What Lies Beneath


2h 10m 2000

Brief Synopsis

After her daughter leaves home for college, a married woman finds herself haunted by a ghost. Thinking she in the midst of an emotional breakdown, she tries to solve the hanting, only to uncover a shocking truth about her husband.

Film Details

Also Known As
Apparences, Dolt under ytan
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Horror
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
2000
Distribution Company
AMBLIN PARTNERS
Location
Addison, Vermont, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m

Synopsis

It had been a year since Dr. Norman Spencer betrayed his beautiful wife Claire. But with Claire oblivious to the truth and the affair over, Norman's life and marriage seem perfect--so perfect that when Claire tells him of hearing mysterious voices and seeing a young woman's wraithlike image in their home, he dismisses her mounting terror as delusion. However, as Claire moves closer to the truth, it becomes clear that this apparition will not be dismissed, and has come back for Dr. Norman Spencer... and his beautiful wife.

Crew

William Acedo

On-Set Dresser

Amit Agrawal

Other

Timothy J Alberts

Wardrobe

Janice Alexander

Hair Stylist

Newell Alexander

Other

Ted Alexandre

Other

Chris Allen

Other

Gregory Alpert

Location Manager

Maura Alvarez

Rotoscope Animator

Charlie Araki

Accountant

Christopher Arreola

Other

William Ball

Other

Elinor Bardach

Costume Supervisor

Carlo Basail

Other

Brian Battles

Visual Effects

Martin H Baukind

Grip

Eleanor Beaton

Foley

Charles Belardinelli

Special Effects Coordinator

Jessica Bellfort

Assistant

T Brooklyn Bellissimo

Special Effects Supervisor

Lissa Beltri

Song

Rodney Lee Bennett

Driver

Kenneth G Berkhout

Electrician

John Peter Bernardo

Apprentice Editor

John Berri

Visual Effects

David Bifano

Other

Libuse Binder

Production Assistant

Matthew J. Birch

Production Coordinator

Micah Bisagni

Assistant Camera Operator

Seth Blackman

Location Scout

Steve Blakey

Visual Effects

Marzette Bonar

Production Supervisor

Beau Borders

Sound Design

Judith Bouley

Casting

Tristan Bourne

Gang Boss

Steven J Boyd

Associate Producer

Joan Bradshaw

Executive Producer

Justine Brandy

Song

Steven Brennan

Property Master Assistant

Kayce Brown

Assistant

Ronald Gene Brown

Driver

Richard Bugge

Other

Don Burgess

Director Of Photography

Don Burgess

Dp/Cinematographer

Gary Burritt

Negative Cutting

Tom Burruss

Other

Dave Burton

Other

Jared Bush

Assistant

Richard M Butkus

Electrician

Timothy Michael Cairns

Production Assistant

Kami Calevro

Accounting Assistant

Sean Callan

Effects Assistant

Craig Campbell

Electrician

Randy Cantor

Transportation Captain

Kenny Carceller

Best Boy

Marguerite Cargill

Visual Effects

Sophie Carlhian

Other

Craig D Carlson

Location Scout

Ron Carreiro

Swing Gang

Mitch Carter

Other

Rick Carter

Production Designer

Chris Chichotka

Foreman

Cristina Christian

Accounting Assistant

Peter Ciardelli

Editorial Production Assistant

Kelsey Clark

Assistant

Michael Clemens

Assistant

Cash Cockerill

Assistant Camera Operator

Rich Cole

Other

Danielle Conroy

Production Manager

Denis Cordova

Other

Carla Corwin

Assistant Director

Jason Cosgrove

Assistant

David Cowgill

Other

Edward J Cox

Best Boy

Thomas Crawford

Best Boy Grip

Randy Crowder

Stand-In

Chris Cummings

Art Department Coordinator

Alan Dangerio

Hairdresser

Jeff Dashnaw

Stunts

Tracy Keehn Dashnaw

Stunts

Craig Davis

Stunts

Tim A Davison

Stunt Coordinator

Sandy De Crescent

Music Contractor

Lisa Deaner

