Utah native nabs award-winning actors for first movie

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Some very familiar Hollywood names -- Timothy Hutton, Mira Sorvino, Dana Delaney and Stockard Channing -- are all starring in a new film written, directed and produced by Brooks Branch. He was born and raised in Utah.

The screenplay -- some of it autobiographical -- started taking shape about 10 years ago while, as Branch says, he pursued his day job. But his life and experience in the film industry came together, and the result is a movie that's about to premiere.

Movie Synopsis: "Multiple Sarcasms"
Gabriel is a man who on the surface has it all-successful professional life as an architect, a beautiful wife, Annie, and a devoted young daughter, Elizabeth. But slowly it dawns on him that he is not really happy. Gabriel decides that he wants to write a play about the sorry state of his life. He quits his job, gets a pushy literary agent friend to represent him and starts writing. Although his marriage ends in a divorce, the play is success and although his life is different than it was, he is happier. -Brooks Branch

"It was a very strange experience to make a movie about a first-time playwright who's, like, looking at his life while I'm a first-time filmmaker sort of looking at my life," Branch says.

Born and raised in Salt Lake, Branch first turned to the visual arts in college but always loved movies. He eventually worked his way to running a division of Paramount Pictures.

Over a span of 10 years he wrote the screenplay, then produced and directed his own film. He says "Multiple Sarcasms" is somewhat autobiographical.

"There's a very sort of Salt Lake part of the story, which is that growing up as this kid here my dad was involved in starting the Utah Arts Festival and so many things, and Ballet West and Capitol Theatre, and we were around all of that," Branch says.

Spending decades in the film industry put him in the right place to approach the actors in his cast -- Academy Award winners Timothy Hutton and Mira Sorvino and Emmy Award winners Dana Delaney and Stockard Channing.

"The vision for the film was to make it in the realm of those late-'70s relationship films, like 'Ordinary People' and 'Kramer vs. Kramer.' I purposely took that into the casting," Branch says. "I didn't want the trendiest actors, I wanted actors' actors, the best actors."

"Multiple Sarcasms" premieres in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle and here in Salt Lake City on May 7. It is rated "R" for strong language.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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