του Τζόναθαν Λιβάιν
με τους Τζόζεφ Γκόρντον Λέβιτ, Σεθ Ρόγκεν, Άνα Κέντρικ, Μπράις Ντάλας Χάουαρντ, Αντζέλικα Χιούστον
Μόλις είκοσι και κάτι, ο Άνταμ (Τζόζεφ Γκόρντον-Λέβιτ) μαθαίνει ότι πάσχει από καρκίνο. Αποφασίζει όμως, να μην το βάλει κάτω και με την βοήθεια του φίλου του Κάιλ (Σεθ Ρόγκεν) αντιμετωπίζει την ασθένεια, με χιούμορ και αισιοδοξία.
Εμπνευσμένο από μια απίστευτη, αληθινή ιστορία, το “50/50” είναι μια αστεία, συγκινητική, πρωτότυπη ιστορία για τη φιλία, την αγάπη, τη ζωή.
Η Βαθμολογία μου:
Η "αρσενική", πιο ανεξάρτητη εκδοχή του "ΕΝΑΣ ΜΙΚΡΟΣ ΠΑΡΑΔΕΙΣΟΣ (A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN)" της Νικόλ Κασέλ (με τους Κέιτ Χάντσον, Γκαέλ Γκαρσία Μπερνάλ) απαλλαγμένη από το τυποποιημένο ρομάντζο και τις προβλέψιμες ερμηνείες...
Μια ταινία για τον καρκίνο από μια πιο διασκεδαστική - αισιόδοξη πλευρά αλλά όχι τόσο δυνατή όσο η "θηλυκή" έκδοση του φιλμ "H ΑΔΕΛΦΗ ΜΟΥ ΚΙ ΕΓΩ (MY SISTER’S KEEPER)" του Νικ Κασσαβέτης (με την Κάμερον Ντιάζ). Βασισμένο ως είθισται σε αληθινή ιστορία (σύνηθες σε παρόμοιου περιεχομένου και ύφους ταινίες), το ευρύτερα δημοσιοποιημένο (προσωπικό) δράμα διερευνά την αξία της ζωής και των θετικών συναισθημάτων που απορρέουν παρά τις τραγικές συνέπειες της πιθανής απώλειας στο κοινωνικό (οικείο) περιβάλλον. Η ευαίσθητη ματιά γεμίζει με αισιοδοξία, κουράγιο και ελπίδα την ψυχή και το πνεύμα που μάχονται απέναντι στην σωματική ασθένεια. Η φιλία και η αγάπη είναι όπλα που ρίχονται στην μάχη για να καταπραϋνουν τον σωματικό πόνο και να ελαχιστοποιήσουν τις παρενέργειες της θεραπείας. Εκεί όμως, που η επιστήμη αποτυγχάνει να δώσει λύση, έρχεται η πίστη στη ζωή και η αγνή φιλία να μας υπενθυμίσουν ότι η μάχη μπορεί να είναι ατελής και συνεχής όταν κρατάς την φλόγα της αγάπης άσβεστη. Ο χρόνος της ζωής μπορεί συμβατικά να μεταφράζεται σε χρόνια, μέρες και ώρες, όμως η πραγματικότητα τον μεταφράζει σε σχέσεις, γνώση και δημιουργικότητα.
Ο σκηνοθέτης εμφυσά με φρεσκάδα και πρωτοτυπία το αντιδημοφιλές θέμα του, προσεγγίζοντας διεξοδικά, επιλεκτικά, λίγο συγκαταβατικά και ελάχιστα ακαδημαϊκά την καθιερωμένη μελοδραματική αφήγηση. Στα θετικά σημεία του φιλμ, θα πρέπει να προστεθεί και η ελαχιστοποίηση των ρομαντικών κλισέ που αναπτύσσονται συνήθως κινηματογραφικά πάνω στη γνωριμία μεταξύ ασθενούς - ιατρού, καθώς από μια πιο ρεαλιστική σκοπιά η σχέση αυτή δεν δείχνει καθόλου "φτιαχτή" μα εντελώς φυσική.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt ... Adam
Seth Rogen ... Kyle
Anna Kendrick ... Katie
Bryce Dallas Howard ... Rachael
Julia Benson ... Cancer Patient
Jessica Parker Kennedy ... Jackie
Beatrice King ... Pretty Girl (as Beatrice Ilg)
Marie Avgeropoulos ... Allison
Philip Baker Hall
Lauren Miller ... Dog Walking Girl
Sarah Smyth ... Jenny
Sugar Lyn Beard ... Susan
Veena Sood ... Nurse Stewart
Andrew Airlie ... Dr. Ross
Serge Houde ... Richard
Luisa D'Oliveira ... Agabelle Loogenburgen
Will Reiser ... Greg
Matty Finochio ... Ted
Darien Provost ... Actor
Stephanie Belding ... Cute Nurse
Daniel Bacon ... Dr. Phillips
Nicholas Carella ... MRI Technician
Geoff Gustafson ... Jeremy
Yee Jee Tso ... Dr. Lee
Darla Fay ... Nurse Joanne
William 'Big Sleeps' Stewart ... George
Mireille Urumuri ... Bar Girl
Jy Harris ... Barista
Susan McLellan ... Bar Girl
Daryl Winter ... Nurse
Kyle Hunter ... Will
Christopher De-Schuster ... Artist
Ryan W. Smith ... Joe
Village Films (Ελλάδα)
Summit Home Entertainment
Wildfire Visual Effects
ΚΩΜΩΔΙΑ, ΔΡΑΜΑ, BIOΓΡΑΦΙΚΗ
Dolby Digital / SDDS / DTS
Σίατλ - ΗΠΑ, Βανκούβερ - Καναδάς
Live with It
I'm with Cancer
USA:R (certificate #46558) / Canada:14A (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Ontario) / Ireland:15A / Canada:G (Quebec) / Japan:PG12 / Malaysia:18 (edited version) / Netherlands:12 / Portugal:M/16 / South Korea:15 / Singapore:M18 (cut) / UK:15 / Sweden:7 / Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) / Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) / Argentina:13 / Hong Kong:IIB / Australia:MA
$35 εκατομμύρια (ΗΠΑ)
Στην ταινία πρωταγωνιστούν ο Τζόζεφ Γκόρντον-Λέβιτ (“500 Days of Summer”, “Inception”, “The Dark Knight Rises”) και ο Σεθ Ρόγκεν (“Knocked Up”, “Zack and Miry Make a Porno”, “Superbad”). Δίπλα τους, οι Άννα Κέντρικ (“Up in the Air”, ταινίες “Twilight”), Μπράις Ντάλας Χάουαρντ (“Spider-Man 3”, “Hereafter”) και Άντζέλικα Χιούστον (βραβευμένη με Όσκαρ Β’ Γυναικείου Ρόλου για την “Τιμή των Πρίτζι”). Η σκηνοθεσία είναι του Τζόναθαν Λεβάιν που το 2008 κέρδισε το Βραβείο Κοινού στο Sundance για την ταινία του “The Wackness”.
