In the new film The 5th Wave, four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal 5th wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.
Columbia Pictures presents in association with LStar Capital a Material/GK Films Production, The 5th Wave. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Alex Roe, Maria Bello, Maika Monroe, and Liev Schreiber. Directed by J Blakeson. Produced by Tobey Maguire, Graham King, Matthew Plouffe, and Lynn Harris. Screenplay by Susannah Grant and Akiva Goldsman & Jeff Pinkner. Based on the novel by Rick Yancey. Executive Producers are Denis O’Sullivan, Richard Middleton, and Ben Waisbren. Director of Photography is Enrique Chediak, ASC. Production Designer is Jon Billington. Editor is Paul Rubell, ACE. Costume Designer is Sharen Davis. Music by Henry Jackman.
The 5th Wave has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for Violence and Destruction, Some Sci-Fi Thematic Elements, Language and Brief Teen Partying. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on January 22, 2016.
ABOUT THE FILM
“Cassie Sullivan is a great heroine – but she’d never describe herself that way. She’d say she’s just a girl who has lost her brother, and will do whatever it takes to get back to him,” says Chloë Grace Moretz, who takes on the lead role of Cassie Sullivan in Columbia Pictures’ adaptation of Rick Yancey’s bestselling novel The 5th Wave, the first book in his planned trilogy.
Yancey’s book was published in 2013 to critical and popular acclaim, with over 20 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list. The second book in the trilogy, The Infinite Sea, met with similar acclaim and success, with the third book, The Last Star, set for release next year.
In the story, our home comes under attack in very realistic ways – earthquake, electromagnetic pulse, disease – that resemble the very real fears many of us face every day. In that sense, the filmmakers approached The 5th Wave not to present an imagined, dystopian world of the future, but instead, a realistic world that immerses the moviegoer. “I like working in sci-fi, because it allows you to explore interesting things from the side rather than head-on,” says J Blakeson, who directs the film. “You can create a big sci-fi concept like an alien invasion and use it to tell a story about the emotions and problems of everyday life in a more interesting way.”
“It’s hard to put this book down once you start reading,” says Tobey Maguire, who produces the film with Graham King, Matthew Plouffe, and Lynn Harris. “Rick’s writing is wonderfully cinematic and he has managed to write a version of an alien invasion that feels like it hits all of the classic science-fiction tropes while remaining grounded in a way we haven’t seen on screen before. The idea that the invasion happens in waves in order to pick apart civilization felt both unique and universally relatable. The loss of electricity, disease, earthquakes, tsunamis — these are fears that are really part of modern life right now. That immediately sets it apart from a lot of science fiction fantasy.”
Producer Graham King says that though the exciting elements of the film will attract audiences, it is the heart of the film that will immerse them. “There’s an element to it of an alien invasion, there’s a threatening element as they’re taking over the planet, but the core of the film is really the breakup of one family and how they put it back together,” he says.
“The story has all these incredible elements, but the thing that put it over the top for me was that it was set in a very understandable reality with a lead character that we all know,” says Plouffe. “At the start of the story, our hero, Cassie Sullivan, is the girl that sits next to you in high school and lives in Anytown, America.”
“She’s completely untrained,” adds Moretz. “Cassie is just a normal girl in high school who has no prior survival training. She doesn’t have any Girl Scout skills or superhero strength. She’s just like I am. When the first wave hits, her reaction feels perfectly real. That’s what really made me want to play Cassie. She felt close to me.”
Up-and-coming director J Blakeson, whose first film was the thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed, a film festival and critical favorite, takes the helm of The 5th Wave. “I wanted to make this movie because it allows us to create this big concept with scope – like an alien invasion – and use it to tell a story about the emotions and problems of everyday life in a more interesting way,” he says. “It was very important to me that this film was not about how terrible the world is, but how beautiful the world is and how you want to hold on to that beauty. My pitch was for Cassie to have hope and endurance; we keep the tone emotional, colorful, and cinematic, rather than have it be grungy and depressing.”
For Blakeson, directing The 5th Wave was something of a return to his roots. “When I was younger, I watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books involving teenage characters. They were transitional books that opened up literature to me,” he recalls. “There’s something about the way teenagers feel everything so intensely. Their emotions are on the surface and it really feels like the world’s coming to an end every day. The thing about this movie is that in Cassie’s life, the world really is coming to an end.”
One reason for the book’s popularity is the way that it crosses over from young adult fiction to adult fiction, and from sci-fi to general fiction. The book’s author, Rick Yancey, says that the book focuses on the universal themes that we all face. “All my books, not just The 5th Wave, have to do with what makes us human,” comments author Rick Yancey. “The thing that really appealed to me about this story was, when everything else has been stripped away, what are we left with? What are the important things? In the 21st century, we now have so many trappings, with so much technology, that take us one-step back from the human connection. In The 5th Wave, all those things are taken away, and each character confronts in their own way, how do I deal with this new world? What are the things that really matter? What am I willing to sacrifice to have those things? Plus, it’s a thriller, it’s a survival story, it’s a story of people trying to prevail under nearly impossible odds, and it’s a love story too, about love in all its permutations.”
Plouffe says that he knew that The 5th Wave was not going to be your usual alien invasion story from the very first page. “Rick opens the book with a quote from Stephen Hawking about how if aliens come to Earth, it’ll be much like Christopher Columbus discovering America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans,” Plouffe recalls. “With that, I knew from the beginning that there was something a little different about this. It felt sophisticated and knowing from the get-go.”
At the heart of the story are the questions anyone faces as they make the transition to adulthood – not least of which is who can I trust? “In the movie, just like in real life, you can’t tell if someone is good or bad just by looking at them,” observes Blakeson. “Often in movies, the bad guy looks one way and the good guy looks another way, and it’s easy to tell them apart; in this movie, everybody looks the same. Cassie learns if you lose your trust in other people, it can take you down a dark path – humanity is about trusting each other and needing each other. ‘Trust no one’ if you want to survive, but you’ve got to learn to trust people if you’re going to win the war.”
Moretz adds, “Cassie is really affected by the whole ‘trust no one’ idea – everyone could potentially be a threat. She wants to think she can trust people, but every time she does, something flips on its head. She realizes she is always let down when she begins to trust someone, and so she ends up just trusting herself.”
CASTING THE FILM
To bring to life the role of Cassie Sullivan, the filmmakers turned to Chloë Grace Moretz. For the filmmakers, Moretz combined the right combination of talents and traits: she is a seasoned performer (especially needed if the character would be appearing in multiple films), but, like her character, is herself just coming of age. The result was a perfect fit of actress and character – and a match that only became more deeply ingrained for the filmmakers as filming proceeded. “As an artist and writer I do believe in serendipity,” comments Yancey. “I have the writer’s tendency to become overly emotionally involved with my characters. So it was very important to me when I heard that they will be making a film that they got the right actors, and everyone’s going to agree that they got the right actors. I can’t imagine anyone else but Chloë now in the role. From the very first scenes that were shot I knew that we had found our Cassie.”
“Chloë became pretty much synonymous with the character because she inhabits Cassie so well,” adds Blakeson. “Playing somebody who’s normal in extraordinary circumstances, rather than somebody extraordinary in normal circumstances, gave Chloë the ability to plug into stuff from her own life, and you can really see that coming through in her performance. That allows the viewer to really go there with her and makes it easier to accept the big leaps of the story. Watching your own world slowly evolve into an Orwellian world is more terrifying than if we were just dropped there in the first place.”
“We were very lucky to get Chloë because she’s so proficient at everything,” Blakeson continues. “She’s fantastic at emotional scenes, family scenes, fun scenes, but she’s really good at the tougher action sequences – she’s wildly experienced for somebody so young.”
In fact, despite her age, Moretz has done so many action films that she has a very good sense of the sequences she can handle herself. “I’ve done action since I was 11 years old,” says Moretz. “Action is my second hand… it’s super fun and easy for me. It’s fun when it’s the real thing. The car fight ended up being my favorite sequence to shoot. It was really awesome and it’s exciting to see fighting done in close quarters.”
The most important thing in Cassie’s life is her brother, Sam – and she’ll do anything to protect him. “Cassie and Sam are the yin and yang of this story – they’re both going through the same issues, in different locations and under different circumstances, that come up over and over again in the movie,” says Blakeson. “By the time they get back together, they’ve both been through a similar experience and are very different people from when they started.”
