HAYWIRE Rating: R Runtime: 93 minutes
In the gripping new spy thriller from Academy Award®-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven), a female covert ops specialist goes rogue when she discovers that the very people she has trusted with her life have double-crossed her, putting her and everything she values in jeopardy.
Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a highly trained operative working for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage in Barcelona, she discovers the man has been murdered—and all the evidence points to her as the main suspect. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every trick, Mallory realizes someone deep inside has betrayed her. But who? And why?
Far from home and on the run, Mallory executes a series of daring maneuvers to throw the local SWAT team off her trail, only to find herself pursued by far deadlier forces. Crossing multiple international borders, she eludes a powerful web of law enforcement and private operatives until she finds herself left with few options. Increasingly desperate to clear her name and reveal the real traitor, Mallory uses her black-ops military training to devise an ingenious—and dangerous—trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes she’ll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.
Mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano stars opposite Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, Dear John), Michael Fassbender (Shame, Inglourious Basterds), Ewan McGregor (The Ghost Writer), Michael Angarano (Red State), Antonio Banderas (Desperado), Michael Douglas (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) and Bill Paxton (Titanic).
Steven Soderbergh directs from a script by Lem Dobbs, (Kafka, The Limey). The film is produced by Gregory Jacobs (Contagion, The Informant!). Production designer is Howard Cummings (The Underneath, Wind Chill) Costume designer is Shoshana Rubin (The Informant!). Original music is by David Holmes (the Ocean’s Trilogy, Out of Sight). Counter-terrorist specialist Aaron Cohen is the technical advisor. Ryan Kavanaugh (Immortals, Cowboys and Aliens), Tucker Tooley (Immortals, Limitless) and Michael Polaire (Contagion, The Informant!) serve as executive producers on the film. Alan Moloney (Albert Nobbs, Breakfast on Pluto) is co-executive producer.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
With his latest thriller, Haywire, Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh once again tackles a popular movie genre, adding elements that subtly turn the audience’s expectations on their heads. Combining intrigue and suspense, complex characters and glamorous international settings with bone-crunching action, real-world special ops techniques and a charismatic female hero, the director has reinvented the espionage thriller.
“I am a fan of the early James Bond films,” says Soderbergh. “From Russia With Love may be my favorite. In those movies, you get to know who the characters are instead of just what they do. In more recent espionage-action films, there isn’t a lot of time spent developing the supporting characters. I wanted to revisit the early Bond films. Their ratio of story to action is very much like ours.”
Soderbergh’s longtime filmmaking partner, producer Gregory Jacobs, knew that the director had been interested in exploring the genre for some time. “The idea had a lot of appeal for him,” says Jacobs. “He had always wanted to make a true action movie. We’d been thinking about it for a while when we contacted Lem Dobbs, who had written two films, The Limey and Kafka, for us in the past.”
The resulting script is less a tribute to previous films than a complete reworking with a unique twist typical of Soderbergh. “I always wondered why the main character in these films had to be a guy,” he says. “I find there’s an added level of drama and conflict whenever you have a female protagonist. There’s always the additional layer of operating in a world run by men. It’s another wall that they have to go through. In addition to this being a story about espionage and covert operatives, it’s also about the relationships our lead character has with the various male characters and how she functions in a male-dominated world.”
Soderbergh points out that there is nothing overtly feminist in the script. “It’s rarely brought up that Mallory Kane is a woman. It’s just a fact, and people make assumptions about her that turn out not to be true.”
The director likes to describe the film as a Pam Grier movie made by Alfred Hitchcock. Character development was particularly important to him as he worked with Dobbs to flesh out Kane, a black-ops specialist working for a private security contractor. “I wanted to layer the character a little bit,” he says. “For example, there’s a scene in which she sucks out the contents of her partner’s phone while he’s out of the room. At that point, it is unprovoked. He hasn’t done anything to make her suspicious, but I felt that it was something the character would do.
“It adds a layer of guilt,” he continues. “And I think the reason Hitchcock movies are still watchable is not just because of his technique, but because, at their core, they are all about guilt. There is always somebody at the center of the movie that has something they don’t want known. I wanted to have some of that so she wasn’t just a ‘goody-goody’ the whole way through. As it turns out, that decision probably saved her life. But when she does it, you’re wondering why.”
Soderbergh found his muse for this film in an unexpected venue. He had seen mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano fight, and became intrigued by the idea of featuring her in a movie. A thrilling and demanding combination of fighting styles including Muay Thai, Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, wrestling, boxing, Sambo, kickboxing and Kung Fu, mixed martial arts gave Carano the ability to perform the kind of deadly hand-to-hand combat the director envisioned for his film.
“I knew there had to be a woman other than Angelina Jolie who could run around with a gun,” he says. “After I saw a couple of Gina’s fights, I viewed some interviews with her that showed her as a really genuine, very grounded person. It occurred to me that I could combine my desire to make a realistic espionage film with her expertise. But first I had to meet with her and see whether or not it would appeal to her.”
After an initial meeting, the filmmakers began to tailor the part of Mallory Kane for Carano. “We knew she’d be able do most of her own stunts,” says Jacobs. “That was key, because Steven was adamant about not wanting to do a lot of wire work. He didn’t want the audience to feel the action elements were so acrobatic or dangerous that a human couldn’t possibly be doing them. The wonderful thing about filming with Gina was that there were no special effects in the fights. Everything was real.”
That fact was critical to Soderbergh’s vision of the film as a realistic adventure, which also meant he eschewed the kind of futuristic technology that is a staple of many films in the genre. “In many ways, we wanted to go against the grain of the way action is usually shot,” he says. “I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that we had people who really could perform these actions and not be indulging in the kind of trickery that is sometimes necessary in a movie. I didn’t want anybody doing anything that wasn’t physically possible. And I didn’t want to rely on technology that didn’t exist.”
“If two people are in a room fighting, it has to end at a certain point because you’ll run out of things that are plausible,” he says. “This was my take on that kind of movie. Haywire is more of a drama with action in it than it is a wall-to-wall action movie.”
THE SPY WHO BROKE THE MOLD
With a unique heroine like Mallory Kane, Soderbergh knew he needed a singularly talented actress to fill the role. Gina Carano, sometimes referred to as the “Face of Women’s Mixed Martial Arts,” is beautiful, determined and tough as nails. She arrived at her first meeting with Soderbergh sporting a black eye she had earned in battle the previous week. Though she’s fearless in a fight, Carano, who counts Soderbergh’s previous films Traffic and Erin Brockovich as two of her favorites films, says she was a bit overwhelmed to be meeting with the director.
Starring in a film was not something that Carano ever anticipated doing. “Every kid thinks, if people only knew what I was capable of,” she says, “but I’ve always known that I’m not your typical celebrity. I don’t think I look or act like anybody else. I’m slightly awkward. So I always knew that if it was going to happen, somebody was going to have to come find me. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Soderbergh did his best to put the newcomer at ease. “I can only imagine how weird it must be for a non-actor to have a director ask to meet you and then propose building a movie around you,” says Soderbergh. “But she was game for it. I explained that we would be designing the film to capitalize on her strengths, both physically and in terms of performance. I wasn’t going to ask her to do things that were out of her range.”
The filmmaking experience left Carano with a great deal of respect for the hard work that goes into creating a movie. Even after her grueling experiences as a professional fighter, she found herself exhausted by the process. “I’ve never experienced such long days,” she says. “Not only are you putting yourself out there physically, you’re putting yourself out there emotionally. You’re surrounded by people constantly and even your body is not your own. You’ve got hair and make-up, people are picking out your clothing, you’re with all the different actors. It was the most overwhelming experience, but I also felt like we were on this adventure together.”
Giving her an added boost of confidence was the top caliber cast and crew. “Steven surrounded me with the best people from beginning to end,” she says. “He walked me through every step of the way. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime.”
According to Jacobs, selecting the remaining cast for Haywire revolved around finding A-list actors to support the young star. “Steven and I promised the studio we would surround Gina with great actors,” he says. “Both Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender signed on early in the process. Then Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Channing Tatum became available. Not only are they all great actors, they are extremely nice men. Each has given his character real substance. And each one welcomed Gina and gave her incredible support and confidence.”
The first scenes Carano filmed were set in Dublin, where Mallory begins to suspect she is being set up. Irish actor Michael Fassbender plays Paul, the charming but duplicitous operative paired with Mallory for what appears to be a routine assignment. “Michael Fassbender is not only a handsome, charming man and a tremendous actor,” says Jacobs “He is also able to hold his own in a fight scene with Gina.”
“That we filmed those scenes first turned out to be a lucky circumstance,” says Soderbergh. “Michael was extremely helpful to Gina, putting in a lot of time working with her away from the set, going through the scenes and lines. It made her feel very comfortable.”
Carano admits she was so inexperienced that Fassbender had to teach her to run lines with another actor. “I’d never done that before,” she says. “Michael took me under his wing. He was really giving with his time. When we got to the fight sequence, it was great because that is my comfort zone. I was able to be physical and shine. It felt like an exchange of expertise.”
Fassbender says he signed on to the film for two reasons. “What I liked about the script was the intrigue. There are many things not said. It is an old-school espionage film, like the spy thrillers that I remember from my childhood. And I was excited to be working with Steven Soderbergh. He has an air of confidence that relaxes everyone on set. The speed with which Steven works is fantastic. It lends itself to experimentation, which gave the filming a very fluid feel. We were able to discover scenes as we went. It happened very organically. I discovered bits and pieces of Paul every day.”
