In the first decade of the new millennium, with advances in global technology overtaking the sovereignty of human compassion, Richard Martin (SAM NEILL) buys a gift, a new NDR-114 robot. The product is named Andrew (ROBIN WILLIAMS) by the youngest of the family's children. Touchstone Pictures'/Columbia Pictures' "Bicentennial Man" follows the life and times of Andrew, a robot purchased as a household appliance programmed to perform menial tasks. As Andrew begins to experience emotions and creative thought, the Martin family soon discovers they don't have an ordinary robot.
Touchstone Pictures and Columbia Pictures present A 1492 Pictures Production in association with Laurence Mark Productions and Radiant Productions, "Bicentennial Man." Directed by Chris Columbus, from a screenplay by Nicholas Kazan, the film is based upon the short story by Isaac Asimov and the novel The Positronic Man by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg. The film is produced by Wolfgang Petersen, Gail Katz, Laurence Mark, Neal Miller, Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe and Michael Barnathan. Executive producer is Dan Kolsrud. "Bicentennial Man" is distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.
"Bicentennial Man" spans two centuries, during which it is the goal of a single individual whose quest is to learn all he might about the intricacies of humanity, life and love. Through his efforts Andrew, a popular robot model, teaches as much as he learns. He shows the world how to open its eyes and its heart to receive any being with enough compassion to ask for acceptance.
Andrew appears as a typical robot. Upon his delivery, there are four members of the Martin home: Richard Martin, whom Andrew respectfully refers to as Sir; his wife, simply as Ma'am; and their two children Grace and Amanda, who will always be Miss and Little Miss, respectively.
Little Miss is the first to call him Andrew, because she misunderstands him to be an android, which of course, he is not. He is a robot: A NorthAm Robotics NDR-114 that has been purchased, as he himself describes, "To perform menial tasks. Cooking. Cleaning. Making household repairs. Playing with or supervising children." The children, however, are at first suspicious of this new member of the household. Miss sees him as an uninteresting simple appliance, common in the homes of her friends. Little Miss thinks he's a bit scary. She, of course, has nothing to fear as the first law of robotics states, "A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction cause a human being to come to harm."
It is perhaps the second law of robots, "A robot must obey all human orders except where such orders conflict with the First Law," which leads the Martin family to change their perception of Andrew. For it is following an incident in which Miss orders Andrew to leap from an upstairs window (an order which he is compelled to follow), that leads Sir to proclaim, "Though Andrew is technically a piece of property, he shall be treated as if he is a person." In treating Andrew as human, are they starting to see human traits? Is he indeed showing some very anthropomorphic signs of creativity, curiosity and friendship? Or is it merely as the NorthAm Robotics executives explain, "An appliance with human form showing signs of mechanical failure, interpreted as eccentricity."
Sir decides to not only allow Andrew his creativity but to encourage and cultivate the behavior as he believes Andrew to be a unique individual.
Andrew's artistry is first exhibited in his carving delicate wooden animals. Before long he has converted the basement of the Martin home into his workshop where he crafts beautifully intricate clocks. As his talent develops, so too, does Andrew's friendship with Sir and his ever-deepening affection for Little Miss.
It is ironic that one who spends so many hours creating timepieces is himself unaffected by the passage of time. But time does pass. Through the years, then decades, Andrew achieves a degree of notoriety for creating and selling his exceptional works, all the time watching as the family he has become so much a part of grows up... and grows old. It makes Andrew all the more aware how different he is, and in his uniqueness, how alone he is.
Andrew decides that by looking more human he might narrow the gap between himself and the human world he so wants to understand. Even after the robotic upgrades that change his looks, there is still something missing. The ability to decide for one's self where to live, the ability to come and go as one pleases and the ability to choose are all things that Andrew, as a piece of property, cannot know. He lacks the power of free will. Though such a request has never been heard before, the court finds it cannot deny freedom to any being with a mind advanced enough to desire freedom so passionately.
Andrew's freedom comes, initially, at a great personal cost. Sir, his lifelong companion and teacher, is unable to understand Andrew's desire. But to Andrew, it is the start of a journey toward emotional growth and something he is compelled to pursue.
Andrew sets out on a journey of discovery, to find out for himself what it is to be human. He needs to know if anywhere there is anyone or anything else like him. His search will not lead him to understand others, but with the help of his new friend Rupert (OLIVER PLATT), an independent and inventive robotics expert, Andrew is able to discover himself, developing and appreciating his own feelings and abilities. As Andrew returns to his own life he remains ever closer to the newer members of the Martin family. The awkward affection he once felt for Little Miss develops into precious companionship with Little Miss' granddaughter Portia. Through her, he learns that with mankind comes mortality, and the very uniqueness that has always seemed to keep from his human existence is the very thing that gives him his humanity.
According to records, the robot, also known as Andrew Martin, was powered up on the stages at Treasure Island in San Francisco, California. As the production evolved from a written page to a cinematic story, so too did a feeling among the hundreds of craft workers, artisans and technicians creating the elements of this story. It was the knowledge, an all but unspoken truth, that what was being created here was something very special. The story which begins in the near future, spans the next two centuries. Only one figure is constant throughout, the character of Andrew Martin, played by Robin Williams.
The original story "The Bicentennial Man," written by Isaac Asimov, was intended to be part of a science fiction anthology to be released in 1976, the year of the American bicentennial. As Asimov himself describes in his book The Bicentennial Man and Other Stories, he was approached in January 1975 to be a participating writer for the anthology. It was to be a very limited edition, containing original works by ten of the top science fiction writers of the day. The stories could be about anything at all provided that they could seem to have risen out of the phrase "The Bicentennial Man." Asimov completed his work ahead of his April 1975 deadline but at nearly twice the length requested, the longest story he had ever written below the level of a novel in seventeen years.
Due to a variety of complications, the anthology never came to fruition and the Asimov story was eventually transferred to Judy-Lynn del Rey's anthology of original stories entitled Stellar Science Fiction #2 which appeared in February, 1976. Asimov liked the story so much that it became the title piece in his own collection of short stories.
The road to the big screen was a long one for Andrew Martin. Asimov first sold the screen rights for the story to Chicago-based producer Neal Miller in November 1986 a decade after its original publication. "I was looking for good stories that might be adapted to the screen," Miller remembers. "A friend suggested that I read 'Bicentennial Man' and I fell in love with it. It was a parable of what it means to be human."
The challenge of bringing together the myriad elements required to adapt the Asimov story and bring it to fruition as a major motion picture rested with venerable producers Gail Katz and Wolfgang Petersen. "The project had been sitting dormant for a number of years," recalls producer Katz. "Wolfgang and I read the short story, and loved it. We immediately decided to develop it into a film."
Katz and Petersen, along with producer Laurence Mark, hired screenwriter Nick Kazan to write the screenplay. "I think Nick [Kazan] absolutely captured the story," says Katz. "In my mind, he actually went beyond it in terms of also creating a love story. We developed a screenplay that ultimately attracted Academy Award® winning actor Robin Williams and director Chris Columbus."
The teaming of Robin Williams with Chris Columbus was a natural. Having worked together on two previous films they had an established relationship that performed brilliantly in comedy. But the challenges beyond the humor are what brought them together for this story.
"The appeal to me," says Williams, "is the way the story deals with artificial intelligence and human behavior. It's the idea of a robot, an assembly line creature, an NDR-114. There are thousands of them in the beginning, but there's something unique about this one. He has curiosity, a sense of fascination."