A young man turns a devastating illness into a unique opportunity to experience life in 50/50, a funny, touching and original story about friendship, love and survival starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen.
Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has a pretty great life—with a talented, sexy artist girlfriend and a great job, the 27-year old seems to have it all. But when Adam begins to suffer with agonizing back pain, he discovers that he has a rare and possibly fatal form of cancer. With a massive, malignant tumor growing along his spinal column, his life changes in a heartbeat. Coffee shops give way to chemotherapy clinics, art openings to counseling sessions and plans for the future to strategies for survival.
Writer Will Reiser experienced his own personal battle with cancer, and was inspired to write an original story which reflects the humor and heartbreak which collide in a touching and often hilarious journey through a world in which a young man is completely unprepared for. His best friend, Kyle (Seth Rogen), uses Adam’s condition to lure girls into sympathy sex, his overbearing mother (Anjelica Huston) loses sight of him in her own fears, his otherwise-occupied girlfriend, Rachael (Bryce Dallas Howard) tries to distract herself an increasingly frantic social life, and Katherine (Anna Kendrick), the young therapist assigned to his case, struggles to keep up with the needs of her third client ever in an unexpectedly funny movie that reminds us that sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, (500) Days of Summer), Seth Rogen (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express), Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, the Twilight Saga franchise), Bryce Dallas Howard (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Spiderman 3) and Academy Award® winner Anjelica Huston (Prizzi’s Honor, The Royal Tenenbaums) star in 50/50. The film is directed by Jonathan Levine (The Wackness) from a script by Will Reiser (Da Ali G Show). Director of photography is Terry Stacey (Dear John). Editor is Zene Baker (Observe and Report). Production designer is Annie Spitz (Cyrus). Costume designer is Carla Hetland (The Butterfly Effect). Original music is by Academy Award® winner Michael Giacchino (Up).
Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, The Green Hornet) and Ben Karlin (“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The Colbert Report”) produced the film. Nathan Kahane (Juno, Stranger than Fiction) and Will Reiser, are executive producers.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and Will Reiser first met behind the scenes of the outrageous British import comedy series, “Da Ali G Show,” where Rogen and Goldberg were up-and-coming writers and Reiser was just beginning his career as the show’s associate producer. All in their early 20s at the time, they were the youngest staff members on the show and bonded immediately.
Then the unthinkable happened. As Rogen and Goldberg watched, their friend began to unravel before their eyes. “The pace on that show was insane,” says Goldberg. “It was 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For about six weeks straight, we would be staring at Will all day and he looked lousier every day. We didn’t know he was sick, so we just made fun of him. Sasha Baron Cohen, who was the star of the show, was kind of the ringleader. And Will laughed along with us.”
“Will was always really sick,” agrees Rogen, “It was like in Raiders of the Lost Ark when those people were melting. He was visibly unhealthy.”
Finally, 8 months after they wrapped on “Da Ali G Show”, Reiser told his friends he had been diagnosed with cancer. “We were obviously shocked and saddened,” Rogen says. “But in a way, it was a huge relief to find out that there a reason he looked so bad. We thought he was just living hard. Will told us he would probably live, which was good news, and we began a long process that we were all pretty ill-equipped to deal with.”
Even as Reiser was going through the process, Rogen and Goldberg were encouraging their friend to start writing. “When anything remotely interesting happens, my first instinct is to try and think of a movie based on it,” Rogen says. “And it seemed to me that I’d never seen a movie about a young dude who has to deal with a potentially fatal disease. I thought it would be really interesting and it could be really funny. Will is so funny and weird and neurotic. He might be the worst guy that could ever get cancer. Not that anyone would take it well, but he has a particularly rattled disposition.”
But Reiser had a long way to go before he would be ready to write the script. His doctors made a tentative diagnosis of lymphoma, but further examination indicated that this was not the case. After batteries of intrusive tests, he learned that he had a giant tumor growing along his spine. “It was big and it was not in a good place,” says Reiser. “It became this unknown entity living in my body and I didn’t quite know what it was. I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be.”
The surgeon walked Reiser through the proposed treatment. A six-hour operation would remove the tumor, but recovery, both physical and emotional, would be long and grueling. “The doctor told me I would be in the hospital for a week,” Reiser remembers. “I didn’t realize it would be a week of the most excruciating pain I had ever experienced.”
It was two full years before he felt he had the proper perspective to reflect on the experience creatively. “At that point, it became cathartic,” he says. “I didn’t know it would be. The more I talked to Evan about what was happening to me, the more he pushed me to write.”
The gravity of the subject made it seem all the more ripe for comic treatment, Goldberg says. “All humor is based on dark and bad things. This is the darkest of topics, and so we thought it could be the funniest of topics—if it was handled correctly.”
Reiser’s first draft had all the elements his friends were hoping for. “Seth and I are super brutal when it comes to any script anyone sends us,” Goldberg says. “This was the best first draft of anything I’ve ever read. I don’t like to say such nice things about my friends, but it’s true. Will nailed it.”
Ben Karlin, who would become a producer of 50/50 first heard the idea for the film when he offered Reiser a job with his production company Superego Industries. A few years earlier, Reiser had been offered a field producing job on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and had turned it down. "We were all shocked when Will passed on the Daily Show job, which was a pretty coveted gig" Karlin says. "Later, we found out that it was because he had just been diagnosed with cancer. Then it made a lot more sense."
The second time around, Reiser accepted. When Karlin learned about the screenplay, he quickly added it to his company’s roster. “Seth and Evan were involved because of their friendship with Will,” he says. “It all came together in a really natural way.”
Karlin notes that although pitching a comedy about cancer sounds like an impossible task, the project had some inherent strengths: “Seth Rogen was involved. That really helped the process. It was a really strong, funny script that hadn’t been done before. Everybody got so excited to work on it.”
“Everybody” included Nathan Kahane, president of Mandate Pictures and producer of several other off-beat comedies, including Juno and Stranger than Fiction. “What drew me to this project was that I had never seen a story about a young person dealing with life and death, on top of all of the things people deal with in their 20s,” says Kahane, who came on board as executive producer. “It felt really fresh.
“It was all there on the page,” Kahane says of the script. “We were in business a couple of days later. Seth and Evan are two of the most creatively exciting producers I’ve ever worked with. They are natural storytellers and they love movies.”
Kahane was most impressed by the depth of experience that the first-time producers brought to the table. “They have been well trained by Judd Apatow,” he says. “They bring an artist’s eye to the process, while still understanding the needs of the moviegoer. Everyone came to this project purely out of passion and it was a great environment.”
After working together for several years to fine-tune the script, the filmmakers turned their attention to finding a director who would understand the story’s delicate balance of drama, pathos and humor. Jonathan Levine, who directed the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award winner The Wackness, read the script and was so moved by it that he tried to get in touch with Rogen and Goldberg directly. “I wrote a letter telling them what a big fan I am of the way they have been able to take comedy in new and challenging directions,” Levine says. “I told them how much I wanted to work with them and how much I loved this project.”