Visual Effects

Doug Deangelis

Song

Tara Debach

Stand-In

Marcia Debonis

Casting

Stefan Dechant

Art Director

Dave Deever

Video Assist/Playback

Deborah Lamia Denevar

Makeup Artist

Debbie Denise

Visual Effects

Susie Desanto

Costume Designer

Maria Devane

Post-Production Accountant

Paulie Di Cocco

Driver

Scotty Dibiaso

Other

Tony Diep

Visual Effects

Jeff Dillinger

Effects Assistant

Jerry Donegan

Special Effects

Moosie Drier

Other

Colin Drobnis

Visual Effects

Jeffrey M Drucker

Driver

R Orlando Duenas

Associate Editor

R Stirling Duguid

Visual Effects

R Sterling Duguid

Visual Effects

Francois Duhamel

Photography

Michael N Dupuis

Production

Beverli Eagan

Set Designer

Steve Eakins

Driver

Tony Eckert

Foley Mixer

Iake Eissinmann

Other

David Emery

Chief Modelmaker

Bradley Thomas Emmons

Rigging Gaffer

Rob Engle

Software Engineer

Jon Epstein

Stunt Man

Billy Esparza

Driver

Jerry Eubanks

Electrician

Jennifer Euston

Casting Associate

Debbie Evans

Stunts

Tony Fanning

Art Director

Mary Jane Faris

Accounting Assistant

Rod Farley

Grip

Ellen Faustine

Transportation

Sharon Felder

Assistant

Ian Fellows

Other

Aaron Felton

Grip

Andrea Mae Fenton

Set Decorator

Anthony Feola

Production

Tomas F Ford

Production Manager

Crys Forsyth-smith

Visual Effects

Chris Fousek

Swing Gang

Kevin Freeman

Effects Assistant

Kyra Friedman

Other

Layne Friedman

Visual Effects

Harry Frierson

On-Set Dresser

Jenny Fulle

Visual Effects

Jay Galbo

Gaffer

Amy Garback

Other

Ray Garcia

Grip

Andrea Gard

Sound Effects Editor

Michael Gastaldo

Property Master

Earl D. Gayer

Electrician

Michael George

Other

Colleen Gibbons

Other

Juliandra Gillen

Stand-In

Jan Ellen Goldstein

Assistant Location Manager

Patrick Gomes

Other

Will Grant

On-Set Dresser

Ruth Greenberg

Other

Clark Gregg

Screenplay

Clark Gregg

Story By

Clark Gregg

From Story

Darrel Griffin

Visual Effects

Basil Bryant Grillo

Assistant Director

Joe C. Guest

Production Assistant

Dawn Guinta

Other

Scott Guitteau

Sound Effects

Tony Guzman

Electrician

Christine Haas

Production Coordinator

Zoli Hajdu

Grip

Brian Hall

Other

Deborah A Hall

Costumes

Joe B Hall

Accounting Assistant

Adam Hamilton

Song

Adam Hamilton

Song Performer

Rowena Hammill

Song Performer

Rowena Hammill

Technical Advisor

Todd Hara

Effects Assistant

Anthony Harris

Color

Cheryl Harris

Animal Trainer

Katie Harris

Song

Paula Harris

Assistant Director

Coleman L. Hart

Grip

Simon Haslett

Visual Effects

Steve Hastings

Best Boy

Matt Hausman

Visual Effects

Anna E Hayward

Set Production Assistant

Trevor Hensley

Art Department

Tom Hershey

Visual Effects

Timothy Hillman

Location Manager

James Hirahara

Puppeteer

Bridget Hoffman

Other

Grady Holder

Art Department

Kirk A Holland

Transportation Captain

Daniel E Howell

Driver

Jeff Howery

Dolly Grip

Kevin Hudson

Visual Effects

David C Hughes

Sound Effects Editor

James E Hurd

On-Set Dresser

Lori K Ikeda

Accountant

Robert Ikeda

Grip

Benjamin Jacobe

Other

Cinda Lin James

Stunts

J M Jarvis

Driver

Kris A Jeffrey

Stunts

George H. Joblove

Visual Effects

Chris L Johnson

Art Assistant

Cliff Johnson

Driver

Jeffrey A Johnson

Best Boy

Mark Johnson

Executive Producer

Tom Johnson

Rerecording

Film Details

Also Known As
Apparences, Dolt under ytan
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Horror
Mystery
Thriller
Release Date
2000
Distribution Company
AMBLIN PARTNERS
Location
Addison, Vermont, USA; Los Angeles, California, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m

