Molly Shannon landing a role in “Marie Antoinette” for acclaimed director Sophia Coppola


2005 was a busy year for Ms. Shannon. The year started off with Molly landing a role in “Marie Antoinette” for acclaimed director Sophia Coppola. She recently wrapped production on the films “High, Wide and Handsome,” opposite her “Saturday Night Live” costar Will Ferrel and the independent features, “Shut Up & Sing” and “Gray Matters,” starring opposite Heather Graham.

Shannon’s other film credits include Miramax’s romantic comedy, “Serendipity,” opposite John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, “Osmosis Jones,” the animated comedy co-starring Bill Murray and Chris Elliot, and the independent feature film, “Wet Hot American Summer,” opposite Janeane Garofalo and David Hyde-Pierce. Molly also appeared in a cameo role opposite Tim Allen in Disney’s “The Santa Clause 2.”

Among her most memorable moments on film, Molly portrayed Betty Lou Who in Ron Howard’s worldwide blockbuster, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” for Universal, and tackled the title role in Paramount’s hit comedy, “Superstar,” portraying everybody’s favorite Catholic schoolgirl, Mary Katherine Gallagher, a character Molly created in her days on “SNL.” Molly’s additional credits include, “A Night at the Roxbury,” “Analyze This,” “Happiness,” and “Never Been Kissed.”

Additionally, Molly Shannon spent six seasons as a member of “Saturday Night Live,” primarily known for the eclectic characters she created, such as Mary Katherine Gallagher, Helen Madden and Sally O’Mally. She is also praised for her parodies of Courtney Love, Liza Minnelli, Monica Lewinsky, and “The View’s” Meredith Vieira.

Her television credits include multiple guest appearances on “Will & Grace” and “Sex and the City,” among many others.

Born in Shaker Heights, Ohio, Molly earned a BFA in drama from New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. She currently lives in New York with her family.

SCARY MOVIE 4 was all about being “a clown”

For “Saturday Night Live” alumnus, Chris Elliott, saying yes to the call to do SCARY MOVIE 4 was a no-brainer: “I’ve been a fan of David Zucker’s from way back. ‘Airplane!’ sort of changed my whole perception of comedy, and I’ve never been in one of his movies and so I jumped at the shot.” Playing the village idiot from “The Village,” Chris totally went for it with the physical humor in his scenes but played it straight when it came to his lines. Impressed with the great jokes in the script, he shrugged, “When they’re funny on the page, you don’t have to do much to it.”

Reprising his role as George from SCARY MOVIE 3, Simon Rex laughs saying that it took him “about two seconds to get back into character because all I had to do was look around at David Zucker, and Anna Faris, and it all came back to me’.” Rex is “happy to be brought back…working with David Zucker, I couldn’t wait to come to work and just hang out on set.”

For Shaquille O’Neal, playing himself in SCARY MOVIE 4 was all about being “a clown” and having a good laugh. “People don’t understand that laughing is one of the biggest relievers of stress. You start to smile, you start to laugh, and then you forget about your problems.” O’Neal was also tickled to be doing a scene with Dr. Phil. “This is his first movie and I think he did a fabulous job,” Shaq says admiringly.

Dr. Phil bounces the compliments right back at O’Neal. “Shaq is so much fun, and he so gets into it that it really makes it easy.” The compliments keep flowing from Dr. Phil for David Zucker as well, “I mean of all the directors I’ve worked with, oh wait a minute, he’s the only one! So far, he’s just been a blast!”

Dr. Phil’s esteemed colleague, Oprah Winfrey, doesn’t personally appear in the movie, but her doppelganger, actress Debra Wilson, does. Four and a half hours of makeup, padding and prosthetics was all it took to transform Wilson into the Queen of Daytime Television. While Wilson had played Oprah before on “Mad TV,” she said spoofing Oprah in a movie was a first. “It’s a privilege because I feel like it’s trend-setting to get Oprah in a movie on the large screen. To skewer her…I can’t wait to barbeque her. I’m going to have her with a side of roasted potatoes!”

When offered a part in SCARY MOVIE 4, James Earl Jones’ wife loved the role the writers created for him and said to him, “Ooooh, you gotta do it!” There was no need to twist his arm, as Jones is a self-described “huge fan” of both the franchise and of David Zucker, with whom he worked on “Naked Gun.” Jones’ character is, mysteriously, named James Earl Jones and he will only say, cryptically, that his character speaks “about values and love.”

Playing the creepy basement guy from “War of the Worlds,” Michael Madsen was especially delighted to be cast in the part. After seeing the real “War of the Worlds,” his teenage son said, “Dad, you should have had that part.” Now he does. Madsen is also thrilled to have had the chance to work with Zucker, saying, “One thing I like about David is that he’s very collaborative…and we make up a lot of stuff on the spur of the moment, and a lot of stuff I did wasn’t even in the script.”

Leslie Nielsen is no stranger to Zucker’s directorial style, “the extraordinary attention he pays to the comedic detail, that’s what makes it good. The more credibility you bring to it, the more credible the humor is.” Describing Nielsen as “an old friend,” Bob Weiss was delighted that Nielsen was back for SCARY MOVIE 4, again playing the President of the United States. “It gives the story that big feel and that national feel that important things are happening. So we were thrilled to be able to have Leslie Neilson back again, and there’s really no one like him.” Nielsen felt his humor fits like a glove with Zucker’s, explaining, “I’ve always said things that are absolutely outrageous with a straight face treating them with all the gravity in the world.” Zucker loved it, saying, “He was there at the very beginning for “Airplane!” and you see Leslie as the straightest of the straight. He just doesn’t let on that he’s even in a comedy.”

Saddled with trying to keep a straight face while Nielsen did his Presidential-thing was comedian/actor Alonso Bodden, who plays the President’s Aide. Bodden concedes, “The thing about Leslie Nielsen is he’s just so funny. He’s just associated with funny so you know anything he’s gonna do is gonna be funny.” Bodden was such a fan that he said yes to the job without knowing anything about what he was going to do. “The script was top secret until I actually got there, so I had no idea what the scene was, or what I’d be saying…or anything!”

Fellow comedian, David Attell, had a different strategy for his role as “Knife man” in his “War of the Worlds” scene with Craig Bierko and Fabolous. “I’m not an actor. In fact, my game plan is to show up on time and not get fired. That’s my acting style.” Attell had a great time and found himself continuously marvelling at how the screenwriters managed to be so topical: “You always feel like you’re right on it….and I don’t know how they do it since it’s a movie and it comes out way later – they must have some psychics working on the film!”

As with SCARY MOVIE 3, SCARY MOVIE 4 has a roster of rappers on board. Spoofing a variety of “War of the Worlds” scenes, the music stars-come-actors were stoked about being a part of what many consider to be a classic and growing comedy tradition. Fabolous is happy that his fans get to “see a different side of me, and see me make people laugh.” Lil’ Jon, playing the guy with “the last working car in New York,” simply saying it’s “amazing” to be in a SCARY MOVIE picture. Young BloodZ, playing whacked-out refugees in their movie-acting debut concur, “We were very excited to get the call.” D-Ray, playing the mechanic, says, “It’s cool” to be cast because the franchise is “just entertaining.” He goes on to say, “I like to see good writing and to see people get a chance to act the fool. You don’t get to do that as adults, and I think SCARY MOVIE allows adults to act the fool, because that’s what I’m gonna do.” Patrice O’Neil, who plays a curious guy at the epicentre, loves how this franchise puts horror movies in perspective and points to his girlfriend who can now watch the “real” movies and find them hilarious. He says “She can watch it with these little parodies in mind.”

Chris Williams, who plays another “War of the Worlds” character, appreciates being a part of a film that attracts such a plugged-in audience. “The SCARY MOVIE fans have already seen all of the other movies also. They’re movie-going people, teenagers and young adults who see everything, and it’s all encapsulated into every year, or every other year when a new SCARY MOVIE comes out. They can appreciate it.”