But Levine’s letter sat unanswered on Goldberg’s desk for a long time—two and half years. “I kept thinking about that letter,” says Goldberg. “It was so nice that I put it aside and said, ‘we really should respond to that letter. That guy was really nice.’”
As the search for a director heated up, Goldberg’s assistant suggested that he watch The Wackness. Goldberg did and recalls, “It was awesome.”
After his first meeting with Levine, Rogen remembers thinking, “He’s exactly like us, and we got along really well. You can tell pretty quickly if someone has a vision and Jonathan clearly had a vision. The minute we sat down and started talking to him, we knew he was a guy that we could totally work with.”
Reiser says Levine’s understanding of the fine line between comedy and drama made him the perfect choice. “Jonathan brought his own unique point of view to the movie and we were very fortunate to work with him,” says the writer.
Levine’s approach began with a decision to put the idea of genre to the side and concentrate on the characters. “The actors are driving the story,” he says. “I have a tendency to want to do cool stuff with the camera, but I had to tone down my visual approach. That’s not to say that there isn’t some cool visual stuff, but the movie is more about the performances and letting the actors find the truth in the situation. The fact that Will wrote an amazingly funny and sincere script was a great asset to me.”
He admits that at first he was a little star-struck by his producers. “They are the ones who really put this together,” says Levine. “I’m just happy they allowed me to participate. I’ve learned from them, even though a couple of them are younger than I am. It’s been an amazing collective experience.”
During pre-production, Levine and the producers spent considerable time brainstorming the story and riffing on existing scenes. “It was extremely collaborative,” says the director. “We had a great script, but we knew we weren’t handcuffed to it. Ben created two of the greatest television comedy franchises of all time. Seth and Evan are obviously amazing comedy writers. Will was very gracious about that, and we were all true to the spirit of what he had written.”
According to Rogen, the filmmakers were mindful not to try to create a “funny” world or have people act in an inauthentic way for the sake of comedy. “We thought that the characters and their attitudes were funny and we approached it as realistically as humanly possible.”
The process enabled them to excise anything from the script that felt too obviously like a joke. “The movie’s very funny,” says Levine, “But it never comes from people acting unlike people would in real life. The best humor comes from characters and that guided the way I approached this movie.”
The filmmakers’ research included talking to cancer patients, including Reiser, at length and visiting a cancer center in Seattle where they observed chemotherapy and radiation treatment. As they delved into their subject, they found that many people involved with the film had been touched by the disease. “When you tell someone you have cancer, you suddenly become a member of a fraternity,” says Reiser. “You realize that there is a tight-knit network that connects us. Cancer can be unexpectedly humanizing. Everybody feels the same thing when they’re sick: they feel completely alone and abandoned by their body and they don’t know how to relate to the people around them.
“I felt like everyone around me freaked out,” he continues. “People were constantly coming up to me with the cure for cancer, saying ‘I know this guy…’ I became a spectacle, so I tried to make as much fun of that as possible.”
Evan Goldberg recalls, “There were a lot of weird moments for Will. People kept sharing things with him that they hadn’t before, for some reason. And that happens in the movie. All of the characters have their own issues that they resolve through Adam’s cancer.”
While Reiser sprinkled a few of the details of his personal experience into the story (for example, his actual MRI and CAT scans were used in the hospital scenes), many others come from the writer’s imagination and research. For example, unlike the character of Adam, Reiser did not have to undergo chemotherapy before the surgery to remove the tumor growing along his spine.
“It’s important to point out that 50/50 is not an autobiography,” he says. “It is inspired by my experience and the experiences of people around me. I didn’t have to go through some of the more horrible treatments that people have to go through.”
Reiser hopes the film addresses some of the universal concerns of cancer patients. “Cancer means that the cells in your body are mutating. There’s nothing more personal than your body attacking itself, so how do you relate to other people around you? You can’t. I wanted to show that in a way that was dark and funny and absurd, because the whole experience was so bizarre. Humor was the thing that saved me through it all. I wanted to share that.”
He adds, “I like the idea that this movie allows people to talk about their experiences with cancer and not be afraid of that. I think it’s okay for us to laugh at illness and how absurd it is, and it’s also okay to cry.”
“Ultimately, we just wanted to make a good movie,” says Ben Karlin. “But it would be nice if people coming out of it felt a little better, because cancer is one of the worst things that could happen to you or a loved one. And here, a guy actually gets better in more ways than one.”
NO ORDINARY JOE
50/50 boasts an extraordinary cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam Lerner and Seth Rogen as his best friend Kyle, as well as Academy Award® winner Anjelica Huston, Academy Award® nominee Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard as the women in Adam’s life. “I’m so in love with the cast,” says Nathan Kahane. “We have multi-dimensional actors in every role.”
Will Reiser envisioned the character of Adam Lerner as a perfectionist who is stunned to be confronted by something he can’t control. “Cancer pulls everything apart and dismantles the life you’ve constructed around you,” he says. “There is nothing you can do but just let go and stop trying to control everything.”
Adam has settled for a life that is safe, but not fulfilling. “He is living a solid B-minus life,” says Ben Karlin. “But he doesn’t know it’s a B-minus. The heart and the soul of the story is that he has to re-examine his life at an age when most people aren’t remotely thinking about that.”
Gordon-Levitt joined the cast in the role of Adam Lerner just a week before filming began. “We had to move fast or the movie might not have happened,” says director Jonathan Levine. “Joe, Seth, Evan and I met at my place and we talked through everything. I thought we got along, but I was definitely on pins and needles the next morning, waiting to hear what Joe had to say. I was so excited when he decided to do it.”
Because Levine’s vision was predicated on letting the actors drive the process, the actor cast as Adam would be a defining element in the film. “Casting Joe meant changing a lot of stuff,” Levine says. “He had his own take on the character. Fortunately, Seth and Evan are very actor-friendly, so we all jumped on board with what he wanted to do.”
Gordon-Levitt found the director to be an inspiring collaborator. “Jonathan is so graceful and humble,” he says. “He was always open to suggestions, which works really well with the whole Seth Rogen posse. Of course, he also had a really solid vision of what he wanted the movie to be, but he was open to the collaborative spirit that Seth brings to his movies.”
Screenwriter Reiser is grateful to the actor for the enormous impact he had in developing the character. “The Adam I knew on paper was a completely different person,” he says. “Joe took the pages I wrote and added another 50 percent to the character. He found things I didn’t even know were there. Joe brought a texture to Adam that I cannot take credit for writing.”
Ben Karlin says, “For a young actor, Joe is unbelievably self-assured and experienced. The thing he brings to the role more than anything is a quiet confidence and trust in the material. He’s brought the character to life in ways that we never imagined.”
Initially, Gordon-Levitt wondered what could be funny about a young man with cancer. “My first instinct was: ‘What are you talking about? There’s nothing funny about that.’ But the truth is, Will found a lot that is actually funny about it.”
