Body of Evidence (1993)

R | 99 mins | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 15 January 1993

Director:

Uli Edel

Writer:

Brad Mirman

Producer:

Dino De Laurentiis

Cinematographer:

Doug Milsome

Editor:

Thom Noble

Production Designer:

Victoria Paul

Production Company:

Dino De Laurentiis Communications
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HISTORY

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, writer Brad Mirman began working on the screenplay in summer 1991. Although he gathered research by interviewing members of the Los Angeles, California, Police Department and District Attorney’s office, he decided to set the story in the “smaller and less frequently filmed city” of Portland, OR. The 18 Nov 1991 Var announced that Dino De Laurentiis Communications (DDLC) purchased Mirman’s script for $350,000, and hoped to have a rewrite completed by 1 Dec 1991, so a director could be hired before production began in spring 1992. The company was reportedly searching for a film to feature singer-actress Madonna, and decided to collaborate with German filmmaker Uli Edel after learning that the star was a long time admirer of his 1981 film, Christiane F. A 23 Mar 1992 HR brief indicated that Madonna’s character, “Rebecca Carlson,” was being rewritten to closer match her personality.
       The remainder of casting took place in Jan 1992. Joe Mantegna and Willem Dafoe reportedly researched their roles by shadowing criminal lawyers from both Los Angeles and Portland. Prior to filming, Edel held two weeks of videotaped rehearsals to stage the love scenes between Madonna and Dafoe.
       Although the 17 Jan 1992 Screen International suggested a start date of Mar 1992, production notes confirmed that principal photography began 6 Apr 1992, and concluded mid-Jun 1992, forty-nine shooting days later. Interior scenes set in the courtroom and Rebecca Carlson’s house were built on a soundstage in Culver City, CA. However, the majority of the film was shot in Portland before production relocated to Olympia, WA, for a few days ... More Less

