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Current Release Date: June 11, 2003

"The Stepford Wives" Are Coming Soon!

Spoilers Below: Don't Go Beyond Here If You Like To Be Surprised At First Run Movies

"The Stepford Wives" Premiere in L.A.
BLB Hollywood Correspondent: Care
June 6, 2004

(Mister D: Care is in the movie business and currently working, specifically, in the movie trailer field which I am finding out is a very hard, timely, and tedious endeavor...but artistically gratifying when the results pay off...she and her company were up for several movie trailers awards this year, but unfortunatley lost every one of them to "The Stepford Wives"....bittersweet, I know. But isn't it just like a BetteHead to brush themselves off and get back up...Okay, I've had my fun...thank you so much Care for taking the time to write up your account and sending in these pics!)


My friend Anna and I (who have both been huge fans of Bette for over 13 years) heard about The Stepford Wives Premiere in Westwood just a couple of weeks ago. Since we live close by, we thought we'd just arrive about 2 hours early and see if we could get seats somewhere near the red carpet. When we arrived at 3:00, everything was set up, and nobody was there yet. We asked the Mann Bruin Theatre ushers where we could stand, and they told us we had to either get a table at cafe next to the theatre (along the red carpet), or we had to stand across the street! Well, as if you had to wonder...we grabbed the first table we found at the cafe and sat there in the blazing hot sun for 2 hours ordering drinks and food so they wouldn't kick us out.

Anna quickly made a huge "We Love You Bette" sign to hold up. Around 4pm, the media began arriving and setting up right in front of us and a huge crowd formed a long line across the street. Eventually, security blocked off all sidewalks to only people who were patrons at the cafe, so NOBODY stood in our way! A little after 5:00 we started seeing limos arriving and soon after that we heard a large crowd scream "BETTE!" As we stood on our chairs with excitement and holding up our sign, Bette was gradually making her way through the media. It took her about 20 minutes or so to walk to our end of the carpet, because she stopped to talk and smile with almost every interviewer, of course.

Eventually, Bette made it to our section. We noticed a couple times that Bette's publicist (standing right beside her) pointed to our sign for Bette to acknowledge. So seeing that, as loud as we could, we screamed "We Love You Bette" and she waved to us and smiled. I'm telling you...when Bette looks at you and smiles, there's nothing like it! She looked absolutely beautiful in a short sleeved black shirt, white skirt and black heels. I kept running a long the carpet and shooting pictures as she continued to walk down towards the theatre until she was led inside by her entourage.


She briefly stopped to sign autographs, but there were so many people pushing and shoving, it was nearly impossible to give anything to her. So what else do you do...scream compliments to her of course! After Bette disappeared, Glenn Close, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Jon Lovitz, and Matthew Broderick all made their way into the theatre, stopping from time to time to talk to the media. I love Faith Hill, and can't wait to see her acting debut, but she didn't really stop to talk that much with the media. She and Tim just skimmed the carpet and went into the theatre, so that was a bit disappointing. But as usual...Bette was out there showing her divine self off, and fails to disappoint once again!

Congratulations Bette!!




By K. Heller
Philadelphia Inquirer
Wives recalled

Weeks after The Stepford Wives remake was test-screened, its crew and power cast - Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler,Matthew Broderick, and Christopher Walken - are headed back for "additional scenes," as the studio calls them. The latest turmoil for the June 11 film comes after the $90 million Frank Oz-directed pic ran two months behind schedule. Oz, the voice of Yoda and Miss Piggy (top that on your resume!), wants Kidman for three days of reshoots, though she's working on Sydney Pollack's The Interpreter in her native Australia. "Frank's sense of detail can just be insane," says one set spy. "He's used to puppets." Aren't we all?

Thanks for the screenshots BaltoBoy Steve!
(you can see that it is a robotic hand)






Spoilers Below: Don't Go Beyond Here If You Like To Be Surprised At First Run Movies
(Thanks Brandon for the alert)


A Review of the First Screening (which means many changes can be made from now until release) from One Hand Clapping as reprinted from the site: Ain't It Cool News

One Hand Clapping does the first review of the remake for THE STEPFORD WIVES!

Hey folks, Harry here with our first review of THE STEPFORD WIVES which sounds intriguing. The review isn't entirely positive, and there are spoilers below -- and yes if you've seen the original, these are STILL SPOILERS as this is different from the original film. The film is months away from coming out, so realize this is their first screening to get a grasp of where they are... sounds like it still has work to be done, but it sounds like Frank Oz has done a good job with a great cast. Here ya go...

Harry Knowles (Ain't It Cool News)

Yo Harry,

Just now got back from a screening, the first anywhere they said, of the Stepford Wives.

This is a remake of the 1970's classic, which was itself an adaptation of Ira Levin's classic novel about a perfect little town where the husbands get up to shenanigans. It's Bachelor Party with robots.

Alas, all is still not well in Stepford when our heroine, Nicole Kidman enters with her shlubby husband, Matthew Broderick and her children.

This time, the character being fitted for the Cuisenart dress is a TV exec who has a breakdown after she's fired and finds out her husband is having an affair with her secretary all in the same morning.

Her hubbie decides to move them to the idyllic little town of Stepford to start over.

The movie's tone is very different than the original. This one almost starts out as a comedy, with zany sterotypes the Jewish writer, (played by Bette Midler) and the gay guy, etc.

While this version has as many teeth as a soup sucking denizen of an old age home, it does get in its shots, but the subtext is it talking about Feminism? American Excess? Couplehood? The movie isn't even sure it seems, as it runs around trying to cover all bases. It wants to be dark, but funny, and also goofy, but serious.

One of the films greatest successes is the special effects: the few times the supporting characters exhibit their roboticness is funny AND disturbing, because they move like MACHINES should and that's scary.

But we were shown what HAD to be an alternate ending. See, first we wind up, as in the original, with the main character, post-robot, in a supermarket, along with all her new robot pals (actually, they are no longer robots in the story. The brain is extracted, placed in a robotic body, with some extra chips to make 'em act right. Problem is, most of the wives were apparently so perfect looking to begin with, you wonder why they needed new bodies. Seems the brain augmentation thing would be enough.)

