Frank Allen (Ryan Reynolds), celebrated author of the bestseller The Five Minute Efficiency Trainer, has perfected the art of living via a foolproof system of timetables and index cards. In fact, his daily "to do" lists are legendary. A man known for playing it safe, Frank doesn't believe in spontaneity. Every choice he makes is deliberate?designed to contribute to a well-ordered, predictable life.
But life, as he soon learns, never adheres to a strict schedule.
Frank's wife, Susan (Emily Mortimer), and seven-year-old daughter, Jesse (Matreya Fedor), find his obsession charming in small doses, but as a steady diet it can be very frustrating. One morning, Susan attempts to loosen her husband's scheduling stranglehold by adding ten minutes to his day. But, by setting the clock backward instead of forward, she inadvertently unleashes a series of mishaps that turn his meticulously ordered life upside down. A belligerent ferryman, a ruthless seductress, a reluctant mother-to-be and the secret amor of his best friend, Buddy (Stuart Townsend), combine to send his life into complete chaos.
As his life unravels in several directions simultaneously, however, a stunning family revelation forces Frank to look fate squarely in the eye. Shaken to his core, he starts living entirely "in the moment," allowing him to defy the conventions that have heretofore defined him. Those carefully coordinated index cards that had once kept his life in perfect order now become a deck of chance as Frank scribbles spontaneous ideas on random cards, shuffles, chooses and follows the luck of the draw…with unexpected results.
Frank is about to discover that not even an efficiency expert armed with timetables and index cards can change the serendipitous nature of family and friendship, love and forgiveness.
Castle Rock Entertainment and Lone Star Film Group present a Frederic Golchan Production, "Chaos Theory," starring Ryan Reynolds, Emily Mortimer, Stuart Townsend, Sarah Chalke and Mike Erwin. Marcos Siega directed the film from a screenplay by Daniel Taplitz. "Chaos Theory" is produced by Frederic Golchan and Erica Westheimer, with Fred Westheimer serving as executive producer and Barbara Kelly as co-producer.
The behind-the-scenes creative team included director of photography Ramsey Nickell, production designer Sandy Cochrane and film editor Nicholas Erasmus. The music is composed by Gilad Benamram.
"Chaos Theory" has been rated "PG-13" by the MPAA for mature thematic material, sexual content and language.
RYAN REYNOLDS has emerged as one of Hollywood's most sought-after leading men and was recently named one of People magazine's "Sexiest Men" of 2007.
Reynolds next stars in the romantic comedy "Definitely, Maybe," playing a soon-to-be-divorced father with a questionable past. Opening February 14, the film also stars Rachel Weisz, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Elizabeth Banks and Kevin Kline.
In addition, Reynolds has completed work on two more films due out later in 2008: the comedy "Adventureland," in which he stars opposite Kristen Stewart under the direction of Greg Mottola; and the drama "Fireflies in the Garden," with Julia Roberts, Carrie-Anne Moss and Emily Watson. The latter will premiere at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival and will be released in the spring. Reynolds next begins filming the romantic comedy "The Proposal," in which he stars opposite Sandra Bullock.
Reynolds most recently starred in John August's thriller "The Nines," with Hope Davis, which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. He also joined the ensemble cast of Joe Carnahan's crime thriller "Smokin'Aces," alongside Ray Liotta, Jeremy Piven, Andy Garcia, Ben Affleck and Jason Bateman.
In 2005, Reynolds starred in the remake of the horror classic "The Amityville Horror," which opened at number one at the box office, and the romantic comedy "Just Friends."
He was previously seen with Jessica Biel and Wesley Snipes in the final installment of the "Blade" trilogy, "Blade: Trinity," playing the acerbic vampire hunter Hannibal King. Reynolds' break-out film role came in the outrageous campus comedy "National Lampoon's Van Wilder," in which he played the title character.
EMILY MORTIMER is an award-winning actress who has built an impressive list of film credits. Her break-out role came in the critically acclaimed "Lovely & Amazing," a comic, bittersweet tale of four resilient women. Mortimer's performance brought her praise from critics and audiences and she won a 2003 Independent Spirit Award for her role.
Mortimer most recently starred in the widely acclaimed comedy "Lars and the Real Girl," opposite Ryan Gosling and Patricia Clarkson. Her other recent film credits include Woody Allen's "Match Point," joining a critically acclaimed ensemble cast which included Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Matthew Goode; and the hit comedy "The Pink Panther," playing Inspector Clouseau's secretary Nicole, opposite Steve Martin.
