|Status:||Now in Theaters|
|Director:||F. Gary Gray|
|Running Time:||100 Minutes|
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When a home invasion robbery turns deadly, the lone survivor will stop at nothing to avenge his lost loved ones in Law Abiding Citizen, an explosive examination of blind justice from the director of The Italian Job.
Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is an upstanding family man whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered during a home invasion. When the killers are caught, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), a hotshot Philadelphia prosecutor, is assigned to the case. Nick offers one of the suspects a light sentence in exchange for testifying against his accomplice.
Fast forward ten years. The man who got away with murder is found dead and Clyde Shelton coolly admits his guilt. Then he issues a warning to Nick: Either fix the flawed justice system that failed his family, or key players in the trial will die.
Soon Shelton follows through on his threats, orchestrating from his jail cell a string of spectacularly diabolical assassinations that can be neither predicted nor prevented. Philadelphia is gripped with fear as Shelton’s high-profile targets are slain one after another and the authorities are powerless to halt his reign of terror. Only Nick can stop the killing, and to do so he must outwit this brilliant sociopath in a harrowing contest of wills in which even the smallest misstep means death. With his own family now in Shelton’s crosshairs, Nick finds himself in a desperate race against time facing a deadly adversary who seems always to be one step ahead.
Law Abiding Citizen stars Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx (Ray), Gerard Butler (300), Bruce McGill (Obsessed), Colm Meaney (The Commitments), Leslie Bibb (Iron Man), Michael Irby (“The Unit”), Regina Hall (Scary Movie) and Viola Davis (Doubt). The film is directed by F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, Be Cool) from a screenplay by Kurt Wimmer (Street Kings). The producers are Lucas Foster (Mr. & Mrs. Smith), Gerard Butler, Alan Siegel, Mark Gill (The Rebound), Kurt Wimmer and Robert Katz (The Rebound). Jeff G. Waxman (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead) is co-producer. Michael Goguen (The Rebound), and Neil Sacker (The Illusionist) are executive producers. Jonathan Sela (Powder Blue) is director of photography. Alex Hajdu (W.) is production designer, with costumes by Jeffrey Kurland (Collateral).
Gerard Butler…Clyde Shelton (actor/producer)
Jamie Foxx…Nick Rice
Viola Davis…Mayor of Philadelphia
Regina Hall….Kelly Rice
Leslie Bibb…Sarah Lowell
Colm Meaney….Detective Dunnigan
Christian Stolte….Clarence Darby
Bruce McGill…Jonas Cantrell
Brooke Stacy Mills….Clyde’s Wife
Michael Irby….Det. Garza
Josh Stewart….Rupert Ames
MORE ABOUT THE CAST AND FILMMAKERS…
About the Cast/Main Credits
JAMIE FOXX (Nick Rice) won an Academy Award® for Best Actor in 2005 for his portrayal of the legendary Ray Charles in the Taylor Hackford-directed biopic Ray. In addition to winning the Oscar®, Foxx swept the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), BAFTA and NAACP Image Awards, as well as numerous critics’ awards. He also shared in a SAG Award nomination received by the film’s ensemble cast. Also in 2005, Foxx garnered Oscar®, Golden Globe, SAG Award, BAFTA Award and Image Award nominations in the category of Best Supporting Actor for his work in Michael Mann’s dramatic thriller Collateral, in which he starred with Tom Cruise.
That same year, Foxx also earned Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations and won an Image Award for Best Actor in a Television Movie for his portrayal of condemned gang member-turned-Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stan “Tookie” Williams in the FX Network movie “Redemption.” This marked the first time that a single actor has received three Golden Globe nominations and four SAG Award nominations in the same year. He is also the first African-American actor to be nominated for two Oscars® in the same year, and is only the second man in history to receive two Oscar® nominations in the same year for acting.
Foxx recently starred in Joe Wright’s inspirational film The Soloist as Nathaniel Anthony Ayers, a homeless musician with schizophrenia who plays at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The film is based on a 12-part series of articles by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez.
In 2007, Foxx took on the role of executive producer of the film Life Support. The film, which closed the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, starred Queen Latifah in the inspirational true-life story of a mother who overcame her crack addiction to become a positive role model and an AIDS activist. Also in 2007, Foxx was seen in The Kingdom,playing the leader of a counter-terrorist team on the hunt for those responsible for a deadly bombing attack on Americans working in the Middle East.
Foxx was also seen in Dreamgirls,a screen adaptation of the Broadway musical that was written and directed by Bill Condon. The film won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and received a SAG nomination for Best Ensemble Cast.
In addition to his outstanding work in front of the camera, Foxx has also achieved a thriving career in music. His most recent album to go platinum, “Intuition,” debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 chart. The first single off the album, “She Got Her Own,” went to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart. The second single, “Blame It,” broke records, including holding the No. 1 position for 12 consecutive weeks on the Urban Mainstream Chart. “Intuition” features an impressive list of artists such as T.I., Lil Wayne, Kanye West and Ne-Yo.
The release of Foxx’s J Records debut, “Unpredictable,” topped the charts in December 2005, selling over a million units in 20 days and holding the No. 1 spot for five weeks. Foxx was nominated for eight Billboard Music Awards, three Grammy Awards, one Soul Train Music Award and two American Music Awards, where he won Favorite Male Artist. The album was nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2006, including Best R&B Album. The track “Love Changes,” featuring Mary J. Blige, was nominated for Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group and the title track “Unpredictable,” featuring Ludacris, received a nod for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
In January 2006, Foxx announced his partnership with SIRIUS Satellite Radio to start his own 24-hour radio station called The Foxxhole. The station is a combination of comedy and music.
The Texas native first came to fame as a comedian. After spending time on the comedy circuit, Foxx joined Keenan Ivory Wayans, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans and Tommy Davidson in the landmark FOX sketch comedy series “In Living Color,” creating some of the show’s funniest and most memorable moments. In 1996, he launched his own series, “The Jamie Foxx Show,” which was one of the top-rated shows on the WB network during its five-year run. Foxx not only starred on the series, he was the co-creator and executive producer, and also directed several episodes.
Foxx’s big-screen break came in 1999 when Oliver Stone cast him as star quarterback Willie Beamen in Any Given Sunday with Al Pacino. Some of his other notable film roles include Michael Mann’s Ali, alongside Will Smith, Miami Vice,with Colin Farrell, and Sam Mendes’ Gulf War drama Jarhead, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal.
GERARD BUTLER (Clyde Shelton, Producer) solidified himself as a leading man when he starred as King Leonidas in Zack Snyder’s blockbuster 300. The film broke box-office records in its opening weekend and went on to earn more than $450 million worldwide.
Most recently, Butler starred in Robert Luketic’s comedy The Ugly Truth with Katherine Heigl and Guy Ritchie’s RocknRolla, opposite Thandie Newton. Butler can next be seen starring in the futuristic thriller Gamer. He is also a voice performer in the animated film How to Train Your Dragon,slated for a March 2010 release.
Though perhaps best known for his action-adventure films, Butler is a versatile actor starring across genre lines. He recently starred in the children’s adventure film Nim’s Island,opposite Jodie Foster, and the romantic drama P.S. I Love You, with Hilary Swank. Butler previously starred in the film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera. He also earned critical acclaim for his work opposite Emily Mortimer in the independent feature Dear Frankie, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Born in Scotland, Butler’s stage debut was at the age of 12 in the musical “Oliver,” at Glasgow’s famous Kings Theatre. As a young man, his dreams of acting were deferred and he went on to study law for seven years before returning to the stage in London. In 1996, he landed the lead role in the acclaimed stage production of “Trainspotting.” He later starred on the London stage in such plays as “Snatch” and the Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer,” opposite Rachel Weisz.
In 1997, Butler made his feature film debut in John Madden’s award-winning drama Mrs. Brown, starring Judi Dench. His early film work includes roles in Fast Food, One More Kiss, Harrison’s Flowers and the 1999 screen adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard.
Butler’s other film credits include Beowulf & Grendel, Timeline, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and Reign of Fire.
In addition to his acting pursuits, Butler launched a production shingle with his longtime manager Alan Siegel.
