The Story

Libby Parsons has it all – a handsome, wealthy husband whom she loves, a son they both adore, a beautiful home near Seattle, wonderful friends. But her idyllic life suddenly turns into a nightmare when her husband Nick (Bruce Greenwood) disappears overboard during a romantic weekend of sailing and she is accused of his murder.

Convicted and imprisoned, Libby begs her best friend, Angie (Annabeth Gish), to adopt her 5-year-old son. Angie agrees and then vanishes with Matty. With the help of prison friends Margaret (Roma Maffia) and Evelyn (Davenia McFadden), Libby uses the telephone to trace them to San Francisco. There, she discovers to her horror, the two are living with Nick, who staged his own “murder” and has adopted a new identity.

Margaret, a disbarred lawyer imprisoned for murdering her husband, pulls Libby back from despair with some comforting news: When Libby finally gets out, she’ll be free to murder Nick – in the middle of Times Square if she wants – because she can’t be tried twice for the same crime. That would be double jeopardy, and she’s already been convicted of killing Nick.

Six years later, Libby is discharged from prison into a halfway house and the care of Travis Lehman (Tommy Lee Jones), a cynical, burnt-out parole officer haunted by failures in his past. Lehman won’t tolerate the slightest breach of the rules, but Libby almost immediately violates parole to track down her son Matty and Nick. Embarrassed by her escape, Lehman becomes as obsessed with finding Libby as she is with finding her son. What begins as a simple, albeit terrifying chase soon turns into an odyssey that changes his life as profoundly as it changes Libby’s.

“What I love about this film is that it has a strong female character,” producer Leonard Goldberg says. “It’s the kind of film that we’ve seen with males before but never a female. When I first heard the idea for the film I thought that it had real surprises, and if it surprises me, then I get interested.”

Goldberg continues: “The most important quality that the female lead had to have was the quality that would make you fall in love with her because she is going to carry you through this movie. The qualities I thought of when we cast the role of Libby were that she is vulnerable but also strong. Vulnerability and likeability – Ashley Judd was a natural fit, and she’s a wonderful actress.” Director Bruce Beresford describes “Double Jeopardy” as both “an entertaining thriller and an interesting study of a woman’s obsessive love for her son, which I found very moving. This is a classic story of someone who’s been wronged, but I think if she hadn’t lost her son, the obsession wouldn’t be there.” “I’ve always wanted to do a thriller,” Beresford continues. “Mostly I’ve made films that were character studies or that explored a particular moment in history that fascinated me. This is very different from anything else I’ve ever done.”

Judd praises Beresford for his close, personal and low-key approach to directing and for helping her with her role by “enhancing my emotional understanding of Libby’s isolation and desperation,” she said. Describing the scene in which Libby makes a telephone call from prison and discovers that Nick is still alive, Judd says: “When I, in shock, hang up the phone and start wandering blankly back to my bunk, instead of what most directors would go for – some kind of close-up shot emphasizing performance – Bruce did something different. He tracked backwards and lost me in the crowd, letting me be overwhelmed by my surroundings and letting the atmosphere of the place be that much more depressing.”

In describing his role in the film, Jones says: “Travis’ professional and personal lives are both pretty much a failure. He’s a former law professor who has fallen on somewhat hard times and is reduced to being a parole officer. He’s cynical, probably jaded, and really just wants no complications in his life at all. And, of course, Ashley’s character proceeds to complicate his life.” The man responsible for both Libby’s misery and, ultimately, Travis’ rebirth, is played by Bruce Greenwood, star of the critically-acclaimed films “The Sweet Hereafter” and “Exotica” and the TV series “Nowhere Man.” He also starred in the 1995 miniseries about Ashley Judd’s famous country music family — “Naomi & Wynonna: Love Can Build a Bridge.”

Greenwood’s interpretation of Nick is that he’s a man who plays hardball in business, but that he doesn’t start out as a bad person. Nick and Libby’s marriage “came out of love originally and stayed that way for a long time,” Greenwood says. “No marriage is perfect, but we have a pretty good thing going – a beautiful child, a terrific art collection and a lot of high-powered friends, but my ambition gets in the way.”

Nick is willing to jettison his wife, his friends and his very identity in the service of his ambition. But he won’t part with his son; thus ensuring that Libby will never rest until she tracks Nick down.

Synopsis of Double Jeopardy Movie

This film, directed by Bruce Beresford, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Ashley Judd, Bruce Greenword, Annabeth Gish, and others, was released on September 24, 1999.

Double Jeopardy tells the story of a woman, Libby Parsons (Ashley Judd) who is framed for the murder of her husband, Nick (Bruce Greenwood). As a result of this incident, Libby was imprisoned for six years.

The film begins with Libby and Nick going on a weekend cruise on their yacht. When Libby woke up from her sleep, she didn’t find Nick beside her. He instead got a lot of blood all over his hands, clothes, and the floor of his boat.

