Conviction Press Tour–Director Tony Goldwyn

Conviction Press Tour–Director Tony Goldwyn By Gary Murray Tony Goldwyn is a man of many talents. He is an award winning actor, director and producer. As a director, he helmed The Last Kiss and Someone Like You. Appearing in film, he as had roles in Ghost, The Last House on the Left and Tarzan. Tony has had roles both in television and in New York theater. He is in town for Conviction his latest film that he directed. Accompanying him are actress Juliette Lewis who plays the part of Roseanna Perry and the woman the story is based on Betty Anne White. The story of Conviction concerns Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank), a high school drop out who goes back to school and on to law school just to be the lawyer for her brother Kenny Waters who is eventually exonerated from the accusation of murder. It is an eighteen year journey of faith and devotion with Minnie Driver playing Abra, Betty Anne's friend and fellow lawyer. On tour with him are the real Betty Anne Waters and Juliette Lewis, who plays Roseanna Perry, a woman who testifies against Kenny. Tony first heard of the story of Kenny on Dateline, told to him by his wife. "I thought that this woman spent eighteen years of her life on an act of faith of her brother when he easily could have been guilty . 'What is that bond?', I thought." The sibling love story drove him to it and he was pursuing the rights with producers Andrew S. Karsch and Andrew Sugerman. Written by Pamela Gray, Tony had some very specific ideas on the script. "It is very important for me to avoid melodrama and sentimentality," he said. "I wanted the direction not to call attention to itself. I wanted to do it simply. My intention was a subjective reality so that we get sucked into Betty Anne's experience and not be very conscious of the camera and what it was doing Not to do pyrotechnics of the story and trust the story and the actors to tell it." When asked about the hardest part of putting Conviction on the screen, Tony answered, "The trickiest part was for me creating the balance of casting doubt on Kenny. It was very important to me from the beginning in the way we told the story we weren't doing this conventional thing of this is great heroine, look at this great injustice and look at how she beats the system. I wanted at a point for the audience to think 'What a minute, he might have done it.' To not be sure and to certainly believe that he could have. That to me was walking that balance with Kenny's character where you fell in love with him in a way or at least understood or emphasized her love for him. At the same time you realize that he was scary, violent and not a Boy Scout. That duality in Kenny was a critical element in the story I knew that I had to be successful at that to make the movie I wanted to make. Tony was direct about casting even the smaller roles. He said, "When I first read this scene that Pamela sent me about Roseanna Perry, I thought it was such a fabulous character. Pam had written a scene where Betty Anne and Abra interview Roseanna. The scene was very good but Betty had found a tape of the real Roseanna Perry and you couldn't believe the tape. When Pam heard the tape she threw out her scene and literally transcribed that interview into that scene. Everything that comes out of Juliette's mouth, came out of that real persons mouth, all that syntax or lack there of. I read this and thought 'Oh my God, whoever plays this part, which is such a great part even tough it is only two scenes, I said 'I hope an actress will appreciate what a brilliant role this is'. The right actor will." He met with Juliette for the role of Abra and after the meeting, he thought she would be perfect for the smaller role When the casting director wondered if Juliette would take such a small role, Tony said, "I think Juliette Lewis will appreciate what a great part it is" And within a day or two she accepted the rule. She was the only person he considered for the part "and I could not have done better." Since many of the scenes were taken verbatim there was little fear of portraying anyone in a negative light. "We have the depositions and the public record of that happened and what was said,"explained Tony. "There is little grounds for libel." Though he is a stage and screen actor, he never thought of giving himself a role. "I didn't feel that I was right for anything in this movie. When I put on a director's hat, it is about the movie, I would only cast myself if I felt that I was really suited for the part." The film has been generating Oscar buzz for the last few months. Though Tony is grateful for the Oscar speculation, he's truly grateful for the actors who worked on the film. "I'm thrilled that people are talking about that because it speaks to the fact that people are resonated with it." He finished the interview by saying, "For me the movie is about the transcendent power of love. Despite what ever life throws at you, if you have that, you have everything."

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