IMDb > Neverwas (2005)
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Neverwas (2005) More at IMDbPro »

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Neverwas -- A stellar cast - Aaron Eckhart, Nick Nolte, Ian McKellen, William Hurt, Jessica Lange -- in an enchanting tale of a doctor who learns his childhood fantasy world may really exist.
Neverwas -- A well-educated psychiatrist leaves an academic career to work at an institution where his father, a novelist...
Neverwas -- CT #1, Post


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Release Date:
4 August 2006 (Bulgaria) See more »
Every fairy tale needs its hero.
A well-educated psychiatrist leaves an academic career to work at an institution where his father, a novelist... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Making the Ordinary and the 'Unordinary' Extraordinary See more (37 total) »


  (in credits order)

Aaron Eckhart ... Zach Riley

Ian McKellen ... Gabriel Finch

Brittany Murphy ... Maggie Paige

Nick Nolte ... T.L. Pierson

Jessica Lange ... Katherine Pierson

William Hurt ... Dr. Peter Reed

Bill Bellamy ... Martin Sands

Alan Cumming ... Jake

Vera Farmiga ... Eleanna

Michael Moriarty ... Dick
Ken Roberts ... Terrence

Cynthia Stevenson ... Sally

Lorena Gale ... Judy
Tabitha St. Germain ... Receptionist
Tim Henry ... Husky Sheriff
Joe Macaluso ... Deputy Sheriff

Andrew Airlie ... Head Editor
Eileen Pedde ... Waitress
Ryan Drescher ... Young Zach

Cassandra Sawtell ... Little Girl
Jim Eckhart ... Haggard Therapist
Richard Hendery ... Bartender
Johanna Osborne ... Amanda (as Jo-Ann MacDonald)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Aaron Stephens ... Dr. Truman
Suzanne Bastien ... Jr. Editor (uncredited)

Camille Sullivan ... Young Katherine Pierson (uncredited)

Mark Tisdale ... Giant (uncredited)

Directed by
Joshua Michael Stern 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Joshua Michael Stern 