Mortimer's film credits also include such diverse films as Shona Auerbach's "Dear Frankie," earning a London Film Critics Circle Award nomination for her portrayal of an impoverished single mother who has moved to a seaside Scottish town with her deaf child; first-time writer/director David Mackenzie's "Young Adam," opposite Ewan McGregor, for which Mortimer earned a nomination as Best British Actress at the 2004 Empire Awards; and Stephen Fry's directorial debut, "Bright Young Things," leading an ensemble cast.
Over the last year, she has also worked continuously on a wide range of upcoming projects, including Brad Anderson's thriller "Transsiberian," which just premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and also stars Woody Harrelson, Kate Mara, Eduardo Noreiga and Sir Ben Kingsley; David Mamet's "Redbelt," set in the Los Angeles fight world, opening in April 2008; and "The Pink Panther 2," reprising her role opposite Steve Martin.
In addition to her film projects, Mortimer played the recurring role of Phoebe, Alec Baldwin's character's love interest, during the 2006-2007 season of the hit NBC series "30 Rock." She is currently making her off-Broadway debut in acclaimed playwright Jez Butterworth's "Parlour Song."
STUART TOWNSEND most recently made his feature film directorial debut with "Battle in Seattle," which he also wrote and produced. The true-life action drama, starring Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson and Ray Liotta, premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival and will be released in March 2008.
Townsend previously starred in the romantic comedy "The Best Man," with Seth Green and Amy Smart; the drama "Head in the Clouds," opposite Charlize Theron and Penelope Cruz; the action fantasy "The League of Extraordinary Gentleman," alongside Sean Connery; the horror thriller "Queen of the Damned"; and the romantic comedy "About Adam," in which he played the title role, opposite Kate Hudson.
His additional film credits include "The Escort," "Wonderland," "Resurrection Man," "Under the Skin," "Shooting Fish" and "Trojan Eddie."
On television, Townsend starred in the title role of the ABC series "The Night Stalker." He also had a memorable guest role on the hit NBC series "Will & Grace."
A Dublin native, Townsend divides his time between Europe and California.
SARAH CHALKE has starred for seven seasons as the sexy, ambitious Dr. Elliot Reid on the critically acclaimed NBC series "Scrubs." In 2006, Chalke earned praise for her performance in the Emmy-nominated Lifetime telefilm "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy," based on the memoir by Geralyn Lucas.
On the big screen, she most recently starred in the independent feature "Mama's Boy," with Diane Keaton and Jon Heder. Her film credits also include such independent features as "Cake" and "Alchemy."
In summer 2005, Chalke starred in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of "Create Fate" and completed a successful off-Broadway run of the romantic comedy "Modern Orthodox," under the direction of James Lapine at the Underwood Theater.
A native of Ottawa, Canada, Chalke was raised in Vancouver and began appearing in local musical theatre productions at age eight. As a young adult, she became an environmental reporter for the Canadian series "Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy." Her big break came in 1993, when she was cast as daughter Becky Conner on the ABC series "Roseanne."
Chalke speaks fluent French and German and, when not working, volunteers at a hospice for terminally ill children.
MIKE ERWIN previously worked with director Marcos Siega on the feature film "Pretty Persuasion." He was more recently seen in the comedy "Freshman Orientation." His other film credits include "Hulk," directed by Ang Lee, "The New Guy" and "American Pie 2." He will next be seen in the features "Twisted" and "Say Hello to Stan Talmadge," both set for release in 2008.
On television, Erwin appeared in the critically acclaimed series "Jack & Bobby," and was an audience favorite in the role of Colin Hart on the series "Everwood." Additionally, he appeared opposite Marcia Gay Harden in the Lifetime original movie "She's Too Young." His other television credits include guest roles on such series as "CSI: Miami," "Joan of Arcadia," "CSI," "Touched by an Angel," "7th Heaven," "Judging Amy" and "Reba."
Erwin's professional stage credits include productions of Shakespeare's "As You Like It" and "Henry V," as well as Sam Shepard's "Cowboy Mouth."
MARCOS SIEGA developed his visual style through his work on numerous music videos before branching out into projects for both the big and small screen.
Siega made his feature film directorial debut with the 2005 action comedy "Underclassman," starring Nick Cannon and Shawn Ashmore. He followed that with "Pretty Persuasion," which starred Evan Rachel Wood, James Woods and Ron Livingston in a bitingly satirical take on race, sexual misconduct, media and society's fascination with celebrity. The independent film emerged as a hot property at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and was released in August of that year.