       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, writer Brad Mirman began working on the screenplay in summer 1991. Although he gathered research by interviewing members of the Los Angeles, California, Police Department and District Attorney’s office, he decided to set the story in the “smaller and less frequently filmed city” of Portland, OR. The 18 Nov 1991 Var announced that Dino De Laurentiis Communications (DDLC) purchased Mirman’s script for $350,000, and hoped to have a rewrite completed by 1 Dec 1991, so a director could be hired before production began in spring 1992. The company was reportedly searching for a film to feature singer-actress Madonna, and decided to collaborate with German filmmaker Uli Edel after learning that the star was a long time admirer of his 1981 film, Christiane F. A 23 Mar 1992 HR brief indicated that Madonna’s character, “Rebecca Carlson,” was being rewritten to closer match her personality.
       The remainder of casting took place in Jan 1992. Joe Mantegna and Willem Dafoe reportedly researched their roles by shadowing criminal lawyers from both Los Angeles and Portland. Prior to filming, Edel held two weeks of videotaped rehearsals to stage the love scenes between Madonna and Dafoe.
       Although the 17 Jan 1992 Screen International suggested a start date of Mar 1992, production notes confirmed that principal photography began 6 Apr 1992, and concluded mid-Jun 1992, forty-nine shooting days later. Interior scenes set in the courtroom and Rebecca Carlson’s house were built on a soundstage in Culver City, CA. However, the majority of the film was shot in Portland before production relocated to Olympia, WA, for a few days in late Apr—early May 1992. A 23 Apr 1992 LAT article indicated that Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro vehemently opposed the use of the State Capitol Building because of his objection to the film’s sexual and violent content. However, the state’s Department of General Administration permitted the location to be used, since scenes taking place in and around the capitol did not contain nudity. The 6 May 1992 DV reported that executive producer Steven Deutsch temporarily shut down production when a group of 200 Evergreen State College students staged a protest outside the capitol, rallying against the recently acquitted Los Angeles police officers charged with beating Rodney King. As a supporter of their cause, Deutsch joined in with the protesters and filmed footage of the event, which he planned to sell to several major news outlets.
       Following production, an 18 Dec 1992 DV story announced that MGM filed suit against photographer Barry Nelson Brams, also known as Barry Brown, for attempting to sell stolen photographs of Madonna, which had been taken by the on-set stills photographer during her nude scenes. The outcome of the lawsuit has not been determined.
       Additional controversy arose when a Chicago Tribune article republished in the 14 Mar 1993 Long Beach Press-Telegram revealed that Shawn Lusader worked as Anne Archer’s body double during a nude scene. Although Lusader earned $700 for the job, she was not credited onscreen and became displeased when Archer allowed the press to believe she appeared nude in the film. As a result, Lusader organized the Body of Doubles Committee, which campaigned for body doubles to receive credit and employment benefits similar to those of unionized stunt performers.
       On 3 Mar 1992, HR announced that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists (MGM/UA) acquired domestic distribution rights for theatrical, home video, cable, and television release. At this time, the film was expected to open in theaters 9 Oct 1992. The 25 Jan 1993 Var stated that MGM planned the original opening date to coincide with the publicity campaign for Madonna’s book, Sex, which was to be published later that month. Because Madonna did not want the two to interfere, however, the film went into wide release in Jan 1993, “to cash in as quickly as possible before bad word of mouth” hurt its reception.
       The 31 Aug 1992 DV reported that Body of Evidence was given an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Classification & Ratings Administration. Although filmmakers initially accepted the rating, a 17—23 Sep 1992 Drama-Logue item stated that the studio had yet to decide if the film would be re-cut before its scheduled 22 Jan 1993 release. The following month, the 30 Oct 1992 DV announced that actors and MGM executives did not wish the movie to be judged as a “sex film,” and agreed to edit the film’s sex scenes to secure an R rating. The release was rescheduled for 15 Jan 1993.
       According to the Nov 1992 issue of Los Angeles Magazine, KTLA Morning News reporter Sam Rubin announced that he had viewed a “rough cut” of the then-NC-17-rated picture, which he deemed “racy, but no big deal.” MGM claimed that Rubin had somehow obtained an illegal copy of the film, and Deutsch allegedly issued a threatening telephone call to the reporter for his remarks.
       The 10 Jan 1993 LAT reported that advertisements for Body of Evidence included a disclaimer dissociating the motion picture from the 1991 Patricia Cornwell novel of the same name. Instead of pursuing a costly lawsuit to have the title changed, Cornwell negotiated the statement with DDLC and MGM, which also stipulated that the film’s novelization would be published as Deadly Evidence.
       The 11 Jan 1993 HR indicated that the New York City premiere was held 7 Jan 1993 at the Ziegfeld Theater.
