Fried Green Tomatoes


2h 10m 1991

Brief Synopsis

A nursing home patient spins a tale of friendship against all odds.

Film Details

Also Known As
Beignets de Tomates Vertes, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1991
Production Company
Arrangement; Avnet/Kerner Company; Cinefilm Laboratory, Inc.; Cinema Research Corporation; Completion Bond Company Inc; Georgia Film, Video & Music Office; Gloria Cooper
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures; Central Film Verleih Gmbh; Columbus Film Ag; Rank Film Distributors Inc; Rank Film Distributors Ltd; Senator Film Verleih; Universal Pictures; Universal Pictures Home Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures International; Wild Bunch AG
Location
Senoia, Georgia, USA; Juliette, Georgia, USA; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Zebulon, Georgia, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m

Synopsis

Parallel stories of women establishing themselves in the contemporary American South and in the period between the World Wars. A middle-aged woman draws strength and independence from the stories told to her by a resident in an old people's home.

Crew

Michael Alexonis

Grip

Susan L Anderson

Swing Gang

Alma Androzzo

Song ("If I Can Help Somebody")

Jon Avnet

Producer

Andre Bacha

Dialogue Editor

Arthur Baker

Music Supervisor

Arthur Baker

Song Producer ("What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted" "Cherish" "Barbeque Bess" "Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead" "Rooster Blues" "If I Can Help Somebody" "I'Ll Remember You")

Bruce Barbour

Stunts

Canard Barnes

Production Assistant

Hoby Belflower

Carpenter

Melanie Bell

Production Assistant

Jay S Berger

Thanks

Bill Bernstein

Music Editor

Rufus Best

Carpenter

Christian Bevington

Art Department Assistant

Sarah Black

Thanks

Russell Blackmon

Swing Gang

Lee Blasingame

1st Camera Assistant

Thomas Scott Bolin

Lead Carpenter

James A Borgardt

Adr Editor

Tom Bradley

Grip

Michael Brauer

Song Mixer ("I'Ll Remember You"), Song Mixer ("What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted")

Karen Whipple Broderick

1st Assistant Editor

David Brown

Craft Service

Kalan Brown

Art Department Researcher

Fern Buchner

Makeup

George Budd

Music Researcher

Alan Jerry Bullard

Grip

John Bullard

Carpenter

Gary Burritt

Negative Cutter

Neil Burrow

Foley Editor

Stephen Caldwell

Transportation Co-Captain

Colleen Callaghan

Hair Stylist

David E Campbell

Rerecording Mixer

Yvonne Cervantes

Set Costumer

Steve Chambers

Stunts

Tommy Cochran

Other

Coleen Cole

Office Intern

Walter Commander

Other

Gloria Cooper

Cable Operator

Cydney Cornell

Hair Stylist

Dan Cornwall

Electrician

Tim Crone

Small Animal Wrangler

Stephen Crowley

Electrician

Kerrie Cullen

Stunt Coordinator

Gregroy J Curda

Foley Mixer

Devon Curry

Adr Editor

Walter Danaldson

Song ("My Blue Heaven")

Laura Dash

Stunts

Tracy Keehn Dashnaw

Stunts

Dorothy Davis

Assistant (To Jordan Kerner)

Taylor Dayne

Song Performer ("Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead")

James Dean

Song ("What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted")

Miss Ollie Denny

Thanks

Ken Dufva

Foley Artist

Daniel Durning

Carpenter

Sara Duvall

Executive Producer (For Electric Shadow Productions)

Marlon Dwight

Location Production Assistant

Bob Dylan

Song ("I'Ll Remember You")

James Ellis

Other

Mary H. Ellis

Sound Mixer

Paul J Erlicht

Key Set Production Assistant

Melinda Eshelman

Wardrobe Assistant

Tommy Faragher

Song Co-Producer ("What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted")

