Another acclaimed triumph from producer Ismail Merchant, writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and director James Ivory, the award-winning creators of A Room with a View, Howards End and The Remains of the Day—Jefferson in Paris delivers stylish and highly provocative big-screen entertainment. Hollywood great Nick Nolte (48 Hrs.) stars with the sexy Greta Scacchi (Shattered) in this impassioned story of forbidden love. During one man’s unforgettable visit to liberal and socially permissive France, he meets and falls in love with a worldly and mysterious woman. But when the alluring charms of another prove irresistible, he finds himself courting scandal in a heated triangle of passion and desire. The stellar cast includes Jean-Pierre Aumont (Five Miles to Midnight), Simon Callow (Four Weddings and a Funeral), Seth Gilliam (Courage Under Fire), James Earl Jones (Field of Dreams), Michael Lonsdale (Moonraker), Nancy Marchand (TV’s The Sopranos), Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible II), Gwyneth Paltrow (Shakespeare in Love), Charlotte De Turckheim (Birds of Passage), Lambert Wilson (The Matrix Reloaded) and Vincent Cassel (Black Swan).
As embodied by Alan Bates, Butley falls back on the surgically precise wit and savage eloquence that helped put him in his current circumstances in the first place. The blitzkrieg of vitriolic commentary with which Butley engages lovers, students, rivals, and allies, all with equal ferocity, becomes a glass bottom boat illuminating the churning depths of his bankrupted soul. Acclaimed playwright Harold Pinter, in what Time Magazine hailed as “a quite superior directorial debut,” turns author Simon Gray’s single-set, dialogue driven stage play into an irresistible dynamic visual experience that tracks Bates’ hilarious and fearless performance with cunning precision.
Bates and an expert supporting cast, including OscarÃ‚Â® winner Jessica Tandy (Driving Miss Daisy), joust with a sly, self-referencing wit and an unselfconscious exuberance that is breathtaking. With every verbal parry and valedictory flourish of wordplay, Butley’s life becomes more of an inescapable bear trap of thwarted ambition, clandestine affection, and squandered brilliance.