Anyhoo, when I saw what I ASSUMED was the ending, I thought to myself "self, it may not be as good as the original, but it was fun and a nice bit of satire." Then it kept going...and going.

We were treated to a BS Hollywood ending where it turns out that Broderick and Nicole were putting the wool over everyone's eyes and manage to sneak into the lair of the nefarious Mike (Chris Walken, fine as ever) and free all the ladies, who are only a little miffed about being transplanted into robotic bodies and being used as beer coolers. I kid not.

And it goes on and on, with twists I won't bother telling you about, not because their spoliers, but because they're stupid.

This might not be the ending they go with. The soundtrack behind it was the theme from Edward Scissorhands, so I can only guess this was a test of sorts.

I will mention one thing: the supermarket ending is played out again, this time with the shlubby husbands doing the shopping. A Rhodes Scholar behind me said "A perfect world...where men always do the shopping." That's when the real subtext of the movie, or at least what it SHOULD have been, hit me: when people fantasize about the perfect partner, they tend to fantasize about a slave.

It's too bad the movie was so muddy that (apparantly) the point was lost.


cuz thats my name.

January 16, 2004
From EW: Frank Oz on the Filming of "The Stepford Wives"...Thank You Lora!

"It was good," Frank Oz says of shooting his remake of The Stepford Wives, Bryan Forbes' 1975 cult classic about upper-crust women being replaced by robots with sunny dispositions.

"It was a long shoot with some very talented people." In fact, filming stretched for an extra two months - to the displeasure of stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, and Christopher Walken - and featured fierce clashes between Midler and Walken and the director.

So why the holdup? Maybe it was the "dozens and dozens and dozens of script meetings" Oz had with screenwriter Paul Rudnick and producer Scott Rudin, or the scenes that took "at least twice as long" to shoot - possibly because, as Oz says, "I've never shot the script [as written], except Little Shop of Horrors.

But now it's all sweetness and light from the man whose résumé boasts comedy hits like In & Out, Bowfinger, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. "I loved shooting this film. There were some days that I felt like a truck ran over me," says Oz. "But after a shower, I couldn't wait to get to work."

"Stepford" Trailer News

Stanford Advocate
By Christina S. N. Lewis
Staff Writer

January 5, 2004

A trailer for "The Stepford Wives" shows actress Nicole Kidman, a gold apron wrapped around her tiny waist, vamping for the camera as a giggling, obedient robot wife.

The preview, which is being shown before screenings of Miramax's "Cold Mountain," which also stars Kidman, offers audiences a first taste of the satire, which wrapped filming in the area in November.

Paramount shot scenes at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, and in Darien and Greenwich. Scenes also were shot at private homes and on Main Street in New Canaan.

"The Stepford Wives," which also stars Mathew Broderick, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken and Glenn Close, is a satire of the 1975 film about an idyllic town in Connecticut where affluent but timid husbands replace their wives with look-alike cyborgs.

The original film was a dark parody skewering the conformity of suburban married life, but the teaser suggests that the new film is more light-hearted.

To the tunes of '50s-style ballroom jazz, the trailer shows about a dozen shots of men's products, including a Christian Dior cologne, a Gucci briefcase, a space-age CD player, and a black Mercedes sedan. The narrator says, "This is your life. Everything you own is beautiful, perfectly constructed, ideally manufactured. Everything you possess feels, thinks and responds as if you've had it made just for you. Isn't it time you had the ultimate in perfection?"

Then the camera focuses on Kidman, her blond hair cascading in soft waves around her sculptured face as she breathes "for the man who has everything."

"Make one," the narrator says.

"Some assembly required," Kidman giggles.

The 1975 film was written by William Goldman and based on a novel with the same title by Ira Levin.

Merrill Bullis of Darien, who saw the trailer with her husband, Frank DeVita, during a Wednesday matinee, said the preview showed that the remake is funnier than the original. But that's not what makes her want to see the movie.

"We would see it anyhow," Bullis said, "just because it's filmed in the area."

The trailer can be viewed online at

Bette as Bobbie Markowitz in the upcoming sci-fi comedy, The Stepford Wives

Stepford wives' get norwalk makeover
STEPFORD: Casting call held at Norwalk mansion for all-star remake of iconic film
Sunday, September 28, 2003By Kellie Lambert McGuire
© 2003 Republican-American

The Stepford Wives.

The phrase brings to mind images of perfection, both in physical beauty and abilities to keep house and mother children. Today the women who fill these roles are both envied and admired.

But in the '70s, these idyllic housewives were mocked in a book and accompanying film which gave us the descriptive phrase.

Now the film is being updated and the fictional Connecticut town of Stepford will be revisited, allowing another examination of the hausfrau.

But this time around, three decades later, will American audiences be so horrified?

"It's definitely a commentary on the roles of women in life," said Jeannine Basinger, chairman of the Film Studies department of Wesleyan University in Middletown. "There was a questioning on the standard of a wife's role at the time. Now it's more quaint than a commentary on the times."

The image of "The Stepford Wives" first appeared in author Ira Levin's 1972 book of the same name. He wrote it as a thriller, a horror novel of sorts. Levin was a master of the medium – it was he who penned the classics "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Boys From Brazil."

The book jacket for "The Stepford Wives" even predicts the impact the story will have on society: "It is one of those rare novels whose very title may well become part of our vocabulary. For, after reading it, you will never forget Stepford and the horror it contains; and there is a certain kind of woman who, from now on, will be known as a Stepford Wife."

The Taming of the Shrews

The story follows the tale of Joanna, who moves with her husband and two children to the quaint suburban town of Stepford, Conn.

In her attempts to find other women who share similar intellectual interests, she discovers that the wives of the town are too preoccupied with taking care of home and husbands.

Their obsession is not by choice, she uncovers; instead, the husbands have formed a Men's Association whose sole purpose is to create lifelike robots to replace their wives and keep everything beautiful and perfect.