Appropriately, Anna Faris sums it up best: “True fans know what they’re going to get into when they see a SCARY MOVIE. It’s a good time, not to be taken too seriously, not for people who are easily offended, and it’s just a lot of laughs.”

Carmen Electra is also a big fan of the SCARY MOVIE

When it came time to cast the movie, Weiss and Zucker knew exactly what they were looking for. Weiss summarizes: “I think in casting you have to strike an interesting balance between bringing in people that are new and fresh, and returning favorites from the previous instalments.

At the top of the list was Anna Faris, who couldn’t wait to reprise her role for the fourth time as Cindy Campbell. Although, unlike the eternally innocent Cindy, Faris admits she knew what she was in for this time. “It is like running a marathon in a sense. You really have to be able to roll with the punches and be game for whatever. They’d say, ‘Oh, do you mind just jumping off this small balcony?’ And I’d say ‘Oh, okay.’ I’m such a pushover,” she giggles. Directing Anna for the second time, David Zucker was hugely appreciative of Anna’s willingness to do whatever it took to make a scene funny and of her enormous talent, saying “It may not be easy for her, but she makes it look very easy when she’s on screen because she just has an instinct for this kind of comedy. She doesn’t try to joke it up and she knows how to play it straight. That’s why she’s so good at it.” Bob Weiss adds appreciatively, “Working with her is like you starting up a fine automobile. She knows her character, her instincts are great, and she really elevates the material.”

Anna’s tremendous experience with the SCARY MOVIE franchise was also a great feeling for her. “I feel a bit like a senior in high school. I think I have a little bit more ownership over the character.” While Anna continues to grow as a person and an actor, she marvels at the unchanging character she has come to love and know so well. “Sweet Cindy, she’s completely one-dimensional. Cindy Campbell is very earnest, very sincere, has a heart of gold, no sense of humor really. She’s a really straight person…she’s a little clueless. She’s not the smartest woman…(Yet) once again the fate of the world has been placed in her hands. And so I have to go out and save it.”

Anna is thrilled to be back working with Regina Hall, another four time SCARY MOVIE alumnus. Real life friends, Anna considers their hugely successful and ongoing comedic chemistry to be along the lines of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, “I just feel really fortunate that she’s been brought back because we both work really well together.” Regina Hall concurs, “I probably have more fun working with her than anyone else. It’s just so effortless. (Even) during the first SCARY MOVIE, we had the same kind of chemistry where it just worked.”

Anna observes, “You could not find characters more opposite than Brenda and Cindy. I mean Brenda’s sort of street smart, a little bit selfish, a little bit mean, a little bit sassy. And for whatever reason, she’s best friends with Cindy Campbell who’s completely innocent, kind of dumb, and naïve, and as white as you can be. And they’re best friends. It’s a great match and I think that the two of us have a lot of fun playing with the ideas of this very strange friendship.”

On Regina, David Zucker concurs, “she’s a really good actress and very funny.” Describing Regina and the character of Brenda as “an audience favorite,” Zucker feels that Brenda’s promiscuous character, the polar opposite to Cindy’s squeaky-clean persona, gives him and his writing team a chance to play with “the kind of jokes that we didn’t do in ‘The Naked Gun’ or ‘Airplane!’”

Anna Faris’ leading man in SCARY MOVIE 4 is Craig Bierko, an actor whom Bob Weiss describes as “a wonderful, wonderful surprise.” He goes on to say, “None of us had worked with him before, but from the auditions, really, we knew we had somebody special. And he is terrific in the movie.” Bierko loved getting the call to be a part of this project, especially because of the chance to work with David Zucker. “I’m a big David Zucker fan. The first time I saw “Airplane!” I thought ‘At least I’m not the only completely insane person because…that’s what it’s like inside my head! I laughed so hard I thought my brain was going to shoot through my forehead like an avocado pit.”

Zucker clearly appreciates the way Bierko’s brain works, saying simply “he gets it… I just had to walk toward him and he knew what I was thinking.” For Bierko, the experience of working with Zucker was a dream-come true. “When you finally hear him laugh, that’s all that matters. He may have seen it three hundred times, and you may shoot it the correct way three hundred more times. He’ll laugh if it’s funny. It just makes him laugh. And I trust his sense of humor. It’s served him very well.”

As Cindy’s boyfriend, Bierko plays the Tom Cruise character from “War of the Worlds.” Regarding the similarities between Cruise and himself, Bierko deadpans, “the one thing that we have in common that is undeniable is that both of our entire bodies are covered with skin. It kind of ends there.” On his character, Tom Ryan, Bierko shrugs, “he’s really dumber than a screen door. He could have a conversation with a screen door and lose. He has all the heroic instincts of a movie hero. But he just doesn’t really have the intelligence to back it up.”

Molly Shannon, who plays Tom Ryan’s long-suffering, acerbic-tongued ex-wife, was also enticed to act in SCARY MOVIE 4 by the prospect of reuniting with Zucker, with whom she worked on “My Boss’s Daughter.” Declares Shannon, “It’s all about the joke, working to find the joke, and protecting that joke.” She also appreciates the sophisticated way in which Zucker spoofs a film, “You’re not doing an exact impression of them or anything, and you’re just kind of doing an idea of the memory of what that scene might be.”

Shannon and Bierko play parents to Beau Mirchoff and Conchita Campbell, who are playing the kids from “War of the Worlds.” Says Zucker, “I think they’re every bit as good.” Weiss agrees, “They are terrific. And we put them in a variety of physical situations, and different comic situations and they both were great and really responded to the call.”

Conchita Campbell couldn’t have been happier to oblige, saying, “When I heard I got this role I was just so excited. I was like ‘my first feature film, yay!!’” Conchita loved working with Craig Bierko. In regards to him playing her father in the movie, she says: “He thinks he’s the greatest dad in the world, but he’s really not. He thinks he cares about them (his kids) so much and doesn’t know that he doesn’t even recognize his own children!”

Beau Mirchoff admits that he has a tough time keeping it together in his scenes with Bierko, “I messed it up, laughed a couple of times when it was something pretty funny and I couldn’t keep a straight face. But for the most part, you just do your job, right?” Mirchoff put his all into doing his job, especially because of the tremendous amount of respect he has for Zucker: “He’s awesome…I trusted the guy. So when he was talking to me, I really listened to him. He knows what he’s doing.”

Appreciation for Zucker, also enticed Bill Pullman to sign on for some tongue-in-cheek scenes from “The Village.” Zucker, who cast Pullman in his first movie, “Ruthless People,” recalls “he was one of the funniest people in “Ruthless,” so it was great to have him back.” Zucker was also delighted with the inside joke of having Pullman, who starred in the “The Grudge,” appear in a spoof of that movie. For his part, Pullman says spoofing a film he was in is a “bizarre dream-like thing for me where I was morphing between the two.” Pullman also appreciates the irreverence and the “cartoonish” quality of the franchise, meaning that “people can bash into walls, they can be powdered, smeared, drowned, and doused with dust and whatever and you love it!”

Playing the blind girl from “The Village,” Carmen Electra is also a big fan of the SCARY MOVIE “very out there” humor and “roller-coaster ride“ of surprises for audiences. “I was so excited to receive a call that they wanted me to be in SCARY MOVIE 4 because I was in the first one …and it was really fun. I love to make people laugh and do silly stuff and shocking things that people aren’t really expecting from a girl like me.”

THOMAS ACKERMAN, ASC (Director of Photography)

THOMAS ACKERMAN, ASC (Director of Photography)

Thomas Ackerman is a graduate of the University of Iowa. His first experience in motion picture industry came as an officer in the United States Air Force. While assigned to the 600th Photo Squadron in the Republic of Viet Nam, Ackerman commanded a combat documentation unit, achieving the rank of Captain before his discharge in 1971.

