Possession (2002 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Neil LaBute|
|Produced by||Barry Levinson
Len Amato (executive)
David Barron (executive)
|Written by||David Henry Hwang
A. S. Byatt (novel)
|Music by||Gabriel Yared|
|Editing by||Claire Simpson|
|Distributed by||Focus Features
|Release dates||August 16, 2002 (Limited)
August 30, 2002
|Running time||102 minutes|
Two literary scholars, Roland Mitchell (Aaron Eckhart) and Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow), search for the lost correspondence of Victorian era poets Randolph Henry Ash (Jeremy Northam) and Christabel LaMotte (Jennifer Ehle). Academics have long believed that the traditional and conservative Ash and the freethinking lesbian LaMotte were social enemies, but Mitchell and Bailey have independently discovered evidence that they were secretly lovers. When rival scholars become aware of their efforts, a race is on to unearth and publish the truth.
- Aaron Eckhart as Roland Michell
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Maud Bailey
- Jeremy Northam as Randolph Henry Ash
- Jennifer Ehle as Christabel LaMotte
- Lena Headey as Blanche Glover
- Holly Aird as Ellen Ash
- Toby Stephens as Fergus Wolfe
- Tom Hollander as Euan
Early drafts of the film's screenplay were written by playwright David Henry Hwang in the nineties, but the project languished in pre-production for years (with directors like Sydney Pollack and Gillian Armstrong working on the film and eventually giving up) before LaBute came aboard. LaBute made drastic changes to the story, partially based on notes that Byatt had made on earlier drafts of the screenplay.
LaBute recalled, "What she basically said was, 'This is Roland on the page; you must make him different in a film!' She got that Roland needed more drive. Just seeing those notes kind of gave me the keys to the kingdom. And so in the film, Roland keeps making these wild, imaginative leaps about the poets' lives, and Maud's both charmed and appalled." LaBute changed Roland's nationality from British to American, in what he denied was "shameless pandering to the audience....in part, it was [just] more comfortable for me to write Roland that way."
The film has been released on DVD with subtitles and captions.
- "FILM; Can Bookish Be Sexy? Yeah, Says Neil LaBute". by Daniel Zalewski, The New York Times. 2002-08-18. Retrieved 2008-03-25.
- "News Summary: Berry Sorry". by Sandra P. Angulo, Entertainment Weekly. 2000-05-11. Retrieved 2007-03-06.