Auto Focus

Release Date: October 18, 2002
Limited release

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During the late 1960s, Bob Crane became a household name. He was the star of the popular TV comedy Hogan's Heroes. His life came to a tragic end in 1978 when he was found bludgeoned to death in a Scottsdale, Arizona hotel room.

Greg Kinnear plays Bob Crane in this look at the life and death of the TV star. The movie does look at some of the filming of the show, but is focused on his life outside of the studio and after the show. When the show was canceled in 1971, Crane became obsessed with sex. He eventually started going out on double dates with salesman buddy John Henry Carpenter (Willem Dafoe). Carpenter (not the movie director) would take pictures and movies of Crane involved in various sex acts with the women they were dating.

On June 29, 1978 in Scottsdale, Arizona, Crane's body was found in a motel room. He had been brutally attacked with a blunt object. The police investigators linked Carpenter to the murder, but didn't have a weapon, motive or witnesses, so they couldn't prosecute the case. Fourteen years later, the case was reopened. Carpenter was arrested and tried, but acquitted of the murder. The case has never been solved and this movie isn't out to push one theory or another. It leaves that up to the audience. (Marty Doskins/BOP)

October 18, 2002
Greg Kinnear is already drawing substantial critical attention for his turn as Bob Crane. The film recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and has received generally positive reviews. Of course, biopics are never easy to sell, and given the somewhat unsavory story, Auto Focus is likely to be no exception to this rule.

Still, it does appear that Kinnear is an early candidate for awards consideration, and costar Willem Dafoe is also turning heads for his portrayal of John Carpenter. Though the film itself isn't really being marketed on television per se, the media-savvy Kinnear is making the rounds of the television talk show circuit, so at least a certain segment of the target audience will have a passing familiarity with the movie's subject matter. Even so, it will likely play only in limited venues unless it draws some substantial attention from the Academy Awards®. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Auto Focus
Main Cast Greg Kinnear, Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello, Rita Wilson
Supporting Cast Joseph D. Reitman, Nikita Ager, Cheryl Lynn Bowers, Kurt Fuller, Lyle Kanouse, Kevin Kilner, Michael E. Rodgers, Bruce Solomon, Cassie Townsend, Sarah Uhrich
Director Paul Schrader
Screenwriter Michael Gerbosi, based on the book by Robert Graysmith
Distributor Sony Pictures Classics
Awards Awards page for Auto Focus
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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