As Columbus describes, "It's really like nothing I've ever done before. It's a story spanning two hundred years, that follows the life of a single family for several generations. The film's cast of supporting characters was continually changing." The central figure, and the most unique task for virtually every department on the production, would be the creation of the robot. Williams has a great deal of respect for the original source. "Asimov is amazing," he says of the late and prolific author. "By giving the robots the three laws, he gave them a kind of moral directive. Asimov did indeed contribute significantly to the modern perception of what a robot is and how it should behave."
Though robotic-like inventions can be traced back to around 200 BC when Hero of Alexandra built complicated amusing automaton, the word "robot" is itself a creation of the 20th century, coming from the Czech word Robota, meaning forced labor. The term robot was first used in a 1920s play by Karel Capek called "R.U.R." (Rossum's Universal Robots). The play dealt with robots created to free humans from the burden of labor but who eventually turn on and try to destroy their human creators because of their desire for freedom.
In 1926, the robot character Maria launched a similar attack on humanity in Fritz Lang's "Metropolis." In 1950 Asimov set down the three laws of robotics in his book "I, Robot" which established a standard for the fictional robot that has since been accepted by almost anyone writing about or referring to robots. The three rules are:
A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction,
allow a human being to come to harm.
A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with The First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
It is with these laws, or moral directives as Williams calls them, that the fictional robots lose their disposition toward calamity. "Asimov was the first writer to think of robots in a positive sense," Williams says. "That he could think they could be as moral as human beings, and maybe more so is what's fascinating about them. By programming what may be considered a consciousness and giving his robots both curiosity and desire, Asimov removed any real danger the robots might pose. What remains is the threat that people feel by the robots' presence, placing Andrew in a world where he must face the all-too-familiar forces of bigotry and hatred in a daring bid to obtain the only thing that really matters to him--his humanity."
How is consciousness defined? "I think it was Arthur C. Clarke," Williams recalls, "who said, 'You'll know when an artificial intelligence has a consciousness when it can make a joke and know that it made a joke and laugh at it."
For the filmmakers the task was no small one. To create the robot suit for Williams, the challenge was to avoid having the suit completely mask the humor and emotion of the character.
To help solve this problem the production turned to Steve Johnson and his special effects company XFX, Inc. The suit Johnson created was made up of over 250 pieces which were assembled into 30 wearable components weighing roughly 35 pounds. Chris Nelson and Eric Fiedler of XFX were the puppeteers who maintained the suit and controlled the facial expressions. The first-stage suit could have been very limiting, because as Chris Nelson explains, "There wasn't much movement for someone with a face as expressive as Robin Williams'. It had only jaw movement which Robin could control. It didn't have the smile mechanism that we would upgrade to later. The eyes blink and the eye brows go up and down by remote control."
Was the lack of facial mobility limiting? Nelson explains, "Something that was constantly coming up from the beginning was, 'Couldn't you have put just about anybody inside this mask?' You don't initially see any of Robin, but the biggest thing on this show for me is that Robin is actually inside, and Robin's essence comes though this suit. Covered in plastic, covered in silicone, in all the mechanisms and things, he reads through. You know it's Robin and if anybody else was in that suit you wouldn't have that, especially when it carries over to Andrew's many different looks and where it ends up."
The final result surprised even Williams, but in a very positive way. "I've not seen one frame of dailies, but I know the robot is interesting," he explains. "The greatest compliment the robotics guys and I have received was when the studio first saw the robot, they thought it was CGI. The second was that when I'm inside working the suit, it looks totally different than with just animatronics. They said it has life."
Eric Fiedler explains the process of operating the face. "It's a type of performance. It's an accentuation to punctuate what Robin does. If it were just a static face you would still read something. You would read a lot of the body language, but the expression helps it along. Robin and I had conversations about it. He always came up with great ideas like, 'why not put a surprised look here.' Or, later, when the face moves a little he'd say, 'Make him have just a slight smile. We worked together, which made it fun.'"
During the early tests of the suit for its expression and mobility, Williams entertained the crew, improvising everything including a robo-rapper, and the results were hilarious. For Williams though, it was not just a matter of acting through the suit but rather having the suit become a part of him. "It isn't just a mind-set, it's a body-set," he explains. "Everything from where your feet make contact with the ground to the way you move your hands, how you grab things, how much range of motion you have in your head. It's all dictated by the suit. Then you try and push the limits of the suit."
"Ultimately," Williams says thoughtfully, "it's very strange. Once they encase you in the suit, it's a bit like being in the make-up for Mrs. Doubtfire, you're kind of freed by it. It defines who you are. The hardest part was keeping that in mind once we started to lose all the accessories, getting what Andrew calls upgrades because he's still a robot, not fully human."
Williams' long-time make-up artist, Cheri Minns, was the one person who worked with him through all the various looks and applications; from Steve Johnson's robotics, to the more humanoid features through the later old-age look designed by Greg Cannom and the company Captive Audience Productions. Of the transformation Minns says, "Robin sort of sustains the character. I think people will care about him because he maintains a thread of dignity from his earliest appearance as a robot to eventually becoming something like an elder statesman."
Embeth Davidtz, in the dual roles of adult Little Miss and Portia, enjoyed her own engaging interplay opposite the robot. "When I first read the screenplay," Davidtz remembers, "I thought, how do you make that believable? How do you make love believable? But Robin transforms himself into more than just a robot. That's why the story is so profound. It's about something that was man-made to begin with, but then becomes self-made, and that's what the allure is."
Playing the role of Sir, Sam Neill also found the prospect of playing against a robot that is starting to show unusually human attributes, an interesting one. But as the man who first recognizes Andrew's uncommon abilities Neill says of his character, "He's Andrew's first owner and he's fascinated by the whole business of robotics. But he notices that there's something humane about the robot, and he has a sense of humor and an inquiring mind. There's this little spark in his robot that is different from all the other hundreds of thousands of other ones."
As the character playing Andrew's owner, Neill had to try to explain the concept of humor. In reality, Neill found Williams well versed on the topic. "I've never really worked with anyone like Robin before," Neill recalls. "I have to say I've laughed more on this film than I have on the last ten films combined. When we'd do a scene, like the one where Andrew has to tell a joke, with Robin you never really know where it's going to go. It can go ways that are absolutely hilarious but completely unprintable. So this was a very interesting and extremely funny process for me."
As someone who has the opportunity to interact with Andrew from the perspective of two different characters, Embeth Davidtz could easily understand Portia's attraction to a robot. "First of all," Davidtz explains, "the character of Andrew is fantastic. He's really funny, quaint, quirky, very old fashioned but really way ahead of his time. So, he's got this intellect, which is a challenge to her and a wonderful kindness. It's a great contrast that's given. Some of the human beings are not really great human beings and then here's a robot that has more of a soul than most people do."
For Robin Williams, the opportunity to play off such a wide variety of characters throughout the diverse story is what created the challenge and gave it innovation. From the parental Sir or the inquisitive Little Miss to the partnership he forms with Oliver Platt's character, inventor Rupert Burns, or the playful combativeness he experiences with Kiersten Warren's Galatea, Robin knows that he's lucky. He says, throughout his existence he has had several teachers, people who hook up and become mentors for him.