LESLIE BIBB (Sarah Lowell) most recently appeared with Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy in the hit comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic, based on the bestselling book by Sophie Kinsella, and previously starred opposite Bradley Cooper in the horror film The Midnight Meat Train. Bibb is currently starring in MGM’s Zookeeper opposite Kevin James.
Bibb was part of box office history with her role in last summer’s Iron Man, which grossed over $100 million dollars in its opening weekend. Previously, she starred alongside Will Ferrell, Sacha Baron Cohen and John C. Reilly in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. She also starred opposite Patrick Fugit in the dark romantic comedy Wristcutters: A Love Story. Additional film credits include Private Parts, The Skulls and See Spot Run.
On television, Bibb made her mark as the lead on the WB series “Popular” as the beautiful Brooke McQueen. “Popular” became an instant cult classic within the teen demographic.
Bibb was raised in Nelson County, Virginia. Later she and her mother, along with her three older sisters, moved to Richmond, where Leslie attended the all-girls Catholic high school St. Gertrude’s. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
BRUCE MCGILL (Jonas Cantrell) has been a constant and memorable screen presence since he drove his motorcycle up the Delta House stairs as “D-Day” in National Lampoon’s Animal House. Throughout his career, McGill has consistently received rave reviews for his standout performances and shows no sign of slowing down. He was recently seen in Obsessed, starring Beyonce and Idris Elba, and recently completed filming Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.
McGill has appeared in more than 80 motion pictures, including Oliver Stone’s W, Vantage Point, Runaway Jury, Matchstick Men and Cinderella Man. His appearance as Southern attorney Ron Motley in Michael Mann’s The Insider garnered high praise from critics and audiences alike. Other film work includes The Sum of All Fears, Shallow Hal, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Legally Blonde II, My Cousin Vinny, The Last Boy Scout, Silkwood and Exit Wounds.
McGill’s list of television credits is equally impressive, as he has starred in some of HBO’s most critically acclaimed productions. He portrayed controversial journalist Peter Arnett in “Live From Baghdad,” painted a chilling portrait of LBJ cabinet member George Ball in “Path to War” and brought legendary New York Yankees manager Ralph Houk to life in “61.” He has made memorable guest appearances on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “The Practice,” “Gideon’s Crossing,” “Home Improvement,” “Star Trek: Voyager,” “The Commish,” “Quantum Leap,” “Miami Vice” and many others.
On the small screen, McGill may be best known as Jack Dalton, troublemaking best friend to “MacGyver,” whom he portrayed for six seasons.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, McGill began his acting career on stage in elementary school. After earning his B.F.A. in acting from the University of Texas at Austin, he made his professional debut as a member of Rhode Island’s Trinity Square Repertory Company. After relocating to New York City, McGill began a long association with the New York Shakespeare Festival, appearing in such productions as “Hamlet” (produced by the legendary Joseph Papp) and “Henry V.” He also played Iago opposite Raul Julia’s Othello for the NYSF’s Shakespeare in the Park series. McGill starred on Broadway in “My One and Only” with Tommy Tune and Twiggy.
During the recent Writers Guild strike, McGill returned to the stage after 22 years with an acclaimed portrayal of Orson Welles in “Orson’s Shadow” at the Pasadena Playhouse.
McGill currently lives with his wife Gloria just outside Los Angeles, where he indulges his passions for golfing, sailing and music whenever possible.
COLM MEANEY (Detective Dunnigan) was born in Dublin, Ireland and is perhaps best known for his role as Chief Operating Officer Miles O’Brien on the television series, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
Meaney’s most recent film is The Damned United, in which he stars opposite Michael Sheen as famed English football coach Don Revie. He was nominated for an Irish Film Award for his starring performance in Kings, Ireland’s 2008 official Academy Award entry. Other recent films include 3 and Out with Mackenzie Crook and Five Fingers, with Laurence Fishburne and Ryan Phillipe.
Meaney made his feature film debut in John Huston’s The Dead (1987), but it was his performance in director Alan Parker’s The Commitments that gained him wider recognition with North American audiences. He also starred in the other two films in the highly acclaimed Roddy Doyle Barrytown trilogy: The Snapper, for which he received a Best Actor Golden Globe nomination, and The Van. Both films were directed by Steven Frears. Meaney also starred in Alan Parker’s Come See the Paradise and The Road to Wellville.
The actor has successfully bridged the gap from starring in large studio films such as Con Air, Mystery, Alaska, Under Siege and Far and Away to highly acclaimed independent films such as Layer Cake, Intermission, The Boy and the Girl from County Clare, This is my Father, The Englishman That Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain, Claire Dolan, Four Days, Into the West and Monument Avenue.
Meaney was nominated for Best Actor at the Irish Film Awards and won the Best Actor award at the Newport Beach Film Festival for his role in the indie film How Harry Became a Tree.
Most recently, Meaney finished shooting a role in Get Him to the Greek, a Judd Apatow-produced comedy in which he plays Russell Brand’s father. The cast also includes Jonah Hill, Rose Byrne and Sean Combs. For television, Meaney recently completed shooting “Alice,” a contemporary version of the “Alice in Wonderland” story for the Sci-Fi channel. Meaney and Kathy Bates play the King and Queen of Hearts. Both projects will be released in 2010.
Meaney also stars in the upcoming Canadian miniseries “ZOS: Zone of Separation” and was seen in the recent miniseries, “Covert One: The Hades Factor.” Other television appearances include the miniseries “Scarlett” and “Random Passage” and the TNT film “Boss Lear,” opposite Patrick Stewart. He recently appeared on “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and in an episode of “The Unit” written and directed by David Mamet.
Meaney left school in Dublin at the age of 17 to apprentice as a fisherman, but his love of acting led him to enroll in drama classes at The Abbey, Dublin’s National Theater. He first came to the United States in 1982 to work in New York and later made his Broadway debut in “Breaking The Code,” opposite Derek Jacobi. Meaney moved to Los Angeles in 1987.
He recently returned to the stage to star with Kevin Spacey in the highly acclaimed production of “Moon for the Misbegotten” at London’s Old Vic and on Broadway. Other recent stage work includes his Obie Award-winning performance in “The Cider House Rules” at New York’s Atlantic Theater and “Juno and the Paycock” at London’s Donmar Theater.
Meaney resides in Mallorca, Spain and Los Angeles.
VIOLA DAVIS (Mayor April Henry) is currently shooting Eat, Pray, Love opposite Julia Roberts for director Ryan Murphy. She is also simultaneously shooting a recurring arc on the Showtime series “United States of Tara,” alongside Toni Collette. Davis recently starred in the critically revered film Doubt,based on the Tony Award-winning play, in the role of Mrs. Miller, mother of a young boy who piques the fascination of a Catholic priest. She shared the screen alongside Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman in the powerful drama directed by John Patrick Shanley and produced by Scott Rudin. Davis was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. The National Board of Review recognized Davis with the “Breakthrough Award.” She was also honored by the Santa Barbara Film Festival as a “Virtuoso.”
Davis recently starred in State of Play for director Kevin Macdonald and Madea Goes to Jail for Tyler Perry. Before that, she starred with Diane Lane, Richard Gere and James Franco in the romantic drama Nights in Rodanthe, directed by George C. Wolfe. She also made an indelible impression on the big screen with her heart-wrenching performance in Denzel Washington’s Antwone Fisher, which earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Additional film credits include a supporting role in Disturbia, starring Shia LeBeouf, for director D.J. Caruso; The Architect,opposite Anthony LaPaglia; Jim Sheridan’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’, opposite 50 Cent; Syriana,starring George Clooney, directed by Stephen Gaghan and produced by Steven Soderbergh (Davis’ fourth collaboration with the Oscar®-winning director after Solaris, Traffic and Out of Sight); and Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven, with Dennis Quaid and Julianne Moore.
Last summer, Davis appeared on the small screen co-starring with Benjamin Bratt, Eric McCormack and Rick Schroeder in the A&E miniseries “The Andromeda Strain,” which was nominated for an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie. Other television credits include recurring roles on “Law & Order: SVU” and in the CBS miniseries franchise “Jesse Stone” opposite Tom Selleck; a starring role as Diane Barrino in “Life is Not a Fairytale: The Fantasia Barrino Story” for Lifetime; and a starring role in ABC’s “Traveler,” playing Agent Jan Marlow. She had roles in “Century City,” “Lefty,” the Steven Bochco series “City of Angels,” Oprah Winfrey’s “Amy and Isabelle” and Hallmark Hall of Fame’s “Grace and Glorie.”
