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Brad Silberling on MOONLIGHT MILE
by Betty Jo Tucker

With the March 2003 release of Moonlight Mile on video and DVD, people who live outside major U.S. cities finally have the opportunity to see a movie I’ve been raving about ever since its screening at the 2002 Taos Talking Picture Festival.  Director Brad Silberling expressed his disappointment about the film’s limited theatrical release in a recent telephone interview. "It’s simple and rather heartbreaking," he said. "Three days before the movie wrapped, the studio’s greatest supporter of this project left, and someone else took over, so we never got into more than 425 theaters."

Silberling praised cast members Susan Sarandon, Dustin Hoffman, and Jake Gyllenhaal, who portray three people dealing with the loss of a loved one killed in a random act of violence. Because Silberling’s fiancée (a lovely television actress) was stalked and murdered several years ago, he knows something about the kind of loss depicted in Moonlight Mile. "We set out to make a movie that would surprise everyone by going in an unexpected direction," he said. "It starts out with a loss – and unusual background for a film that tells people not to give up on living."

According to Silberling, who also wrote the screenplay, Sarandon was the first "trooper" to come on board. "She’s been amazing," he declared. "She cared so much about the movie and about her performance. She helped make all of us feel like a family."

How did veteran actors Sarandon and Hoffman interact with Gyllenhaal, the young star of this extraordinary film? "Both Susan and Dustin love actors – young and old. They immediately treated Jake as a peer, which boosted his self-confidence," Silberling explained. "Everyone had developed a close relationship and trusted each other before we began shooting the movie, so they were quite relaxed. Dustin told me making this movie was the most enjoyable filmmaking experience he ever had."

Silberling enjoyed working with Hoffman and Sarandon so much he plans to do it again. "I’m working on another film for Dustin which might get underway this spring. And I’m in the middle of writing something else for Susan, but she has no idea what it is. It will be a surprise," he stated.

In the meantime, Variety reports (1/14/2003) Silberling will be helming Ashland for Touchstone and Firm Films – "details of which are being kept under wraps, although it is loosely described as a faith-based supernatural thriller with police procedural elements."

Why Silberling? Firm Films exec Tripp Vinson says, "We’ve admired Brad’s work for some time." And Nina Jacobson, president of Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, thinks Silberling "did a masterful job directing Moonlight Mile." I couldn’t agree with you more, Ms. Jacobson.

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