Takashi Seida
EW Staff
February 11, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Waking the Dead

Current Status
In Season
106 minutes
Jennifer Connelly, Billy Crudup, Ed Harris, Sandra Oh
Keith Gordon
USA Films
Robert Dillon
Romance, Drama

We gave it a C

The relationship between director Gordon and Foster did not exactly get off to a promising start. Gordon was rejected by Foster (and her production company, Egg Pictures) when he was trying to get his 1996 Kurt Vonnegut adaptation ”Mother Night” off the ground. ”Then she came to one of the first screenings,” says Gordon, ”and sent me this really nice note saying, ‘Okay, that was a mistake, I wish I had made that movie. What else do you have?”’

Once Foster signed on as exec producer, one pressing duty was to wrest the ’70s-and-’80s drama — about an aspiring politician (Crudup) who begins to wonder whether his deceased activist girlfriend (Connelly) may actually be alive — away from Warner Bros., which envisioned it as a big-budget film. Instead, the scaled-down ”Waking” set ended up mirroring the film’s ’70s mentality. ”It could’ve been a cult retreat for all I know,” says Crudup. ”’Yeah, man, that was cool. Yeah, let’s try some more of that.’ There was almost no pressure.”

Despite a high-profile Sundance 2000 premiere, USA Films will need glowing reviews to breathe life into what can only be termed a labor of love. Says Crudup, ”This wasn’t the sort of $60 million movie where people are hanging out in their trailer and nobody gives a s— except the producers.” BUZZ FACTOR: 3

Go to the official website.

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