In 2004, Davis lit up the stage in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of Lynn Nottage’s play “Intimate Apparel,” directed by Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan. She garnered the highest honors for an Off Broadway play, including Best Actress awards from the Drama Desk, the Drama League, the Obie and the Audelco Award. She was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award as well. Davis reprised her role at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where she was recognized with the Ovation, Los Angeles Drama Critics and the Garland awards.
In 2001, Davis was awarded a Tony for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Tonya in “King Hedley II,” a role for which she also received a Drama Desk Award.
Davis is a graduate of The Julliard School and holds an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from her alma mater, Rhode Island College. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, actor Julius Tennon.
MICHAEL IRBY (Detective Sean Garza) recently starred on the CBS action-packed military thriller “The Unit,” based on producer Eric Haney’s book, Inside Delta Force. The one-hour drama about the adventures of a secret Special Forces team was created for television by Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet and “The Shield” creator Shawn Ryan.
Irby’s notable film roles include that of the brilliant playwright Reinaldo Povod, protégé of Latino icon and poet-playwright-actor Miguel Pinero, in the biopic Pinero. He starred opposite Benjamin Bratt, Giancarlo Esposito and Rita Moreno. He portrayed the imprisoned chess player Enriquez in The Last Castle, an action-packed military drama with Robert Redford, James Gandolfini and Mark Ruffalo, and played the alleged kidnapper and hijacker Obaid opposite Jodi Foster in the psychological thriller Flight Plan.
Irby was raised in the small town of Cabazon, California, just outside of Palm Springs. His Mexican mother and African American father, both of whom were blue-collar workers, instilled family values in him at a very early age. Obsessed with soccer, Irby became immersed in the sport and made the U.S. “18 and under” team. At 17, he competed in Europe as a primer in the prestigious Dana and Gothia Cups.
Upon his return to the States, Irby moved to Los Angeles and while in college, met an acting teacher who urged him to study drama. Accepted to the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts, he moved to New York City. He performed in numerous theater productions on the New York stage including “Corpus Christi,” written by Terrence McNally and directed by Joe Mantelli at the Manhattan Theater Club, and Jessica Goldberg’s “Stuck,” with the Rattlestick Theater Company. While in Manhattan, he also made a number of guest appearances on the television series “Law and Order.”
Returning to Los Angeles, Irby appeared on several shows including “MDs,” “Haunted,” “Line of Fire,” “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: New York.”
Irby lives in Los Angeles with his wife and young son.
REGINA HALL (Kelly Rice) started her acting career in 1997 with a television commercial at the age of 26. Her television career began with a recurring role on the soap opera “Loving” and guest appearances on the FOX police drama “New York Undercover.”
A pivotal point in Hall’s career came with her first film role in 1999, the small part of Candy in The Best Man. As she left a lasting impression on viewers with her portrayal, even in an all-star cast, Hall soon garnered A-list status in young “Black Hollywood.”
The actress gained more recognition with her role in the comedy-horror-spoof Scary Movie (and the sequels Scary Movie 2, Scary Movie 3 and Scary Movie 4) portraying high schooler Brenda Meeks. Hall also played supporting parts in two films by Gina Prince-Bythewood: the drama Love & Basketball and the made-for-television movie “Disappearing Acts.”
In 2001, Hall landed the role of Coretta Lipp on the primetime drama “Ally McBeal,” which was a recurring role over several episodes. A year later, she starred in the action-drama Paid in Full, a film directed by Charles Stone III. Since then, she has appeared in leading roles in films such as Malibu's Most Wanted, King's Ransom and The Honeymooners.
Hall recently starred in the feature comedies Mardi Gras and Death at a Funeral, the latter film directed by Neil LaBute.
GREGORY ITZIN (Warden Iger) is a veteran of stage, screen and television. He is most widely known for his Emmy-nominated turn as President Charles Logan on “24.” Presently, he can be seen as Agent Virgil Minelli on the CBS hit “The Mentalist.”
Itzin hails from small town Wisconsin and did his early theatre work in Illinois and Wisconsin before moving west to train at The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He has appeared in the films Airplane, The Fabulous Baker Boys, Evolution, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Life or Something Like It, Original Sin and The Job.
On the small screen, he was a series regular on “Murder One,” Mel Brooks’ “Nutt House,” Comedy Central’s “Strip Mall” and “Eerie, Indiana.” Itzin has played recurring roles on “Profiler,” “NCIS,” “L.A. Law,” “Boston Legal,” “Picket Fences” and “Friends.”
An accomplished stage actor, Itzin received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for his performance in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Kentucky Cycle.” He also received L.A. Drama Critics Circle acting awards for his work in “Waiting For Godot,” “The Birthday Party” and “The Homecoming,” all presented at The Matrix Theatre Company in Los Angeles. He recently starred in the title role in the world premiere of Donald Margulies’ “Shipwrecked! The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont as Told by Himself” at South Coast Rep and The Geffen Playhouse.
Itzin resides in Los Angeles with his wife Judie and some dogs and cats. He has two amazing children out in the world, Julia and Wilke.
Overture Films and The Film Department
A Warp Film Production In Association with Evil
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN
F. Gary Gray
Gerard Butler & Alan Siegel
Director of Photography
Joseph Middleton, CSA and Deanna Brigidi-Stewart, CSA
About the Filmmakers - F. Gary Gray
F. GARY GRAY (Director) is recognized as one of Hollywood’s most celebrated and versatile directors, known for consistently pushing the envelope, spotting new trends and delivering innovative, exciting material to a diverse audience. With dynamic visuals and storytelling flair, he continues to showcase his intensity and passion for film with each new project.
His first film, the smash hit Friday starring rapper-producer Ice Cube and Chris Tucker, launched a franchise that went on to gross more than $125 million. He next directed the award-winning heist picture Set It Off,with Jada Pinkett Smith, and then The Negotiator, with a $50 million budget that was the highest ever for a film directed by an African-American filmmaker at that time. Starring Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey and Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson, the drama earned Gray both Best Film and Best Director awards at the 1998 Acapulco Film Festival.
In 2003, Gray directed The Italian Job, a visually arresting, dramatically taut thriller with an all-star cast including Academy Award® winner Charlize Theron and Oscar® nominee Mark Wahlberg. His thrilling boat chase scenes along the canals of Venice, Italy, and dynamic car chases shot in downtown Los Angeles set a new standard for event filmmaking. Gray garnered the Best Director award at the 2004 Black American Film Festival for his work on the film, which grossed more than $175 million worldwide.
Gray’s other features include the action-drama A Man Apart, starring Vin Diesel, and the crime comedy Be Cool, based on Elmore Leonard’s bestselling novel. But the director’s repertoire extends beyond feature films to music videos, television and new media. He began directing music videos at the age of 20 and directed some of the most iconic music videos of all time, for artists such as Dr. Dre, TLC, Mary J. Blige, Outkast and Jay-Z.
A Grammy nominee for directing Stevie Wonder and Babyface’s “How Come, How Long,” Gray swept the 1995 MTV Music Video Awards, receiving four awards for TLC’s “Waterfalls” including Video of the Year, as well as Best Rap Video Award for Dr. Dre’s “Keep Their Heads Ringin’.” That same year, Gray earned Billboard’s Best Rap Video and Best New Artist Rap Video awards. To date, he has received 16 awards and 23 nominations for his direction of various music videos, including an Image Award from the NAACP for “Waterfalls.” His video for Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day” is listed on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “Top 100 Best Videos of All Time.”
Gray received The Ivan Dixon Award of Achievement from the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center and was named one of the “50 Best and Brightest African Americans under 40” by Black Enterprise magazine. He was honored by the African American Film Critics Association with their 2004 Special Achievement Award and was recognized by the Artist Empowerment Coalition with the Artist Empowerment Award that same year.
Through his production company, Nucleus Entertainment, Inc., Gray is producing several film projects while also pursuing opportunities in both new and traditional media.
