Playing for Keeps: Production Notes
Category: Playing for Keeps News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: December 4, 2012 | Publication: Film District | Author: PR
Publication/Article Link:Film District
About the Production
Playing For Keeps is a romantic comedy about a charming, down-on-his luck former soccer star (Gerard Butler) who returns home to put his life back together. Looking for a way to rebuild his relationship with his son, he gets roped into coaching the boy's soccer team. But his attempts to finally become an "adult" are met with hilarious challenges from the attractive "soccer moms" who pursue him at every turn.
Playing For Keeps, directed by Gabriele Muccino ("Pursuit Of Happyness") and written by Robbie Fox. The producers are Kevin Misher ("Public Enemies"), Jonathan Mostow ("Hancock"), Alan Siegel ("Law Abiding Citizen," "Machine Gun Preacher"), Gerard Butler, Heidi Jo Markel ("Trust," "Solitary Man,") and John Thompson ("The Expendables," "Brooklyn's Finest"), Andrea Leone and Rafaella Leone serve as co-producers. Nu Image/Millennium Films' Danny Dimbort, Trevor Short & Avi Lerner, who are responsible for such hits as "The Expendables," "The Mechanic" and "Trust," serve as executive producers along with Ed Cathell III ("Drive Angry 3D," "Trust") and Peter Schlessel.
The film's ensemble cast features Gerard Butler ("Coriolanus," "The Bounty Hunter," "The Ugly Truth") Jessica Biel (upcoming "Hitchcock"), Uma Thurman ("Smash," "Bel Ami," "Kill Bill"), Academy Award' winner Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Chicago"), Judy Greer ("The Descendants," "Mad Love") and Dennis Quaid ("The Words") – and introduces newcomer Noah Lomax, the 9 year-old boy who teaches his dad about what truly matters.
In the heartwarming romantic comedy Playing For Keeps, George Dryer (Gerard Butler), is an ex-soccer superstar who relocates to suburban Virginia to start over – and establish a relationship with his son, who he barely knows. An amateur at life, George indulged himself with all the perks of stardom and lost the two things that had any real value: his wife and son.
While trying to land a job as a sportscaster for ESPN, George grudgingly agrees to coach his kid's youth soccer team. But suddenly, George is thrust right back into the spotlight when he is confronted with the suburban version of adoring female fans – flirtatious soccer moms! But befuddled as he may be by all the distractions, including that of a pushy soccer dad determined to make him his new best bud, George does his best to keep his focus on what he really wants – to be a good father to his son and to prove to his ex-wife that despite his penchant for having a wandering eye, she is the only woman he ever loved.
Director Gabriele Muccino, who first came to Hollywood's attention with the hit father-son drama "The Pursuit of Happyness," found George's transformation from all-over-the-field playboy to reasonably reliable family man to be funny, human and relatable. He was drawn to the comic potential of a man faced with attractive women chasing him just at the point in his life when he's decided to settle down. At the same time, Muccino loved idea of an adult, who was an amateur at love, responsibility and commitment, needing to make choices that still find him in vulnerable situations and test his true self.
"Playing For Keeps is a fun story that I think we all can relate to – a man who has a chance to figure out what he really wants," sums up the director. "It is the journey of a man who is finally growing up."
Appropriately, Playing for Keeps began on a playing field — a local baseball field in Encino, California. This is where assistant Little League coach Jonathan Mostow, the accomplished filmmaker who had just come off the success of directing "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines," met screenwriter Robbie Fox, who happened to be the team's head coach.
Fox had an idea to pitch to Mostow based on his own experiences handling the unsolicited attentions of several team members' moms. "The inspiration began one night at two in the morning, when I sent an email to the team's parents, all 24 or 25 of them, and wrote, 'Hey, guys, tomorrow is practice—be there or be square,'" explains Fox.
He continues, "At 2:01am, I got a 'ding' back on my computer. It was from one of the moms, and she wrote back—and this line is now typed by Catherine Zeta-Jones's character — 'Hi, Coach! Gee, you're up late tonight...' I didn't respond but then I got another one a couple of minutes later, and it said, 'I know you're there, Coach. You can run, but you can't hide!' That was the start of thinking about this story."
That same night, Fox began to imagine a lead character: a seemingly washed-up former sports hero who is finally trying to be a responsible, reliable father for his son by becoming his team's coach – only to wind up in being chased all over the field and beyond by his teammates' mothers who find him irresistible. Fox was intrigued by how a guy who has never been able to say no to the opposite sex suddenly must figure out, in order to get what he truly wants, a way to do just that . . . repeatedly.
Upon hearing the premise Mostow recalls: "I loved the core central idea. Right away, I got the essence of who this character was, the comedic complications that were going to ensue, and the possibility for it to be both touching and funny at the same time. Within a day we had a deal to start developing the film."
As Robbie Fox put the finishing touches on the screenplay, he began to wonder which leading actor could bring to life George's boyish charm and increasing panic as he tries to shed his man candy reputation just when he's trying to be taken seriously. It had to be someone with real comic chops, but also someone who could get under the skin of a guy who wants more than anything just to have a second chance.
"I was also thinking about which leading actors would have the ability to inspire moms to start showing up at soccer practice in lipstick and high heels," Fox laughs.
Fox knew, too, it would have to be an actor with some serious athletic skills – someone who could scissor-kick as well as he could seduce. There was one actor with the whole combination who kept coming to mind: Gerard Butler, the Scottish star renowned for his dashing magnetism since he first hit the screen in the Oscar®-nominated "Mrs. Brown" and soon after took the lead in the screen adaptation of "Phantom of the Opera." Since then, a diverse career has taken Butler from action hits ("Lara Croft Tomb Raider," "300," "The Bounty Hunter") to romantic films ("P.S. I Love You," "The Ugly Truth") to animation ("How To Train Your Dragon.") Fox immediately knew that Butler would be the perfect George Dryer.
When the screenplay was complete, he and Mostow sent it to producer Alan Siegel, Butler's manager and business partner, who produced the thrillers "Law Abiding Citizen" and "Machine Gun Preacher," both starring Butler.
Siegel says he instantly saw the match between Butler and Dryer. "Robbie Fox had done an amazing job of writing a character who jumps off the page, who you love and care for, and who you want to see win. I thought, 'Oh my God, I see myself in this, I see my friends in this, I see Gerry in this.'"
Butler, too, was instantly enthusiastic about the script. "I knew straight away this was something I wanted to get involved with," says the actor. "I thought: we can move people with these characters and we can definitely make them laugh. I felt a lot of emotional attachment to it and I could really identify with George and the journey he takes – unraveling and then putting his life back together."
For Butler, Dryer is a fish out of water, but the funny part is that he doesn't yet realize that everything he needs to be happy is right in front of him. "He's this guy from Scotland who was at the peak of his career, playing in front of 100,000 fans as a footballer and suddenly he's in a small town in America with no money – and then he gets roped into coaching his son's soccer team, which is the last thing he thinks he wants to do," Butler explains. "He's a guy who seems to bring chaos wherever he goes, because women like him and men want to be him, but he's not very centered and he doesn't necessarily know how to handle all that. So a lot of funny situations happen just because of who he is."
He continues: "Like the best romantic comedies, I think it's a funny, emotional story that makes you reflect on real life. And then we ended up with the most incredible cast— Jessica Biel, Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Judy Greer and Dennis Quaid – which was great for me, because George is sort of stuck in the center of this whirlwind around him. He has to react to all these little tornados – the Uma Thurman tornado, the Catherine Zeta-Jones tornado, the Dennis Quaid tornado— blowing at him and try to hold himself together in the middle of all that. I could not imagine having a better cast to do that with than this one."
Right away, Butler started training daily to beef up his soccer skills. "It was a lot of work," he admits. "I did what I love to do, which is get obsessed by it. Every time I saw a ball, I would start messing around with it. I had the best time and I just want to play soccer all the time now."