David Fein

Foley Artist

Lisa J Feitelberg

2nd Camera Assistant

Richard Felber

Still Photographer

Ken Ferris

Camera Operator

Bill Fibben

Boom Operator

David Fish

Carpenter

Debra Neil Fisher

Editor

Fannie Flagg

Source Material (From Novel)

Fannie Flagg

Screenwriter

Mo Flam

Gaffer

Ian Forsyth

Electrician

Wayne Forsyth

Craft Service

Douglas Fortner

Swing Gang

Daniel B Foster

Swing Gang

Larry Fulton

Art Director

Dr. Norman Gary

Special Bee Wrangler

Anne Marie Gillen

Executive Producer

Judi Goodman

Assistant Hair

Dewey Graham

Thanks

Butch Graziano

Head Horse Wrangler

Greg Griffin

Story Department Editor

Shay Griffin

Atlanta Casting

Tony Grillo

Production Assistant

Aaron Hall

Song Performer ("If I Can Help Somebody")

Sandy Hamilton

Property Master

Dick Hancock

Stunts

Mitzi Haralson

Wardrobe Assistant

Robert Hart

Other

Anthony Heilbut

Thanks

Anthony Heilbut

Song Producer ("Cool Down Yonder" "A Charge To Keep I Have")

Phil Hetos

Color Timer

Michael F Hicks

Swing Gang

Peter Hirsch

2nd Assistant Director

John Holliday

Other

Joy Hooper

Stunts

Sid E Horne

Other

Martin Huberty

Co-Producer

Grayson Hugh

Song Performer ("I'Ll Remember You")

Ivy Joe Hunter

Song ("Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead")

Paul Huntley

Wig Designer

Joseph A Ippolito

Sound Effects Editor

Lee Ivey

Other

Bessie Jackson

Song ("Barbeque Bess")

Rex S Jackson

Assistant Extras Coordinator

Askia Won-ling Jacob

Wardrobe Assistant

Kelly Jarquin

Craft Service

Gordon Jernberg

Transportation Captain

Daniel Jones

Other

Cynthia Hizer Jubera

Other

Caroline Kallas

Assistant (To Tom Taylor)

Connie Kazmer

Dialogue Editor

Kristine Kearney

Wardrobe Assistant

Michael B Keegan

Executive In Charge Of Production Act Iii

Steven J. Kerlagon

Other

Jordan Kerner

Producer

Val Keys

Assistant (To Jon Avnet)

Cheryl Kilbourne-kimpton

Wardrobe Supervisor

Pat Kilpatrick

Location Scout

Larry Michael King

Lead Carpenter

Nancy Jane King

Production Coordinator

Nora Lee King

Song Performer ("Cannon Ball")

Terry Kirkman

Song ("Cherish")

Lori Koravos

Production Accountant

Axel Kroell

Music Programming ("Cherish")

Hope Kurczeski

Production Assistant

Patti Labelle

Song Performer ("Barbeque Bess")

Charles M Lagola

Set Designer

Martin Lasowitz

Assistant Props

Norman Lear

Executive Producer

Scott Leftridge

Dolly Grip

Pauletta Lewis

Assistant Hair

Lisa Lindstrom

Co-Producer

Barbara Ling

Production Designer

Barbara Ling

Associate Producer

M J Lord

Stunts

Deborah Love

1st Assistant Director

Deborah Love

Associate Producer

James Mack

Other

Martha Martin

Art Department Researcher

Yuriko Matsubara

Executive Producer (For Electric Shadow Productions)

