEK (Costume Designer) met Milos Forman while the two served in he Czechoslovakian Army, and the two have remained close friends and colleagues ever since. Pistek won the Academy Award® for his costume design on Amadeus as well as a British Academy Award® nomination. He was also nominated by the American and British academies for Forman's production of Valmont, and won the French equivalent, the César, for his work.
His main avocation is that of a painter and sculptor and Pistek's work has been exhibited in some of the
most prestigious galleries and museums across the world. His designs for the film Amadeus toured the
United States. Pistek serves as the Chairman of the Council of Fine Arts of the Republic of Czechoslovakia,
a position he has held since 1992. He has designed the uniforms for the castle guards in Czechoslovakia, and is
currently redesigning the uniforms for the Czech army. In 1995, Pistek was named vice-chairman of the
Czech Academy of Fine Arts.
Costume Designer ARIANNE PHILLIPS made her film debut with The Crow, starring the late Brandon Lee. Ms. Phillips as since gone on to do the features Tank Girl and the Academy Award®-nominated short film by Griffin Dunne, Duke of Groove.
Ms. Phillips most recent work is featured in the forthcoming films Independence, starring Drew Barrymore, and Going All the Way from Lakeshore Productions.
She began her career in New York City working on commercials and over 60 music videos. During that time,
she designed costumes for artist such as Smashing Pumpkins, REM, the Breeders, Lenny Kravitz, Iggy Pop, Sonic
Youth and Lou Reed, to name a few.
THOMAS NEWMAN (Composer) received Academy Award® nominations for his work on Unstrung Heroes, The Shawshank Redemption and Little Women. His additional credits include Phenomenon, Up Close & Personal, How to Make an American Quilt, The Player, Flesh and Bone, Scent of a Woman, Fried Green Tomatoes, Men Don't Leave, Deceived, and Desparately Seeking Susan. For television, he composed the scores for HBO's Citizen Cohn, as well as TNT's Heat Wave, among others. He also received a Grammy Award nomination for The Shawshank Redemption.
Born in Los Angeles, Newman is a member of one of America's most noted musical families. His father was the acclaimed film music composer Alfred Newman; his uncles were Lionel and Emil Newman; and his cousin is songwriter Randy Newman. Thomas attended Yale Univeristy, where he received his Master's degree in music.
If you have new information on Edward Norton (and you can provide a verifiable and reputable source), please email me- Susan
Note: Articles and images have been posted without permission for noncommercial and nonprofit use
with no intention of copyright infringement. The purpose of this reprinting is to disseminate correct information about the
actors, films, and studios. I have included author names and links to sources whenever possible.