In turn, everyone around Butler was thrilled to see the way he took to the role with an energy and sense of humor that were refreshing and also, as George begins to see what really counts to him, touching. Says Mostow: "I am so thrilled with the performance Gerard delivers in this movie. I think it shows a whole new side of him that audiences have not seen. It's funny, it's honest and at the same time, it's heartwarming."
Sums up producer Kevin Misher: "Gerard Butler is Playing For Keeps. It was his passion and his commitment to the movie that elevated it and brought everyone else into it. A lot of the cast was drawn to working with our director, Gabriele Muccino, but Gerard was the glue that made everybody stick to this movie."
With Butler aboard, the search for a director began. It was Butler who first suggested Gabriele Muccino, having loved his romantic comedy "The Last Kiss" and his two subsequent films, "The Pursuit of Happyness" and "Seven Pounds."
"I've known Gabriele for a while and I love his movies," says Butler. "They have such an incredible energy behind them. They are fast flowing and you really get to know his characters, who all wear their hearts on their sleeves. That's why I imagined him for this script. I thought it had all the things in it that he does well. He has an incredible sense of pace and keeps things flowing from emotion to emotion and action to action."
Adds Jonathan Mostow: "Gabriele was able to deliver not only on the comedy but on the heart in the script. He's someone with a track record of reaching into the cauldron of real emotions and fusing that with humor."
The lure for Muccino lay in George Dryer's attempts to turn himself around. "He's a father who is looking to be a better father, a better man, a better person – and those are the elements that connected with me," explains the director. "This is the kind of story that can pull the audience in and let them forget they are watching a movie because they see some part of their own lives mirrored on the screen, but in a very entertaining way."
Soon, Kevin Misher of Misher Films, Heidi Jo Merkel of Eclectic Pictures and John Thompson of Millennium, joined the producing team, quickly taking the project forward. "I invited Kevin, a tremendous producer, to produce this movie with me so I could work on my directorial projects at the same time. Kevin took the ball—no pun intended—and really ran with it," says Mostow.
Misher worked with the team on further developing the script. "Once we were all happy with it, Alan Siegel gave it to Heidi Jo, who gave it to Millennium and they were instantly interested," Misher continues.
Markel, who has produced "Trust," starring Clive Owen, Catherine Keener and Viola Davis, and "Solitary Man" with Michael Douglas, also jumped in with both feet. "I had been begging for this project for a while from Alan Siegel because I wanted to work with him and Gerry so badly," she recalls. "He kept alluding to it, so I said, 'Give it to me, give it to me!'"
She goes on, "When I read it, I thought, this is a great fantasy—to have a classically handsome male protagonist who has his life upturned by gorgeous women – which turns out to be a hilarious nightmare. I thought it was so much fun."
Markel brought the package to executive producers Avi Lerner, Danny Dimbort & Trevor Short of Millennium Films who instantly agreed to finance the movie. Producer John Thompson, who is responsible for making many films for Millennium, including "The Expendables," also joined in.
Like many, Thompson was drawn by the father-son story at the heart of the romantic hi-jinks. He sums up: "I think this is really a love story between a father and a son," he observes, "peppered with romance and comic circumstances."
That mix would soon draw some of the today's hottest stars to join the production alongside Butler. "Even with Gerard's broad shoulders, we knew we needed a roster of really talented people to fill these amazing character roles around him that are so well-written and fun," says Markel.
Of all the women in George Dryer's life, one keeps throwing him for a loop: his ex Stacie, who has moved on with her life after ending things with George, raising their son on her own and now getting ready to marry her longtime boyfriend. Playing the role of a woman who adores her ex's boyishness but wishes he would finally grow up, is one of today's more sought-after leading ladies, Jessica Biel, who will next be seen as Vera Miles in "Hitchcock."
Biel was immediately excited about the role and the entire project. "For me it was the whole package. I was really interested in working with Gabriele and I was interested in playing a woman who has a child which is something I'd never done before," she says. "Plus, to play opposite Gerry, Uma, Catherine, and Dennis was like a dream. All those elements combined made me excited to do this."
On the set, she found she had potent chemistry with Butler – as Stacie and George dance around their suppressed feelings for each other. "Their relationship is filled with things unsaid, things wanting to be said and things afraid to be said," she observes. "Gerry is incredibly giving as an actor and was always asking 'how can we make this more real and better?' It was wonderful to work with him."
Another draw for Biel was how relatable the film's characters and situations were. "What's nice about this movie is the story is so real— and real life can be hilarious, embarrassing, humiliating, surprising and crazy. I like that the comedy in the film comes out of these very organic situations. These are flawed characters making decisions from the heart and sometimes making mistakes. I think a lot of people will relate to that," Biel says.
Seen in a change-of-pace role is Uma Thurman, widely celebrated for her femme fatale performance in "Kill Bill," who here plays Patti King, a bored trophy wife who is among the many women who has her sights set on George. Thurman was drawn by the chance to do something light-hearted.
"I thought 'Playing For Keeps' was such a sweet story about family and marriage — and I don't always make a lot of those," she confesses. "I also like Gabriele's films and I knew I'd have fun playing a colorful character in a comedy with him."
Most of all, Thurman was drawn to the love story that plays out within the screwball antics. "Underneath the comedy and silliness of all these ladies going after George, there's something very moving about a story that is, at heart, about a broken family getting healed," she observes.
Another woman who knows what she wants – former sportscaster Denise – is brought sexily to life by Catherine Zeta-Jones, winner of the Academy Award® for her performance in "Chicago." Zeta-Jones also found the story irresistible. "To work with Gabriele coupled with a cast of this caliber in a piece that is charming, poignant, funny, well-written and has lots of different layers to it—it was a slam-dunk for me," she says. "I'm also a huge sports fan and kind of a frustrated sports anchor, so getting to actually play one was a lot of fun."
Once on the set, another part of the fun, says Zeta-Jones, was watching Gerard Butler bounce between these very different, but equally determined, women, all the while trying to figure out what he truly desires. "I love the fact that George is having all these relationships, but nobody in them knows what's going on," she says. "Every woman thinks she is the only one, and unbeknownst to all of them, he has the whole soccer mom league team all googly-eyed."
As for one of the things she thinks audiences might enjoy most, Zeta-Jones names a high point for her as well. "I think people will really enjoy seeing Gerry in shorts," she laughs.
Perhaps the most obsessive of all of George's soccer mom suitors is Barb, a newly single mom who has the hilarious tendency to spontaneously burst into tears. Diving into the role with comic abandon is Judy Greer, who many know from the television series, "Mad Love" and who starred with George Clooney in last year's acclaimed comedy-drama "The Descendants."
Like many, Greer has long been a fan of Muccino. "I've been wanting to work with him since I saw his Italian 'Last Kiss,' and then I fell in love with 'Pursuit Of Happyness' and 'Seven Pounds.' He tells these stories of redemption for the common man that I find interesting. His passion for these 'every man' characters is what makes his story telling so beautiful and elevates the story from your run-of-the-mill romantic comedy or drama. This particular story is timeless, but told in an original, comedic way."
Amidst all the new women creating havoc in George Dryer's life is Carl King, Patti's jealous husband who wants nothing more than to have a former soccer pro as a best buddy. Having fun with the role is Dennis Quaid, the diverse and award-winning actor last seen starring opposite Bradley Cooper in "The Words."
He says the project offered the best of both worlds. "What I look for in a movie is a really good story or a really good time – and preferably both," Quaid muses. "This script was funny and had great people involved. With Gerard as my competitor and Uma Thurman as my wife, it seemed like a very fun time would be had."
As for his character, Quaid says of Carl King: "I think he's a guy who always wanted to be a sports star. He wasn't one, though, so now that he has a chance, he essentially buys one!"
Butler loved creating a comic rivalry with Quaid. "Dennis is wickedly funny and he brings so much energy to his scenes," sums up Butler.
