After the megabudgeted high-seas adventure Pirates of the Caribbean, director Gore Verbinski was ready for a smallerscale project. ''When I was on the set of Pirates, I had 400 extras, and I felt more like I was directing traffic than directing a movie,'' says Verbinski (who has nonetheless signed on for the Pirates sequels). ''I needed to find myself again, and I wanted a movie where I could direct a performance.'' Considering the accomplishments of Weather Man's stars including Oscar winners Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine he had plenty to work with. Cage plays a Chicago meteorologist balancing his big-city aspirations with a personal life that includes an ex-wife (Hope Davis) and kids.
''They're divorced, yet they have kids together, and that's a very common relationship in our society,'' says Davis. ''They're almost unable to communicate. It's very funny and at the same time tragic, because the kids are witnessing their showdowns.'' In other words, don't expect any forbidden treasure or sword fights. Adds Verbinski: ''It's a very honest movie, and those are really hard to market.''