To cast this key role, the filmmakers conducted an extensive search before Zackary Arthur landed the role. “J was very specific about wanting a young actor who was not jaded, and neither too young or too old,” says producer Lynn Harris. “If the actor was too young, there’s no way he could have survived his ordeal, and if he was too old, he wouldn’t have the vulnerability. We needed a kid who could access emotions that even a mature actor has a hard time accessing, but be small enough that you could buy that he’s Chloë’s little brother.”
“Zack was a real find,” says Blakeson. “It was immediately evident that he could act very well, but he was also right there emotionally. With short shooting days, it was very valuable to know that he would be completely on the money every time. Between takes, he’s a very sweet kid who’s a lot of fun.”
After Cassie and Sam are separated as the waves begin to mount, she makes a promise to get back to him. “That’s really the thrust of the film,” says producer Lynn Harris. “Along the way, we’re introduced to Ben Parish, who is a guy she has a crush on, and then she meets and develops a relationship with Evan Walker, and they form a team. But ultimately, Cassie made a very simple promise to her brother, and she’s going to fulfill it. It’s very human and extremely powerful.”
For the roles of Ben Parish and Evan Walker, the filmmakers cast rising star Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) as Ben and newcomer Alex Roe as Evan.
“Casting the right Ben Parish and the right Evan Walker was extremely important to balance either side of Chloë’s character in this story,” says Blakeson. “Ben is the popular guy in high school, the heartthrob she admires from afar but really doesn’t know, whereas Evan is a real grown-up man. If there’s a cusp of adulthood, Ben is just before it, and Evan is just after it,” comments Blakeson.
To find them, the filmmakers cast a wide net. Actors sent in tapes from all over the world, with auditions around the U.S. including in Los Angeles and New York, plus in London and Australia. “Nick was really impressive, and just like Chloë, seemed to be beyond his years in his ability and emotional range. He was a very early favorite for Ben, but we had to find the right Evan that would balance with Nick, before we cast either part,” Blakeson explains. “It was quite late in the process when I saw Alex’s tape and we flew him to New York to audition. When he read with Chloë, instantly it was obvious that there was a really good rapport. Alex also has real presence, and he’s got these fantastic eyes that feel like they could either be threatening or extremely empathic. We ended up offering both of them their parts over the same weekend.”
“I found out 10 minutes before the news got released online that I’d been cast as Evan,” laughs Roe.
“Ben Parish is the man, a solid dude. He’s the guy that everybody wants to be, the quarterback with a lot of friends, and an all-around nice guy,” says Robinson. That all changes with the four waves of attacks. “He survives, but he earns his nickname ‘Zombie’ after all the loss he’s been through.”
Many of Robinson’s scenes put the actor opposite Liev Schreiber, an intense, highly charged actor. But the veteran says that the young actor was up to the task. “As actors, we work so hard on our own, and we come into a scene with our own ideas. What’s really exciting is when another actor completely redefines the scene for you, and that happened for me with Nick,” says Schreiber. “I assumed that I knew better, because I was older. But I was really impressed that he had his own take, and that it had nothing to do with what I was doing. In fact, his take was actually a little more interesting to me, and that’s exciting and encouraging to see.”
As he began to approach playing Evan, Roe says it was love at first sight. “When I read the script, I fell in love with Evan straight away. I understood him,” states Roe. “He’s a complicated character, dealing with love and loss. He was a smart kid studying mechanical engineering that grew up on a farm, but he has always felt like an outsider and he doesn’t know why. He’s split in two really. He is surviving, but his emotional side is completely shut off until he meets Cassie. She opens up his humanity.”
She does this, Roe says, by giving him a new perspective. “Evan finds Cassie on the highway, and she’s been shot. He rescues her, brings her back to his farmhouse and nurses her back to health,” he explains. “They don’t trust each other – they’re in this situation where no one trusts anyone. Although she’s fighting it constantly, Cassie is forced to trust Evan because he might be her only chance of survival and her only chance of finding her brother. My character learns through her that it’s not just about finding something to live for – Cassie has found something she’s willing to die for, and now, so has Evan.”
Maika Monroe, who last year appeared in the highly regarded horror film It Follows, takes the role of Ringer, an ace sniper. “Ringer is a very complicated character. She has a low tolerance for weakness, as well as a strength and fierceness that comes to someone who’s lost everything,” she says. “She presents herself as a survivor, even though she’s broken inside.”
Ringer is teamed with Zombie – formerly known as Ben Parish – and sees him as a project, molding him into the leader she knows he can be. “Nick and I, we’re like besties now. We had so much fun on set creating the dynamic between Zombie and Ringer, especially in fight training. There’s a camaraderie between them that I understand.”
Describing her character as a “badass,” Monroe – something of a badass herself, as a professional kite surfer – was willing to go to great lengths to get the role, including strike an unforgettable appearance at her audition. “I food-colored my hair, purple,” she says. “I didn’t think much of it at the time, but then I got a callback. By the time I went in for the camera test, I had fallen in love with this role. It’s been so much fun transforming because Ringer is very different from who I am. People literally don’t recognize me as Ringer.”
To play the adults in the story, the filmmakers turned to four venerable and seasoned actors – Ron Livingston and Maggie Siff as Oliver and Lisa Sullivan, Cassie and Sam’s parents; Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch; and Maria Bello as Sergeant Reznik.
Livingston says he was attracted to the film by the deeper nature of the themes. “Before the first act is over, we go from our normal, everyday, mundane world to one where 99 percent of people are dead. That’s sci-fi by nature, but it also makes the movie a suspenseful thriller,” says Livingston. “What happens when all of a sudden we’re scared of each other and ourselves?”
“Ron stands in for every father across America trying to grapple with this invasion and the loss of humanity and trust,” says Plouffe. “He had to find the nuance in the middle of being a father and being honest. His arc in the movie is remarkable to watch.”
Siff, Livingston, Moretz and Arthur had only moments in which to bond and become a family. “The first day we arrived on location, we took a bunch of family photographs,” Siff recalls. “It was giddy and silly and you start joking with each other – you’re holding kids in your lap and you’re putting your arm around your fake husband. But some of the silliness begins to build a shorthand for intimacy very quickly. The very beginning of the film is about creating the feeling of a happy, healthy family.”
Part of that is playing a pair of great parents. “The parents have authority, but they’re not authoritarian,” Siff says. “The kids can rely on them, but there’s also a lot of freedom for them to become who they are, which is one of the reasons Cassie becomes the heroine that she is. She’s strong-minded, and when the world ends, she can stand alone and fight.”
After recently teaming with 5th Wave producers Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe to star as Boris Spassky opposite Maguire as Bobby Fischer in the film Pawn Sacrifice, acclaimed actor Liev Schreiber takes the role of Col. Vosch.
“Liev is one of the best actors working today,” says Plouffe. “When Tobey and I first read the book, we were actually joking to each other – ‘I wonder if we could get Liev to play Vosch?’ We were thrilled when he said yes, because he’s the ideal.”
“Liev is one of my favorite actors,” adds Harris. “He approached Vosch with real subtlety and charm, and turned a character who could be a very mustache-twirling bad guy into a sympathetic, interesting and nuanced character.”
“When he first arrives, he’s very much what everyone has been looking for. People have been struggling to survive,” notes Schreiber. “In times of crisis, we always look toward the men and women of our armed services to assist, and when Vosch shows up, people feel like the cavalry has arrived. But Vosch is an interesting guy and it gets a little more complicated.”
“Part of the battle between the Others and the humans is that they understand that hope is our weakness,” Schreiber continues. “They understand emotion. They understand passion. They understand reckless behavior as a weakness. Part of what’s great about this story is that it celebrates those things as undeniably human. They make us what we are. Our faults, our cracks, our weaknesses are, in fact, what make us great.”
Maria Bello takes the role of Sergeant Reznik, the tough-as-nails second-in-command to Vosch. “Maria’s very specific take on Reznik is the opposite of the understated way Liev played Vosch,” notes Harris. “She is an over-the-top character, and Maria’s take was right in line with what J wanted Reznik to be. She is a big pop of fun in the middle of the movie – J wanted them all to be afraid of her, and Maria created a very intimidating character. She probably scared the bejeebies out of poor little Zack!”