But within the fun, Quaid also notes that there is a strong story of father's transformation. "This is a great 'date night' comedy, but it's also the story of a guy who is out of his element and has got to figure out what's meaningful in his life."
The final role – and one that had to be cast just right because it lies at the heart of the movie – was that of George's young soccer-playing son Lewis, who is both suspicious of a father who always finds a way to screw things up and in awe of a coach who can literally do things no one else can.
After an extensive search, the production landed on a talented newcomer: 9-year-old Georgia native Noah Lomax, who has had small parts in a few television shows, including AMC's "Walking Dead."
Gabriele Muccino notes that the search seemed against-the-odds until Lomax appeared. "Searching for the right kid was not an easy thing, and finding Noah was quite lucky," says the director. "What we needed was a kid who would be relatable, who would remind us all of our own children in a way. He had to be able to talk in a way that was sweet, real and funny, but never sentimental. He had to act in a way that feels natural trained, and most of all, he had to be really, really likeable, so that you are rooting for him and for George to be together. Noah was able to give us all of those things."
Gerard Butler was especially impressed with his pre-teen co-star and comic foil. "Noah's incredibly energetic, creative and positive and it's been fun watching him grow and our relationship grow over the course of the movie. I mean you can't not be moved by this kid. A lot of my favorite scenes in this movie are with Noah," he points out. "He's a difficult character to play because he's trying to protect himself from my character. I'm his hero, yet I've let him down time after time, and now I'm trying to make things work but without really knowing how. It's a great relationship to watch develop as an audience, but it was a tricky one to do. You need a talented little actor to do it with and Noah was that guy. I think there's a big future ahead of him. I felt blessed just to have had the chance to work with him."
With such a stellar cast, the emphasis behind the camera was on keeping the focus on all the comical ways the film's characters collide, and ultimately connect, with one another. Muccino's accomplished crew – including cinematographer Peter Menzies Jr. ("Clash Of The Titans"), production designer Daniel T. Dorrance ("Max Payne") and Italian costume designer Angelica Russo – kept the visuals vivid and colorful, allowing the stars to shine.
It all added up to a romantic comedy that everyone felt was, in a word, universal. Summarizes Alan Siegel: "In some ways Playing for Keeps is a throwback to those classic romantic comedies about real people who just happen to find themselves in crazy situations, with a cast of characters who make you laugh even as you root for them."
ABOUT THE CAST
A gifted actor with a striking charm and humor, GERARD BUTLER (George) has impressed audiences in roles that cross all ends of the spectrum. Butler will be next be seen in in the multi-director, ensemble comedy "Movie 43" with an all-star cast; and in Antoine Fuqua's White House-set action thriller "Olympus Has Fallen," where he stars opposite Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett and Melissa Leo. The actor is also presently reprising the role of Stoick for the second installment of "How To Train Your Dragon." Earlier this year, Butler starred in "Chasing Mavericks" directed by Curtis Hanson, based on the true story of Santa Cruz surfer Jay Moriarity and his quest to ride the treacherous Northern California breaks known as 'Mavericks.'
Butler solidified himself as a leading man when he starred as the bold and heroic King Leonidas in Zack Snyder's blockbuster film "300." The film broke box office records in its opening weekend and went on to earn more than $450 million worldwide. In 2011, Butler starred in "Machine Gun Preacher" directed by Marc Forster. Butler also starred in the critically acclaimed film "Coriolanus," based on the Shakespearean play, alongside Ralph Fiennes who also directed the film.In 2010 Butler was the voice to the lead character, "Stoick," in the Dreamworks Oscar® nominated animated film, "How to Train Your Dragon."
Butler has appeared in films spanning all genres including "The Bounty Hunter" opposite Jennifer Aniston, Robert Luketic's "The Ugly Truth" opposite Katherine Heigl, Lionsgate's "Gamer," Guy Ritchie's "Rocknrolla," "Nim's Island" with Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin, "P.S. I Love You" with Hilary Swank, "Beowulf & Grendel," "The Game of Their Lives," Andrew Lloyd Webber's "The Phantom Of The Opera," the independent feature "Dear Frankie" opposite Emily Mortimer, "Timeline," "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life," "Reign Of Fire" and John Madden's award-winning d "Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown," starring Judi Dench. His early film work includes roles in "Harrison's Flowers," "One More Kiss," "Fast Food" and the screen adaptation of Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard."
In addition to acting, Butler launched the production shingle with his longtime manager Alan Siegel in March 2008. Their debut project starring Butler, "Law Abiding Citizen" grossed over $100 million worldwide and became Overture Films' most lucrative opening to date.
Butler is a board member of Artists for Peace and Justice, established in 2009 and is a fundraising effort founded by Paul Haggis that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty and enfranchisement in communities around the world.
Born in Scotland, Butler made his stage debut at age twelve in "Oliver," at Glasgow's famous Kings Theatre. As a young man, his dreams of acting were temporarily deterred and he went on to study law for seven years before returning to the stage. 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.
JESSICA BIEL (Stacie) has become one of Hollywood's most coveted leading women. Biel was most noted for her critically acclaimed performance in film "The Illusionist" alongside Oscar® nominated actors Edward Norton and Paul Giamatti. Biel will be seen next in the Fox Searchlight drama "Hitchcock" alongside Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Toni Collette and Scarlett Johansson.
This past summer she was seen starring in "Total Recall" alongside Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Bryan Cranston. Last year Biel was seen in Garry Marshall's star-studded "New Year's Eve," starring alongside Halle Berry, Lea Michelle, Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank, Sofia Vergara and Zac Efron, among others.
In 2010 Biel was seen in "The A-Team" alongside Bradley Cooper and Liam Neeson. Biel was also seen in the Garry Marshall romantic comedy "Valentine's Day" along with Jennifer Garner, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Alba and Bradley Cooper, which grossed $212,949,019 worldwide.
Biel starred in the romantic dramedy, "Easy Virtue" opposite Colin Firth, Ben Barnes and Kristin Scott Thomas. The film premiered at the 2008 Toronto Film Festival to rave reviews and received an overwhelming positive response at the prestigious Rome, London and Tribeca Film Festivals. In 2007 Biel was seen in the comedy, "I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry," opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James, which opened #1 at the box office and grossed well over $100 million domestically.
For her work in "The Illuisonist," Biel received numerous awards including Hollywood Life's Annual "Breakthrough Award," the "Shining Star Award" at both the Giffoni Film Festival and the Maui Film Festival, as well as the "Breakthrough Performance Award" at the 18th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Starting at age nine, Biel starred in productions such as "Annie," "The Sound of Music" and "Beauty and the Beast." A natural beauty, she soon turned to modeling and commercial work by competing in The International Modeling and Talent Association's Annual Conference in 1994.
In her feature film debut at age fourteen, Biel garnered acclaim for her portrayal as the rebellious daughter in Victor Nunez's acclaimed "Ulee's Gold," starring Oscar® nominee Peter Fonda. She then went on to appear in such films as "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Summer Catch," "The Rules Of Attraction" for director Roger Avary, the hit remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," "Blade: Trinity," Cameron Crowe's "Elizabethtown" with Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst and Susan Sarandon, and "Stealth," starring alongside Josh Lucas and Jamie Foxx.
Biel is involved in such charities as Serving Those Who Serve, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and PETA. She was honored with the "National Impact Award" at the 2008 Heart of Los Angeles Gala and with the "Young Philanthropist of the Year" Award at the 2006 Golden Karma Awards.
With every role he plays, DENNIS QUAID (Carl King) upholds his place as one of the most charismatic actors of our time. In his first television series, Quaid stars in the new CBS drama series "Vegas." Directed by James Mangold, Quaid plays 'Ralph Lamb,' a former cowboy who becomes the sheriff of Las Vegas, bringing law and order to a town run by mobsters and small time crooks.