Currently, Siega is serving as an executive producer on the film "Barry Munday," and he will next produce the feature "Something Blue," with John Leguizamo set to star.
Before starting his directing career, Siega was a member of the New York-based punk band Bad Trip. When not on tour, he worked in production on a variety of television shows and films, including "Sleepless in Seattle."
Siega directed his first music video for the song "Can't Wait One Minute More" by the group C.I.V. Soon after, the video appeared on MTV as a "buzz clip" and was named Best Rock Modern Video of the Year by Billboard. Siega subsequently directed numerous music videos for such influential artists as Weezer, Rooney, Hoobastank, Blink 182, All American Rejects, The Crystal Method, Kelly Osbourne, Everclear, Pete Yorn, Vanessa Carlton, Jurassic 5, and P.O.D. He has consistently been one of the most nominated directors at the MTV Video Music Awards and won the Music Video Producers Association's Best Music Video award for System of a Down's "Chop Suey."
Segueing to television, Siega began directing episodes of the series "Fastlane" and "Oliver Beene." He also created, directed and executive produced VH1's "Rock The House." He has gone on to direct episodes of such series as "Veronica Mars," "Cold Case," "The Nine," "Shark" and, most recently, "Dexter."
FREDERIC GOLCHAN was born in Paris and began his career in the film business when he worked on a Claude Lelouch film. Later, as a student at UCLA's Film School, he interned for Peter Guber at Columbia Pictures. While in film school, his documentary "The Victory of the Deaf" won an Emmy Award.
After graduating, Golchan went on to receive MBAs from New York University, Hautes Etudes Commerciales and London Business School. He then worked on Wall Street for American Express and in Los Angeles as an investment banker in real estate.
In 1986, Golchan founded Third Eye Productions and acquired a number of literary properties. He co-produced the international film "Flagrant Desire," starring Sam Waterston, Marisa Berenson, Lauren Hutton and Arielle Dombasle. For television, he developed and produced "Freedom Fighter," based on the book The Berlin Wall by Pierre Galante and starring Tony Danza, Sid Caesar and David McCallum. In 1988, Golchan entered a first-look deal with Columbia Pictures. At the time, he was already developing "Quick Change," starring Bill Murray, Geena Davis and Randy Quaid, for Warner Bros.
Later, at Paramount, Golchan developed and went on to serve as executive producer on the 1994 hit "Intersection," directed by Mark Rydell and starring Richard Gere, Sharon Stone and Lolita Davidovich. He then produced, with Interscope, the 1996 film "The Associate," directed by Donald Petrie and starring Whoopi Goldberg, Dianne Wiest, Tim Daly and Bebe Neuwirth.
In 1999, Golchan made his debut as a screenwriter and director with the film "Kimberly," starring Gabrielle Anwar, Sean Astin, Jason Lewis and Molly Ringwald. The romantic comedy was screened at a number of film festivals, including Sundance and Deauville, before receiving international theatrical distribution and subsequent DVD release.
Since 2002, he has been developing projects with Ted Field at Radar Pictures. He is currently prepping "Intimate Strangers," with Hilary Swank; "Rififi," starring Al Pacino; "Perfect Crime," with Ben Stiller; and "The Woman Next Door," with Neil LaBute writing and Taylor Hackford directing.
Golchan has been the Vice President of the French Hollywood Circle since its inception in 1995, and is the ambassador for two prestigious festivals in France, Cognac and Fantastica, as well as the Manaus Film Festival in Brazil.
ERICA WESTHEIMER most recently produced the acclaimed dark comedy "The Savages," written and directed by Tamara Jenkins and starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film has received numerous honors, including two Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Actress (Linney).
A Los Angeles native, Westheimer studied photography and design at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and received a BFA from Tufts University in Boston. She began her career in New York working in interior design before segueing to talent publicity, celebrity styling and, finally, theatrical costume design, for which she trained with William Ivey Long. This led to the arena of independent film in New York, where she worked on such projects as Woody Allen's "Hollywood Ending," with an all-star ensemble cast, and Kenneth Lonergan's "You Can Count on Me," starring Laura Linney and Mark Ruffalo.
After ten years in independent films, Westheimer joined Lone Star Film Group as Executive in Charge of Production, spearheading in-house production and managing co-productions for the Beverly Hills-based film financing company.
DANIEL TAPLITZ previously wrote and directed "Breakin' All the Rules," starring Jamie Foxx, and "Commandments," starring Aidan Quinn and Anthony LaPaglia.
