The Paper

Infobox Film
name = The Paper


caption = Theatrical release poster
director = Ron Howard
producer = Brian Grazer
David Koepp
writer = David Koepp
starring = Michael Keaton
Robert Duvall
Glenn Close
Marisa Tomei
Randy Quaid
Jason Robards
Jason Alexander
Spalding Gray
music = Randy Newman
cinematography = John Seale
editing = Daniel P. Hanley
Mike Hill
distributor = Universal Pictures
Imagine Entertainment
released = March 18, 1994
runtime = 112 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget = $6 million
gross = $38,824,341
amg_id = 1:131178
imdb_id = 0110771

"The Paper" is a 1994 comedy-drama film directed by Ron Howard and starring Michael Keaton, Robert Duvall, and Glenn Close. The movie depicts 24 hours in a newspaper editor's professional and personal life.

Plot

Henry Hackett is the metro editor of the "New York Sun", a fictional [The real "New York Sun" closed in 1967, but the film version shares the same masthead. Since the film's release, a new incarnation of the "Sun" has appeared, also using the masthead.] New York City tabloid. He is a workaholic who loves his job, but the long hours and low pay are leading to discontent. He is at risk of experiencing the same fate as his editor-in-chief, Bernie White, who put his work first at the expense of his family.

The paper's publisher, Graham Keighley, faces dire financial straits, so he has Alicia Clark, the managing editor and Henry's nemesis, impose unpopular cutbacks. Henry's wife Martha, a reporter on leave and about to give birth, is fed up because Henry seems to have less and less time for her, and she really dislikes Alicia Clark. She urges him to seriously consider an offer from Paul Bladden to leave the Sun and become as an assistant managing editor at the "New York Sentinel", a fictional newspaper based on "The New York Times", which would mean more money, shorter hours, more respectability...but might also be a bit boring for his tastes.

A hot story confronts Henry with tough decisions, deadlines and personal crises. He literally has to yell "stop the presses" to correct an injustice, while his star columnist, McDougal, is threatened by an angry and drunk city official named Sandusky that McDougal's column had been tormenting for the past several weeks. Their drunken confrontation in a bar leads to gunfire. And Henry's wife is rushed to the hospital at the end of a wild 24 hours.

Cast

*Michael Keaton as Henry Hackett
*Robert Duvall as Bernie White
*Glenn Close as Alicia Clark
*Marisa Tomei as Martha Hackett
*Randy Quaid as Michael McDougal
*Jason Robards as Graham Keightley
*Jason Alexander as Marion Sandusky
*Spalding Gray as Paul Bladden
*Catherine O'Hara as Susan
*Lynne Thigpen as Janet
*Jack Kehoe as Phil
*Roma Maffia as Carmen
*Amelia Campbell as Robin
*Clint Howard as Ray Blaisch
*Geoffrey Owens as Lou
*Jill Hennessey as Deanne White
*William Prince as Howard Hackett
*Augusta Dabney as Augusta Hackett
*Bruce Altman as Carl

Production

Screenwriter Stephen Koepp, a senior editor at "Time" magazine, collaborated on the screenplay with his brother David and together they initially came up with "A Day in the Life of a Paper" as their premise. David said, "We wanted a regular day, though this is far from regular."cite news
last = Schaefer
first = Stephen
coauthors =
title = New edition competes with small screen, too
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Boston Herald
date = March 27, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] They also wanted to “look at the financial pressures of a paper to get on the street and still tell the truth.” After writing the character of a pregnant reporter married to the metro editor (that Marisa Tomei ended up playing in the movie), both of the Koepps' wives became pregnant. Around this time, Universal Pictures greenlighted the project.

". The filmmaker remembers, “I found that pretty flattering, of course, so I asked about the subject of his work-in-progress. The answer was music to my ears: 24 hours at a tabloid newspaper."cite news
last = Arnold
first = Gary
coauthors =
title = Tabloid press gets the Ron Howard touch in "The Paper"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Washington Times
date = March 27, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Howard read their script and remembers, “I liked the fact that it dealt with the behind-the-scenes of headlines. But I also connected with the characters trying to cope during this 24-hour period, desperately trying to find this balance in their personal lives, past and present.”cite news
last = Uricchio
first = Marylynn
coauthors =
title = Opie’s Byline: "Paper" Director Ron Howard was drawn to Keaton’s Style, Newsroom’s Buzz
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
date = March 25, 1994
url =
accessdate =
]

To prepare for the film, Howard made several visits to the "New York Post" and "Daily News" (which would provide the inspiration for the fictional newspaper in the film). He remembers, “You'd hear stuff from columnists and reporters about some jerk they'd worked with...I heard about the scorned female reporter who wound up throwing hot coffee in some guy's crotch when she found out he was fooling around with someone else."cite news
last = Kurtz
first = Howard
coauthors =
title = Hollywood's Read on Newspapers; For Decades, a Romance With the Newsroom
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Washington Post
date = March 27, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] It was these kinds of stories that inspired Howard to change the gender of the managing editor that Glenn Close would later play. The casting of Michael Keaton also injected more humor into the screenplay.

