Casting Call Pictures from The Stepford Wives 9-24-03


Thanks to Remy Chavalier for sending in this pic and link from the casting call held at Lockwood Matthews Mansion in Norwalk, CT yesterday. Everybody looks geat and seems like fun. However, standng in line all day can be a chore, too. Good luck, ladies.

The Stepford Wives Casting Call

If anybody has any stories to share, please feel free to e-mail me and I’d be glad to publish your experiences.

Thank you, Remy, once again…

Love, Mister D

Casting Call for the Wives of Stepford

NORWALK, Conn., Sept 24 — The scene at the old Victorian estate here today seemed so perfect. And yet.

The women tended to be tall, blond and dressed in ways that flattered their rail-thin figures, but it was easy to imagine something just a bit off, as if they were too perfect to be quite real. The men seemed pleasant enough, but there was that curious look of illicit contentment in their eyes, as if they were sharing a secret no one else got.

Oh well, life was like that in Stepford, the fictitious setting for the sendup of suburban life and the gender wars in which the men of a storybook village found a way to turn all their spouses into beautiful, compliant house-bound robots.

And when more than 2,000 would-be Stepford wives and husbands lined the streets Monday in New Canaan and here today to audition as extras for a remake of “The Stepford Wives,” a sendup of the original sendup, they all agreed on two things.

First, if you’re looking for potential Stepford wives — or at least women who look the part — there is an embarrassment of riches to choose from in Fairfield County. Second, what seemed like loopy fantasy when the first version of the film was made in 1975 seems oddly less loopy in the body- and image-conscious affluent suburbia of today.

More than 1,500 potential extras arrived in oversized sport utility vehicles (the wives) and zippy sports cars (the husbands), clogging traffic around the old Lockwood-Mathews mansion for today’s auditions. The goal was to comb the green groves of Fairfield County to come up with as many as 200 people who had the exact look needed for the movie, which stars Nicole Kidman in the role played last time by Katharine Ross. Still, if the concept of Stepford wives has taken on a life of its own since Ira Levin, a former resident of Wilton, Conn., published his novel in 1972, both local residents who were auditioning and those interviewed in Wilton and Greenwich had varying views of the relevance and import of the new film.

“Women are somewhat robotic in suburban Connecticut, with all the trophy wives,” said Beth Anderson, a slim 29-year-old mother of two who was in line. To her, auditioning for the movie was hardly feeding into men’s fantasies of the ultimate servile wife. It was simply a chance to get out of the house, and leave her husband, a pediatrician, in charge of the children for a few hours.

At 29, Anne Nolte of Weston, Conn., appeared to be a dead ringer for what was being sought. She is 5 feet 11 in flats, and was wearing a smart black cocktail dress and pink cashmere sweater that set off her dark blond hair, and had an Yves St. Laurent handbag casually slung over her arm. She left her husband, the investment banker, at home. She had never seen the movie or read the book but knew enough about the plot to take it in stride. “You’ve always heard the term bandied about.”

She thought it odd, though, that the crew was more interested in what kind of car she drove — a silver BMW — than the color of her eyes — blue — and in the end, she did not make the cut.

Many of the men who were in line said that the male fantasy depicted in the story was just as relevant as ever.

“If I was a multimillionaire, I’d be happy if my wife stayed home and worked out all day,” said Johnny Marino, 31, of Wallingford.

Gary Bennett, 48, a real estate salesman in Norwalk, said men were “not necessarily holding out for a Stepford wife” these days, but perhaps “they’d like a little more attentiveness.”

In a telephone interview, Mr. Levin said he did not think he had been back to Connecticut since the end of his first marriage more than 30 years ago, and did not have much of a feel for the place anymore. He insists that the few years he lived in Wilton back then did not sour him on suburbia. “It was very nice, and we enjoyed it, and the women were not Stepford wives,” said Mr. Levin, who now lives in Manhattan. “This was just my imagination at work.”

But he does confess some irritation with the first movie, especially the decision to clothe the women in long flowery period-style dresses instead of more revealing attire, which might have been more consistent with male fantasy.

This production might be a bit racier, and certainly is aiming to be more contemporary, according to Marsha Robertson, the movie’s publicist. For instance, besides reprising several of the archetypal married couples from the first movie, it will also feature a gay couple.

Not to say that everyone in Fairfield County today was angling for a part. Some women will have you know that they had no interest in depicting Stepford wives, not when they are so busy being one.

Deborah Ross, a tall statuesque blonde attacking the treadmill at the World Gym in Greenwich, certainly seemed to be what the moviemakers had in mind, down to the diamond earrings and tight spandex outfit. She and her husband, a lawyer, had just moved to Connecticut two weeks earlier from New York, and she had just spent the morning taking the children to a nature center to see how apple cider is made. So far, she said, life seems perfect.

She said the fantasy of the film says more about Stepford husbands than Stepford wives.

“Men are ridiculous,” she said. “They don’t know a good thing when they have it.”

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