Ackerman then took a position with Charles Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker based in Washington D.C. with whom he spent three years working on political spots, culminating in the McGovern for President campaign.

In 1974, Ackerman joined Mike Robe to form Robe/Ackerman, Inc. The Hollywood based company grew quickly to offer a wide range of services in commercials, corporate film production, and television.

Beginning in early 1980’s Ackerman devoted himself to commercial shooting and the emerging phenomenon of MTV. Before the end of the decade he amassed a list of music video credits that included Bob Dylan, Ashford and Simpson, Stevie Nicks, Hart, Bob Seger, Linda Rondstadt, the Pretenders, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aaron Neville, Carlos Santana, Eddy Money, Pat Benatar, Chaka Khan, the Manhattan Transfer, and many others.

To date, Ackerman’s international commercial credits include Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Chevrolet, Kodak, BMV, Sprite, Budweiser, Corona Beer, Michelob, McDonald’s, Toyota, Nestea, Fanta, Lipton’s Tea, Hertz, Yamaha, Pepsi, Revlon, Nike, Brooklyn Gum, Johnson & Johnson, Bose, Parmalat, Eastern Airlines, Aloha Airlines, Mountain Dew, Benson & Hedges, and Black & Decker Tools. He has also photographed special venue productions such as “Water,” the 65mm 3D attraction at Expo 84 in New Orleans as well as 2nd unit work on Disneyland’s 3D extravaganza, “Caption IO.”

But Ackerman is best known to movie audiences worldwide for his accomplishments as a cinematographer. His filmography lists titles such as “Jumanji” and Tim Burton’s classic “Beetlejuice,” as well as an earlier Burton short “Frankenweenie.” His credits also include “Roadhouse 66,” “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Back to School,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Baby’s Day Out,” “True Identity,” “My Favorite Martian,” “Eighteenth Angel,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “George of the Jungle,” “The Muse,” “Beautiful Joe,” “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,” “Rat Race,” “Snow Dogs,” “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” and “The Battle of Shaker Heights.” Ackerman’s work has recently been seen in the boxoffice hit comedy “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” starring Will Ferrell and Christina Applegate. His most recent credits are Revolution Studio’s hit comedy “Are We There Yet?” Starring Ice Cube and Albert Brooks’ “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.”

In a departure from feature films, Ackerman photographed “Cinemagique” for Disney Studios Paris. Directed by Jerry Rees, this innovative film, starring Martin Short and Julie Delpy, is the cornerstone of the new Disney “Parc II” which opened in March 2002. He also shot the award-winning feature documentary “Los Zafiros,” for director Lorenzo DeStefan. Set in Cuba, the film had its premiere at the 2002 Havana Film Festival.

In 1999, Ackerman took the helm as director/cameraman on “The Spirit of Evolution,” for Zenturio Group UK. The industry’s first 360 x 220 degree “Dome Format” production, it opened as the featured attraction of the Autostadt Grand Pavillion inaugurated in May 2000 by Volkswagen A.G. in Wolfsburg, Germany. Shot in the Czech Republic, Italy, and South Africa, the film represents a benchmark achievement in special venue exhibition technology.

Ackerman lives in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife Paula and two children Caitlin and Alex. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, The Directors Guild of America and the Motion Picture Academy Arts and Sciences.

Zucker returns to direct SCARY MOVIE 4, having directed SCARY MOVIE 3


Laughs, laughs, and one more laugh thrown in for good measure has always been David Zucker’s guideline to generating a riotous comedy which leaves audiences doubled over in hilarity. Mixing equal parts slapstick and dry wit, Zucker created his own genre of comedy with the 1980 hit “Airplane!,” paving the way for other comedies in its vein such as the “Austin Powers” films, “Dumb and Dumber,” “Road Trip,” and the SCARY MOVIE trio of films. Known for his trademark hands on approach to directing comedy and his ability to bring out the funny side of the most serious dramatic actor, Zucker has proven himself a trailblazer of a genre, which has been imitated many times over, yet never truly replicated.

Zucker returns to direct SCARY MOVIE 4, having directed SCARY MOVIE 3, the third installment of the highly successful franchise for Dimension Films. SCARY MOVIE 3 continued the zany antics which began as a spoof on horror films such as “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” SCARY MOVIE 3 starred Queen Latifah, Charlie Sheen, Eddie Griffin, Regina Hall, Anna Faris, and Zucker alumnus Leslie Nielsen in an ensemble cast. This proved to be the right formula for success, as SCARY MOVIE 3 landed at the top of the box office, grossing over $48M in its opening weekend and grossing over $110M in total at the domestic box office. This time around, Zucker has delivered even more outrageous laughs and pushed the limits further than ever before.

Zucker’s first hit landed in 1980 with the success of “Airplane!,” for which he shared directing credits with his brother Jerry Zucker and long-time friend Jim Abrahams. Conceived by David as a “comedy without comedians,” “Airplane!” featured dramatic actors like Robert Stack and Peter Graves delivering zany dialogue with straight-laced sincerity. Unbeknownst to him, Zucker had created an entirely new drama which became a fresh beacon in the comedic world. The spoof became the surprise hit of 1980, taking over $83M in gross box office receipts and positioned Zucker and company as kingpins of Hollywood comedy. Zucker’s streak continued, in collaboration with Abrahams and his brother, with the secret agent spoof “Top Secret!” starring Val Kilmer and the biting farce “Ruthless People” starring Bette Midler and Danny DeVito, which became one of the top-grossing films of 1986, grossing over $71M.

In 1988, David Zucker ventured on to his first film as solo director. “The Naked Gun” starred Leslie Nielsen as Lt. Frank Drebin, a detective with a penchant for finding himself in awkward situations and public fiascos. Co-starring Priscilla Presley, “The Naked Gun” became a runaway hit, inspiring two follow-ups, “The Naked Gun 2,” which surpassed the original at the box office, and “The Naked Gun 33 1/3,” produced by Zucker, was also another box-office hit.

David Zucker started out after college with a few borrowed video tape decks and an old camera. He convinced brother Jerry and friend Jim Abrahams to join him in creating the Kentucky Fried Theater in the back of a bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin. Moving to Los Angeles in 1972, their success continued with a new show, presenting their unique, satirical blend of videotaped, filmed, and live sketches. In five years, they became the most successful small theater group in Los Angeles history. In 1977, they collaborated on their first feature, aptly titled “Kentucky Fried Movie,” which became a hit independent release and remains a cult classic to this day.

In recent years, Zucker has also branched out into other genres, adding diverse projects to his producing credits. From such films as the taut thriller, “Phone Booth” starring Colin Farrell to the sentimental drama “A Walk in the Clouds” starring Keanu Reeves, Zucker has shown his wide range of talent and an eye for commercially successful material.

James Earl Jones’s voice is known by people of all ages


James Earl Jones’s voice is known by people of all ages – “Star Wars” fans who know him as the voice of Darth Vader, children who know him as Mufasa from Disney’s “The Lion King,” and the countless people who use Verizon phone services, for which he has been the exclusive spokesperson for many years. Listening, one would never guess that he spent his childhood as a virtual mute due to a severe stuttering problem. With the help of an extraordinary high school teacher, Jones overcame his stutter and transformed his weakness into his greatest strength.

Born in Mississippi and raised in Michigan, James Earl Jones moved to New York City in 1955 after graduating from the University of Michigan and serving in the military. In 1960, renowned Broadway producer, Joseph Papp gave Jones one of his first major breakthroughs, casting him as Michael Williams in Shakespeare’s “Henry V.” This marked the beginning of Jones’s long affiliation with the New York Shakespeare Festival, with the title roles of “Othello,” “Macbeth,” and “King Lear” among his many performances for the company.