The actor was also fascinated with the idea of plunging a non-professional into the world of acting. “Gina was willing to jump in headfirst,” he says. “With her fight training, she wanted to get things right. But she’s also very good at just sitting and listening to notes, taking everything in and then applying it. It’s been impressive to watch her work. She has a unique energy as well, which I think shines through.”
The idea of performing a brutal, hand-to-hand fight scene with a woman left Fassbender nonplussed. “But it was just a matter of accepting it,” he says. “Going in I had no problem knowing that she was going to kick my arse all over the place.”
The scene is one of Carano’s favorites. “We were smashing each other into everything possible,” she says. “Vases were getting smashed over heads, we were tumbling over couches, I got slammed into a flat-screen and then there’s the triangle choke at the end!”
Ewan McGregor plays Mallory’s boss and erstwhile lover, Kenneth. Jacobs and Soderbergh consider snagging McGregor a casting coup. “To have an actor of his caliber play the bad guy and Mallory’s foil was exciting,” says Jacobs. “Ewan brought so much depth to the role.”
Working with Soderbergh was a long-held ambition for the actor. The quality of the script was icing on the cake. “It was a total page-turner,” McGregor says. “The action was vivid and well written, and the plot quite complex. This is a story where everyone is playing his own game, perhaps Kenneth especially. You’re allowed bits of information here and there that unlock scenes as you go along. And the characters are not movie characters; they’re very real.”
McGregor experienced Soderbergh’s legendary speed behind the camera the minute he arrived on set. “You really don’t believe it until you get there,” says the actor. “My first scene was in Spain, where Gina and I did a walk and talk down some stairs and reveal this beautiful cityscape behind us. Steven did it in one shot. There was an air traffic control strike in France at the time, so it took me 22 hours to get from Los Angeles to Spain. I shot for maybe an hour and a half, and then it took me about 22 hours to get home.
“But there are no rules about what makes a director great,” adds McGregor. “Steven is a quiet director, but he’ll absolutely guide you in the right direction when you need it. He’s meticulous and serious on the set, very concentrated, like a surgeon, ticking off shots. But when you get back to the hotel and hang out with him, he’s chatty and amiable.”
McGregor has high praise for his co-stars. “I was very lucky to have some wonderful scenes with Bill Paxton and Channing Tatum as well as with Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas. It’s always exciting, but frankly, it was quite nerve-wracking, to sit down and start shooting a scene with those two giants.”
Channing Tatum plays Aaron, who begins the film as a member of Mallory’s Barcelona team—and her casual lover—and later becomes her opponent. The G.I. Joe star found the premise of an ass-kicking heroine appealing. “I was told that Steven Soderbergh was doing an action movie, and I said I’m in,” recalls Tatum. “I didn’t really need to read the script. He’s always on the cutting edge and I wanted to be on board. When I did read it, I thought it was so smart of him to find an aspect of action that really hasn’t been explored: a realistic female-driven espionage film.”
Working with this particular female action hero was a special treat for Tatum. “I’ve been a fan of Gina’s for a while,” he says. “I’ll admit it—I love mixed martial arts. And she is the pioneer of female mixed martial artists, so it was really cool to get to work with her. Butting heads with her was intimidating and very challenging.”
He says his father didn’t believe in female action heroes and would often say, “let me meet the female that can whup me and I’ll watch the movie.” Tatum says he was happy to call his dad and offer to set him up with Carano. “I told him that Gina was the real deal,” he says. “She simply has this incredible skillset and that’s what Mallory is in the movie. She’s smart, she’s tough and she’s lethal.”
Michael Douglas was the only cast member with whom Soderbergh had worked previously. “When Steven and I were thinking about the part of Coblenz, we always knew that we needed somebody iconic,” says Jacobs, “He’s a formidable presence. We needed somebody who has the acting chops and the gravitas. The first person we thought of was Michael Douglas.”
Carano says her scene with Douglas was the most intimidating experience of the whole shoot. On the next-to-last day of principal photography, she met the Academy Award winner at the tiny Las Vegas, New Mexico, airport on a freezing day with wind so fierce it was blowing snow sideways across the tarmac. “I think we all stepped it up a notch knowing Michael was there,” she says. “I know I certainly did. It was so cold during our scene that I got a tear in my eye while he was saying his lines and it started dripping down my face. I wasn’t going to mess him up, so I just let it go. When we finished, I was so thrilled because he applauded me for that. He told me it was very disciplined to just let it happen.”
For the role of Rodrigo, a Spanish government official involved in setting up the Barcelona deal with Kenneth and Coblenz, the filmmakers needed an actor with European charm and elegance and the onscreen charisma to hold his own with Michael Douglas and Ewan McGregor. “The scene with the three of them is in the first ten minutes of the movie and lends it a real sense of weight,” says Jacobs. “We thought getting Antonio Banderas for the part was just a pipe dream, but he signed on.”
Banderas was as delighted by Carano as his cast mates. “She’s an amazing girl and a very sweet lady for someone who can be quite dangerous,” he says. “When she arrived on the set in Barcelona for my first scene, it only took three seconds for me to surrender to that smile. Anything she wants, I’ll be there for her.”
Soderbergh’s lightning-fast shooting technique revitalized the filmmaking process for Banderas. “For actors, the speed with which Steven shoots is fantastic,” he says. “He only uses natural light and now with the new technologies we have at our disposal, the art of filming movies has become very democratic.
“It’s quite impressive to be on the set with a group of such great actors as he has assembled, and you’re filming as though it were an independent movie. You feel much more a part of the entire process. Sometimes acting is just the art of waiting in a trailer while the crew is putting up lights and adjusting the set. Usually, the actor works only 10 percent of the day; the crew works 100 percent.”
Soderbergh himself still seems slightly amazed by the cast he assembled for this film. “We were lucky enough to get people I’d always admired,” he says. “They were all intrigued by the idea of the project and intrigued by Gina. She’s completely unpretentious and charming. My assumption was that these actors would be great resources for her, and they were. They were all very, very generous. They wanted her to succeed and that helped a lot.”
ALL OVER THE MAP
Mallory Kane’s journey takes her across the globe, from Washington, D.C., to Barcelona and Dublin, then back to the United States, with stops in upstate New York and the mountains of New Mexico. Production designer Howard Cummings, who had previously worked with Soderbergh and Jacobs on The Underneath, accepted the challenging assignment of pulling together the movie’s disparate locations.
“Howard thinks like a producer,” says Soderbergh. “He understands how to maximize every dollar. He did not bring any of his own crew with him, which a lot of other people would do. It required him to run multiple departments, sometimes from remote locations, at all hours of the day and night.”
Jacobs agrees: “Howard is like a one-man band. I don’t know any other designer who would have agreed to go it alone and who could make it work. He makes everything feel real, not art-directed. Every location is very carefully selected. He spent weeks scouting and then brought great subtle touches of his own to each of the practical locations.”
Cummings welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with Soderbergh again. “Steven always works on interesting projects and always finds something new to explore,” he says. “There’s very little downtime on his films, because Steven makes decisions in the moment, so you have to be nimble. There isn’t a storyboard sitting on the side of the set with illustrations for each frame. It’s all in Steven’s head—and you have to be able to make it happen.”
Part of Cummings’ assignment was finding ways to keep the film from becoming a run-of-the-mill thriller that relies on over-the-top stunts and action. “We discussed how we could make it feel as though we were really there,” says Cummings. “To enhance that feeling, nearly the entire movie was filmed on practical locations. We only built three sets.”
“The trick was going to be how to give the movie the most scale possible given the resources we had,” says Soderbergh. “Barcelona was selected because it seemed believable that a young American woman could blend in backpacking around the city, which is what special ops teams do. And Barcelona is so warm and interesting visually, which made a good contrast to Dublin and its gloomy skies.”
In the heart of Barcelona’s old city, the company shot on many of the small, winding streets that make up the Gothic Quarter, as well as in the palm-lined square known as the Plaza Real and a section of Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas Boulevard. Originally the city’s flower market, today it is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, lined with artists selling their work, flower vendors, mimes and kiosks selling newspapers and magazines from around the world. It is also the site of the city’s legendary farmer’s market, La Boqueria, and, until recently, its traditional bird market.
For Banderas, who had tried several times previously to arrange his schedule to fit in with Soderbergh’s, an added treat was that his first scene would bring him back to his native Spain. “The scene takes place with Gina on the patio of Les Quinze Nits Cafe in the Plaza Real in Barcelona,” explains Banderas. “We shot it using only the beautiful late afternoon light.”
The filmmakers wanted their second European location to be in an English-speaking country. Dublin, they thought, seemed a fresher idea than London and would be a logistically simpler place to shoot. “We felt audiences have seen London in so many movies,” says Jacobs. “You don’t often see contemporary Dublin on film.”
Mallory’s flight through Dublin takes her past many of the city’s iconic sites, including The Wynn’s Hotel, established in 1845, where she runs to evade her pursuers, as well as Heuston Railway Station and many of the streets in old Dublin including Grafton Street near Trinity College.
“Dublin lent itself well to the chase scene,” says Cummings. “It has very good rooftops for the sequence when Mallory tries to evade her pursuers, running and jumping across several buildings in a great cat-and-mouse sequence.”