Gray is a longstanding supporter of the Tom Bradley Youth & Family Center in Los Angeles and works with Urban Compass in Watts, where he created the F. Gary Gray Filmmaking Workshop. Its mission is to inspire underserved youth to tell their unique stories through the art of filmmaking.
An avid photographer and extensive traveler, Gray has also taught cinema for the Franco-American Cultural Fund. His journeys throughout the world have shaped his global perspective and given him an opportunity to listen, communicate and share with people from all walks of life.
About the Filmmakers - Lucas Foster
LUCAS FOSTER (Producer) has produced over two-dozen feature films including Bad Boys, Crimson Tide, Dangerous Minds, The Mask of Zorro, Enemy of the State, Man on Fire and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. All together, his movies have grossed more than two billion dollars in worldwide box office receipts.
After attending Princeton University to study applied physics and UCLA for fine arts, Foster began his film career working on low-budget films for legendary cult producers such as Roger Corman and Charles Band. He then transitioned to the studio side of the industry, becoming Executive Assistant to Frank Yablans of MGM/UA and later Alan Ladd Jr., Chairman of MGM/UA.
Foster then moved full force into motion picture development and production by working for various producers such as Yablans, Scott Rudin, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. During this period, Foster found, acquired and developed the suspense thriller Flatliners and The Firm, which he discovered as a yet unpublished John Grisham manuscript.
At Simpson/Bruckheimer, Foster helped develop and produce The Ref, starring Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey; Dangerous Minds, starring Michelle Pfeiffer; Crimson Tide,starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman; and Bad Boys, which kicked off the feature film careers of Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and director Michael Bay. He was also involved in the development of The Rock, starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, as well as Enemy of the State, starring Smith and Hackman.
Foster next joined Ted Turner’s Turner Pictures as Executive Vice President of Production, where he helped acquire and oversaw production of Michael, starring John Travolta, and Fallen,starring Denzel Washington.
In 1996, Foster launched his own company, Warp Films, with an exclusive production deal at Columbia Pictures. He was integrally involved in the pre-production process of Wild Things before serving as a consultant and producer on The Mask of Zorro, starring Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Subsequently, Foster produced Equilibrium,directed by Kurt Wimmer and starring Christian Bale; Man on Fire, directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington and Christopher Walken; the remake of Walking Tall, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson; and Ultraviolet, starring Milla Jovovich.
Soon after came the worldwide smash Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which starred Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Vince Vaughn. The film grossed $478 million in theaters worldwide.
Foster’s production Jumper opened in first position in worldwide box office sales. Starring Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson, the film re-teamed the producer with Mr. & Mrs. Smith director Doug Liman. His next film, Street Kings, starring Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker and Chris Evans, was directed by David Ayer.
Foster presently has two films in production. The action-drama Taxi Wars is set to shoot in South Africa with Djimon Hounsou starring. I Am That Man, a groundbreaking feature film about the Navy SEALs, uses a fictional storyline but stars actual members of the elite Special Forces division in battle situations, using live ammo and explosions. It is being made with the full cooperation of the U.S. Department of Defense.
About the Filmmakers - Alan Siegel
ALAN SIEGEL’S (Producer) impressive international client list and industry-wide reputation for a strong work ethic has earned him his own unique place in the entertainment industry as a talent manager overseeing the careers of a select group of clients.
In addition to founding and leading Alan Siegel Entertainment for many years, he launched the production shingle, Evil Twins, with client and friend Gerard Butler in March of 2008.
Wanting to be a part of the entertainment industry from an early age, Alan attended The Juilliard School of Music for voice as a child. By the age of 15, he taught piano in his hometown of Bayside, Queens to many of the neighborhood children.
He first made his mark as an actor on Broadway and appeared in national commercials. While moonlighting in theater, Alan’s daytime activities included instructing High School English for the New York City Public School System and working in Bushwick, Brooklyn teaching sixth grade.
Moving his career west to Los Angeles while still pursuing an acting career, Alan taught English as a second language in North Hollywood High Adult School and gave acting classes at Hollywood High while appearing in episodic television shows. Deciding it was more enjoyable representing actors rather than acting himself; he pursued managing as a full time career and opened his own management firm.
Alan Siegel has also extended a philanthropic hand as an executive board member of The Charity Parody Foundation, a group he co-founded to raise funds for AIDS patients' health care. Additionally, he has donated over 3,000 hours as a counselor for AIDS Project Los Angeles and sits on the board of Kids Kicking Cancer whose mission is to ease the pain of very sick children while empowering them to heal physically, spiritually and emotionally.
He holds two masters of arts degrees: one in directing (New York University) and a second in clinical psychology (Antioch University).
His life partner of fifteen years is famed fashion designer, David Meister. They married in 2008 and reside in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with their dog, Petey.
About the Filmmakers - Mark Gill
MARK GILL (Producer) is the Chief Executive Officer of The Film Department, a film financing and production company established in 2007 with a $200 million capitalization. He previously founded and served as President of Warner Independent Pictures. During his tenure at WIP, the company produced 15 films, earned 11 Oscar® nominations and was the most successful start-up in movie history, earning $100 million at the North American box office faster than an independent studio ever has. In its second year, the company’s hits included March of the Penguins and Good Night, and Good Luck.
Prior to joining Warner, Gill spent eight years at Miramax Films, where he was President of Miramax/L.A. He was involved in the production or acquisition of more than two dozen films, among them The Talented Mr. Ripley, Central Station, Next Stop Wonderland, Apocalypse Now Redux, In the Bedroom, Amelie, The Quiet American, Frida, Rabbit-Proof Fence, City of God and Under the Tuscan Sun.
Gill joined Miramax in 1994 and served for three years as the company’s marketing chief, based in New York. Among the films he marketed were Pulp Fiction, Scream, Copland, Good Will Hunting, Muriel’s Wedding, Flirting with Disaster, Trainspotting, Slingblade, Emma, Bullets Over Broadway, The Postman/Il Postino, The English Patient, Life Is Beautiful and Shakespeare in Love.
Prior to joining Miramax, Gill worked for six years at Columbia and TriStar Pictures, culminating in a three-year tenure as Senior Vice President in the marketing department. Before that, he served as a general assignment reporter for Newsweek magazine and for the Los Angeles Times.
About the Filmmakers - Kurt Wimmer
KURT WIMMER (Screenplay/Producer) is an American screenwriter and film director. Wimmer attended the University of South Florida and graduated with a B.F.A. degree in art history. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for 12 years as a screenwriter, adapting works such as Sphere,starring Dustin Hoffman, and The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Pierce Brosnan.
In 2002, Wimmer made his directorial debut with Equilibrium, starring Christian Bale and Emily Watson. Wimmer also wrote and directed Ultraviolet, starring Milla Jovovich, and penned the screenplay for Street Kings, starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker. Upcoming projects include the story and screenplay for Salt, starring Liev Schreiber and Angelina Jolie.
About the Filmmakers - Robert Katz
ROBERT KATZ (Producer) is President of Production for the Film Department. Previously, he was Executive Vice President of Production for The Yari Film Group, where he was in charge of production on 18 films including Crash, The Illusionist, Prime, The Matador, Hostage, The Hoax and The Painted Veil. Most recently, he produced The Rebound, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Slipstream, directed by and starring Anthony Hopkins, and Black Water Transit, directed by Tony Kaye and starring Laurence Fishburne and Karl Urban.
About the Filmmaker - Neil Sacker
NEIL SACKER (Executive Producer) is the President and Chief Operating Officer of The Film Department, which he founded with Mark Gill in 2007. Previously, he was Chief Operating Officer of the Yari Film Group, the producer and financier of the Best Picture Academy Award® winner Crash. Sacker was instrumental in building the organization from its inception.In his four-year tenure, he was responsible for all of the company’s business and legal affairs, finance and operations and was a critical player in formulating its highly successful business strategy and greenlight decisions.
By its second year, the company was financing and producing eight films annually on budgets between $3 million and $55 million. Sacker’s extremely broad and deep knowledge makes him an unusual executive in the film industry, where legal expertise, financial acumen and operational ability are generally confined to distinct silos and thus unlikely to be combined to maximize benefit.
