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Mistress Details


Successful character actor Barry Primus spent seven years trying to get financing for his feature debut as a writer-director, Mistress. In the film, a once-promising writer-director, Marvin Landisman (Robert Wuhl), who now directs instructional videos, is sitting home one night, watching his own print of Jean Renoir's Grand Illusion, when he gets a strange phone call. A producer, Jack Roth (Martin Landau), formerly a bigwig at Universal, tells Marvin he was cleaning out his office when he came across Marvin's old script, "The Darkness and the Light." Jack claims he can get financing to make the film, and agrees to Marvin's stipulation that he be attached to direct. They "take a meeting" at a low-rent diner, and Jack brings along a gung-ho novice screenwriter, Stuart (Jace Alexander), to help Marvin polish the script. They meet with three potential backers, played by Eli Wallach, Danny Aiello, and Robert DeNiro, each one more meddlesome than the last, and each with a girlfriend (played by Tuesday Knight, Jean Smart, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, respectively) whom they demand be cast in the film. At first, Marvin adamantly resists changing his serious, downbeat, and very personal script, about an painter who commits suicide, rather than betray his ideals. But eventually, Marvin gets caught up in the momentum of actually getting his dream project made, and starts compromising. He agrees to cast the three women; he agrees to make the script funnier and sexier; he even agrees to change the painter to a photographer to please his backers. Laurie Metcalf plays Marvin's long-suffering wife, and Christopher Walken has a cameo as a tortured actor. Mistress was the first film produced by DeNiro's independent production company, Tribeca Films. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi

  • Release date:August 7, 1992


Robert Wuhl
as Marvin Landisman
Martin Landau
as Jack Roth
Robert De Niro
as Evan M. Wright
Danny Aiello
as Carmine Rasso
Eli Wallach
as George Lieberhoff
Jace Alexander
as Stuart Stratland, Jr.
Tuesday Knight
as Peggy
Sheryl Lee Ralph
as Beverly
Christopher Walken
as Warren Zell
Laurie Metcalf
as Rachel Landisman
Jean Smart
as Patricia Riley
Ernest Borgnine
as Himself
Tuesday Weld
Mary Mercier
as Shelby's Waitress
Michael F. Kelley
as Guard at Gate
Stefan Gierasch
as Stratland Sr.
Eileen Wilkinson
as Astrologer
Kate Johnson
as Party Guest
Tomas R. Voth
as Stagehand
Chuck Low
as Benrie
Tim Bagley
as Mitch's Singing Student
Deirdre Hade
as Party Goer
Nina Small
as Mitch's Singing Student
Dimitri Dimitrov
as Maitre d'
Debbie James
as Mitch's Singing Student
Roberta Wallach
as Nancy
Byron Simpson
as Mitch's Singing Student
Vasek Simek
as Hans
Leata Galloway
as Mitch's Singing Student
Peter Kalos
as Party Goer
Dawn Hopper
as Mitch's Singing Student
Jerome Dempsey
as Mitch
Gretchen Becker
as Hamburger Girl


Barry Primus
Bertil Ohlsson
Avi Kleinberger
Ruth Charny
Robert De Niro
Meir Teper
Barry Primus
J.F. Lawton
Sven Kirsten
Galt MacDermot
Composer (Music Score)
Steve Weisberg
Phil Peters
Production Designer
Randy Eriksen
Art Director
K.C. Fox
Set Designer
Susan Nininger
Costume Designer
Bruce Franklin
First Assistant Director
Jeff Rafner
First Assistant Director
Gail Levin
Ilona Herman