Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival January 22, 23, 24, 2001
Running Time: 117 minutes
Short Synopsis (from the Press Kit**):
In March 1943 the code breakers at Bletchley Park, Britain's top secret Station X, are facing their worst nightmare: Nazi U boats have unexpectedly changed the code by which they communicate with each other and German High Command. An Allied merchant shipping convoy crossing the Atlantic with 10,000 passengers and vital supplies is in danger of attack. The authorities turn for help to Tom Jericho, a brilliant young mathematician and code breaker.
Unknown to his colleagues, Jericho has another equally baffling enigma of his own to unravel: Claire, the woman with whom he has fallen in love, has disappeared from Bletchley just when the authorities suspect there may be a spy at the Park.
To get to the bottom of both mysteries he enlists the help of Hester, Claire's best friend. Together they keep one step ahead of the secret services and investigate Claire's mysterious life, reaching a conclusion that uncovers international and personal betrayals.
An Intermedia Films/Senator Entertainment presentation, in association with Meespierson Film CV, of a Jagged Films/Broadway Video production.
Dougray Scott -- Thomas Jericho
Kate Winslet -- Hester Wallace
Saffron Burrows -- Claire Romilly
Jeremy Northam -- Wigram
Nikolaj Coster Waldau -- Puck
Tom Hollander -- Guy Logie
Donald Sumpter -- Leveret
Matthew MacFadyen -- Cave
Robert Pugh -- Skynner
Corin Redgrave -- Admiral Trowbridge
Production Personnel --
Producers: Mick Jagger, Lorne Michaels
Executive Producers: Victoria Pearman, Guy East, Nigel Sinclair, Hanno Huth, Michael White
Co-Producer: David Brown
Co-Executive Producers: Robert Aarts, Thomas Garvin
Director: Michael Apted
Screenplay: Tom Stoppard (based upon the novel by Robert Harris)
Director of Photography: Seamus McGarvey, B.S.C.
Editor: Rick Shaine, A.C.E.
Costume Design: Shirley Russell
Production Design: John Beard
Art Directors: Rod McLean, Stuart Rose
Set Decorator: Eliza Solesbury
Make-up and Hair Design: Jenny Shircore
Music Composed and Conducted By: John Barry
Shooting began April 18, 2000 and ended on June 29, 2000.
Release dates: Release in the UK is expected to be summer 2001; release in the US is expected to be late 2001.
From the Press Kit**:
Kate Winslet had been approached early on to play the role of Hester Wallace but originally it clashed with Therese Raquin in which she planned to star and take the role of executive producer. When Kate discovered she was pregnant, her own production was put on hold and Jagged Films was happy to fill the gap in her schedule. Jagger describes Winslet as "an actress who interprets Stoppard's script very well. Hester is an intelligent woman, who knows herself to be underused." Michael Apted explains, "The character of Hester has to be slightly anonymous at the beginning of the story, but her beauty, charm and sexiness creeps up on you. Kate is a brilliant chameleon - she can dazzle you or be quite ordinary, and the latter is a quality the audience can identify with - an ordinary girl who becomes heroic." He adds, "Kate makes intelligent choices in her acting roles, and I think she'll enjoy a long successful working life." says Apted.
Kate Winslet was attracted by the wartime setting of the story. "It's an adventure story set in such a sexy time - with young people determined to live for the moment. In some ways I compare my character Hester to George in Enid Blyton's The Famous Five - she enjoys adventure and won't stop till she gets a result and, in the end, she helps save the day." Winslet deliberately did not delve into understanding the mysteries of deciphering the enigma machine. "Although Hester works at Bletchley Park, her job is more administrative, and so she wouldn't have known all about the mysteries of code-breaking, so I didn't want to understand things that Hester wouldn't have known." As research, Winslet did meet a lot of the people who worked at Bletchley during the war. She says, "Most of them loved the work they were involved with then, and quite a few met their partners and married there. Incredibly, many of them didn't realise the importance of the work until long afterwards because of the code of secrecy in the Park. For instance, Hester and Claire worked in different Huts, so they never knew exactly what each other did."
** Thanks to my pal Sylvia of Dougray Scott in Focus for sharing the Press Kit with me. It was sent to her by Intermedia Vice-president Philip Rose, and he requested that the entire press kit not be published online. We are honoring his request by publishing only selected portions. -- Marla