AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Roxanne
Director: Fred Schepisi (Dir)
Release Date:   19 Jun 1987
Premiere Information:   Nationwide sneak preview screenings: 12-13 Jun 1987; Nationwide opening: 19 Jun 1987
Production Date:   11 Aug 1986--late Oct 1986
Duration (in mins):   107
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Cast:   Steve Martin (C. D. ["Charlie"] Bales)  
    Daryl Hannah (Roxanne) in
  Starring: Shelley Duvall (Dixie)  
    Rick Rossovich (Chris [McConnell])  
    Fred Willard (Mayor Deebs)  
    Michael J. Pollard (Andy)  
    John Kapelos (Chuck)  
    Max Alexander (Dean)  
    Damon Wayans (Jerry)  
    Steve Mittleman (Ralston)  
  [and] Matt Lattanzi (Trent)  
    Shandra Beri (Sandy)  
    Blanche Rubin (Sophie)  
    Jane Campbell (Dottie)  
    Jean Sincere (Nina)  
    Claire Caplan (Lydia)  
    Thom Curley (Jim)  
    Ritch Shydner (Drunk #1)  
    Kevin Nealon (Drunk #2)  
    Brian George (Cosmetic surgeon [Dave])  
    Maureen Murphy (Cosmetics clerk )  
    Jeffrey Joseph (Stationery clerk )  
    Make Glavas (Peter Quinn)  
    Merrilyn Gann (Mrs. Quinn)  
    Bernadette Sabath (Berni )  
    Caroline Barclay (Girl in street)  
    Heidi Sorenson (Trudy)  

