Sept. 11 stage drama coming to big screen

EntertainmentMoviesFilm FestivalsAcademy AwardsDeathJournalismSigourney Weaver

HOLLYWOOD—When the one-act stage play "The Guys" opened in New York, about three months after the collapse of the World Trade Center, actors Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver played the emotionally wrenching roles of a fire captain and the journalist who helped him write eulogies for eight of his men who died on Sept. 11.

Since then, the play has received critical acclaim on both coasts. The two lead characters have been portrayed by Anthony LaPaglia, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and Swoosie Kurtz, among others. A special presentation was also mounted at Chicago's Goodman Theatre.

Now, with an eye to the Oscars, Focus Features is about to release "The Guys" the movie—with Weaver and LaPaglia starring as the two leads. The movie will run for one week in Los Angeles to qualify for the Academy Awards, then open for limited release in New York and Los Angeles on Feb. 14, followed by a nationwide release.

When the film premiered in September at the Toronto Film Festival, critics praised Weaver ("Alien") and LaPaglia ("Lantana" and the TV crime series "Without a Trace") as well as Jim Simpson, Weaver's husband, who directed the original play and made his feature film debut as the director.

The play was based on the experience of journalism professor Anne Nelson, who was asked to help a fire captain write eulogies for colleagues killed in the disaster. Simpson, artistic director of Lower Manhattan's Flea Theater, commissioned her to write the play.

—Los Angeles Times

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