FRED WESTHEIMER was born in El Paso, Texas, raised in Houston and attended the University of Texas. While on academic break during the summer of 1963, he began his entertainment career in the mail department at 20th Century Fox before moving into casting and creative development for TV and film.
In 1970, Westheimer became a television agent at the William Morris Agency. He served as head of Television Talent from 1972 until 1980, when he became head of the Motion Picture Talent Department for six years, representing a talent roster that included John Travolta, Elaine May and Candice Bergen.
In 2005, he left William Morris to run Lone Star Film Group, a private equity-financed firm dedicated to financing independent features. The first release of Lone Star Film Group is "The Savages," which is now in theatres and has received two Academy Award nominations: Best Actress (Laura Linney) and Best Original Screenplay (Tamara Jenkins).
The company is currently in production and pre-production on several films.
RAMSEY NICKELL began his film industry career in 1988 as a production assistant. While rising through the ranks to become a cinematographer, he had the good fortune to be mentored by, among others, Wayne Isham, Bill Pope, Larry Fong and Samuel Bayer. He collaborated with Bayer on nearly 50 music videos, including Nirvana's unforgettable "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
As a cinematographer, Nickell has lensed numerous award-winning commercials and music videos, and in 1999 was the recipient of the Music Video Producers Association's Panavision Award for Best Cinematography, for The Crystal Method's "Comin' Back."
Moving into film and television, he shot the pilot episodes of "Fastlane" and "Chuck" with longtime collaborator McG. "Chaos Theory" marks Nickell's second feature film with director Marcos Siega, the first being "Pretty Persuasion," which premiered to acclaim at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
SANDY COCHRANE) trained and worked in theatre for 15 years before beginning his film career in Vancouver in the early 1980s. He has since worked on more than 25 film and television projects, including the recent feature "In the Land of Women," on which he was the production designer.
His feature film credits as art director include "Paycheck," "The Santa Clause 2," "Along Came a Spider," "I'll Be Home for Christmas," "Wrongfully Accused," "Hideaway," "Look Who's Talking Now," "This Boy's Life" and "Leaving Normal."
For television, he has served as the production designer on such projects as "Saving Milly," "Meltdown," "Double Bill," "Ladies and the Champ," "Personally Yours" and "Miracle on the 17th Green."
NICHOLAS ERASMUS is originally from South Africa, and has worked consistently with director Marcos Siega on numerous award-winning commercials and music videos. His credits include Siega's "Pretty Persuasion," starring James Woods and Evan Rachel Wood, and "Step Up 2 the Streets," directed by Jon Chu.
Erasmus was a special sequence editor on the features "The Good Humor Man," from executive producer Kelsey Grammer, and "Dangerous Ground."
Erasmus' additional editing credits include the documentaries "No Map for These Territories" and "Tangles & Locks."
He received Emmy recognition in 2000 for his work on NBC's Snap.com commercial campaign.
BARBARA KELLY co-produced "Things We Lost in the Fire," starring Halle Berry and Benecio Del Toro; "Pathfinder"; "Memory," starring Billy Zane, Ann-Margret and Dennis Hopper; "They"; and "A Pyromaniac's Love Story," directed by Joshua Brand.
As production manager, Kelly's feature film credits include the sci-fi actioner "I, Robot," starring Will Smith, "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever," "40 Days and 40 Nights," "Speaking of Sex," "This Is My Life" and "Sea of Love."
Her television producing credits include the crime drama series "Secret Agent Man," the miniseries "Atomic Train," and the telefilms "Different," "Circle of Deceit," "Jitters," "Their Second Chance" and "Little Criminals."
Kelly holds a degree in Political Science from Carleton University, as well as a BA in Anthropology and an ARTC/Teaching Certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music.
GILAD BENAMRAM previously collaborated with Marcos Siega when he composed the score for the director's previous feature, "Pretty Persuasion."
A native of Israel, Benamram has also worked twice with director Ariel Vromen, on the 2005 film "Simple Lies" and the 2006 film "Danika." His additional credits include the 2008 documentary feature "Victory Over Darkness" and the 2007 Japanese feature "Ichijiku no kao" ("Faces of a Fig Tree"), which enjoyed a theatrical release in Japan and was awarded the NETPAC prize at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival.
TISH MONAGHAN is currently serving as the costume designer on "The Day the Earth Stood Still," a remake of the classic sci-fi film, starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly and Kathy Bates. Her recent film credits include the romantic comedy "Catch and Release," starring Jennifer Garner; the thriller "The Invisible," starring Marcia Gay Harden; and last summer's comedy "Hot Rod."