For a crucial scene set at a charity auction, Cummings was able to secure the magnificent Russborough House in Blessington, County Wicklow, an hour southwest of Dublin. Considered one of the most beautiful houses in Ireland, the Palladian-style mansion was built in 1741. The owners of the house had never before allowed filming there.
“It’s an authentic Irish country house, an historic mansion,” says Cummings. “It hasn’t been through the kind of extensive renovations that many places have. Some of the other houses we looked at were stunningly beautiful, but felt like museums. Russborough had a sort of decayed quality that lent itself very well to the script.”
The art department moved the manor’s lavish tapestries, porcelains, silver and paintings into storage to facilitate the shoot. “Steven wanted to be able to move the scenes through all the rooms,” says Cummings. “There’s a scene where Mallory goes up a back staircase in the dark to a hallway overlooking the garages. There were curio cases with lights in them and I thought it would be great if the entire scene were to be lit solely by these cases. That’s how Steven shot it. Gina is seen mostly in silhouette and it is stunning.”
The film’s fiercest and most desperate hand-to-hand battle takes place between Paul and Mallory in a suite at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel. Built in 1824, the hotel overlooks St. Stephen’s Green, one of Europe’s grandest garden squares. Cummings duplicated one of the Shelbourne’s suites on a soundstage at Ireland’s Ardmore Studios for the scene, in which Mallory realizes she’s being set up and will be killed unless she can escape quickly.
Cummings’ painstaking replication had several important adjustments. “I made the set as close to the real suite as possible, down to the window details and the moldings,” says the designer. “I selected upholstered paneling designs often seen in hotel suites. When Gina and Michael Fassbender were slamming each other into the walls, they were actually hitting padding. The bookcase had columns that were made of foam so he could smash her face against them. I had never done this extensive amount of padding and wasn’t entirely sure what would work.”
Back in the United States, the company filmed throughout New Mexico: at the Terrero General Store, an hour’s drive from Santa Fe, continuing on to Los Alamos, Bandelier National Monument, the American Springs section of the Santa Fe National Forest, and the small, isolated Las Vegas, New Mexico, airport, as well as in Santa Fe itself.
New Mexico stood in for upstate New York in scenes in which Mallory leads police on a wild car chase through snow-covered woods.
The filmmakers prepped an area in Bandelier National Forest, starting two months before shooting. “Because Bandelier is a national park, we were required to get permission for everything we did,” says Cummings. “The greens crew came in ahead and packed down the road by hand. We compressed the snow to about a foot and then took in snowmobiles to make specific tracks. In order to make it feel as if she is in deep woods, we brought in shrubbery and trees and lined the path for about a mile. A lot of it had to be brought in by sled so we didn’t ruin the road that we had established.”
Making that chase scene stand out challenged even Soderbergh’s considerable ingenuity. “Car sequences are time consuming and there is always something that can go wrong,” says Soderbergh. “It’s really difficult to find a way to do something that hasn’t been done a million times before and done very well. I felt that it would be exciting to have the audience really feel like Gina is driving the car. We got what they call a ‘go rig’ that sits on top of the car and allows you to film the people in the car as if they’re driving.
“There was a lot of discussion about how the vehicle should be rigged. The grip department came up with the idea of a librahead, which is a very sophisticated gyroscopic stabilizer, which we attached to a snowmobile. Then we put in a parallel path to track the length of the car. It’s not as ‘cutty’ as most car chases. We were able to get shots that go on for quite a long time to really sell the impression that she’s driving.”
The film’s climactic confrontation takes place in Mallory’s father’s house, a modern, wide open structure made primarily of wooden beams and glass, and set on breathtaking promontory in the New Mexico mountains. Soderbergh told his production designer that he envisioned the Kane House like a house he remembered from the Hitchcock classic, North by Northwest.
“It took us a while but we finally discovered the perfect house in Los Alamos,” says Cummings. “It sits at the end of a butte and feels very isolated, which was exactly what Steven wanted.”
But while the house was perfect visually, says the production designer, it presented challenges when it came to shooting the action scenes. “One of the big fights takes place inside a small bathroom. There were so many hard surfaces that the cast could injure themselves on. Gina is not a stunt woman, she’s a fighter, which is an entirely different thing, so we had to be careful.”
To prevent serious injury, Cummings used neoprene foam painted to look like marble or wood. “There was a stone counter in the bathroom,” he explains. “I took the owner’s sinks out and put my own fake neoprene rubber counter on top of it. We made rubber sinks sprayed to look like porcelain and I covered the tiled walls with theatrical flats also made with neoprene rubber. Even all the drawer faces and handles were rubber.”
Soderbergh differentiated his locations by using unique color palettes for each. “When I have a film that has multiple settings, I’m always looking for ways to distinguish them visually and make you feel like you’re in a restricted environment,” he says. “We used the cool tones for upstate New York as a framing device that feels very separate from the rest of the movie.
“In Spain, I went to a warm but muted palette, so we used coral filters for a slightly warmer tinge and desaturated it for a tobacco kind of look. Dublin is pretty straightforward and its look comes from the fact that it’s overcast there most of the time. New Mexico, on the other hand, takes place almost entirely at night.”
Soderbergh was equally involved in conceptualizing the film’s costumes. “The movie is set in the real world,” he says. “It couldn’t become so stylized that it pulled you into a ‘movie’ kind of world. We wanted everybody to look good, especially Gina, but we also had a lot of discussions about what kind of clothes these people really wear when they go out on jobs.”
Shoshana Rubin made her debut as costume designer on The Informant! in 2008 and has worked in the wardrobe departments on five previous films made by Soderbergh and Jacobs. Cummings provided Rubin with photographs of his scouting expeditions and she developed boards for Soderbergh’s approval.
Says Greg Jacobs, “Shoshana did a wonderful job. It was difficult because Gina had so many different looks from backpacking college student in Spain and fighting mode to the glamorous woman dressed to the nines for the charity ball in Ireland.”
For Carano, who spends a lot of time in sweats and casual clothes in the real world, the process of putting together a character wardrobe was unfamiliar. “At our early fittings, she didn’t have a lot of input,” says Rubin. “Everything she was trying on was different from what she wears in her normal life. As we had more interaction, she became more vocal about what she thought.”
The most difficult costume to find was the cocktail dress for the charity auction. Mallory not only has to look pretty, feminine and sexy in the dress, she has to fight for her life in it. “Actually I’ve always wanted to kick ass in a dress,” says Carano. “You’re not supposed to be doing that in a dress, and it’s kind of cool.”
Says Rubin: “Most people don’t buy a dress for a cocktail party that they’re later going to fight in. The one we used was perfect because it had a certain amount of stretch to it. Then we ripped it up the side a little for the fight sequence so she’d have more room to move her legs.”
Rubin also worked closely with property master Brad Einhorn and technical advisor Aaron Cohen to coordinate elements such as where weapons would be hidden when Mallory and her team were in undercover mode. “There are existing specially designed tactical items including vests and holsters that needed to work with the wardrobe. Even Mallory’s backpack and motorcycle helmet had to be coordinated with her costume.”
Because Carano’s years of intensive physical training have given her an enviably slender silhouette, a few adjustments were made to reduce the tactical vest’s bulk. “In Aaron’s world, she would have to wear an oversized vest packed with equipment and all you’d see would be lumps,” says Rubin. “We made a ‘film tactical vest’ that allowed Gina to be seen at her best.”
David Holmes, who has composed the music for four previous films with Soderbergh, met up with the director while Haywire was filming in his native Ireland.“It was tricky because I didn’t want the music to be retro since David and I have done that before,” says the director. “I wanted it to feel like music that Mallory would listen to. It couldn’t be self-consciously hip. It couldn’t take you out of the movie. We sent a lot of music back and forth until finally we came up with something we were both happy with.”
Contrary to cinematic tradition, the film eschews music during the action scenes, fights and chases. “There’s plenty of music in the movie,” says Soderbergh. “But whenever we reach an action sequence, it drops out. I felt like putting exciting music on top of the action is over-used, so we avoided that.”
TRANSFORMING A REAL-LIFE FIGHTER INTO A SPECIAL OPS EXPERT
To prepare for the role of Mallory Kane, Gina Carano underwent intensive training, starting with an in-depth special ops tutorial with the film’s technical advisor and real-life security expert, Aaron Cohen. Cohen, who spent three years in Israel’s special operations undercover unit, is the founder of IMS Security, a consulting firm that specializes in providing tactical counter-terrorist training. He helped the filmmakers and cast understand the realities of undercover operations.
“I felt that training with Aaron Cohen would provide Gina with a solid foundation of confidence,” says Soderbergh. “If she felt that the physical demands were doable, that would go a long way toward making her feel comfortable with the performance. I chose Aaron because I wanted someone who was familiar with that world as it is today and not somebody who did it 10 or 20 years ago. He became part of the brain trust for this film, vetting virtually everything we did.”
Cohen’s participation in the film was crucial from the get-go, as he sat in on script meetings between Soderbergh, Jacobs and Dobbs. From small story points to wardrobe decisions, Cohen provided the filmmakers with checks and balances every step of the way. “I could ask how a conversation would go if you were trying to convey a piece of information but can’t come out and say it,” says the director. “He was on the set all the time and I would email him at all hours of the day or night. His input was invaluable, down to details like where you might hide your gun.”