Libby followed the trail of blood on the floor until she found a knife lying on the deck. He took the knife, and just then a coast guard saw Libby holding a knife. Libby was arrested and convicted of murdering her husband.

Libby and Nick have a son named Matty (Benjamin Weir) who is entrusted to Libby’s best friend, Angela Green (Annabeth Gish). Libby calls Angela to talk to Matt.

As Libby was talking to Angela, Matt’s voice called out, “Daddy!” Simultaneously, the sound of the door opening made Libby suspicious.

Libby suspects that her husband and best friend have set her up. Libby realizes that Nick may have faked his death on purpose in order to get life insurance. When Libby goes to jail, life insurance for Nick’s death will go to Matt.

After six years, Libby was released on parole under the close supervision of officer Travis Lehman (Tommy Lee Jones). Libby also tries to find Nick and Matty.

Will he find them?

The Production

Principal photography began on location in Vancouver, B.C., in July 1998. The Greater Vancouver area doubles for Whidbey Island, Washington; Evergreen, Colorado; and San Francisco. For the last quarter of the movie, the production moved to New Orleans.

Beresford says: “The setting of the film is the northwestern part of the country, and Vancouver and Seattle are extremely similar physically and very close geographically. Vancouver is a spectacular city, a port city with huge mountains behind it, and the contrast between it and the heat and exoticism of New Orleans helps the story really work.”

In determining the look of the picture, production designer Howard Cummings says: “We start out in a place (the Pacific Northwest) that’s mostly natural colors in greens and browns, then move to New Orleans, which is all about neon-colored lights. Also, our main character is in a prison for quite a while, so it’s very colorless.”

“At one point, she makes a decision to go on the run, so I added all these red neon lights outside the window while she’s thinking that she’s going to cross the line and actually break the law. After that, the movie gets heavily layered with colors. It starts with a very monochromatic look and ends up with a very colorful look as the drama increases.”

As for filming in New Orleans, co-producer Richard Rothschild says: “The European look of the French Quarter is great, but that look presents a challenge. Production companies need a lot of space to lay out vehicles and equipment and cameras and lights, and essentially, there is no space in the Quarter. There is no space to stand, no space to work, and no space to get out of the way of the hundreds of tourists who flock to you every time you start to shoot.”

The cast and crew rose to the challenge, however, and the production was able to capture the unique atmosphere of New Orleans. One important scene, a charity gala at a hotel in the French Quarter, was actually filmed in the courtyard of the historic Hermman-Grima House, which is open to the public and located adjacent to Bourbon Street. The interiors of the film’s hotel were shot in a mansion in Vancouver. Other sites included the Prince George Regional Correctional Facility in the northern part of British Columbia, which the designers actually had to make uglier; and a historic above-ground cemetery in New Orleans.

The wardrobe also plays a big part in the movie because, Judd says, “it helps define the immense contrast between my former life and the things that are meaningful to me when I get out of prison. So it starts with very comfortable casual, kind of very expensive clothing – Libby being unaware that she and Nick have been living beyond their means.”

Libby goes from wearing Armani at her trial to work shirts and jeans in prison. “And for most of the time I’m looking for my son,” Judd says, “I’m wearing the same way-too-big linen pants, which sums up how intensely focused I am on getting my son back to the exclusion of anything else, fashion included. Then there is the beautiful Armani gown that I wear for the auction, a gown I need in my search for Matty, but which I have to steal because I can’t afford one anymore.”

Goldberg

(Producer) is one of the entertainment industry’s most talented and respected producers of film and television. Currently presiding over his own production company, Mandy Films, Goldberg has held a number of distinguished positions in the industry, including Head of Programming for ABC and President of Twentieth Century Fox Films.

As head of Twentieth Century Fox, he oversaw production on hit films like “Broadcast News,” “Big,” “Die Hard” and “Working Girl.” Independently, he produced such hit features as “WarGames,” the Julia Roberts thriller “Sleeping With the Enemy,” the Eddie Murphy comedy “The Distinguished Gentleman,” as well as critically-acclaimed films like Robert Altman’s “California Split” and John Hancock’s “Baby Blue Marine.”

At ABC, he was responsible for developing and introducing the Made-For-Television movie format. As a television producer he has been responsible for some of the most highly acclaimed telefilms ever made, including the Peabody Award-winning “Brian’s Song,” the Emmy Award-winning “Something About Amelia” and “Alex: The Life of a Child,” based on the book by Frank DeFord.

In partnership with Aaron Spelling he was responsible for an unprecedented string of hit television series, including “Charlie’s Angels,” “T.J. Hooker,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “The Rookies,” “Fantasy Island,” “Hart to Hart” and the beloved, award-winning “Family.” They also produced over thirty-five movies for television, including the film that brought John Travolta to national attention, “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.”

Goldberg recently produced, with Martin Starger, the television adaption of A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters” for ABC-TV, and is producing a highly-anticipated feature film version of “Charlie’s Angels” for Sony Pictures, to star Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz, as well as the medical thriller “The Millenium Plague” for ABC-TV.