Howard met with some of the top newspapermen in New York, including former Post editor Pete Hamill and columnists Jimmy Breslin and Mike McAlary (who inspired Randy Quaid’s character in the movie). They told the filmmaker how some reporters bypass traffic jams by putting emergency police lights on their cars (a trick used in the movie). Hamill and McAlary also can be seen in cameos.

Howard wanted to examine the nature of tabloid journalism. "I kept asking, 'Are you embarrassed to be working at the New York Post? Would you rather be working at the Washington Post or the New York Times?' They kept saying they loved the environment, the style of journalism.” The model for Keaton’s character was the Daily News' metro editor Richie Esposito. Howard said, “He was well-dressed but rumpled, mid-to-late 30s, overworked, very articulate and fast-talking. And very, very smart. When I saw him, I thought, that's Henry Hackett. As written."

The director also was intrigued by the unsavory aspect of these papers. "They were interested in celebrities who were under investigation or had humiliated themselves in some way. I could see they would gleefully glom onto a story that would be very humiliating for someone. They didn't care about that. If they believed their source, they would go with it happily.”

In addition to being influenced by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s famous stage play "The Front Page", Howard studied old newspaper movies from the 1930s and 1940s. Howard said, “Every studio made them, and then they kind of vanished. One of the reasons I thought it would make a good movie today is that it feels fresh and different.”cite news
last = Dowd
first = Maureen
coauthors =
title = "The Paper" Replates "The Front Page" for the 90’s
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = New York Times
date = March 13, 1994
url =
accessdate =
]

One of Howard’s goals was to cram in as much information about a 24-hour day in the newspaper business as humanly possible. He said, “I'm gonna get as many little details right as possible: a guy having to rewrite a story and it bugs the hell out of him, another guy talking to a reporter on the phone and saying, 'Well, it's not Watergate for God's sake.' Little, tiny - you can't even call them subplots - that most people on the first screening won't even notice, probably. It's just sort of newsroom background.’”cite news
last = Carr
first = Jay
coauthors =
title = Director Ron Howard goes to press with "The Paper"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Boston Globe
date = October 10, 1993
url =
accessdate =
]

Reaction

In his review for the "Boston Globe", Jay Carr wrote, “It takes a certain panache to incorporate the ever-present threat of your own extinction into the giddy tradition of the newspaper comedy, but "The Paper" pulls it off. There's no point pretending that I'm objective about this one. I know it's not "Citizen Kane", but it pushes my buttons.”cite news
last = Carr
first = Jay
coauthors =
title = "The Paper" gets the story right
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Boston Globe
date = March 25, 1994
url =
accessdate =
] Peter Stack of the "San Francisco Chronicle" wrote, “In the end, "The Paper" offers splashy entertainment that's a lot like a daily newspaper itself -- hot news cools fast.”cite news
last = Stack
first = Peter
coauthors =
title = Extra! Extra! "Paper" Really Delivers!
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = San Francisco Chronicle
date = March 25, 1994
url =
accessdate =
]

However, Rita Kempley wrote, “Ron Howard still thinks women belong in the nursery instead of the newsroom. Screenwriters David Koepp of "Jurassic Park" and his brother Stephen (of "Time" magazine) are witty and on target in terms of character, but their message in terms of male and female relations is a prehistoric one.” Kempley wrote this even though the paper's managing editor is a woman, one of its top reporters is a woman and the editor's pregnant wife continues to work on the paper's breaking story.cite news
last = Kempley
first = Rita
coauthors =
title = Stop the Presses! Roll The Cameras! It's "The Paper"
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = Washington Post
date = March 25, 1994
url = http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/thepaperrkempley_a0a41b.htm
accessdate = 2007-05-08
]

Janet Maslin was also critical of the film. “Each principal has a problem that is conveniently addressed during this one-day interlude, thanks to a screenplay (by David Koepp and Stephen Koepp) that feels like the work of a committee. The film's general drift is to start these people off at fever pitch and then let them gradually unveil life's inner meaning as the tale trudges toward resolution.”cite news
last = Maslin
first = Janet
coauthors =
title = A Day With the People Who Make the News
work =
pages =
language =
publisher = New York Times
date = March 18, 1994
url =
accessdate =
]

References

External links

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