Summary: In the Pacific Northwest ski resort town of Nelson, fire chief C. D. “Charlie” Bales is self-conscious about his extra-large nose. C. D. is well liked in the community, but residents know not to comment on his nose as he has gotten into fights with people who insult his nose. One summer night, C. D. meets astrophysics student Roxanne Kowalski, who has just moved to town for the summer. Roxanne comes to the fire station naked because she has locked herself out of her house. C. D. goes to her house, climbs to the roof, lets himself in through an open window and unlocks the front door for her. The two chat over wine and cheese and by evening’s end, C. D. is smitten with her. The next day Roxanne visits with her friend, restaurant owner Dixie, explaining that she just broke up with her boyfriend and wants to meet a man with “half a brain.” A few minutes later Chris McConnell, a handsome but slow-witted new fireman in town, comes into the restaurant with fellow fireman Chuck. They notice Roxanne and Chuck flirts with her, but she rejects him. Chuck encourages McConnell to go talk to her, but instead, he rushes out and throws up. Dixie volunteers C. D. to help Roxanne carry a large, heavy telescope to the roof of her house. Roxanne tells C. D. she thinks she has discovered a new comet, which if her calculations are correct, will appear in a few weeks. Later, as Roxanne eats lunch in a delicatessen, McConnell comes in. The two make eye contact, but he gets nervous and rushes to the bathroom and climbs out the window. That night, while Roxanne, Dixie, and C. D. are eating at a popular restaurant, an intoxicated man insults C. D., calling him “Big Nose.” C. D. challenges the man to come up with a more thoughtful insult than “Big Nose.” When the man cannot, C. D. offers twenty clever insults about his nose, delivering them like a comedy act, causing the entire restaurant to laugh. Roxanne is impressed. The next day, Dixie encourages C. D. to ask Roxanne out, saying it is obvious that he likes her. When C. D. is reluctant, Dixie suggests getting plastic surgery on his nose might improve his self-confidence. C. D. says he is scared of the idea of plastic surgery because he is allergic to anesthesia. A woman who was at the restaurant the night before tells C. D. she thinks Roxanne is falling in love with him. Later, when C. D. shrugs off someone insulting his nose, a fireman asks why he has suddenly developed a sense of humor about his nose. C. D. replies, “Because yesterday she didn’t, but today she does.” C. D. runs into Roxanne on the street and the two go on an impromptu hike in the mountains. Roxanne reports she has met someone she likes, but he seems shy. C. D. thinks she is talking about him and suggests she make the first move. However, he is disappointed to learn Roxanne is talking about Chris McConnell and wants C. D. to encourage McConnell to ask her out. When C. D. tells McConnell that Roxanne likes him, he is initially excited, then becomes nervous because he does not know what to say to her. C. D. suggests he write her a letter, but when McConnell’s attempt at writing proves clunky, C. D. writes the letter for him instead. A few days later when Dixie and C. D. go to Roxanne’s to observe the stars through her telescope, C. D. is moved when Roxanne casually quotes from the letter she believes Chris McConnell wrote to her. She says she cannot understand how he could write such a beautiful letter, but will not talk to her. Roxanne asks C. D. to encourage McConnell to ask her out. The fireman is excited to hear that Roxanne wants to go out with him, but then has a panic attack. C. D. offers to give him some lines to say to her, but McConnell is too nervous to remember them. That night when McConnell goes to Roxanne’s, he wears a hunter’s cap to cover the earpiece he is wearing. C. D. is in a nearby van watching with binoculars and reciting lines into a microphone. Unfortunately, the police scanner is on in the van and soon McConnell is repeating police calls, so he takes the hat and earpiece off. Roxanne is confused and asks him to talk to her like he did in his letter. When he cannot put any words together, she is insulted and goes inside. C. D. has McConnell stand in the front yard and say beautiful things to Roxanne while he stands out of sight, feeding him the words. However, McConnell is too nervous to recite the words well, so C. D. stands behind a bush and begins speaking directly to Roxanne. Since she cannot see him in the darkness, Roxanne believes it is Chris McConnell who is talking to her and quickly surrenders to the eloquence of the romantic words and invites Chris inside. McConnell compliments C. D., saying, “We were great,” but C. D. is angry that McConnell is the one having sex with Roxanne instead of him. The next day, Roxanne stops by the fire station announcing she is going to Arizona for a week because they have found her comet. For the next week, C. D. writes Roxanne three letters a day, each one touching her heart more than the last. Meanwhile, Dixie, who is unaware of what C. D. has been doing for McConnell, encourages C. D. to tell Roxanne how he feels about her. She finds a letter C. D. is writing to Roxanne and takes it. Meanwhile, Chris McConnell stops by a bar for a beer and has no difficulty chatting with Sandy, the waitress. She flirts heavily with him, but he seems unaware of it. When Roxanne returns, she tells McConnell she came back early because of the letters he sent. He is unaware that C. D. wrote letters in his name and panics when Roxanne pushes to know more about things he revealed in the letters. He rushes out of the house and runs into Sandy who is packing her car to move to Lake Tahoe, California, to take a job as a waitress in a casino. He decides to go with her and writes a goodbye letter to Roxanne. Later, Dixie slides the letter C. D. was writing under Roxanne’s door, with a note explaining that C. D. wrote it. The next day, Roxanne confronts C. D. about the letters. He confesses that it is true, but Roxanne punches him, angry that he played with her emotions. C. D. is angry that she had sex with McConnell on their first night, but Roxanne replies that it was C.D. who seduced her. He points out that he was not the one in bed with her and accuses her of wanting someone who is both intelligent and physically beautiful. C. D. storms out. Later, C. D.’s extra strong sense of smell detects a fire before it can spread to the entire town. Once the fire is out, C. D. sits on the roof of his house, sulking about Roxanne. She comes to the yard and begins reciting some of the things he wrote in the letters. Roxanne says his words made her feel romantic, intelligent and feminine. C.D. forgives her and the two kiss as a comet flies across the sky.


 