According to Cohen, the film captures the true nature of special ops. “Everything from the dialogue to the nature of the operations is authentic. In one case, an operation is botched and that is real. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in the world of special operations and they do.”
Under Cohen’s direction, a 5,000-square-foot warehouse in downtown Los Angeles was transformed into a staging ground for special operations training. Three dozen portable walls reconfigured the wide-open space to replicate the film’s diverse settings. “He put me through two months of boot camp in that warehouse,” Carano says. “He had me doing sprints, entering and exiting make-believe apartments—everything Mallory does in the film.”
For 30 hours a week, Carano was immersed in special operations training. “Aaron’s goal was to prepare me both mentally and physically for this movie,” she says. “I read his book, but nothing could have prepared me for the boot camp. He taught me everything from the basics of guns to his life experiences. One of the things he impressed on me was that as a special operative, you’re commissioned to take on the jobs that the government doesn’t want to have its fingerprints on. If you’re caught or imprisoned, you’re on your own. The process was extreme and amazing. I come from fighting in a cage, which is very organized. He helped me develop the mindset I needed for Mallory, which is cutthroat to the extreme. It’s life or death.”
Even with her years of mixed martial arts training, Carano was pushed to the edge during her preparation for Haywire. “Gina has a warrior mentality,” Cohen says. “We were really tough on her because we knew we could be. I wanted her to go beyond her comfort zone. It was important to immerse her in the mindset of a Special Forces operative. As a fighter, she’s working alone. In special operations, missions are only successfully accomplished with teamwork.”
To help develop that sense of camaraderie, Jacobs arranged for castmates Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Julian Alcaraz and Max Arciniega to join Carano’s training for limited periods of time. “I felt it was important to bring everybody together so they understood the amount of cooperation involved in order to be successful,” says the producer. “I wanted the training to be as real as the story consulting.”
Channing Tatum spent four grueling days of training with Cohen. “The day I arrived at the warehouse, I had no idea what I was getting into,” he says. “I don’t even think Aaron said hi to me and for the next four days and I didn’t really say anything. I just did exactly as I was told.
“We learned all the tactical movements,” the actor continues. “He showed us how to take a room and look as if we’d done it for years and years. He just beat it into us.”
Tatum’s previous fight training gave him an advantage, according to Cohen. “He has great hand-eye coordination, tremendous balance and is very strong. He also had had some excellent training on some of the other films he’s appeared in. I helped him clean up his pistol work for the hostage rescue scene. We worked with him and Gina on some of the things that can go wrong in an operation that haven’t been seen before on film. Weapons do malfunction in the middle of a shootout, they jam or are empty or they weren’t oiled properly. You have to be able to not only fire the weapon, but manipulate it through all types of problems.”
Cohen’s tutoring paid off in Barcelona when Tatum’s weapon malfunctioned during a take. He cleared it and used it without anyone being the wiser. “When that malfunction occurred,” recalls Cohen, “Channing looked at me, gave me a thumbs up and we moved on to the next shot.”
Carano’s impressive mixed martial arts experience with its emphasis on hand-to-hand combat did not prepare her for the wide range of weaponry used in the film—but Cohen did. “I spent a lot of time developing Gina’s primary weapon skills,” he says. “We trained her in various forms of sub-machine guns and assault rifles, using real weapons that had been converted into blank-firing weapons. She also worked with pistols, including the Glock 179mm, Sig Sauer 9mm, the Uzi and micro-Uzi, as well as a Commando assault rifle.
“The training was comprehensive and very physical,” he adds. “Her background gave her a huge advantage in terms of the motor skills needed for handling weapons. She was able to move very quickly and effectively while carrying out complex maneuvers.”
Along with the special ops training, Carano worked closely with the film’s fight choreographer, J.J. Perry and stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell. Ordinarily the stunt coordinator’s job is to teach an actor how to engage in a knockdown drag-out fight without getting hurt. But for Haywire, it was more important for the coordinator to teach the star how to not hurt someone else during the fight scenes.
Her natural athleticism came in handy, says Rondell. “You can teach an athlete to do anything. She came in with a heavy fighting background and she also has a unique discipline. I approached everything I taught her working off her disciplines as a fighter. We had to teach her not to actually hit someone. We had to reprogram her to pull her punches slightly and to react realistically to being movie punched. She actually sat a few people down initially. But in the end, she was as good as any stunt person in the fight scenes.”
During her training at Los Angeles’ Fight Gym 8711, Carano learned to admire the stunt people she saw working around her. “They are amazing athletes,” she says. “All I could do was jump in. I already knew how to punch and kick, but stunt fighting is a completely different art. Since they knew my style is Muay Tai and boxing and Jiu-Jitsu, they incorporated all of that into the fighting scenes. I had my input and they were very receptive to it, which made for some very beautiful fight sequences.”
The audience first experiences Mallory’s physical prowess in a shocking fight between her and Aaron, played by Channing Tatum. Although they are on the same side in the Barcelona affair, they also find themselves going head to head. “Channing is very athletic and really strong,” says Carano. “He’s so passionate about what he’s doing and I was glad to be able to steal some of that passion from him. After the first 15 minutes, I was exhausted. It’s a very brutal scene. But we took care of each other and no one got hurt. But we were extremely aggressive, throwing each other into all sorts of glass mirrors, and walls and flipping one another over tables and getting kicked onto counter tops.”
Recalls Tatum of the experience, “It’s strange because you’re swinging as hard as you can and missing each other by the smallest margin. It’s a little nerve-wracking but it’s also like dancing. It can be very fluid and beautiful. And when you have someone like Gina who really knows her body so well and has such great control, it just synchs.”
Soderbergh says there was one tense moment, despite all the precautions and training. “In the fight in the hotel room, she’s supposed to hit Michael Fassbender with a vase. They’d been rehearsing this for weeks. J.J. and R.A. told Michael over and over again that when she reaches for the vase, his inclination would be to look at it. Don’t do it, they told him, because if you do, she’ll hit you in the eye. Sure enough, on the day, she reaches for the vase, he looks at it and she clocks him right in the eye. It’s in the movie—which is the good news. All he could do was laugh and admit that he just couldn’t help himself.”
The fight scenes were only the beginning of the stunt training Carano needed to be comfortable with in order to become special operative Mallory Kane. “It’s part of my job to find out what people are good at, what they’re bad at and what their fears are,” says Rondell. “Gina, as it turns out, has a fear of heights and one of the key scenes in the film has her running across rooftops in Dublin. She had never done anything like that before.”
Rondell accompanied her to the rooftop to prepare, beginning by having her walk on the narrow walls of two or three story buildings. “She’s a quick study. By the end she could grapple with an adversary, dive, do shoulder rolls, come up, draw a weapon—and put all those dynamics together.”
Adds Carano, “It was freezing in Dublin and we’d be up on these rooftops at 5:30 in the morning and there would be ice. The first jump was the scariest. There was no harness and I just looked down and knew that if I tripped I could fall to my death. But R.A. was wonderful and I trusted him completely. It is due to him that I was able to get over that fear. Once I got through that I couldn’t wait to get up there and run across those roofs and jump from one to the other.”
Carano also had to learn to handle a motorcycle for the film. “Not only had she never ridden a motorcycle before, she’d never even driven a stick shift car,” says Rondell. “Before we left for Europe, I put her on a little 125 Suzuki and gave her the ins and outs of how to start it and the clutching and breaking. She caught on very quickly. Then we went to the 696 Ducati Monster, which is a huge step up. It’s a big bike and very powerful and heavy, but Gina totally excelled at it.”
Rondell also worked with Aaron Cohen to translate realistic special operations techniques for practical filmmaking purposes. “The expertise that Aaron brought to the table was great,” he says. “It’s new and it’s raw and current to what is happening in the world today. We had some good debates about how things would work—because sometimes things don’t work in film like they do in the real world.”
Ultimately, what audiences will see on the screen is a collaboration that makes both men proud. “R.A. has 25 years in the film business and I put my head down to him when it came to stunts,” says Cohen. “There was a great symmetry between us, a symbiotic flow. This is not just a fight movie; it’s a movie with a lot of fighting but there are weapons and tactical and counter-terrorist action.
“Haywire feels like a baby that we all birthed,” he concludes. “It reminded me of the military. There was a loose, kick-back, undisciplined way to it that tightened up the moment the leash was pulled. It came together in the moment, just like a real operation would, and it was mission-focused from the beginning.”
ABOUT THE CAST
GINA CARANO (Mallory Kane) is widely considered to be the face of Women’s Mixed Martial Arts. Her athletic achievements include her participation in the first-ever sanctioned MMA bout in Nevada. Carano defeated opponent Leiticia Pestova in an impressive 39 seconds. Carano was influential in the introduction of women in competitive fighting—her December 2006 fight against Elaina Maxwell was the first time StrikeForce, the well-known MMA promoter, had women on their card. Carano was the victor, defeating Maxwell by unanimous decision. Three years later, Carano fought Christine Cyborg-Santos in the first StrikeForce Women’s Lightweight Championship. This fight was also the first Women’s Main Card Event and was televised nationally on Showtime.