Based on his success in the theater, he was soon offered film and television roles. In the 1960s, Jones was one of the first African-American actors to appear regularly in daytime soap operas, and he made his film debut in 1964 in Stanley Kubrick's “Dr. Strangelove.”

Among his many screen credits are leading roles in John Sayles's “Matewan” (1987), “Field of Dreams” (1989), and the film version of the Alan Paton classic “Cry, the Beloved Country” (1995). He won Emmys for his portrayal of Junius Johnson in “Heat Wave,” the 1990 television drama about the 1965 riots in Watts, and of Gabriel Bird, a disgraced cop turned private investigator, in the 1990-92 series “Gabriel's Fire.”

Throughout his varied career, however, Jones has always made his biggest impression on stage. In 1969, he won a Tony Award for his performance as boxer Jack Johnson in the Broadway hit, “The Great White Hope” (which also garnered him an Oscar nomination for the 1970 film adaptation). He won a second Tony Award in 1987 for August Wilson's “Fences.” In addition to continuing his celebrated Shakespearian work, he has also enjoyed a long-standing collaboration with South African playwright Athol Fugard, acting in “The Blood Knot,” “Boseman” and “Lena,” and the critically acclaimed “Master Harold...and the Boys,” among others.

The recipient of two Tonys, four Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy--Jones was also honored with the National Medal of Arts in 1992 and the John F. Kennedy Center Honor in December 2002.

James Earl Jones recently starred on Broadway in On Golden Pond for which he was nominated for a Tony Award.

Carmen was seen in the Warner Brothers film “Starsky and Hutch” opposite Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Amy Smar


Carmen Electra stars in SCI FI Channel's hit animated series “Tripping the Rift”. The series revolves around a smuggled vessel led by a purple alien named Chode, who along with his misfit shipmates, battle enemies each week. Carmen will lend her voice to the role of the sexy and brilliant love slave "Six," the most advanced android ever created. Carmen was also seen on the NBC’s hit sitcom “Joey”. She plays herself as a character on “Deep Powder” which Joey Tribbiani stars in. In addition, Carmen was seen in WB’s one-hour drama “Summerland,” the ABC’s comedy, “Hope and Faith.” and served as host of Bravo’s reality competition “Manhunt: The Search for America’s Most Gorgeous Male Model.”

Carmen will be seen in the indie film “Getting Played” for writer-director David Silberg., and in “Dirty Love”, also starring Jenny McCarthy. She will also lend her voice to the Revolution Studios film “Lil Pimp.” Carmen is also working on the independent film “Searching for Bobby De Niro” a film about an actor who is tired of being cast as a mobster.

Carmen was last seen in the seven-part MTV series “‘Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave” which documented the lives of Carmen and Dave Navarro during the months leading up to their wedding and culminating with the wedding ceremony. MTV’s cameras captured Carmen and Dave as they juggled their professional lives, while planning the most important day of their life.

Last year Carmen released a DVD series about the new fitness craze, “Aerobic Striptease.” The series is a fun, friendly and accessible dance workout, with a totally new form of low-impact exercise that works the entire body. It teaches the essentials of dance, poise, grace, posture, and how to look good while getting into shape!

Carmen periodically appears as a part of “Pussycat Dolls Live,” a version of the show “The Pussycat Dolls” which launched in May 2002 at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip in LA. “The Pussycat Dolls” are a contemporary, burlesque cabaret act that was founded as an opening act for Johnny Depp’s Los Angeles club, The Viper Room. Reminiscent of Berlin in the 1930’s with its lavish costumes and wild styling, “The Dolls” have a huge celebrity following. The show features a cast of the hottest music video dancers and has featured surprise guests such as Gwen Stefani, Christina Applegate, Brittany Murphy, Christina Aguilera and Charlize Theron. Carmen continues to make special appearances with “The. . . Dolls.”

Juggling effortlessly between the big and small screen, Carmen co-hosted the MTV game show “Singled Out” with Chris Hardwick and then hosted her on show on the MTV Network “Carmen Electra’s Hyper Mix” in Florida. Carmen was a series regular on “Hyperion Bay” as well as “Baywatch.” She has guest starred on a variety of prime-time comedies including “Mad TV,” “All That,” “Just Shoot Me,” “Two Guys and A Girl,” Comedy Central’s “Viva Variety” “Off-Centre” and “Baywatch Nights.” Other recent television credits include an episode of UPN’s hit series “Eve” ABC’s “It’s All Relative”, MTV’s “Monster Island” and “Livin Large”, “Battle Bots”, the “Baywatch” movie and the ABC family series “Dance Fever”.

Carmen was seen in the Warner Brothers film “Starsky and Hutch” opposite Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Amy Smart for director Todd Phillips. Additionally, she was in the Dimension comedy, “My Bosses’ Daughter,” with Ashton Kutcher and Molly Shannon. Other film credits include “Sol Goode” the indie film “Perfume,” which made its debut at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, SCARY MOVIE, “Get Over it,” and “The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human,” and Nickelodeon’s “Good Burger.”

A native of the mid-west, Carmen grew up near Cincinnati, Ohio, and got her first break when a scout for ‘Prince’ spotted her dancing and asked her to come and audition for “Prince” for his new video and tour. She released a self-titled debut album for Prince’s Paisley Park label in 1992 and produced a top 20 hit on dance charts with “Get on Up.”

It’s a SCARY MOVIE comedy; Which means that in order to set the scene

When it came to creating the look of SCARY MOVIE 4, David Zucker was very clear about what he wanted: “let the script do the work.” Bob Weiss elaborates, “One of the keys to doing this kind of parody is to stimulate an archetype in the audience’s mind or a specific movie in the audience’s mind. They have an expectation of where that scene might go, based on the original movie and then we pull the rug out from underneath them…And to do that you need a great, great production team. And we were very lucky with our designer, Holger Gross, and with Tom Ackerman, our Cinematographer.”

Production Designer, Holger Gross (“Stargate: The Movie”, “The Chronicles of Riddick,” “The Negotiator,”) spent a lot of time studying the movies being spoofed asking, “What is the essence of that particular scene? What is the mood? What is the atmosphere and so on?” Gross admits, “It’s very different for me working this way, not actually doing my own concept that I set at the beginning.” Zucker recognizes what he was asking of Gross and his team, saying, “Their biggest challenge was to get everything done on time. Often, we were writing stuff in the morning and they had to have the set built in the afternoon. Holger has just done some amazing work.”

Zucker has equal praise for the rest of the team, including costume designer, Carol Ramsey: “(She) is really at the top of the field. We have a short-hand, she knows how to design so it doesn’t intrude.” Carol explains, “Costume design is not about making great little outfits. It’s about developing the character that is defined by the script. David Zucker has really specific ideas. His team, they have very specific ideas, and their aesthetic is they want it to be very normal. They never want to do a costume gag, unless it’s like motivated by the script.”

Director of Photography, Tom Ackerman, underscores that “it’s a SCARY MOVIE comedy;
Which means that in order to set the scene, we have to, in essence, shoot it not like a comedy. We want to create an image that is sometimes scary, that is sometimes
otherworldly, that is often action-packed and dramatic in a way that comedies sometimes are not. So the more on-the-nose the imagery is, the better the jokes work.”

Stunt Co-ordinator, Jacob Rupp, worked hard to design some “on-the-nose” sequences from the “War of the Worlds” epicentre scene. “We probably hired a hundred and twenty stunt people,” Rupp said. He also trained Anna Faris for many of her stunts and was impressed with how well she did, saying, “She keeps saying she’s not a very athletic person but she always pulls it off. Every time I had to work with her on stunt stuff. She’s always come through. She actually surprised herself and me.”

For Special Effects Co-ordinator, Alison Ramsey, the goal was to create a specific feeling for viewers: ”we’re parodying so that the audience immediately, and subconsciously, sort of puts themselves back in that story mode (of the original movie being spoofed). So, we almost have the same amount of work to do as the original, but with a much smaller budget, in a very short time frame, and also, we have all these additional gags on top of the original material.”