In Sacker’s three-plus years at Miramax Films, he ran the business and legal affairs department and supervised a staff of 10 attorneys for both Miramax and Dimension, reporting to Bob and Harvey Weinstein. He oversaw all aspects of business and legal affairs including development, production, acquisitions and litigation. During his tenure, he worked on more than 75 films, including Scream, Good Will Hunting and The English Patient.
Prior to joining Miramax, Sacker served as theatrical counsel and then senior theatrical counsel at Warner Bros. Pictures for four years.
Upon graduating from Yale Law School, Sacker’s initial job was as a litigation associate for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison in New York City. He holds a B.A. from Cornell University.
About the Filmmaker - Michael Goguen
MICHAEL GOGUEN (Executive Producer) is a managing partner at Sequoia Capital. Sequoia Capital was an original investor in Google, Yahoo, YouTube, PayPal, Flextronics, Network Appliance, NVIDIA, Netscreen, Cisco, Oracle and Apple. He is the global head of Sequoia’s clean-tech investment efforts, which are particularly focused on finding capital-efficient clean-tech businesses with strong IP.
Goguen is also active in semiconductor systems and Internet businesses, and has served on the boards of over 40 Sequoia companies. Prior to joining Sequoia Capital in 1996, he spent 10 years in various engineering, research and product management roles at DEC, SynOptics and Centillion. He was a director of Engineering at Bay Networks (NT) and also served as a Technical Chairman of the ATM Forum.
Goguen has a B.S. in electrical engineering from Cornell University and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.
About the Filmmaker - Jonathan Sela
JONATHAN SELA (Director of Photography) has worked in film, commercials and music videos. Sela’s most recent film credits include Max Payne, Powder Blue and The Midnight Meat Train. In 2006, he lensed John Moore’s The Omen. His other film credits include Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School, Grimm Love, Dreamland and Randy and the Mob. Sela shot additional photography for The Little Black Book, The Girl Next Door and Martian Child. Other credits include the short films The Newman Shower and DysEnchanted,which was an official selection at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
Sela’s extensive music video credits include work for Christina Aguilera, Beyonce, Sheryl Crow, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, The Black Eyed Peas, Prince, Justin Timberlake, Destiny’s Child, Lindsay Lohan, Enrique Iglesias, Metallica, Green Day, AFI, Counting Crows, Alicia Keys, Usher, 50 Cent and Incubus.
Sela has worked on commercials for Reebok, Coca-Cola, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Nintendo, Burger King, Bacardi, PlayStation, McDonalds, Hanes, Cingular, Chase Bank, John Frieda, Jergens, Kay Jewelers, Cover Girl, Old Navy, Target, State Farm, All State and HSBC. Sela was also named in the 2004 craft list of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Generation” series.
About the Filmmaker - Alex Hajdu
ALEX HAJDU (Production Designer) was recently the art director on Oliver Stone’s W., starring Josh Brolin, and Academy Award® nominee Frank Darabont’s The Mist,starring Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, Hajdu immigrated to America during the Hungarian Revolution. He moved to Hollywood as a small child, grew up in the movie business and started working on set at age 15.
Hajdu became a prop master in 1976, working on high-end television commercial production before becoming a production designer in 1984. His first feature film experience was as an art director on the Roger Corman production Battle Beyond the Stars,working alongside Academy Award® winner James Cameron and the Oscar®-winning visual effects team of Robert and Dennis Skotak.
Hajdu has done extensive location work as an art director for IMAX and CircleVision projects in Hawaii and in Bora-Bora for Disney Studios. He was the art director on Douglas Trumbull’s 1990 high-definition production of To Dream of Roses for Expo Japan. He was also the production designer on the 1940 period video game “Noir” in 1996.
Among Hajdu’s television credits are the ABC series “Private Practice,” “In Case of Emergency,” “Night Stalker,” the pilot for “My Name is Earl” and “The Visitor,” which was the first series produced by Centropolis Entertainment’s Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich.
About the Filmmaker - Jeffrey Kurland
JEFFREY KURLAND (Costume Designer) was nominated for an Academy Award® for his work on Woody Allen’s Bullets over Broadway and won a BAFTA Award for his work on Radio Days. He was also nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award for Ocean’s Eleven and won the same award for Erin Brockovich.
Other film credits include Collateral, Nancy Drew, The Reaping, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Mighty Aphrodite, Shadows and Fog, Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Purple Rose of Cairo and Streets of Gold.
About the Filmmaker - Tariq Anwar
TARIQ ANWAR (Film Editor) was nominated for an Academy Award® and an ACE Award and won the BAFTA for Best Editor for his work on the multiple Oscar®-winning drama American Beauty. He has edited a diverse selection of feature films and television dramas and has won and been nominated for numerous awards. His recent feature film work includes The Other Man, The Good Shepherd, Stage Beauty, Sylvia and Revolutionary Road, on which he re-teamed with American Beauty director Sam Mendes.
Anwar spent 18 years at the BBC, learning his craft by cutting a huge array of programs for almost every department. From the news department to music and arts and the History and Geographic channels, he worked on an extremely tight schedule. The lessons he learned in terms of storytelling, structure and how to make fast decisions were invaluable to his later work.
Anwar’s other BAFTA wins include the television dramas “Oppenheimer” and “Caught on a Train.” He was nominated for the feature The Madness of King George and the TV productions “Summer’s Lease,” “Fortune’s War,” “The Monocled Mutineer” and “Tender is the Night.”
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This movie was filmed in Philadelphia and Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
OVERTURE FILMS PRODUCTION NOTES
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Gerard Butler, the star and one of the producers of Law Abiding Citizen, has starred in the CGI-enhanced blockbuster 300, the film adaptation of the Broadway phenomenon The Phantom of the Opera and Guy Ritchie’s most recent crime epic RocknRolla, but he says this film is a standout for him. “I don’t recall ever working on a movie that has gotten me so excited,” says Butler. “I feel like its themes are quite profound in some ways and should make us think about how lucky most of us are.”
Law Abiding Citizen follows Butler’s character, Clyde Shelton, a seemingly ordinary crime victim and Nick Rice, a Philadelphia prosecutor played by Oscar®-winner Jamie Foxx, down a rabbit hole of violence and revenge, where nothing is as it seems and the law always is one step behind. Producer Lucas Foster worked with screenwriter Kurt Wimmer to develop the initial script. “The basic idea was that a man who had been betrayed by the system decided to teach the system a lesson—from inside jail,” says Foster. “We want to believe that when someone is arrested and they’re put into the system, that’s more or less the end of it. Whatever the outcome, proven innocent or proven guilty, that’s the end of the story. In our movie, it’s just the beginning.”
That unconventional starting point convinced Butler that Law Abiding Citizen was not a standard psychological thriller. “The story hit me in a way that most thrillers don’t,” Butler says. “In a lot of ways, it’s completely unexpected. You know right from the start that horrific events take place and you’re completely with one character. It is a very intense, scary story, yet at the same time you end up with empathy and emotion for both characters.”
The film also takes an incriminating look at the inconsistencies of an overloaded justice system. “The government is a great apparatus,” says Foster. “But sometimes it’s a broad sword when a scalpel is called for, especially in complicated matters like justice.
“If I’m a regular person and this terrible tragedy happens to me, I have what I think is the normal redress,” he continues. “I go to the powers that be, believing I am going to get justice. Clyde Shelton doesn’t get justice and he makes a decision to take matters into his own hands. I’m sympathetic to him. If something that horrible happened to people I cared about, I would want justice for them however it came about. He’s doing what he thinks is right, what he thinks is honorable.”
The government is represented by Assistant District Attorney Rice, played by Jamie Foxx. “Nick Rice is almost a mirror image of Clyde Shelton,” says Foster. “He’s working within the system, but the system doesn’t always work well. That’s the moral dilemma he faces.”
“Rice’s commitment to the legal system sometimes gets in the way of his commitment to justice,” says Foxx, whose astoundingly versatile career has ranged from groundbreaking comedy performances on “In Living Color” to an Academy Award-winning portrayal of Ray Charles in Ray. “Sometimes the way the system works doesn’t allow him to get involved the way he wants. Nick’s a good man. He does everything by the law, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right thing ultimately. The system’s never going to be perfect, so he’s always trying to figure out how to maneuver in an imperfect world.”