This Fall, Quaid was seen in "The Words" opposite Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons. He also attended the Telluride and Toronto Film Festival on behalf of Ramin Bahrani's "At Any Price," in which she stars alongside Zac Efron. Sony Classics will release the film in Spring 2013. His recent films "Soul Surfer" and "Footloose" were both released in 2011.
In 2010, Dennis starred in the Sony Screen Gems fantasy-thriller, "Legion," alongside Paul Bettany. He also portrayed President Bill Clinton in the HBO movie, "The Special Relationship," directed by Richard Loncraine, for which Dennis received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Emmy Award nominations.
Soon after his arrival in Hollywood, Quaid landed the plum role of a working-class tough in "Breaking Away." Since that time, his list of starring roles crosses genres and decades, reaffirming his place as one of the most versatile and magnetic actors on the screen today. Quaid received honors from the New York Film Critics Circle and The Independent Spirit Awards as Best Supporting Actor of the Year and also garnered nominations for a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actor's Guild Award for his performance in the critically acclaimed 2002 film, "Far From Heaven."
Quaid has worked with the best directors, including Stephen Sommers, Paul Weitz, Roland Emmerich, Mike Figgis, Todd Haynes, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone, Nancy Meyers, Lasse Hallstrom, Lawrence Kasdan, Steve Kloves, Herbert Ross, Mike Nichols, Alan Parker, Taylor Hackford, Joe Dante, Wolfgang Petersen, Ivan Reitman, Walter Hill and Peter Yates.
His list of onscreen collaborations includes the names of the industry's brightest stars: Forest Whitaker, Sigourney Weaver, William Hurt, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hugh Grant, Scarlett Johansson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Billy Bob Thornton, Sharon Stone, Julianne Moore, Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Sean Connery, Julia Roberts, Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Meryl Streep, Meg Ryan, Kathleen Turner, Jessica Lange, Sam Shepard, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn and Bill Murray, among many others.
UMA THURMAN (Patti King) has proven herself to be one of the most versatile actresses by playing a variety of compelling characters. Born in Massachusetts, she attended a preparatory school in New England, where at fifteen she was discovered by two New York agents. At sixteen she transferred to the Professional Children's School in New York City in order to pursue an acting career.
Thurman's entrance into mainstream film really began after her role as the goddess Venus in Terry Gilliam's "The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen," which brought her international attention. She went on to receive critical acclaim for her portrayal of the virginal 18th century convent girl, Cecile de Volanges, in Stephen Frears' "Dangerous Liaisons." The following year she starred opposite Fred Ward and Maria de Medeiros in Philip Kaufman's "Henry & June," playing the neurotic and exotic bisexual spouse of Henry Miller. She then played Daphne McBain, one of a trio of Dabney Coleman's spoiled children, in the comedy "Where The Heart Is," direted by John Boorman.
In 1991, Thurman starred opposite Richard Gere and Kim Basinger in Phil Joanou's thriller "Final Analysis." She then reunited with Malkovich in the thriller "Jennifer 8." In "Mad Dog And Glory," she played a barmaid who becomes an indentured servant to Robert De Niro for saving Bill Murray's life. Her most eccentric movie to date is Gus Van Sant's film, "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues," in which she played Sissy Hankshaw, a big-thumbed, bisexual hippie hitchhiker.
Thurman received an Academy Award® nomination for Quentin Tarantino's critically lauded "Pulp Fiction," in which she played Mia Wallace, a sexy and comedic mobster's wife. Later that year, "A Month By The Lake" with Vanessa Redgrave and "Beautiful Girls," directed by Ted Demme. Thurman next appeared in "The Truth About Cats And Dogs," "Batman & Robin," "Gattaca," "Les Miserables" and "The Avengers." In the spring of 1999, she made her stage debut in an updated version of Moliere's "The Misanthrope" at the Classic Stage Company in New York.
Thurman's work includes Woody Allen's "Sweet And Lowdown" opposite Sean Penn and Samantha Morton; "Vatel," opposite Gerard Depardieu and Tim Roth; the Merchant/Ivory film "The Golden Bowl"; John Woo's "Paycheck"; and "Tape" with Ethan Hawke, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as Best Supporting Actress. Thurman also starred in, and produced, the HBO film, "Hysterical Blindness," with Juliette Lewis and Gena Rowlands. She won the 2003 Golden Globe for Best Actress for her portrait of Debby Miller in the film and was nominated for a SAG Award.
Her more recent work includes Quentin Tarantino's installments "Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Volume 2," both of which she was nominated for a Golden Globe; MGM's "Be Cool" opposite John Travolta; "Prime" opposite Meryl Streep; "The Producers" with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick; "My Super Ex-Girlfriend" opposite Luke Wilson; "Motherhood"; "My Zinc Bed," an HBO film based on the play by David Hare; "The Life Before Her Eyes" opposite Evan Rachel Wood; Chris Columbus' "Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief" in which she played Medusa; Lee Pace's "Ceremony"; and Declan Donnellan's "Bel Ami" playing opposite Robert Pattinson.
Thurman was recently seen on NBC's show "Smash," for which she filmed a five-episode arc playing Rebecca Duvall and earned her first Emmy nomination in the category of "Outstanding Guest Actress In a Dramatic Series."
CATHERINE ZETA-JONES (Denise) is a multi-award winning actress whose talents range from film to theater. She garnered an Academy Award® for her portrayal of the notorious 'Velma Kelly' in the screen adaptation of the Broadway musical "Chicago." The film, which won the Oscar and Golden Globe for "Best Picture," also starred Renee Zellweger and Richard Gere. Zeta-Jones was nominated for a Golden Globe and took home the Critics' Choice Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and the BAFTA Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for her performance.
She won the Tony Award for Lead Actress in a Musical as 'Desirée Armfeldt' in Stephen Sondheim's "A Little Night Music."
Zeta-Jones was recently seen in "Rock of Ages," directed by Adam Shankman and co-starring with Tom Cruise, Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin. Upcoming she will be seen in "Broken City" with MarkWahlberg and Russell Crowe "Lay the Favorite," and Steven Soderbergh's latest film "Bitter Pill" with Jude Law, Rooney Mara and Channing Tatum. She is currently in production on "RED 2," also starring Helen Mirren and Anthony Hopkins.
In 2005, she reprised her role as Elena de La Vega in "The Legend of Zorro," the sequel to the blockbuster film "The Mask Of Zorro." She starred in Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's 12," and prior to that appeared opposite Tom Hanks in Steven Spielberg's "The Termidesireenal." Zeta-Jones also starred with George Clooney in the Coen Brothers' comedy "Intolerable Cruelty." Her recent films include the hit romantic comedy "No Reservations" and the romantic thriller "Death Defying Acts."
Zeta-Jones earned a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of the wife of a drug-runner in Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic." The cast of the critically praised film received a SAG Award for 'Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture.'
She first captured international recognition in the action adventure film, "The Mask of Zorro," opposite Antonio Banderas and Anthony Hopkins. Zeta-Jones continued to captivate audiences in 1999, in Jon Amiel's romantic-thriller "Entrapment," opposite screen legend Sean Connery . She also starred with Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal and John Cusack in the ensemble comedy "America's Sweethearts."
Born in Wales, Zeta-Jones began her career on the stage in London and following that was cast in the popular Yorkshire Television series, "The Darling Buds of May," based on the novels of H.E. Bates.
In 2010, Zeta-Jones was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for her services to the film industry and charity.
JUDY GREER (Barb) consistently captivates both critics and audiences with her engaging performances. She is one of the most prolific actresses of her time, appearing in 80 roles across film and television. Greer was most recently seen in Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" opposite George Clooney, receiving critical acclaim and garnering solo nominations from both the Satellite Awards and the Denver Film Critics Society, in addition to being nominated as part of the ensemble cast for a Gotham Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics Choice Award.
Greer is currently starring on Broadway alongside Katie Holmes and Norbert Leo Butz in the Broadway show "Dead Accounts" by Theresa Rebeck; and will soon be seen in the remake of the 1976 film, "Carrie," directed by Kimberly Peirce. She will star as Miss Desjardin, the gym teacher, alongside Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore. The film is expected to be released in March 2013.