Born in Dallas, Texas, and the daughter of Glenn Carano, a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Carano was brought up in an athletic environment. Carano’s career as a Muay Thai specialist began in the famed Master Toddy Gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. Under Master Toddy, Carano competed multiple times internationally, garnishing a 12-1-1 professional Muay Thai record. Carano was simultaneously pursuing a degree in psychology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but as her fighting career grew and Carano realized her passion for the sport, she chose to focus solely on Muay Thai, traveling the world for fighting events.
Carano hopes to continue to balance acting with her ongoing fight career. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.
EWAN MCGREGOR (Kenneth) played the starring role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in George Lucas’ three Star Wars prequels. He recently starred in Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer, with Pierce Brosnan; Amelia, starring Hillary Swank; the thriller Incendiary, with Michelle Williams; The Men Who Stare At Goats, alongside George Clooney; and I Love You, Phillip Morris, opposite Jim Carrey.
McGregor was born in Scotland and started acting with the Perth Repertory Theatre. He was still a student at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama when he won a leading role in Dennis Potter’s BBC series “Lipstick on Your Collar.” He has worked steadily ever since.
McGregor made his feature debut in Bill Forsyth’s Being Human. The following year, he won widespread acclaim for Shallow Grave, his first collaboration with director Danny Boyle. In 1996, McGregor starred in Boyle’s critically hailed crime-drama Trainspotting and in 1997, he played the lead in A Life Less Ordinary, opposite Cameron Diaz.
Other films in which McGregor has starred include Deception, opposite Michelle Williams; Woody Allen’s Cassandra’s Dream, with Colin Farrell; Miss Potter and Down with Love, both opposite Renée Zellweger; Young Adam, alongside Tilda Swinton; Tim Burton’s Big Fish, with Albert Finney; Michael Bay’s The Island, opposite Scarlet Johansson; and Marc Forster’s Stay, with Naomi Watts. McGregor also lent his voice to the animated comedy Robots.
Other film credits include Emma, with Gwyneth Paltrow; Brassed Off and Little Voice, both for director Mark Herman; The Serpent’s Kiss, for Philippe Rousselot; Velvet Goldmine, for Todd Haynes; Moulin Rouge!, for Baz Luhrmann; and Black Hawk Down, for Ridley Scott.
On American television, McGregor received an Emmy® nomination for his performance on “E.R.” His documentary series “Long Way Down,” which chronicled his motorbike trip from Northern Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa, premiered in 2008 on Fox Reality Channel.
McGregor was seen on the West End stage as Sky Masterson in the Donmar Theatre’s multi-award-winning production of “Guys and Dolls.” He also starred in the critically acclaimed West End production of “Othello.”
MICHAEL FASSBENDER (Paul) is enjoying a phenomenal run of critically acclaimed performances, garnering numerous accolades and awards including the Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for Steve McQueen’s Shame. The National Board of Review has awarded Fassbender with the Spotlight Award and the LA Film Critics Association named him Best Actor for his performances in both Shame and Davide Cronenberg’s drama A Dangerous Method in which he plays Carl Jung opposite Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen. He was also recently seen in Matthew Vaugh’s X-Men: First Class, as Erik Lehnsherr, better known as super-villain Magneto as well as Rochester in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre. Fassbender co-starred in Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 blockbuster Inglourious Basterds, sharing with his fellow actors the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture as well as the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble. In June 2012, Fassbender will co-star in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus opposite Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace.
Fassbender previously starred as the late hunger striker Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen’s true-life drama Hunger. The performance earned him the British Independent Film Award (BIFA) and Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA) for Best Actor, a London Film Critics Award and Best Actor honors from the 2008 Stockholm and Chicago International Film Festivals. He was honored at the latter festival the following year, as Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank. This performance brought him BIFA and IFTA nominations as well as his second London Film Critics Circle Award. He was also an IFTA nominee for his performance in Marc Munden’s miniseries “The Devil’s Whore.”
Born in Germany and raised in Ireland, Fassbender is a graduate of London’s prestigious Drama Centre. His breakthrough role came as Sgt. Burton “Pat” Christenson in HBO’s epic, award-winning miniseries “Band of Brothers.”
After making his feature film debut in Zack Snyder’s blockbuster 300, Fassbender’s subsequent credits include Joel Schumacher’s Blood Creek, James Watkins’ Eden Late, Jimmy Hayward’s Jonah Hex, Francois Ozon’s Angel and Neil Marshall’s Centurion.
MICHAEL DOUGLAS (Coblenz) is an award-winning actor and producer with a career spanning more than 40 years that encompasses theater, film and television. He was already a successful actor when he branched out into independent feature production in 1975 with the Academy Award®-winning drama One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Douglas has since been involved in a long list of influential and popular films, including his Oscar®-winning role (Best Actor) as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, directed by Oliver Stone. He reprised his role in the sequel, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, released in 2010. Earlier that year, Douglas starred with Susan Sarandon in Solitary Man, directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien.
Born in New Jersey, the son of Kirk and Diana Douglas, he earned his B.A. from U.C. Santa Barbara. Moving to New York, Douglas studied at the American Place Theater and the Neighborhood Playhouse. His first big break was a pivotal role in the CBS Playhouse’s 1969 production of Ellen M. Violett’s drama “The Experiment.” This led to leading roles in the films Hail, Hero!, Adam at 6 AM, Summertree and Napoleon and Samantha. Between films, Douglas returned to the stage in summer stock and Off Broadway productions.
In 1972, Douglas was cast as Karl Malden’s partner in the drama series “The Streets of San Francisco,” which became one of ABC’s top-rated programs. Douglas earned three consecutive Emmy Award nominations for his role and also directed two episodes of the series.
Long interested in producing a film version of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Douglas purchased the movie rights from his father. He partnered with Saul Zaentz to produce the film, which is one of only three movies to sweep the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress. The film won for Best Screenplay as well.
Douglas next produced the prophetic 1979 hit The China Syndrome, in which he starred with Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon, who both received Academy Award nominations. The film was also nominated for Best Screenplay. Douglas also starred in Michael Crichton’s Coma, Claudia Weill’s It’s My Turn, Peter Hyams’ The Star Chamber and Running.
In 1984, Douglas produced the smash-hit romantic action comedy Romancing the Stone, in which he also starred with Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito, under the direction of Robert Zemeckis. Douglas was also an executive producer on John Carpenter’s Starman, a 1984 holiday-season hit. The following year, he was reunited with Turner and DeVito in The Jewel of the Nile, the sequel to Romancing the Stone. He also starred in Richard Attenborough’s 1985 film version of A Chorus Line.
Douglas went on to star in one of the biggest hits of 1987, Fatal Attraction, opposite Glenn Close. He then starred in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain before re-teaming with Turner and DeVito in the black comedy War of the Roses. In 1992, Douglas starred with Sharon Stone in Paul Verhoeven’s memorable erotic thriller Basic Instinct, one of the year’s top-grossing films. He delivered a powerful performance in Joel Schumacher’s drama Falling Down, opposite Robert Duvall, in 1993.
Over the next five years Douglas starred in Barry Levinson’s Disclosure, opposite Demi Moore; Rob Reiner’s The American President, with Annette Bening; The Ghost and the Darkness, which he also executive produced; David Fincher’s The Game, co-starring Sean Penn; and A Perfect Murder, opposite Gwyneth Paltrow.
During the 1990s, Douglas served as a producer or executive producer on such films as Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners, Richard Donner’s Radio Flyer, Richard Benjamin’s Made in America, John Woo’s Face/Off and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker, based on the John Grisham novel.
In 2000, Douglas starred in Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys, for which he received Golden Globe Award® and BAFTA nominations. He also shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination as part of the ensemble cast of Steven Soderbergh’s award-winning drama Traffic. Douglas produced and starred in the 2001 comedy One Night at McCool’s before making a rare guest appearance on the hit television series “Will & Grace,” earning a 2002 Emmy nomination for his performance.
Recent film credits include the political thriller The Sentinel, the comedy You, Me, and Dupree, the independent drama King of California, the crime-drama Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, the comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and dramedy It Runs in the Family, which co-starred his father Kirk, mother Diana and son Cameron.
In 1998, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan named Douglas a Messenger of Peace, concentrating on nuclear proliferation and the control of small arms. In 2004, Douglas was honored with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Cecil B. DeMille Award. Most recently, Douglas was honored with both the Producers Guild Award and the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his vital contributions to filmmaking as both an actor and a producer.
Douglas is married to actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and they have a son, Dylan, and a daughter, Carys. Douglas also has a son, Cameron, from a previous marriage.
CHANNING TATUM (Aaron) is a talented young actor who has captured the attention of fans and critics alike. His breakthrough role came in 2006 when he received an Independent Spirit Award nomination and a Gotham Award nomination for his powerful role in the independent film A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, which won the Special Jury Prize for Best Ensemble Performance at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. Written and directed by Dito Montiel, who also won a directing award at Sundance, this powerful coming-of-age drama was based on Montiel’s 2003 memoir of the same title.
The actor was recently seen in the epic Roman adventure The Eagle, directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald, co-starring Jamie Bell and Donald Sutherland; and the romance Dear John, opposite Amanda Seyfried, for director Lasse Hallström. Tatum also starred in the action hit G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, directed by Stephen Sommers and co-starring Sienna Miller, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Dennis Quaid.
Other film credits include Dito Montiel’s Fighting, opposite Terrence Howard; Kimberly Peirce’s Stop-Loss, with Abbie Cornish; Andy Fickman’s She’s the Man, with Amanda Bynes; and Anne Fletcher’s Step Up.