"It reflected the experiences of a particular population, primarily white middle and upper-middle class women, at the time," said Colette Morrow, president of the National Women's Association and a professor at Purdue University-Calumet in Hammond, Ind.

"In reflecting their experiences, it triggered their interest. And actually it might have tapped into their fears and frustrations in being trapped in the traditional role of housewife and mother when this particular class of women had been fairly high achieving in education and not had avenues and opportunities to be able to find fulfillment outside of their sphere and helm," said Morrow

Modern Mannequins

The story will begin its update in October or November when Hollywood brings a notable cast to the Nutmeg State to film a remake of the original movie, set for release next summer.

Actress Nicole Kidman will play Joanna. Other stars signing on for the remake include Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken and Bette Midler; Frank Oz ("Little Shop of Horrors," "Muppets Take Manhattan," "What About Bob?") will direct.

A casting call was held Wednesday at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, which will be the site of the fictional Men's Association. Part of the original version of the film was shot at the mansion in 1975.

Paramount Studios cast extras to play Stepford wives and husbands for an outdoor scene to be shot in New Canaan today and Monday, according to the Stamford Advocate.

The museum closed to the public Sept. 2 for Paramount to make interior changes.

Filming at the museum has been postponed several times because of construction delays. Portions of the film have already been shot in Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan.

The new film is said to focus more on the comedic elements of the original and less on horror. Writer Maureen Dowd of The New York Times asserts that this change is because the original premise is not so scary anymore.

Women have essentially turned themselves into Stepford Wives without any help from their husbands.

"They can no longer wince at their mates because they have their faces frozen with Botox," Dowd writes. "They're sedated with Prozac, Zoloft, Xanax and Paxil… Women puff their lips, balloon their breasts and suck fat from their hindquarters.

The spring fashions were so hourglass sexy, frothy and pastel, they were dubbed ‘Stepford style' in the Times fashion section."

"The first thing that flashed through my mind is that the vast majority of women are not afraid of being the Stepford Wife today," Morrow said, adding that women bear a double burden both being the primary caregiver and caretaker in the family as well as the weight of working outside the home.

"It's really important to remember that our society is not structured in a way that supports women to work outside the home," Morrow added. "And for most women it's not an option to stay at home."

More Mock than Shock

The new version changes the role of Joanna. In the original, Joanna was full-time mother and part-time freelance photographer. In the new version, Joanna is a network president while her husband is only a junior vice president. The update allows a new twist – a wife who makes more money than her husband.

"There's still social pressure," screenwriter Paul Rudnick said in an interview.

"Everything is looking at a guy with a wife who makes more money, going ‘He's the chick.'"

While the original film was shocking to audiences, the new version will mock the hausfrau. In a time when many women are giving up the fast track of commuting and meetings for jogging strollers and playdates, "The Stepford Wives" may not seem too far from reality for many women.

Instead of gasping in horror at women who concentrate on cleaning house and taking care of their families, modern audiences may find humor in a robotic housewife, but not in the idea of perfect femininity.

"In the long interval between the two movies, women have turned themselves into Stepford wives," Dowd wrote.

In a recent editorial, Dowd states that domestic gurus like Martha Stewart and Nigella Lawson have led women back to "the wifely arts of cooking, gardening, decorating and flower arranging." Basinger agreed.

"There's still an influence on women to look just right, and there's a return to the old values of homemaking," Basinger said.

"It's likely that this will be a campy version."


Hollywood hasn’t called back church
Cynthia Baran , Shoreline Bureau Chief

MADISON — Hollywood types haven’t decided if the Madison Green will make it to the big screen.

Officials of the First Madison Congregational Church were approached in early summer by the folks filming the remake of the 1975 thriller, "The Stepford Wives," and haven’t heard "a peep" since, church secretary Nancy Cash said Thursday.

Marsha Robertson, publicist for "The Stepford Wives" remake, said the location manager is still scouting sites and has not decided on Madison.

The remake stars Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken and Faith Hill in a dark-comedy version of the story directed by Frank Oz. They have firmed up agreements to shoot in locations in Fairfield County.

Filming at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, which will reprise its role in the original movie as the Stepford Men’s Association, is to begin on Sept. 23.

There also has been some filming in Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan.

When church officials here were approached, they were told that any filming in Madison would likely be in September.

©New Haven Register 2003
Celebrity Chatter: 'Stepford Wives' Keep Going During Blackout
Nicole Kidman Movie Didn't Miss A Beat
Michelle Solomon, Staff Writer
POSTED: 9:26 a.m. EDT August 19, 2003

The massive blackout that hit parts of the eastern United States and areas of Canada meant some productions on televisions and movies and theater stage shows screeched to a halt.

But there were a few that managed to forge ahead without a blip thanks to contingency plans in the form of back-up generators.

Fittingly, one of those high-priced productions that didn't skip a beat was "The Stepford Wives" remake now filming in New York, E! online reported.

It tickled my funny bone that a movie about women whose husbands replace them with robots would find a mechanical way to keep going during what's now become known as the Blackout of 2003.

The remake has intrigued me because of its cast and reports that the comic aspects of the 1975 film will be played up in the 2004 version. What was a horror thriller in the '70s is expected to be more quirky this time around. It's easy to imagine the style if you know who is writing the remake. That would be Paul Rudnick, who penned the films "In and Out" and "The Addams Family Values."

Oscar-winner Nicole Kidman steps into the role made famous by Katherine Ross. She plays Joanna Eberhardt, who moves with her husband, Walter, and their two children to a quaint Connecticut town only to find something strange going on.

Matthew Broderick has replaced John Cusack, who was first cast as Walter Eberhardt. Cusack's sister, Joan, – the pair frequently appears in movies together – was to have played Joanna's best friend, Bobbie Markowitz, but both Cusacks dropped out of the production last May. Now Bette Midler has stepped into that role, giving the dark comedy even more of a twisted appeal. (Remember Midler in "Ruthless People," "Drowning Mona?" It'll be much the same.)

