TV2 Sunday Movies: The Stepford Wives, Sunday March 18

Sunday Premiere Movie: The Stepford Wives
Sunday, March 18, 8.30pm

TV2’s Sunday Premiere Movie, The Stepford Wives, takes a dark, subversive and comic look at rampant consumerism and the quest for perfection in today’s imperfect world.

Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) thinks she’s made it to the top of her world. The youngest president in the history of a powerful television network, she also has an attentive husband and two beautiful children. On the surface, Joanna’s life appears to be perfect… until one catastrophic day when it all comes crashing down around her. Fired from her job, her perfect marriage in trouble, unable to remember where her kids go to school, Joanna is beginning to look like a candidate for electroshock therapy.
Suffering a nervous breakdown, Joanna and her husband Walter (Matthew Broderick) re-examine their priorities, pack up the family and make a fresh start in the idyllic suburban paradise of Stepford, Connecticut. But something strange is happening in the quaint little town of Stepford, and Joanna is suspicious. So is Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler), who recently moved to town with her frat-boyish husband Dave (Jon Lovitz). And Roger Bannister (Roger Bart), an architect who came to Stepford hoping to save his rocky relationship with his conservative partner Jerry (David Marshall Grant), is wondering what’s going on, too.

It’s the wives. They’re all like Claire Wellington (Glenn Close) – beautiful, happy and unusually creative with crafts. They can bake a cake, paint the house, mow the lawn, play with the kids and still greet their husbands in lacy lingerie at the end of a busy day. Disturbed by the stunning but subservient women she meets in Stepford, Joanna grows increasingly uneasy. On the other hand, Walter couldn’t be happier. He’s especially impressed by the Stepford Men’s Association, a fortress-like mansion in the centre of town. Until Joanna Eberhart gets in the way.

When producers Scott Rudin and Donald De Line, director Frank Oz and screenwriter Paul Rudnick got together to update The Stepford Wives, the 1975 motion picture thriller based on Ira Levin’s best-selling book, they recognised its potential to become a hilarious and witty modern-day comedy. Nicole Kidman, was eager to come aboard as the change of pace was exactly what she was looking for, as well as the opportunity to work with the team of talented filmmakers and co-stars. “Coming off of an intense drama, I was ready to do something fun, and I loved the idea of teaming up with Glenn and Bette,” says Kidman.

Leading the men of Stepford is Mike Wellington, portrayed by Christopher Walken, who observes that the men in the fictional town are like modern guys in many ways. “They’re deeply confused by all the social movements of the last half-century,” says Walken. “They feel left behind, picked on… and they’re mad as hell. So the Men’s Club is very important. It’s where the guys hang out, have fun and… plan more Stepford wives.”

One character who thinks the perfection in Stepford isn’t all it’s cracked up to be is Bobbie Markowitz, portrayed by Bette Midler. “Bobbie is a sardonic character from New York’s Upper West Side with a sharp tongue and an even sharper wit,” explains Midler. “She knows there’s something strange behind all the beautiful women in Stepford and she makes it her business to find out what’s going on.” Almost immediately, Bobbie connects with new arrival Joanna Eberhart, a fellow New York professional.

A comedic take on the American suburban dream that combines a mixture of satire and thriller, The Stepford Wives takes on a little bit of everything – from the battle of the sexes to stereotypes to the need for individuality. And it asks the question: In a world where breaking the mould makes someone special, why is it so dangerous to step out of line… in Stepford?

TV2’s Sunday Premiere Movie, The Stepford Wives, screens at 8.30pm on Sunday, March 18.

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