Casting Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dr. Lorenson
The role of Becker's colleague Dr. Lorenson was originally written as a man, but one of Director John Maybury's first changes in the script was to make the character a woman. "If you have two men fighting over a patient and the ideology of how patients should be treated, there would be an element of machismo involved," Maybury says. "But if you took one of those male characters and made it a female, than a completely different dynamic came into play. A male-female conflict, for me anyway, is more interesting and more subtle, and that had enormous implications for how the story unfolds.
"On one hand, Becker is using very unorthodox, very dangerous treatments on the patients, and the Lorenson character seemingly is much more sensitive to their needs," he continues. "But in fact, as the story unfolds, Lorenson is also doing very unorthodox things outside of the hospital. And within the hospital she betrays patient confidence and she betrays her colleagues, so for me, she is actually much more subversive as a character, although superficially Dr. Becker is much more dangerous."
To convey Dr. Lorenson's complexities and contradictions, Maybury was thrilled to have Jennifer Jason Leigh join the project. "Jennifer is astonishing," enthuses Maybury. "It's what Jennifer Jason Leigh doesn't do that's incredible. It's her stillness on camera-the smallest of gestures become colossal on the screen. I know that Keira studied Jennifer in the couple of scenes they had together and was completely blown away by what Jennifer was doing. I will definitely work with Jennifer again because I've never really experienced that kind of intensity. Her restraint is incredibly powerful, and she brings a phenomenal kind of gravitas to the world that isn't on the page at all."
This film information was taken from the film's Official Production Notes.
This film is rated R for violence, language and brief sexuality/nudity.
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