Produced by
Aaron Eckhart .... co-producer
Deboragh Gabler .... line producer
Marina Grasic .... executive producer
Nathan Kahane .... executive producer
Sidney Kimmel .... producer
Carsten H.W. Lorenz .... co-producer (as Carsten Lorenz)
Amanda Mackey Johnson .... executive producer
Greg Shapiro .... producer
Bruce Toll .... executive producer
Original Music by
Philip Glass 
Cinematography by
Michael Grady (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Jeff McEvoy 
Casting by
Amanda Mackey Johnson 
Cathy Sandrich  (as Cathy Sandrich Gelfond)
Production Design by
Sean Hargreaves 
Art Direction by
Helen Jarvis 
Set Decoration by
Dominique Fauquet-Lemaitre 
Costume Design by
Monique Prudhomme  (as Monique Prud'homme)
Makeup Department
Gitte Axen .... assistant makeup artist
Bonita DeHaven .... makeup artist: Jessica Lange
Victoria Down .... key makeup artist
Elisabeth Fry .... makeup artist: Brittany Murphy
Sherry Linder-Gygli .... key hair stylist
Sandy Monesmith .... assistant hair stylist
Eden Orfanos .... makeup artist
D. Garen Tolkin .... hair stylist: Jessica Lange (as Garen Tolkin)
Toby Lindala .... special makeup effects artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Tara Cowell-Plain .... production manager
Jack Schuster .... post-production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Julia Done .... first assistant director: second unit
Philip Keller .... second unit director
Rachel Leiterman .... first assistant director
Yannick Leray .... third assistant director
Michael Shandley .... second assistant director
A.J. Vesak .... second unit director
Jennifer Zimmer .... third assistant director
Art Department
Vaughan V. Baker .... paint coordinator (as Vaughn Baker)
John Beatty .... construction coordinator
Desi Brett .... lead carpenter (as Desi J. Brett)
Raul Casillas .... lead set dresser
Anthony Chruszcz .... set dresser
Matthew Cogswell .... illustrator: "Neverwas" book
Matthew Cogswell .... production designer: second unit
James Cordeiro .... set designer
Dean Eilertson .... property master
Glenn Foerster .... lead greensperson
Les Ford .... playback animator
Gideon Hay .... props
Michelle Hendriksen .... assistant property master
Scott Holburn .... set dresser
Sherri Hunter .... art department buyer
Jacques Larrue .... on-set dresser
Carmen Maria Nees .... props buyer (as Carmen Nees)
Elizabeth Patrick .... assistant set decorator
Kevin Tomecek .... construction foreman
Greg Venturi .... assistant art director
Paolo G. Venturi .... assistant art director (as Pablo Venturi)
Lori West .... art department coordinator
Oliver Zentner .... set dresser
Michael Dundas .... paint foreman (uncredited)
Philip Keller .... storyboard artist (uncredited)
Christopher Rodgers .... lead constructor (uncredited)
Sound Department
Steven Avila .... sound effects editor
James Bailey .... foley artist (as Jim Bailey)
Trip Brock .... sound re-recording mixer
Trip Brock .... supervising sound editor
Michael J. Fox .... adr supervisor (as Michael Fox)
Dave Griffiths .... boom operator
Bill Jenkins .... foley editor
Peter D. Lago .... sound effects editor (as Peter Lago)
Patricio A. Libenson .... dialogue editor (as Patricio Libenson)
Melissa Oivanki .... sound post-production coordinator (as Melissa Ovianki)
Patrick Ramsay .... sound mixer
Jackie Rodman .... dialogue editor (as Jackie Oster)
Elana Saviolis .... post sound coordinator
Geordy Sincavage .... foley mixer
Naan Spiess .... sound assistant
Kelly Vandever .... sound re-recording mixer
Ben Whitver .... assistant sound editor
Skip Williams .... foley editor
Brian S.M. Wroth .... foley editor (as Brian Miller)
Steven Avila .... sound designer (uncredited)
Nick Foley .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Greg Morgenstein .... adr recordist (uncredited)
Chris Navarro .... adr recordist (uncredited)
Eric Thompson .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Ben Whitver .... adr recordist (uncredited)
Brian S.M. Wroth .... foley editor (uncredited)
Special Effects by
David Barkes .... special effects first assistant
Allen Benjamin .... special effects coordinator (as Al Benjamin)
Paul Benjamin .... special effects technician
Brant McIlroy .... special effects second assistant
Kyle T. Moore .... special effects assistant
Visual Effects by
Mark Breakspear .... visual effects supervisor: Rainmaker
Shauna Bryn .... visual effects producer: Rainmaker (as Shauna Bryan)
Debora Dunphy .... compositor: Rainmaker
Christopher Dusendschon .... digital imaging supervisor: iO FILM
John Gajdecki .... visual effects on-set supervisor: Rainmaker
Zane Harker .... data manager: Rainmaker
Marta Knapik .... visual effects coordinator: Rainmaker
Todd Liddiard .... compositor: Rainmaker
Colin Liggett .... lead compositor: Rainmaker (as Colin Liggott)
Kevin Mullican .... digital imaging research & development: iO Film
Bill Ferguson .... stunt coordinator
Gavin Buhr .... assistant stunt coordinator (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Michael Bruce Adams .... first assistant camera: "b" camera (as Mike Adams)
Rick Allen .... key grip
Monty Black .... lamp operator
Terry Calhoun .... best boy electric
John Clothier .... Steadicam operator: "a" camera
Douglas Curran .... still photographer (as Doug Curran)
John Dines .... lamp operator
Grant Hamakawa .... dolly grip: "b" camera
John Harkin .... dolly grip: "a" camera (as John Harken)
Junichi Hosoi .... Steadicam operator: "a" camera
Bruno Huber .... generator operator
Stephen Jackson .... gaffer (as Steve Jackson)
Carl Jensen .... best boy grip
Dennis Jones .... lamp operator
David Fred Masselink .... digital imaging technician: iO Film (as D. Fred Masselink)
Randal W. Morton .... second assistant camera: "a" camera (as Randy Morten)
Cam North .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
John Payne .... digital imaging technician: iO Film
Laird Pierce .... camera trainee
Darren Robertson .... video playback operator
Scott Simpson .... second assistant camera: "b" camera