Greer recently voiced 'Cheryl' on the third season of FX's animated hit series "Archer," which became an instant cult classic after its television debut in 2010. The show was recently picked up for a fourth season, returning in January. She is also renown for her hilariously memorable portrayal of Kitty Sanchez' on Mitch Hurwitz's critically-acclaimed comedy "Arrested Development." She recently wrapped production on the revived fourth season of "Arrested Development" which will debut on Netflix in 2013.
Greer is also currently starring in her own Yahoo! series called "Reluctantly Healthy," which she started in December of 2011. Each week this webisode gives special tips and advice on how to stay healthy while on-the go, working long hours and traveling away from home. This year, Greer has also starred opposite Ed Helms, Jason Segel, and Susan Sarandon in "Jeff, Who Lives at Home" for directors Jay and Mark Duplass.
Greer's film credits include "Peep World," "Barry Munday," "Love & Other Drugs," "Love Happens," Visioneers," "The Go-Getter," "27 Dresses," "The TV Set," "American Dream," "The Amateurs," Cameron Crowe's "Elizabethtown;" M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village;" "13 Going on 30," "I Love Your Work," "The Hebrew Hammer," Charlie Kaufman's critically-acclaimed "Adaptation;" "The Wedding Planner," "What Women Want," "The Great New Wonderful," "What Planet Are You From?" "Three Kings;" "Jawbreaker;" "In Memory of My Father;" "The Specials" and "Kissing Fools."
No stranger to the small screen, Greer appeared in a multi-episode arc on the much anticipated new season of "Two and a Half Men" as Bridget Schmidt', ex-wife of Ashton Kutcher's character Walden Schmidt'. Greer returned to the show this season after a 2007 guest appearance as a completely different character. Additional television credits include the ABC comedy "Miss Guided," where she garnered rave reviews for her role as a woman who returns to her high school alma mater as a guidance counselor, and guest appearances on "Modern Family;" "How I Met Your Mother;" "The Big Bang Theory;" "House;" "Two and a Half Men;" "E.R.;" "My Name is Earl;" "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia;" "Californication"; and "Love Monkey." On stage, Judy starred in Paul Weitz's play "Show People" for Second Stage opposite Ty Burrell.
Born and raised in Detroit, Greer trained for nearly ten years in classical Russian ballet before shifting her interest to acting and gaining acceptance into The Theatre School, DePaul University's prestigious theatre conservatory program.
With his ruggedly handsome, all-American good looks and school boy charm, Canadian-born actor, JAMES TUPPER (Matt), named one of TV Guide's Sexiest Stars and US Weekly's Sexiest TV Men, is without a doubt making his mark on Hollywood's film industry. The soft spoken heartbreaker, best known for his roles on the small screen in ABC's "Men in Trees" and NBC's "Mercy," currently stars as Emily Van Camp's deceased father, David Clarke on ABC's hit series "Revenge," where the whole series revolves around Emily's vengeance to those who betrayed her father. He also recently signed on for the coveted role of Richard Deaver in Jerry Bruckheimer's highly anticipated NBC drama pilot "The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives."
Next up on the silver screen, Tupper can be seen starring alongside Maggie Grace, Aaron Paul, and Helen Hunt in "Decoding Annie Parker," directed by Steven Bernstein. Tupper will also star in the 2013 horror flick "Nothing To Fear" alongside Clancy Brown, Ethan Peck, and Anne Heche. Previously, Tupper starred opposite Jim Carrey in the live-action family comedy film "Mr Popper's Penguins." He also starred opposite Zac Efron and Claire Danes as Joseph Cotton, in the screen-adaptation of the best-selling novel by Robert Kaplow, "Me and Orson Welles."
On the small screen, Tupper is best known for his roles as sinfully sexy wildlife biologist Jack Slattery on ABC's "Men in Trees," and as the shome-wrecking war hero, Dr. Chris Sands on NBC's "Mercy." Tupper also recurred as Dr. Andrew Perkins on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," and as the loveable philanthropist Owen on ABC's "Samantha Who." He starred alongside his real-life sweetheart, Anne Heche, in Lifetime's "Girlfight."
Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, Tupper later traveled to London and Africa, working on a farm in the foothills of Mount Kenya. Inspired by his experiences, he started the Blue Shoe Theatre Company upon his return, touring Nova Scotia schools with a play about fitting in. The money he made helped fund his education at Concordia University in Montreal and at Rutgers University where he received an MFA. After Rutgers, Tupper moved to New York where he was immediately spotted by talent agents. While there, he produced and starred in the off-Broadway play "After the Rain," which won the Moliere Prize in Paris the same year. Tupper has been adding to his body of work ever since.
While building homes as a carpenter, Tupper was also constructing an impressive acting resume that includes roles on "How I Met Your Mother," "CSI: New York," "Gilmore Girls," "Time of Your Life," and "Dr. Vegas." Tupper's career-launching role in "Joe Dirt" led to a star role in the critically-acclaimed independent film, "Peroxide Passion," for which he won the Toronto Planet Indie Film Festival's Best Actor Award. Tupper also starred in the Hallmark Channel's original movie "Love's Abiding Joy." Other star roles include the independent film "For Heaven's Sake" and the biopic "Who Flew?" playing legendary novelist Ken Kesey. Tupper enjoyed a starring role alongside Sissy Spacek and Alfre Woodard in "Pictures of Hollis Woods" for CBS and the Hallmark Channel. In addition, Tupper co-conceived and wrote "Loudmouth Soup," an improv film about actors trying to make it, released in 2005.
At only 10 years old, NOAH LOMAX (Lewis) recently has appeared on some of television's hottest projects and has lead roles in two of the most buzzed about films being released in 2012-13. After making his feature film debut starring in "Playing For Keeps," he can next be seen in the highly anticipated, film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks "Safe Haven," directed by Lasse Hallstrom.
In addition to film, Noah has made his mark in the television world as well. His work includes a recurring role on AMC's hit series, "The Walking Dead," as well as guest appearances in episodes of ABC's "The Middle," CBS's "Mad Love," and Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva" and "Army Wives."
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Noah and his family lived in The Big Easy until Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, and they were forced to evacuate. Although they were fortunate not to lose their home, their lives were in turmoil for several months as their family was split; Noah's dad brought the kids to Atlanta, while his mom finished school in Baton Rouge. The family eventually decided to relocate permanently to Atlanta. Once settled in Atlanta, Noah and his older sister signed with a local talent agent, and he immediately started booking roles. Noah booked his first gig when he was seven years old, a guest star role on "Army Wives," and he was hooked.
On the charity front, Noah actively supports Soccer for Hope, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for pediatric cancer research through soccer related activities.
Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, IQBAL THEBA (Param) came to the US as a college freshman at the University of Oklahoma, where he studied Civil Engineering. After realizing his true passion was acting, Iqbal went back to the University of Oklahoma to receive a degree in Acting.
Moving to Los Angeles, things started to turn around for Iqbal. His first big commercial was for the Wherehouse Music Chain – where he sang the Chris Isaak song "Wicked Game." This was followed by commercials for MacDonalds, Burger King, Subway, At&T, Sprint, American Express, Capital One, Holiday Inn, Kelloggs Cereal, Tostitos, Got Milk and others. Iqbal was the first South Asian to appear in dozens of national commercials in the 90's. It was through these television commercials that he was able to get his SAG Card, which opened the door to more mainstream television and film opportunities.
Iqbal's big television break came after booking a role on the NBC pilot "Death and Taxes." This led to guest-starring roles shows such as "L.A. Law," "Living Single," "Mad About You" and "Seinfield." Over the next 10 years, Iqbal continued to hone his craft and work on such shows as "Ellen," "Caroline In The City," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Friends," "King Of The Hill," "The West Wing," "Judging Amy," "Alias," "Arrested Development" and "Weeds" as well as recurring roles on "The George Carlin Show," "Sister, Sister," "Rosanne," "Married With Children," "Family Matters," "E.R.," "Jag" and "Life With Bonnie." Iqbal's film work includes "Indecent Proposal," "Driven," "Baseketball," "Dancing At The Blue Iguana" and Frankenhood."