Eddie Lee Mayner

Swing Gang

Elizabeth Mcbride

Costume Designer

Joseph M Mcculloch

Bestboy Electric

Mickie Mcgowan

Other

John Meredith

Other

Andrew Meyer

Executive Producer

Michael Mirkovich

Assistant Sound Editor

Maida N. Morgan

Assistant Location Manager

Leslie Morris

Music Contractor

Swift Moseley

Other

Ruffin B Moye

Other

Alan Robert Murray

Supervising Sound Editor

Jane Myers

Set Costumer

Charles Neger

Carpenter

Kathy Nelson

Music Supervisor

Thomas Newman

Music

Thomas Newman

Other

Walter Newman

Co-Supervising Sound Editor

Robert Tate Nichols

Swing Gang

Kimberly Nolan

Assistant Sound Editor

Elizabeth Palmer

Wardrobe Assistant

J Wayne Parker

Bestboy

Thomas Pasatieri

Original Music

Clarence Paul

Song ("Danger Heartbreak Dead Ahead")

Alice Persons

Property Assistant

Ken Peterson

Transportation Coordinator

Sara Peterson

Swing Gang

Senia Phillips

Small Animal Wrangler

Marc Pilvinsky

Location Production Assistant

Sabrina Plisco

Associate Editor

David Pollick

Unit Publicist

Jeff Rafner

2nd Assistant Director

C Alan Rawlins

Key Grip

Kenneth Reid

Special Effects Foreman

Larry Reid

Special Effects Foreman

John T Reitz

Rerecording Mixer

Cindy Reno

Wardrobe Assistant

Jonathan Resnick

Production Assistant

W Dean Reuther

Stand-By Carpenter

Christopher Ridley

Grip

William Ridley

Grip

Paul Riser

Song ("What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted")

David Robertson

Electrician

Ric Rondell

Unit Production Manager

Ric Rondell

Co-Producer

David Rubin

Casting

Gregg Rudloff

Rerecording Mixer

Michael Ruiz

Apprentice Sound Editor

Caroline Sax

Script Supervisor

Louis Scalise

Song Mixer ("Cherish" "Rooster Blues" "If I Can Help Somebody")

Ken Schretzmann

Assistant Editor

Debra Schutt

Set Decorator

John Setzer

Other

Julie Shapiro

Other

Larry C Shepard

Other

Will Shivers

Office Intern

Film Details

Also Known As
Beignets de Tomates Vertes, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
MPAA Rating
Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
1991
Production Company
Arrangement; Avnet/Kerner Company; Cinefilm Laboratory, Inc.; Cinema Research Corporation; Completion Bond Company Inc; Georgia Film, Video & Music Office; Gloria Cooper
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures; Central Film Verleih Gmbh; Columbus Film Ag; Rank Film Distributors Inc; Rank Film Distributors Ltd; Senator Film Verleih; Universal Pictures; Universal Pictures Home Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures International; Wild Bunch AG
Location
Senoia, Georgia, USA; Juliette, Georgia, USA; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Zebulon, Georgia, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 10m

Award Nominations

Best Adapted Screenplay

1991

Best Supporting Actress

1991
Jessica Tandy

Articles

Fried Green Tomatoes


Two story lines of past and present are skillfully woven together by director Jon Avnet in his charming 1991 feature debut Fried Green Tomatoes. Adapted from the best-selling novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes spins a memorable southern yarn about friendship, food and murder.

Kathy Bates plays Evelyn Couch, a frumpy doormat of a woman who strikes up a friendship with spunky Alabama nursing home resident Ninny Threadgoode, played by Jessica Tandy. Ninny entertains Evelyn during her visits with stories about her hometown of Whistle Stop, Alabama during the Great Depression and the colorful adventures of young Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) who ran a cafe by the railroad tracks.

The character of Idgie was based loosely on author Fannie Flagg's great aunt Bess Fortenberry who had once owned a railroad cafe in Irondale, Alabama. "The novel began for me when I was handed a shoebox full of little things like a menu, a picture, a lock of hair, an old Easter card, etc.," recalls Flagg in a 1999 interview. "This was all that was left of the sixty-nine years of my Aunt Bess, who had been such a vital and loving giving person while she had been alive. I wanted to recreate a life from that shoebox."