Production Company: Indieprod  
  LA Films  
Production Text: Columbia Pictures Presents
A Daniel Melnick IndieProd & LA Films Production
A Fred Schepisi Film
Distribution Company: Columbia Pictures  
Director: Fred Schepisi (Dir)
  Warren Carr (Prod mgr)
  Michael Steele (1st asst dir)
  Casey Grant (2d asst dir)
  Wendy Chesal (3d asst dir)
  David Cyr (D.G.C. trainee)
  Dianne Patrick (D.G.C. trainee)
  Inga Volmer (D.G.C. trainee)
Producer: Michael Rachmil (Prod)
  Daniel Melnick (Prod)
  Steve Martin (Exec prod)
Writer: Steve Martin (Scr)
Photography: Ian Baker (Dir of photog)
  Rod Parkhurst (Cam op)
  Sandy McCallum (1st asst cam)
  Chris Harris (2d asst cam)
  Les Erskine (Gaffer)
  Barry Donlevy (Best boy)
  Tim Hogen (Key grip)
  John Brown (Dolly grip)
  Klaus Melchior (Video asst)
  Joe Lederer (Still photog)
  Panavision (Filmed in )
Art Direction: Jack DeGovia (Prod des)
  David Fischer (Art dir)
Film Editor: John Scott (Ed)
  Jack Hilton (Asst ed)
  Nigel Hollick (Canadian asst ed)
Set Decoration: Kimberly Richardson (Set dec)
  Grant Swain (Prop master)
  David Willson (Construction coord)
  Geoff Hilliard (Foreman)
  Bob Bottieri (Painter)
  Gary Brooks (Greensman)
Costumes: Richard Bruno (U.S. cost des)
  Tish Monaghan (Canadian costume des)
Music: Bruce Smeaton (Orig mus )
  Jim Henrikson (Mus ed)
Sound: Rob Young (Sd mixer)
  B. J. Clayton (Boom op)
  Chris Glynn-Jones (Cableman)
  Frank Warner (Supv sd ed)
  Robert Knudson (Re-rec mixer)
  Robert Glass (Re-rec mixer)
  Don Di Girolamo (Re-rec mixer)
  Bill Wylie (Sd ed staff)
  Gary Gerlich (Sd ed staff)
  Chet Slomka (Sd ed staff)
  David Horton (Sd ed staff)
  Jay Engel (ADR ed)
Special Effects: Bill Orr (Spec eff coord)
  Graphic Eye, Inc. (Main title des by)
  Carie De Ruiter (Main title des by, Graphic Eye, Inc.)
  Boss Film Corporation (Opticals and titles by)
Make Up: Toni Ann Walker (Mr. Martin's hairstylist)
  Donna Bis (Hairstylist)
  Frank Griffin (Mr. Martin's makeup artist)
  Ilona Herman (Makeup artist)
  Michael Westmore (Makeup des)
Production Misc: Pennie DuPont (Casting)
  Matthew O'Connor (Loc mgr)
  Michelle Allen (Canadian casting)
  Amy Grgich (U.S. casting asst)
  Christine Willson (Scr supv)
  Patti Allen (Prod coord)
  Myrna Cobb (Asst prod coord)
  Tammy Oates (Prod secy )
  Cheri Jacobs (Asst to Mr. Schepisi)
  Paul Warner (Asst to Mr. Schepisi )
  Eugenie Teychenne (Asst to the comp)
  Bruce Meldrum (Tech advisor)
  Karen Day (Prod accountant )
  George Horie (Loc mgr, Nelson)
  Scott Irvine (Transportation coord)
  Dave Bowe (Transportation capt)
  Wendi Laski (Unit pub)
Stand In: Joe Dunne (Stunt coord, U.S.)
  V. John Wardlow (Stunt coord, Canada)
  Bob Jauregui (Stuntman)
  Roy Pichette (Stuntman)
Color Personnel: Alpha Cine Services A Division of Tegra Industries (Processing)
  Deluxe (Col by)
MPAA Rating: PG
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: “Starry Sky,” composed and produced by Bruce Smeaton; “Panache,” composed and produced by Peter R. Melnick; “Written In The Wind,” composed, performed and produced by Joe Curiale; “Soul Star,” written by Terry Cox, Jeff Kent and Paul Pesco, produced by Jeff Kent and Paul Pesco, performed by Babi Floyd; “Party Tonight,” written by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Rick Boston, produced by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, performed by Dan Navarro; “Can This Be Love,” written Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Rick Boston, Janet Minto and Pamela Barlow, produced by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, performed by Pamela Barlow and Janet Minto.
Composer: Pamela Barlow
  Jeff Skunk Baxter
  Rick Boston
  Terry Cox
  Joe Curiale
  Jeff Kent
  Peter R. Melnick
  Janet Minto
  Paul Pesco
  Bruce Smeaton
Source Text: Based on the play Cyrano De Bergerac by Edmond Rostand (Paris, 28 Dec 1897).
Authors: Edmond Rostand

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Nippon Film Enterprises 2/7/1987 dd/mm/yyyy PA333558

PCA NO: 28543
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Stereo® in Selected Theatres
  col:
  Lenses: Filmed in Panavision

 
Genre: Comedy
  Romance
 
Subjects (Major): Impersonation and imposture
  Noses
  Pride and vanity
  Romance
 
Subjects (Minor): Astronomy
  Comets
  Fires
  Firemen
  Language and languages
  Letters
  Mountains
  Restaurants
  Shyness
  Telescope

