"swimf@n" is the story an all-American high school couple whose world is turned upside down by the seductive new girl in town. Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford), a championship swimmer with scholarship aspirations and Amy Miller (Shiri Appleby) are high school sweethearts whose blissful relationship is threatened when Madison Bell (Erika Christensen) arrives on the scene and sets her sights on the impressionable Ben.
"It was one of the first scripts I read at GreeneStreet that had honed moments of surprise," said Tim Williams, Head of Production for GreeneStreet Films and an Executive Producer of the project. "It had twists and turns - - the rug was continually pulled out from under the characters. At the same time, the well-developed characters and the relationship triangle would be extremely attractive to actors and an audience. "
Allison Segan and Marcy Drogin of Furthur Films (Michael Douglas's production company) brought the script to GreeneStreet's Head of Development, Jamie Gordon, at the end of 1999. Although it was a larger project than normal for GreeneStreet, Gordon recognized both the creative and commercial potential of the project immediately. "I saw the opportunity to maintain our independent sensibility while targeting the teen audience," says Gordon, who also serves as a co-producer on the film. The companies set out to use strong production values, maintaining an independent feel and budget, while always keeping an eye on the market the film was geared toward. "The idea was to make something that was accessible to the teen market, as well as the adult audience, while attracting a great cast," said Williams.
GreeneStreet Partner and President John Penotti, who served as a producer on the film, continues by saying: "Basically we wanted to make a movie that didn't condescend to our teenage audience. " The process of creating such a project included visiting a high school in Westchester over a weekend with 18 kids. Two hours were spent reading the script and then a questionnaire was passed around. After this, the producers and the director spent many hours talking about the movie with the group, finding and exploring both the positives and negatives of the script. "We also learned that teens sometimes go to these 'teen movies' even though they think they're going to be dumb," continues Penotti. "They were desperate to see a movie that challenged them and didn't take them for granted. And, if you made something that did not 'talk down' to them, they would actually respond to it. At the same time, older people might actually find it intelligent enough to go see it, thus bringing in both the teen and adult audiences. "
After reading the script, GreeneStreet and Furthur began the long and involved process of finding the right director to make the project come alive. After meeting numerous potential directors, the producers finally found their director in John Polson, a young but accomplished Australian actor who had segued into directing. They loved Polson's first film, "Siam Sunset," and saw that he had a strong directorial hand. "He was obviously adept at working with actors, but also had a strong sense of pacing. In addition, the production value on his film was impressive, especially considering its shoestring budget," says Gordon. During the first meeting, without prompting, Polson said "I want to make a movie that's intelligent and different, but for a commercial American audience. " From the first day of shooting, he put everyone at ease, particularly the actors who appreciated his background as an actor on films including "Mission: Impossible II," "The Sum of Us," and "The Boys".