“I really, really enjoyed the book,” says Bello. “What I like most about The 5th Wave is it’s not dystopian. It’ a regular girl at a regular time with a regular family who gets thrown into an extraordinary circumstance. I love seeing this trend of strong, young female characters.”
Rounding out the cast are the actors playing some of the book’s fan favorite characters: the young actors portraying Squad 53. In addition to Robinson as Zombie, Monroe as Ringer, and Arthur, who becomes known as Nugget, the squad is rounded out by Cade Canon Ball, who plays Oompa, the compassionate and wise voice of reason; Alex MacNicoll (McFarland, USA) as the oversized Flintstone; Nadji Jeter (Grown Ups) as the soft, sweet Poundcake; Talitha Bateman as the quick-witted Teacup; Grand Budapest Hotel’s Tony Revolori as the big-eared Dumbo; and Flynn McHugh as Tank.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION AND VISUAL EFFECTS
The film features elaborate effects sequences – but, notes visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk, they are sequences that were imagined entirely in context of the scale of the story. “There’s no limit to how big you can go with modern effects – and there were times, during pre-production, when I might have been tempted to go bigger and bigger. But J’s vision is to tell a personal story,” says Stokdyk. “I adjusted my visual effects goals for this movie to have more of a supportive role – we have a giant spectacle of a tsunami, and we have worldwide locations, but the philosophy of the effects is to put the actors in jeopardy in a very intimate way.”
That mandate – to express state-of-the-art, global-scale effects, as they affect the individual characters – is best seen in the earthquake/tsunami sequence, one of the two largest VFX sequences in the film. “With the second wave, the aliens devastate the world by causing earthquakes that, in turn, cause tsunamis all over the planet,” says Stokdyk. “The tsunami sequence helps J tell the story of this worldwide event – we have huge effects shots in New York, Florida, and London – but it also destroys Cassie’s neighborhood. J chose to contrast the arresting tsunami effects against a more contained earthquake scene, using mostly practical effects surrounding Cassie and Sam in the woods. The visual effects enhancements around this event were more subtle, and tuned to the scale of the images.”
“We were dropping trees around our lead actors – and one tree actually had to crush their cart,” says David Waine, the film’s special effects coordinator. “We accomplished this safely by planting some anchor points in the ground and then essentially hinging some large trees, which we could drop on cue.”
The effects of the different waves required the production design team to dress the Sullivans’ street in multiple ways – pre-tsunami, post-tsunami, and post-flu – all in a residential area where people live. In one sequence, an hour after the tsunami, water is flowing down the street; in another, after the virus, everything has dried out and the houses are boarded up. What made this challenging, says production designer Jon Billington, is that the post-tsunami and post-flu shots were all achieved on the same day of shooting. Through movie magic and careful camera angles, they were able to pull it off.
When the Sullivan family goes on the run, they take refuge at a refugee camp. The filmmakers found their location at Camp Calvin outside of Atlanta. “We took over a big, empty gathering field and built a lot of tents and a pool with a diving board,” recalls art director A. Todd Holland. “The diving board provides them a lookout tower. The structure had a little flair and was a centerpiece for the action, and we also got some good reflections off of the pool.”
As the Sullivans get separated, Cassie – on her own and desperately trying to reunite with her brother – must cross a highway when she is shot, and later rescued by Evan Walker. For this sequence, the locations department worked with county, city, and Department of Transportation officials to gain permissions and cooperation to close down Joe Frank Harris Parkway and Red Top Mountain Road in Cartersville, Georgia.
“The sniper highway was obviously a big day for us because we had to shut down both lanes of two highways to get our sequence. Originally, we were scheduled to film for two days, but when we arrived on the first day, we realized it was going to rain all day the next day… the next day would be a complete washout,” describes Blakeson. “We decided to go as fast as we could on the first day and get as much as we could in the one day.”
“It was a very tough day for Chloë, because Cassie gets shot and has a very emotional moment where she thinks she’s going to die trapped under the car, and that she’s failed her brother. Emotions run the whole gamut,” Blakeson continues. “It was also a very big day for the art department as well because there’s a whole highway full of deserted cars. We had to go straight from a thriller, action moment into very emotional, heartfelt scenes. But everybody came together and I love the sequence. The conditions brought the best out of everybody.”
Two months prior to shooting, filmmakers began to plan the sequence on a tabletop model of the real interchange, complete with toy cars; later, three days prior to shooting, the team began to pre-stage the sequence with the life-sized cars that would be used in the sequence.
Transportation Captain Doug Wright says, “The whole operation had military precision to get everything – cars and set dressing – looking good by the time the sun came up. We owned 50 of the cars, rented 60 more, and had 30 extras come with cars, and 14 drivers placing them all – all while the art department attacked them.” Using paint and a product called dust age, the art department aged the cars, and Jon Billington himself went out, in the dark, smashing windows with a hammer.
For the car that Cassie hides under – in bringing to life an iconic scene from the book – the filmmakers considered over 70 vehicles before settling on a red-and-white pickup truck.
Cassie is then rescued by Evan Walker and brought to his isolated home. Filmmakers found the location in a century-old farmhouse about an hour outside of Atlanta.
“We had the most fun time filming a sequence where Cassie’s running through the woods outside the farmhouse,” says Roe. “She sprints off and trips up one of his alarms that he’s set to catch the Others. He chases her through the woods and grabs her in a rugby tackle at full speed. It was a lot of fun to shoot because we had to get the timing perfect. It wasn’t even necessarily a real acting thing; it was more of a physical thing. I thought I was going to have to do it with Chloë’s stunt double, but she just said, ‘No, no, no – it’s me, I’ll do this.’ Chloë’s tough.”
ABOUT THE CAST
CHLOË GRACE MORETZ (Cassie Sullivan) has been captivating audiences since she was five years old when she booked a lead role in Michael Bay’s remake of The Amityville Horror for MGM. She has appeared in nearly 30 films since then, working with the industry’s elite filmmakers and gaining accolades along the way. Her breakout role as Hit-Girl in Matthew Vaughn’s cult-classic film Kick-Ass, followed by a starring role in Matt Reeves’ remake of Let Me In, landed her on TIME Magazine’s prestigious Top 10 Performances of the Year list, as well as the New York Times’ Best Performances of 2010 list.
Moretz has recently wrapped production for Nicholas Stoller’s promising sequel to last year’s hit from Universal Pictures, Neighbors 2. She will star alongside Zac Efron, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne who are returning from the original, which was the top-grossing original comedy in 2014.
In addition to her thriving film career, she recently became the new face of the spring 2015 installment of “Coach Dreamers” for the iconic brand.
Next for Moretz is the lead female role of Digger in the movie adaptation of Sam Munson’s novel, November Criminals.
Last year, Moretz made her theatrical debut in Scott Z. Burns’ off-Broadway play “The Library,” directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker Steven Soderbergh. In addition, she could be seen as the lead in MGM’s adaptation of Gayle Forman’s young-adult novel If I Stay, Oliver Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria alongside Juliette Binoche, which made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, Sony Pictures’ The Equalizer opposite Denzel Washington and in the indie film Laggies opposite Kiera Knightley and Sam Rockwell, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. As if that wasn’t enough, Moretz found time to lend her voice to The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, which received a 2015 Academy Award® nomination for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.
Her riveting performances this past year proved successful as she was named one of TIME Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014, was presented with a 2014 People’s Magazine Award for Next Generation Star for her prolific work in television and film, and won a 2015 People’s Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Movie Actress from her starring performance in If I Stay.
Prior, Moretz starred as Carrie White in the successful remake of the cult classic Carrie alongside Julianne Moore and reprised her role as fan favorite Hit-Girl in the sequel Kick Ass 2. She also guest starred on the award winning television sitcom “30 Rock,” appearing in multiple episodes as spoiled rich girl Kaylie Cooper. That same year, she starred in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo alongside Sir Ben Kingsley. The film received much critical acclaim and was nominated for 11 Oscars®. This was followed by a leading role in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows alongside Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer.
