Beautiful Joe (film)
|Directed by||Stephen Metcalfe|
|Written by||Stephen Metcalfe|
|Produced by||Fred Fuchs |
|Music by||John Altman|
Joe (Billy Connolly) is a regular guy who runs a flower shop and has never had much in the way of good luck. Things seem to be grim for Joe when he's diagnosed with a brain tumor, but a bit of good fortune appears on the horizon when he wins a jackpot at the race track. However, Hush (Sharon Stone), a stripper who has fallen deeply in debt to a gang of thugs, steals Joe's newly won fortune to pay them off. Joe gets his money back by explaining to the gangsters what happened, but only because they mistake him for a syndicate kingpin they've heard about but never met. When the gangsters discover that Joe is a florist and not a career criminal, they find the situation less than amusing.
- Sharon Stone as Hush
- Billy Connolly as Joe
- Gil Bellows as Elton
- Jurnee Smollett as Vivien
- Dillon Moen as Lee
- Jaimz Woolvett as Mouse
- Alan C. Peterson as Howdy
- Dann Florek as Happy
- Ian Holm as George The Geek
- Sheila Paterson as Mrs. O'Malley
- Frank C. Turner as Frank
- Gina Chiarelli as Pauline
- Ben Johnson as Gino
- Connor Widdows as Anthony
- Norman Armour as Doctor
- J.K. Simmons (uncredited)
In October 1998, actress Sharon Stone stated that Beautiful Joe would be her next project, saying she had read the script while visiting her father, Joe, in a hospital. Stone said production would take place in San Francisco, where she lived. Filming instead took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, and began in June 1999. Filming in British Columbia was initially scheduled to last from June 28 to August 17. The film's budget was $15 million, and filming took place in British Columbia because of various economic incentives, which saved the production $1.5 million.
Although the film was partially set in Louisville, Kentucky, it would not feature any scenes shot there, with the possible exception of stock footage for outdoor shots. During July 1999, filming took place at Hastings Racecourse, a horse-racing track located at Vancouver's Hastings Park. For the film, the Hastings race track was transformed to portray the Churchill Downs horse track in Louisville. The scene included approximately 800 extras who cheered from the track's grandstand.
In August 1999, Stone's husband, Phil Bronstein, had a heart attack and she returned to San Francisco to be with him. Stone's departure caused production to stop for two days, and for the following three days, director Stephen Metcalfe shot scenes that did not involve her character. Stone returned to the film set a week after Bronstein's heart attack and angioplasty. Production was expected to wrap on August 19, 1999, as scheduled, or possibly a day later. Gil Bellows said about the film, "It was one of those experiences that doesn't end the way one intends. I'd rather not talk about it."
The film was produced by Fred Fuchs and Steven Haft, and financed by London-based Capitol Films. During production, Capitol Films entered an agreement with Carl Icahn's Stratosphere Entertainment, which was to distribute the film in the United States.
Beautiful Joe was never released in theaters. In the United States, the film premiered on the Cinemax cable network on November 19, 2000, and was released on VHS and DVD on May 22, 2001.
The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin, who was critical of Stone's previous films, wrote that "nothing she's done has been quite as shameless or appalling as Beautiful Joe, a toxic piece of whimsy that ranks among the worst films of 2000."
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