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Thread: Reeve's law

  1. #1
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Reeve's law

    Reeve's law
    By Valerie Kuklenski
    Staff Writer


    Tuesday, March 18, 2003 -

    CHRISTOPHER REEVE is playing against type in his guest role on Monday's episode of "The Practice.'

    Yes, of course his character is a quadriplegic. But Kevin Healy is a man whose primary concern is his disability. In Reeve's reality, his primary concern is the disabilities of others and what he can do to help them.

    It is what has inspired him to speak around the world in behalf of stem cell research, to build a foundation dedicated to issues affecting spinal cord injury patients and to undergo experimental surgery earlier this month on his diaphragm to improve his independent breathing -- one of many ways in which he has offered himself as a guinea pig for medical and surgical developments that can advance the science of paralysis treatments and remedies.

    And it is what inspired him to develop a story line for ABC's "The Practice' that addresses one issue affecting millions of people with severe disabilities: caregiver burnout.

    "It happens when a family living with someone with a disability runs out of insurance coverage, which can happen as soon as three years,' he said during a break in the filming. "And if they're not well off, which is the case with most people, then family members have to become the primary caregiver, and often the spouse has to become the primary caregiver, and that can put a tremendous strain on a relationship.

    "So I wanted to highlight that issue,' said Reeve, who admitted he is privileged to have good insurance and the care of his wife, Dana, and a support team. "It's something I talk about in interviews, it's something I talk about with legislators, but I wanted to work this into a very popular and high-quality television show to get the message out to an even wider audience.'


    !sub1!Back at work

    This and a cameo last month on the WB series `'Smallville' are Reeve's first acting jobs since his television remake of the Alfred Hitchcock classic "Rear Window' in 1998, another instance in which his main goal was enlightening the public.

    "It was meant to show the state-of-the-art technology, the ability to use cameras, computers, as well as to show how courageous and intrepid a supposed victim can be,' he said.

    In the legal drama, Reeve plays a man who was injured in a car accident in which his nephew, the driver, was killed. Kevin's brother, the boy's father, is wealthy but has refused to offer any assistance toward Kevin's care.

    Kevin's wife, Nancy (Carolyn McCormick), is suffering depression stemming from caregiver burnout and has been taking drugs that have caused her to black out on occasion. She resents her brother-in-law's refusal to help, and when he is found dead, she is accused of killing him. Attorneys Eleanor Frutt and Jimmy Berluti (Camryn Manheim and Michael Badalucco) are presenting her insanity defense.

    "Chris and I talked about this years ago,' Manheim said. "There was a party after the Democratic National Convention where we met, and I stupidly said, 'Would you come on our show?' And what I mean by stupidly is, because I have got absolutely no pull, no real power to get him on the show. And he was like, 'Sure.' And I'm like, 'OK.'

    "And I actually went to (show creator) David Kelley and said, 'I spoke to Christopher Reeve. He's really interested. Please don't make me look bad.' And lo and behold, two years later, here he is,' Manheim said. "I'd like to think it's entirely my doing but there were other forces.'


    !sub1!Making it happen

    Casting Reeve involved much more than the usual negotiation with an agent and a standard Screen Actors Guild contract. Executive producer Bob Breech said the production company arranged a private jet to bring him to Los Angeles from New York and set him up at a hotel near the Raleigh Manhattan Beach Studio complex.

    While some stars travel with an entourage of hairdressers, yoga instructors, nannies and dog walkers, Reeve needed to be accompanied by those who expertly tend to his basic needs. The start of filming was held up for three hours on days Reeve was scheduled to work so that he could maintain his rigorous physical therapy regimen, which has enabled him to move his arms and take steps in a swimming pool.

    Breech said all of Reeve's scenes were set in the courthouse stage, one of three "The Practice' occupies at Raleigh. "If we needed to take him to a different stage, we would have done so,' he said. "We put him on a set piece we usually use for judges' chambers and witness rooms, and we closed it off and made it his private space for him to be tended by his nurses.

    "It was a more efficient use of his time as well as ours,' Breech said. "Stamina was a big issue for Chris, and he was a real trouper.'


    !sub1!Powerful performance

    If stamina were a problem, Reeve did not show it much. In the early evening he was readying for perhaps his most powerful scene in the episode. As an attendant adjusted the pace of his ventilator, he was asked how he is withstanding the demands of a film shoot, which can fatigue able-bodied performers.

    Instead of complaining about multiple takes, he applauded director and supervising producer Christina Musrey's dedication to bringing out the best performances possible and covering scenes from multiple camera angles before moving onto the next one.

    "It's a fantastic work environment, from the producers down to the caterers,' he said. "It's just a class act, and the atmosphere is relaxed and creative and welcoming. It makes it so much easier to do the work. You don't feel that you're coming into a tense or a challenging environment. You're coming in as a guest, and they know how to make guests feel welcome.'

    Manheim had high praise for Reeve's abilities. "Acting is about what's going on in your eyes and in your heart and in your soul, and all of that Chris has in spades. So it's the same acting experience, sometimes even better because it's incredibly concentrated.

