MY ONE AND ONLY
ON THE ROAD WITH ANN AND GEORGE …
George Hamilton is the executive producer – and the subject – of My One and
Only, the film that tells a story from his teenage years when his mother finally
left her womanising and hard drinking band leader husband. But the film is more
a funny road trip than a drama, thanks to the wit of the screenplay.
Screenwriter Charlie Peters explains that the story began with an exchange
between the late entertainment mogul Merv Griffin and George Hamilton about the
actor’s early life and experiences with his mother.
For those who can’t place Hamilton, he’s the one noted these days for his
jet-setter image and perpetual tan. Hamilton has a list of over 100 movie and TV
credits. Some memorable roles include his 1979 turn in Love at First Bite as
Count Dracula, his role in several eps of Dynasty, a support role in Godfather
III, plus a guest appearance in Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles.
Bob Kosberg, a producer who worked with Griffin and knew Hamilton, introduced
the two, certain that Hamilton’s witty stories would inspire Griffin to think
they were worthy of the big screen.
"George Hamilton arrived in his white Rolls Royce"
“I was called by Bob Kosberg, a producer friend; he said that Merv had come
across an interesting story,” recalls Peters. “I met with Merv at the venerable
Hollywood hangout Trader Vic’s, and George Hamilton arrived in his white Rolls
Royce. He sat down and just started telling me about his mother and how he ended
up in Los Angeles, where he was eventually discovered.”
Peters loved the tale and soon built upon it, turning it into a script that
captured the attitudes of the early 50s, combined with the humour and irony of
Hamilton’s unique story and profiles of some unforgettable characters. “I’ve
probably read half a dozen scripts as good as this in my life,” says director
Richard Loncraine, who was originally hired in 1999 by Beacon Pictures for the
project. “One of the things I love about the film is that you can’t really put
it into a box. It’s many things, but all I know is I love it.”
For almost 10 years the script made the development rounds at various studios
until Merv Griffin got it back in turnaround. Peters convinced him that the only
place to get the genredefying story off the ground was in the independent
production world. Loncraine, who had been attached to the project in its early
days, was still interested in directing, so the trio sought a producer.
Producer Aaron Ryder, whom Griffin had met over the course of other project
discussions, was struck by Peters’ exceptional writing, and quickly saw the
potential of the project. He immediately understood “what a fantastic role Ann
would be for whoever was going to play this mother.”
The story begins in 1953, after her womanizing bandleader husband Dan Hamilton
[aka Deveraux] (Kevin Bacon) exhausts her patience, and Ann Deveraux (Renee
Zellwegger) takes her two sons George (Logan Lerman) and Robbie (Mark Rendall)
from New York on a roadtrip to Pittsburgh and St. Louis - staying briefly and
uncomfortably with her childless sister Hope (Robin Weigert) - and eventually
Hollywood, in her quest to find a man to take care of them all. After several
duds, she meets Bill Massey (David Koechner) whose family has a house paint
business and appears to be most suitable.
"the ability to play dramatic and comedic roles with
equal skill and grace"
Said Ryder, “There are very few actresses who are able to maintain an empathy
with the audience even though the character herself might be a little flawed.”
Ryder believed that Renée Zellweger’s “charm and un-forced sense of comedy” was
perfect for what he calls “a classic role.” An Academy Award and Golden
Globe-winning performer, Zellweger has demonstrated the ability to play dramatic
and comedic roles with equal skill and grace. The producers agreed that she’d
bring Ann Devereaux to life in all her vivid dimensions.
Zellweger read the script while on another shoot and couldn’t put it down. “It
made me laugh out loud in so many places,” recalls Zellweger. “I loved how
quick-witted all the characters were, I loved the flow of it. I couldn’t wait to
find out who would play the boys and who would play Dan, and I couldn’t wait to
get to the set and start working on Ann.”
“At the start of the story, Ann likes to think of herself as a little Katherine
Hepburn around the edges,” says Zellweger. “She has idealized her life as a New
York socialite and is just going through the motions as a mother. After leaving
Dan, she intends to set up the same camp somewhere else with another provider
and get on with her life of being fabulous, but she accidentally evolves into a
very capable person.”
Published March 11, 2010
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