Tom Ackerman perhaps sums it up best in describing how, in spite of the many movies, and therefore styles, that were being emulated, the whole production team was ultimately working toward a seamless product: “At the end of the day, our movie had to be one movie. In essence, it’s visually the same thing that David, Craig, and Bob and the writers did with the structure of the film itself…Likewise, we wanted to make sure that, on the visual end, that this was one movie.”

Challenging? Absolutely! But for behind-the-scenes people like Carol Ramsey, going to work on the set of SCARY MOVIE 4 with David Zucker and Bob Weiss was usually a blast: “they are some of the funniest people I’ve every met in my life!”

In SCARY MOVIE 3, we expanded on the horror theme

While the SCARY MOVIE franchise began with the inspired comedy of the Wayans brothers, its appeal expanded to an even larger audience when writer and director David Zucker signed on for SCARY MOVIE 3. "Airplane!" alumnus Leslie Nielsen best describes Zucker’s practically patented brand of humor as “credible insanity.” Zucker brings a depth and breadth of jokes to the screen that virtually guarantees a laugh-a-second experience for moviegoers of all ages.

For the self-described “oldest living working comedy director,” the decision to come back to direct and co-write SCARY MOVIE 4 was based on having another good time. David Zucker says “SCARY MOVIE 3 was a big success and it was a lot of fun, and so we wanted to work with the same team, to work with Bob Weiss again, and (writer/producer) Craig Mazin, and the actors too -- Anna Faris and Regina Hall.”

For Bob Weiss, it was the “size of the success of SCARY MOVIE 3” that confirmed the decision to do a sequel. “We were confident in it as a good and funny movie. But to have it be the movie that had the largest October opening in movie history was beyond our expectations. Of course, when you have a movie that big, there’s bound to be a sequel.”

With big success come even bigger audience expectations. The long-time comedic team of Weiss – with whom Zucker worked on “Kentucky Fried Movie” in 1977 – and relatively new addition, Craig Mazin, were inspired to review their number one rule of movie-making. “When it came time to do SCARY MOVIE 4, the first principal really was to work harder,” summarizes Weiss. “A lot of times with sequels in Hollywood, people phone it in a little bit and don’t work as hard, and we have the opposite philosophy. We work harder. We work harder on the material, we work harder on the production, we work harder to make it more appealing perhaps even to a bigger audience.”

Weiss, Zucker and the team took up the challenge and began by committing to an extremely fast turn around between the release of the real movies and the ones being spoofed. Weiss explains, “These are movies that our audience really should have just seen.”

They also diversified their repertoire of spoof material. “In SCARY MOVIE 3, we expanded on the horror theme,” says Zucker, “but in FOUR we even go beyond that.” “[Including] science fiction” Weiss elaborates, “and being able to parody the media, or politics, or other things that are ever present in the minds of the audience, that’s great fun for us, and it really enriches the movie.”

Zucker also called up an old friend. After a twenty-five year break, he reunited with writer Jim Abrahams. Of Abrahams, Zucker says, “He made some wonderful contributions, and everybody loved having him around, including Craig Mazin, who had never really worked with Jim before.” While Jim added some great laughs, Zucker is quick to point out that “Craig wrote probably ninety percent of what’s in the movie, and everybody else fills it in between. But you know, I write more than his ninety percent. So together that’s a hundred and eighty percent. So just put me even with Mazin. Everybody else, I guess, has that last twenty percent.”

Crazy math aside, for his part, all writer Craig Mazin cared about was getting a joke right, even if it meant writing the script in the middle of shooting a scene: “David and I, the nice thing is we act as a check and balance on each other. We riff off of each other and we come up with something really great right there in the moment. And then, why not put it in?”

That kind of fearless, working-without-a-net writing and directing is a part of the reason so many actors walk over other movie scripts to work with David Zucker. Leslie Nielsen calls Zucker “incredibly astute and funny.” Bill Pullman muses that Zucker is “beautifully un-ego-oriented – he’s in charge, and yet he allows a lot of input.” Regina Hall loves that, “David’s jokes are set up to have a clever reveal. It’s not just about the punch-line.”

The other great draw for actors is that while David Zucker may be the ultimate professional, he’s also the ultimate fan. Probably no one laughs as hard as the director himself when things are going right on the set. Anna Faris chuckles, “He can be very childlike sometimes when he is giggling. One of the days, I had to wear a fake eye. It was very weird and creepy and he couldn’t stop laughing. We could barely get the take because I thought he was going to pee his pants, he was laughing so hard.” Michael Madsen agrees: “We were laughing so hard one afternoon that his gum flew out of his mouth. That was a great moment.

The cast of SCARY MOVIE 4 includes Anna Faris

What could possibly be more irreverent, funnier and, well, scarier than SCARY MOVIE 3? SCARY MOVIE 4, of course! It’s about to ignite, insult and induce uncontrollable laughter in audiences everywhere! Writer/director David Zucker and writers Craig Mazin (who also serves as a producer) and Jim Abrahams have re-teamed to push the limits of comedy in this latest instalment of the wildly successful franchise. No block-buster movie or pop culture icon is safe from their zany humor: “War of the Worlds,” “The Grudge,” “The Village,” “Saw,” “Saw II,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Brokeback Mountain” and more are all mercilessly spoofed with hilarious results.

This time around, the ever-naïve Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris), seeking a career in home healthcare, finds work with a creepy old lady (Cloris Leachman) in an even creepier old house haunted by a ghostly presence. Throw in a good-looking guy next door and the threat of aliens intent on global domination and Cindy’s instantly up to the top of her extremely blond head in danger. Our fearless heroine catapults into action once again struggling to decipher ominous messages from the beyond, looking for love in some very weird places and trying to save the world from mass destruction. As she struggles to discover life-saving answers, Cindy encounters horrific plane crashes, bodacious blind girls, village idiots, dishevelled rappers, kinky contraptions, psycho survivalists, alien sphincters and even Oprah! It’s a relentless movie theatre invasion of non-stop, fall-on-the-floor-laughing jokes.

The cast of SCARY MOVIE 4 includes Anna Faris as fledgling home healthcare worker, Cindy Campbell, Craig Bierko as Cindy’s love interest - the handsome, dumb-as-a-sack-of-hammers, Tom Ryan, Regina Hall as Cindy’s best friend, the savvy and outrageously promiscuous Brenda, Leslie Nielsen as the President of the United States, Bill Pullman as Henry, the stern leader of “the village,” Molly Shannon as Tom Ryan’s very ticked-off ex-wife, Chris Elliott as “the village” idiot and Carmen Electra as blind-villager Holly. The film also features Dr. Phil, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Madsen, Cloris Leachman, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart, Chris Williams, Alonzo Bodden, David Attell, D-Ray, Chingy, Lil’ Jon, Young BloodZ and Fabolous. The movie is produced by Robert K. Weiss (SCARY MOVIE 3, all three “Naked Gun” movies, “The Blues Brothers,” and “Kentucky Fried Movie”).

SCARY MOVIE 4 is set to invade a theatre near you with outrageous send-ups of War of the Worlds

What do you get when you mix fearless comedic genius with the latest box-office blockbusters? You guessed it. On April 14th, the SCARY MOVIE gang is back with the most hilarious and irreverent instalment yet! SCARY MOVIE 4 is set to invade a theatre near you with outrageous send-ups of “War of the Worlds,” “The Grudge,” “The Village,” “Saw” and “Saw II,” “Million Dollar Baby” and much more. Legendary comedy director David Zucker and producer Bob Weiss reunite to take aim at some of the best fright films, the latest box office hits, music, current events, pop culture, and your favorite celebrities.