Director Chris Columbus put a new face on Robin Williams when the two made the tremendously successful comedy "Mrs. Doubtfire." Columbus, whose first screenwriting jobs were science fiction-horror-fantasy, felt it was time to get back to his roots. "Science fiction has always been one of my biggest passions. But I had never been able to find a story in that genre that worked on an emotional level. When I read Nicholas Kazan's screenplay, I found a story tht was not only magical and fantastic from a science fiction standpoint, but also tremendously complex and moving from a human standpoint. Also, it was completely original and unpredictable."
"The challenge of the picture was creating a realistic and believable robot, and a futuristic view of San Francisco that would span over 200 years. We needed to create a robotic suit that would be realistic and completely believable. The audience must always believe that this is a machine and not an actor inside of a suit. And although the robotic design of the suit helps create this illusion, it is Robin's controlled and extremely focused performance that makes Andrew Martin so real."
The evolution of San Francisco was also an area to test the imagination of director Columbus. "I felt it was essential to create a future that had complete architectural integrity. A city like San Francisco will never let its past die," explains Columbus, "so it is important to be true to that vision, but subtly adding to the city's already existing architecture."
The social attitude was an area to which he would pay close attention. Of the director's approach to these societal issues and his creative vision to tell the story, Williams says, "People know Chris for a certain style of movies because he has great instinct for comedy. What people may not realize is there's an incredible literacy to him and a film literacy, a vision for something like this, a science fiction or really fantastic movie. This one offers that because it has the other side, the human edge, the behavior of the characters. That's what's interesting about doing this. He's been very open to trying different things in his casting of different people. It's been great. He's very adamant about how the robots should look and the inter-relationships of all the different characters."
Sam Neill agrees with his fellow actor's assessment, saying of Columbus, "He's the most unflappable director I've ever met. He's just extraordinarily calm and never lets anything ruffle his feathers, which is kind of amazing on something this big."
To project Columbus' unique vision and propel a cityscape as well known as San Francisco from its current look to 200 years in the future, the director turned to the talents of Academy Award® winning production designer Norman Reynolds, who is especially well known for his art direction on "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" and his production design on "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Return of the Jedi" in the original "Star Wars" series.
"I haven't gone too far into the future," Reynolds says of his designs. "Having said that implies that I know what the future looks like, and I don't. But we've taken advantage of the San Francisco landmarks, like the Golden Gate Bridge, to which we've added another road at high level. We've increased the size of Sausalito so that you can see it from Fort Point, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. All of these landmarks are familiar to people both here and overseas."
To allow the city of San Francisco's presence to be felt throughout the film, director Columbus utilized many practical locations unique to the city by the bay. Also featured, in Little Miss' wedding and later as the church Portia is restoring, is Grace Cathedral. With its French and Spanish inspired design and towers rising 174 feet above the street, the church has been a recognizable landmark since its construction began in 1928.
To convey the passage of the 200 years over which the story takes place Columbus had Reynolds continually modernize the character's living spaces. The interior sets of the Martin house, for example, were built on the stages on Treasure Island in San Francisco that would retain their classic architectural design allowing for upgrades to convey the passage of time. We've had a number of kitchens in this movie," Reynolds says with a laugh, "like, four or five. It's difficult to change each of them but hopefully we've succeeded and I think making things simple has helped, you know, to not be too cluttered."
Not all of Reynolds' designs utilized existing structures. The World Legislature set was an undertaking that took three months to construct on the stages of Manex Studios in Alameda, California, and is one of the most advanced of Chris Columbus' vision of the future. As Reynolds describes in overview, "There are a number of interiors, but the exteriors are what we use to really convey the future. What we've done is to add more buildings, more futuristic buildings and take advantage of the city rather than build sets that are too way out."
To establish that sense of the future and the progress of time in the environment and in technology, Dream Quest Images, the feature film visual effects division of The Walt Disney Company, employed such multi-faceted techniques as digital matte paintings, CG imagery and models to realize the futuristic world envisioned by Columbus and Reynolds.
"Chris and Norman's concept of an 'evolutionary' future--instead of a far out one--was what really enabled us to create realistic shots," observed Dream Quest's visual effects supervisor James Price. "By utilizing existing structures and building around them, we were able to design environments that are futuristic yet familiar. This was crucial not only to show the progress of time throughout the film, but also to maintain a level of intimacy between the audience and the world in which the characters are living."
Holograms figure importantly throughout the film. Dream Quest's team of digital artists created the Three Rules of Robotics, a vortex of light and words which the newly arrived Andrews projects for his apprehensive family. While this early display has a somewhat menacing overtone, Andrew later demonstrates his abilities in an emotional and nostalgic way when he projects the wedding dance for Sir. Holograms of human organs are used to underscore the technology used in Andrew's human transformation. The replacement of Andrew's head and the morphing of a robotic underskeleton to a humanoid hand also involved the use of bluescreen and motion control photography, survey techniques to recreate the camera move in 3D, and digital compositing, along with animation and CG.
Landmark views of San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C. have been combined with digital matte paintings of new millennium skyscrapers. A CG tanker churns beneath the double-deck span of the Golden Gate bridge, a CG Circle Line hover ferry can be seen on New York's East River, CG hover cars fly above the Brooklyn Bridge and CG traffic and hover cars appear throughout the shots of the Capitol. The World Legislature itself was built as a 1/48 scale miniature by Dream Quest's model shop over a 12-week period, as was Portia's loft. The Victorian building in an old San Francisco neighborhood is seen with both traditional cable cars and a futuristic monorail, all intricately detailed models seamlessly blended with a digital matte painting of the Bay Bridge. Other architectural modifications are seen in the CG extension of the hospital set, the Rupert Burns building, and the family's Northern California mansion.
Eventually the truth prevails. The feeling shared by all people involved with the production of "Bicentennial Man" is that this story is special. Beyond the elaborate sets, beyond the philosophy, and beyond the science of robotics, "Bicentennial Man" is a very human story. As Sam Neill says, "There are all kinds of questions raised, some of which are rather troubling. Where does science overstep its mark? Where does what we invent and what we use start to erode what we understand about a civilized way of living? I have no idea where we will be in a hundred years, even if we'll be alive as a race. It's terribly hard to know or to see. All I do know is it'll be wildly different from anything we can guess now."
Robin Williams agrees, "No scientists will predict the future. They talk about when the first functioning robot will be. They talk about getting that nano-technology down to a certain point but then there will be something, as always, as right now, that no one can predict. No one could predict lap-top computers sixty years ago."
In this story, however, Williams feels very positive about what technology might bring for that too comes back to the human element. "Some people could say it's like a divine accident when it happens," he says of his character's evolution and the questions it might bring about. "There's a certain time when his perception of the world changes and he becomes quite unique. There have been movies about robots. There have been movies about artificial intelligence. But who we are and how we will relate to these creatures is what Asimov was always writing about. How will we relate to these questions and could they be superior in a moral way. A robot would have more humanity that most human beings according to Asimov, and that makes us look at ourselves."
Robin Williams (Andrew Martin)
was most recently seen in "Jakob The Liar" and
the Universal Pictures' presentation "Patch Adams,"
which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Williams is one
of the most gifted and abundantly talented actors of our time. He is the
recipient of the 1997 Best Supporting Actor Academy Award® for bringing
compassion and intelligence to the part of Dr. Sean McGuire in
"Good Will Hunting," a role for which
he also received the Screen Actors Guild Supporting Actor Award.
