Theatrical release: September 27, 1997 (N.Y.); October 17, 1997 (national).
Estimated budget: $18 million.
Ang Lee didn't come to the country until 1978, so he didn't really experience the 1970s in the United States. He hired researcher Jean Castelli, who wrote thousands of pages about culture of the 1970s to assist the crew. Lee also relied on the personal memories of his cast and crew. As he has done in several of his films, he assigned books for the cast to read, and handed out a questionnaire for the cast to complete in character.
"I felt [THE ICE STORM] was just the opposite of SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. In SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, the social code wants you to be rational and good and the characters want to be bad; in THE ICE STORM the social code wants you to be bad, and actually they're not so bad after all--they still want to be good."--Ang Lee, in an interview on THE ICE STORM Web site.
Rick Moody's novel was brought to the attention of screewriter James Schamus by his wife, Nancy Krikorian, who is a literary scout.
"I told Mark Friedberg and Carol Oditaz, the costume designer, that whereas art direction usually supoports the acting, I wanted them to build a look that would work against the acting. Human nature in this movie is working against the look."--Ang Lee, in an interview on THE ICE STORM Web site.
Vermeer paintings served as an inspiration for SENSE AND SENSBILITY; photorealistic paintings served as an inspiration for the look of THE ICE STORM. "There's an empty, de-focused feeling to those paintings," Ang Lee explained on the THE ICE STORM Web site. "We used a lot of reflective and transparent material to get that effect: mirrors, chrome, and glass, which we later build out into the ice effect and shatter." Cubism was another influence on the film. "The structure of the film resembles Cubism, many facets put together in a narrative way so that you can watch it from many angles and they all mean something," Ang Lee said on THE ICE STORM Web site. "By the early Seventies Cubism had come almost to an end and simplified into just patterns."
"The first time I saw the film with all of its images of freezing and ice, I immediately thought of the sound of the Gamelan Ensemble, a group of brass and wood instrumments from Indonesia. It's actually quite paradoxical because the Gamelan comes from a tropical region, but the sounds of this instrument are quite icy."--Composer Mychael Danna, in an interview on THE ICE STORM Web site.