Randy Smith .... lamp operator
Keith Thomson .... camera operator: "b" camera
Gregory Middleton .... camera operator (uncredited)
Gregory Middleton .... director of photography: second unit (uncredited)
Peter Wilke .... additional Steadicam operator (uncredited)
Animation Department
Stefan Fleig .... animation intern: Reality Check Studios
Shingo Fukushima .... animator: Reality Check Studios
Jason Howey .... animator: Reality Check Studios
Mike Jungwirth .... animation intern: Reality Check Studios
Aaron Kaminar .... lead animator: Reality Check Studios
Casting Department
Errin Clutton .... casting associate
Sandra-Ken Freeman .... extras casting (as Sandra Ken Freeman)
J. McKenzie Moore .... casting assistant (as James Moore)
Alicia Scott .... extras casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lise Hache .... assistant costume designer
Editorial Department
Brian Beard .... digital intermediate editor: iO Film
Howard Cohen .... digital intermediate production executive: iO Film
Evan Edelist .... digital intermediate production executive: iO Film
Richard E. Flores .... negative cutter (as Richard Flores)
Adam Hawkey .... digital intermediate colorist: iO Film
Michael John Koetter .... digital intermediate editor: iO Film (as Michael Koetter)
Tim Krubsack .... digital intermediate production executive: iO Film
Julie Landholt .... digital intermediate producer: iO Film (as J. Kathryn Landhiolt)
Michael Mintz .... second digital film colorist: iO Film
Tim Mirkovich .... additional editor
Chris Mistorni .... first assistant editor
Kevin Mullican .... color scientist: iO Film
Shannon Leigh Olds .... additional editor
Kevin Soares .... apprentice editor
Jaan Spirka .... colorist: dailies
Music Department
Dan Bora .... score recording engineer
Cat Celebrezze .... assistant director: Dunvagen Music Publishing
Kevin Crehan .... music editor
Jim Keller .... executive music producer
Thomas Milano .... music editor
Nico Muhly .... music editor
Nico Muhly .... score preparation
Kurt Munkacsi .... music producer
Ichiho Nishiki .... assistant score recording engineer
Nicole Ribaudo .... assistant score recording engineer
Michael Riesman .... conductor
Michael Riesman .... musician: piano
Christian Rutledge .... music production coordinator
Transportation Department
Paul Amenta .... driver: construction
Jon Bak .... transportation coordinator
T.J. Bak .... driver (as TJ Bak)
Ted Bradford .... driver: cast
Don Cox .... driver: hair/makeup
Felix Fanzega .... driver: cast
Dennis Friesen .... driver: honeywagon
Mike Godenir .... driver: electric truck
Peter Huff .... transportation captain
Brian Hughes .... transportation captain
Dan Irwine .... driver: special effects truck (as Dan Irwin)
Lavine Journault .... driver: cast
Graham Price .... driver: cable truck
Ted Wassenaar .... driver: set decoration
Paul Whittle .... transportation
Other crew
Ryan Acheson .... assistant to producers
Grant Astle .... assistant chef
Regan Blakesley .... electronic press kit
Glen Brooks .... production assistant
Melanie Cadham .... assistant: Josh Stern and Greg Shapiro
Kathy Candiago .... accounting clerk
Terence Chase .... security
Nora Collins .... craft service
Nora Collins .... first aid
Gloria Davies .... publicist
Darryl Dennis Deegan .... assistant: Ian McKellen (as Darryl Deegan)
Chaunce Drury .... assistant production coordinator
Jim Filippone .... aerial helicopter pilot
Heather Gittens .... clearance
Michael Grigsby .... supervising accountant
Alan Homma .... assistant accountant
Krista Johnston .... clearance (uncredited)
Bruce C. Jones .... security coordinator (as Bruce Jones)
Danny Mandel .... representative: production financing, Union Bank of California
Rob McEntegart .... executive vice president, business affairs: Mandate Pictures
Jeff McEvoy .... main title designer
Nicole McKay .... assistant: Aaron Eckhart
Darin Mickelson .... key production assistant
Tim Moshansky .... location scout
Peter Munro .... assistant location manager
Anita Neufeld .... assistant: Deboragh Gabler
Stephanie Rossel .... script supervisor
Trevor Sadler .... chef
Joyce Sawa .... production coordinator
Winona Sim .... playback coordinator
Chris Smith .... production assistant
Heather Tyler .... post-production accountant
Scooby Vincent .... key production assistant (as Michelle Vincent)
Laurie Watt .... production accountant
Linda Yip .... location manager
John Zubatiuk .... trainee location assistant (as Jonathan Zubatiuk)
Ruaidri W. Bennett .... production assistant (uncredited)
Laura Boddington .... stand-in (uncredited)
Laura Boddington .... stand-in/double: Brittany Murphy (uncredited)
Marcin Borkowski .... set production assistant (uncredited)
Phil Buhler .... stand-in (uncredited)
David Costello .... production assistant (uncredited)
Wendolyn Deal .... assistant: William Hurt (uncredited)
Wendolyn Deal .... production assistant (uncredited)
Jonathan Fox .... production assistant (uncredited)
Michael J. Harker .... completion bond company representative (uncredited)
Aaron Merrell .... production finance: SKE (uncredited)
Gerry Thom .... stand-in (uncredited)
Steve Woodley .... head animal trainer (uncredited)
Trevor Wyatt .... production assistant (uncredited)
Sally Kirkland .... special thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for thematic issues
103 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Continuity: The dream sequence in the beginning shows the young Zachary with huge brown eyes - the adult Zachary has blue eyes.See more »
[first lines]
Gabriel Finch:[narrating] For those of you who do not know, this is how it began. Zachary Small was an ordinary little boy. He lived with his ordinary father in an ordinary house in an ordinary town. What Zachary did not know - could not know - was just how unordinary he was...
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28 out of 31 people found the following review useful.
Making the Ordinary and the 'Unordinary' Extraordinary, 1 October 2007
Author: gradyharp from United States