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe was the second novel written by native Alabaman Flagg. It was a bestseller and was honored with a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1987. The famous red-headed author had already established herself in Hollywood during the 1970s as a television comedy writer (Candid Camera), actress (Grease [1978]), and frequent panelist on TV game shows like Match Game. However, writing was her true passion, and she found a whole new career with the success of her books.

Before its publication, Associate Producer Lisa Lindstrom read a review of Flagg's forthcoming novel and was intrigued. She got a copy of the manuscript and liked it so much that she sent it to Jon Avnet and asked him to read it immediately. Avnet, a successful producer who had been looking for a project to direct, loved it and secured the rights with his own money. When Fannie Flagg heard that her book was going to be made into a movie, she was both stunned and thrilled.

Avnet spent four challenging years trying to bring his vision of Fried Green Tomatoes to the big screen. He shopped the project around Hollywood, gathering some early financial support from legendary television producer Norman Lear. Writer Carol Sobieski (Annie [1982], The Toy [1982]) penned a first draft of the screenplay, but her version didn't meet Avnet's expectations. He then asked Fannie Flagg to help work on the screenplay, and she obliged. Eventually, however, Avnet himself took over the screenplay. He was so passionate about the characters from Whistle Stop that he spent three years writing and re-writing draft after draft until he finally had the version he felt would do justice to the story.

Avnet then assembled the top-notch cast of Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary-Louise Parker for the central roles. Tandy and Bates were both recent winners of the Academy Award for Best Actress. Tandy won hers for 1989's Driving Miss Daisy and Bates won her Oscar® for Misery (1990). The distinguished Cicely Tyson, who herself had been a Best Actress nominee for her work in Sounder (1972), was cast in the small but key role of Sipsey, a cook at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The actors all felt an instant rapport, and that camaraderie translates memorably onto the screen.

Production Designer Barbara Ling needed to find the perfect location to be the town of Whistle Stop, which is as much a character in the story of Fried Green Tomatoes as Idgie or Ruth. An hour south of Atlanta, Georgia, Ling came across the rural town of Juliette and knew instantly she had found Whistle Stop. It was a tiny veritable ghost town by the railroad tracks seemingly forgotten by time. The buildings and storefronts stood abandoned, covered in kudzu and falling apart. The production team worked their magic on the town, cleaning up the area and transforming an old antiques store into the Whistle Stop Cafe. The only thing missing for the location set was a train depot. After a little searching, however, the original train depot of Juliette, GA turned up in a most unusual place. "I discovered this building in the middle of the woods that must have been there for fifty years," recalls Barbara Ling. "Trees had broken through its floor and windows, but when I saw it, I knew it would complete the look of Whistle Stop." The depot was fixed up and transported to its rightful spot by the railroad tracks. When the cast and crew finally descended on Juliette to shoot the film, it was like going back in time and jumping right into the pages of Flagg's vivid book. On the negative side, however, Juliette also offered up plenty of authentic heat, humidity, bugs and snakes to go along with the authentic buildings and trains.

The success of Fried Green Tomatoes at the box office was a triumph for Jon Avnet. It was most unusual for such a small character driven film from a first time director to do so well. "The strength of Fried Green Tomatoes," says Avnet, "is that its core is the art of storytelling. And, as anyone knows, what makes a movie good is its ability to, quite simply, tell a story." The movie resonated with audiences and critics alike who praised the strong acting performances as well as the lovely cinematography by Geoffrey Simpson that helped evoke the feel of a bygone era and make Whistle Stop come alive. The film was acknowledged at Academy Award time with nominations for best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Tandy.

The town of Juliette, Georgia also benefited from the popularity of Fried Green Tomatoes. The citizens of Juliette and the surrounding area turned the Whistle Stop Cafe movie set into an actual restaurant, and tourists came from far and wide for a taste of southern hospitality and delicious fried green tomatoes. Today, Juliette continues to be a thriving attraction spot for visitors hoping to perhaps catch a glimpse of Idgie, Ruth and Sipsey. And in the film, you can catch a glimpse of author Fannie Flagg in a cameo appearance as the workshop teacher of a women's seminar that Evelyn attends.