Tatum was born in Alabama and raised in Florida. At age 20, his first paying job was as one of the lead dancers in the Ricky Martin video for “She Bangs.” He then moved to Miami and was discovered by a modeling scout. Soon thereafter, Tatum shot his first fashion feature, with Bruce Weber, for Vogue. He then landed campaigns for Abercrombie & Fitch, Nautica, Gap, Dolce & Gabbana, Emporio Armani and Aeropostale. At age 23, he starred in a Pepsi commercial for acclaimed director Tarsem Singh and two popular Mountain Dew commercials directed by Kinka Usher. Tatum was then signed by a talent agency and started taking acting classes with Harold Guskin and at the Dena Levy Acting Studio.
In 2004, he had his first guest appearance on a television show with a role on “CSI: Miami.” In 2005, he starred in the features Havoc, opposite Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Coach Carter, with Samuel L. Jackson. That same year, he starred as motocross superstar Rowdy Sparks in Supercross.
Tatum currently resides in Los Angeles.
ANTONIO BANDERAS (Rodrigo) is one of the leading international actors of his generation. Since his introduction to American cinema in the highly acclaimed Mambo Kings, Banderas has received critical praise for his performances in film, television and theater. In 2005, he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He was most recently seen in the moody thriller The Skin I Live In, directed by his longtime collaborator Pedro Almodóvar.
For his performance in Alan Parker’s Evita, opposite Madonna, Banderas received his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. He earned his second for Martin Campbell’s The Mask of Zorro, opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones, and his third for HBO’s 2003 telefilm “And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself,” in the title role.
Banderas stole the show in the 2004 blockbuster Shrek 2, as the voice of “Puss in Boots.” He reprised his role in the sequels Shrek the Third and Shrek Forever After as well as in his own Puss in Boots film, an international hit.
Banderas has worked with some of Hollywood’s best directors and actors. He starred in Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado, with Salma Hayek, and its sequel Once Upon a Time in Mexico, opposite Johnny Depp. For the crime drama The Code, he worked with Morgan Freeman and on The Other Man he teamed up with Laura Linney and Liam Neeson. Banderas also starred in Original Sin, opposite Angelina Jolie; Neil Jordan’s Interview with a Vampire, with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt; Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia, opposite Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington; Bille August’s House of the Spirits, with Meryl Streep and Glenn Close; Brian de Palma’s Femme Fatale, with Rebecca Romijn; and Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, with Naomi Watts, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Brolin and Freida Pinto.
Other film credits include the Spy Kids trilogy, Miami Rhapsody, Four Rooms, Assassins, Never Talk to Strangers, Two Much, The 13th Warrior, Play it to the Bone, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, Take the Lead and The Legend of Zorro.
Banderas’ second directorial feature is the Spanish film El Camino De Los Ingleses (titled Summer Rain in the U.S.). A coming-of-age story, the film follows the first loves, lusts and obsessions of friends on vacation at the end of the 1970s. He made his directorial debut with Crazy in Alabama, starring his wife Melanie Griffith.
Born in Malaga, Spain, Banderas attended the School of Dramatic Arts in his hometown. Upon graduation, he began his acting career working in a small theater company. He later moved to Madrid and became an ensemble member of the prestigious National Theater of Spain.
In 1982, Banderas was cast by acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar in Labyrinth of Passion. They went on to make Matador, Law of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
In 2003, Banderas earned a Tony Award® nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theater Company production of “Nine,” a musical inspired by Federico Fellini’s classic film 8 ½. Banderas also received a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League Award and Theatre World Award.
BILL PAXTON (Mr. Kane) is a highly respected actor and director who has starred in such blockbuster films as Twister, True Lies, Aliens, Tombstone, Apollo 13 and Titanic. He will next be seen in Daniel Hsia’s Shanghai Calling, alongside Alan Ruck and Zhu Zhu. On the small screen, Paxton received three Golden Globe Award nominations for his work on the acclaimed HBO drama series “Big Love,” starring opposite Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloë Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin. He will be seen in the 2012 History Channel series “Hatfields & McCoys,” starring alongside Kevin Costner and Mare Winningham.
Paxton works on both sides of the camera. He is currently executive producing (along with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman) a miniseries for HBO that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The miniseries is set to air on HBO in 2013.
In 2001, Paxton directed the gothic thriller Frailty, in which he also starred alongside Matthew McConaughey. Frailty was honored with the National Board of Review’s Special Mention for Excellence in Filmmaking. In 2005, Paxton directed the sports drama The Greatest Game Ever Played, starring Shia LaBeouf. Additionally, he served as a producer on the features The Good Life and Traveller, in which he starred with Mark Wahlberg and Julianna Margulies.
Paxton began his career as a set dresser on producer Roger Corman’s Big Bad Mama in the mid 1970s. After working in the art department on several features, Paxton moved to New York to study acting with Stella Adler. Returning to Los Angeles in 1980, he met James Cameron while moonlighting as a set dresser on Roger Corman’s Galaxy of Terror.
After gaining much attention in the John Hughes comedy Weird Science and Cameron’s classic Aliens, Paxton turned in a widely acclaimed performance as a small-town sheriff in Carl Franklin’s One False Move that marked his emergence as a leading man. In 1998, Roger Ebert cited Paxton as his Best Actor choice for his turn as Hank Mitchell in Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan. That same year, Paxton received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in HBO’s “A Bright Shining Lie.”
Other film credits include U-571, Mighty Joe Young, Vertical Limit, Trespass, Indian Summer, Near Dark, Boxing Helena, The Dark Backwards, Club Dread, The Evening Star, Streets of Fire, Frank and Jesse, Navy Seals, Predator 2, The Vagrant and Pass the Ammo.
Paxton, a native of Ft. Worth, Texas, now resides with his wife and children in California.
MICHAEL ANGARANO (Scott) As one of the most gifted actors of his generation, Michael Angarano is making his mark on Hollywood with diverse roles that have established him as a respected and sought after young actor.
Angarano recently wrapped production on Craig Zisk’s “The English Teacher,” starring opposite Julianne Moore, Nathan Lane, and Greg Kinnear. Angarano plays a failed playright who returns to to his hometown, and unwittingly upends the life of his former high school English teacher (Moore), who falls for him.
Additionally, he will be seen upcoming in Ramaa Mosley’s “The Brass Teapot” opposite Juno Temple. The film follows a young married couple (Angarano and Temple) who are trying to break out of poverty when they find a mysterious teapot that will grant them unlimited money in exchange for someone else’s suffering. The film is to be released in 2012.
Recently, Angarano starred opposite Melissa Leo and John Goodman in “Red State,” which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was released on October 19th, 2011. Additionally, he appeared in Gavin Wiesen’s “The Art of Getting By” opposite Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore and Max Winkler’s “Ceremony” opposite Uma Thurman. “Ceremony” follows a young guy (Angarano) who tries to crash the wedding of a thirty-something woman (Thurman) with whom he’s infatuated.
His breakthrough performance came in Wes Craven’s “Music of the Heart,” opposite Meryl Streep, in 1999. Shortly after, he starred in Cameron Crowe’s Academy Award® nominated film Almost Famous opposite Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Zooey Deschanel and Patrick Fugit. Angarano played the role of young William (Patrick Fugit’s character) and shared many of his scenes with acclaimed actress Frances McDormand.
Angarano’s other film credits include Jared Hess’ “Gentlemen Broncos” opposite Sam Rockwell and Jemaine Clement; David Gordon Green’s “Snow Angels” opposite Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale; “Rob Minkoff’s “The Forbidden Kingdom” opposite Jackie Chan and Jet Li; Catherine Hardwicke’s Lords of Dogtown opposite Heath Ledger and Emile Hirsch; Mike Mitchell’s Sky High opposite Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston; Brad Gann’s “Black Irish; Alex Steyermark’s One Last Thing opposite Cynthia Nixon; Thomas Vinterberg’s Dear Wendy; Gary Ross’ Seabiscuit opposite Tobey Maguire and Jeff Bridges; David Evans “The Final Season” opposite Sean Astin and Rachael Leigh Cook; and Michael Schroeder’s “Man in the Chair” opposite Christopher Plummer.
On television, Angarano appeared in a four-episode arc on FOX’s hit drama 24 opposite Kiefer Sutherland. He also guest starred on NBC’s Emmy® winning comedy Will and Grace as Elliot’, the son of Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes). Angarano’s other television credits include E.R., CSI, “Less Than Perfect,” “Summerland, and Kevin Hill.”
Angarano was born in Brooklyn, New York and currently resides in Los Angeles.
MATHIEU KASSOVITZ (Studer) is one of the leading filmmakers to emerge from France in recent years, and he has built his European success into an impressive career in the United States. His first English-language film, Gothika, was a supernatural thriller starring Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr. and Penelope Cruz. He followed this success with the science-fiction thriller Babylon A.D., which he wrote and directed.
Named by Newsweek one of seven people who will “shape the future,” Kassovitz received his greatest critical acclaim as the writer and director of the French drama Hate (La Haine). The film won the Best Director award at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival as well as César Awards for Best Screenplay and Best Editing.
