SIFF announces 2010 Opening Night film: The Extra Man

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Seattle, WA – The 36th Seattle International Film Festival will open on May 20 with the Seattle Premiere of the sophisticated comedy The Extra Man – directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. The film will screen at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, kicking off the nation’s largest film festival set to take place from May 20 through June 13, 2010.

The Extra Man stars Paul Dano (There Will be Blood) as the ever-so-proper Louis Ives, a lonely dreamer who imagines himself the protagonist of a modern F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. He moves to Manhattan to pursue a writing career and rents a room in the tiny Manhattan apartment of playwright Henry Harrison, a wildly eccentric social entrepreneur (Kevin Kline) who happens to work evenings as an “extra man” – an escort for wealthy widows. The unexpected bond of the two men creates the hilarious heart of the film; its pathos comes from their realization that within the other’s idealistic fantasy persona lurks their own litany of insecurities.

Academy-Award® nominated co-directors/screenwriters Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor, The Nanny Diaries) manifest the edgy spirit and droll dialogue of the celebrated novel by Jonathan Ames (writer of HBO’s Bored to Death) with a perfectly balanced blend of warmth, intellect, and humanity. Paul Dano and Kevin Kline (surpassing his memorable Academy Award® performance in A Fish Called Wanda) are sublime in their portrayal of the two gentlemen about town, each imbuing their edge-of-the-envelope characters with depth and empathetic distinction. Also appearing are Katie Holmes as Louis’ sweet co-worker and unrequited love interest (and whose wardrobe Louis secretly desires…), and John C. Reilly as Henry’s mysterious (and very hairy) downstairs neighbor. The Extra Man is a magical, multi-dimensional comedy-sophisticated, elegant, goofy, and ultimately satisfying.

The Extra Man debuted at Sundance earlier this year to rave audience reviews and was recently picked up by Magnolia Pictures for US distribution. Excellently cast and revealing humor, wit, and class, The Extra Man is an exciting selection to launch the 2010 Festival with more than 250 feature films, 100 shorts, special events, workshops, and forums that will take place from May 20 through June 13 at various venues city-wide.

“After seeing its debut at Sundance this year, I knew I wanted The Extra Man to open the 36th Seattle International Film Festival,” says SIFF Artistic Director Carl Spence. “We always strive to choose a film that not only combines stellar storytelling and captivating characters, but one that connects with Seattle’s film-savvy audiences. This unique film is both laugh-out-loud funny and smart, and is the perfect film to kick off the 2010 Festival.”

This represents the first time Seattle International Film Festival will host its Opening Night Gala at the beautiful Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. The event, taking place on Thursday, May 20, will also feature a red carpet welcome for directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini. Members of the cast are also expected to be in attendance.


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