Williams first captured the attention of television viewers when he landed a guest-starring role on the hit situation comedy series "Happy Days" as Mork, the wildly manic and humorous extraterrestrial. His sharply hilarious yet heartfelt portrayal won him instant stardom. Viewer response was so great that he quickly signed for the now-legendary spin-off comedy series "Mork & Mindy."
In 1980, Williams made the leap to feature films, debuting in Robert Altman's "Popeye." Audiences then embraced a more poignant Williams in his portrayal of T.S. Garp in George Roy Hill's hugely successful "The World According To Garp," followed by Paul Mazursky's "Moscow on the Hudson." Barry Levinson's landmark film, "Good Morning, Vietnam" earned Williams his first Academy Award® nomination, with Peter Weir's "Dead Poets Society" earning him a second nomination.
Williams next starred opposite Robert De Niro in Penny Marshall's "Awakenings" (bringing him a special honor from the National Board of Review) followed by Terry Gilliam's "The Fisher King" for which Williams received his third Academy Award® nomination. He additionally starred in Barry Levinson's "Toys," Steven Spielberg's "Hook," and Mike Nichols' "The Birdcage" which earned the ensemble cast of the film an Actor Award from the Screen Actors Guild.
Williams received a Golden Globe Award for his performance in "Mrs. Doubtfire" and also earned a Special Achievement Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for his vocal contributions as Genie in Walt Disney Pictures' now-classic animated blockbuster feature "Aladdin."
Born in Chicago, Williams attended high school in Marin County, California. After a short stint studying political science at Claremont Men's College in Southern California, Williams entered the College of Marin to study theater and his innate comedic and dramatic skills led to his acceptance at the Juilliard School in New York, where he spent three years under the tutelage of acclaimed actor John Houseman and other noted professionals. In 1988 he performed on stage when he co-starred with Steve Martin in Mike Nichols' off-Broadway production of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot."
Williams, who began his career as a stand-up comedian, has won four Grammy Awards, including one for Robin Williams Live at the Met. He also won Emmys for the television specials "Carol, Carl, Whoopi, and Robin," and "ABC Presents A Royal Gala."
He is also active in several humanitarian organizations, and has been a primary force in "Comic Relief," an annual benefit to aid the homeless raising over $50 million to date.
SAM NEILL (Sir) was raised in New
Zealand, and has been recognized as an actor of extraordinary depth and range.
Neill's recent credits include his role opposite Robert Redford and Kristen Scott Thomas in the critically acclaimed film "The Horse Whisperer," and the science fiction thriller "Event Horizon," with Laurence Fishburne. He appeared opposite Meg Ryan, Hugh Grant and Robert Downey, Jr. in "Restoration," and in "Sirens," also with Hugh Grant. Neill also starred in Steven Spielberg's "Jurassic Park" and in Jane Campion's "The Piano" opposite Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel.
In addition to a memorable appearance in "My Brilliant Career," Neill appeared in "Plenty" and "A Cry in the Dark," for which he won the Australian Film Institute award for Best Actor and was also seen in "Dead Calm" and "The Hunt for Red October."
On television, Neill recently received Emmy nominations for his starring role as the title character in the ABC/Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation "Merlin." He was named Best Actor on British Television, and received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal in the title role "Reilly, Ace of Spies," and earned a second Golden Globe nomination for his work opposite Judy Davis in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of "One Against the Wind."
A native of Northern Ireland, Neill grew up in New Zealand, where he began his career with the Amamaus Theatre Group, subsequently joining the New Zealand Film Unit. In 1991, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his contributions to acting.
Embeth Davidtz (Adult Little
Miss/Portia) caught the attention of critics and audiences alike as the Jewish
maid who survives both the abuse and the attraction of Ralph Fiennes' sadistic
Commander Goeth in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List."
She then portrayed a seductive but fragile caterer opposite Kenneth Branagh in Robert Altman's critically acclaimed thriller "The Gingerbread Man." Her other work includes Miramax's "Mansfield Park," "Murder in the First" opposite Kevin Bacon, "Feast of July," "Matilda," and the supernatural thriller "Fallen" opposite Denzel Washington.
Oliver Platt (Rupert Burns) recently
starred in "Lake Placid," "Bulworth" and "Doctor Dolittle." His feature credits
also include "Simon Birch," "The Impostors," "Dangerous Beauty," "Executive
Decision," "A Time To Kill," "The Three Musketeers," "Indecent Proposal,"
"Funny Bones," "Beethoven," "Flatliners," "Working Girl," "Postcards From the
Edge," "Crusoe" and the upcoming "Gun Shy" and "Three to Tango." His first
major break came with his role in Jonathan Demme's "Married to the Mob."
Platt spent his childhood in Washington, D.C. and Asia and earned a degree in drama from Tufts University. He has worked extensively in theater with roles in such productions as "The Crucible" and "Buried Child."
Wendy Crewson (Ma'am) was recently
nominated for a Gemini Award (Canada's equivalent of the Emmy) in the category
of Best Actress, for her title role in "At The End Of The Day: The Sue
Rodriguez Story." In addition, she recently completed filming director Robert
Zemeckis' "What Lies Beneath," with Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, and
is currently shooting "Piano Man's Daughter," directed by Kevin Sullivan,
produced by Whoopi Goldberg and co-starring Stockard Channing.
Crewson previously starred opposite Harrison Ford as the intrepid and dynamic First Lady in Wolfgang Petersen's "Air Force One." She followed that starring as the street savvy prosecutor Helen Eden in the MGM release "Gang Related" with James Belushi and the late Tupac Shakur. Displaying her comic skills opposite Tim Allen in the 1995 box office smash "The Santa Clause," Crewson subsequently starred as a grieving widower's reluctant date in "To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday" with Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Gallagher.
Crewson's other film credits include "Corrina, Corrina" with Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta, "The Good Son" with Macaulay Culkin and a memorable appearance in "The Doctor" with William Hurt.
On television, Crewson appeared in the Sally Field-directed episode of the critically acclaimed "From The Earth To The Moon," executive produced by Tom Hanks. She received an ACTRA Best Actress Award for "Home Fires" on which she was a series regular. She received ACTRA nominations for her roles in "I'll Never Go To Heaven," "Getting Married In Buffalo Jump" and "The War Brides." Crewson is featured as a series regular on the CBS one-hour drama "Hard Copy" and Robert Altman's "Tanner 88" for HBO. Other television credits include Alice Monroe's "The Lives of Girls and Women."
A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Crewson received a Bachelor of Arts from Queens University in Kingston and continued her post-graduate studies in London at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts and the American Repertory Theatre.
She lives in San Francisco, California with her husband, actor Michael Murphy, and their two children.
Hallie Kate Eisenberg (Young Little
Miss) is 7 years old and loves to act. She first appeared as Marie in "Paulie."
She portrayed Barbara in Michael Mann's "The Insider." She recently completed
filming "Beautiful," co-starring Minnie Driver and directed by Sally Field.
Eisenberg has also appeared in three television movies, portraying Eleanor in "Nicholas' Gift" (CBS), Josie in "Blue Moon" (CBS) and Jenny in "Swing Vote" (ABC). She also appeared as Abby Mills in the short film "A Little Inside" which aired on Lifetime.
Young Eisenberg starred in a series of promos for the Independent Film Channel as Christie, "the hot new indy director," and has filmed an international advertising campaign for the Pepsi-Cola Company. She also served as the "Entertainment Tonight" correspondent for the Emmy Awards, Gotham Awards, Independent Spirit Awards and the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards.