Monaghan previously worked with Marcos Siega on the director's 2005 action comedy "Underclassman." She has also designed the costumes for such diverse films as the mystery thriller "The Exorcism of Emily Rose," starring Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson; Lasse Hallstrom's drama "An Unfinished Life," starring Robert Redford, Jennifer Lopez and Morgan Freeman; Christopher Nolan's thriller "Insomnia," starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank; the comedy adventure "Cats & Dogs"; the Adam Sandler comedy "Happy Gilmore"; and Joel Schumacher's "Cousins."
For television, Monaghan's extensive credits include such longform projects as "The Five People You Meet in Heaven," "Traffic," "Sole Survivor," "Northern Lights" and "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story," as well as the current NBC series "The Bionic Woman."
A native of British Columbia, Monaghan earned her B.F.A. degree from the University of Victoria, Canada. She later earned a diploma in period costume design from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia.
"This movie has a lot of twists and turns, but at the same time it is really very simple," says director Marcos Siega. "It's a story about love and forgiveness. I believe that if you truly love someone, you'll forgive them almost anything, but usually not without some trials and tribulations. What's the saying? 'That which does not kill us only makes us stronger.' That is certainly the case with some of our characters."
As often happens, the story of "Chaos Theory" was inspired by true life events in the life of screenwriter Daniel Taplitz. He confides, "There was a point in my life when I was diagnosed with cancer. I didn't necessarily want to write about that, but I was interested in writing about what somebody does when they're metaphorically pushed off a cliff both physically and emotionally?how one piece of information can potentially change their life and how they might have to reconstruct that life."
Taplitz continues, "The story is told from the perspective of Frank, who starts out in total control of his life, which is very ordered and meticulously planned out. But he could never have planned for the emotional crisis that hits him and that, in turn, leads him to start living his life randomly and by whim. But those choices have even greater repercussions."
Producer Frederic Golchan, who first bought the rights to the screenplay, relates that the central themes of the story are what drew him to the script. "I thought it was such an original story told with heart and humor, and I loved the 'voice' of the script. I also thought it was about something very meaningful—love and commitment. I think there are two kinds of love. There is the kind you give freely and unconditionally, like the love of a parent for a child, the love Frank has for his daughter, Jesse. And there is the kind of love you have to work on, which is more like the love between Frank and his wife. But if you truly care about each other, it will work out in the end and be even more rewarding. I think Frank is trying to give his prospective son-in-law, Ed, a better understanding of the commitment he is getting into, although at first you're not quite sure what his motives are."
Golchan recalls that when he met Marcos Siega, he knew he had found the right director, starting with their shared belief in the project. "Marcos had incredible passion for this film. He also has a specific style and a very strong sense of aesthetics, which I appreciated. He knows what he wants and how to shoot it, so he works very, very quickly."
With the director set, the next order of business on "Chaos Theory" was casting, beginning with the man at the center of the story, Frank Allen, an efficiency expert who lives to plan rather than plans to live. But Frank could never have planned for the detour his life was about to take.
Ryan Reynolds, who stars in the role of Frank, says he leapt at the opportunity to portray someone whose life is unraveling before his eyes. "Playing this kind of character—a person who's vulnerable, a control freak whose life disassembles in a way he can't control—really appealed to me. A lot of people look for some kind of order in their life, some sort of way to keep it all together. They have these maladaptive coping mechanisms, which, in Frank's case, is writing everything down. In a way it's like Frank placed all these emotional scaffolds around himself. He believes that unless he keeps things in a very organized and ordered way, he's going to lose himself. I think what he discovers is that you just can't avoid chaos, life is going to throw you curveballs no matter what you do and no matter who you are."
They say opposites attract, and that would certainly be the case with Frank and his wife, Susan. Susan, who would rather live life as it comes, has grown frustrated by her husband's seeming inability to allow for the slightest deviation from his routine. Her lighthearted albeit misguided attempt to thwart Frank's obsessive time management becomes the catalyst for a series of events that not only derail Frank's life but threaten to destroy her own.