Anna Faris and Regina Hall return to SCARY MOVIE 4 as the loveable, dim-witted Cindy Campbell and her self-serving, sex-crazed pal, Brenda, joined this time around by Craig Bierko (“Cinderella Man”), as the cute-but-utterly clueless Tom Ryan.

Together, they battle to save the world from a ruthless alien invasion. And, in true SCARY MOVIE tradition, the outrageous celebrity cameos are non-stop. Those featured include: Carmen Electra, Shaquille O’Neal, Dr. Phil, Bill Pullman, Chris Elliott, Molly Shannon, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Hart, Michael Madsen, rappers Chingy, Lil' Jon, Fabolous and Young Bloodz, Leslie Nielsen returning as our fearless Commander in Chief, plus many more surprises.

In SCARY MOVIE 4 nothing - and we mean NOTHING - is off limits!

Leslie Nielsen, a veteran of over 100 motion pictures and more than 1500 television appearances


Also making a return appearance as president of the United States from SCARY MOVIE 3 is Zucker alumnus Leslie Nielsen, a veteran of over 100 motion pictures and more than 1500 television appearances. He built a reputation portraying manly authority figures (including the Space Ship Commander in the sci-fi classic "Forbidden Planet" and the Captain of the ill-fated cruise ship in "The Poseidon Adventure") before he turned his image inside out with a hysterically funny deadpan performance as the loopy doctor in Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker's "Airplane!" (1980). He continued to team with the ZAZ comedy team on the TV series "Police Squad!" on which he originated the role of police Lt. Frank Drebin, which he re-created in "The Naked Gun," in the 1991 sequel "Naked Gun 2 1/2" and again in "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult.” Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, the son of a Canadian Mounted Policeman, Nielsen spent his earliest years living near the Arctic Circle, and later served as an aerial gunner in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

His television career began in 1950 with a "Studio One" appearance with Charlton Heston, and he went on to act in 46 live programs in the very heart of TV's Golden Age. In 1954, Nielsen was brought to Hollywood to star in Michael Curtiz's "The Vagabond King." This was followed by a long-term contract at MGM where he starred in such films as "Ransom!” "The Opposite Sex" and "The Sheepman.” Later loaned to Universal, he starred in “The Bachelor” and "Tammy and the Bachelor” opposite Debbie Reynolds. Throughout the sixties and seventies Leslie was seen regularly in action series such as "Wagon Train," "The Fugitive," "The Virginian," "Cannon," "Kojak," "S.W.A.T." and "Vegas." He also starred in seven series of his own in that period, including "The New Breed,” "Peyton Place,” "The Protectors,” "Bracken's World" and in the mini-series "Backstairs at the White House.” On stage, he starred in Los Angeles opposite Carol Burnett in “Love Letters” and toured the U.S. and Europe with "Darrow.” Nielsen's numerous films include "Prom Night,” George Romero's "Creepshow,” "Wrong Is Right,” "Reckless Disregard,” "Soul Man,” "Home Is Where the Hart Is,” "Nuts,” "Repossessed” (a 1990 spoof on exorcism), "Surf Ninjas,” "Dracula--Dead, and Loving It," comedy, "Spy Hard," “Rent-A-Kid,” “Family Plan,” the live-action version of “Mr. Magoo,” “Wrongfully Accused,” “2001: A Space Travesty,” “Kevin of the North,” and the television movie “Santa Who.” He also appeared in “Men With Brooms.”

In 2001 and 2002, Nielsen starred in the Canadian Comedy Network series “Liography.” Other television credits include “Who’s The Boss,” “Golden Girls” and the role of God on “Herman’s Head.” He has appeared as the richest man in town in "Evening Shade”; as a Mountie on “Due South” and in various Hallmark specials, including “Harvey” in 1999. In 1995, he received UCLA’s Jack Benny Award, following in the footsteps of such comedy greats as Johnny Carson, Lili Tomlin, Steve Martin, Whoopie Goldberg, George Burns and Carol Burnett.

Following his appearance in “Scary Movie 3,” a film which marked the actor’s reunion with David Zucker who he credits with engineering his comedy career (“Airplane!,” “Naked Gun”) he went on to star in the 4-D film “Pirates”, which in July of 2004 was added to the ride attraction of Las Vegas’ Luxor Hotel.

Madsen reunited with Quentin Tarantino for the blockbuster Kill Bill, Volume 2


Just as his credits run the gamut from the hippest of cult films to the big studio blockbusters, Madsen’s characters transcend beyond both ends of the spectrum. He is the ear-slicing Mr. Blonde in Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs,” dancing and humming to the tune “Stuck in the Middle with You;” the deviant killer in “The Getaway” with Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin; the psycho killer in John Dahl’s “Kill Me Again;” the Mafia family captain Sonny Black in “Donnie Brasco” with Al Pacino and Johnny Depp; the over-the-top cop in “Mulholland Falls;” and the hard-core government operative in “Species.” Yet, Madsen is also the lovable and caring father in “Free Willy;” Susan Sarandon’s supportive, understanding boyfriend in “Thelma and Louise;” the gentle Virgil Earp opposite Kevin Costner in “Wyatt Earp” and Halle Berry’s CIA boss in “Die Another Day.”

Madsen reunited with Quentin Tarantino for the blockbuster “Kill Bill, Volume 2.” He also appeared in “Sin City,” “Frankenstein” with producer Martin Scorsese, and “Red Light Runners” in which he stars and co-produces. Madsen starred in FX’s film “44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shootout” (which earned the highest ratings in the history of FX) with Mario Van Peebles and Ron Livingston. In addition, Madsen shot the epic European Western “Muraya” (AKA “Blueberry”) with Vincent Cassel and Juliette Lewis. Madsen starred in the series “Big Apple” and also starred as “Miller the Killer,” in the remake of the 1952 Gary Cooper/Grace Kelly Western “High Noon,” opposite Tom Skerritt, Reed Diamond, Maria Conchita Alonso and Susanna Thompson.

He is currently in production on “Afghan Knights,” directed by Allan Harmon.

His compilation of short stories and poems entitled Burning in Paradise further proves his capabilities as an artist, winning the Independent Book Publisher’s “Firecracker Poetry Book of the Year” Award. This was followed by Blessing of the Hounds, and his third book of prose entitled 46 Down.

Born in Chicago, Madsen and his two siblings, including actress Virginia Madsen, were reared in a close-knit family environment. He began his career on screen with guest-starring roles on “Miami Vice,” “Cagney and Lacey,” and “St. Elsewhere,” to name a few, only to make his film debut in the hit feature “War Games.” After roles in “Racing With the Moon,” “The Natural,” “Kill Me Again” and “War and Remembrance,” among others, Ridley Scott cast him in “Thelma and Louise” opposite Susan Sarandon, and Madsen became an “overnight success.”

With a long list of features in such films as “Money for Nothing,” “Man With a Gun,” “The Doors,” “Last Days of Frankie the Fly,” “The Florentine,” to name a few, in addition to television stints on “Inspectors 2,” “The Outsiders,” “Quantum Leap,” “Tour of Duty,” and “The Hitchhiker,” Michael also starred in his own series “Vengeance Unlimited,” a one-hour drama on ABC where he played Mr. Chapel, vigilante extraordinaire.

Leachman’s more than 35 films for television include In Broad Daylight, Honor Bright, Fine Things


Leachman’s chameleon-like dramatic range has won legions of fans and garnered her a record eight Emmy Awards®, Golden Globe Award®, National Board of Review Award and British Academy Award. She earned an Oscar® for her riveting portrayal of lonely Texas housewife “Ruth Popper” in the landmark film “The Last Picture Show.”

