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Bottle Shock in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Bottle Shock

Alan Rickman • Bill Pullman • Chris Pine • Rachael Taylor • Freddy Rodriguez
DIRECTOR: Randall Miller

Alan and Chris shake hands in the airport THE CONCEPT:
Based on a true incident in 1976 when novice vintner Jim Barrett (Pullman), who owned the Chateau Montelena vineyard, risked everything to realize his dream of creating the perfect hand-crafted California Chardonnay. In Paris, struggling wine seller Steven Spurrier (Rickman), came up with an idea for a publicity stunt to help his floundering shop – to have a wine tasting contest between French and California wines. And it would change the history of wine…

U.S. RELEASE: August 8 2008, Limited • Rated: PG-13


BILL PULLMAN on shooting in Napa Valley:
Bill Pullman“We met the people that were there working hard at a profession that they’re honored by, and there was a certain suspicion that we were going to tell lies about them. But you meet them, and you don’t want to dishonor them, you don’t want to discredit them or look like you’re doing some shallow version of them. It’s so beautiful there; the land is the principal character in [the movie].”

CHRIS PINE (Bo Barrett):
Chris Pine“The preparation [for the movie] came when we went up there and thank god the Barretts were so open and generous with their time. Not only is Jim a winemaker, but Bo and his wife Heidi are world renowned winemakers, so not only could I talk to Bo about his family and his life growing up, but he’s a very hands-on person at his vineyard, so he would take us around the different grapes, from the Zinfandel to the Cabernet, and then Heidi would take us through the tasting process and how she goes about creating a vintage from the different barrels.”

Alan Rickman“I accidentally met Steven Spurrier a few years ago in Italy, but neither of us at the time knew what any future agenda was going to be. I spoke to him on the phone, but I’m a million miles away from being the right casting to play him. In a sense you’ve got to go, ‘He’s called Steven Spurrier and there are facts circulating around this story, and we honor those and it is true, but it’s based on him.’ So in a sense it isn’t an impersonation of him, apart from being English and a man in a suit and tie.”

FREDDY RODRIGUEZ (Gustavo Brambila):
Freddy Rodriguez“My character is based on a gentleman named Gustavo Brambila, who actually has this own winery now, and he was a very important character in the film. I sat down and talked to him one afternoon. I was very fortunate because I had something to pull from. Sometimes when people play true life characters, nine out of ten times they have to watch videos or listen to audio tapes, and I had him for one afternoon, so what you see on screen is what I got from that day we met. Gustavo was the first Latin American to get a degree at UC Davis in viniculture.”

Rachel Taylor“Sam is one of the few fictional characters in the movie, but I did some research about female winemakers, and I met Heidi Barrett, who is Bo Barrett’s wife, and she was such an intelligent and knowledgeable woman, but still so distinctly feminine to me, and very full of life and vital, and I wanted to bring those components to Sam.”

RICKMAN on having to speak French in the movie:
“I did French lessons in school, and because I’m playing that kind of upper class Englishman, it’s a matter of honor to speak French with a terrible accent, no concessions would be made at all. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the Queen speaking French. You still know it’s the Queen.”

“Before [I started this movie] I used to ask myself, ‘What’s all the hoopla? Why is everyone into wine so much? ‘ And it’s not until you taste an excellent glass of wine that you truly appreciate and understand it. I’m by no means a wine snob now, but I can just taste it and tell you whether it’s good or not.”

“You get that wine epiphany. I was a wine enthusiast before this movie, but by no means knowledgeable about it, and I feel like my palette has become slightly more discerning since shooting this film.”

“I’m far from a wine snob now. There’s so much knowledge that you can have of wine, my knowledge is a small percentage. I know what I like, and I know what I want to drink, but we were only up there for a month, so I can’t claim to have any kind of snobbery.”

“I don’t know a lot more about wine than I knew before, to be honest. I still enjoy it very much. Fortunately, you talk to great experts like Bo Barrett. A documentary of Chateau Montelena was shown before the première the other night and Bo said rather encouragingly for those of us feeling inferior, ‘Well, it’s not so complicated. Wine is somewhere between grape juice and vinegar.’ ” [He laughs]

The Mummy

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Feature © 2008 Visual Imagination.
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Film Review, #699, August 2008 cover

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