NEVERWAS, a little miracle of a movie written and directed by Joshua Michael Stern, is an allegory, a fairytale, a dissection of the impact of mental illness on parents and children, and story of compassion, believing, and blossoming of character that was created with a sterling ensemble of actors in 2005, failed to find a niche in theatrical distribution, and went straight to DVD - becoming one of those limited release films that is very elusive even in the megavideo stores. The reasons for this relative anonymity are not clear, but film lovers will do well searching out this little gem: the rewards are immediate gratification and long lasting satisfaction.

Narrated by Ian McKellan who plays a major role in the film, the story concerns the return of psychiatrist Zachary Riley/Small (Aaron Eckhart) to an obsolete mental institution named Millhouse, the hospital where his author father T.L. Pierson (Nick Nolte) ended his days in suicide, having suffered from bipolar syndrome. Zach wants to discover secrets about his father, why his father's book 'Neverwas' has been so disturbing to Zach, and to offer good medical treatment to those patients living in the obscure hospital run by the kindly but enigmatic Dr. Reed (William Hurt). Zach is buoyant, greets his new job with joy, and works with various patients in group and individual therapy (the group includes well developed characters portrayed by Alan Cumming, Vera Farmiga, and Michael Moriarty, among others) and encounters the apparently mute Gabriel Finch (Ian McKellan), a delusional man who believes Zach has returned to break the curse preventing his return to his imaginary kingdom of Neverwas.

Zach meets a 'grad student botantist'/reporter Ally (Brittany Murphy) who loves Zach's father's book and urges Zach to read the fairytale as a means to assuage Zach's new nightly nightmares and insomnia dealing with images of himself as a child, his father's suicide, and other strange forces. Ally's commitment to Zach's father's book, Zach's breakthrough to Gabriel Finch, together with Zach's re-evaluation of his agoraphobic mother (Jessica Lange) all intertwine to reestablish Zach's discovery of his relationship to a father whose mental illness prevented the close relationship Zach so desperately missed. In a tumbling set of events that incorporate the fairytale of the book Neverwas with the reality of Zach's father's relationship to Gabriel Finch brings the story to a heartwarming, well considered, touching conclusion. Being 'unordinary' is a goal, not a curse.

In addition to the above-mentioned stellar cast, small parts are also created by Bill Bellamy, Ken Roberts, Cynthia Stevenson among others. The cinematography by Michael Grady manages to keep the audience balanced between real and fantasy and the musical score by renowned composer Philip Glass fits the story like a glove. Ian McKellan gives a multifaceted performance of a man whose delusional life is far more real than his life as a mental patient, Aaron Eckhart finesses the transformation of the lost child seeking his roots with great skill, Nick Nolte gives one of his finer interpretations as the disturbed father/author, and Brittany Murphy manages to maintain a much needed lightness to the atmosphere of the mental institution story setting. The impact of the film, while absorbing from the first images, is the ending, a reinforcement of the importance of love and nurturing that too often is relegated to little books for children instead of the manner in which we live our lives. This is a fine film well worth ferreting out from the obscurity to which it so unjustly has been assigned. Grady Harp

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