Eisenberg has guested on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, "Donny & Marie" and "The Howie Mandel Show," and has a guest spot coming up on the "Letterman" show this December.
Stephen Root (Dennis Mansky) is a
classically trained actor who has starred on Broadway, television and film.
Recent features include "Office Space," "Krippendorf's Tribe," "Natural
Selection," "Bye, Bye Love," "Crocodile Dundee" and "Dave." He co-stars with
George Clooney in the Coen Brothers' next feature "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"
Root made his feature debut as a cold-blooded scientist in George Romero's "Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear," and followed by playing a police sergeant opposite Demi Moore in "Ghost," and as Gary Murray in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Other feature credits include "Extreme Justice," "Robocop III," "V.I. Warshawski," "Black Rain," "Kindergarten Cop," "Guilty by Suspicion" and "Stanley and Iris."
He currently stars as Gene on CBS-TV's "Ladies' Man," is a series regular on the Emmy-winning "King of the Hill," voicing the characters of Hank's next door neighbor Bill, boss, Mr. Strickland and Topsy, and provides the voices of Donovan in Columbia Tri-Star's "The Big Guy and Rusty the Robot" and as Sheriff in "Star Command." He starred as station manager Jimmy James on the series "News Radio" and was a series regular on "The Golden Years," and "Harts of the West." He starred in the miniseries, "From the Earth to the Moon," and had recurring roles on "Civil Wars" and "L.A. Law."
Root received a CableACE Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the telefilm "Road to Galveston," starring Cicely Tyson. His extensive guest starring credits on series include "Seinfeld," "Chicago Hope," "Cybil," "Party of Five," "Roseanne," "Murphy Brown," "Civil Wars," "Northern Exposure," "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Home Improvement."
Born in Sarasota, he majored in acting and broadcasting at the University of Florida, then left before graduating when he won a regional audition for the National Shakespeare Company. After three years of touring the U.S. and Canada with the troupe, Root settled in New York, honing his craft in several off-off Broadway Shows before landing a role in off-Broadway's "Journey's End."
Regional theater performances led to Root's starring Broadway debut in "So Long on Lonely Street." He then starred with Richard Kiley in "All My Sons," which won the 1987 Tony Award for the year's best revival. He has also starred off-Broadway in "The Au Pair Man." His starring role in the national tour of "Driving Miss Daisy" with Julie Harris brought Root to Los Angeles where he launched into his television and film roles.
Lynne Thigpen (Female President)
enjoys a distinguished artistic career on stage, film, television and radio.
A Tony Award winner for her starring role in the Dan Sullivan-directed play
"An American Daughter," Ms. Thigpen's other Broadway credits include "Tintypes"
for which she received a Tony Award nomination, "Fences" directed by the
legendary Lloyd Richards, "A Month of Sundays," "Working," and "The Magic
Off-Broadway and in regional theatre, Ms. Thigpen starred in "Jar the Floor," "Having Our Say," "Boesman and Lena," for which she won an Obie Award; "Balm in Gilead," "The Best Man" and "Fences," for which she received the Los Angeles Drama Critic's Award.
Equally acclaimed for her performances in feature films, Ms. Thigpen has appeared in a wide variety of motion picture roles. Among the highlights of her numerous credits are Michael Mann's recent hit "The Insider," "Random Hearts," "Just Cause," "Bob Roberts," "The Paper," "Article 99," "Lean on Me," "Running on Empty" and "Tootsie."
For television's Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations, Ms. Thigpen starred in "Night Ride Home" and "The Boys Next Door." Her other movies-of-the-week include "A Chance of a Lifetime," "A Mother's Instinct," "Cagney & Lacey" and "Separate But Equal." Thigpen also starred as a series regular on "FM," and has a recurring role on "Law & Order." She previously starred with recurring characters on "L.A. Law," "thirtysomething" and the daytime drama, "All My Children," and guest-starred on "Homicide: Life on the Street," "The Cosby Show" and "Frank's Place." She received four Emmy Award nominations for her performances on the acclaimed PBS series "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?"
In addition to her stage and film successes, Ms. Thigpen has appeared on the popular NPR program, "The Garrison Keillor Show." Her mellifluous voice has also contributed to the success of recorded books by Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, Dr. Maya Angelou and others.
Bradley Whitford (Lloyd) most
recently appeared in Albert Brooks' "The Muse." Previously, he was seen in the
feature films "Philadelphia," directed by Jonathan Demme; "The Client,"
directed by Joel Schumacher; "A Perfect World," directed by Clint Eastwood;
and "Awakenings" directed by Penny Marshall; as well as the films "My Fellow
Americans," "Cobb," "My Life," "Scent of a Woman," "Red Corner" and "Presumed
After attending the Juilliard Theatre Center, Whitford began his career with roles in numerous New York and regional theater productions, including "A Few Good Men," "Curse of the Starving Class," "Measure for Measure, "Romeo and Juliet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
Whitford's long list of television credits include starring on the new hit series "The West Wing," as well as guest-starring roles on "The Secret Lives of Men," "ER," "The X-Files" and "Ellen," as well as a recurring role in "NYPD Blue" and numerous movies of the week.
Kiersten Warren (Galatea
Robotic/Human), recently starred in Barry Levinson's "Liberty Heights." She
will soon be seen as Candy, in Bruce Paltrow's "Duets," starring Gwyneth
Paltrow and Scott Speedman. Additionally, Ms. Warren recently completed the
screenplay "Miss Runner Up" which Michael Douglas' Furthur Films will produce.
The film is a black comedy about a scrappy orphan who's been on the have not
team for too long. Kiersten is attached to star in the film. Her other feature
credits include, "Pushing Tin" for director Mike Newell, "Independence Day,"
and "Painted Hero."
Ms. Warren's many television credits include her role as the eccentric Leeann opposite Beau Bridges in the Barry Sonnenfeld executive produced series "Maximum Bob," a role on "Saved By the Bell: The College Years," and guest-starring roles on "Cybill" and "JAG." Her films for television include "Fugitive Among Us," "False Arrest," "Grave Secrets" and "Exile."
John Michael Higgins (Bill Feingold)
is perhaps best known for his acclaimed portrayal of David Letterman in the HBO
film "The Late Shift." He has also starred in such hits as Barry Levinson's
"Wag the Dog" and Ridley Scott's "G.I. Jane." He will be seen in the upcoming
"Best of Show," the new "mockumentary" by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and
Higgins, a longtime veteran of Broadway and regional theatre, created the title role in Paul Rudnick's "Jeffrey" for the New York stage and is internationally recognized as a leading interpreter of Harlequin, from the Italian commedia dell'arte. He has played a litany of the great classical roles from Shakespeare to Shaw to Sheridan, and is a well-respected improviser and comedian as well, co-writing and starring in such off-Broadway successes as "The National Lampoon Revue" for ShowTime and "The Comedy of Errors," for the New York Shakespeare Festival.
Scores of television credits include everything from Elaine's bald boyfriend on "Seinfeld," to the fussy alien A'rnox on Disney's "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids," to Carol Burnett's Riverdancing paramour on "Mad About You," as well as dramatic turns in Tom Hanks' "From the Earth to the Moon" and the controversial ABC drama "Nothing Sacred."