Arguably one of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood, Leachman was seen in several big screen releases including: “The Longest Yard” with Adam Sandler and Chris Rock for Paramount Pictures and “Sky High” with Kurt for Disney. Leachman was nominated for a SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor Female, Motion Picture for her portrayal of the wine-soaked jazz singing “Evelyn” in the Sony/Columbia feature “Spanglish” with Sandler and Tea. On the small screen in 2005, along with her recurring role as “Grandma Ida” on Fox’s “Malcolm in the Middle,” Leachman co-starred in the Lifetime mini-series “Beach Girls” with Rob Lowe and Julia Ormond as well as guest-starred on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men.” The actress was honored with two primetime Emmy Award nominations in 2005 for her work on “Malcolm in the Middle” and CBS’ “Joan of Arcadia.” These were her 19th and 20th Emmy nominations respectively. Currently, Leachman stars with Sir Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening in HBO’s “Mrs Harris.”

Leachman has delighted television viewers for generations. In the 1970s, millions tuned in to watch Leachman’s self-absorbed yet endearing “Phyllis Lindstrom” on the legendary “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and popular spin-off series “Phyllis.” Leachman would receive four Emmy® nominations and two Emmy Awards® for her work on “Mary Tyler Moore” and an Emmy® nomination and Golden Globe Award® for “Phyllis.” These added to her collection of Emmy Awards® for “A Brand New Life” and CBS’ “Cher Special.”

The 1980s brought more unforgettable television roles and further acclaim. Most notably, viewers found comfort in the sage advice dispensed by “Beverly Ann,” Leachman’s character on the popular NBC series “The Facts of Life.” Leachman also added Emmy® number five for ABC’s “The Woman Who Willed a Miracle” and a sixth Emmy Award® for her brilliant eight-minute soliloquy for the “Screen Actors Guild 50th Anniversary Celebration.”

Leachman’s more than 35 films for television include “In Broad Daylight,” “ Honor Bright,” “Fine Things,” “Love is Never Silent,” “The Demon Murder Case,” “Dixi Changing Habits,” “A Girl Named Sooner,” “Backstairs at the White House,” and Emmy® nominated performances in “The Migrants,” “It Happened One Christmas,” and “Ernie Kovacs: Between the Laughter.”

The 1990s and 2000s have been especially busy for Leachman. 1998, the actress won a seventh Emmy® for her work as “Aunt Mooster” on the CBS series “Promised Land.” In 2001, Leachman was handpicked by Ellen Degeners to star as her mother in the CBS primetime series “The Ellen Show.” In 2005, Leachman received her fifth Emmy® nomination for the FOX series “Malcolm in the Middle.” In 2002, she won a record-breaking eighth Emmy Award® for her recurring role as Jane Kaczmarek’s mother “Grandma Ida” on the series.

On the big screen, Leachman’s richly woven characters have secured her place in film history and a survey of her more than 40 feature films demonstrates her breathtaking acting range.

Along with her Best Supporting Actress Oscar®, Leachman won a National Board of Review Award and a British Film Academy Award for her unforgettable “Ruth Popper” in the critically hailed film “The Last Picture Show.”

Leachman’s dramatic skill is matched only by her ability to make us laugh. Her calculating “Frau Blucher” in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” and twisted “Nurse Diesel” in “High Anxiety” are comedy classics. Younger audiences know her as the spry “Granny” in the popular feature film “The Beverly Hill Billies” and “Martha” in the animated MTV feature “Beavis and Butthead do America.” Other big screen credits include “The Animal” (opposite Rob Schneider), “The Amati Girls,” “Hanging Up” (Opposite Diane Keaton, Meg Ryan and Lisa Kudrow), “Music of the Heart” (opposite Meryl Streep, Angela Bassett, Aidan Quinn and Gloria Estefan) and “Iron Giant.”

Leachman’s formidable stage work includes over two-dozen productions. Most notably, she starred in “Grandma Moses: An American Primitive” (national tour), which left critics spellbound. She also starred in the national tour of “Showboat,” “The Oldest Living Graduate,” “Butterflies are Free,” “Same Time Next Year,” “Twigs” and “The Housekeeper.” Broadway roles include those in “As You Like It,” “South Pacific,” “Lo and Behold,” “John Loves Mary,” “Sundown Beach,” “Sunday Breakfast,” “Dear Barbarians,” “King of Hearts,” “Touch of the Poet” and “Masquerade.”

The actress grew up outside Des Moines, Iowa. After attending Northwestern University, Leachman was named “Miss Chicago” and subsequently became a runner-up in the Miss America pageant. After early success on the New York stage, Leachman ventured to Hollywood and made her screen debut in the Mickey Spillane shocker, “Kiss Me Deadly.”

MARC PLATT is an independent producer whose company

MARC PLATT (Produced by) is an independent producer whose company, Marc Platt Productions, produces feature films, television and theater.

Among the films Platt has produced are the smash hits Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, starring Reese Witherspoon (both of which have each grossed more than $150 million worldwide); Honey; Josie and the Pussycats; The Perfect Man; and The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising.

Also being released this year (in addition to Wanted) is Rachel Getting Married, for Sony Classics, which reunites Platt with Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme on the film starring Anne Hathaway and Debra Winger. Platt’s upcoming film projects include Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, directed by Edgar Wright and starring Michael Cera, and Nine, with Rob Marshall directing.

Platt produced Broadway’s blockbuster hit musical Wicked, which now has companies on Broadway, in London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Stuttgart, and on tour throughout the U.S., with new companies opening shortly in Australia and Holland. Platt also produced the Broadway debut of Tony Award-winning playwright Richard Greenberg’s play Three Days of Rain, starring Julia Roberts, Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper and directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello.

Additionally, Platt produced Matthew Bourne’s ballet Edward Scissorhands, a smash hit in London, Asia and the U.S., for which Platt won his second Drama Desk Award.

Platt won the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries for Empire Falls, starring Ed Harris, Helen Hunt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Platt also executive-produced Once Upon a Mattress (ABC), starring Carol Burnett and Tracey Ullman and the Emmy Award-winning miniseries The Path to 9/11 (ABC).

Prior to establishing his production company, Platt served as president of production for three movie studios (Orion, TriStar and Universal). During his tenure as a studio president, Platt developed and guided the production of such films as The Silence of the Lambs; Sleepless in Seattle; Philadelphia; Rudy; As Good As It Gets; My Best Friend’s Wedding; Jerry Maguire; American Pie; Out of Sight; October Sky; and The Mummy.

Platt is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and The Broadway League (formerly the League of American Theatres and Producers).

Wanted: J.G. JONES

J.G. JONES (Based on the Series of Comic Books by) does not like you. He has never liked you, and it wasn’t he who sent that anonymous valentine card and rose. He wants you to stop throwing rocks at his window and stop calling and hanging up. Oh, and stay away from the basement, too.

Jones got a late start in comics after a career as a famous painter failed to materialize. He has always drawn pictures, beginning with the little-used medium of screwdriver on car door. Comics were just the first time folks were willing to pay cash money for his scribblings.

Jones has worked on titles such as “Shi,” “Black Widow,” “Marvel Boy” and “Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia,” as well as the most recent special hardcover edition of “Wanted.” He has also drawn and painted any number of covers, with extended runs as cover artist for “Codename: Knockout,” “Y: The Last Man,” “Wonder Woman” and the DC Comics weekly series, “52.”

Jones grew up in Louisiana, where he learned survival techniques which translated poorly to life in and around New York City—in fact, some of these techniques can get you arrested. FYI.

Now a resident of the great state of New Jersey, Jones wants you to know that the Internet is not your savior, but, if you like, you can leave a message.

MARK MILLAR has written some of the most successful English-language comics

MARK MILLAR (Based on the Series of Comic Books by) has written some of the most successful English-language comics of the last few years and has, for six years running, been the best-selling British writer working in America. His current projects are “Ultimates 2” with artist Bryan Hitch; “Ultimate Fantastic Four” with artist Greg Land; and “Marvel Civil War” with artist Steve McNiven. “Civil War” has been Marvel’s best-selling series in over a decade and was featured on everything from CNN to MTV in June 2006, for the public unmasking of Spider-Man. Millar is also a senior writer/story consultant at Marvel Entertainment in New York and the creator of his independent Millarworld line of books. Millarworld was launched in 2004 as a means of generating new, creator-owned properties for comics, television and movies. The first of these titles was “Wanted.”

