Alfonso Cuarón speaking to Jean Nathan for the New York Times on the set of Great Expectations, 27 October 1996:
I have to say that green is the only color I understand. I can really frame it; I know how to work with it. I see other colors, and they feel alien. I cannot give you a rational explanation why.
Ethan Hawke and Jeremy James Kissner as Finn
Gwyneth Paltrow and Raquel Beaudene as Estella
Chris Cooper as Uncle Joe
Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Dinsmoor
Robert De Niro as Arthur Lustig
Hank Azaria as Walter Plane
Score by Patrick Doyle
Script by Mitch Glazer, with help from David Mamet
Production by Art Linson
12-13 May 2012: I’ve written very little about Great Expectations but I hope to do some more research about its production in the near future. For now, I’ll leave some bits and pieces that I found doing some basic web searches on the three names immediately above in combination with the title.
- “There are problems with the flow of the narrative in spots, and the film contains a guilty cinematic device – the voice-over narration. Without Finn’s inner monologue, many sequences wouldn’t link up together smoothly. Cute trivia fact: David Mamet wrote the voice over narration, but only agreed to the job if it was promised that he wouldn’t be credited for that work. That bad, huh?” – Eldest and Only (emphasis my own)
- “Despite its narrative flights and abundance of coincidences and interconnections, pic lacks complexity and genuine surprise. Dickens’ story has been too pared down by screenwriter Mitch Glazer, to the point where it comes close to seeming like just another success story with a few regrets piled up along the way. Director Cuaron has attempted to replace Dickens’ wealth of social detail with flourishes of magical realism, particularly in the florid Florida sections, but they don’t carry anywhere near the equivalent weight.” – Todd McCarthy’s review for Variety
- Producer Art Linson wrote an entire chapter about the production in his 2002 book What Just Happened? Bitter Hollywood Tales from the Front Line. Apparently, “Great Expectations screenwriter Mitch Glazer and director Alfonso Cuaron have vastly different visions for the project,” and Ms. Paltrow lacked chin. Hopefully the Toronto Public Library system has a copy, I don’t really like paying for my research materials (but taxes are okay, and university library fees too, I guess, even though taxes are supposed to help subsidize those too).
- Some production notes! I don’t know where these really come from.
I’m still looking for that Cuarón interview I read a few years ago. It would’ve been done while promoting Y tu mamá también (2001). I think he went back to Mexico because of the Great Expectations experience, and he also made a reference to Hollywood’s reluctance to discuss (socioeconomic) class in film. Does anyone know what interview I’m talking about? It might’ve been for a British outfit.FOUND IT!!! via Roy Stafford
- “The film’s biggest weakness is in Mitch Glazer’s sup-par script, which really takes out a lot of the emotional depth and social aspect of Charles Dickens’ novel in favor of something more appealing for an audience. Plus, the character development in some of the leads aren’t as great and with the exception of the Lustig and Joe characters, they come across in a very unsympathetic way. The screenplay is probably the reason why Alfonso Cuaron has expressed some frustration towards the project. Instead of relying on its weak script, he had to rely on the film for its cinematic quality and lush, elegant cinematography of his longtime collaborator Emmanuel Lubezki.” – thevoid99
- Some press from the Urban Cinephile
- Interesting production notes from Y tu mama tambien