Articles

What Lies Beneath


Concurrent with the success of M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense (1999) was the emergence of a ghost movie subset populated by mature characters who find themselves enmeshed in extraordinary circumstances that upset all expectations of midlife equanimity. If not quite the pensioners of The Changeling (1980) or Ghost Story (1981), the beleaguered protagonists of Stir of Echoes (1999), The Others (2001), and Dragonfly (2002) were solid, professional people... homeowners, tax payers, wage earners, and parents of growing children. These mature figureheads represented a narrative sea change within a genre that had aligned itself for a quarter century with teenagers, from Carrie (1976) through the thematic variations of Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), as well as their sundry sequels (all of which had guttered in ignominy by the mid-90s). By the new millennium, horror fans that had come of age with slasher films were approaching middle age and a sizeable percentage of that demographic sought a new flavor of fear that drew not from the struggle simply to make it through the night but from the struggle to make a living in the shadow of death.

When Robert Zemeckis formed his own production company, ImageMovers, in 1998, at the top of his To Do list was to make a suspense film patterned after the instruction of Alfred Hitchcock. A protégé of Steven Spielberg, Zemeckis had a long-term commitment to genre, from an early teleplay for the short-lived Kolchak: The Night Stalker series to producer status for Peter Jackson's The Frighteners (1996) and William Malone's House on Haunted Hill (1999), and as a guiding hand of the HBO horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996). Best known for the soufflé-light Back to the Future trilogy (1985-1991), Zemeckis also helmed the horror-infused satire Death Becomes Her (1992). What Lies Beneath (2000) had come to ImageMovers via Spielberg's DreamWorks, for whom Oscar®-winning documentary filmmaker Sarah Kernochan had adapted a personal experience with the paranormal as the lyrical tale of a retirement aged couple dealing with restless but compassionate spirits. DreamWorks commissioned a rewrite from start-up scribe Clark Gregg (now better known as an actor and a recurring player in the Marvel Comics Iron Man and Avenger films), who respun the tale as a suspenseful tale of mystery, murder, and retribution from beyond the grave.

Zemeckis sandwiched production of What Lies Beneath within a planned year-long interruption in the filming of Cast Away (2000), starring Tom Hanks as a plane crash survivor forced to hack out a primitive existence on a Pacific island. To allow Hanks to lose the requisite weight for his role, principal photography for Cast Away was suspended in April of 1999, allowing Zemeckis and his crew to shift focus to the smaller gauge project. Location shooting for What Lies Beneath commenced in collegiate Burlington, Vermont, and in and around such adjacent landmarks as Vermont's Daughters of the American Revolution State Park, New York State's Lake Champlain, and the soon-to-be demolished Crown Point Bridge. The film's main setting, a sprawling, 3,500 square foot Nantucket-style lakefront home - the newly empty nest of long-time academic marrieds Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford - was constructed exclusively for use in the film and torn down at the conclusion of location photography. Conceiving What Lies Beneath as a Hitchcock-style thriller, Zemeckis and director-of-photography Don Burgess (whose career had begun with work as a camera operator on the 1981 Canadian slasher Happy Birthday to Me) tricked the film out with perspective-warping angles, the most memorable of which required the use of a glass floor, to which floorboards were added in postproduction by dint CGI.

What Lies Beneath presented a change of pace for Harrison Ford, who had by 2000 not played a supporting character since he reprised his peripheral American Graffiti (1973) part of Bob Falfa for More American Graffiti in 1979. With Ford shunted to the periphery until the film's climax, the narrative's heavy lifting fell to top-billed Michelle Pfeiffer, Zemeckis' take on the classic Hitchcock blonde. As the sole recipient of What Lies Beneath's paranormal visitations, Pfeiffer was asked to reach a (to her) untapped level of fear; in press interviews conducting during postproduction, Pfeiffer credited Drew Barrymore's cameo performance in Wes Craven's Scream (1996) as her inspiration for reaching a guttural, bedrock place of total terror. The actress had no difficulty registering her claustrophobia and discomfort during underwater sequences, which genuinely left her spooked even after professional SCUBA lessons. Cast in the minor role of Pfeiffer's friend and confidante, actress Diana Scarwid grew uneasy with the use of a Ouija board in the film and took it upon herself to bless the set as a bulwark against the influence of negative spirits.