George D. Wallace (Male President)
has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in motion pictures, stage and
television productions. Among his most prominent feature films of the past
few years are "Forces of Nature" starring with Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck;
"Multiplicity," with Michael Keaton; "Diggstown," with James Woods; "Postcards
from the Edge," with Meryl Streep; "Punchline," with Sally Field and Tom Hanks;
"Defending Your Life," with Streep and Albert Brooks; as well as "A Rage in
Harlem," "Resurrection" and "My Girl 2."
Early in his career, Wallace became an instant star for his performances as Commando Cody, Sky Marshall of the Universe, in Republic Pictures' classic serial, "Radar Men from the Moon." More than a generation later, he is still revered for this memorable role. He subsequently starred in another sci-fi classic feature drama, "Forbidden Planet," and he has appeared on screen opposite many of Hollywood's legends, including Clark Gable ("Soldiers of Fortune"), Jane Russell ("The French Line"), William Holden and William Bendix ("Submarine Command"), Rock Hudson ("The Lawless Breed"), Kirk Douglas ("The Big Sky," "Man Without a Star"), Randolph Scott ("Man in the Saddle"), and Audie Murphy ("Destry," "Drums Across the River," "Six Black Horses").
For television, Mr. Wallace's body of work can best be characterized as voluminous, having appeared in many of the medium's classic episodic dramas and sit-coms. A fraction of these credits include relatively recent guest starring roles on "Early Edition," "JAG," "ER," "Mad About You," "Civil Wars," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Cybill," "L.A. Law," "It's Garry Shandling's Show," "Matlock," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Picket Fences," "Dynasty," "Hill Street Blues," "Knots Landing" and "St. Elsewhere"; going back to such time-honored perennials as "Rawhide," "77 Sunset Strip," "Wyatt Earp," "The Virginian," "Perry Mason," "The F.B.I.," "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza." He was also a series regular on "Sons and Daughters."
Among Wallace's extensive list of miniseries and made-for-television movies are "Nothing Personal," "Miracle At Clements Pond," "Child of Rage," "The Haunted," "U.S. Vs. Salim Adjam," "People Like Us," "Murderous Passion," "The Final Days," "Fresno," "Love Leads the Way" and "Return to Earth."
On stage, Wallace made his Broadway debut in Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, "Pipe Dream." His subsequent Broadway credits include director George Abbott's musicals "Pajama Game," in which he replaced John Raitt as the lead, and "New Girl In Town" opposite Gwen Verdon. He then starred opposite Mary Martin in the musical, "Jennie," and Sondheim's "Company" directed by Harold Prince. He also starred in the national touring productions of "Camelot" as King Arthur, "Man of La Mancha" and "Company." In addition, he starred at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in director Jose Quintero's acclaimed production of "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof."
Born in New York City, Wallace now resides in Los Angeles with his wife, award-winning singer/actress Jane A. Johnston.
Chris Columbus (Director/Producer)
is perhaps best known for directing one of the highest grossing motion picture
comedies of all time, "Home Alone" and its smash hit follow-up "Home Alone
2: Lost in New York." Recent credits include his direction of last year's
heartwarming drama, "Stepmom" with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon; his box
office hit "Mrs. Doubtfire" with Robin Williams and Sally Field; the popular
comedy "Nine Months" which he wrote, produced and directed; the Arnold
Schwarzenegger comedy "Jingle All The Way," which he produced, and "Monkeybone"
starring Brendan Fraser, directed by Henry Selick to be released Thanksgiving
2000 which he is producing.
Columbus was born in Spangler, Pennsylvania and grew up outside of Youngstown, Ohio. As a youngster, he aspired to draw cartoons for Marvel Comics and eventually discovered that comic books resemble the storyboards directors sketch for their movies. In high school he began making 8mm films and drawing his own storyboards (which he continues to do for his films today). After high school, he enrolled in the Directors Program at New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.
Columbus first attained success as a screenwriter. While still in college he sold his first script, "Jocks," a semi-autobiographical comedy about a Catholic schoolboy who tries out for the football team.
After graduating from NYU, Columbus wrote a steel town drama called "Reckless" based on his experiences as a factory worker in Ohio. The film starred Daryl Hannah and Aidan Quinn, and was directed by James Foley.
Columbus gained prominence in Hollywood with a trio of original scripts for Steven Spielberg: the 1984 comedy thriller "Gremlins," the 1985 adventure "Goonies," and the fantasy "Young Sherlock Holmes" which was directed by Barry Levinson.
Columbus' screenwriting achievements led to his first two directorial efforts, "Adventures In Babysitting" and "Heartbreak Hotel," which he also wrote.
He continued his affiliation with Spielberg on "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" before a meeting with John Hughes led him to his directing assignment on "Home Alone," followed by the poignant comedy "Only The Lonely" from his own screenplay.
Nicholas Kazan (Screenplay by) was
nominated for the Academy Award® for his acclaimed 1990 screenplay,
"Reversal of Fortune" (which he also co-produced), and was voted Screenwriter
of the Year by ShoWest for that work.
Among Kazan's subsequent films are "Fallen" (on which he also served as executive producer), and "Matilda" (written with his wife, Robin Swicord). He also co-authored "Frances" starring Jessica Lange, and wrote the screenplays for "Patty Hearst" and "At Close Range." In addition to writing "Dream Lover," he made his directorial debut with that film, starring James Spader.
Mark Radcliffe (Producer) continues
his longtime collaboration with Chris Columbus, having recently served as
producer on the box office hit "Stepmom" as well as "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Nine
Months," "Jingle All the Way" and "Monkeybone," due Thanksgiving 2000. He was
executive producer of "Home Alone 2: Lost In New York" and co-producer of
"Only The Lonely" and associate producer and assistant director of "Home
Alone." He and Columbus first worked together on "Heartbreak Hotel."
Radcliffe is a native of Oklahoma and began his film career as assistant director on Francis Ford Coppola's "The Escape Artist." He later joined Coppola on "Rumblefish" and "Peggy Sue Got Married."
For filmmaker John Hughes, Radcliffe was assistant director on "She's Having a Baby" and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." He also worked as assistant director to Jerry Zucker on "Ghost," with Donald Petrie on "Mystic Pizza," and with Paul Schrader on "Light of Day."
Michael Barnathan (Producer) is
president of 1492 Pictures and producing partner of Chris Columbus and Mark
Radcliffe with whom he produced "Stepmom," "Nine Months," "Jingle All The
Way" and most recently, "Monkeybone." The company was formed in May 1994 and
has a three-year, first look deal with 20th Century Fox.
Prior to joining 1492 Pictures, Barnathan was senior vice president of production at Largo Entertainment for four years where his responsibilities included supervision of both development and production of Largo's films. He served as executive producer on "Used People" and supervised such productions as "Point Break," "Dr. Giggles," "Judgment Night" and "The Getaway."
Before joining Largo, Barnathan spent seven years working for Edgar J. Scherick Associates, eventually becoming the company's executive vice president. During his tenure there, he produced and executive produced numerous cable movies, television films and miniseries including "The Kennedys of Massachusetts" which received nine Emmy nominations. Barnathan is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
Gail Katz (Producer) is currently
producing "The Perfect Storm" starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg
directed by Wolfgang Petersen for Warner Bros. based on the best-selling
book by Sebastian Junger. She recently produced the Columbia Pictures
blockbuster "Air Force One" starring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman and Glenn
Close, directed by Wolfgang Petersen. She was the executive producer of the
Walt Disney Pictures live-action remake of "Mighty Joe Young," starring Bill
Paxton and Charlize Theron directed by Ron Underwood. She also recently executive
produced "Instinct" starring Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr., directed
by Jon Turteltaub from Touchstone Pictures.
