Virginia Film Society Presents ‘Duane Hopwood’ as the Second Film of 2006 Spring Season on March 14

March 01, 2006

Virginia Film Society

‘Duane Hopwood’ with visiting director Matt Mulhern Starring David Schwimmer, Janeane Garofalo and Dick Cavett.

Tuesday, Mar. 14, 7 p.m.

Vinegar Hill Theatre Admission is $8 to the public and free to Film Society members.

March 1, 2006 — The Virginia Film Society will present its second sneak preview of the Spring 2006 season, “Duane Hopwood,” at the Vinegar Hill Theatre on Tuesday, Mar. 14 at 7 p.m.

The IFC Films release, which was a sensation at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, stars David Schwimmer as the titular Duane, a down-on-his-luck divorced father who works the night shift as a pit boss at Caesars Palace in Atlantic City.Heartsick about the demise of his marriage to Linda, played by Janeane Garofalo, Duane does nothing much in his daily life but work and drink.When his visitation rights are threatened after he’s caught driving while intoxicated with his daughter in the backseat, Duane confronts the realization that the time has come to get his life back on track before he loses everything.

The comedy-drama, helmed by director-screenwriter Matt Mulhern, is a moving and humorous look at the limits of unconditional love, what defines a family, and how we’re all responsible for our own happiness.“Writer-director Matt Mulhern confidently anchors his drama-comedy about an alcoholic Atlantic City pit boss with good writing and sharp dialogue,” said Robert Koehler of Variety Magazine.

Mulhern will be on hand to discuss the film, which marks his second feature as a director.In 1998, he wrote and directed “Walking to the Waterline,” a story about a television star who returns home to the New Jersey shore to sort out his life after the death of his father.One of the characters in the film was named Duane Hopwood, a third-shift pit boss in Atlantic City unhappy with his life after being left by his wife.The film ended, but the character lingered with Mulhern.“The character of Duane just jumped out at me from the first film,” said Mulhern.“I’d already written another script, but felt drawn to go back to this character, so I wrote “Duane Hopwood.”Returning to the same geographical landscape of the deserted post-season New Jersey shore, Mulhern crafted a poignant story of humor and heartbreak.

Mulhern was trained as an actor at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, where he received a BFA in 1982.In 1984, he was cast in Neil Simon’s Tony Award-winning play “Biloxi Blues,” which began his career as an actor in film, television and theatre.He later starred alongside Matthew Broderick in the film version of the play, directed by Mike Nichols.In addition to “Duane Hopwood” and “Walking the Waterline,” he has written a play, “Gundam Wing,” and a novel, “Crossing Open Spaces.”

All Virginia Film Society events are co-sponsored by the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, with the support of the Omni Hotel Charlottesville. Duane Hopwood is co-sponsored by the University of Virginia drama department. For more information, visit The Virginia Film Festival Web site.