Kidman was looking forward to the role before production started in June. She was quoted as saying:

"It's going to be done as a comedy. And I've wanted to do a comedy. ... I'm in the middle of Cold Mountain now, which is sort of an epic, tragic love story. I just went, 'I've got to do a comedy.' I need to have some lightness."

Meanwhile, the mansion in Connecticut where the first "Stepford Wives" was filmed is gearing up for the remake to visit.

The Norwalk Lockwood-Mathews mansion, which has about 30,000 visitors each year, closed Monday to get ready to greet its movie-star guests. The mansion's Web site trumpets that stars Kidman and Broderick will be visiting the mansion.

In the film, the mansion serves as the setting for The Stepford Men's Association, where the men gather to discuss their plot to turn their wives into perfect, well-oiled machines.

"The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, which will serve as the site of our Men's Association, has a gothic, almost fortress like quality that we think will provide a great visual contrast in the otherwise bucolic town of Stepford," Marsha Robertson, a spokeswoman for the Paramount Pictures movie, told the Associated Press. "The Stepford Men's Association is a very mysterious place to those arriving in town."

Meanwhile, the museum's executive director says the movie comes at a critical time for the museum and that money which Paramount Pictures will put into sprucing up the Lockwood-Mathews comes at the perfect time.

"We're thrilled," said Marjorie St. Aubyn, the museum's executive director, who estimated the value of the work at more than $200,000. "With everyone cutting back, it's terrible for a museum like us," St. Aubyn told the Associated Press.

Paramount Pictures is expected to replace old carpeting with new, plus paint and restore the woodwork and glass of the mansion's rotunda to its former glory.

The mansion will be ready for filming when shooting begins there Sept. 23, according to AP.

The movie is expected to be released in June 2004.

Close on Bette...Hmmm...Sounds Fun
From an interview with Glenn Close Friday, August 08, 2003
By Roger Friedman on Fox News:

Right now she's filming the remake of "The Stepford Wives" in, of all places, her hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. She and Christopher Walken are one couple. Matthew Broderick and Nicole Kidman are another.

And then there's Bette Midler.

It's OK to call them 'Stepford Wives'
Bernardsville News
By SANDY STUART , Staff Writer

They're Stepford Wives - or, more specifically, extras in the remake of the classic 1975 movie. From left are Beth Whaley of Bernardsville, Christy Ainsworth of Basking Ridge and Linda Yarosh of Bedminster Township.
In the cultural jargon, Stepford Wife is not exactly considered a complimentary term.

But Christy Ainsworth of Basking Ridge, Linda Yarosh of Bedminster and Beth Whaley of Bernardsville don't mind being called Stepford Wives. In fact, they love it.

After all, it was their prom queen good looks - tall, slim and blonde - that won them roles as extras in the Paramount Pictures remake of "The Stepford Wives," starring Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler and Matthew Broderick.

Ainsworth, Yarosh and Whaley were among dozens of Somerset Hills residents who acted in a scene filmed this week and last at a farm off Larger Cross Road in Bedminster Township. Three of their children - 7-year-old Sheridan Sheridan Ainsworth, 5-year-old Danika Yarosh and 5-year-old Christian Whaley - were also picked as extras.

Among the other local residents playing Stepford denizens were Byron Smith of Bedminster and his two daughters, Jordan, 7, and Courtney, 5; siblings Samantha and Duncan Ellsworth of Peapack, ages 9 and 6, respectively; siblings Charlie and Megan Cain of Gladstone, 10 and 7 respectively; and 10-year-old Nicholas Martin of Gladstone.

The Bedminster scene depicts a Fourth of July country fair in which Kidman and Broderick, playing a married couple who have just moved from Manhattan to the fictional town of Stepford, meet their new neighbors for the first time.

In the scene, Kidman stands out as a city dweller - black dress, slicked-back brown hair - among the beautiful, docile, pastel-clad robot wives of Stepford. This group, of course, included Ainsworth, Yarosh and Whaley.

Barbie Dolls

In an interview away from the set, which was closed to spectators and the press, it was clear that the local women had a great time with their Stepford roles.

Ainsworth and Yarosh came all dolled up, wearing high heels, false eyelashes and teased hair.

"You look just like Barbie," exclaimed Yarosh, checking out Ainsworth's tight mini-skirt and pink top.

"You do, too," said Ainsworth, returning the compliment.

The local residents were chosen for the film after appearing at a casting call on June 26 at the Gill St. Bernard's School in Gladstone. Non-union extras, adults and children alike, would earn a flat $75 per day fee.

For Ainsworth, becoming a Stepford Wife fulfilled a childhood fantasy.

"When I was 12 or 13, 'The Stepford Wives' was my favorite movie," she said, referring to the original 1975 film starring Katherine Ross. "I loved it."

So much so that, two years ago, Ainsworth threw a "Stepford Wives" screening party for her friends who hadn't seen the film.

Ainsworth said she was excited to be chosen as an extra, along with Sheridan. In one shot, mother and daughter got to hold hands as they mingled with the crowd at the staged July 4 celebration.

Yarosh became a Stepford Wife sort of by accident. She had brought her three children, Danika, Amanda and Erik to the casting call and was asked if she, too, would like to audition. She agreed.

All four of the Yaroshes were accepted as extras, but only Linda and Danika ended up taking the job.

Whaley also stumbled into her role as a Stepford Wife, when she brought Christian in for an audition and was asked to try out.

She said she never expected to be picked. "It was hot that day and I wasn't even wearing makeup," she recalled.

To her amusement, Beth was accepted. "I used to live in The Hills in Bedminster, and I used to joke that it was full of Stepford Wives," she said.

Heat And Heels

The women said that although being as an extra in a Hollywood movie was a thrill, it was also hard work.

"We had to stand there in the 100 degree heat in high heels, in four inches of dirt and horse manure," said Ainsworth.

Since Stepford Wives are supposed to look perfect at all times, makeup assistants hovered around them to remove any hint of perspiration.