Katz served as executive producer on the MGM film "Red Corner," starring Richard Gere and directed by Jon Avnet. She was the producer of the very successful "Outbreak," starring Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey and Cuba Gooding Jr. She executive produced the highly acclaimed hit "In the Line of Fire," starring Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, and Rene Russo and co-produced "Shattered" starring Tom Berenger, Bob Hoskins and Greta Scacchi.
In 1990 she and partner Wolfgang Petersen formed Radiant Productions. Since then, they have made nine films in as many years. They are developing numerous feature film projects and currently have a first-look deal for feature film development at Columbia Pictures. They recently formed Radiant Television and have series commitments at CBS Television.
Katz began her production career as a vice president at New World Pictures after segueing from her position as vice president of finance there. She earned her MBA from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a native of Los Angeles, California.
Wolfgang Petersen (Producer) was
born in Emden, Germany. He began directing stage productions at age 21 while
still an acting student at Hamburg's Ernst Deutsch Theatre. Eventually deciding
to focus his efforts solely on directing, Petersen entered the Berlin Film and
Television Academy, where he trained for four years.
In 1970, Petersen made his TV directorial debut with "I Will Kill You, Wolf," which he followed with six two-hour telefeatures for the series "Tatort." Among his other early successes were "Smog," which won the 1975 Silver Prix Futura in Berlin, and "Black and White, Like Day and Night," for which he earned the award as Best Director at the Paris Film Festival in 1978.
Petersen started his feature film career as winner of the German National Films Prize as best new director for "One of Us Two" in 1973. He soon gained international recognition with the controversial 1977 drama "The Consequence," the WWII nautical adventure "Das Boot" (1981), for which he received two Oscar® nominations (Best Director, Best Screenplay Adaptation); "The NeverEnding Story" (1984), his first English-language film, the space fantasy "Enemy Mine" (1985), starring Louis Gossett, Jr. and Dennis Quaid; and--after taking permanent residence in the United States--the suspense thriller "Shattered" (1991), starring Tom Berenger. In 1993, Petersen directed the critically acclaimed suspense thriller, "In the Line of Fire," starring Clint Eastwood, which was nominated for three Academy Awards®: Best Supporting Actor (John Malkovich), Best Screenplay and Best Editing. This triumph was followed by the boxoffice hit "Outbreak" (1995), starring Dustin Hoffman, and "Air Force One" (1997), starring Harrison Ford.
Petersen is currently filming "The Perfect Storm" starring George Clooney, based on the best-selling book by Sebastian Junger.
Neal Miller (Producer) formed
Rubicon Film Productions, Ltd. in 1976, after a successful career as a
management and information systems consultant to several Fortune 500 companies.
His first film project was a series pilot starring Daryl Hannah. Over the next
seven years, he wrote and produced six award-winning films, which originally
aired on the American Playhouse series on PBS, including "Who Am I This Time?"
starring Susan Sarandon and Christopher Walken, directed by Academy Award®
winner Jonathan Demme; "Come Along With Me" with Estelle Parsons, Sylvia Sidney
and Barbara Baxley, directed by Joanne Woodward; "A Matter of Principle" with
Alan Arkin and Virginia Madsen; "Any Friend of Nicholas Nickleby is a Friend
of Mine," adapted from the story by Ray Bradbury, starring Fred Gwynne; and
"Under The Biltmore Clock" starring Sean Young (which Miller also directed).
He also wrote and directed the ABC After School Special "Love Hurts," which
won a Golden Apple Award at the National Educational Film & Video Festival.
His film "The Roommate," adapted from a story by John Updike, has been featured
in seven film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival, and won awards
at the San Francisco and Dallas film festivals, as well as the Grand Prix at
the Los Angeles International Film Festival.
After Miller and his family moved to Eugene, Oregon in 1988, The Walt Disney Studios acquired his rights to The Bicentennial Man. He is currently producing and directing his first documentary, "RoughRiders," about the reuniting of his Chicago high school championship basketball team to compete in the 1998 National Masters Basketball Championships. He is also directing the upcoming motion picture "Don't You Cry For Me," reuniting Alan Arkin and much of the cast from the widely acclaimed "A Matter of Principle."
Laurence Mark (Producer) received
an Academy Award® nomination for producing "Jerry Maguire," starring Tom
Cruise and directed by Cameron Crowe, and he executive produced "As Good As
It Gets," starring Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear and directed
by James L. Brooks, which was also nominated for an Academy Award® for
Mr. Mark also recently produced "Anywhere But Here," starring Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman and directed by Wayne Wang; "The Object of My Affection," starring Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd and Nigel Hawthorne and directed by Nicholas Hytner; and "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion," starring Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow and Janeane Garofalo and directed by David Mirkin.
Upcoming films for Mr. Mark include "Hanging Up," starring Meg Ryan, Diane Keaton and Lisa Kudrow and directed by Ms. Keaton, due out in February, and "Center Stage," directed by Nicholas Hytner, due out next spring.
Laurence Mark Productions is headquartered at the Sony Studios where the company has a long-term production arrangement with Columbia Pictures.
As producer or executive producer, Mr. Mark's other credits include Bob Rafelson's "Black Widow," Mike Nichols' "Working Girl," Susan Seidelman's "Cookie" and Herbert Ross' "True Colors," as well as "Sister Act 2," "The Adventures of Huck Finn" and "Simon Birch." For television, Mr. Mark executive produced "Sweet Bird of Youth," starring Elizabeth Taylor and directed by Nicolas Roeg, and "Oliver Twist," starring Richard Dreyfuss and Elijah Wood and directed by Tony Bill.
Mr. Mark began his career as an executive trainee at United Artists after graduating from Wesleyan University and from New York University with a master's degree in cinema. After working as a producer's assistant on a number of films ("Lenny," "Smile"), he held several key publicity and marketing posts in New York and Los Angeles at Paramount Pictures, culminating in his being appointed Vice President of West Coast Marketing for that studio.
Moving into production, he then worked as Vice President of Production at Paramount before joining Twentieth Century Fox as Executive Vice President of Production. At those studios, he was closely involved with the development and production of such films as "Terms of Endearment," "Trading Places," "Staying Alive," "Falling in Love," "The Fly" and "Broadcast News."
In theatre, Mr. Mark made his debut as a producer in 1991 with "Brooklyn Laundry," starring Glenn Close, Laura Dern and Woody Harrelson and directed by James L. Brooks at the Coronet Theatre in Los Angeles. He also produced the musical stage version of "Big" which played Broadway's Shubert Theatre in 1995.
Dan Kolsrud (Executive Producer)
began his entertainment industry career directing television programs at
local stations in Baltimore and Boston. Moving to Los Angeles, he initially
worked as an assistant director on feature films before becoming a producer.
As a noted filmmaker Mr. Kolsrud's creative contributions to the industry include executive producing some of Hollywood's biggest hits. Most notable among his credits is author Ray Bradbury's screen adaptation of his classic novel "Something Wicked This Way Comes," as well as "Impulse," "Memoirs of an Invisible Man," "Falling Down," "Grumpy Old Men," "Richie Rich," "Seven," the Academy Award® winning "L.A. Confidential" and, most recently, "Mystery, Alaska."
