Robert Altman follows up the stunning success of the Academy Award-winning GOSFORD PARK with THE COMPANY, a look at the world of ballet as only Altman could envision it.
Throughout his extraordinary career, Altman has surprised, entertained and challenged audiences with vibrant, freewheeling films that stretch the boundaries of the medium. With THE COMPANY, this iconic director brings his fluid, masterful camera-work to the world of dance. Altman's vision for the film is an extremely intimate one: we will see the difficult daily work, the intense pressures of performance, the richly textured behaviors of the dancers -- whose professional and personal lives grow impossibly close -- and of course the sheer beauty of dance: exhilarating, kinetic, and thrillingly observed.
The authenticity and richness of THE COMPANY is rooted in the unprecedented way in which Altman will shoot the film: with the complete cooperation of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Screenwriter Barbara Turner (POLLACK, GEORGIA) spent over two years on and off with the Joffrey, observing and writing. Joffrey dancers will constitute the core of Altman's ensemble.
The only actor who will be working as part of the Joffrey corps is Neve Campbell (the popular SCREAM movies and the television show "Party of Five"). Campbell, an accomplished dancer, studied with The National Ballet of Canada before becoming an actress. She originated THE COMPANY, the culmination of a long-held dream to create a nuanced and realistic film about a world for which she has deep and abiding affection. Campbell's role in the film is that of a gifted but conflicted company member on the verge of becoming a principal dancer. (Campbell has been working intensively with the Joffrey and will do all of her own dancing in the film. )
Non-dancing actors will include James Franco (SPIDERMAN, JAMES DEAN), and Malcolm McDowell (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, O LUCKY MAN!, GANGSTER NO. 1).
THE COMPANY, as Altman envisions it, might best be described in terms suited themselves to dance: fluid, sexy, intimate, alive. It is a love letter to artists who work in this singularly difficult and universally expressive medium, to the people who make the performance possible, and to dance itself.