Iqbal was offered the role of a lifetime by being cast as Principle Figgins in the hugely successful FOX television series "Glee," for which he won a SAG AWard Although originally written for a Caucasian, Iqbal won the role and has brought his own unique perspective to the character. In addition to "Glee," Iqbal is also recurring on the NBC series "Community." In 2010, he filmed the role of The Secretary General of the UN in "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon." He is also the face of SUPERFUTURES, which helps high school kids map out their college courses.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
GABRIELE MUCCINO (Director) is a Roman-born director who made his American directorial debut with "The Pursuit Of Happyness," which garnered Will Smith an Academy Award® nomination for his leading role performance. Muccino originally made his mark in the world of cinema in Italy with "The Last Kiss," which won a David di Donatello Award (the Italian Oscar) for Best Director. In addition to his win, Muccino has been nominated for a total of seven David di Donatello Awards from several of his works: "Remember Me, My Love," "Kiss Me Again" and "The Pursuit Of Happyness," for Best Foreign Film.
Muccino balances his time and work between Italy and the U.S. where his American films have gained much attention with the critically acclaimed "Seven Pounds" and now "Playing For Keeps."
ROBBIE FOX (Screenwriter) studied theater at Northwestern University and screenwriting at NYU. He got his start writing and directing "The Great O'Grady," an award-winning short for Columbia Picturess and Showtime. His original screenplays include "So I Married An Axe-Murderer" with Mike Myers, "Shooting Elizabeth" with Jeff Goldblum and "In The Army Now" with Pauley Shore. He has also done rewrites on TV and films including "My Girl" with Macaulay Culkin and the Disney animated Mickey Mouse short "Runaway Brain."
For theater, he wrote the book for an original musical,"The Gift," an original musical (Tiffany Theater, Los Angeles). His TV work includes the pilots "The Bobby & Larry Show" (co-writer/co-director), "The Wife & Times Of Teddy Berman" (writer, star), and "Devilish," an upcoming Nickelodeon Channel original film for Victoria Justice. Upcoming movies include "Lost in Coachella" (writing and directing for MPCA) and a love story, "Still Life," to be directed by Bruce Beresford.
KEVIN MISHER (Producer) develops and produces motion pictures via his Los Angeles-based production company, Misher Films. Misher, born and raised in Queens, New York, earned a degree in economics from the Wharton School of Business. His first job in the entertainment industry was at HBO in New York, where he served as a financial analyst for then-CEO Michael Fuchs. He soon relocated to Los Angeles and landed at ICM, initially as a mail clerk then as an agent's assistant. His talent for identifying possible film projects, demonstrated even then, convinced legendary executive Mike Medavoy to hire Misher as a creative executive at Tri-Star Pictures.
Misher ascended the ranks quickly, and during his six years at the studio, oversaw numerous productions, including "Donnie Brasco," directed by Mike Newell, and starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. In 1996, Misher moved to Universal Pictures where he became President of Production at the age of 33. During his tenure, Misher supervised production of some of the studio's most successful features, such as "Out Of Sight" and "Erin Brockovich," as well as their most profitable franchises: "The Mummy," "Meet The Parents," "The Fast And The Furious," and "The Bourne Identity."
Misher left Universal in 2001 to form Misher Films. His first project was the hit followup to "The Mummy" franchise, "The Scorpion King." His subsequent productions include "The Rundown," starring Dwayne Johnson and directed by Peter Berg, "The Interpreter," directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Nicole Kidman and Sean Penn, "Public Enemies," directed by Michael Mann, starring Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Marion Cotillard and "Fighting" starring Channing Tatum.
Misher most recently produced "Mirror Mirror" starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Armie Hammer. He is currently in post-production on the remake of Stephen King's classic horror novel, "Carrie," directed by Kim Peirce and starsring Chloe Moretz and Julianne Moore; and on "Europa Report," a contemporary thriller set in deep space starring Sharlto Copley. He begins production on a reimagining of the graphic novel "The Crow" for Relativity Media next year. Other upcoming projects include "Shadow Of The Colossus" based on the legendary video game to be directed by Josh Trank ("Chronicle"), the father-son college comedy "Crazy U" starring Will Ferrell and the epic saga "The Last Duel" with Martin Scorsese attached to direct.
JONATHAN MOSTOW (Producer) made his motion picture debut as writer and director of the acclaimed thriller "Breakdown," starring Kurt Russell, which topped the U.S. box office its opening weekend. He followed with another #1 box office success: the WWII submarine adventure "U-571," starring Matthew McConaughey, Harvey Keitel and Bill Paxton, which garnered two Academy Award® nominations. Subsequently, Mostow directed the international blockbuster "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the sci-fi thriller "Surrogates," starring Bruce Willis.
For television, Mostow directed Tom Hanks in "La Voyage Dans La Lune," the finale episode of HBO's Emmy-Winning mini-series "From The Earth To The Moon." His first feature-length production, the Showtime thriller "Flight of Black Angel," earned a Cable ACE nomination for Best International Movie or Special.
As a producer, Mostow's credits include the Michael Douglas-Sean Penn thriller "The Game" and the Will Smith smash "Hancock." Mostow's next film in theaters will be the Jennifer Lawrence thriller "House at the End of the Street," for which he wrote the story.
ALAN SIEGEL (Producer) is both a talent manager and producer. As a manager, his client list includes well-known actors who perform in feature films, television series, and on stage. As a producer, he is proud to say that with his long time client and close friend, Gerard Butler, they have produced five feature films in the last three years.''
Alan's debut project was the psychological thriller, "Law Abiding Citizen." The film was a resounding commercial success that grossed over $125 million worldwide. His second project, "Machine Gun Preacher," starring Gerard Butler and directed by Marc Forster, received critical acclaim and was based on the moving true life story of Sam Childers. Just released this fall was the surfing tale entitled "Chasing Mavericks," a Fox/Walden production directed by Curtis Hanson & Michael Apted. Next up for the busy producer is "Olympus Has Fallen," a Millennium Films production starring Gerard Butler with Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Melissa Leo that is being released by FilmDistrict on April 25, 2013.''
Outside of his work in the entertainment business, Siegel is on the board of Kids Kicking Cancer. The nonprofit organization helps children with cancer manage the stress and pain of their disease and treatments through personalized coaching sessions instructed by black belt martial artists. Alan is also on the board of Art of Elysium, which encourages working actors, artists and musicians to voluntarily dedicate their time and talent to children who are battling serious medical conditions.''In addition to his Masters degree in theater from New York University, Siegel also holds a Master of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University.''He resides in Los Angeles with his long-time partner, famed designer David Meister.
After graduating in economics/political science from the University of California, HEIDI JO MARKEL (Producer)(HJM) moved to Los Angeles. After a few indie acting roles, she leapt at the opportunity to get behind the camera, discovering her true passion: production.
Intrigued by Bernard Rose's idea of shooting a modern day adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novella, "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," HJM acted in and co-produced "ivansxtc," which received four Independent Spirit Award nominaitons in 2001. HJM next jumped in to produce "Blind Horizon," premiering at SXSW in 2003. A year later, HJM produced "The Tenants," a dark brooding drama based on the Bernard Malamud novel, starring Snoop Dogg, Dylan McDermott and Rose Byrne premiering at Tribeca.
After years of flying solo, HJM launched Eclectic Pictures with the mantra "to be diverse in slate while combining the commercial and artistic aspects of filmmaking." Striking an output deal with Millennium Films, Eclectic produced several films released by Sony, including the high-voltage actioner "The Death And Life Of Bobby Z," starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne. In 2006, HJM produced George Gallo's comedy "My Mom's New Boyfriend." Keeping true to her 'mantra', Markel's Eclectic produced a drama, a comedy and an action-thriller within a span of 2 years.
