Aline & Wolfe is the sexually-charged tale of writer Thomas Wolfe's tortured, scandalous and obsessive affair with a much older, married New York arts patron, Aline Bernstein, prior to Wolfe’s literary career taking off. His shocking and untimely death at the age of thirty-eight silenced one of America's greatest literary voices leaving Aline reeling from the loss. The film stars Helen Hunt and is directed by Lajos Koltai.
Thomas Wolfe was a genius born into a dysfunctional Appalachian family in North Carolina. He moved to New York intent on a career as a playwright and yet was intrigued by the expatriate literary movement in Paris. He spent time traveling Europe, the vagabond a common theme in his life. On his return voyage, he met the married Aline Bernstein and the two embarked on a torrid affair.
At the time of their meeting, Wolfe was only twenty-five and Aline was forty-four. Aline, a well-known, award-winning set designer in New York's Provincetown Playhouse, immediately recognized Wolfe’s talent was not playwriting. She harnessed his undisciplined energy into writing prose and exploring the stories from his troubled childhood. This effort resulted in the classic American novels Look Homeward, Angel, Of Time and the River and You Can’t Go Home Again. As Wolfe’s literary success soared, the affair began to shatter under the weight. The strains of fame as well as the vast differences between them (including age, income, class and religion) doomed their time together. The relationship devolved into infidelities, recriminations and destructive behavior. After finally resolving never to see one another and move on with their lives, Wolfe was suddenly stricken during a West Coast lecture tour with tuberculosis of the brain. He was brought back to Johns Hopkins, fell into a coma and eventually died three weeks later at the age of thirty-eight. Aline never came to terms with his death.
These two remarkable people, as well as the historical individuals who intersected their lives (literary editor Max Perkins, F. Scott Fitzgerald, artist Alexander Calder and Adolph Hitler), are a fascinating exploration of a remarkable period in American culture and the economic and political tumult engulfing the world. Their unique accomplishments as well as their very human vulnerabilities combine to make for a rich, challenging film experience.
Lajos Koltai – Director. Mr. Koltai is one of the premiere directors and cinematographers working in the world today. Mr. Koltai has been nominated for an Oscar for his cinematography on the Giuseppe Tornatorre film Malena. He was also nominated for Best Director in 2005 at the Berlin International Film Festival for his film Fateless, the Nobel Prize-winning novel of a Hungarian boy's torment in a concentration camp during the Holocaust. Additionally, Mr. Koltai has been awarded two prestigious Donatello Awards in 1999 and 2001 for Malena and the remarkable cult classic The Legend of 1900. He was the acclaimed cinematographer on the films Max, Being Julia, The Emperor’s Club, Sunshine, Mother, Home for the Holidays and When a Man Loves a Woman.
In 2007, Mr. Koltai directed the film Evening, an international hit. The all-star cast included Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Wilson and Hugh Dancy.
Helen Hunt - Aline Bernstein. Ms. Hunt is the acclaimed film, theatre and television actress who won the Academy Award for Best Actress in James L. Brooks' As Good As It Gets. Ms. Hunt has also starred in the popular films The Waterdance, Twister, What Women Want, Castaway and Then She Found Me, which she also directed. She appeared as Jaime Buchman in the popular and critically-acclaimed television series Mad About You, in which she starred, wrote and directed numerous episodes during its seven-year run.
Ms. Hunt also has appeared On- and Off-Broadway in numerous productions, including the iconic Twelfth Night as Viola/Cesario (also known as Twelfth Night; or, What You Will) which was staged at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre of Lincoln Center in New York City in 1998.
Gene Kraft – Producer. Mr. Kraft is President of Gene Kraft Productions. He was Executive Producer of Columbia Pictures’ critically-acclaimed feature film The Big Town, starring Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Tommy Lee Jones, Tom Skerrit, Lee Grant and Bruce Dern. He was also Executive Producer of The Kid for Showtime. He produced the series It’s True for Paramount Pictures and CBS Television.
Mr. Kraft was Director of Broadcast Production for Intervu - San Diego from 1998 – 2000 where he developed the fully digital broadcast production department in streaming media sector.
He is on the board of the Foreign Film Committee of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (the Academy Awards), and a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Editors Guild and the Producers Guild of America. Mr. Kraft will be producing the film projects The It Drive In and Mother Load in 2010/2011.
Tom Vecchio – Screenwriter. Mr. Vecchio is the author of the plays Vacuums and the Whistling Pig and Without Papers (both presented Off-Broadway in New York), and Topsail Beach (performed in both New York and Los Angeles, where it won three year-end Drama-Logue Awards, including Best Writer and Best Play). He was playwright-in-residence at the Greenwich Street Theatre from 1991-1995 and was selected to attend the 1997 Sundance Theatre Lab in Provo, Utah. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.
Mr. Vecchio’s film Aline & Wolfe is being produced in 2010 by Gene Kraft Productions. He is also the author of the screenplay Mother Load, the story of Elizabeth "Ma" Duncan, dubbed the "mother-in-law from hell" by the press, who was the last woman executed in California in 1958. The case became an international sensation. Mr. Kraft is also producing.
Additionally, he is the author of the film The It Drive In, an ensemble comedy of five disparate friends in the South set during the 50s, which has been slated for production in 2010 by Gene Kraft Productions.
Gyula Pados – Cinematographer. Mr. Pados is an award-winning cinematographer and one of the most sought-after directors of photography working today. In 1990, Gyula Pados, until then a Camera Assistant working for Vilmos Zsigmond, joined the Budapest Film School's 4-year camera course which insists that, for two years, ‘everybody tries everything.’ In his first year, Gyula directed a short film Dawn which won four festival prizes outright and shared a First (at Munich), the Wim Wenders prize, with Lost Movie which Gyula had lit.
Mr. Pados most recently was the cinematographer on the internationally acclaimed film The Duchess, starring Keira Knightly and Ralph Fiennes. He also was the cinematographer on Lajos Koltai's Fateless, Basic Instinct 2, Evening and Control, the story of the life and death of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of the post punk band Joy Division.