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Acclaimed theater, film and television star Treat Williams headlines The WB's hit Monday night drama Everwood as Dr. Andrew Brown, a famous New York neurosurgeon who relocates his family to beautiful Everwood, Colorado, in an effort to reconnect with his children after the untimely death of his wife. Williams has received two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations - one for each season the show has been on the air. Williams first gained the attention of critics and audiences when he starred as Berger in Milos Forman's 1979 big-screen version of the seminal 1960s musical Hair, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. Two years later, Williams earned his second Golden Globe nomination for his starring role in Sydney Lumet's Prince of the City. Williams has since had starring roles in more than 40 feature films, most recently a role alongside Sandra Bullock in Ms. Congeniality 2 and Woody Allen's comedy Hollywood Ending. His other film credits include The Ritz, The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, Once Upon a Time in America, Smooth Talk, for which he garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination, Things To Do in Denver When You're Dead, Mulholland Falls, The Phantom, The Devil's Own, Deep Rising and The Deep End of the Ocean. Also honored for his work on the small screen, Williams earned his third Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Stanley Kowalski in the television presentation of A Streetcar Named Desire. In 1996, he received an Emmy Award nomination for his portrayal of Michael Ovitz in the HBO movie The Late Shift, about the late night television talk show wars. In addition, Williams has received praise for his work in a number of television miniseries, including the title roles in Max and Helen, J. Edgar Hoover, which brought him an ACE Award nomination, and Dempsey. He most recently starred opposite Marcia Gay Harden in the miniseries Guilty Hearts. Williams has also had starring roles in 36 Hours to Die, In the Shadow of Evil, Bonds of Love which he also produced, Deadly Matrimony, Final Verdict, Drug Wars: The Camarena Story and Echoes in the Darkness.
Williams directed Showtime's Texan for the prestigious Chanticleer series, winning two festival awards in the process: Best New Director at the Aspen Short Film Festival and Best Short Film at the Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. Throughout his career, Williams has worked extensively in the theater. He starred on Broadway in the revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies, for which he received a Drama League Award. Broadway audiences have also seen him in productions of Grease, Over Here, Once in a Lifetime, Pirates of Penzance and Love Letters. He went on to headline with Christine Lahti in the Los Angeles premiere of Love Letters, and more recently, has appeared in War Letters at the Canon Theatre in Los Angeles. His theater repertoire also includes off-Broadway productions of David Mamet's Oleanna and Oh, Hell, the latter at Lincoln Center, Some Men Need Help, Randy Newman's Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong and Captains Courageous, for which he also received a Drama League Award. Williams was born on December 1, 1951, in Connecticut, USA.
Utah is Home to 'Everwood's star Treat Williams
Of all things, they are pictures of billboards in Los Angeles . . . but plastered with Smith's face and name. The signs promoting the new WB series, which premiered Monday night, show stars Smith, Treat Williams, and 9-year-old Vivian Cardone.
"I've never been on a billboard. I've never had my name on one," said the 19-year-old Smith, who has already had a big acting career starring in "Small Soldiers" with Kirsten Dunst and a small role in Mel Gibson's "The Patriot." "I can't tell you how much of an honor that is."
There is a reason the WB network is giving "Everwood" the big push. The hourlong series (Mondays at 8 p.m.), about a New York neurosurgeon who moves his family to the fictional Everwood, Colo., is already generating whispers that the WB is on to something that could finally put the TV network on the map.
"This is basically the kind of movie I always grew up wanting to be in," said Williams, who has starred in "Prince of the City," "Hair," and Steven Spielberg's "1941." "The movies that I watched that were made by Billy Wilder, Frank Capra, William Wyler were movies . . . that had moments that were poignant and moments that were dramatic and moments that were funny, and it all kind of worked together.
"I felt that about this," he said about his new TV series. "This is really like an old fashioned film to me."
