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Tracking the Jackal

Author: wes-connors from Los Angeles
10 October 2010

This documentary was written, produced and directed by Joseph "J.M." Kenny for inclusion in the "Collector's Edition" DVD release of "The Jackal" (1997). There are interviews with director Michael Caton-Jones along with the film's four major stars - Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, Sidney Poitier, and Diane Venora - who reveal how they accepted and prepared for the roles. Producers are included, and production designer Michael White receives a featured segment. Everyone seems to know the story is quite distanced from the original "The Day of the Jackal" book and film. Mr. Willis refers to the movie by its original title.

Later, Willis offers some startling comments about a clandestine preparation, with top secret government officials, stating, "If I told you about it, I'd have to kill you." The updated version's strength in characters is noted by the cast. Their work is apparent in the film, but only Mr. Gere and Ms. Venora's relatively subtle romantic subplot seems particularly noteworthy. Some "behind-the-scenes" footage is included; however, a backstage clashing of egos is not commented upon.

"The Making of The Jackal" is followed by deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a trailer, and photographs.

Removed for pacing, the deleted material is most interesting. Willis' character in the film has no romantic female interest, and chooses a man instead of the traditional woman in his plotting; arguably, as part of his "disguise" but contextually open to speculation. A deleted subplot has "The Jackal" going "all the way" with a lonely middle-aged woman (played by Lisa Banes), which is more than the "just kissing" shown with similar pick-up Stephen Spinella. Other deleted scenes feature more about the inner workings at the FBI, and how a spy is connected to the Jackal; included are some good looks at Ms. Venora.

***** The Making of The Jackal (4/28/98) J.M. Kenny ~ Michael Caton-Jones, Richard Gere, Bruce Willis, Sidney Poitier

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