The year 2000 was destined to be interesting. Not only was it a leap year, it was the start of a new decade, the beginning of the 21st century and the debut of a new millennium. Computers everywhere survived Y2K, Hillary Clinton was elected to the Senate and Microsoft was found guilty of violating anti-trust laws. It was also the year that 20th Century Fox released Cast Away upon US movie goers. Opening just a few days before Christmas, box offices across the country raked in more than $28,000,000 during the first weekend. The movie went on to become the third highest grossing film of the year. FedEx even parodied the movie for a Super Bowl commercial. It was the inspiration for the hit television series Lost (Wikipedia). The movie’s success was a mark of distinction for the director, cast and crew.
The film is about, Chuck Noland, a man caught up in the busy details of his career and life. He is seemingly addicted to time management and he even has to schedule time for his girlfriend, Kelly. After surviving a plane crash over the Pacific Ocean, Chuck is marooned on a small, deserted island with little chance of rescue. He spends the next four years on the island trying to survive physically and emotionally.
According to the directors commentary of the movie, Robert Zemeckis admits that the story was Tom Hanks idea. Hanks hired the writer William Broyles Jr. and they worked together on the script. Approximately five years later the film went into production (Cast Away). Since he was part of the initial development of the film, the main character, Chuck Noland, was written with Hanks in mind. Indeed, after seeing his sincere and confident performance, it is hard to imagine anyone else playing the role. In preparation for the part, he gained over fifty pounds for the initial scenes as a healthy, normal Chuck. The film’s production then halted for over a year while he lost the weight and grew his hair out for a more weathered appearance during later filming (Wikipedia). Beyond his dedication to the appearance of the character, however, Hanks convincingly embodies Chuck and transforms him from a man that is constantly managing his future into a man that savors and lives in the present.
While the movie spares little time for the supporting cast, the performances of Nick Searcy as Stan, Lari White as Bettina and Vince Martin as Al are well acted and are vital in emphasizing the change in perspective of the main character after his return to the mainland. However, none of them were more important than the appearance of Helen Hunt in the role of Kelly Frears. Although, she also has a limited amount of screen time, her presence and characters importance in the movie are unmistakable. Even Chuck admits later in the movie, “I’m so sad that I don’t have Kelly. But I’m so grateful that she was with me on that island” (Cast Away).
Having directed blockbuster hits such as Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future, Contact and...