After making three short films for Canal Plus, Kassovitz wrote, directed and starred in his first feature, the interracial romantic comedy Café Au Lait. He followed that film with Hate and the provocative Assassin(S), in which he starred opposite Michel Serrault. In 2000, he directed the dark thriller Crimson Rivers, starring Jean Reno and Vincent Cassel.
As an actor, Kassovitz is best known for his lead role opposite Audrey Tautou in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s international sensation Amélie. Among his many other leading roles, he starred alongside Eric Bana, Daniel Craig and Geoffrey Rush in Munich, Steven Spielberg’s drama based on real events.
Early in his acting career, Kassovitz won the Best Young Actor César for his performance in Jacques Audiard’s See How They Fall. He has also appeared in such films as Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element and Jez Butterworth’s Birthday Girl, opposite Nicole Kidman. Kassovitz also received a César nomination for his performance as a conflicted priest in Costa Gavras’ 2002 Holocaust drama Amen.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
STEVEN SODERBERGH (Director) won the Academy Award for Best Director for his 2000 ensemble drama Traffic. He actually earned dual Best Director Oscar nominations that year as he was also honored for Erin Brockovich, which starred Julia Roberts in an Oscar-winning performance. Previously, Soderbergh was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for sex, lies, and videotape, which marked his feature film directorial debut. The film also won the Palme d’Or at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.
More recently, he directed Contagion, a medical thriller with an international ensemble cast including Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet. And Everything is Going Fine, his feature film documenting the life and work of the late performance artist Spalding Gray, made its world premiere at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival. The two had previously worked together on Gray’s Anatomy and King of the Hill.
Among his other film credits are The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant!, Che, the Ocean’s trilogy, The Good German, Bubble, Solaris, Full Frontal, The Limey, Out of Sight, Schizopolis, The Underneath, King of the Hill and Kafka.
Soderbergh also wrote, directed, photographed and edited Equilibrium, starring Alan Arkin, Robert Downey, Jr. and Ele Keats, which was one of three short, eroticism-themed films released together as Eros. Michelangelo Antonioni and Wong Kar-wai directed the other two segments. The film made its premiere at the 2004 Venice Film Festival.
Soderbergh has also produced or executive produced a wide range of features including Solitary Man, directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien; Far From Heaven and I’m Not There, directed by Todd Haynes; Michael Clayton, directed by Tony Gilroy; the documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, directed by Marina Zenovich; Wind Chill and Criminal, directed by Gregory Jacobs; Good Night, and Good Luck and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, directed by George Clooney; A Scanner Darkly, directed by Richard Linklater; Rumor Has It…, directed by Rob Reiner; Syriana, directed by Stephen Gaghan; Lodge Kerrigan’s Keane, which played at the Telluride, Toronto and New York film festivals; The Jacket, directed by John Maybury; Insomnia, directed by Christopher Nolan; Welcome to Collinwood, directed by Anthony and Joseph Russo; Pleasantville, directed by Gary Ross; and The Daytrippers, directed by Greg Mottola.
In December 2009, Soderbergh created and directed the play “Tot Mom,” produced at the Sydney Theatre Company. Based on the kidnapping and murder of Caylee Anthony, the play starred Essie Davis as controversial television commentator Nancy Grace, whose crusade for justice ignited worldwide interest in the crime.
At the same time, he also directed his 22nd film, The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg, an improvised comedy starring the cast of “Tot Mom.”
LEM DOBBS (Screenwriter) first collaborated with Steven Soderbergh on Kafka, starring Jeremy Irons and Sir Alec Guinness. A second collaboration resulted in the critically acclaimed The Limey, starring Terence Stamp and Peter Fonda. More recently, Dobbs co-wrote heist movie The Score, directed by Frank Oz, which teamed acting heavyweights Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Edward Norton.
The son of prominent American artist R.B. Kitaj, Dobbs was born and raised in England. A year spent in Hollywood, where his father was visiting professor at UCLA, fueled his lifelong passion for movies. Dobbs was able to meet such filmmaking legends as John Ford, Billy Wilder, George Cukor and Jean Renoir.
While a student at the American School in London, Dobbs worked part-time in the famed Cinema Bookshop. He returned to Los Angeles at the age of 18 to write screenplays, including the legendary unproduced script Edward Ford. Another script, The Marvel of the Haunted Castle, led to his tenure at 20th Century Fox as the youngest writer ever put under long-term contract by a studio.
Dobbs’ other films include John Badham’s The Hard Way, starring Michael J. Fox and James Woods, and the landmark science-fiction thriller Dark City, directed by Alex Proyas and declared the best film of 1998 by Roger Ebert. The film also won the prestigious Saturn Award for best sci-fi film, the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association of America and the Australian Film Critics Circle Award for best screenplay. Both The Limey and Dark City were honored as official selections of the Cannes Film Festival.
As a film historian, Dobbs has contributed articles to such journals as the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound and provided DVD commentaries for the films Double Indemnity, The Sand Pebbles and Von Ryan’s Express.
GREGORY JACOBS (Producer) collaborated with Steven Soderbergh on the medical thriller “Contagion,” starring Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet; The Informant!, starring Matt Damon; The Girlfriend Experience, starring Sasha Grey; The Good German, starring George Clooney, Cate Blanchett and Tobey Maguire; Full Frontal, starring Julia Roberts and Catherine Keener; and Bubble, which starred non-actors. Previously, he produced Equilibrium, Soderbergh’s segment of a trio of short films released together as Eros. Michaelangelo Antonioni and Wong Kar-wai directed the other two segments.
Jacobs was the executive producer of Soderbergh’s Spanish-language film Che, starring Benicio Del Toro as Che Guevara. The film debuted at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, where Del Toro received the Best Actor Award.
Jacobs and Soderbergh began their association in 1992, when Jacobs was first assistant director on King of the Hill. He has collaborated with the director on nine additional films, including Ocean’s Thirteen (executive producer), Ocean’s Twelve (co-producer), Ocean’s Eleven (first assistant director), Solaris (executive producer), Traffic, Erin Brockovich, The Limey, Out of Sight and The Underneath.
Jacobs directed the supernatural thriller Wind Chill, starring Emily Blunt, Ashton Holmes and Martin Donovan. He made his writing and directorial debut on Criminal, starring John C. Reilly, Diego Luna and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Prior to its 2004 release, the film was shown at the Venice, Deauville and London film festivals.
As a first assistant director, Jacobs worked frequently with such notable directors as the Coen brothers, Jodie Foster, John Schlesinger, Roland Joffe, Hal Hartley and Richard Linklater.
A native of New Jersey, Jacobs attended New York University’s film school.
RYAN KAVANAUGH (Producer) is the CEO and founder of Relativity Media (Relativity), as well as a successful producer and highly regarded expert in film finance. In addition to executive producing David Fincher’s Oscar-nominated drama The Social Network, his credits as producer include Neil Burger’s Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro; David O. Russell’s The Fighter, starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale; and Tarsem Singh’s recent blockbuster 3D hit Immortals, starring Henry Cavill and Mickey Rourke, which brought in nearly $200 million worldwide.
Kavanaugh produced the upcoming Untitled Snow White film starring Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer and Nathan Lane, and is now in preproduction on Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven. Other film credits include Despicable Me, Mamma Mia! Brothers, 3:10 to Yuma, Grown Ups and Dear John.
With Kavanaugh at the helm, Relativity is now an established media and entertainment company engaged in creating, financing and distributing first-class, studio-quality entertainment content and intellectual property across multiple platforms. Relativity has produced, distributed and/or structured financing for more than 200 motion pictures generating more than $16 billion in worldwide box-office revenue and earning 60 Oscar nominations.
Kavanaugh received the 2009 Hollywood Producer of the Year Award at the 13th Annual Hollywood Awards gala. Daily Variety published a special issue honoring Kavanaugh as a billion-dollar producer. In 2010, The Hollywood Reporter bestowed its Leadership Award to Kavanaugh and devoted a special issue to his career. He has also been named Variety’s Showman of the Year for 2011 and was honored at the most recent Cannes Film Festival. Kavanaugh was also named one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40: Most Influential People in Business” and Forbes’ “Future 400: Ones to Watch.”
Kavanaugh has created business and financial structures for a number of studios, production companies and producers, introducing more than $10 billion in capital to these structures. During Relativity’s first year of operation, Kavanaugh executed a groundbreaking finance deal for Marvel Studios that led them to launch the successful Iron Man film franchise. He went on to structure business deals for companies as Sony, Universal, Warner Bros. and many others.
Kavanaugh has acquired a wealth of strategic assets, including the marketing and distribution operations of Overture Films, the film unit of John Malone’s Liberty Media/Starz. He reached a first-of-its-kind pay television deal with Netflix. In addition, Kavanaugh forged a marketing and production partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin brands, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Produced, in which Relativity owns a stake. Kavanaugh also brokered an innovative cross-platform marketing partnership with Clear Channel Radio, the leading media company in America with more reach in the U.S. than any radio or television outlet.
Kavanaugh was also instrumental in launching Relativity’s historic partnership with China’s Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd. to become equal partners in SkyLand Entertainment and handle the production and distribution of films in China and the U.S. This joint venture is the first and only government-sanctioned pact of its kind.