Without much time to prepare, the actor spoke with Reiser at length, as well as a number of other people who had been diagnosed with cancer. “The first thing you notice is everyone’s situation is different,” he says. “Then you begin to see that it’s tragic, but when you actually talk to people that have been through it, there is always some humor to it. It might seem a little bold to speak about what’s funny about someone who has got cancer next to the spine, but on the other hand it’s the most humane thing you can do. It’s a cliché, but laughter is good for you.”
The characters are central to the movie’s humor and humanity, he adds. “While it’s a comedy, the people are fully fleshed-out human beings. They feel like real people. Adam, for example, is the last human being on Earth who would be able to handle this. Adam is the kind of person who dwells on the nightmare that he might be diagnosed with a terminal disease, so it is perfect irony that this is the guy it happens to.”
Gordon-Levitt’s performance is both funny and heartbreaking, according to Rogen. “Joe’s a very thoughtful actor, he says. “He works all day while he’s on set, not just when he’s filming. I’m not one of those actors at all, because I’m usually doing another job while I’m filming. He really puts a lot of effort into creating a person distinctly different from himself.”
The actor hopes that audiences will connect with the humor in the film first and foremost. “I hope they laugh their asses off,” he says. “Maybe next time someone in the audience is faced with something so dire, they will put on their Seth Rogen hat and find something to laugh about in their situation. I think that’s really healthy.”
While production was underway on 50/50, Forbes Magazine named Seth Rogen the “Hardest Working Man in Hollywood.” Since his big-screen breakthrough in The 40-Year Old Virgin in 2005, he has appeared in 10 movies that have grossed close to $100 million dollars or more at the box office. “There are not many people like Seth in the business,” says Ben Karlin. “He is someone who can do it all. He’s an incredibly talented writer. He’s an extremely strong performer, and he knows what it takes to make something work as a producer.”
Gordon-Levitt saw him working on the set all day, every day. “He and Evan and their buddies were always around, helping to make things better and funnier,” the actor says. “I loved their process.”
While Reiser drew from a wide array of inspirations for the characters and story, he says that the character of Kyle is pretty close to his friend, Seth Rogen. “But the character is also inspired by the way most of my friends, especially those close to my age, had no idea how to handle the situation.”
Rogen admits he can see himself in the character. “I guess Kyle is based on the dumbest version of me when Will was sick,” says Rogen. “My character cares, but doesn’t know how to articulate it, so he tries to make light of it and have fun in the situation. At its core, I guess that’s a good attitude. He’s trying to look on the bright side and see what good can come out of it, but Kyle is rather insensitive about it. I was, too. I was telling Will to write a movie about it. ‘Let’s do something fun with this,’ which is pretty much what Kyle does in the movie.”
Goldberg sees one difference. “The Kyle character is kind of based on Seth, except the real Seth had no redemption at the end,” he laughs. “But then, when Will got sick, none of us really knew how to deal with it.”
Kyle sees Adam’s cancer as an opportunity for Adam to do all of the things he has never been able to do. He wants Adam to seize the moment. He even insists that Adam’s illness is the perfect pick-up line. Ironically, Rogen actually met his longtime girlfriend when Reiser was sick. “I played up the fact that my buddy was in an unfortunate situation and that made me look sympathetic.”
Reiser acknowledges that he also met girls when he was ill. “I learned very quickly that if I just mentioned cancer or being sick, instantly a girl would open her heart to me,” he says. “Suddenly, getting a date was the easiest thing in the world.”
But Gordon-Levitt says that underneath all the bad behavior, “Kyle is the quintessential best friend. On the one hand, he’s got a great heart and is really supportive of his friend. On the other hand, he’s sort of a jerk, as all of our friends are at times. Kyle thinks that what Adam really needs to do is use his newly found cancer as a sick gift to manipulate women.”
Rogen and Gordon-Levitt’s very different ways of working proved complementary, says Levine. “The creative environment we had accommodated different acting approaches and styles. While Joe is as well known for his dramatic stuff as his comedy and Seth is much more of a comedian, they both hung with our style, which was very improvisational. There was a lot of ad-libbing and finding the scene as we went along. Everyone was given the opportunity to flourish in the best way they knew how. Seth took the lead, because he drives a lot of his scenes with Joe, and created some amazing moments.”
That kind of freedom is not the norm on film sets, says Gordon-Levitt. “Sometimes with Seth, it was full-on improvising and it was great. It’s not something you can often do, but when the head honcho producer is in the scene with you, you can have your fun. Spending all day doing the same exact version of a scene over and over can get old, but that’s not what we did. Jonathan Levine was really good at saying, ‘Okay, we have that version, what else should we do?’ And it became a free-for-all playtime and we’d come up with the next way to try it.”
Anna Kendrick, who earned an Academy Award® nomination for her role in Up in the Air opposite George Clooney, stars as Katherine, the therapist assigned to counsel Adam after his diagnosis and see him through treatment. “Anna is one of the really exciting emerging stars of her generation,” says Kahane. “She has an unusual touch of reality and a fierce intelligence. She’s so charming and sweet that people are really drawn to her. Anna is the sunshine of this movie. It’s a lot of fun to see her in a role that fits her organic acting talent, as opposed to just her strong comedic chops.”
The filmmakers agreed instantly that Kendrick was the right actress for the role. “It doesn’t happen very often,” says Rogen, “But sometimes you just say someone’s name for a character and everyone instantly thinks, yes, she’s perfect, wouldn’t it be great if she would do it.”
Katherine is very enthusiastic about her job, but doesn’t have a lot of experience when she first meets Adam. “He is her third patient,” says Kendrick. “And he’s very challenging. She gets caught up in the textbook aspect of her job and the beginner in her wants to play by the rules.”
Kendrick was drawn by the treatment of very serious subject matter in such a realistically funny way. “The comedy comes from the reality,” she says. “It all could reasonably happen in real life. It never feels like anything is flippant or forced. If one of your friends who is bright and funny and complicated got sick, it would be tragic and difficult, but there would be times when you had to laugh. That’s where everything in this script comes from, not from just wanting to do a comedy about something taboo. It feels really genuine.”
Working with Levine was a privilege, she says. “Jonathan’s one of that rare breed of director who is really sensitive to everyone and everything that’s going on. He really listens.”
Her co-stars made the experience a pleasure, as well, Kendrick says. “Joseph and I were kind of thrown together. It’s the nature of shooting a movie. All of a sudden, you are in a room with someone and you’re supposed to have an incredible rapport. It’s always tricky to know if that’s going to work. Joe was really open and made me feel like there was a real connection.
“And Seth is great,” Kendrick continues. “His laugh is absolute genius. It was probably one of the most reassuring things to be around. He’s always encouraging you and he’s unbelievably funny himself. If he was receptive to something, it made me feel like I had a pretty important stamp of approval.”
Bryce Dallas Howard stars as Adam’s girlfriend, Rachael, a contemporary abstract artist. Goldberg says that from his perspective, “Bryce is one of the most exciting parts of this movie. Seth and I have been trying to get a movie going with her, in some capacity, for five years.”
Better known for her work in dramatic films, Howard impressed the filmmakers with her deft comic touch. “Bryce really knocked our socks off,” says Kahane. “She is an unbelievable comedienne. We had her read for the part because it was so outside what she had previously done and she was just wonderful.”