NICK ROBINSON (Ben Parish/Zombie) is best known for his starring role in the critically acclaimed film The Kings of Summer. He followed by shooting a lead role in the Universal action adventure sequel Jurassic World, starring alongside Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. This past fall, Robinson starred as the lead central character in Rob Reiner’s indie feature Being Charlie, making its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.
Prior to this, Robinson guest-starred on the critically acclaimed HBO drama “Boardwalk Empire.”
2015 proved to be a busy year for RON LIVINGSTON (Oliver Sullivan). He co-starred in three films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Firstly, the critically acclaimed The End of the Tour, directed by James Ponsoldt, based on Rolling Stone contributing Editor David Lipsky’s acclaimed memoir about the time he spent interviewing David Foster Wallace in the mid 1990’s. The book was published after Wallace’s suicide in 2008. Pulitzer-Prize winner Donald Margulies wrote the adapted screenplay and the film starred Jesse Eisenberg, and Jason Segel. Livingston also starred in James White, which marked the directorial debut of Martha Marcy May Marlene producer Josh Mond and stars Christopher Abbott and Cynthia Nixon. Additionally, he was in Sundance-favorite Joe Swanberg’s Digging for Fire which stars his Drinking Buddies co-stars Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick; along with Rosemarie DeWitt, Brie Larson and Sam Rockwell. The film released in August 2015.
In November, Livingston starred in National Geographic’s “Saints & Strangers,” which was filmed in South Africa. The two-part series told the story of the crossing on the Mayflower of the first settlers in Plymouth, and the trials and tribulations they endured. Vincent Kartheiser, Anna Camp, Natasha McElhone, and Rauol Trujillo also starred.
Livingston recently wrapped production on Shangri-La Suite, in which he plays Elvis Presley in co-writer/director Eddie O’Keefe’s fictional story about a couple who meet and fall in love in a mental hospital and set out on a cross country road trip with the intent to murder Presley.
In 2013, Livingston co-starred in Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely with Rosemarie DeWitt, Allison Janney and Ellen Page. The film premiered in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, his film Drinking Buddies had its World Premiere at SXSW in March. Joe Swanberg directed Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick and Jake Johnson in the film, which released theatrically and on VOD and was a critical hit.
Additionally, Livingston starred in New Line’s supernatural thriller The Conjuring, along with Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga and Lili Taylor. The film is based on the real-life story of the Perron family and their horrifying experiences while living in a haunted Rhode Island farmhouse in the 1970’s. James Wan directed the hit film which went on to gross over $300 million worldwide.
That fall, Livingston co-starred in Parkland alongside a stellar cast, which included Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Marcia Gay Harden. Additionally, he returned to HBO as a new series regular on the acclaimed series “Boardwalk Empire,” where he went on to garner a SAG Award Nomination in the ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series’ category.
In 2012, Livingston co-starred in several high profile film and television projects, including Walt Disney Pictures’ The Odd Life of Timothy Green, which starred Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton, and Ten Year, with Channing Tatum, Rosario Dawson and Anthony Mackie. For HBO, Livingston also co-starred in the multiple award-winning “Game Change” along with Ed Harris, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson and Sarah Paulson. The film was based on the best-selling book by the same name authored by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Jay Roach directed with Playtone producing.
Additional projects include the Paramount Pictures film Dinner for Schmucks, with Steve Carell and Paul Rudd, which was directed by Jay Roach. Livingston also starred in The Time Traveler’s Wife with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, as well as the ABC series “Defying Gravity,” a one-hour drama about a team of astronauts on a six-year, billion-mile mission in outer space. Livingston played Maddux Donner, the flight engineer responsible for the spaceship.
In 2007, Livingston appeared Off Broadway in the Neil Labute play “In a Dark, Dark House.” In addition, he starred with Michael Sheen and Melissa George in Music Within, winner of the audience award at the Palm Springs and AFI Dallas film festivals. In 2006, he also starred in Holly, a riveting film about child trafficking shot on location in Cambodia and screened at several festivals.
As Captain Lewis Nixon in the 2001 HBO film “Band of Brothers,” Livingston was nominated for a Golden Globe in the Best Supporting Actor category. The critically acclaimed series won the Emmy and Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series that year. That fall, Livingston took a memorable turn as Jack Berger on the ever popular HBO series “Sex and the City” opposite Sarah Jessica Parker.
Previous films include The Cooler, starring William H. Macy, Maria Bello, and Alec Baldwin, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He has also appeared in: Adaptation for director Spike Jonze with Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper, Swingers with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, Pretty Persuasion for Samuel Goldwyn with Evan Rachel Wood and James Woods, Winter Solstice with Anthony LaPaglia and Allison Janney, and Little Black Book.
Livingston may be best known as the star of the cult hit Office Space. Directed by Mike Judge and starring opposite Jennifer Aniston, the film has gone on to become one of the industry’s best-selling film/DVD rentals of all time. In the film, he played a disgruntled young office worker caught up in the corporate rat race.
Raised in Iowa, Livingston graduated from Marion High School and attended Yale University. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.
MAGGIE SIFF (Lisa Sullivan) will next star in Showtime’s “Billions” playing the female lead opposite Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. She is well known to audiences for her role as Tara Knowles on the hit FX series “Sons of Anarchy.” For her role, she received two Critics Choice Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She also starred in the first season of “Mad Men,” playing Don Draper’s mistress, Rachel Menken, for which she shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Cast in Television Series Drama. Her other television credits include “Nip/Tuck,” “Life On Mars,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Law & Order.”
She also will star and executive produce the independent film A Woman, A Part, which will premiere in competition at the Rotterdam Film Festival. She recently completed production on the independent film The Sweet Life starring opposite Chris Messina.
In 2013, she appeared in Concussion, which premiered in competition at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals. At Berlin, the film won a Teddy Award Jury Prize as an outstanding film about LGBT themes and its director Stacie Passon was nominated for Best First Feature by the Independent Spirit Awards. She also starred in Tim Blake Nelson’s Leaves of Grass opposite Edward Norton. Her other film credits include Paul McGuigan’s Push opposite Djimon Hounsou and Judd Apatow’s Funny People opposite Adam Sandler.
Siff is an established theater actress and she mostly recently played the lead role of Kate in the Theater for a New Audience’s production of “The Taming of the Shrew.” Her other credits include the title role in “The Escort” at the Geffen Playhouse, and the lead in “OR” at New York’s Women’s Project. She also starred in Ethan Hawke’s “A Lie of the Mind” opposite Alessandro Nivola and Josh Hamilton at the New Group. Siff appeared in Richard Nelson’s “Frank’s Home” by Playwrights Horizons and “Ruby Sunrise” performed at the Public. She received a Jefferson Award nomination for her performance in “Dollhouse” at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and has also worked frequently in Philadelphia, where she won the Barrymore Award for a production of “Ghosts.”
Originally from New York City, Siff graduated with an M.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch School and a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College.
ALEX ROE (Evan Walker) has quickly established himself as one of Hollywood’s emerging film stars. Roe will soon appear in Paramount Pictures’ Rings opposite Matilda Ann Ingrid. The movie is the fourth installment in the popular supernatural and psychological horror film franchise and is slated for release on April 1, 2016. He recently wrapped production on the indie coming-of-age drama Hot Summer Nights, opposite Timothee Chalamat and Maika Monroe. The movie is set in Cape Cod in 1991 and follows a teenager whose life spirals out of control when he befriends the town rebel, falls in love, and gets entangled in a drug ring all during one hot, stormy summer.
Previously, Roe starred in the children’s science fiction drama series “The Fugitives” for CITV and the BBC Television teen drama series “The Cut.” He has also appeared in numerous British television shows including “Holby City,” “Doctors,” “Hollyoaks,” and “The Jury,” among others. In 2014, he was cast in the lead role of Luke Holt in ABC Family’s drama pilot “Unstrung.”
Roe currently resides in Los Angeles.
MARIA BELLO (Reznik) has established herself as a leading actress with a formidable and dazzling presence. A cool, incredibly literate blonde, Bello has captivated audiences with her many diverse roles in such films as The Cooler with William H. Macy, (Golden Globe and SAG Nomination), David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence opposite Viggo Mortenson and Ed Harris (NY Film Critics win and Golden Globe nomination), Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, Prisoners opposite Hugh Jackman, Paul Haggis’ Third Person, and McFarland, USA with Kevin Costner. Other upcoming films include the James Wan thriller Demonic, Max Steel with Andy Garcia, In Search of Fellini, Late Bloomer, and Wait Till Helen Comes.