"They came and blotted my face for sweat," said Yarosh. "It made me feel like a star."

The women noted that the production company set strict regulations for extras: no cameras, no autographs and no talking to the stars - or even making eye contact with them.

But, hey, rules were meant to be broken. Right?

A Nicole Moment

Little Danika Yarosh completely forgot about the rules during a break when she spotted Kidman sitting by herself, shielding her face from the sun's rays with an umbrella.

Danika became curious: Was Kidman alone because she was in a "timeout" for doing something bad? And why the umbrella on a sunny day?

According to her mother, Danika scampered over, plopped herself down on a director's chair next to Kidman and began chatting away.

Fortunately, said Linda Yarosh, Kidman didn't seem at all upset by the intrusion.

"She was really friendly with Danika, just like a mom," said Yarosh. "She said to Danika, 'You're such a sweet little angel that fell from heaven.' "

Yarosh also had a brief exchange with Broderick, who ate lunch with the cast on one of the days of filming.

"He said, 'How're you doing,' I said, 'Hot,' and he said, 'Me, too," reported Yarosh. "He was very down to earth, just a regular person."

Ainsworth also got a chance to chat with Broderick when she noticed him walking near her one day on the way to the catering tent.

"We just had a normal conversation," Ainsworth said. "He said, 'Where are we, anyway?' I told him there are quite a few celebrities out here."

Ainsworth also told Broderick, "I don't know how you people do this. It's tough, grueling work." He graciously replied, "You guys (the extras) are out there doing it, too," she said.

Kids Get To Play

The local kids who served as extras were a bit more nonchalant about the prospect of being in a movie, although they all had their memorable moments.

For Samantha Ellsworth, the hardest part of the filming was remembering to duck her head when going under low-hanging tree branches in a hayride shot. One kid, she said, did get hit with a branch.

Christian Whaley liked the same shot, since he got to sit in the front of the tractor-pulled wagon and has a good chance of appearing in the final cut of the film.

For Nicholas Martin and Charlie Cain, the best part was getting to play in a scene that depicts a kids' soccer game. They got to kick the ball around and hang out with Dylan Henderson, the child actor who plays Kidman and Broderick's son.

Jordan Smith said she liked being in a shot with her father in which a woman at the fair hands her an American flag.

Jordan also liked learning the movie-making lingo. "When they wanted us to come out (to film a shot), they would yell, 'Background,' " she said.

The local Stepford extras now have to wait until the film's release in 2004 to find out whether their faces will be seen in the final cut of the movie.

Stepford Is Filming Here, Just Don't Tell The Wives
The Hartford Courant
Patricia Seremet
July 18, 2003

So, when are those wacky Stepford Wives automatons coming to Connecticut? The word from Hollywood, m'dears, is they're already here.

"Principal photography is underway," is the cryptic way that Paramount Pictures describes, in a press release, the production presence of the "Stepford Wives" remake.

The first "Stepford Wives" (1975) was also filmed here, so the state is girding itself for the return. But where, pray do tell, are they?

"Principal photography underway" means that "we are starting to move around, but quietly," says Paramount publicist Marsha Robertson, sworn to secrecy for fear she might be turned into a Stepford Wife herself.

The production company is ever so circumspect about where it will be shooting. Most filming will be done inside private homes in New Canaan and Norwalk. That's where the Stepford men plot how they can re-engineer their women into walking, talking, ever-so husband-pleasing, meal-making robots.

Aha, but there is a big scene from the first movie where the Stepford Men's Club meets and plots. It took place in the magnificent Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk.

And again, starting Aug. 18, filming will begin in that same mansion.

"We're the only site from the original movie being revisited," said Marjorie St. Aubyn, executive director of the museum, who is thrilled to have the likes of Christopher Walken and Matthew Broderick rattling around in her Victorian Renaissance revival mansion.

"It's a wonderful thing to happen for Norwalk," she said.

Paramount not only is paying $70,000 to rent the museum, but it's paying "a significant amount" to restore the rotunda floor, lay the carpet and restore the paint.

"It's like a `This Old House,'" she said. "Except it's this most incredible castle."

Until Aug. 18 when the actors from Paramount arrive and begin their conniving against Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler, the museum is open.

Having such a boffo movie coming to Connecticut is keeping Guy Ortoleva, head of the Connecticut Film Office, busy behind the scenes, also sworn to secrecy lest he be turned into the first Stepford Husband.

"We're working in the background with lots of logistical details," he said. "If everything goes smoothly and no one hears about it, we're heroes."

Ortoleva is working with Stepford producer Scott Rudin on getting another movie of his, a remake of "The Manchurian Candidate," filmed here. He's also scouting state locations for Fox 2000 Pictures for a movie to star Robert De Niro.

Just keep your pie hole shut.

Is Hollywood In The Stars For Madison?
The Hartford Courant
Staff Writer

July 17 2003

MADISON -- Antiques shows, concerts, and flag football games might not be the only activities taking place on the Green this September. The First Congregational Church, which owns the Green, has been approached by a company filming a remake of the 1975 science fiction thriller The Stepford Wives. The company is seeking permission to possibly shoot a scene on the Green as well as on the church's front steps.

Church officials said last week that the church received a letter around June 23 from an Astoria, New York-based company connected with the film's distributor, Paramount Pictures, expressing interest in the site as a potential filming location.

Church Secrretray Nancy Cash said that the church was told that Madison is one of two or three localities the company is considering.

Because everything is speculative, church staffers kept the news quiet and acknowledged that most members learned of the request when it broke last week in a regional newspaper.

"The request came out of the blue," said Church Council Chair Ed Miller. "We were totally surprised."

He said that at a July 1 meeting of the church's diaconate and at a July 8 Church Council meeting, "The request was discussed and approved to consider."

Miller added that the church has named a committee that will negotiate details should the production company wish to proceed.

"However, right now [July 10] we haven't heard back from them," said Miller.

He believes the company was looking to film sometime during the week of Sept. 22, should an agreement be reached. It is unclear if a star will be in the proposed scenes.