Note: End credits include “special thanks” to: “Don Zimmerman; The British Columbia Film Promotion Office; The City of Nelson, B.C.; The Nelson Fire Department; Richards on Richards, Vancouver, B.C.”
       End credits also indicate the movie was “filmed entirely on location in British Columbia.”
       Roxanne is modern day retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story. According to the 30 Jun 1987 LAT, it marked the first solo screenplay by actor-writer Steve Martin, who, although he had worked on many screenplays, had always collaborated with others. In a 12 Jul 1987 NYT article, Martin reported he went through twenty-five drafts. Martin said he had been drawn to Cyrano de Bergerac since childhood, ever since seeing the 1950 movie version (see entry) starring José Ferrer. However, in adapting the Edmond Rostand play, which is set in 17th century France, Martin had to update it to a 20th century American setting.
       Principal photography began on 11 Aug 1986 according to the 12 Sep 1986 DV production chart. Promotional material in AMPAS library files indicates the film was shot in British Columbia, Canada, with three weeks of photography occurring in the town of Nelson. Additional footage was shot in Vancouver and the town of Amore. Production wrapped in late Oct 1986 according to a 29 Oct 1986 DV brief.
       Make-up artist Michael Westmore created the foam latex prosthetic nose that Martin wore. The 9 Aug 1987 USA Weekend reported that Westmore sculpted dozens of different styles of noses for Martin to choose from. Once they decided upon one, Westmore had 100 made for use, each at a cost of $30. Each nose was used only once and initially took ninety minutes to apply to Martin’s face, but the time was cut to thirty-five minutes by the end of the production.
       Although the film opened nationwide on 19 June 1987, sneak preview screenings were held around the country the weekend before, on 12 Jun and 13 Jun 1987, according to the 25 Jun 1987 HR. Based on the sneak preview box-office results, producers opted to scale back the film’s opening from 1,100 screens to 847 screens, in order to boost the per-screen box-office numbers, according to the 24 Jun 1987 DV. Distributor Columbia Pictures did not release as many prints in rural and suburban areas as originally planned because the previews went over better in urban areas.
       The film earned $2.2 million in its first five days of release according to a trade advertisement in the 26 Jun 1987 HR. After thirty-one days of release, Roxanne had taken in $25.9 million, according to the 21 Jul 1987 DV box-office chart.
       Roxanne was part of a first-of-its-kind advertising campaign that promoted both the movie and the soft drink Diet Coke, the 26 Jun 1987 DV reported. Television commercials debuting on 15 Jun 1987, four days before the film’s opening, featured audiences in a movie theatre watching Roxanne while drinking Diet Coke. Quick scenes from the movie played during the thirty-second spot, as well as shots of people enjoying the carbonated beverage. The cross promotion was possible because Diet Coke owner Coca-Cola also owned Columbia Pictures at the time. The 5 Jul 1987 LAHExam credited Columbia’s marketing and distribution vice president Peter Sealy for the idea. Sealy was promoted to president of Coca-Cola Telecommunications three weeks after the movie opened.
       However, actress Daryl Hannah was not pleased by the cross-promotion because she had a strong personal stance against endorsing products. According to the 27 Oct 1987 LAT, Hannah requested Coca-Cola stop running the ads a week after the film’s debut and threatened a lawsuit when they did not comply. The 30 Oct 1987 HR announced Columbia Pictures had apologized to Hannah, but also emphasized the commercial was meant solely as a promotional tie-in and not as a commercial endorsement. The article said no lawsuit had been filed on the matter.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   12 Sep 1986.   
Daily Variety   29 Oct 1986.   
Daily Variety   24 Jun 1987   p. 2, 8.
Daily Variety   26 Jun 1987   p. 2, 8.
Daily Variety   21 Jul 1987.   
Hollywood Reporter   17 Jun 1987   p. 3, 13.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jun 1987.   
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jun 1987.   
Hollywood Reporter   30 Oct 1987.   
LAHExam   5 Jul 1987   Section E, p. 1, 10.
Los Angeles Times   19 Jun 1987   p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   30 Jun 1987   Section G, p. 1, 9.
Los Angeles Times   27 Oct 1987.   
New York Times   19 Jun 1987   p. 3.
New York Times   12 Jul 1987   Section H, p. 1, 14.
USA Weekend   9 Aug 1987.   
Variety   10 Jun 1987   p. 10.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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