Bello will next be seen in the Amazon original series “Trial,” opposite Billy Bob Thornton and William Hurt. Bello will play attorney Julie McBride, the ex-wife to Thornton’s character Billy McBride, a once-respectable lawyer who was ousted from the high-profile firm he co-founded.
Additional film credits include: Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 with Adam Sandler, the John Wells drama The Company Men, Thank You For Smoking, The Jane Austen Book Club, The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Towelhead, Yellow Handkerchief, Auto Focus, Beautiful Boy, Permanent Midnight with Ben Stiller, Payback with Mel Gibson, Flicka opposite Tim McGraw, Bruce Paltrow’s Duets, Jerry Bruckheimer’s Coyote Ugly, Secret Window with Johnny Depp, Silver City with Chris Cooper and Assault on Precinct 13 with Ethan Hawke.
No stranger to the small screen, Bello starred in the Lifetime TV movie “Big Driver,” based on the Stephen King short story. She also starred as detective Jane Timoney in the NBC series “Prime Suspect” and for one season in the role of passionate and headstrong pediatrician Dr. Anna Del Amico in NBC’s critically acclaimed series “ER.”
In April 2015, Bello released her first book “Whatever… Love is Love,” from Dey Street Books, an imprint of Harper Collins. In her book, Bello expands on her news-making “Coming Out as Modern Family” column which ran in the New York Times in 2013. The book explores themes and ideas surrounding family, partnership, sexuality and spirituality.
Bello is also an internationally renowned activist and one of the world’s most powerful voices for social justice and women’s rights around the world, with a special focus on Haiti. She is the co-founder of We Advance, a women’s movement and NGO based in Cite Soleil, which advocates for women throughout the country to have full political, economic and social participation.
Since 2008, Bello has worked in Haiti with Artists for Peace and Justice and Femmes en Democratie, where she raised funds and produced a women’s media campaign for the elections in 2010, and spearheaded the opening of a women’s clinic in the Petionville Camp immediately following the earthquake. Bello is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and works on gender policy within the Haiti Network. She has been named a Vital Voices Global Ambassador for women and participated in the first ever Vital Voices/Bank of American International Women’s Conference in Haiti.
Bello speaks around the world on social impact investing, Haiti, and women’s rights. In 2012, she was a keynote speaker at the State Department’s Forum on Impact Investing and was also awarded with the Starkey Foundation’s “So the World May Hear” Award. She was named the Goodwill Ambassador for Women in Haiti and leads President Martelly’s Council for Investments in Haiti on a committee for women’s empowerment, social business and poverty alleviation with Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Bello has spoken at Tedx and other venues in the world about the “new women’s revolution” and impact investing for women. Bello is also the founder of the website We Advance, which aims to connect and empower women in Haiti and throughout the world, and she is a partner in the company Socme Academy, which powers the site. Along with her Haitian colleagues, she is building the first women’s co-op bakery in Marigaux, Haiti.
She began her career as an activist at Villanova University, where she majored in Peace and Justice Education and worked at the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia. She started her first NGO, The Dreamyard Drama Project in Harlem in 1997. In 2009, Bello was voted on of Variety’s most powerful women in Hollywood for her activism with women in Darfur.
MAIKA MONROE (Ringer) has clearly demonstrated her promise as a young actress with the ability to easily cross between genres and with rising international appeal.
Earlier this year, Monroe wrapped production on Roland Emmerich’s Independence Day 2. She stars in the leading female role as Patricia Whitmore, the daughter of the President of the United States, opposite Liam Hemsworth as his love interest. The sequel is set to release on June 24, 2016. She is also set to star in Blake Robbins’ film adaptation of Nancy Pickard’s mystery novel The Scent of Rain and Lighting opposite Maggie Grace. This follows her recent work in the upcoming sci-fi indie Bokeh, with Monroe and Matt O’Leary as an American couple who visit Iceland and wake up one morning to a startling discovery. She’s most recently signed on to star alongside Liam Neeson, Jason Bateman and Diane Lane in the upcoming film Felt by director Peter Landesman.
Last year, Monroe starred as the female lead in the horror film It Follows, which centers on a teenage girl who finds herself plagued by disturbing visions and the inescapable sense that something is following her after she has a strange sexual encounter. The film screened at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival following its acclaimed world debut at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, where it had received a nomination for the Critics Week Grand Prize. She also starred in the psychological thriller The Guest, which made its debut at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and went on to screen at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
Monroe first exploded onto the scene in the drama At Any Price, starring opposite Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid. Set in an Iowa farming community, the film debuted to rave reviews at the Venice, Toronto and Telluride Film Festivals. Following this success, she was featured opposite Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet in the drama Labor Day, written and directed by Jason Reitman.
In addition to her blossoming film career, the native of Santa Barbara, California is also one of the top-ranked female kite boarders in the world. She has competed on a global level for a half-dozen years and took second place at the 2012 Red Bull International Big Air Style competition. With acting taking up most of her time these days, Maika Monroe strives to keep one foot in Hollywood and one in the sand.
Heralded as “the finest American theater actor of his generation” by the New York Times, LIEV SCHREIBER’s (Colonel Vosch) repertoire of resonant, humanistic and oftentimes gritty portrayals have garnered him praise in film, theatre and television.
Schreiber stars as the title role of “Ray Donovan” in Showtime’s critically acclaimed hit series, alongside Jon Voight. This powerful family drama centers on Ray as L.A.’s best professional fixer – the go-to guy in Hollywood who deftly solves the complicated, controversial and confidential problems of the city’s elite. Schreiber’s riveting performance as Ray garnered him two consecutive Golden Globe® Award nominations in the category of Best Actor in a Television Series Drama.
Moviegoers most recently saw Schreiber in Spotlight, in which he stars as former Boston Globe editor Marty Baron who, with his investigative team, uncovered an unimaginable citywide conspiracy to cover up clergy child abuse. He was also recently seen in Ed Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice, as real-life Soviet chess master Boris Spassky, alongside Tobey Maguire, who plays American chess champion Bobby Fischer. The film was released by Bleecker Street Media in 2015. He will soon star in The Good Lord Bird, the film adaptation of the 2013 National Book Award winner by James McBride. Schreiber will portray another real-life figure, radical abolitionist John Brown, who unites with Henry ‘Onion’ Shackleford, a young slave to be played by Jaden Smith. Schreiber is also producing the film, alongside James McBride and Brian Taylor.
Schreiber’s many feature credits include Lee Daniels’ The Butler; Larry David’s Clear History; Fading Gigolo; The Reluctant Fundamentalist; Salt with Angelina Jolie; X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Defiance with Daniel Craig; Repo Men; The Painted Veil; The Manchurian Candidate opposite Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington; The Sum of All Fears; Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock; Kate & Leopold; Goon; Every Day; Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet; Spring Forward; The Hurricane; A Walk on the Moon with Diane Lane; The Daytrippers; Nora Ephron’s Mixed Nuts; and Wes Craven’s Scream trilogy.
His portrayal of Orson Welles in Benjamin Ross’ “RKO 281” brought Schreiber Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award nominations. His other telefilm credits include George C. Wolfe’s “Lackawanna Blues,” and John Erman’s “The Sunshine Boys,” opposite Woody Allen and Peter Falk. As one of the documentary medium’s foremost narrators, he has lent his voice to such works as Mantle, :03 from Gold; A City on Fire: The Story of the ‘68 Detroit Tigers; Nova; and Nature.
In 2010, Schreiber received his 3rd Tony nomination for his role in Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” alongside Scarlett Johansson. His performance as Ricky Roma in the 2005 Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross,” directed by Joe Mantello, earned him his first Tony Award. He was again a Tony nominee for his portrayal of Barry Champlain in the 2007 Broadway revival of Eric Bogosian’s “Talk Radio,” directed by Robert Falls. Other stage work includes the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of “Macbeth” in the lead role opposite Jennifer Ehle, directed by Moisés Kaufman; “Othello;” Hamlet;” “Henry V;” and “Cymbeline.”