Academy-award winning actress Nicole Kidman is slated to play the lead Role of Joanna Eberhart. The cast includes other superstars, among them Glenn Close, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken, and Faith Hill. Matthew Broderick is being considered for the role of Kidman's husband, Walter Eberhart.

Based on the a novel by Ira Levin, The Stepford Wives follows the fictional story of Joanna Eberhart who leaves New York with her husband only to discover that the women in her new community of Stepford, Connecticut, are mysteriously becoming brainless servants dedicated only to housework and their husbands.

The original film starred Katharine Ross as Joanna Eberhart and was filmed in coastal Fairfield County.

According to Guy Ortoleva, executive director of the Connecticut Film Video and Media Office in Rocky Hill, one location already selected in Connecticut for the remake is the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in Norwalk, which served as the "Stepford Men's Club" in the original movie.

Even if Madison isn't selected as a site for shooting for the Kidman flick, residents can take heart that scenes from the 2001 romantic comedy Happy Accidents starring Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei was filmed off Neck Road. Directing the 1993 Best Supporting Actress was Madison's Brad Anderson.

Ortoleva explained that Connecticut has a thriving film and media industry that generates some $3 billion dollars a year. As a Division of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, his office acts a liaison between the film industry and communities that serve as shooting locations.

"Each day a film crew stays in Connecticut, it has the potential of generating business for the local community since cast and crews need hotels [and] food," said Ortoleva.

For most residents, the mere thought of having a major motion picture filmed in Madison is a cause for pride. As Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eileen Speed expressed, "Look at Madison. It's such a pretty place; it would be fun to see it on the big screen."

The film is due out next year.

Copyright © 2003, Madison Source

Stepford stars in area to film movie remake
Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler perform in Bedminster, sleep at Bernards hotel
The Bernardsville News
By SANDY STUART , Staff Writer 07/10/2003

BEDMINSTER TWP. - A picture-perfect barn complex and sunny skies greeted Nicole Kidman and a host of Hollywood actors this week, during the filming of a scene from the new "Stepford Wives" movie.

Kidman, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close and Jon Lovitz were among the stars who joined some 200 extras - including many local residents - on a Larger Cross Road estate.

The filming of the scene, which depicts a Fourth of July fair in the fictitious upper-class town of Stepford, began Monday morning amid heavy security provided by the local police department.

Filming continued throughout the day Tuesday and was scheduled to wrap up yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, assuming cooperative weather.

Many of the cast and crew members - including Kidman, Midler and director Frank Oz - stayed in luxurious rooms at the Olde Mill Inn in Bernards Township during the filming, according to sources. They were said to have checked out by Wednesday.

In the remake of the 1975 classic thriller, Kidman plays the role of Joanna Eberhart, who has just moved from Manhattan with her husband (Broderick) and children.

According to publicist Marsha Robertson, the scene in Bedminster shows the Eberhart family meeting the townspeople of Stepford for the first time at a July 4 celebration.

Among those they encounter are Bobbie Markowe (Midler) and her husband (Lovitz), who are also newcomers to Stepford; as well as the town matriarch, played by Close.

Other cast members include Faith Hill, Christopher Walken and Bernardsville native Roger Bart, an original cast member of the Broadway hit, "The Producers." Hill and Walken did not appear in the Bedminster scene.

Rockwell Painting

According to Robertson, the Bedminster scene shows "the perfect Fourth of July party. If Norman Rockwell had painted the party, this is what it would look like."

The outdoor scene centers around a big red horse barn with crisp white trim next to a riding ring. Children trot ponies around the ring, while townspeople mingle at the lemonade stand, bake sale and ring toss booth set up outside the barn.

Robertson said the barn and the fence around the riding ring are draped in red, white and blue bunting, American flags wave everywhere, and the set is festooned with red, white and blue balloons.

Robertson said the 200 extras include about 30 local adults and about 40 local children between the ages of 5 and 12.

She said the extras were chosen at a June 26 casting call at the Gill St. Bernard's School in Gladstone. About 300 people applied as extras, Robertson said.

'Gorgeous Women'

Because Stepford is a town in which the wives have been surreptitiously replaced by beautiful robots, the extras include about 100 tall, slim, attractive women.

"There are a lot of gorgeous women here - the extras who are playing Stepford Wives," said Robertson.

The filming of the July 4 scene officially began at around 8 a.m., but Robertson said both the stars and extras had to be on the location by 6:30 for makeup and costumes.

"There's a lot of hair and makeup in the morning, because they have to look perfect," she said.

"The clothes, put together by our costume designer, Ann Roth, are fabulous," Robertson added. She described the women's dresses as "the 1950s meets the glamour of Hollywood."

Robertson said the little girls in the scene wear pretty sundresses and the boys wear shorts, polo shirts and tennis sneakers. "They're very neat, as Stepford children would be," she observed.

Even the cars used in the filming are Stepfordish - which is to say, they are exactly what one would see in the Somerset Hills.

Robertson said about 20 vehicles used in the scene are owned by local residents, "so they can drive up in their big SUVs and sports cars."

Tight Security

Not just anyone could drive up in their SUV or sports car, however.

Because it was a "closed set," considerable effort was made to keep fans and curiosity seekers away from the filming.

Discreet "SW" signs with arrows were posted along Route 202-206 and Lamington Road to direct cast and crew members to the site.

But nobody else could get too close.

A police car was parked at the intersection of Lamington and Larger Cross roads to keep an eye on motorists, and off-duty police officers were hired for on-site security and traffic control duty.

Signs forbidding motorists from parking or even stopping were posted along Larger Cross Road. However, there wasn't much to see from the road, as most of the barn complex is obscured by a thick stand of trees and brush.

A request by this newspaper to visit the set was denied.

During the filming, much of the cast and crew reportedly stayed at the Olde Mill Inn off Route 202 in Bernards Township, about a 15-minute drive from the set.

However, a representative from the inn declined comment on the celebrity visits.