TUCKER TOOLEY (Executive Producer) is the co-president of Relativity Media and oversees day-to-day operations alongside president and CFO Steve Bertram. He also oversees Relativity’s film slate. During Tooley’s time at Relativity, the company’s single-picture films division has earned recognition with Golden Globe and Oscar nods for such films as The Fighter, Brothers and Nine. In 2009, Tooley was honored with the Ischia Global Film Festival’s Executive of the Year Award.
Tucker joined Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media in 2007 as president of production, after a decade of producing 12 feature films and television on his own,. Tooley and Kavanaugh have built the single-picture films division into a full-fledged studio that develops, finances, produces, acquires and distributes eight-to-10 films per year. Tooley most recently worked on the company’s untitled Snow White project and 21 and Over, but he has also executive produced such films as Neil Burger’s Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish and Robert De Niro; David O. Russell’s The Fighter, with Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo; and Lasse Hallström’s Dear John, starring Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried.
Prior to joining Relativity, Tooley served as CEO of Tooley Productions. There, he independently produced television shows and feature films for more than a decade. Tooley was able to consistently produce commercial films, package A-list talent and deliver films both on budget and on schedule. His credits include Shadowboxer, starring Helen Mirren and directed by Lee Daniels, and the critically acclaimed Felon, directed by Ric Roman Waugh.
In 1999, Tooley established production shingle Newman/Tooley Films with then-producing partner Vincent Newman. Over the next seven years, the duo produced a successful slate of both independent and studio films, working with much of the top talent in Hollywood.
Tooley began his producing career as a creative executive at Interlight Pictures. He received his B.A. from U.C. Santa Barbara.
MICHAEL POLAIRE (Co-Producer and Unit Production Manager) has collaborated with Steven Soderbergh on four films. Most recently, he co-produced Contagion, a medical thriller starring an international ensemble cast led by Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet; and The Informant!, starring Matt Damon as Archer-Daniels-Midland executive Mark Whitacre, who secretly gathered evidence for the FBI and became the highest-ranked executive to turn whistleblower in U.S. history.
In 2002, Polaire worked on the director’s adaptation of the science-fiction novel Solaris, starring George Clooney and Natascha McElhone. He first teamed with Soderbergh on the comedy Full Frontal, starring David Duchovny, Catherine Keener and Julia Roberts.
Polaire was also involved in the PBS documentaries “Carrier,” a 10-hour miniseries chronicling life on an aircraft carrier deployed to the Persian Gulf, and “Paradise,” dealing with the same subject.
He served as co-producer and UPM on Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies and Trey Parker’s Team America: World Police. Polaire produced David Lynch’s Academy Award-nominated mystery Mulholland Drive and executive produced Lynch’s family drama The Straight Story, for which Richard Farnsworth received an Academy Award nomination. He also served as executive producer on John McNaughton’s Speaking of Sex, with Bill Murray and James Spader.
Polaire co-produced Roman Coppola’s directorial debut CQ, starring Gérard Depardieu, Jeremy Davies and Élodie Bouchez. The film was screened at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. He also co-produced A Simple Plan, for director Sam Raimi; the hit remake of Flubber, starring Robin Williams; and director John Schlesinger’s Eye for an Eye, with Sally Field, Ed Harris and Joe Mantegna.
As a unit production manager, Polaire has collaborated with such directors as Costa Gavras (The Music Box, Betrayed), Arthur Hiller (The Babe), Tim Burton (Ed Wood), Philip Noyce (The Saint) and Irwin Winkler (Guilty by Suspicion). He also served as the unit production manager on the nine-hour miniseries “Mussolini,” starring George C. Scott, Gabriel Byrne, Raul Julia and Robert Downey, Jr.
HOWARD CUMMINGS (Production Designer) has enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Steven Soderbergh, for whom he designed the dark thriller The Underneath, and with Greg Jacobs, for whom he designed Wind Chill. He most recently designed Soderbergh’s international thriller Contagion, filmed in Hong Kong, Macau, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, Casablanca, London and Geneva.
He has collaborated with director Chris Columbus on three projects, the most recent being Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief, which followed his designs for the filmmaker’s big-screen musical Rent and the romantic comedy I Love You, Beth Cooper. Cummings worked with David Koepp on Ghost Town, The Trigger Effect and Secret Window. His other affiliations include such directors as Francis Ford Coppola (The Rainmaker), Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects), Danny DeVito (Death to Smoochy, What’s the Worst That Could Happen?), Terry Zwigoff (Art School Confidential), John Schlesinger (The Next Best Thing), Bruce Beresford (Double Jeopardy), Renny Harlin (The Long Kiss Goodnight) and Alan Rudolph (Mortal Thoughts), among others.
Cummings’ resume also includes such renowned films as The Spitfire Grill, Lemon Sky, On Valentine’s Day, A Shock to the System and Signs of Life. Television credits include the acclaimed “Indictment: The McMartin Trial,” “A Dangerous Affair,” “The Stalking,” “Assault at West Point: The Court-Martial of Johnson Whittaker,” “Caught in the Act,” “Strapped” and “Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore.” He earned a Daytime Emmy Award nomination in 1987 for his designs on ABC’s “Afterschool Special: Out of Step.”
Cummings graduated from New York University with an M.F.A. in scenic design. Before segueing into film and television, he spent several years working as a production designer at American Playhouse, where he created the look for their 1985 project “Three Sovereigns for Sarah.”
SHOSHANA RUBIN (Costume Designer) made her feature film debut as costume designer on Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant!, starring Matt Damon. Since then, Rubin has worked on the Comedy Central pilot “Ghosts/Aliens” for director Michael Patrick Jann, and the feature Prom, for director Joe Nussbaum.
Prior to designing on her own, Rubin worked as a costumer for designer Jeffrey Kurland on such films as My Best Friend’s Wedding, Erin Brockovich, Ocean’s Eleven, Man on the Moon and Collateral. She has also worked with Louise Frogley on Traffic and with Milena Canonero on Solaris.
In 1996, Rubin graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.F.A. She immediately left for Chicago, where she was hired by Kurland as a costumer on My Best Friend’s Wedding.
In 1999, Rubin designed what has become a very famous short film, George Lucas in Love, directed by Joe Nussbaum.
R.A. RONDELL (Stunt Coordinator) received a SAG Award nomination as part of the ensemble stunt team on TNT’s “The Closer.” The World Stunt Awards have honored him with Taurus Award nominations for Best Stunt Coordinator on a Feature Film, for The Matrix Reloaded, and for Best Stunt Coordinator and/or Second Unit Director: Action Sequence, for The Patriot.
Rondell is a third-generation stuntman whose career was fostered by his reputation as a fearless motorcycle racer. His skill on two wheels got him hired at age 17 for his first job, a Suzuki commercial that also earned him his SAG card. Before graduating high school, he doubled Jan Michael Vincent swimming in the Cloud River rapids for Baby Blue Marine. It was the beginning of what would become a stellar career as a stuntman and stunt coordinator.
Early in his career, Rondell worked as a stuntman on the features Bound for Glory, American Hot Wax and Animal House as well as such television shows as “Knight Rider.” By the age of 19, he had stunt coordinated his first movie, Fast Charlie… the Moonbeam Rider, a period film about a motorcycle race from St. Louis to San Francisco. The job culminated in Rondell and two members of his team being voted into Stunts Unlimited, the three youngest members to be admitted to that organization.
Early film credits include Knightriders, Taps, Heart Like a Wheel, To Live and Die in L.A., Die Hard, Caddyshack II, Twins and Police Academy 6: City Under Siege. On television, he performed in the original “Charlie’s Angels” as well as “The Rookies,” “Hart to Hart,” “Baywatch” and “Vanishing Point.”
In 1982, Rondell was hired to double William Shatner during the first season of “T.J. Hooker.” He stayed on for five years and 96 episodes as the stunt coordinator and second unit director, which earned him a DGA card. He continued his relationship with Shatner, working as stunt coordinator on Star Trek III and Star Trek IV.
In 1994, Rondell was hired as the stunt coordinator on Waterworld, starring Kevin Costner. During the nearly yearlong shoot, he and a team of 125 stunt performers worked on both land and sea. He has since been the stunt coordinator on more than a dozen motion pictures including Matilda, Dante’s Peak, Home Alone 3, Godzilla, Deep Blue Sea, Blue Streak, The Patriot, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Van Helsing, Constantine, State of the Union, Superman Returns and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
AARON COHEN (Technical Advisor) grew up in Los Angeles, California. After spending three years in Israel’s “counter- terrorist ” special operations unit, Duvdevan, he returned home and founded IMS Security, a consulting firm that specializes in providing tactical counterterrorism training to the United States military, to local and state police departments, and to various SWAT units around the country and offers protective services to politicians, business executives, actors, and rock stars.
Cohen’s bestselling first book, Brotherhood of Warriors: Behind Enemy Lines with a Commando in one of the World’s Most Elite Counterterrorism Units, was published by Harper Collins in April 2008 and is now available in 6 languages.
In addition to training Special-Forces units and providing elite security, Cohen is a regular pundit specializing in on-air expertise including: CNN’s Larry King Live, The Joy Behar Show, The Today Show, FOX News Channel, MSNBC, Access Hollywood, The Travel Channel, Telemundo, UPN 13, and Fox 11 News Los Angeles and has been featured in Playboy Magazine, Los Angeles Times, New York Post, Los Angeles Daily News, FHM Magazine, Elite Traveler Magazine, Razor Magazine, The Jewish Journal, and Lifestyles Magazine.
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