In 2008, HJM moved to New York City to work on the psychological thriller "As Good As Dead," starring Andie MacDowell, Cary Elwes, Frank Whaley and Brian Cox, and the irreverent dramedy, "Solitary Man," starring Michael Douglas, Mary Louise Parker, Jesse Eisenberg, Susan Sarandon and Danny Devito, directed by Brian Koppleman and David Levien. "Solitary Man," premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and went on to receive critical acclaim and box office success.
Blown away by Andy Bellin's script, "Trust," HJM joined forces with David Schwimmer to produce his sophomore directing feature starring Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Viola Davis,and Liana Liberato. "Trust" premiered at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival to wow audiences and garnered a Best Actress Award at Chicago International Film Festival.
In 2011, HJM's Eclectic Pictures brought two more projects into production with Millennium Films: First, "Playing For Keeps," a fun rom-com with Gerard Butler, playing an ex-pro Futball player/ single dad who shows up to his son's suburban town to coach and the ensuing trouble with all the frisky soccer moms (Uma Thurman, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jessica Biel and Judy Greer). Secondly, her passion project, "Lovelace," the true story of how Linda Boreman was forced into pornography at the behest of her abusive husband starring Amanda Seyfried and Peter Sarsgaard, directed by an Oscar®-winning directing team (Epstein & Friedman). "Lovelace" will premiere during the Winter 2013 festival circuit. HJM also executive produced the forthcoming Gerard Butler actioner, "Olympus Has Fallen," directed by Antoine Fuqua as well as James Franco's directorial debut, "As I Lay Dying."
Next up is a high-concept comedy about a manchild (Elijah Wood) that goes through puberty at age 29, "Late Bloomer" directed by Randall Einhorn. Also for 2013, HJM will enter the family film genre with "Sam And The White Tiger," directed by Peter Hewitt and produce the gritty drama "Septembers of Shiraz," based on the best selling novel by Dhalia Soffer directed by Heitor Dhalia. 2013 portends to be another busy year for Heidi Jo and Eclectic Pictures...
JOHN THOMPSON (Producer) grew up in Rome where his fine body of work in the Italian film industry throughout the 1980s and 90s includes Franco Zeffirelli's "Otello" (two Oscar® nominations, Cannes Official Selection, American Critics Award); Claude D'Anna's "Salome" (Cannes Official Selection); Lina Wertmuller's "Camorra" (four Donatello Awards, Berlin Film Fest official entry); Liliana Cavani's "Berlin Interior" (Donatello Award, Berlin Film Festival official selection); Paul Schrader's "The Comfort of Strangers" (Cannes Official Selection); Ivan Passer's "Haunted Summer" (Venice Film Festival Official Selection); Jerzy Skolimowski's "Torrents of Spring" (Cannes Official Selection) and Giuseppe Tornatore's "Everybody's Fine" (Cannes Official Selection).
Thompson returned to Los Angeles to helm production for Millennium Films in 1998. Films he has produced or co-produced for Millennium Films include "American Perfekt" written and directed by Paul Chart (Cannes Official Selection); Susanna Styron's "Shadrach" (Venice Official Selection); "Some Girl" from Rory Kelly (Best Director Award, LA Independent Film Festival); Audrey Wells' "Guinevere"; George Hickenlooper's "Big Brass Ring," as well as "Prozac Nation," "Nobody's Baby," "The Replicant," "Try Seventeen," "Undisputed" and other successful productions.
Continuing as Millennium Films' Head of Production, Thompson has gone on to produce "The Mechanic," "The Expendables 1 & 2," "Brooklyn's Finest," "Righteous Kill," "Rambo IV," "The Big Wedding" and "Stolen."
AVI LERNER (Executive Producer) is the Chairman and founder of Nu Image, Inc.. Millennium Films and all related companies. With more than 350 films to his credit, he is one of the most experienced, prolific and succesful producers of our time.
Born and raised in Haifa, Israel, Lerner began as manager of Israel's first drive-in cinema. In 1979, Lerner anticipated the explosion of home video rental, which led to his pioneering the largest specialized video distribution company in Israel, and becoming a partner in the country's largest theatrical distribution company.
In 1984, he executive produced the remake of "King Solomon's Mines." He then sold his Israeli company and relocated to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he founded the Nu Metro Entertainment Group. The company's interests grew to include owned and operated theaters; a video distribution division representing top studios and independent companies; and a production arm that made over 60 features distributed worldwide by major studios. Lerner eventually sold Nu Metro to join MGM/United Artists.
In 1992, he moved to Los Angeles and opened Nu Image Inc., focusing on production and distribution for the home entertainment market. In 1996 he launched Millennium Films, which produces theatrical motion pictures. Under the Millennium Films label, Lerner has produced such films as "The Expendables 1 and 2," "Rambo IV," "Righteous Kill," "Brooklyn's Finest" and "The Mechanic."
DANNY DIMBORT (Executive Producer) began his entertainment career with the Israeli distribution company Golan-Globus Films and became managing director within two years. In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles to join Cannon Films as head of foreign sales.
He returned to Israel to produce several films prior to joining Cannon/Pathé in Los Angeles, where he was in charge of distribution. President of International Distribution at MGM until 1991, Dimbort then formed Nu Image with Avi Lerner and served as partner in charge of sales and marketing.
TREVOR SHORT (Executive Producer), co-founder and CEO of Nu Image Inc., oversees legal, finance and administrative operations for Nu Image, Inc., Millennium Films and all related companies. Born in Harare, Zimbabwe, Short obtained a Bachelor of Law from the University of Rhodesia and an MBA at the University of Cape Town where he was awarded the Gold Medal. In 1980 Short joined Standard Chartered Merchant Bank in Harare as head of Corporate Finance, responsible for takeovers, mergers and IPO's. He then moved to Hill Samuel Merchant Bank in Johannesburg in 1984 as head of its Corporate Finance Division and subsequently to Investec Bank where he was responsible for eight IPOs on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, as well as numerous mergers and acquisitions.
Short's finance background led him to develop a tax based financing formula to produce motion pictures in South Africa. He succeeded in procuring over $200 million from private investors to fund the production of international films made in South Africa. Much of the financing he secured was for films produced by Avi Lerner's Nu Metro group for international film companies. He also became a consultant to the Government of South Africa regarding film incentive legislation.
In 1989, Short left the banking sector to join Lerner as a shareholder in and Chief Executive of Nu Metro Entertainment Group in Johannesburg. He continued to arrange financing for Nu Metro's film production and was directly involved in its expanding its theater chain. Lerner and Short used proceeds from the sale of Nu Metro Entertainment Group to start Nu Image, Inc. in Los Angeles in 1992.
Short's expertise has been applied to the many foreign co-productions undertaken by the Nu Image group over the years. This includes the development of Nu Boyana Studios in Bulgaria and Millennium Studios in Louisiana. Short has served as producer or executive producer on nearly all Nu Image and Millennium Films productions since the beginning. Recent films include "The Expendables 1 & 2," "The Big Wedding" and "The Paperboy," a 2012 Cannes Film Festival Official Selection.
ED CATHELL III (Executive Producer) has been producing feature films for over twenty years, working on such films as the critically acclaimed "The Secret Life Of Bees," "The Hard Easy" and "Flight Of Fancy," to name a few. More recently, he produced "Conviction," starring Academy Award®-winner Hillary Swank, the critically acclaimed "Stone" with Academy Award®-winner Robert De Niro & Golden Globe winner Edward Norton, "Drive Angry," starring Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard & William Fichtner, and "Trust," starring Clive Owen, Catherine Keener and Viola Davis. Other recent films include "The Paperboy" for Lee Daniels, "The Killing Season" and "Olympus Has Fallen."