The Church Gets Ready For "The Stepford Wives"
The Hartford Courant
July 10, 2003

Keep an eye out for a certain statuesque, strawberry blonde Academy Award-winning actress this summer near the First Congregational Church on the Madison Green.

The church is considering a request from the company filming a remake of "The Stepford Wives" to shoot scenes on the Green, which is owned by the church.

Australian superstar actress Nicole Kidman is playing the lead, and a host of famous names are in the cast, including Bette Midler, Christopher Walken and Glenn Close.

Whether any of those stars will be spending time in Madison remains to be seen.

It is rumored that scenes to be shot on the Green, if the church and production company reach agreement, will involve some of the starring actors, but that could not be verified.

The church council confirmed Wednesday that it had been approached, but no decision has been made as to whether to grant permission for filming on the Green.

"We are not opposed to the concept," according to a brief statement from the council. "It is currently being discussed."

Paramount Pictures will be the distributor of the remake of the 1975 sci-fi thriller. The original was filmed in Darien, Norwalk and Weston and took place in the fictional Fairfield County town of Stepford, where all the women are mindless housewives with a mysterious devotion to their husbands. A horrifying secret is revealed in the film’s twist ending.

The picturesque, genteel Madison Green would fit in with the film’s suburban setting.

This time around, "The Stepford Wives" will be a black comedy featuring Kidman in Katharine Ross’ leading role. Matthew Broderick is in talks to play Kidman’s husband in the film.

The remake is scheduled to be released in 2004.

Word got out locally when the film production company contacted Town Hall July 3. Town officials referred the inquiries to church officials.

Guy Ortoleva, executive director of the Connecticut Film Office, said Wednesday that the movie’s location manager would not be happy to learn that word had leaked out about possible filming in Madison, but he did confirm that it is one of the locations being considered. Others include New Canaan and Norwalk.

He said that he believes the filming will be done sometime this summer, but cautioned that moviemakers "change their mind a lot." The film office assists those wishing to shoot movies, videos and commercials on location in Connecticut as well as those communities and private property owners who make their venues available, Ortoleva said.

"Production companies do pay location fees," he said. "This office is available to help prepare communities for the impact of location filming and assure that all goes smoothly. The plans are worked out well in advance."

Location filming also tends to have a positive impact on area businesses, he said, noting that film cast and crews need accommodations, food, transportation and other amenities.

An independent film, "Whirlygirl," shot mainly in New Haven earlier this year, pumped $500,000 into local businesses.

Long after the financial windfall of location shooting in a community is forgotten, residents tend to take a proprietary interest in the film.

In Chester, where Doris Day came to film "It Happened to Jane," in the late 1950s, the town’s Historical Society still offers a showing of it in the Meetinghouse occasionally as a fund-raiser, selling popcorn at ’50s prices.

Hot Zombie Love
New YorkTimes
June 15,2003

The leafy Connecticut towns of New Canaan and Norwalk are getting ready for the invasion of the body-snatched. The Stepford wives, those frilly minded, man-pleasing zombies who glided through suburban colonials and supermarkets three decades ago, are back — clutching casseroles with blue potholders and garden tools with white gloves.

Usually, I avoid remakes. But I'm intrigued to see what the director Frank Oz and the screenwriter Paul Rudnick do with their new version of the 1975 cult thriller and ingenious spoof on male fear of female assertion, "The Stepford Wives," a William Goldman screenplay from an Ira Levin novel.

Nicole Kidman will take Katharine Ross's role of a woman who moves to an immaculate Connecticut suburb with her husband (Matthew Broderick). She and her new pal (Bette Midler) discover that the place is more wicked than wicker, and that the women walking around in ruffles are preternaturally unruffled (Faith Hill et al.).

In the original, the men in town take revenge on the Betty Friedan ethos and notions about unshaved legs, burned bras and competing his-and-her careers by killing off their newly liberated wives and replacing them with shaplier and more submissive robot doppelgänger in aprons who knit and coo. (The fembots with Farrah hair and blue eyeshadow sometimes go haywire and breathily repeat things like, "I'll just die if I don't get that recipe.")

Christopher Walken is now the villainous town founder, so Nicole will need her wits about her to escape.

Mr. Rudnick says the plot has only increased in resonance because men have grown even more anxious about gender issues and begrudge having their hegemony shredded by women, gays and minorities. "Straight white males act like the angry new endangered minority," he says. "Men only evolve with a gun at their head."

Ms. Ross played an amateur photographer whose husband felt she neglected the home. Mr. Rudnick has ratcheted up Ms. Kidman's accomplishments, making her a network president, and her husband an underling and junior vice president.

"There's still social pressure — everyone looking at a guy with a wife who makes more money, going, `He's the chick,' " the writer says.

He notes that the "embedded biology" of romantic fantasies has not changed: "Men want a babe and don't care about her earning power. Women want a rugged poet or musician with a private jet."

It will still make a great thriller. But the real chiller is that the evil husbands in the original did not need to murder. They just needed to wait. In the long interval between the two movies, women have turned themselves into Stepford wives.

They can no longer wince at their mates because they have frozen their faces with Botox. They're sedated with Prozac, Zoloft, Xanax and Paxil. (As one mother told New York magazine about rampant pill-popping: "People say `I'm anxious' and I think, how quaint.")

Women puff their lips, balloon their breasts and suck fat from their hindquarters. The spring fashions were so hourglass sexy, frothy and pastel, they were dubbed "Stepford style" in the Times fashion section.

Martha Stewart (a haywire robot with a team of lawyers) led women — and culture — back to the wifely arts of cooking, gardening, decorating and flower arranging. Hillary Clinton, once so angry about tea and cookies, is now so eerily glazed and good-natured that she could be the senator from Stepford.

If 70's feminism produced the squat and blunt Betty Friedan, this decade has produced the sensual and zaftig Nigella Lawson, who wryly calls herself a "domestic goddess" and is a purveyor of what fans call "gastro porn." More of a male fantasy than Stepford husbands could ever conjure up, the British cooking show hostess is always in the kitchen purring hot home economics advice such as mangoes are "best eaten in their natural state, and preferably in the bath."