      End credits include the following acknowledgment: “The producers wish to give special thanks to the Oregon Film Commission; Giorgio Armani.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 May 1992.
---
Daily Variety
31 Aug 1992.
---
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1992.
---
Daily Variety
18 Dec 1992
p. 81.
Drama-Logue
17-23 Sep 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Mar 1992.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 1993
p. 16, 36.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Jan 1993.
---
Long Beach Press-Telegram
14 Mar 1993.
---
Los Angeles Magazine
Nov 1992.
---
Los Angeles Times
23 Apr 1992
Section F, p. 1, 9.
Los Angeles Times
10 Jan 1993.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Jan 1993
Section F, p. 1, 21.
New York Times
15 Jan 1993
p. 3.
Screen International
17 Jan 1992.
---
Variety
18 Nov 1991.
---
Variety
11 Jan 1993
p. 64.
Variety
25 Jan 1993.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Dino De Laurentiis Presents
An Uli Edel Film
A Dino De Laurentiis Communications Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Dir
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Co-prod
Co-prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
1st asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Grip best boy
Dolly grip
Video supv
Video supv
Video playback provided by
Video playback
Arriflex cameras and lenses provided by
Cranes & dollies by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir--Los Angeles
Prod illustrator
Art dept coord
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Leadman
Prop master
Asst prop master
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Const coord
Gen foreman
Scenic artist
Standby painter
Greensman
Leadman, Portland crew
Const coord, Portland crew
Scenic artist, Portland crew
COSTUMES
Cost des
Cost supv
Costumer
Costumer
MUSIC
Mus comp
Mus supv
Asst mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
Score rec at
Munich
Elec bass
Courtesy of
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Sd mixer--Portland
Boom op--Portland
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Sd eff processing
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec
Re-rec
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
SFX tech
Titles & opticals by
Main title des
MAKEUP
Makeup artist--Madonna
Hairstylist--Madonna
Key makeup
Key hairstylist
Addl makeup
Addl hairstyling
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Line prod
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Unit pub
Asst to Madonna
Asst to Madonna
Personal trainer to Madonna
Madonna's security
Prod accountant
Prod accountant
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Post prod supv
Post prod auditor
Asst to Mr. Edel
Asst to Mr. Deutsch
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Prod asst
Casting assoc
Casting asst
Extras casting
Catering by
Craft service
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation office
Asst loc mgr, Portland crew
Projectionist, Portland crew
Loc proj. system by, Portland crew
Prod asst, Portland crew
Prod asst, Portland crew
Asst to pub, Portland crew
Casting/Day players, Portland crew
Casting/Extras, Portland crew
Driver, Portland crew
Insurance provided by
Vehicles furnished by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
Col timer
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 January 1993
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 7 January 1993
Los Angeles opening: 15 January 1993
New York opening: week of 15 January 1993
Production Date:
6 April--mid June 1992 in Portland, OR
Olympia, WA
and Culver City, CA
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Duration(in mins):
99
Length(in reels):
32108
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
Germany, United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Alone in his Portland, Oregon, mansion one night, Andrew Marsh watches a pornographic home video featuring himself and his art dealer girl friend, Rebecca Carlson. The next morning, District Attorney Robert “Bob” Garrett arrives at the house to investigate Marsh’s sudden death of apparent cardiac arrest, but is confused upon discovering that Marsh was seemingly handcuffed to the bed. Marsh’s personal secretary, Joanne Braslow, identifies Rebecca in the tape and insists she was responsible for his murder. Attorney Frank Dulaney approaches Rebecca at Marsh’s funeral and agrees to represent her, fully believing her claims that the couple were genuinely in love. That evening, the lawyer has dinner with his restaurateur wife, Sharon, and teenage son, Michael. While questioning Rebecca at the police station, Bob Garrett reveals that Marsh tested positive for cocaine, suffered from heart disease, and left his entire $8 million fortune to Rebecca. Believing that Rebecca induced his death by purposely combining the drugs with a session of intense lovemaking, Bob has her arrested. After she is released on bail, Frank warns Rebecca that Bob will build a case against her by citing her promiscuity and “intense” sexual relationship with Marsh. In a deposition, Joanne Braslow states that she personally saw Rebecca using cocaine in Marsh’s house, despite her claims to the contrary. Frank is worried that Rebecca is lying, but she takes him to her herbalist, Dr. Novaro, to prove that the powdery substance was nothing more than an aspirin substitute. After receiving acupuncture treatment from Dr. Novaro, Rebecca invites Frank to her dockside home, but he declines, concerned about maintaining a professional image during the case. In his opening courtroom statement, the District Attorney claims ... +