Unsurprisingly, the actress was also able to find the sensitive side of a challenging role. “Rachael was one of the most difficult characters to pin down,” says Levine. “Bryce found the humanity and the humor in her.”
Academy Award® winner Anjelica Huston stars as Diane Lerner, Adam’s mother. “It’s crazy and surreal to me that we got Anjelica Huston to be in our movie,” says Rogen. “She’s one of those people who makes everyone around her seem a lot more talented than they are by association. And she’s funny, too.”
Karlin describes meeting the actress and director as “kind of humbling.” “She brought a weight and a gravity to the proceedings,” he says. “But she was also fun and saw the comedy in her character.”
Huston describes Diane as emotional and somewhat controlling. “There’s a lot love between Adam and his mother,” she adds. “But she can be overwhelming. And I think that although he loves his mother very much, he’s also striving for his freedom, and she’s a bit of a blockade.”
With its emphasis on the characters and realistic portrayal of human contradiction in traumatic times, the script moved Huston deeply. “This film is very touching and funny,” Huston says. “It plays both drama and comedy very effectively, which makes it an unusual project. It wasn’t like anything I’d read before. The idea of making a comedy about cancer is, on the one hand, quite dangerous, but I think the way in which Will approached this script is very first hand. He understands the mad, humorous situations that can come up during an extremely serious and life-threatening illness.”
Director Jonathan Levine says, “Anjelica is the coolest person I have ever met. She is wonderful in the film and everything that she does is so truthful. It was such an honor to work with her. As a director herself, she gets the creative process and is a wonderful collaborator. She was really smart and working with her was a thrill for me.”
Goldberg says what he finds most surprising about Huston’s performance is the fact that it exists at all. “I still can’t believe she did this movie! It blows my mind. She is one of the greatest female actors ever.”
Watching Huston’s performance was even more profound for Will Reiser. The first scene Huston filmed was the one in which Adam tells his mother, Diane, that he has cancer. Reiser’s parents, Bob and Sandy, were visiting the set that day. “My mother started crying,” says Reiser. “It was because of how passionate and heartbreaking that scene was to watch. To see Anjelica as a mother hearing that from her son and to see my mother crying. I wrote it, I’d seen it, I’d lived it—but to see my own mother connecting with the character, I don’t think you can’t top that.”
In an attempt to raise Adam’s spirits, his girlfriend Rachael brings him a gift: Skeletor, a rescued greyhound who looks as unwell as Adam feels. Skeletor is played by William and Denver, nine-and-half-year-old littermates making their film debuts. Before beginning their acting careers, the 90-pound twins were prize-winning show dogs, but they ended up being the most controversial casting choice in the film.
“For me, casting Skeletor was a battle,” says Goldberg. “I really thought it was a massive mistake not to have a cute, lovable dog. I kept saying, ‘Sure, it’s a funny joke, a large, skeletal, bizarre-looking dog, but what we need to commercially sell this movie is a fluffy dog we can show in the trailer.’”
Reiser championed the twins. “I really fought for the greyhound,” he says. “I think I was the only person involved in the movie who thought it was a good idea. It wasn’t until a trainer brought in several dogs for us to see that they understood why the greyhound worked.”
He refers to the common belief that dogs and their owners look alike. “For me, when you’re that sick, you feel like this weird looking dog,” Reiser explains. “You feel like an outsider. And the greyhound is such an odd-looking animal. They’re basically hairless and very fragile. They get cold easily and they can’t lie on the floor—they always have to be on cushions. That’s basically Adam.”
Goldberg admits that the moment he first saw them, he realized Denver and William were right for the role. “They are skeletal and weird looking, but with these lovable eyes that make you feel for the dog.”
BEHIND THE SCENES OF50/50
Set in Seattle, 50/50 was shot entirely on location in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. Both Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg grew up in Vancouver, which has become a feature filmmaking hub, but neither had ever had an opportunity to work there before. “It was awesome,” says Rogen. “I hadn’t spent such a long stretch there since I was in high school. I’d like to make every movie there from now on.”
Goldberg says that he and Rogen have attempted to shoot several projects in their hometown, without success. “When we were kids, they made tons of movies there, so we always figured when we did it, we’d do it there. We wrote Superbad to be set in Vancouver, but it was changed to the U.S. Pineapple Express was originally extremely Vancouver-specific. When it was made, we were told to just take out all the ‘Canadian crap.’ This was the one time we figured it was not going to happen, but Mandate saw that Vancouver made way more sense as a location than anywhere else. So, we finally got to shoot there and it was the best thing ever.”
Production designer Annie Spitz had worked with Levine on his previous film, The Wackness. The director and production designer began the pre-production process with a visit to Seattle where they checked out the city’s public radio station and a cancer clinic, as well as local bars and coffee shops, so they could replicate the right look and feel in Vancouver.
“Jonathan wanted a very realistic look,” Spitz says. “One of the first things that we did was visit the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Clinic and get a tour of the place. We wanted to make sure that everything in the movie replicated the details accurately. We were hoping to shoot at a real cancer clinic, but it’s very tough to get into a hospital location. We learned that there are very specific chairs that people sit in when they receive chemotherapy. So we looked all over for them and we couldn’t find any to rent in Vancouver. We ended up flying them up from Los Angeles for our set.”
The filmmakers found Adam’s house in a residential neighborhood in Burnaby, just outside Vancouver. “When I first saw it I knew that was the one,” says Spitz. “When you’re shooting in a house, you want a layout that’s as open as possible, so there are many places to put the camera and really high ceilings, because that’s the way they hide the lights. There was a cedar wall in the bedroom that I wanted to feature a lot. It read very specifically ‘Northwest.’ In fact, if we had selected another house, I would have put a cedar wall in.”
Joseph Gordon-Levitt brought his own ideas for Adam’s home. “Some of the best things about the house were based on Joe’s input,” the designer continues. “He wanted Adam to be very neat, a guy who is into cleaning, plants and baseball. It’s always fun when we get to collaborate with the actor.”
Adam’s girlfriend, Rachael, played by Bryce Dallas Howard, is a visual artist and some of her paintings are prominently displayed in Adam’s house. The filmmakers asked some of their artist friends to submit concepts for paintings. “There was cash prize for the best one,” says Spitz. “The producers picked their favorites and those became Rachael’s work in the movie.”
During filming, the behind-the-scenes action on the set of 50/50 rivaled what went on in front of the camera. In the video village, where monitors allowed the filmmakers to evaluate playback almost instantly, producers Rogen, Goldberg and Karlin were frequently present, as well as associate producers James Weaver, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir, writer and executive producer Will Reiser, Mandate executive Nicole Brown and line producer Shawn Williamson. “It was extremely collaborative,” says Reiser. “Seth and Evan are two of my best friends and we’d worked together before, so it was completely natural to do it this way.”