In the series premiere, Andrew Brown (Williams), a neurosurgeon, loses his wife in a car accident and he decides to uproot his two children, teenage Ephram (Smith) and daughter, Delia (Cardone), from their posh Manhattan home to the slightly rustic, country setting of Everwood.
That poses a host of problems including conflicts with Ephram over the move, another town doctor who resents the competition and other clashes of fatherhood.
While the series nips at the "fish-out-of-water" motif of "Northern Exposure" and the small-town themes of "Ed," "Everwood" promises to be grounded with more genuine people and unfeigned family conflicts.
"It's based in reality. It has humor but it never preaches," said the show's producer, Andrew Ackerman. "It brings up real issues of life and real issues that we all go through."
The series premiere was shot last March in Calgary instead of Salt Lake City because of the 2002 Winter Games, but every episode since has been filmed in an old converted warehouse in South Salt Lake with exterior scenes shot in Ogden. "Everwood" and "Touched by an Angel" are the only two TV series currently filming in Utah.
"We thought Salt Lake could provide for us the background, the crews, the infrastructure to do a show and be close to Los Angeles where the writing staff is," Ackerman said. "The whole crew is from Utah. We're using a lot of locals, and it's hard to find that in other areas."
One day on the set last week, those crews were sputtering about as they set up a series of shots in a mock-up of the Brown home.
Treat Williams Plays Dr. Andy Brown
It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out that Treat Williams is the perfect guy for the role of Dr. Andy Brown, a top-notch physician who radically changes his family's life when he decides to ditch the big city for the simple life in the country. Treat, a self-described thrill seeker who moonlights as a "copter" pilot on his days off, now gets to spend his time doing what he loves most: hanging with Mother Nature.
One of the reasons I took this role is because: "Most characters for actors like me are not very compelling because they're totally together and they don't have complicated lives. That's not the case with Andy. With this character, I get to play someone who's troubled and in pain - a guy who makes mistakes."
And what about the competition?: "Gregory is amazing. He's playing such a tough role. If he was just a pretty, young face, then we'd have no show. Gregory is far more than that."
Playing a father, especially one as real as this is: "So satisfying. The day my son was born my life changed completely. I realized I was not the center of the universe. I became fearless about making sure I could provide for him."
To pass the time, Williams was either chatting on his cell phone or doing a quick tap dance on the hardwood floor. The TV magazine show "Extra" was also there to film the stars.
"It's really cool," Cardone said about life on the set. In between shots, she was either sliding along the kitchen floor or skipping through the film sets.
"If it [the wait between shots] takes a really long time, I go to my trailer, I play with my dolls, I play with my game box, I play with Play Doh," said the petite actress, whose only other role was in the Oscar-winning "A Beautiful Mind."
Smith, on the other hand, said it was a "difficult" day with heavy, emotional scenes. They also had to stop shooting a couple of times, once when a button on his shirt popped off and again when something lodged inside his contact lens.
"It's tough, but good," Smith said about his role as the brooding son, Ephram. "Being nervous and having that pressure, it keeps you on your toes, and it makes you want to work harder and harder and keep raising the bar."
While filming a movie is easy, Williams said, producing a TV show is full of rigorous 12- to 16-hour days with little time to rest. On days off, the three have gone out together, including to an air show in Heber City and waterskiing at Jordanelle Reservoir.
As they continue to shoot 13 episodes through November, Williams has rented a home in Park City while his wife and two children live in New York. Smith has rented a Salt Lake City apartment, and Cardone's family bought a house in Sandy.
If the show proves to be successful, the network will order another nine episodes to complete the season. Williams said he has committed to at least five seasons if the show finds its audience, something that will be a challenge since it will be going up against "Monday Night Football" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," although episodes will be repeated on Sundays.
"I'm committing myself to try and give this series legs," Williams said. "In November, I might be packing my stuff up. I'm hoping Warner Bros. and the American public like it enough to give us a shot."