Alone in his Portland, Oregon, mansion one night, Andrew Marsh watches a pornographic home video featuring himself and his art dealer girl friend, Rebecca Carlson. The next morning, District Attorney Robert “Bob” Garrett arrives at the house to investigate Marsh’s sudden death of apparent cardiac arrest, but is confused upon discovering that Marsh was seemingly handcuffed to the bed. Marsh’s personal secretary, Joanne Braslow, identifies Rebecca in the tape and insists she was responsible for his murder. Attorney Frank Dulaney approaches Rebecca at Marsh’s funeral and agrees to represent her, fully believing her claims that the couple were genuinely in love. That evening, the lawyer has dinner with his restaurateur wife, Sharon, and teenage son, Michael. While questioning Rebecca at the police station, Bob Garrett reveals that Marsh tested positive for cocaine, suffered from heart disease, and left his entire $8 million fortune to Rebecca. Believing that Rebecca induced his death by purposely combining the drugs with a session of intense lovemaking, Bob has her arrested. After she is released on bail, Frank warns Rebecca that Bob will build a case against her by citing her promiscuity and “intense” sexual relationship with Marsh. In a deposition, Joanne Braslow states that she personally saw Rebecca using cocaine in Marsh’s house, despite her claims to the contrary. Frank is worried that Rebecca is lying, but she takes him to her herbalist, Dr. Novaro, to prove that the powdery substance was nothing more than an aspirin substitute. After receiving acupuncture treatment from Dr. Novaro, Rebecca invites Frank to her dockside home, but he declines, concerned about maintaining a professional image during the case. In his opening courtroom statement, the District Attorney claims that Rebecca’s body was the “weapon” used in Marsh’s murder. However, Frank exposes his secretary, Joanne Braslow, as a former cocaine abuser who once admitted Marsh to the hospital after he tried the drug. That evening over dinner, Rebecca senses that she and Frank possess the same fetishistic sexual desires. Although she initially rejects his kiss goodnight, she welcomes him when he sneaks back into the house, overcome with lust. As they make love, Rebecca pours candle wax on Frank’s body, leaving him with burns he is forced to hide from his wife. During a court recess the next day, Rebecca and Frank have sex on top of a car in the parking garage, and Frank receives multiple lacerations from lying on shards of broken glass. As the trial resumes, it is revealed that before Rebecca dated Marsh, she had a relationship with his physician, Dr. Alan Paley, but claimed to be unaware of their connection. Bob unexpectedly calls another of Rebecca’s former lovers, Jeffrey Roston, to the witness stand. Roston recounts the explicit details of Rebecca’s sexual practices, which severely aggravated his own heart condition. He reveals that Rebecca was also the beneficiary of his estate before he underwent heart surgery. Frank, now convinced of Rebecca’s guilt, puts an end to end their sexual relationship. Later, at her restaurant, Sharon confronts her husband about his infidelity after receiving a telephone call from Rebecca. Furious, Frank storms to his client’s house and she once again seduces him. This time, however, he handcuffs her to the bedpost and anally rapes her on the floor. In the morning, one of Frank’s associates finds a videotape depicting intercourse between Marsh and Joanne, which negates her claim that their relationship was purely professional. When she is recalled to the courtroom, Joanne reveals that she loved Marsh until he began his relationship with Rebecca. Frank accuses Joanne of jealously sneaking cocaine into Marsh’s nasal spray, but afterward, begins to doubt his belief and reluctantly allows Rebecca to take the stand. During cross-examination, she asserts that she did not leave Jeffrey Roston because she failed to kill him, but because she was heartbroken to find him in bed with another man. After deliberation, the jury finds Rebecca innocent and she thanks Frank. That night, Frank sneaks into Rebecca’s house and overhears her warning Dr. Paley that he could still be indicted for his involvement in the murder. Once Frank makes his presence known, Rebecca admits that she merely used Paley to obtain the cocaine and sexually manipulated Frank in order to win her case. Paley attempts to strangle Rebecca, but she runs upstairs to find her revolver. Paley grabs the weapon and fires, but Frank throws the doctor over the balcony and returns to help the bleeding Rebecca. She stands, but Paley revives and shoots her from the stairwell. She tumbles out the window into the water below. When police arrive, Frank concedes that Bob should have won the case. +

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Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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