Reiser was a permanent fixture during production. “It is unusual to have a writer on board for the entire run,” notes Karlin, “But it was a sign of respect for Will. And anyway, everybody liked hanging out together. We’re all very social, and we’re close enough in age and sensibility that it’s not difficult to be in the same room with these people. It was a lot of fun.”
Rather than being overwhelmed by the enormous amount of input he received, director Jonathan Levine found the process reassuring. “We had all these brilliant people watching the monitor and making sure that nothing slipped through the cracks,” he says. “As a director, you have a hundred different things on your mind. At any given time, you can focus on probably ten of them, but you’re concerned about forgetting about another 90. It ‘s really incredible to have such a strong support system.”
50/50 marks Reiser’s first screenplay and writing it has changed his worldview almost as much as having cancer did. “Before I got sick and wrote this script, cancer was not part of my life,” he says. “Now, I’ve made friends because of cancer. A world opened up in which people are constantly sharing their stories with me. They tell me how this movie connects with them and how touched they were by it because of their own experiences. That’s the ultimate compliment to me and I don’t think that hearing anything else would make me feel like I’d done my job as well.”
ABOUT THE CAST
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT (Adam) will next be seen in 50/50, a comedy directed by Jonathan Levine and also starring Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick and Bryce Dallas Howard. He will then star in the action thriller Premium Rush, directed by David Koepp, who also co-wrote the script. He recently wrapped production on Looper, for which he reunited with his Brick director, Rian Johnson, and will star opposite Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, and is currently in production on The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final installment in the Batman series, which will be directed by Christopher Nolan. Gordon-Levitt was also recently cast as Robert Todd Lincoln in the film Lincoln alongside Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones, which will be directed by Steven Spielberg.
Gordon-Levitt’s additional film credits include Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award®-nominated action-drama Inception, also starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotiallard and Ellen Page; Hesher, directed by Spencer Susser with Natalie Portman and Rainn Wilson (Sundance Film Festival 2010); Marc Webb’s (500) Days of Summer, also starring Zooey Deschanel, for which he received Golden Globe, Independent Spirit Award and People’s Choice Award nominations; the global action hit G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra for director Stephen Sommers; Spike Lee’s World War II drama Miracle at St. Anna; the controversial drama Stop-Loss, in which he starred with Ryan Phillippe under the direction of Kimberly Peirce; and the crime drama The Lookout, which marked Scott Frank’s directorial debut. In addition, Gordon-Levitt has received widespread praise for his performances in such independent features as John Madden’s Killshot with Diane Lane and Mickey Rourke; Lee Daniels’ Shadowboxer; Rian Johnson’s award-winning debut film, Brick; Mysterious Skin for writer/director Gregg Araki; and Manic with Don Cheadle.
Early in his career, Gordon-Levitt won a Young Artist Award for his first major role, in Robert Redford’s drama A River Runs Through It. He went on to co-star in Angels in the Outfield, The Juror, Halloween H20 and 10 Things I Hate About You.
Gordon-Levitt is also well known to television audiences for his starring role on NBC’s award-winning comedy series “3rd Rock from the Sun.” During his six seasons on the show, he won two YoungStar Awards and also shared in three Screen Actors Guild Award® nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Comedy Series Ensemble. Following the series, Gordon-Levitt took a short break from acting to attend Columbia University.
Gordon-Levitt founded and directs an open collaborative production company called HITRECORD.ORG comprised of an online community of thousands of artists from all over the world. Time magazine writes that hitRECord "has blossomed into a full-blown hive-mind of creativity. With more than 40,000 participants working together to create short films, music, art or stories, hitRECord offers a creative opportunity for fresh talent to team together and expose their art.”
The company presented evenings of short film and live entertainment at Sundance 2010 and SxSW 2010, went on a tour of six top colleges last autumn, published the “TINY BOOK OF TINY STORIES” for the holidays, will launch another college tour this spring, and release a DVD/book/CD called RECollection volume 1 this fall. A budding writer/director in the more traditional sense, as well, Gordon-Levitt adapted the Elmore Leonard short story “SPARKS” into a 24-minute short film that screened at Sundance 2009.
SETH ROGEN (Kyle, Producer) has emerged to lead a new generation of comedic actors, writers and producers. He recently voiced the title character in Greg Mottola’s sci-fi comedy Paul and Mantis in Jennifer Yuh’s Kung Fu Panda 2. Earlier in the year, he starred in the action/comedy film The Green Hornet, directed by Michel Gondry and co-written by Rogen and his writing partner, Evan Goldberg. The film grossed over $225 million worldwide.
Previously, Rogen starred in the dark comedy Observe and Report, opposite Anna Faris, and voiced B.O.B. in the 3-D animated phenomenon Monsters vs Aliens, which grossed nearly $370 million at the worldwide box office.
Rogen began his career doing standup comedy in Vancouver at 13 years of age. After moving to Los Angeles, he landed supporting roles in Judd Apatow’s critically acclaimed network television comedies, “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared.” The latter series hired Rogen as a staff writer when he was still just 18 years old. For his writing on “Da Ali G Show,” Rogen was nominated for an Emmy Award® in 2005 for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy.
In 2005, Rogen co-starred in Judd Apatow’s comedy The 40 Year Old Virgin, which opened No. 1 at the box office and grossed more than $175 million worldwide. In 2007, he headlined Apatow’s Knocked Up alongside co-stars Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann. The comedy grossed more than $140 million domestically. Later that year, Rogen was seen in another summer blockbuster, Superbad, a semi-autobiographical comedy that he co-wrote with Evan Goldberg.
The year 2008 was another busy year for Rogen. He started by giving voice to the character of Mantis in Kung Fu Panda, a family film that earned more than $626 million worldwide. Next was another No. 1 box-office hit in the action-comedy Pineapple Express, which Rogen co-wrote with Goldberg and starred in, opposite James Franco and Danny McBride. Rogen was next seen in Kevin Smith’s Zack and Miri Make a Porno, opposite Elizabeth Banks.
Other film credits include Funny People, Step Brothers, Horton Hears a Who! and Drillbit Taylor. Seth is also starring in Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, opposite Michelle Williams. Rogen also wrapped production on the comedy My Mother’s Curse opposite Barbara Streisand which will be released in November, 2012.
ANNA KENDRICK (Katherine) can next be seen in Summit Entertainment’s dramatic comedy 50/50 with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The young starlet has a slew of other new projects lined up including a starring role in End of Watch opposite Jake Gylenhaal; the crime drama will be directed by David Ayer. She is also voicing a character in the Focus animated feature Paranorman as well as starring in the apocalyptic comedy Rapturepalooza (Lionsgate). Kendrick has also joined the cast of the recently announced romantic comedy What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Lionsgate), based on the bestselling book series.
In 2010, Kendrick starred opposite George Clooney and Jason Bateman in the lauded film Up in the Air, directed by Jason Reitman. Kendrick earned a best supporting actress Oscar® nomination and was honored as best supporting actress by The National Board of Review and best breakout star at the MTV Movie Awards. She also earned nominations from the Critic’s Choice Movie Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Screen Actors Guild.