In 2005, Schreiber made his feature directorial debut with Everything is Illuminated, which he also adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling novel of the same name. Starring Elijah Wood and Eugene Hutz, the film was named one of the year’s 10 Best by the National Board of Review.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
J BLAKESON (Director) first caught the attention of Hollywood in 2009 with the taut crime thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed, which he wrote and directed. For that film, Blakeson was nominated for Breakthrough British Filmmaker by the London Critics Circle Film Awards, and in the United States named as one of Variety’s 10 directors to watch in 2010
As a writer and director, Blakeson has a number of films in development in Hollywood. He lives in London with his wife and two small children.
SUSANNAH GRANT (Screenplay) earned an Academy Award® nomination, a BAFTA nomination and a WGA nomination in 2001 for her screenplay of Erin Brockovich, starring Julia Roberts and directed by Steven Soderbergh. She wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for Ever After: A Cinderella Story, 28 Days, Pocahontas, The Soloist, In Her Shoes and Charlotte’s Web, and wrote and directed Catch and Release starring Jennifer Garner.
For television, Grant worked as a producer and writer of the Fox drama series “Party of Five,” which won a Golden Globe Award and a Humanitas Prize. In 2011, she created and executive produced the CBS series “A Gifted Man.” Grant is also the writer and executive producer of HBO’s upcoming “Confirmation” about the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings.
Born in New York City, Grant is an alumna of Amherst College and the American Film Institute, Grant received the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting. In 2011, Grant received the Valentine Davies Award from the Writers Guild of America (WGA). In 2013, she was a guest speaker as part of the BAFTA and BFI Screenwriters’ Lecture Series.
AKIVA GOLDSMAN (Screenplay) was raised in Brooklyn Heights, New York. He received his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University and attended the graduate fiction writing program at New York University.
His feature writing credits include The Client, Batman Forever, A Time To Kill, Practical Magic, I, Robot, Cinderella Man, I Am Legend, The Da Vinci Code, Angels And Demons, Insurgent, and A Beautiful Mind, for which he won an Academy Award®, Golden Globe, and Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award.
Under his Weed Road Pictures banner at Warner Bros., Goldsman has produced Deep Blue Sea, Constantine, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Hancock, Fair Game, and Lone Survivor, and the upcoming Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur, which will be released in 2016.
Goldsman served as executive producer on Paranormal Activity 2, 3, and 4. He also worked as a consulting producer on the television show “Fringe” for which he directed and co-wrote episodes and garnered a Saturn Award and a Hugo Award nomination. Goldsman also serves as an executive producer on the SyFy miniseries “Childhood’s End,” and the WGN original drama series “Underground,” which will premiere in 2016.
Goldsman’s feature directorial debut, Winter’s Tale, was released in February 2014. Goldsman wrote the script based on Mark Helprin’s novel of the same name. The film stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Brown Findlay, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith and Russell Crowe. He most recently directed the drama fantasy horror film Stephanie, which will be released by Universal in 2016.
Goldsman also directed “Energy from the Edge,” an episode of National Geographic’s scientific six part series “Breakthrough.”
JEFF PINKNER (Screenplay) graduated Northwestern in 1987 and Harvard Law School in 1990. He spent five years writing for J.J. Abrams’ hit ABC spy series “Alias,” where he eventually served as executive producer and showrunner. He helped create — and then in 2006 and 2007 worked as an executive producer on — the Emmy and Golden Globe winning ABC series “Lost.” In 2008, Pinkner began developing the FOX science fiction series “Fringe.” He served as co-showrunner, executive producer, and writer through the show’s fourth season. Most recently, Pinker wrote Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spider-Man™ 2 with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, starring Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, which was released in May, 2014. Currently, Pinkner remains active in both features and television. He is co-writing The Dark Tower with Akiva Goldsman, based on the series of novels by Stephen King, for Sony Pictures and MRC. He is also executive producing “Zoo” on CBS. Pinkner lives in LA with his wife and three children.
TOBEY MAGUIRE (Producer) continues to garner both critical and commercial success as an actor delivering standout performances in big budget blockbusters as well as thought-provoking independents. Maguire also helms his growing production company, Material.
Material most recently produced Craig Zobel’s Z for Zachariah starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie and Chris Pine. The sci-fi feature centers on young adult Ann Burden who survives a nuclear war in a small American town.
Previously, Maguire starred as Bobby Fischer opposite Liev Schreiber in the feature film Pawn Sacrifice. Prior to that, he starred as Nick Carraway in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan; as well as narrated Jason Reitman’S Labor Day, which starred Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Maguire also starred in the unexpected role of Devon Morehouse in the IFC comedy miniseries “The Spoils of Babylon” opposite Kristen Wiig, co-written and directed by Matt Piedmont, and produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.
With a career defined by notable performances, Maguire has collaborated with some of the most acclaimed filmmakers in the business. His credits include a riveting performance in Jim Sheridan’s Brothers opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Natalie Portman for which he received a Golden Globe® Best Actor nomination in 2010; a memorable portrayal as horse jockey Red Pollard in Gary Ross’ Seabiscuit, which received seven Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture; and his stirring performance in Lasse Hallström’s The Cider House Rules, which also received seven Academy Award® nominations including Best Picture.
After the success of Spider-Man, the top grossing film of 2002, Maguire reunited with director Sam Raimi for Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3; the latter set a domestic opening weekend record and was the highest grossing film of 2007. In addition, the franchise is one of the most successful in film history as Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, and Spider-Man 3 account for three of the thirty highest grossing films domestically – with a worldwide box office total of approximately 2.5 billion dollars.
Maguire’s other credits include the indie film The Details from writer-director Jacob Estes; Steven Soderbergh’s period drama The Good German, opposite George Clooney and Cate Blanchett; Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys in which Maguire starred opposite Michael Douglas; Ang Lee’s Ride with the Devil, and The Ice Storm; Gary Ross’ Pleasantville, opposite Reese Witherspoon; Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; Woody Allen’s literary satire Deconstructing Harry; and his breakthrough performance in Griffin Dunne’s 1996 Academy Award® nominated short Duke of Groove.
Oscar® winning producer GRAHAM KING (Producer) has worked behind the scenes with the industry’s foremost creative talents on both major motion pictures and independent features. Over the last 30 years, King has produced or executive produced more than 45 films, grossing $1.2 billion at the domestic box office, and over $2.5 billion worldwide. Also heralded by critics and film groups, his films have been nominated for 61 Academy Awards®, 38 Golden Globe Awards, and 52 British Academy Film Awards.
King has a number of upcoming projects which he will produce under the GK Films banner, including an untitled romantic thriller written by Steven Knight starring Brad Pitt with Robert Zemeckis attached to direct; the highly anticipated franchise reboot of Tomb Raider; a remake of the classic French film The Red Circle; and the untitled Freddie Mercury Story.
Previously, King served as an executive producer on the Paramount Pictures’ action thriller World War Z starring Brad Pitt. The film grossed over $540 million worldwide and was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Films of the Year. King also served as executive producer on the Warner Bros.’ historical drama Argo. The film won the Academy Award®, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Movie Award, and BAFTA for Best Picture. Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, Argo was named as one of the Top 10 Films of the Year at the AFI Awards and by the Nation Board of Review, while also appearing on over 150 other critics’ lists of the top ten films of 2012.
In 2011, King served as a producer on several diverse films. He received Best Picture Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations as a producer on Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed fantasy adventure Hugo, which received 11 total Academy Award® nominations, the most of any film that year. Hugo also appeared on over 200 Critics’ lists of the Top 10 films of 2011. King also produced Gore Verbinski’s animated comedy Rango, featuring the voice of Johnny Depp in the title role, which won an Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature. That same year, he produced Angelina Jolie’s feature directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey, which received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. This marked the first time a producer had been nominated for Best Picture Golden Globes in three different categories, drama, animated film and foreign language film in the same year. King was also a producer on Tim Burton’s gothic supernatural thriller Dark Shadows, starring Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, and Helena Bonham Carter.
King previously won a Best Picture Oscar® as a producer on Scorsese’s 2006 crime drama The Departed, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Wahlberg. The film won a total of four Academy Awards®, including Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing.