There's even a retro trend among women toward deserting the fast track for a pleasant life of sitting around Starbucks gabbing with their girlfriends, baby strollers beside them, logging time at the gym to firm up for the he-man C.E.O. at home.

As Mr. Rudnick slyly points out: "Men and women are working in tandem to create the Stepford wife of tomorrow. Once the technology advances, there'll be a Botox babe who runs on solar power."

Things Stepping Up In Stepford
The Hartford Courant
June 12, 2003

Things are starting to look a little bit different in the town of Stepford, where men are men and women are robots.

The remake of "The Stepford Wives," which will start production in Norwalk and New Canaan this summer (besides New York), has two replacement stars. Bette Midler will take the place of the originally announced Joan Cusack in the role of Bobbie Markowe, who plays the best friend to Nicole Kidman's character, Joanna Eberhart. Matthew Broderick will replace John Cusack as Walter Eberhart, Joanna's husband.

The reason for the Cusacks' departure was given as "personal." However, it may have been because of the illness and death of their father, actor Richard Cusack, who died June 2 of cancer at 77.

Chat rooms are buzzing with comments about how they love the new replacements ("Bette's divine") or hate them ("Bette's too old").

And there are fears it will be too campy and more like a black comedy.

But they're talking about it.

So let's recap, shall we? Besides Kidman, Midler and Broderick, there also will be Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, Faith Hill and Roger Bart.

Don't know about you, but Java plans to camp near the set for a few days to see the stars. If it means I have to shlep coffee to Guy Ortoleva, director of the Connecticut Film Office, and be an obedient robotic reporter, so be it.

His office has heard from "an incredible number of people who want to be extras."

Unfortunately, there won't be any casting calls in Connecticut.

But there are production jobs and a production workshop scheduled soon in Norwalk.

Stepford Goes For Laughs

Donald De Line, producer of the upcoming remake of The Stepford Wives, told SCI FI Wire that the film reinvents the story by going for laughs, but preserves the central SF premise: The men of a Connecticut village have replaced their wives with robots. "You can remake something, [or] you can do it in a way where you take iconic elements of an original and then make it original again for its time," De Line said in an interview. "That's what is done with The Stepford Wives, [which] completely turns it on its head, because it's a comedy."

Stepford—based on Bryan Forbes' 1975 movie and Ira Levin's novel—starts filming June 16 in New York, with a cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Glenn Close and Matthew Broderick, De Line said. Frank Oz directs from Paul Rudnick's script.

May 18th, 2003

Bette confirmed on the Caroline Rhea show that she indeed is making the sequel to the very strange, "The Stepford Wives". She spoke of Nicole Kidman ad being beautiful and an OSCAR WINNER (ya had to be there)... and also very tall. It will be interesting to see them side by side. She also said that this version would play up the comedic aspect more than the original. Fine by me!

May 12, 2003

Cindy Adams' column in the New York Post states that the whole of "The Stepford Wives" will be filmed in New York...Long Island Kaufman Astoria Studios. The shoot should last several months.

May 6, 2003

Variety reports that production on the movie starts June 3, 2003 in New York City

May 5, 2003

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Production Company: Scott Rudin Productions (Of Note To BetteHeads: First Wive's Club)

Release Date:
Tentatively May 2004

Nicole Kidman (Joanna Eberhart)
Bette Midler
(Bobbie Markowitz)
Matthew Broderick/Tentative (Mr. Eberhart)
Roger Bart
Glenn Close
Faith Hill
Christopher Walken

Director: Frank Oz (The Score, Bowfinger, In & Out, What About Bob?, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, not to mention the voice of YODA...LOL)

Screenwriter: Paul Rudnick (Sister Act, In & Out, Jeffrey, Isn't She Great?, Addams Family Values; Marci X) A true BetteHead if there ever was one. If you remember, Mr. Rudnick had written Sister Act specifically for Ms. Midler. Of course, she rues the day she turned that part down:-) Whoopi ended up taking her place. Mr. Rudnick also referred to Bette and Beaches in the critically acclaimed movie, In & Out. Of course they finally collaborated on the critically panned, but much beloved by BetteHeads, Isn't She Great? With Rudnick at the helm, this version will probably lean more towards the comedic side than the original.

Based Upon: The novel, The Stepford Wives, by Ira Levin, who also wrote the novels that inspired Rosemary's Baby,The Boys from Brazil, Sliver, A Kiss Before Dying. and Deathtrap (remember Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve had a big on-screen kiss that scared the hell out of straight men everywhere!). The novel was previously adapted as a 1975 film starring Katharine Ross, Paula Prentiss, and Tina Louise, which was followed by three made-for-TV sequels, Revenge of the Stepford Wives (1980), 'The Stepford Children' (1987) and 'The Stepford Husbands' (1996).

Premise: Joanna (Kidman) and her husband (Broderick?)) move to the beautiful upper-class suburb of Stepford, where she soon starts to suspect something is strange and artificial about her new female neighbors. The wives, living in the houses around them, all seem to be too perfect, with bland, character-less personalities. Everyone that is, except her new friend Bobbie (Midler), who as a cranky, sarcastic, non-exercising alcoholic, still has some semblance of personality and independence. As Joanna and Bobbie investigate their neighbors further, they discover that there is indeed something artificial about them, something... robotic, the result of the husbands banding together to replace their human wives with cyborg copies who are subservient, sexually compliant and devoid of any distinguishing character traits. Will they have bigger tits? Assuredly so, I presume. (Roger Bart, from the Broadway hit, "The Producers", plays a gay confidante of Kidman's character who ends up getting "straightened out") This character was definitely not in the original, so one can see that liberties will and have been taken. Sounds great to me!

Filming: Production is scheduled to start in June, 2003 in New York City; another location is supposedly is Fairfield County, Connecticut

Genre: Dark Comedy/Thriller/Sci-Fi

I must thank UpcomingMovies (a fabulous site) for alot of this material......Love, Mister D