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Where is Kyra? Michelle Pfeiffer stars in this social commentary about those disregarded by humanity

Where is Kyra?

Society overlooks the people that move about through the streets near the brink of ultimate poverty and despair. These are the older people who have been unable to find work for years. They’re ignored on the sidewalk and invisible to the rest of the world. Michelle Pfeiffer plays such a character dominating nearly every scene as Kyra in the dark, moody, and tragic, “Where is Kyra?”, which opens this week.

“It’s just hard out there. I’m no spring chicken.” Kyra (Michelle Pfeiffer) explains to Doug (Kiefer Sutherland), the equally demoralized gentleman she meets in a bar and develops a friendship with. Kyra is a divorced older woman caring for her ailing mother Ruth. She’s been unable to find a job since she was let go from the company she worked at as an accountant a couple of years prior. Full of definitive rejection, anguish, and despondence she tells him, “Ever since I lost my job, I have been looking for work every day. I don’t even know how many resumes I’ve dropped off. I have tried everything, and am reduced to handing out flyers on parked cars and praying every day that I even have that.”

Kyra’s luck grows from bad to worse when her mother passes away. Still unable to find work, she dresses younger and hipper in an attempt to shave years off her age so that someone will hire her. This doesn’t work either and she soon ends up on the verge of being evicted from her apartment, leaving the next pit stop to include potentially panhandling and living on the streets.
One uncomfortable saving grace is that her mother’s death was never properly recorded, so the government continues to send the social security payments to Kyra’s apartment. Kyra dresses up as her mother for bank visits in order to fraudulently cash her mother’s disability checks. This isn’t about her committing a crime, but what people do when it comes down to basic survival. It’s a dilemma that the struggling aging individual hopes they’ll never be faced with, but one that so many people end up fighting through and enduring alone.

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago in my “Roseanne” post, I tend to have enormous compassion and interest for those I see fighting to survive and stay afloat. They’re the people that are in the background just trying to get their bills paid. This is the overall basic premise in one of my upcoming book releases later this year called, “Living for the Weekend”.

“Where is Kyra?” tells the unheard stories of the people that others snub on the street because they may not look like a hot young charming model. They’ve committed that Earthly crime of aging, while simultaneously dissolving into the background where they are discarded and dead to their surroundings. No one looks at them or talks to them as they evaporate from view.
This film is an essential social commentary to the sad state that currently exists among so many people. Hundreds of millions of people grow older and struggle to find any kind of work with no luck at all. I’ve listened to some of their stories, I see them on the streets and sense their pain, while everyone else turns a blind eye disinterested. The older they get, the harder it gets, and this films sheds some beautiful magnificent light on that. No one mobilizes to create marches and protests over something that affects millions of people over anything else. If they did, that’s something I’d gladly participate in.

Michelle has been receiving rave reviews, as she usually does, for her exceptional performance in this deep dark character study that pays candid homage to the people that no one notices. It may be hard for some to believe that anyone wouldn’t notice Michelle’s beauty, but in this film she painfully disappears into this character. As the development guy at her former production company, one of her favorite characters she once told me she likes to play are the ones that vanish into the background as everyday people. She’s done this in films like Frankie and Johnny, Love Field, A Thousand Acres, to New Year’s Eve.

This was always against the repetitive advice of her former agent of decades, Ed Limato, before he passed away. During the height of her box office reign in the late 90’s, I used to listen to Ed and Michelle disagree about her film choices. He always wanted her to wear a tight revealing sexy dress playing a stunning hot bombshell role that would showcase how hot she is in some box office blockbuster. Her argument is that she’s never been interested in all that. She’s always wanted to play real people with real problems that she could disappear into. This new one is no different.

Fresh off the success of, The Wizard of Lies, Mother! and Murder on the Orient Express this past year, she returns in a haunting bold performance in Where is Kyra?. The movie was technically filmed before the other three films, but was recently picked up for distribution. Honest, dark, small, real films are a harder sell for distributors to take on, because let’s face it these great little art house films may be critically raved about, but are not typically box office smashes. For every What Lies Beneath, Hairspray, Batman Returns, Dangerous Minds, or Murder on the Orient Express, she squeezes in the occasional small character film.

The Wizard of Lies (top left), Mother! (top right), Murder on the Orient Express (bottom left), Where is Kyra? (bottom right)
Where is Kyra?


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Michelle Pfeiffer is back in four films in 2017

Michelle Pfeiffer, who I’ve known for over 20 years and worked with at her production company in the late mid to late 1990’s, has been busy all year filming four back to back projects.  All of that stuff will be coming out in 2017 and it could garner her some award attention.   First up is a little independent film called “Where is Kyra?”, premiering at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2017.

Sundance who chose the picture for the festival says, “Michelle Pfeiffer plays a very different character with her, gritty, down and dirty, something you never seen her doing before, and it’s beautifully cinematic.”


The movie surrounds, “Mild-mannered, sheltered Kyra, played with intensity by Michelle Pfeiffer, begins to spiral after the death of her mother. Long out of work, the deep-in-debt Kyra struggles to support herself.  As she becomes increasingly desperate and isolated, longing for her mother, she launches a cryptic, last-ditch scheme to keep from being evicted. She also finds solace in another lonely soul, Doug (Kiefer Sutherland), from whom she initially tries to hide her plight, but Kyra slowly ropes him into her deception.” 

 

Robert DeNiro with Michelle Pfeiffer

 

Michelle transforms physically in a piece she filmed with Robert DeNiro for HBO called, “Wizard of Lies”.  It’s based on the true story of Bernard and Ruth Madoff.  Bernie Madoff is considered the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.   Alessandro Nivola, who I worked with on the Julia Stiles picture “Carolina”, plays their son Mark Madoff.   This is the fourth time Michelle has worked with Robert DeNiro, as they both starred in “Stardust”, “New Year’s Eve”, and “The Family”.  It will likely be aired around May 2017, just as we kick off the Summer.

“Wizard of Lies” for HBO

She has also wrapped up a bigger film called, “Mother”, for Paramount Studios with Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem for Director Darren Aronofsky who gave us “Requiem for a Dream”, “The Wrestler”, “Black Swan”, “Noah”, and “The Fighter.”  The film is a thriller surrounding a couple who seems to have the perfect relationship until unexpected guests arrive shifting everything.  The release date is looking to be December 29, 2017.

And that’s not all!

Michelle is currently filming, “Murder on the Orient Express”, with Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, and Judi Dench.   She stepped in as the understudy for Angelina Jolie who dropped out of the Murder film during pre-production due to the rough personal time she’s going through with the dissolve of her marriage.   Ironically, Angelina had stepped in for Michelle for “Original Sin” a film I worked on back in 2000, which was produced by Michelle Pfeiffer’s company and originally called, “Dancing in the Dark”, based on the novel of the same name, “Waltz Into Darkness”.

“Dark Shadows”

This is the second time Michelle has worked with Johnny Depp.  They both starred in Tim Burton’s, “Dark Shadows” in 2012.   Although “Murder on the Orient Express” is currently filming, the release date is aimed for November 22, 2017.

 


Empowerment, inspirational and self-help books by Kevin Hunter
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