In Summer 2010, she was seen in the action packed, genre bending film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World opposite Michael Cera. Kendrick was also seen in the blockbuster Twilight and the sequels The Twilight Saga:New Moon and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. She will also appear in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, in theaters November 2011.
Kendrick also notably starred in PictureHouse’s Rocket Science directed by Jeffrey Blitz. Her performance as an ultra-competitive high school debate team member garnered critical acclaim and the film received a nomination for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. For her work in the film, Anna was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Kendrick made her feature film debut in director Todd Graff’s Camp, a darling of the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Her performance in the cult hit earned her an Independent Spirit Award nomination, as well as a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the Annual Chlotrudis Awards.
An accomplished theater veteran, Kendrick began her career as Dinah Lord in the 1997 Broadway musical production of “High Society”, for which she received a Tony Award® Nomination as Best Featured Actress in a Musical. At 12 years old, the honor made her the second youngest Tony nominee in award history. Kendrick also garnered Drama League and Theatre World awards as well as Drama Desk and FANY award nominations.
Kendrick’s additional theater work includes a featured role with the New York City Opera’s production of “A Little Night Music”, starring Jeremy Irons, “My Favorite Broadway/The Leading Ladies: Live at Carnegie Hall”, and Broadway workshops of “Jane Eyre” and “The Little Princess.” She currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
BRYCE DALLAS HOWARD (Rachael) has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most versatile and dynamic young talents both on screen and behind the camera. The actress will next be seen as the villainous ‘Hilly’ in Tate Taylor’s big screen adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel The Help this August. In September, Summit’s dark comedy 50/50 hits theaters with Bryce playing the role of “Rachael” opposite Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. She was most recently seen in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter and THE The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Bryce’s other film credits include The Loss of A Teardrop Diamond; McG’s Terminator Salvation; Sam Raimi’s Spider Man 3; M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady In The Water; and Lars von Trier’s Manderlay. Bryce made her film debut in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village opposite Adrien Brody, Joaquin Phoenix and Sigourney Weaver. She also received a 2008 Golden Globe nomination for her performance as Rosalind in HBO’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, written and directed by Kenneth Branagh.
Expanding her creative reach beyond acting, Howard produced Gus Van Sant’s Restless, which was accepted into competition at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The film, which stars up-and-coming stars Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper, is slated for a September release through specialty film branch Sony Pictures Classics. She has also written her first feature film screenplay titled “The Originals” which is currently in development. Howard made her 2006 directorial debut with the short film Orchids.
In 2010, Bryce signed on as the first-ever celebrity face of luxury designer Kate Spade. She starred in the brand’s Spring/Summer 2011 advertising campaign shot by famed fashion photographer Norman Jean Roy. She will return as the face of the designer’s Fall/Winter collection for new ads scheduled to run beginning this September.
After leaving the Tisch School of the Arts program at New York University, Howard immediately began working on the New York stage, including playing the role of ‘Marianne’ in the Roundabout’s Broadway production of “Tartuffe”, ‘Rosalind’ in the Public Theatre’s “As You Like It”, 'Sally Platt' in the Manhattan Theater Club’s production of Alan Ayckbourn’s “House/Garden” and as 'Emily' in the Bay Street Theater Festival production of “Our Town.”
Bryce currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, Seth Gabel, and their son, Theo.
ANJELICA HUSTON (Diane) is an award-winning actress and director who continues her renowned family’s legacy in film, which began with her grandfather Walter Huston and her father, John Huston. In the course of her career, Huston has received honors from the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles, New York and Boston Film Critics. She has received multiple Oscar®, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Emmy nominations, as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Huston won an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Maerose Prizzi in Prizzi’s Honor, making the Huston family the first to include three generations of Oscar® winners. Huston also won a Golden Globe Award for her role in HBO’s original movie “Iron Jawed Angels.”
Additional film credits include David Frankel's upcoming The Big Year, and memorable turns in Francis Ford Coppola’s Gardens of Stone, Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery and Crimes and Misdemeanors, Paul Mazursky’s Enemies: A Love Story, Nicholas Roeg’s The Witches, Stephen Frears’ The Grifters, Barry Sonnenfeld’s The Addams Family and Addams Family Values, Sean Penn’s The Crossing Guard, Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo ’66, Andy Tennant’s EverAfter, Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and The Royal Tenenbaums, Mira Nair’s The Perez Family and Clark Gregg’s Choke. Huston also collaborated with her father on John Huston’s final film, The Dead.
In February, 2012, Anjelica will star in "Smash", a new television series for NBC, from executive producer Steven Spielberg, starring opposite Debra Messing and Katharine McPhee. Additional television credits include Robert Ludlum’s “Covert One: The Hades Factor,” a recurring role on Showtime’s original series “Huff” and an Emmy-nominated guest-starring role on “Medium.” Huston also received Emmy® nominations for her performances in “Buffalo Girls,” “Lonesome Dove,” “Family Pictures” and “The Mists of Avalon.”
The actress made her directorial debut with an unflinching adaptation of Dorothy Allison’s best-selling memoir Bastard out of Carolina, which garnered Huston critical acclaim. She received an Emmy nomination for her work on the controversial television drama as well as a Directors Guild nomination. Huston also directed, produced and starred in Agnes Browne, a feature presented at the Directors’ Fortnight at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.
Huston currently serves on the board of directors at the National University of Ireland Galway’s John Huston School of Film and Digital Media. She is a member of the Film Foundation’s Artists Rights Council and the Save the Chimps Advisory Council. Recently, Huston has served as a spokesperson for PETA and the US Campaign for Burma.
SERGE HOUDE (Richard) recently starred as the notorious Chicago Mafia Boss Sam Giancana opposite Tom Wilkinson and Barry Pepper in Jon Cassar's multi-Emmy nominated mini-series: The Kennedys. He also stars in Seth Rogen's new feature 50/50, which Premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. In it he plays Joseph Gordon-Levitt's father and Anjelica Huston's husband and his character suffers from Alzheimer's yet manages to maintain a strong bond with son.
Also this year, Houde was featured in Episode 9 of the Mortal Kombat: Legacy web-series playing The Doctor in this Internet web sensation which has so far garnered well over 30 Million hits on YouTube!
PHILIP BAKER HALL (Alan) is one of those character actors whom you see all the time but don’t necessarily recognize by name. Notably he played the dead-pan, hard-boiled Mr. Bookman, the library cop, in an episode of “Seinfeld” (1991) that is considered one of the all-time television comedy classics.
Hall gained considerable attention for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in the Donald Freed/Arnold Stone one-man play “Secret Honor” (1983, Los Angeles Actors’ Theatre), which was turned into a film by Robert Altman a year later. Though the film garnered mixed reviews, the actor’s portrayal of Nixon was hailed as a tour de force. During the `80s he appeared in teen classics such as Say Anything, Three O’Clock High and How I Got Into College, then progressed to supporting roles in blockbuster action flicks such as The Rock, Air Force One and Enemy of the State.