“This movie is not black and white,” adds Foster. “Our main characters are locked together by tragedy. They’re both right and they’re both wrong.”
Alan Siegel, Butler’s partner in the production company Evil Twins, learned about Law Abiding Citizen after reading Wimmer’s earlier script, Salt. “The script was terrific,” he says. “Kurt introduced himself at an awards ceremony where Gerry won an award for 300. I told him that Gerry and I were great fans and I asked if he had any other scripts. The next day he sent me Law Abiding Citizen and I read it immediately. That night I called Gerry and asked him to read the script because ‘Evil Twins might have its first film.’
“This movie explores our country’s flawed judicial system,” Siegel continues. “Both men want a more perfect system but each has a different threshold of how much he’s personally willing to sacrifice. Their resolve forces them to extremes that will leave audiences questioning if the end really does justifies the means. Law Abiding Citizen will be one of those rare films that will provoke debates after the credits roll.”
The producers (see page 8) selected F. Gary Grayto direct the film based on the strength of his previous work, which includes The Italian Job, The Negotiator, Be Cool and Set It Off. “We knew we wanted to work with him,” says Foster. “He continues to make really interesting movies. They’re all different in tone. What they have in common is complex characters. This movie required a very deliberate hand and he was the ideal filmmaker for this particular material.”
Since launching his career in the mid-1990s with the groundbreaking features Friday and Set It Off,Gray has developed a reputation as a director of great thoughtfulness and originality. “He’s very quiet,” says Foster. “But I could see the magic he was making. After watching the dailies, I was always amazed at the character development, and the visual development of the film. It was all in his brain from the beginning. He’s a master at what he does.”
Jamie Foxx has worked with some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed directors, including Oliver Stone, Sam Mendes and Michael Mann, but he had never done a film with Gray. The director remembers getting a phone call from Foxx that got the ball rolling.
“He called me and said, ‘I’m attached to this movie and I think you should get involved. It would be perfect for you,’” recalls Gray. “So I read the script and not only was it right up my alley, but I’ve wanted to work with Jamie for years and there couldn’t have been a more perfect project for us to start with.”
“Gary’s eye is incredible,” says Foxx. “Right off the bat, the movie looks epic because of the way he shot it, and not a lot of directors are able to do that. He’s able to work in larger-than-life proportions and make people want to give him the best they can on screen.”
Butler credits Gray’s passion for the project and non-stop energy for bringing the material to the screen under a great deal of pressure. “Gary came on board and gave life to the words on the page,” says Butler. “We had a great script, but the film is so much better. It’s exciting to look at. The drama comes across brilliantly and he got great performances from all the actors.”
The idea of a man who takes an entire city hostage from behind bars set Gray’s imagination to working overtime. “How can someone in jail instill that much fear? I thought about Al Capone running his syndicate from jail. I love a cool gangster flick and I also love a great thriller.”
With the opportunity to work with two gifted actors sweetening the deal, the project was irresistible to him. “This movie doesn’t fit into a normal Hollywood formula,” the director points out. “Normally you have an antagonist and protagonist. You can pretty much predict who they are and what they’ll do. This is a chess game with a twist that you would never expect.
“Nick Rice, the D.A., is on the side of the law, but he can be a jerk,” says Gray. “Clyde has been horribly victimized. Throughout the course of the movie, you’re constantly switching allegiances, and depending on the scene, you’re not really sure who to root for.”
Gray calls Foster a hands-on producer. “He definitely wants to be heard,” laughs Gray. “You might think that it wouldn’t be a good idea to put two such strong personalities in a room together, but we had a perfect relationship.
“The best thing about him as a producer was that he knew when to pull the reins tight and he knew when to let them loose,” the director continues. “I respect that. He definitely had a lot great ideas, and he’s someone who is strong in that way, but also creative and caring. I want someone like that on my team.”
Gray says Law Abiding Citizen combines all the elements that keep him excited about filmmaking. “Every day, I woke up with tremendous excitement about the possibilities that awaited me on set,” he says. “With a script like that, with actors and producers who allowed me to open up the material and improvise a bit, I felt like I had an opportunity to create something extraordinary.”
Co-producer Jeff Waxman promises that audiences will be riveted by what they see. “You’re on the edge of your seat from the beginning,” he says. “It’s absolutely gripping. From the minute it starts to the minute it’s over, you’ll be holding your breath and waiting to see what Clyde’s going to do next.”
Butler says Law Abiding Citizen gives him the same feeling that he had when he completed shooting 300. “It’s going to be a memorable experience for the audience. We have a great cast and it’s been brilliantly directed. Jonathan Sela, the cinematographer, has given it such a cool, distinctive look that just watching it is compelling enough. But on top of that, it has a story that turns everything you think you know on its head. It sneaks up and grabs you when you least expect it.”
For Foxx, the film’s appeal is simple. “This movie is going to be so attention-grabbing. Once it starts, the audience won’t know what to expect next and that’s going to keep them glued to their seats.”
HEROES AND VILLAINS
Lucas Foster, Gerard Butler and Alan Siegel began developing Law Abiding Citizen with the idea that Butler would play Nick Rice, the morally conflicted district attorney. During the development process, something changed for Butler. “I found that the more I was arguing for Nick, the more compelling Clyde became for me,” says the actor.
“One of the issues we always had with Clyde was the risk of him seeming to be a garden variety villain,” he continues. “But I thought, ‘he could be me, he could be you. How would we behave in that situation?’ I wanted audiences to understand his pain. You can laugh with him, you’re charmed by him, but you know inside he’s been destroyed. It was interesting to explore a character I could be terrified of and at the same time is a regular guy I could sympathize with.”
Clyde is the law abiding citizen of the title, an ordinary man whose life was changed forever by a random crime. “The one thing that Clyde is left with is at least he’ll have justice,” says Butler. “He puts all his hopes in Nick Rice and the system, thinking these two cads will be properly punished. When that doesn’t happen because Nick is more concerned with his career, Clyde is left abandoned in every way. He’s a lost soul. Unfortunately for everybody else, he has the talent and tenacity to ensure that the system that failed him is brought to its knees. Nobody who was involved in the original case is left untouched, especially Nick.”
Director F. Gary Gray describes Clyde as both a victim and a monster to some degree. “And still you have to ask yourself what you have would done,” he says. “Gerard Butler had an immense challenge with this character. Clyde represents the average person, but he acts out thoughts that most of us would never admit to in a million years, let alone act on. Gerard delivered a character who can live in two worlds.”
To prepare for the role, Butler spent time with criminologists, exploring the psychology of serial killers and revenge killers. “I also watched documentaries on killers and I did a good deal of research on the Internet,” he says. “It was enlightening for me.”
The role is another step in a deliberately diverse career for Butler. “When you look at the range of Gerry’s work, it’s extremely eclectic,” says Siegel, who also manages the actor. “He’s gone from romantic comedy to musical to drama to action adventure. And the characters are entirely different. After 300, he started to get recognized on the street, but it took a while before that happened, because his choices have been so unusual.”
Another equally commanding actor brings to life the film’s other sympathetic leading character. Standing on the opposite side of the scales of justice from Clyde is Nick Rice, the prosecutor played by Jamie Foxx.
“What I have always loved about this movie is how closely these two are bonded together,” Butler says. “They are like two warriors coming head-to-head. Despite the fact that they’re out to destroy each other, there’s a certain respect and understanding. One of the points that Clyde is making to Nick is that this could just as easily be him in the exact same situation.”
Lucas Foster agrees. “These two characters could easily switch places. They’re both complicated. They both are wrestling with morality. They’re both trying to achieve some kind of higher good. But the way they’re going about it is entirely different. I like movies that have complex characters. I don’t think straightforward ‘heroes’ reflect reality. Nick has done things that are of dubious morality. There are many shades of gray in the character. His objectives are honorable, but the way he goes about reaching them sometimes isn’t.”
Foxx joined the cast because he was intrigued by both the script and the people already committed to the film. “I know when I want to work with certain people,” says the actor. “I remember the feeling that I had when I saw 300. Gerard Butler was at the top of his game in that movie and I immediately wanted to do a film with him. On top of that, it’s a cool, interesting story.”
