NEW YORK – The World Trade Center's twin towers rise again, if only for a moment, in HBO's new $60-million project "Angels in America." (search)
The six-hour drama - a saga set in the 1980s about AIDS victims (search), angels and devils - is meant to bring painful memories to the surface, including a glimpse at the WTC, which was digitally added to the Manhattan landscape.
After 9/11, most TV and film projects have taken pains to edit images of the fallen towers from footage, but director Mike Nichols and writer Tony Kushner felt it was vital to add the WTC to the film.
"It seemed important to me that it was there [in the '80s] and it's not there now," Nichols tells the latest edition of Newsweek.
"And that's part of the way in which we're looking at this film. What was there then, what's not there now. What is there now that wasn't."
In the scene, Mary-Louis Parker (search) - who plays a mentally-ill, pill-popping Mormon - is on a roof in Brooklyn looking at the Manhattan skyline. "One thing that sort of produced the play in the first place was a feeling of Apocalypse, which is now very much with us," said Kushner.
The project is based on Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play that offered a take on the AIDS crisis, people, politics and the afterlife. It stars Al Pacino (search), Meryl Streep (search) and Emma Thompson (search), and debuts on Dec. 7.
There are several different ways to watch "Angels:" On some dates in December, HBO has broken the film into two parts roughly three-hours long each. On other dates, each of the film's six chapters will air separately in one-hour installments.