Hall has continued to work steadily in film, television and on the stage, achieving cult fame and a Spirit Award nomination when he gave an electrifying performance as Sydney, a veteran gambler, in screenwriter/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s debut feature, Hard Eight, opposite Sam Jackson and Gwyneth Paltrow. Anderson cast Hall in substantial roles in his next two films: Oscar nominated Boogie Nights and the star-studded Magnolia which saw the actor in fine form as a game show host dying of cancer. Subsequent films include Lars Von Trier’s Dogville opposite Nicole Kidman, Matador opposite Pierce Brosnan, the Rush Hour franchise opposite Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, David Fincher’s Zodiac, Paul Weitz’s All Good Things, Michael Mann’s The Insider, Tim Robbins’ The Cradle Will Rock, Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, William Friedkin’s Rules of Engagement, Rod Lurie’s The Contender, Wolfgang Peterson’s Air Force One, Michael Bay’s The Rock, Larry David’s Sour Grapes, John Schlesinger’s An Eye for an Eye, Barbet Schroeder’s Kiss of Death, Peter Weir’s The Truman Show, and Gus Van Sant’s 1998 version of Psycho. He received a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award shared with the ensemble cast of Rod Lurie’s The Contender, SAG Award Nominations both Boogie Nights and Magnolia, and was honored with the prestigious John Cassavetes Award at the Denver International Film Festival for his body of work.
He starred again opposite Jim Carrey in both Bruce Almighty and in the recent Mr. Popper’s Penguins, in All Good Things, opposite Ryan Gosling, and appears in upcoming film Alex Kurtzman’s Welcome to People, opposite Chris Pine.
Hall turned in a memorable performance as Richard Nixon in Robert Altman’s award-winning Secret Honor, which was filmed after Hall’s stage turn in the Donald Freed play, directed by Robert Harders. He received a Drama Desk nomination from the New York Theater Critics Association.
Hall began his career in the theater, appearing in many Broadway, Off Broadway and regional productions. In New York, he appeared with Helen Hayes in “The Skin of Our Teeth” and with John Cazale in “J.B.,” as well as playing the title role in “Gorky.”
In the Los Angeles area, Hall has starred in plays at the Mark Taper Forum and the South Coast Repertory. At the Los Angeles Theater Center, he starred in “All My Sons,” opposite Bill Pullman, as well as in “Death of a Salesman,” “The Crucible,” “Short Eyes” and “The Petrified Forest,” among many other productions.
On television, Hall most recently starred in Will Gluck’s Fox comedy “The Loop” and is also known for recurring roles on David E. Kelley’s “The Practice” and “Boston Legal,” as well as the ABC hit “Modern Family” and HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
MATT FREWER (Mitch) recently played Moloch the Mystic in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. He also appeared in Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake and Steven Spielberg’s Taken. Previously, Frewer was seen as Rick Moranis’ neighbor in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and as a nefarious computer genius in Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace.
In addition to his film roles, Frewer will always be remembered for his groundbreaking work in creating the pop-culture icon “Max Headroom.” Other television credits include “Eureka” and “Intelligence.” He also starred as Sherlock Holmes in several made-for-television movies and The White Knight in the mini-series “Alice.”
Frewer has made guest appearances on series such as “St. Elsewhere,” “Miami Vice” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” He also appeared in the PBS American Playhouse presentation “Long Shadow,” the Stephen King miniseries “The Stand” and the miniseries “Kissinger and Nixon,” as Alexander Haig.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
JONATHAN LEVINE (Director) was born and raised in New York City, Jonathan Levine has been an aspiring filmmaker since the age of 12. Following his graduation from Brown University's Art/Semiotics program, he worked in New York as personal assistant to renowned writer/director Paul Schrader. In 2002, Jonathan moved to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute Conservatory as a director. There, Levine met the writer and producers of All The Boys Love Mandy Lane, which he was soon hired to direct. Upon graduation, Levine premiered the film at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, which was purchased almost immediately by The Weinstein Co.
In 2008, The Wackness, Levine’s second feature and his first as both writer and director, won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and LA Film Festival. Starring Ben Kingsley and Josh Peck, the film also earned Levine an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay. It was released in July, 2008 from Sony Pictures Classics.
Most recently, Levine completed direction on 50/50 for Mandate Pictures, which will be released on September 30, 2011 by Summit Entertainment. The film, which stars Joseph Gordon Levitt, Seth Rogen, Bryce Dallas Howard and Anna Kendrick, follows the story of Adam Lerner, played by Levitt, who at 25 is diagnosed with a rare type of cancer.
Next up on Levine’s directorial slate is a film based on his own adaptation of the novel Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, also for Summit Entertainment. He is also attached to direct the film Little Girl Lost, for Universal Pictures, Jamaica, a reteaming with Reiser, Rogen and Goldberg for Mandate, and Legend, a futuristic teen romance, for CBS Films.
WILL REISER (Writer, Executive Producer) is currently writing a feature adaptation of the German movie Men which is for Warner Bros and has Todd Philips attached to direct. Additionally, it was recently announced he will be reteaming with longtime collaborators and filmmakers Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jonathan Levine to write the feature comedy entitled Jamaica. Reiser grew up in Tarrytown, New York, and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. After graduation, Reiser landed an associate producer job on HBO’s “Da Ali G Show,” where he first worked with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. He later ran Ben Karlin’s production company, Superego Industries, where Reiser wrote, produced, and developed film, television and online projects for HBO.
EVAN GOLDBERG (Producer) and Seth Rogen grew up together in Vancouver and wrote their first screenplay, Superbad, at the tender age of 15. The film, which the pair also executive produced, was released in the summer of 2007 and opened to overwhelming critical praise and commercial success.
The dynamic duo followed up the success of Superbad with the action-comedy Pineapple Express, which they also wrote and executive produced. The film starred Seth Rogen and James Franco and was directed by David Gordon Green.
Goldberg and Rogen also executive produced the smash hit Knocked Up. Written and directed by Judd Apatow with stars Rogen, Katherine Heigl, Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd, Knocked Up tallied more than $148 million in domestic box-office receipts. Most recently, Goldberg and Rogen executive produced The Green Hornet, an action film directed by Michel Gondry, and Judd Apatow’s Funny People.
For the small screen, Goldberg and Rogen penned an episode of “The Simpsons” that aired in 2009, “Homer the Whopper.”
Goldberg began his career as a writer on Sacha Baron Cohen’s cult favorite “Da Ali G Show,” which aired on HBO. The series spun off the hit comedy feature Borat and Cohen’s follow-up, Bruno.
BEN KARLIN (Producer) began his career as a writer and then editor of The Onion. From 1999 to 2006, he served as head writer and executive producer of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” winning nine Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards. In 2005, he co-created “The Colbert Report” and served as executive producer on the series.
Karlin edited the humor anthology “Things I’ve Learned from Women Who Dumped Me.” He also co-wrote and co-edited the New York Times’ No. 1 bestseller America: The Book, winning the Thurber Prize for American Humor.
He is currently a writer and producer on ABC's "Modern Family." His next film, the comedy "A.C.O.D." shoots in March.
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30/9/2011 (ΗΠΑ, Γαλλία)