The actor came to the table with strong ideas about the development of Nick Rice’s character, recalls Foster. “Jamie had a huge influence on this movie. He spent a lot of time with the script. He saw Nick as someone who has lost his way, not at all a character who has to be handsome and heroic. Jamie really fought for the character to demonstrate genuine moments of frailty and weakness. For a lot of the movie, Nick is in the grip of something that is beyond his conception or control. Playing that required a lot of levels and Jamie brought them.”
Siegel agrees wholeheartedly. “Foxx’s contributions added depth to his character that enormously helped the film.“ He continues, “Jamie added a personality to his character that wasn’t written on the page and none of us had actually thought about. He plays Nick as a slick up-and-comer who has no problem working with the ineffective legal system because he desperately wants to climb the corporate ladder. Privately, he believes he’s acting ethically, but he soon discovers the error in his moral compass. At a pivotal point in the film, he must question his choices.”
Working with Foxx to flesh out the character was an enormous learning experience, says Butler. “In our previous drafts, Nick was a little flat. Jamie came in and just made him fly. His Nick is smooth, he’s charismatic, he’s intelligent, he’s witty, and he’s a good family man. It spreads the audience’s sympathy across the board. He’s just out there fighting the fight. But without a doubt, he does have a pretty big ego.
“Jamie brought all of those things,” the actor continues. “He’s so strong and powerful. It led to these intense, cerebral head-to-heads between our characters. Everything else in the movie is so entertaining I was concerned our scenes wouldn’t stand out, but they’re the heart of the movie.”
Foxx wasn’t afraid to reveal the personal flaws that helped create the volatile situation his character is faced with. “One of the things that Jamie brought to this project that nobody saw on the page was Nick’s arrogance,” says Gray. “If he starts off as a go-getter concerned about his own success, then, at the end, it’s a bigger and better arc and there’s more for him to play.”
Butler and Foxx rehearsed for several weeks before shooting to create and fine-tune the complicated connection between the two characters. “When Jamie and I got together on camera, a lot of magic happened,” says Butler. “A lot was said between the lines, as well. There’s so much in those scenes from the mano a mano combat to the game playing to the heartfelt truth.”
The pair managed to establish that dynamic tension without a great deal of shared screen time. “They’re only in five or six scenes together, but it is everything that we hoped it would be,” says Foster. “The sparks fly—talk about cat and mouse! They go back and forth, and it’s Jamie Foxx, the guy who won the Oscar® for Ray and Gerard Butler, who starred in 300! It’s quite a sparring match.”
Foxx met with both prosecutors and defense attorneys for insight into the criminal justice system. He came away viewing them as gladiators of the courtroom. “They have very different outlooks on justice,” he notes. “They have to fight it out every day in court and they have to have a tough skin. They can’t get bogged down with a lot of emotion.
“Most of the DAs I talked to were all about their conviction rates,” says Foxx. “Basically, that’s what my character’s about. He’s on his way up and there’s nobody he can’t convict. If he can’t convict them at trial, he’s going to make a deal, because he wants to keep those ratings up. He really looks at it like, ‘It’s the justice system and I’m the Michael Jordan of this.’”
As committed as Foxx was to creating a memorable and realistic character, he acknowledges that Clyde will be the audience’s touchstone. “They are going to live this movie through him, through his emotions, through his love for his daughter and his wife, and the anger that engulfs him. Justice is supposed to be served in a way that allows us all to sleep better at night, but sometimes it’s not enough.
“Anybody would have compassion for Clyde,” continues the actor. “A crazy chain of events turned his life upside down. He thinks, ‘How could this happen to me? I’m a good guy, I haven’t hurt anybody. I get up, I go to work, I go to church. I pay my taxes, so how could this happen to me?’”
The producers surrounded their two leading men with a cast of distinguished actors, including 2008 Best Supporting Actress Oscar® nominee Viola Davis. The filmmakers were looking for a man to play the mayor of Philadelphia when Alan Siegel had an epiphany. “David Meister, my spouse, is a fashion designer who mentioned Viola Davis was among the stars he was dressing for the Screen Actors’ Guild Award ceremony. We were looking for a man, but why couldn’t the mayor be played by a woman? I saw her commanding performance in Doubt and knew she’d be perfect.”
The mayor’s scenes were scheduled to be shot in the middle of awards season, which made them difficult for Davis to fit into her busy schedule. “But we asked her to consider coming to Philadelphia to shoot these great scenes and she accepted enthusiastically,” says Siegel. “After her first day of shooting, the cast and crew gave her a tumultuous round of applause and I knew then that our movie was going in the right direction.”
In just a few minutes of screen time, Davis created a vivid portrait of a big city politician faced with a disastrous turn of events. “She came in and just killed it,” says Foster. “She blew everybody away on the set. We all ran around saying, ‘I’d better figure out how to do my job better, because she just made us all look like we should go back to school.’”
“She’s incredible,” says Foxx of Davis and her performance. “You almost want to take what she did and spin it off into a drama series on TV.”
Davis says she was attracted to playing the character’s power and authority. “I have to admit I could become addicted to coming on a set and controlling a bunch of testosterone-filled men. I can’t do it in my life. I had to fight the part of me that always wants to apologize after I yell at someone. I was fighting all the things that I’ve been taught about what girls and women should be.”
F. Gary Gray has plenty to say on the subject of Viola Davis, all of it good. “Viola makes the long sleepless nights and the coffee jitters all worthwhile. When you see a performance like hers, all the things you’ve gone through to make a movie are worth it. She is the truth. When she walks on the set, she’s power. That is the best way to describe it. She blows your expectations out of the water by delivering so much more.”
Davis was impressed with Gray’s assured grasp of both the technical aspects of filmmaking and the more delicate task of collaborating with actors. “I really like working with directors who have a vision and know what they want,” she says. “When I get to the set, I don’t want a director who says, ‘Well, just do what you feel. Have fun.’ I don’t want to do what I feel. I want the director to tell me what to do. After that, I can say, ‘I don’t want to do that,’ but at least I have something to work with. Gary had very strong vision of what he wanted in each character.”
Leslie Bibb, who plays Sarah, an assistant D.A. working with Nick Rice, echoes those feelings. “A director is like the dad of a set,” she says. “He’s the captain of the ship. It’s a lot of pressure. This movie was not for the faint of heart, but Gary knew what he wanted. I like specificity.”
At the start of Law Abiding Citizen, Sarah is just at the beginning of her career and Nick is her role model. “Sarah is where Nick was 10 years earlier,” says Siegel. “The system, little by little, takes her in. We begin to believe that she will take the same road Nick did.” Siegel adds, “Leslie is a very exciting young actress and the camera loves her.”
Bibb welcomed the chance to take on a character she describes as “a smart, gutsy woman.” “Sarah idolizes Nick, but she has a real crisis of conscience and starts to question his choices,” says Bibb. “I think that, in the beginning, she would do anything Nick wanted her to do, but her journey starts when she wonders if they could have made a very wrong decision. When she thinks about it, was it worth the deal?
“It’s a provocative movie,” she observes. “People are going to leave the theater and talk about it at length. There is no cut-and-dry, black-and-white, yes-or-no answer.”
Bibb considers herself fortunate to have played all of her scenes with Foxx. “Jamie is a great actor,” she says. “I always get excited when I meet somebody that I really respect as an actor and he’s a good egg. He makes me laugh and he’s so unbelievable at doing impersonations. When you spend 16 hours a day with someone, you have to hope they’re good people.”
Colm Meaney and Michael Irby bring very different histories to their portrayals of two police officers who work alongside Nick in battling Clyde. “Colm Meaney is just fun,” says Gray. “I looked forward to working with him every day. With his experience and background, he brought a lot to the character. You felt his presence.”
The distinguished actor, whose roles have ranged from the Irish indie comedy The Snapper to “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” is an enthusiastic fan of the script. “It was a real page turner,” Meaney says. “Reading it was like picking up a good book. From the opening page, it sent me straight into this shattering world. I read it in one sitting.”
Meaney’s character, Detective Dunnigan, is an old school, no-nonsense cop who wants to get to the truth by any means necessary. “He would be very happy to waterboard people if that worked,” says the actor. “Nick, on the other hand, is trying to figure this out in a reasonable way.”