Budgeted at $100,000,000, What Lies Beneath earned back its investment through the summer of 2000, grossing nearly $300,000,000 worldwide, and emerging as a modest success for distributor 20th Century Fox (after allowing for publicity and exhibition costs). Bracketed between Forrest Gump (1994) and Cast Away, the film drifted into a measure of obscurity over the ensuing years, overshadowed in the minds of the Zemeckis fan base by his more comforting and upbeat titles. The film took a bit of a drubbing from the major critics, with Roger Ebert sniping that it was pointless to attempt a Hitchcock-style supernatural thriller when Hitchcock had abjured the supernatural. British writer Kim Newman took a different view of What Lies Beneath in his landmark genre study Nightmare Movies (published 1988, revised 2011), calling it a transitional American horror film that employed stylistic motifs then more popular in the Far East than in the West and bridged the gap between Hideo Nakata's landmark J-horror opus Ring (1998) and the subsequent vogue in the United States for English-language remakes of Japanese ghost movies.

Producer: Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Clark Gregg
Cinematography: Don Burgess
Production Design: Rick Carter, William James Teegarden
Music: Alan Silvestri
Film Editing: Arthur Schmidt
Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer (Claire Spencer), Katharine Towne (Caitlin Spencer), Harrison Ford (Norman Spencer), Miranda Otto (Mary Feur), James Remar (Warren Feur), Victoria Bidewell (Beatrice), Diana Scarwid (Jody)
C-126m.

By Richard Harland Smith

Sources:
What Lies Beneath production notes
Press conference interviews with Robert Zemeckis, Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer and Diana Scarwid by Ross Anthony, July 2000
Interview with Robert Zemeckis by Judy Sloane, Starburst No. 268, December 2000
Interview with Alan Silvestri by Rudy Koppl, Soundtrack, Vol. 19, No. 75, 2000
Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman (Bloomsbury Publishing, 1988/2011)
What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