Phil Meheux, B.S.C. (Director of
Photography) began his career as a documentary filmmaker before moving into
feature films. Among Mr. Meheux's notable feature achievements are such hits
as "Entrapment," "The Mask of Zorro," "The Saint" and "Goldeneye." He also
contributed his talents and creativity to "The Long Good Friday," "No Escape,"
"Ruby," "Highlander II," "The Fourth Protocol," "Defenseless," "Criminal Law"
and "The Final Conflict," among others.
Television audiences have seen Mr. Meheux's work on the original telefilm "Max Headroom," as well as "Lace," "Experience Preferred But Not Essential," "The Disappearance of Harry" and "Out." He also served as director of photography on "'Der Kaiser Von Atlantis," an opera film for German television which won the Prix Italia for the Best Music Program; as well as director John Mackenzie's "Just Another Saturday" which won he Prix Italia for the Best Drama made for television.
Norman Reynolds (Production
Designer) has a long history of designing otherworldly and futuristic films.
Having won an Academy Award® for "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope," he
went on to do production design for the next two films in the "Star Wars"
series, "The Empire Strikes Back," and "Return of the Jedi." His second
Oscar® was for his production on "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
Reynolds' recent work includes his production design for Brian DePalma's "Mission: Impossible" and "Sphere" directed by Barry Levinson. Reynolds' other production design credits include "Alive," and "Empire of the Sun" with producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy; the critically acclaimed "Avalon," also with Barry Levinson as well as "Mountains of the Moon," "Return to Oz" and "Young Sherlock Holmes."
Neil Travis, A.C.E. (Edited by)
won an Academy Award® in 1990 for his work on Kevin Costner's "Dances
With Wolves." In 1977 he also won an Emmy for his work on ABC's highly
acclaimed miniseries "Roots."
Among the films Travis has edited are "Jaws 2," "Cujo," "The Philadelphia Experiment," "No Way Out," "Marie," "Bopha!," "Patriot Games," "Clear and Present Danger," "Outbreak," "Moll Flanders," "The Edge," and "Stepmom."
His numerous television credits include NBC's "They Call it Murder," "Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn," "Roots: The Next Generation," CBS's "The Atlanta Child Murders" and ABC's "Out On A Limb."
Joseph G. Aulisi (Costume Designer)
has been designing costumes for feature films for over 25 years. Prior to his
film career, he designed numerous noteworthy musicals and plays on Broadway.
Aulisi's film credits include his work with director Chris Columbus on "Stepmom" as well as Frank Oz's "Bowfinger" with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. He has designed three films directed by Robert Benton: "Twilight" with Paul Newman and Susan Sarandon, "Nobody's Fool" also with Paul Newman, and "Billy Bathgate" with Nicole Kidman and Dustin Hoffman. He designed "Die Hard With A Vengeance" starring Bruce Willis, "On Deadly Ground" with Steven Segal, "Shaft," "The Pope of Greenwich Village" and "Three Days of the Condor" starring Robert Redford and directed by Sydney Pollack. Herbert Ross' "My Blue Heaven" and "The Secret of My Success" were both designed by Aulisi.
Other period films include "Ironweed" starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson and Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs." Aulisi also designed "Private Parts," starring Howard Stern.
James Horner's (Music Composed and
Conducted by) evocative music scores have enriched a long list of motion
picture hits. One of the most creative talents in the industry, Horner received
two Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for his music from "Titanic:
(one for Best Original Score, and one for Best Original Song for "My Heart
Will Go On"). He has earned five additional Academy Award nominations, four
additional Golden Globe nominaionts, and has won six Grammy Awards, including
Song of the Year in 1987 (for "Somewhere Out There") and 1998 (for "My Heart
Will Go On").
Among Horner's most prominent recent film credits are Walt Disney Pictures' live-action drama, "Mighty Joe Young," as well as "The Mask of Zorro," "Deep Impact," "The Devil's Own," "Titanic," and "Ransom." His other credits include "To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday," "The Spitfire Grill," "Courage Under Fire," "Jumanji," "Braveheart," "Apollo 13," "Casper," "Legends of the Fall," "Clear and Present Danger," "The Pelican Brief," "Sneakers," "Glory," "Searching For Bobby Fischer," "Field of Dreams," "Aliens," and "An American Tail."
Mr. Horner's upcoming projects include "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," "The Perfect Storm," and the made-for-television film "Freedom's Song."
Award winning special effects designer
(Robotic Effects by) began his career at age 18, on productions
such as "The Fog," "The Howling" and "An American Werewolf in London." He
then served in key supervisory roles on "Videodrome" and "Greystoke" on which
Johnson supervised the animatronic ape shoot in Africa.
In the mid-1980s, Johnson was appointed head of the "creature shop" at Richard Edlund's Boss Film Corporation, where he oversaw productions on such films as "Ghostbusters," "Fright Night," "Poltergeist 2" and "Big Trouble in Little China." The sum of this experience led to the formation of his own company, XFX, Inc. in 1986.
Steve Johnson's XFX, Inc. drew initial acclaim with memorable effects such as the surreal demise of Freddy Kreuger in Renny Harlin's "Nightmare on Elm Street IV," which lead to the creation of his now famous fully articulated, translucent, self-illuminating underwater beings for James Cameron's "The Abyss." He has brought XFX, Inc. to the forefront of the development of hands-on design and on-set application for projects as diverse as "Species," "Amistad," "Anaconda," "Sphere," and the popular Putterman Family for Duracell Batteries.
Johnson was awarded his first Emmy for "The Stand," ABC's eight hour miniseries based on Stephen King's version of the apocalypse, for which he created a particularly memorable prosthetic age makeup for actress Ruby Dee as Mother Abigail. XFX, Inc. continued to produce striking, ground-breaking make-up imagery for commercials, television, theme parks, and feature films, earning a second Emmy for the top rated ABC miniseries based on Stephen Kings' "The Shining."
Johnson and his XFX, Inc. team of 150 technicians started work on "Bicentennial Man" in June 1998 and worked 24 hours a day for 8 months preparing and designing the cybersuit worn by the film's star Robin Williams, as well as 20 other "robots" for this film. The cybersuit is made from a unique synthesis of fiberglass, silicone, plastic, rubber and other components crafted through a series of design sessions, molding and fittings. A fully animatronic version is able to spin a full 360 degrees at the waist and additional pieces were created to showcase operational internal parts and biomechanical organs. The final product, a combination of robotics, animatronic design and prosthetic effects, sets new standards in those fields as well as in make-up design and imagery.
XFX, Inc. is currently working on four other major motion pictures including the Fox release "Monkey Bone" (produced by Chris Columbus' company 1492) starring Bridget Fonda, Brendan Fraser and Whoopi Goldberg, a sci-fi fantasy about a cartoonist trapped in the realms of dreams/nightmares with 12 hours to find his way back to reality; "The Red Planet," a sci-fi film about the first mission to Mars starring Val Kilmer for Warner Bros.; "Magnolia," starring Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore and William H. Macey, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson ("Boogie Nights"); and "Outpost," an action/thriller starring Sylvester Stallone.
XFX, Inc. is also doing extensive work in television including the hit Warner Bros. television series "Charmed." Showtime has kept XFX, Inc. busy creating make-up and creature effects for the past 5 seasons on both the "Outer Limits" and "Stargate SG-1."