Realistic characters, riveting drama and great performances set Law Abiding Citizen apart from other action movies and thrillers, says Meaney. “Jamie has a wonderful, hip, street thing going on, along with a ferocious intellect as the D.A. This guy knows the law and knows people. It’s wonderful to see those two things co-exist in a character.”
Michael Irby is familiar to television viewers for his role on “The Unit.” “At my house, we watch “The Unit” religiously,” says Foster. “When we were talking about someone to play Detective Garza, we knew him to be a very honest, grounded actor. We wanted these cops to feel like real cops who deal with death and mayhem all the time.”
Irby’s gravitas keeps every scene he is in real, says Gray. “I’m all about chemistry and Michael was always the perfect ingredient to balance the scene. It’s a gift for a director to have an actor who can bring more to a role than what’s on the page.”
Irby says he drew a lot of positive energy from the director. “Gary is fired up!” he says. “He gave us little things to think about at the beginning of the take. He definitely knows what he wants and as an actor, you just want to give it to him. Everybody brought their A-game.”
Rounding out the cast is Bruce McGill as Jonas Cantrell, the District Attorney, Nick’s boss and mentor. Gray knew McGill from a television pilot they did together. “We always said we would work together again.”
That experience accounts for McGill’s unwavering trust in Gray’s cinematic vision. “I looked in his eyes and I could see that he had the movie in his head,” says the actor. “He just had to shoot it. It’s a very specific genre—a suspense thriller with pyrotechnics and major stars. Gary knows the process really well.”
Bruce McGill also worked with Foxx previously in the films Collateral and Ali. “I’m a big Jamie Foxx fan,” says McGill. “I really admire him and I have for a long time. He brought incredible energy all day, every day.
“What’s important in my character is the relationship with Jamie,” he says. “It starts out very paternal, very nurturing. They have a warm, long-time relationship and it’s not just boss and underling. But it’s just such an ugly world and things change. The body count begins.”
A LOOK AT “NEO-NOIR” PHILADELPHIA
A quintessentially urban story, Law Abiding Citizen needed the backdrop of a great American city for its intricately woven tale. Originally set in Los Angeles, the events of the story took on special significance when the setting was changed to Philadelphia. “It was a very specific choice on our part,” says producer Lucas Foster. “It’s the seat of English common law in America. The Founding Fathers spent a lot of time there. This movie is all about justice, so it made a lot of sense for us to come to the place where a lot of these issues were first considered.”
The city offered the filmmakers several unique attributes, says Foster. “It has amazing architecture. It feels big, but not impersonal. It feels like a place where you know you can get a little bit lost.
“It was also important to us to have a place that was graphically stark and unusual,” he adds. “We’re calling the look of this movie ‘neo-noir.’ I don’t think Philadelphia has ever been photographed the way we’re photographing it.”
Philadelphia’s iconic City Hall, whose singular silhouette has been one of the defining images of the Philadelphia skyline for more than a century, figures prominently in the action. “Philadelphia City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen in America,” says Butler. “It has so many great views and angles that no matter where you are it looks amazing. We lit up the whole street leading down to City Hall one night and it took my breath away.
“When you come to such a big city, you can feel that you’re just going to be a drop in the ocean, but you’re not in Philadelphia,” the actor says. “The city was really excited to have us here, and I was charmed by Philadelphia. I would make another movie here in a heartbeat.”
For critical scenes that take place behind prison walls, the filmmakers secured a notorious location. Holmesburg Prison was closed in 1995 after riots killed two wardens, but it may be better known as the site where infamous medical experiments were performed on prisoners. Built in 1896, and recently partially reopened to house overflow from other prisons, Holmesburg is the antithesis of a modern prison with its crumbling brick walls, archaic structures and rusting cells.
“Holmesburg is almost medieval,” says Foster. “You’re transported to another era. This movie could take place almost at any time if you didn’t see modern vehicles in it. It could be a ’40s movie, this could be The Big Sleep, and Holmesburg really lent itself to that timeless feeling.”
Shooting in Holmesburg proved to be a powerful experience for Butler. “We were in a functioning prison,” says the actor. “I’m not somebody who’s used to jails, just as Clyde Shelton isn’t. While we were filming, we’d have to stop so inmates in shackles could be led through by guards, and then we would start filming again. It was a fascinating experience, right down to the smell and the cold. The place tells a whole story unto itself.”
F. Gary Gray worked closely with the film’s production designer, Alex Hajdu, to develop a signature visual style for Law Abiding Citizen that takes its inspiration from the city and reflects some of the story’s complexity. “The premise of the movie dictated a unique style,” says the director. “We took some of the classic elements of film noir and introduced them into a very modern movie. We were not afraid to grab the long shadows or use high contrast. I thought that was perfect given the subject matter.”
Philadelphia itself helped define movie’s look, according to Hajdu. “I drew a sense of color and mood from the city. The architecture and scope of the buildings translated into a visual style for me. Philadelphia is fantastic in that respect. It has a lot of history and a lot of texture. Because it’s an older city, it has an almost European color palette. There are a lot of brick and earth tones, which worked well for the muted palette of film noir.”
Seeing his vision so painstakingly realized was gratifying for Gray. “It’s one thing to dream up this world,” he says. “It’s another to have a creative partner who has the ability to fulfill the dream with his own great ideas incorporated. Alex was a soldier. He’s a storyteller who understands how to visually deliver a world.”
Gray credits two more key members of the production team with helping create the atmosphere he envisioned for the film. “Our director of photography, Jonathan Sela, is a rock star. He’s a quiet guy, but he’s deadly. I don’t think I could have delivered this style of movie without his understanding. I told him I wanted a throwback to the classic noir pictures and he got it right away. He had great ideas for creating that concept.”
Wardrobe also had to fit Gray’s rigorous criteria. “Jeffrey Kurland, our costume designer, took the concept of neo-noir and ran with it,” says the director. “He is a true artist. I’ve never worked with a costume designer who nailed a specific concept like this. He also makes the actors feel good, which makes my job easier because when they’re confident, they can deliver their best performances.”
Gray’s innate understanding of the importance of visuals made the production designer’s job challenging and rewarding. “Working with Gary was a remarkable experience,” says Hajdu. “It’s easy to discuss concepts with him. He took nothing at face value. He pushed to find aspects of this film that didn’t appear on the page and uncovered all the hidden gems that he could. We spent hours with the cinematographer, laying out this movie in great detail, so we knew where we were all going together.”
Every film has unique challenges, says Gray. “But I really enjoyed making this movie and I think a lot of that has to do with the concept. This is the most fun I’ve had on a movie and it has helped me grow as a filmmaker. I’ve delivered very entertaining movies in the past, but I think this is a kind of next chapter. When audiences watch Law Abiding Citizen, I don’t think they’re going to be prepared for the movie they’re going to see. It’s going to continuously surprise them.”
MUSIC CREDITS“Mr. Tambourine Man”
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by The Studio Sound Ensemble
Courtesy of Countdown Media GmbH
Written by Timothy Lambesis, Jordan Mancino, Jason Krebs and Evan White
Performed by As I Lay Dying
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records Inc.
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by The Who
Courtesy of Polydor Records Ltd. / Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“Engine Number 9”
Written by Chino Camilo Moreno, Chi Cheng, Stephen Carpenter, Abe Cunningham
Performed by Deftones
Courtesy of Maverick Recording Company/Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
“Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother”
Written by Mark Farner
Performed by Grand Funk Railroad
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
“Mr. Tambourine Man”
Written by Bob Dylan
Performed by The Studio Sound Ensemble
Courtesy of Countdown Media GmbH
Written by Timothy Lambesis, Jordan Mancino, Jason Krebs and Evan White
Performed by As I Lay Dying
Courtesy of Metal Blade Records Inc.
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by The Who
Courtesy of Polydor Records Ltd. / Geffen Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
“Engine Number 9”
Written by Chino Camilo Moreno, Chi Cheng, Stephen Carpenter, Abe Cunningham
Performed by Deftones
Courtesy of Maverick Recording Company/Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
“Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother”
Written by Mark Farner
Performed by Grand Funk Railroad
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
United States - October 16, 2009
United Kingdom - November 25, 2009
Finland - March 26, 2010
Netherlands - April 1, 2010
Australia - January 28, 2010