Concurrent with the success of M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense (1999) was the emergence of a ghost movie subset populated by mature characters who find themselves enmeshed in extraordinary circumstances that upset all expectations of midlife equanimity. If not quite the pensioners of The Changeling (1980) or Ghost Story (1981), the beleaguered protagonists of Stir of Echoes (1999), The Others (2001), and Dragonfly (2002) were solid, professional people... homeowners, tax payers, wage earners, and parents of growing children. These mature figureheads represented a narrative sea change within a genre that had aligned itself for a quarter century with teenagers, from Carrie (1976) through the thematic variations of Halloween (1978), Friday the 13th (1980), and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), as well as their sundry sequels (all of which had guttered in ignominy by the mid-90s). By the new millennium, horror fans that had come of age with slasher films were approaching middle age and a sizeable percentage of that demographic sought a new flavor of fear that drew not from the struggle simply to make it through the night but from the struggle to make a living in the shadow of death. When Robert Zemeckis formed his own production company, ImageMovers, in 1998, at the top of his To Do list was to make a suspense film patterned after the instruction of Alfred Hitchcock. A protégé of Steven Spielberg, Zemeckis had a long-term commitment to genre, from an early teleplay for the short-lived Kolchak: The Night Stalker series to producer status for Peter Jackson's The Frighteners (1996) and William Malone's House on Haunted Hill (1999), and as a guiding hand of the HBO horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt (1989-1996). Best known for the soufflé-light Back to the Future trilogy (1985-1991), Zemeckis also helmed the horror-infused satire Death Becomes Her (1992). What Lies Beneath (2000) had come to ImageMovers via Spielberg's DreamWorks, for whom Oscar®-winning documentary filmmaker Sarah Kernochan had adapted a personal experience with the paranormal as the lyrical tale of a retirement aged couple dealing with restless but compassionate spirits. DreamWorks commissioned a rewrite from start-up scribe Clark Gregg (now better known as an actor and a recurring player in the Marvel Comics Iron Man and Avenger films), who respun the tale as a suspenseful tale of mystery, murder, and retribution from beyond the grave. Zemeckis sandwiched production of What Lies Beneath within a planned year-long interruption in the filming of Cast Away (2000), starring Tom Hanks as a plane crash survivor forced to hack out a primitive existence on a Pacific island. To allow Hanks to lose the requisite weight for his role, principal photography for Cast Away was suspended in April of 1999, allowing Zemeckis and his crew to shift focus to the smaller gauge project. Location shooting for What Lies Beneath commenced in collegiate Burlington, Vermont, and in and around such adjacent landmarks as Vermont's Daughters of the American Revolution State Park, New York State's Lake Champlain, and the soon-to-be demolished Crown Point Bridge. The film's main setting, a sprawling, 3,500 square foot Nantucket-style lakefront home - the newly empty nest of long-time academic marrieds Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford - was constructed exclusively for use in the film and torn down at the conclusion of location photography. Conceiving What Lies Beneath as a Hitchcock-style thriller, Zemeckis and director-of-photography Don Burgess (whose career had begun with work as a camera operator on the 1981 Canadian slasher Happy Birthday to Me) tricked the film out with perspective-warping angles, the most memorable of which required the use of a glass floor, to which floorboards were added in postproduction by dint CGI. What Lies Beneath presented a change of pace for Harrison Ford, who had by 2000 not played a supporting character since he reprised his peripheral American Graffiti (1973) part of Bob Falfa for More American Graffiti in 1979. With Ford shunted to the periphery until the film's climax, the narrative's heavy lifting fell to top-billed Michelle Pfeiffer, Zemeckis' take on the classic Hitchcock blonde. As the sole recipient of What Lies Beneath's paranormal visitations, Pfeiffer was asked to reach a (to her) untapped level of fear; in press interviews conducting during postproduction, Pfeiffer credited Drew Barrymore's cameo performance in Wes Craven's Scream (1996) as her inspiration for reaching a guttural, bedrock place of total terror. The actress had no difficulty registering her claustrophobia and discomfort during underwater sequences, which genuinely left her spooked even after professional SCUBA lessons. Cast in the minor role of Pfeiffer's friend and confidante, actress Diana Scarwid grew uneasy with the use of a Ouija board in the film and took it upon herself to bless the set as a bulwark against the influence of negative spirits. Budgeted at $100,000,000, What Lies Beneath earned back its investment through the summer of 2000, grossing nearly $300,000,000 worldwide, and emerging as a modest success for distributor 20th Century Fox (after allowing for publicity and exhibition costs). Bracketed between Forrest Gump (1994) and Cast Away, the film drifted into a measure of obscurity over the ensuing years, overshadowed in the minds of the Zemeckis fan base by his more comforting and upbeat titles. The film took a bit of a drubbing from the major critics, with Roger Ebert sniping that it was pointless to attempt a Hitchcock-style supernatural thriller when Hitchcock had abjured the supernatural. British writer Kim Newman took a different view of What Lies Beneath in his landmark genre study Nightmare Movies (published 1988, revised 2011), calling it a transitional American horror film that employed stylistic motifs then more popular in the Far East than in the West and bridged the gap between Hideo Nakata's landmark J-horror opus Ring (1998) and the subsequent vogue in the United States for English-language remakes of Japanese ghost movies. Producer: Jack Rapke, Steve Starkey, Robert Zemeckis Director: Robert Zemeckis Screenplay: Clark Gregg Cinematography: Don Burgess Production Design: Rick Carter, William James Teegarden Music: Alan Silvestri Film Editing: Arthur Schmidt Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer (Claire Spencer), Katharine Towne (Caitlin Spencer), Harrison Ford (Norman Spencer), Miranda Otto (Mary Feur), James Remar (Warren Feur), Victoria Bidewell (Beatrice), Diana Scarwid (Jody) C-126m. By Richard Harland Smith Sources: What Lies Beneath production notes Press conference interviews with Robert Zemeckis, Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer and Diana Scarwid by Ross Anthony, July 2000 Interview with Robert Zemeckis by Judy Sloane, Starburst No. 268, December 2000 Interview with Alan Silvestri by Rudy Koppl, Soundtrack, Vol. 19, No. 75, 2000 Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman (Bloomsbury Publishing, 1988/2011)

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 2000

Released in United States on Video January 30, 2001

Released in United States September 2000

Released in United States Summer July 21, 2000

Shown at Deauville Festival of American Film September 1-10, 2000.

Shown at Venice International Film Festival (Dreams and Visions) August 30 - September 9, 2000.

Began shooting August 23, 1999.

Completed shooting January 19, 2000.

ImageMovers is Robert Zemeckis' production company.

Released in United States 2000 (Shown at Venice International Film Festival (Dreams and Visions) August 30 - September 9, 2000.)

Released in United States on Video January 30, 2001

Released in United States Summer July 21, 2000

Released in United States September 2000 (Shown at Deauville Festival of American Film September 1-10, 2000.)