How many big names can we pile into one film? Hmmmmm… how about seven as Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Patricia Clarkson and Anthony Hopkins all began production on location in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Columbia Pictures’ All the King’s Men, based on Robert Penn Warren’s 1946 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, a classic of American literature that examines the spectacular rise and fall of a charismatic Southern demagogue, it was announced today by writer/director Steven Zaillian and producers Mike Medavoy, Arnold W. Messer and Ken Lemberger.
With a screenplay written and directed by Zaillian, who won an Academy Award® for his adaptation of Schindler’s List, All the King’s Men features an all-star cast and follows a story of human nature, power, corruption, idealism, romance and betrayal. A uniquely American story, it is steeped in the atmosphere of the South during the 1940s and 50s, but its message is still timely and relevant today. All the King’s Men uses politics as a framework to delve into the more profound dilemmas of human existence — sin, guilt and redemption. In its exploration of the corrupting aspects of power, the story focuses on a once just man who has lost his moral center and will use any means possible to achieve his goals.
Warren’s novel was inspired by the career of Louisiana governor Huey P. Long and other political demagogues and had a profound effect on contemporary literature, serving as a model for some of the best-selling political novels of the past half-century, in which both the light and dark sides of life are explored.
“The moral question of All the King’s Men deals with means and ends, whether good made from bad is still good,” said Zaillian.
All the King’s Men will be filming in various locations throughout southern Louisiana until March 2005.
The original adaptation of Warren’s work featured Mercedes McCambridge, Broderick Crawford, John Derek, Joanne Dru and John Ireland in a film that ended up winning three Oscars at the 22nd Annual Academy Awards.