The I Luv Video outlet near me on Austin’s Guadalupe Street is closing down and consolidating with their other location. There’s been a sign out front for weeks now advertising that a lot of their old fare is for sale. I went hoping to find some Dario Argento DVDs like Phenomena or Tenebrae, and although the good stuff was all gone (there are two copies of Eldritch abomination Phantom of the Opera and one of Jenifer, for those of you who hate yourselves and have a few dollars rattling around that you would prefer not to have), I did stumble across a small trove of press kits for nineties flicks. And what should I find among them but a folder labeled Mrs. Winterbourne?
What’s a press kit? Well, whippersnappers, back in the day before the internet made the acquisition and dissemination of information easy and manageable, production companies would distribute press kits to media outlets. These packets contained information about the production, statements from cast and crew, and glossy photos from the film itself, all ready for inclusion and quotation in previews and reviews. There’s little information in them that can’t be found online these days, but there were a few things in the press kit for Winterbourne that were interesting and that we didn’t know before watching the movie. Look, this isn’t Buzzfeed, I’m not going to tell you that any of these facts with “change the way you look at [x] forever,” or pretend that any of them are “mind blowing.” But they are neat, so without further ado, here are 9 Mildly Interesting Facts I Learned from the Mrs. Winterbourne Press Kit:
1. Brendan Fraser was the last person to join the cast. Ricki Lake was actually first cast, with Shirley MacLaine cast shortly after. According to page 7, Fraser “came into the cast […] only days before rehearsals were scheduled to begin.”
2. Fraser’s casting was at the behest of Lake. From page 8: “Fraser is a friend of Lake’s and was suggested by her.”
3. Fraser was also making a name for himself on stage in the nineties. Fraser’s bio on page 11 delineates a theatre career that includes a B.F.A. in acting from the Actor’s Conservatory as well as performances at Seattle’s Intiman Theater, The Laughing Horse Summer Theater, and “rave reviews for his work as a tortured writer in John Patrick Shanley’s play Four Dogs and a Bone.”
4. Loren Dean (Steve DeCunzo) also worked with Shanley. In addition to winning a Theatre World Award in 1989 (for something called Amulets Against the Dragon Forces, which isn’t underlined or italicized, so it’s unclear what kind of work that is), he also originated roles in the aforementioned Four Dogs and a Bone and Shanley’s other play Beggars in the House of Plenty.
5. Susan Haskell (the real Patricia Winterbourne) is a scientist. From page 13: “A native of Toronto, Canada, Haskell graduated cum laude from Tufts University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bio-Psychology.”
6. Director Richard Benjamin won the 1975 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Sunshine Boys.
7. Producer Dale Pollock began his career as a journalist. This phase of his career lasted 12 years, during which he was a film critic and box office analyst for Daily Variety and a writer for the LA Times. He also wrote George Lucas’s biography, Skywalking, which had the good fortune to be released before the Star Wars prequels.
8. Writer Phoef Sutton won a comedy award. Although his main claim to fame was as a writer/producer for Cheers (which earned him a Golden Globe, a Writer’s Guild Award, and two Emmy Awards), he won the Norman Lear Award for Comedy in 1980, and he received a National Endowment for the Arts Playwright’s Fellowship in 1983.
9. Writer Lisa-Maria Radano worked on The Tracey Ullman Show. Radano also founded a small Manhattan theater company called Shadowfax and received a New York Council for the Arts grant for her play The Secret Sits in the Middle in 1988.
-Mark “Boomer” Redmond