Friday, 10.13.2017, 02:20 PM
By Anne Waisanen
Palmetto is based on the novel Just Another Sucker by James Hadley Chase. Screenplay by E Max Frye and directed by Volker Schlondorff.
Harry Barber (Woody Harrelson) is a small-town Florida newspaperman whose reporting on local corruption in Palmetto got him framed and sent to prison for two years. His conviction is overturned, and a judge who renders the verdict over closed circuit TV releases him. When Harry starts screaming that he wants his two years back, the judge dismisses him by clicking the channel-changer.
After his release, broke and out of work, Harry is lured back home by his girlfriend, Nina, (Gina Gershon). He wastes no time in mixing with the wrong crowd and is approached by Rhea Malroux (Elisabeth Shue) the young wife of a wealthy and dying older man Felix (Rolf Hoppe). She proposes that Harry provide the threatening telephone voice asking for ransom when she and her 16-year-old stepdaughter, Odette (Chloe Sevigny), conspire to milk dad for money in Odette's mock kidnaping. Felix pays $500,000 in ransom, Harry keeps 10 percent for his troubles; Odette has her freedom with her 90% take. Lurking in the background is Donnelly (Michael Rapaport,) as Felix's stern houseboy. Harry finally learns that he is being setup and will face a long prison term if he doesn’t clear himself with the police.
Marc Macaulay of Hollywood, Fl cast as Miles Meadows says, “My scene in this gritty little piece was shot in Sarasota. He picked me from a casting tape that was on an LA Casting director’s desk for another movie shot in Florida (Blood & Wine) staring Jack Nicholson. He wanted me for Palmetto before he even came to Florida. Rare for this locale. The movie definitely had an "indie" feel and working with Woody Harrelson was fun. We had to re-shoot a couple of scenes when one of the actors had a nervous breakdown of sorts and had to be recast. I think Volker really captured the west coast of Florida. The movie was a little slow in places but still gets an objective approval in my film picks. Poor Harry Barber is put through so many frame ups that you really feel sorry for the SOB.”
Brett Rice of Orlando played a crash site cop who came across Harrelson's car during a rainstorm and asked to see his license and registration because he thought he had been drinking. His character mentioned a name and Brett responded with a knowing enthusiasm and tried to be helpful. Brett says, “We filmed in Sarasota, and Woody was wonderful. We improvised most of the scene, and he was appreciative that I could follow his lead with ad-libs. The whole time we filmed this scene; Woody was being drenched with rain. The last part of the scene I said ‘...how bout them bananas!’ And that was my ad-lib, which was kept.”
Other local actors in the film were Jim Coleman, the first reporter on the scene and James Martin Kelly, a homicide detective.
The film was shot on location in Ft Myers, Palmetto, and at the Gator Club, Main Street, Sarasota, Florida.
Anne Waisanen is the Publisher/Owner of In Focus Magazine.. She is an Alumni of Emerson College in Boston, majoring in Film and Communications. This included writing, producing, filming and acting. She is a member of WIFT, Women in Film and Television.
Anne Waisanen can be reached at: email@example.com
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