King received his first Best Picture Academy Award® nomination, and won a Best Film BAFTA Award, for his producing work on Scorsese’s widely praised Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Additionally, he was honored by the Producers Guild of America (PGA) with the Golden Laurel Award as Producer of the Year.
King’s additional producing credits include the big screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys, directed by multi-Oscar® winner Clint Eastwood; the romantic thriller The Tourist, pairing Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie; Ben Affleck’s crime drama The Town, starring Affleck and Jeremy Renner; Martin Campbell’s thriller Edge Of Darkness, starring Mel Gibson; the historical drama The Young Victoria, starring Emily Blunt; and the drama Blood Diamond, starring DiCaprio. In addition, he served as a co-executive producer on Scorsese’s Oscar® nominated epic drama Gangs Of New York, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz.
King was previously the President and CEO of Initial Entertainment Group, which he founded in 1995. During King’s tenure at IEG, he served as an executive producer on such films as Steven Soderbergh’s Oscar® winning ensemble drama Traffic; Michael Mann’s biographical drama Ali, starring Will Smith in the title role; and The Dangerous Lives Of Altar Boys, produced by and starring Jodie Foster. King also went on to executive produce the television miniseries “Traffic,” for which he received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Miniseries.
A native of the United Kingdom, King moved to the United States in 1982 and was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2009.
MATTHEW PLOUFFE (Producer) oversees all production and development for Material where he has produced Craig Zobel’s Z for Zachariah starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, and Chris Pine, and co-produced Ed Zwick’s Pawn Sacrifice, starring Tobey Maguire and Liev Schreiber. Plouffe will also produce The Eden Project, written by Christina Hodson, for Sony Pictures, and an untitled heist film for 20th Century Fox, to be written by Bridge of Spies writer Matt Charman and directed by Matt Reeves.
Prior to working at Material, Plouffe was at Focus Features where he worked as a production executive on films including Sam Mendes’ Away We Go starring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph; Shane Acker’s animated feature 9; Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s It’s Kind Of A Funny Story starring Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, and Zach Galifianakis; as well as Lone Scherfig’s film One Day, starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, based on David Nicholls’ bestselling novel.
LYNN HARRIS (Producer) is recognized as one of the most successful film executives in the entertainment industry. Over the last 20 years, she has developed and produced films that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and have been nominated for multiple awards including 80 Academy Awards®, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes.
Her reputation as a creative-friendly executive has given her multiple opportunities to work with some of the greatest filmmakers in the world including David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Lana and Andy Wachowski, and Alfonso Cuaron. Harris has always taken risks to identify great material and talent and has a track record of developing populist hits like The Notebook, Magic Mike, and Gravity.
Harris and her husband Matti Leshem founded Weimaraner Republic Pictures, a content production entity in June 2014. The essential goal of WRPCO is to produce event films, high-end material and female audience driven content that will attract the most brilliant and creative filmmakers and talent in today’s film, television and digital arenas. Within weeks of opening their doors, WRPCO set up its first event feature film in development at Warner Bros., Megiddo, based on an original idea of Leshem’s. She is currently in production on the terrifying thriller The Shallows by Tony Jaswinski starring Blake Lively and directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. Columbia Pictures will release in June 2016. In addition, WRPCO has projects set up at Warner Bros., TriStar and DreamWorks, as well as its first TV series at WGN America.
Harris was executive vice president, production at Warner Bros. Pictures where she spent a decade developing and overseeing production of a diverse and highly successful slate of films including the Academy Award® winning box-office smash Gravity. Her slate also featured movies such as Godzilla, Man of Steel, Magic Mike, Academy Award® nominated Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Clash of the Titans, Where the Wild Things Are, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Prior to joining Warner Bros., Harris produced Blade III and The Notebook for New Line Cinema, and executive produced About A Boy for Universal. For a decade before producing, she served as executive vice president, production at New Line Cinema where she oversaw and executive produced such films as Seven, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Life as a House, and the first two movies in the Blade series.
She started her career in television working for Leonard Hill Films in TV movies, and Fox Broadcasting in Current Programming. Harris then moved into features as story editor and then vice president of Lynda Obst Productions. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988.
Harris currently serves on the board of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), which raises awareness and funds for critical health, educational, and social issues to ensure a positive impact on the national stage. She also serves as a mentor to high school students through Communities in Schools, and is an active fundraiser for the Israel Philharmonic and CityYear. She has two children and two Weimaraners.
DENIS O’SULLIVAN (Executive Producer) currently oversees production for GK Films, managing all of the company’s projects alongside Graham King. During his tenure at the company, O’Sullivan has worked hand in hand with Academy Award® winning producer and GK Films CEO Graham King, as well as collaborating with some of the industry’s foremost creative talents.
O’Sullivan has a number of upcoming projects which he is overseeing alongside King, including an untitled romantic thriller written by Steven Knight starring Brad Pitt with Robert Zemeckis attached to direct; the highly anticipated franchise reboot of Tomb Raider; a remake of the classic French film The Red Circle; and the untitled Freddie Mercury Story.
O’Sullivan previously oversaw production on several of the company’s high profile projects, including the Paramount Pictures’ action thriller World War Z starring Brad Pitt. The film has grossed over $540 million worldwide and was named one of Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Films of the Year. Additionally, O’Sullivan oversaw production on Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award® winning fantasy adventure Hugo, the Clint Eastwood adaptation of the Broadway hit Jersey Boys, Ben Affleck’s Academy Award® winning film Argo, as well as his crime drama The Town, and Angelina Jolie’s feature directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey, which received the PGA’s prestigious Stanley Kramer Award as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
Additionally, O’Sullivan served as co-producer on the romantic thriller The Tourist starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, and the historical romance The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. The Young Victoria was nominated for three Academy Awards®, winning for Best Achievement in Costume Design, two British Academy Film Awards, winning for Costume Design and Hair & Make Up, and nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
Prior to joining GK Films, O’Sullivan served as story editor for Harvey Keitel’s NY-based production company The Goatsingers, and under Robert De Niro at TriBeCa Films. O’Sullivan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film from Columbia University.
RICHARD MIDDLETON (Executive Producer) served as executive producer on the Academy Award® winning film The Artist. The ground breaking project, shot in black and white, won the Golden Globe and BAFTA Best Picture Awards, in addition to the five Oscars® for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score in 2012.
Most recently, he executive produced Hitchcock; the upcoming Fathers and Daughters; as well as writing and producing Soaked in Bleach, the docudrama regarding the death of Kurt Cobain, also due in 2015.
He began working in the film business in 1993 as an assistant coordinator on the independent film Sleep With Me starring Craig Sheffer, Eric Stoltz, and Meg Tilley. Not content with starting above the bottom, Middleton reversed course and worked as a production assistant (and driver) on such notable films as Pulp Fiction and the Crossing Guard.
Middleton segued into development in 1995, working with Trimark Pictures, as well as serving as director of development for producer Joel Castleberg, who producing credits include Bodies, Rest & Motion; Kicking and Screaming; and Mr. Jealousy. In January of 1996, Middleton was hired as a creative executive at Arnold Kopelson Productions (The Fugitive, Seven, Platoon), where he developed such projects as Devil’s Advocate and U.S. Marshals.
He left Arnold Kopelson Productions in August of 1996, and packaged his first feature project in May of 1997, entitled The Curve. The film, written and directed by Dan Rosen and starring Dana Delaney, Matthew Lillard, and Keri Russell, premiered at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Since 2001, Middleton has focused his efforts on producing and production managing, completing over two dozen feature films, with a number of those films selected for the prestigious Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, including May, The Last Word, and I Love You Phillip Morris, in addition to The Artist.
Middleton is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison.
BEN WAISBREN (Executive Producer) is Chairman and President of LSC Film Corporation, which co-finances major motion pictures with Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. He is also an attorney with the international law firm of Winston & Strawn, where he advises clients in the U.S. and Europe in the media & entertainment and finance sectors. His clients include independent production and distribution companies, private equity firms, hedge funds, investment banks and commercial banks.
Earlier in his career, Waisbren was a managing director and head of investment banking restructuring at Salomon Brothers in New York, following a legal career at a large Chicago law firm, Lord, Bissell & Brook, where he led a national bankruptcy litigation practice.