Producer/Director: Jon Avnet
Screenplay: Carol Sobieski, Fannie Flagg (based on her novel)
Cinematography: Geoffrey Simpson
Editing: Debra Neil-Fisher
Music: Thomas Newman
Art Direction: Larry Fulton
Production Design: Barbara Ling
Costume Design: Elizabeth McBride
Cast: Kathy Bates (Evelyn Couch), Mary Stuart Masterson (Idgie Threadgoode), Jessica Tandy (Ninny Threadgood), Cicely Tyson (Sipsey), Chris O'Donnell (Buddy Threadgoode), Stan Shaw (Big George), Gailard Sartain (Ed Couch), Lois Smith (Mama Threadgoode).
C-131m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning.

by Andrea Passafiume
Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes

Two story lines of past and present are skillfully woven together by director Jon Avnet in his charming 1991 feature debut Fried Green Tomatoes. Adapted from the best-selling novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg, Fried Green Tomatoes spins a memorable southern yarn about friendship, food and murder. Kathy Bates plays Evelyn Couch, a frumpy doormat of a woman who strikes up a friendship with spunky Alabama nursing home resident Ninny Threadgoode, played by Jessica Tandy. Ninny entertains Evelyn during her visits with stories about her hometown of Whistle Stop, Alabama during the Great Depression and the colorful adventures of young Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) who ran a cafe by the railroad tracks. The character of Idgie was based loosely on author Fannie Flagg's great aunt Bess Fortenberry who had once owned a railroad cafe in Irondale, Alabama. "The novel began for me when I was handed a shoebox full of little things like a menu, a picture, a lock of hair, an old Easter card, etc.," recalls Flagg in a 1999 interview. "This was all that was left of the sixty-nine years of my Aunt Bess, who had been such a vital and loving giving person while she had been alive. I wanted to recreate a life from that shoebox." Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe was the second novel written by native Alabaman Flagg. It was a bestseller and was honored with a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1987. The famous red-headed author had already established herself in Hollywood during the 1970s as a television comedy writer (Candid Camera), actress (Grease [1978]), and frequent panelist on TV game shows like Match Game. However, writing was her true passion, and she found a whole new career with the success of her books. Before its publication, Associate Producer Lisa Lindstrom read a review of Flagg's forthcoming novel and was intrigued. She got a copy of the manuscript and liked it so much that she sent it to Jon Avnet and asked him to read it immediately. Avnet, a successful producer who had been looking for a project to direct, loved it and secured the rights with his own money. When Fannie Flagg heard that her book was going to be made into a movie, she was both stunned and thrilled. Avnet spent four challenging years trying to bring his vision of Fried Green Tomatoes to the big screen. He shopped the project around Hollywood, gathering some early financial support from legendary television producer Norman Lear. Writer Carol Sobieski (Annie [1982], The Toy [1982]) penned a first draft of the screenplay, but her version didn't meet Avnet's expectations. He then asked Fannie Flagg to help work on the screenplay, and she obliged. Eventually, however, Avnet himself took over the screenplay. He was so passionate about the characters from Whistle Stop that he spent three years writing and re-writing draft after draft until he finally had the version he felt would do justice to the story. Avnet then assembled the top-notch cast of Jessica Tandy, Kathy Bates, Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary-Louise Parker for the central roles. Tandy and Bates were both recent winners of the Academy Award for Best Actress. Tandy won hers for 1989's Driving Miss Daisy and Bates won her Oscar® for Misery (1990). The distinguished Cicely Tyson, who herself had been a Best Actress nominee for her work in Sounder (1972), was cast in the small but key role of Sipsey, a cook at the Whistle Stop Cafe. The actors all felt an instant rapport, and that camaraderie translates memorably onto the screen. Production Designer Barbara Ling needed to find the perfect location to be the town of Whistle Stop, which is as much a character in the story