    "Sometimes I feel like a lot of actors dissipate their intentions through their gestures, and when he's just staring at you, it's right there, focused. And it's kind of' -- her voice dropped to a throaty whisper -- "it's very sexy.'

    Manheim said when she read the script, she was disappointed that she wasn't the woman who got to kiss Reeve.

    "That ought to get a few viewers, right?' she laughed. "There's kissing involved. There's kissing, drugs, sex, violence -- everything you need to have a good television show.'!end!

    http://u.sbsun.com/Stories/0,1413,21...52765,00.html#

  2. #2
    Senior Member cpaul's Avatar
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    Applause for CR. The more that see the more that will know and take notice! Rock on!

    Chris

  3. #3
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Reeve co-writes, stars in drama

    Reeve co-writes, stars in drama

    By Kate O'Hare, Knight Ridder, 3/22/2003

    LOS ANGELES - In a courtroom antechamber that's part of the set for ABC's ''The Practice'' in Manhattan Beach, Calif., Camryn Manheim, playing attorney Eleanor Frutt, enters a room, sits down at a table facing her client, and delivers an ominous speech about guilt and innocence.

    Heightening the drama of the moment is the fact that the man she's locking eyes with is Christopher Reeve.

    ''I was disappointed I wasn't the girl who got to kiss him,'' the actress says during a lunch break.

    Scheduled to air Monday at 9 p.m, the episode titled ''Burnout'' was written by series creator David E. Kelley, based on a story by himself and Reeve. The history of the episode begins in 2000, during the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

    ''Chris and I talked years ago at a party after the Democratic National Convention, where we met,'' Manheim says. ''I stupidly said, `Why don't you come on our show?' And when I say `stupidly,' what I mean is, I have absolutely no pull to actually get him on the show.

    ''He said, `Sure,' and I'm like, `OK.' I went to David Kelley and said, `Christopher Reeve's really interested. Please don't make me look bad.' And lo and behold, two years later - we move a little slow around here - voila, we have Christopher Reeve.

    ''So I'd like to think it's entirely my doing, but I'm sure there are other forces.''

    ''Back in the summer of 2000,'' Reeve recalls, ''I talked [to Camryn] about the issue of what happens when a family runs out of insurance, when family members are pressed into service as caregivers, and what it can do.

    ''On the show, my wife has to do it all by herself. This is an actual syndrome. Caregiver burnout is valid. Most people know nothing about it, in terms of what it's really like to deal with someone who has a disability - the washing and the dressing and the feeding, everything.''

    Reeve plays Kevin Healy, a man paralyzed in an auto accident. He seeks the help of the law firm at the center of the TV series when his wife (Carolyn McCormick) is accused of murdering his brother.

    ''The whole point is,'' Reeve says of his story line, ''I'm doing everything I can to make sure that the jury understands that she killed my brother in temporary insanity. She'd end up taking drugs and blacking out, not remembering where she was for half a day. We needed money really badly, and finally, the desperation drove her to do it.

    ''We've got to get her off, otherwise what's going to happen to me?''

    Reeve submitted a treatment to Kelley, who then shaped it into a story suitable for the courtroom setting of the show. ''We talked a few times on the phone and exchanged e-mail,'' Reeve says. ''He took the best parts of what I'd come up with and built a story around it. He's the one who really shaped it.''

    Reeve hopes the episode sparks a debate about raising the cap on insurance coverage for long-term disability. ''When you hit that cap,'' he says, ''it's like a glass ceiling. There are no more checks, no more nurses, no more equipment. One of the reasons insurance companies operate that way is that only 30 percent of people who are denied care or services fight back. The insurance industry is all about statistics.

    ''I'm working very hard to advocate for a different way of doing business, which would actually make them more money, by providing proactive therapy that will optimize a patient's health and even make them more functional. They'll make more money than they save by denying people.''

    Globe on NECN

    Here's what's happening on ''Around the Globe'' today on NECN:

    12:30 p.m.: ''Globe at Home''

    4 p.m.: ''Around the Globe''

    6:30 p.m.: ''New England Business Day''

    8 p.m.: ''NewsNight''

    Schedule is subject to change.

    Talk of the dial

    7 a.m. WBUR-FM (90.9) - ''Only a Game with Bill Littlefield.'' Topic: NCAA basketball; robots built by high school students battle it out to qualify for next month's ''Super Bowl of Smarts'' in Houston (rebroadcast at 2 p.m.).

    10 a.m. WBNW-AM (1120) - ''The Cooking Couple Show.'' Guests: Regina Ragone, food editor, Prevention Magazine; Greg Crone, New Zealand's Brancott Vineyards.

    3 p.m. WBUR-FM (90.9) - ''This American Life with Ira Glass.'' Topic: E-mails from soldiers about the war; an Iraqi talks about what it's like to oppose the regime and have bombs dropping on your city.

    Other radio

    highlights

    1:30 p.m. WHRB-FM (95.3) - Metropolitan Opera live. Verdi's ''Otello,'' conducted by Valery Gergiev, featuring Vladimir Galouzine, Barbara Frittoli, and Nikolai Putilin.


    This story ran on page E10 of the Boston Globe on 3/22/2003.
    © Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.

  4. #4
    Way to go CR.

    I'm continously inspired by his efforts.

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