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A film for singles hoping 'Next Stop' will be 'Wonderland'

Web posted on: Thursday, August 27, 1998 3:45:14 PM

From Correspondent Janine Sharell

HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- Imagine: no sooner than your steady has unceremoniously dumped you via videotape, your mother places an ad for you in the personals. Such is the dating hell that actress Hope Davis encounters in her latest role as the heroine of the Boston-based, bossa nova-laced independent film "Next Stop Wonderland."

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"You put in a personal ad for me?" an incredulous Davis, as Erin, asks her mother, played by Holland Taylor.

"I feel, as your mother -- " Taylor begins.

"As my mother? As my pimp is more like it," Davis responds curtly.

Taylor, whose past credits include "The Truman Show" and "How to Make an American Quilt," says her participation in the indie flick was less happenstance and more familial. Her nephew, Brad Anderson, who she says "was always a very creative and quiet boy," directed and co-wrote the movie.

Looking the role

But Davis' casting was based more on a rocky kind of serendipity. Anderson spotted Davis in "The Daytrippers" -- the actress has an established reputation among indie film directors thanks to her work in films like "Daytrippers," "Flatliners" and "The Myth of Fingerprints" -- and asked her to join him for coffee to discuss the part of the single woman looking for love.

"I was just going through the beginning of a divorce, and I think that's probably what landed me the job. When I walked into the restaurant, Brad said I just -- he said I looked just horrible. He said I looked really stricken, and I sat down at the table, and he's just like, 'Whoa, you're exactly what I -- this is exactly what I pictured.'"

A multitude of responses to her unasked-for personal ad force Erin to belly up to the bar for an endless string of dates with men who proclaim things like "I'm a temp, but that's not, like, a permanent thing" and "I'm looking for a woman who is tall, yet clean."

"Don't you just hate men?" one of her female friends asks at one point in the movie.

"Oh, God, I wish I did," Davis responds. "It would make my life so much easier."


Deglamorizing fate

Meanwhile, her potential Mr. Right, played by Alan Gelfant, is spending his days as a plumber and aspiring marine biologist, and his evenings juggling his own set of personal issues -- a seductive classmate, a narcissistic brother, debts that won't disappear. The film leaves audiences guessing whether and when boy will meet girl.

The theory that fate plays a part in our destiny has a huge role in the movie, an idea Gelfant says he has no trouble subscribing to. "Anything we've done in our past leads up to this moment, so how I live my life today is certainly going to affect it tomorrow," he says.

He and Davis also agree that the movie does a good job of showing that there's nothing particularly glamorous about fate, particularly when your love life is on the line. "I think that's one of the reasons why people really respond to (the movie), because it's kind of realistic," Gelfant says.

Adds Davis: "I think it's nice for people to see stories that have a different kind of bent to them, and that are about real people and -- you know, something that's not glamorized."

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