of Fried Green Tomatoes as Idgie or Ruth. An hour south of Atlanta, Georgia, Ling came across the rural town of Juliette and knew instantly she had found Whistle Stop. It was a tiny veritable ghost town by the railroad tracks seemingly forgotten by time. The buildings and storefronts stood abandoned, covered in kudzu and falling apart. The production team worked their magic on the town, cleaning up the area and transforming an old antiques store into the Whistle Stop Cafe. The only thing missing for the location set was a train depot. After a little searching, however, the original train depot of Juliette, GA turned up in a most unusual place. "I discovered this building in the middle of the woods that must have been there for fifty years," recalls Barbara Ling. "Trees had broken through its floor and windows, but when I saw it, I knew it would complete the look of Whistle Stop." The depot was fixed up and transported to its rightful spot by the railroad tracks. When the cast and crew finally descended on Juliette to shoot the film, it was like going back in time and jumping right into the pages of Flagg's vivid book. On the negative side, however, Juliette also offered up plenty of authentic heat, humidity, bugs and snakes to go along with the authentic buildings and trains. The success of Fried Green Tomatoes at the box office was a triumph for Jon Avnet. It was most unusual for such a small character driven film from a first time director to do so well. "The strength of Fried Green Tomatoes," says Avnet, "is that its core is the art of storytelling. And, as anyone knows, what makes a movie good is its ability to, quite simply, tell a story." The movie resonated with audiences and critics alike who praised the strong acting performances as well as the lovely cinematography by Geoffrey Simpson that helped evoke the feel of a bygone era and make Whistle Stop come alive. The film was acknowledged at Academy Award time with nominations for best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Tandy. The town of Juliette, Georgia also benefited from the popularity of Fried Green Tomatoes. The citizens of Juliette and the surrounding area turned the Whistle Stop Cafe movie set into an actual restaurant, and tourists came from far and wide for a taste of southern hospitality and delicious fried green tomatoes. Today, Juliette continues to be a thriving attraction spot for visitors hoping to perhaps catch a glimpse of Idgie, Ruth and Sipsey. And in the film, you can catch a glimpse of author Fannie Flagg in a cameo appearance as the workshop teacher of a women's seminar that Evelyn attends. Producer/Director: Jon Avnet Screenplay: Carol Sobieski, Fannie Flagg (based on her novel) Cinematography: Geoffrey Simpson Editing: Debra Neil-Fisher Music: Thomas Newman Art Direction: Larry Fulton Production Design: Barbara Ling Costume Design: Elizabeth McBride Cast: Kathy Bates (Evelyn Couch), Mary Stuart Masterson (Idgie Threadgoode), Jessica Tandy (Ninny Threadgood), Cicely Tyson (Sipsey), Chris O'Donnell (Buddy Threadgoode), Stan Shaw (Big George), Gailard Sartain (Ed Couch), Lois Smith (Mama Threadgoode). C-131m. Letterboxed. Closed Captioning. by Andrea Passafiume

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the fourth annual Scripter Award, given by the Friends of the University of Southern California (USC) Libraries, for the best film adaptation of a book.

Limited Release in United States December 27, 1991

Released in United States Winter December 27, 1991

Expanded Release in United States January 10, 1992

Wide Release in United States January 24, 1992

Released in United States on Video August 20, 1992

Feature directorial debut for producer Jon Avnet. When the film was completed, the production company submitted Avnet and Fannie Flagg as screenwriters. In December 1991, however, an arbitration panel determined the writing credits should go to Flagg and Carol Sobieski, who died November 4, 1990, prior to final script completion.

Began shooting June 10, 1991.

Completed shooting August 23, 1991.

Film noted: "This film is dedicated to Marion Williams and the late Colleen Dewhurst."

Limited Release in United States December 27, 1991

Released in United States Winter December 27, 1991

Wide Release in United States January 24, 1992

Released in United States on Video August 20, 1992

Expanded Release in United States January 10, 1992