BOAZ DAVIDSON (Executive Producer) is the Head of Development and Creative Affairs for Millennium Films. He has been with the firm and its parent company, Nu Image, Inc., since 1992. However, he is equally well known as the writer-director of the critically acclaimed worldwide hit film "Lemon Popsicle," which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival, receiving its Panorama Audience Award and spawning more than a dozen sequels.
Davidson was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, graduated from London Film School, and moved to the United States in 1979. He joined Cannon Films, where he oversaw production on such films as: "Going Bananas," "Delta Force," "American Cyborg," "Salsa"; and most notably an American version of "Lemon Popsicle" titled "The Last American Virgin." Today both Israeli and American versions are considered cult classics. Davidson has recently scripted a new version of "The Last American Virgin" and is developing it for Millennium Films along with Brett Ratner.
In 1992, Davidson joined Nu Image, Inc. co-founders and played an integral role forming the new independent studio. He continued to write, direct, and produce such films as "Looking for Lola," "Shadrach" and "The Big Brass Ring." In 1996, Nu Image formed Millennium Films, where Davidson has overseen the development and production of such films as "The Expendables," "Rambo IV," "Righteous Kill," "16 Blocks," "The Mechanic" and "Brooklyn's Finest" and such forthcoming pictures as "The Expendables 2," "The Iceman," "The Big Wedding," and The Paperboy," an official selection of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
PETER SCHLESSEL (Executive Producer) co-founded FilmDistrict and serves as the Company's CEO. Schlessel started his career at Sony Pictures Entertainment ("SPE") in 1989 as Director of Legal Affairs for RCA/Columbia Home Video. He was subsequently VP of Business Affairs, SVP of Acquisitions and Business Affairs, and EVP of Acquisitions and Co-Productions. In 1996, he co-founded Screen Gems. At Sony he supervised over 1,500 third-party acquisitions. In 2000, Schlessel was promoted to President of Production for Columbia Pictures and three years later, was promoted to President of Columbia Pictures. While at Columbia, he was involved in Columbia's summer hits "Spiderman," "Charlie's Angels" and "Swat." In 2004, Schlessel left Sony to consult for a number of different companies including DreamWorks, Studios, Microsoft, and Mandate Pictures. He also assisted Jeff Skoll in founding Participant Productions. Schlessel returned to SPE in 2006 as the President of Worldwide Acquisitions, before being promoted to President of Worldwide Affairs. Upon his return, he was responsible for SPE's involvement in such notable films as "District 9" and "Michael Jackson's "This Is It."
DIEGO MARTINEZ (Co-Executive Producer) attended the University of Southern Mississippi where he studied Film Production, near his native New Orleans. After college he started and headed an Internet Service Providing company, one of the first in Mississippi. In 1998 he moved to Colombia South America, where he taught English for five years.
Diego returned to Louisiana to pursue his passion for film production. After working on a number of productions as an Art Department Coordinator, Diego made the transition to Production Supervisor on three Millennium Film projects. In June of 2008, Diego joined Nu Image/Millennium Films as president of Millennium Studios, and as a Production Executive overseeing Louisiana productions.
Well known for his artful cinematography, PETER MENZIES, JR. (Director of Photography) has an impressive list of dramas, comedies and action-filled movies to his credit. His most recent thriller, is "Killing Season," for Mark Steven Johnson, starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta. Prior to "Playing For Keeps," Menzies had his second collaboration with director John Singleton on the action/drama, "Abduction," starring Taylor Lautner. They previously worked together on "Four Brothers," starring Mark Wahlberg. Menzies filmed two action/adventures for French director Louis Letterier: "Clash Of The Titans" in 2009, and the 2008 Marvel Studios production of "The Incredible Hulk."
Menzies' credits include Antoine Fuqua's "Shooter," John McTiernan's "Die Hard With A Vengeance" and "The Thirteenth Warrior." He collaborated three times with Simon West on "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," "The General's Daughter" and "When A Stranger Calls." Other action/dramas include "Hard Rain," Joel Schumacher's "A Time To Kill," "The Getaway," "White Sands" for director Roger Donaldson and "The Great Raid," directed by John Dahl. On a lighter note, Menzies has also enjoyed filming comedies such as "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed And Fabulous," Jerry Bruckheimer's "Kangaroo Jack," "Man Of The House," and Disney's "The Kid."
Menzies established himself as a commercial Director of Photography in the 1980s and his commercial work has earned awards including the Australasian Television Award, the New York One Show Prize, the London International Advertising Award and the Cannes Advertising Film Festival Award. Menzies is a native of Sydney, Australia. He was introduced to the film industry by his father, Australian cinematographer, Peter Menzies.
DANIEL T. DORRANCE (Production Designer) began his career in the Art Department as an assistant art director. His first couple of opportunities just happened to come working for two of the most respected directors in history, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola ("Hook" and "Dracula"). Dorrance very quickly moved up the ranks, and was the Supervising Art Director on such mega-hits as Mel Gibson's "Braveheart," J.J. Abrams and John Woo's "Mission Impossible II and "III" and Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan," with the latter garnering him an Oscar® nomination and a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Art Direction. Some of his other art directing credits include "Maverick," "Assassins," "Father's Day," "We Were Soldiers," "Collateral," "Serenity," "Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer," Louis Leterrier's "The Incredible Hulk" and recently Jon Favreau's "Cowboys & Aliens."
Dorrance has been production designing the last few years on such project as "Max Payne," Lee Daniels' "The Paperboy" starring Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey. For director John Moore, he recently completed the newest insallment in the "Die Hard" franchise, "A Good Day to Die Hard," starring Bruce Willis.
ANGELICA RUSSO (Costume Designer) has always loved fashion. She enrolled at Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in London in 2002, and went on to work as a designer for the Ferroni Fashion Group, designing the 2005 collection.In 2007, she created her first fashion line, ISINISI, produced using entirely organic cashmere. Russo also designed the wardrobe for Granarolo, Tim and Pagine Gialle, Italian television commercials.She collaborated with director Gabriele Muccino on his last Italian feature, "The Last Kiss," as costume designer.
Award-winning composer ANDREA GUERRA (Music) has written more than 100 musical scores, working with internationally acclaimed film directors from across genres including Rob Marshall, Terry George, Griffin Dunne, Zhang Yuan, Ferzan Ozpetek, Giuseppe Bertolucci and Gabriele Muccino.
Recently completed projects include: the original soundtrack for Roberto Faenza's "Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You," featuring the hit single "Love is Requited," performed by Elisa; ""Letters to Juliet," starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave; "Extraordinary Measures," with Harrison Ford; the Rob Marshall musical "Nine," featuring Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penélope Cruz and Sophia Loren; the rags-to-riches drama "The Pursuit of Happyness," starring Will Smith and directed by Gabriele Muccino; and "Hotel Rwanda," starring Don Cheadle and Nick Nolte.
Among his many awards, Mr. Guerra was honoured in 2007 with a Top Box Office Films prize by ASCAP for his score to "The Pursuit of Happyness." Guerra also won the European Film Award 2005 for Best Composer for "Hotel Rwanda"; and was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award for "Hotel Rwanda's" closing song "Million Voices" which Guerra co-wrote with Haitian-American hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean and composer Jerry Duplessis.
Guerra was awarded the prestigious David di Donatello for his score to Ferzan Ozpetek's 2003 drama "Facing Windows." The soundtrack album has sold more than 75,000 copies to date, earning a Gold Record Award, while the film's original song "Gocce di Memoria, "written by Guerra and sung by Italian singer Giorgia, became a hit single in Italy. "Gocce di Memoria" also won a Platinum Record Award and Guerra earned two Italian Music Awards,.
Guerra is also active in writing scores for numerous television movies and mini-series, many in his native Italy. Guerra began his career composing music for nature documentaries. His first film soundtrack was written for the 1990 movie "Viaggio d'Amore" starring Omar Sharif and Lea Massari.