Prior to joining Winston & Strawn in early 2013, Mr. Waisbren was the President of Continental Entertainment Capital LP, a direct subsidiary of Citigroup, with operations in New York, Los Angeles and Paris. Before that, he was a managing director of a global hedge fund company, Stark Investments, where he was a co-portfolio manager in the fixed income and private equity areas, and responsible for investments in the feature film industry, and the formation of the firm’s structured finance fund and a related, branded middle market leveraged lender, Freeport Financial.
Waisbren served as a member of the Board of Directors of France’s Wild Bunch, S.A., a pan-European motion picture production, distribution and sales company, from 2005 until 2009, in connection with private equity investments that he managed.
He was Executive Producer of Warner Bros. Pictures’ 300; Blood Diamond; V for Vendetta; Nancy Drew; The Good German; Poseidon; and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. In addition, he was Executive Producer of the following independent studio releases: Cassandra’s Dream; First Born; Next; Bangkok Dangerous; and Gardener of Eden. For Sony Pictures Entertainment, he served as an executive producer of Columbia Pictures’ 22 Jump Street, Sex Tape, The Equalizer, Fury, Chappie, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Aloha, Pixels, Goosebumps, The Night Before, and Concussion; TriStar Pictures’ Ricki and the Flash, Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 2, and Screen Gems’ The Wedding Ringer.
In 1999, Daily Variety named ENRIQUE CHEDIAK (Director of Photography) one of 10 Cinematographers to Watch, and he hasn’t disappointed. His most recent credits include the films: The Maze Runner, Cesar Chavez, RED 2, Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours; and Charlie St. Cloud starring Zac Efron; as well as the pilot episode of the television mini-series “Babylon.” He is currently shooting Deepwater Horizon, starring Mark Wahlberg, John Malkovich, and Kurt Russell for director Peter Berg.
Among his other films are: Repo Men starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, 28 Weeks Later, The Flock, starring Richard Gere and Claire Danes, Down In The Valley starring Edward Norton, Turistas, Lies and Alibies, Cronicas, A Home at the End of the World, and “Undefeated” for HBO, which Chediak also executive produced. Prior to this, he shot Brown Sugar, The Good Girl, which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, The Safety of Objects, Songcatcher, Boiler Room, and The Faculty, directed by Robert Rodriguez.
Chediak won the 1997 Sundance Film Festival’s Best Cinematographer Award for Hurricane Streets. His feature film debut was American Southern directed John Joshua Clayton.
Born in Quito, Ecuador, Chediak studied still photography in Madrid, Spain and communications in Santiago, Chile, before entering New York University’s Film School graduate program in 1992, where he won the Best Cinematography award at NYU’s First Run Film Festival.
JON BILLINGTON (Production Designer) most recently production designed Sony Pictures’ The Interview. He previously served as art director on World War Z, on which he also production designed additional photography, including a new opening and 3rd act. Billington was also production designer on three features directed by Mark Mylod: Ali G Indahouse, The Big White, and What’s Your Number?
Billington was art director and set designer on such films as The 5th Element, Eyes Wide Shut, Richard III, and Titanic. Billington also served as art director on a number of films with production designer Nigel Phelps, including In Dreams, The Bone Collector, Pearl Harbor,Troy, The Island, and Transformers 2.
Born in Devon, England, Billington relocated from London to Los Angeles in 2000 after meeting his wife on Pearl Harbor. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (with Honors) Degree in Architecture from Canterbury College of Art, and in 1993 achieved a Post Graduate Diploma (with Distinction) in Design for Film and TV from Kingston University, London. Billington began working in the film industry as a driver for four-time Oscar® winning production designer John Box on the location-based film Black Beauty.
PAUL RUBELL, A.C.E. (Editor) has been nominated for two Academy Awards®, both for films directed by Michael Mann. In 2000, he shared his nomination with William Goldenberg and David Rosenbloom for The Insider (which also included BAFTA and A.C.E. nominations). Five years later, he and Jim Miller earned their nominations for the Tom Cruise thriller Collateral. A favorite of filmmaker Mann, he again collaborated with the director on the big screen version of his popular 1980s TV series Miami Vice, and on his 2011 gangster epic Public Enemies.
Rubell has also maintained an ongoing relationship with director Michael Bay, on four projects — Transformers: Age of Extinction, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers and The Island.
Other films credits include Need for Speed, Seventh Son, Battleship, The Avengers, Hancock, Thor, Peter Pan, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, XXX, S1mOne, The Cell, Blade, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Ruby Cairo, The Stone Boy, and The Final Terror.
Rubell also has an extensive list of television credits, including two Emmy nominations for the TNT Civil War epic “Andersonville,” and the drama “My Name Is Bill,” which he shared with John Wright (the latter title also brought him an A.C.E. Cinema Eddie Award nomination). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of California Los Angeles.
SCOTT STOKDYK (Visual Effects Supervisor) is an Academy Award® winner and three-time Oscar® nominee. He has also been nominated for British Academy Awards and Visual Effects Society Awards.
For almost a decade, Stokdyk worked with director Sam Raimi on all three of the Spider-Man movies, winning the Academy Award® for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for his work on Spider-Man 2. Between the Spider-Man films, and Oz The Great And Powerful, Stokdyk supervised the visual effects for Disney’s G-Force.
Prior to being a Visual Effects Supervisor, Scott worked as a digital artist on Contact and Starship Troopers. He was CG Supervisor on both Godzilla and Stuart Little. Stokdyk received his first Oscar® nomination in 2000 as digital effects supervisor for Hollow Man. Prior to that, Stokdyk worked digital artist on Titanic, and Universal Studios’ Terminator 2 3D attraction, and as a sequence supervisor on The 5th Element.
Two-time Academy Award® nominee SHAREN DAVIS (Costume Designer) most recently collaborated with Antoine Fuqua on his unique visionary version of The Magnificent Seven, starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke. Her resume also includes Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Looper, The Help, Book of Eli and The Pursuit of Happiness. Sharen also designed the wardrobes for a trio of diverse projects whose genres span three different eras — Quentin Tarantino’s Academy Award® winning, 1850s Spaghetti western homage, Django Unchained, Rian Johnson’s futuristic thriller Looper, and the 2011 Oscar® nominated Best Picture The Help, which explores life in the South in the 1960s.
Davis herself earned Oscar® nominations for her work on Taylor Hackford’s award-winning biopic Ray (for which Jamie Foxx won a Best Actor Oscar®), and the 2008 big screen musical Dreamgirls. She also earned Costume Designers Guild Award nominations for The Help, Ray, and Dreamgirls, as well as a Broadcast Film Critics Association nod for The Help.
In a career spanning three decades, Davis has collaborated five times with actor Denzel Washington (Carl Franklin’s Devil in A Blue Dress and Out of Time, the Hughes Brothers’ The Book of Eli, and Washington’s directorial efforts Antwone Fisher and The Great Debaters); twice with Will Smith (Seven Pounds, The Pursuit of Happyness); and on two projects with Eddie Murphy (Doctor Doolittle, Nutty Professor II: The Klumps).
Her motion picture credits also include the critically-acclaimed drama Akeelah and the Bee, Beauty Shop, Franklin’s High Crimes, Brett Ratner’s Rush Hour and Money Talks, George Gallo’s Middle Men and The Take, and Alan Rudolph’s 1992 crime thriller Equinox, which marked her first credit as designer.
Her TV work encompasses several telefilms, notably Franklin’s “Laurel Avenue,” Phil Alden Robinson’s “Freedom Song,” “Another Midnight Run,” “State of Emergency,” “Zooman,” “Midnight Runaround,” the series “Earth 2,” and two projects for director Charles Burnett — the Disney Channel’s “Night John,” and the documentary “Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property” for Independent Lens.
A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, Davis attended the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts where she studied acting. Hoping to pursue a career in front of the camera (and microphone) as an actress and singer, she found herself altering the fabric of her career when she first worked as a costume assistant on the action thriller Number One with A Bullet. She gained further experience on several projects over the next five years (Mississippi Masala, Permanent Record) before graduating to designer.
In addition to her work in film and television, Davis also designed the wardrobes for the legendary musical group “The Traveling Wilburys,” having first met singer-songwriter George Harrison on the 1989 feature Checking Out, on which she served as costume supervisor for his Dark Horse production company.