Susan is played by Emily Mortimer, who offers, "Susan thought she wanted this nice, happy home, but now that she's got it, she's finding it actually rather confining in some ways. And here's Frank, who drives her nuts with his index cards and schedules, and she thinks, 'Is this the rest of my life?' So she tries in some small way to change things up a bit by changing the clock. But instead of turning it back, she mistakenly moves it forward by 10 minutes. Then everything backfires and it's like chaos has been unleashed. Susan has this urge to live life to the fullest and be adventurous, but at the same time she has a real desire for the harmony and coziness of a family life. I think the whole journey for Susan is trying to work out how to unite those two sides of her life and to realize what truly matters to her."
The two sides of Susan's life are represented by the two most important men in her life: her husband, Frank, who is a model of order and organization; and the couple's best friend, Buddy, who lives a much freer existence…and who was once Frank's rival for Susan's affections.
Cast in the role of Buddy, Stuart Townsend notes, "Buddy is your good-time guy; he's a bachelor, drives a Porsche and doesn't take anything too seriously. When we meet him, it's a flashback to the New Year's Eve before Frank and Susan are married. Buddy fancies Susan and thinks it's mutual, so when she announces she's going to marry Frank, it kind of knocks the wind out of him. Through the movie, he is trying to get Frank to lighten up, but at the same time, Buddy has to grow up and face his own responsibilities. I see 'Chaos Theory' as a story about friendship and love, and what happens to even the best of friends when the two get intertwined."
Rounding out the main cast are Sarah Chalke as Paula, a seductive admirer of Frank's, who tries to takes advantage of him at his most vulnerable, and Mike Erwin as Ed, a young man who develops a severe case of cold feet on the day of his wedding to Frank and Susan's daughter, Jesse. Elisabeth Harnois plays the grown-up Jesse, while young Matreya Fedor plays Jesse at seven years old.
Before the start of principal photography, Marcos Siega took his cast through a two-week rehearsal period. He felt the extra time together was vital in shaping the relationships among his three main leads, which would later translate to the screen. As the chemistry between the three actors jelled, the director took the added prep time to work out his approach to filming their scenes together. "My style is not to have the camera constantly moving," the director reveals. "You don't always have to cut to a close-up when someone walks in the door, you don't need to cut to a reaction when someone's being emotional, you should be able to sit on the shot and feel it. On my last movie I decided to start applying that concept and shoot everything through one lens. I like how it makes the viewer feel like another person in a conversation because your depth of field never changes."
Siega credits his director of photography Ramsey Nickell with making the visual and technical aspects of filmmaking seamless. "I can't say enough about Ramsey. He's incredibly talented and he knows what I'm looking for so I don't have to over-explain. We have this great dynamic."
Nickell agrees. "I know it sounds cliché but Marcos and I definitely have a shorthand. Going into a scene, I already have a pretty good idea of what he's planning on doing and how he plans on covering it. After that, it's more about fine-tuning."
Working with production designer Sandy Cochrane and costume designer Tish Monaghan, Siega utilized deliberate splashes of color in both the sets and wardrobe as subtle indicators of what was transpiring in the story. "One of the things I did was to decide a color to represent chaos, so anytime Frank goes through something chaotic, we played with color," Siega explains. "The color that kept coming up was orange, so I looked it up on the internet and it's supposed to be the color for construction and hunger. Okay, the movie's not about food or construction but who cares?" the director laughs. "Orange is a good color and it works. I like to interject some visual cue so when you're watching the movie and caught up in the story, it's not going to jar you, but it will definitely create some kind of atmosphere that you will notice, even subconsciously."
Music is an integral element in films and, coming from a music background, Siega knows the importance of songs and score to help drive a story. However, he also likes to incorporate music on the set as a form of inspiration. With over 5,000 songs in his playlist, music could constantly be heard between takes from loudspeakers around the set. Leading up to shooting a scene, Siega chose songs that he felt would help both the cast and crew understand not only the tone but the rhythm of the scene.
On the screen, the song selection heard in "Chaos Theory," complementing the score by Gilad Benamram, was especially important. In addition to helping to set the tone, it also reflected the era, as the story takes place over the course of three different time frames: when Frank, Susan and Buddy are in their early 20s in the early 1980s; a few years later when Frank and Susan are married with a seven-year-old daughter; and in the present day on the now-adult Jesse's wedding day.
The wedding day scenes bookend the film, as almost the entire story is told in flashback. Frank, having caught his prospective son-in-law on the verge of abandoning Jesse at the altar, corners the nervous groom, sits him down and begins to recount the surprising trials and tribulations of his own marriage.
Siega says the device of telling the story in flashback lends itself to the universal experience of looking back at events with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. "You might not want to relive them, but with the passage of time, you can look back with understanding and even laughter. We all know that telling any story in hindsight can be really funny."