Millar was born in Coatbridge, Scotland, on December 24, 1969. Growing up, he was into all the same time-wasting pursuits you were into and so, when the opportunity arose, he dropped out of university in the final year of his degree and became a full-time writer. After stints at 2000AD and DC Comics and a brief foray into British television, Millar’s first real success was “The Authority” for Wildstorm Productions and a subsequent string of hits at Marvel. These started with the creation of “Ultimate X-Men” and “The Ultimates,” before being followed by “Marvel Knights Spider-Man,” “Ultimate Fantastic Four,” “Wolverine” and “Civil War.” Outside of Marvel, he created the best-selling “Superman: Red Son” graphic novel, “Wanted,” “Chosen” and “The Unfunnies.” The most recent wave of Millarworld books launched in February 2008 with “Kick-Ass,” “the most violent comic in the history of the human race,” where Millar reteams with John Romita, Jr., the artist on his smash-hit “Wolverine” run and co-creator of Frank Miller’s “Daredevil: Man Without Fear.”

He is currently writing two major superhero screenplays and acting as an executive producer on one of his creator-owned properties. In his downtime, he writes a monthly Millarworld column for his friends at SFX magazine and occasional pieces for a variety of British newspapers and magazines. He lives with his wife, Gillian, his small daughter, Emily, and a menagerie of pets, including two rabbits, two guinea pigs, a hamster and two goldfish. He has no plans on leaving Scotland ever, though he does like to travel and top up his tan.

Wanted: CHRIS MORGAN (Screenplay by)

CHRIS MORGAN (Screenplay by) was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He started screenwriting in college and his first produced credit was 2004’s thriller Cellular, starring Kim Basinger. Morgan followed this up by penning Universal’s high-octane actioner The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

Morgan’s latest project, Universal’s Fast & Furious, reunites Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez and is currently shooting in Los Angeles.

Between keystrokes, Chris enjoys spending time with his two daughters, Maya and Chloe, and wife, Michelle.

Writers MICHAEL BRANDT & DEREK HAAS (Story by/Screenplay by)

Writers MICHAEL BRANDT & DEREK HAAS (Story by/Screenplay by) are the force behind such engaging, fast-paced, colorful screenplays as 2003’s blockbuster 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Most recently, Brandt and Haas wrote the remake 3:10 to Yuma, starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. The film is about a battle of wills between a rancher and the outlaw he’s captured. Directed by James Mangold, the Lionsgate release opened no. 1 at the box office on September 7, 2007.

Brandt and Haas first met at Baylor University in 1989, where they attended both undergraduate and graduate school. At Baylor, Brandt received an MA in film and Haas graduated with an MA in English literature. The duo started writing screenplays together in the mid-1990s.

Their first produced work, Universal’s 2 Fast 2 Furious, has amassed more than $236 million in worldwide box office. Brandt and Haas followed up with the children’s film Catch That Kid for 20th Century Fox, starring Kristen Stewart and Corbin Bleu.

In addition to their thriving writing partnership, Brandt has recently been hired to direct his first feature film, Countdown (based on the Richard Matheson short story “Death Ship”), with Haas producing. Haas’ first novel, “The Silver Bear,” a thriller centered on the life of an assassin, will be published by Pegasus Books (distributed by Norton) in July of 2008.

Wanted: Kazakhstan-born writer/director TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV

Kazakhstan-born writer/director TIMUR BEKMAMBETOV (Directed by) co-wrote and directed the highest grossing film of all time in Russian cinema: 2006’s Day Watch, the follow-up to his explosive 2004 international hit Night Watch, the fantasy/ thriller he also wrote with Sergei Lukyanenko.

Before he became a filmmaker, Bekmambetov studied at the Moscow Power Engineering Institute. He went on to graduate from the A.N. Ostrovsky Institute of Theatre Arts in Tashkent in 1987 with a degree in theater and cinema set designing.

After several years in the military, Bekmambetov began working in the field of advertising. For the next 15 years, he created and directed many award-winning television campaigns that would influence his distinct vision for film. Many of the ads received prizes and awards at both Russian and international festivals. In 2000, he became a member of the Russian Academy of Advertising.

Bekmambetov’s film career began in 1992, when he collaborated with Gennadi Kayumov to write and direct Peshavar Waltz. The film was awarded with prizes for both Best Director and Best Cast at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.

In 1999, the filmmaker produced and directed an eight-part miniseries for television, Our ’90s. In 2000, he directed and co-produced (with Roger Corman) the feature The Arena. In 2002, Bekmambetov directed and co-produced (with Bakhyt Kilibayev) the film GAZ—Russian Cars.

Bekmambetov is currently producing the animated feature 9 for Focus Features. He also recently partnered with Universal to produce and distribute Russian-language feature films.

Wanted: stunt crew and others

Many of the stunts were shot at 150 frames per second, in quite super-slow motion. That meant that there was little for the cast members (stunt crew and others) to hide from the cameras. If a punch landed the wrong way or a fall looked awkward, it would have to be captured intact by Bekmambetov and DP Amundsen. Therefore, rehearsals would need to happen again and again…until each nuance was perfected.

One of Wanted’s signature sequences is a chase in which Fox scoops up Wesley in a red Viper and hurtles across the city to escape Cross’s pursuit via van. At the wheel of the Viper was Jolie as Fox. Stunt coordinator MIC RODGERS explains what was necessary to get the correct shots for his director (while Jolie hung on at 30 mph): “We rigged the viper for Angelina to hang off the side of it. She was in a harness, but we still spotted her. The camera was on the back of the Viper, where our camera platform is, and we chased it with the camera bike. Angelina as Fox did a head-on, near miss with an oncoming car, which throws her off to the driver’s side of the Viper. Then she shot the crap out of Cross’ truck.”

For some actors, however, it wasn’t so much the physicality of their roles that became a part of their characters, but their weapons. Supervising armorer RICHARD HOOPER had the task of introducing his guns to their new owners. He says, “We did some extensive training with the actors so they were all familiar with the weapons they used in the film. They were trained in two ways: the usual way in which anyone would use a weapon and in a specialist ‘Fraternity’ way that has evolved over the centuries, which enables the shooter to curve bullets around people and buildings so that they don’t kill anyone by mistake. Each member of the Fraternity has a unique way of firing specific to that character. All of the actors paid good attention to the instruction and safe use of the firearms.”

Thomas Kretschmann says, “The gun training was very tough for me. I was hired quite late in the game, so I was quite nervous about the fact that I didn’t have much time to train. I had no earthly idea how I was supposed to turn myself into the world’s greatest assassin in just one week. I felt like I needed at least six months to prepare. I want it to look good, and I’ll still be nervous about it at the time the movie opens.”

McAvoy was one of the first actors that Hooper had to train: “When we first meet Wesley, he knows nothing about guns, so we had to show a slightly clumsy, awkward and inexperienced character. In various stages of the training room, he starts to get better and better and eventually becomes the No. 1 top assassin.”

Portraying The Gunsmith, Common studied the arsenal of weaponry as part of his preparation. He explains, “I went through a process of learning different things about guns that I wasn’t familiar with. People always think of guns as something evil, but obviously, it’s what a person does with a gun that makes it either bad or good. The Gunsmith uses the gun as an art form and tool to perform the will of the Loom.”

The weaponry employed in Wanted is a combination of the very modern and very ancient—once again, echoing the overall design concept and grounding the story in a solid history. With it, the Fraternity carries centuries of customs, traditions, codes…and arms. There are approximately 200 various types of weaponry used in Wanted. As an ancient organization, the Fraternity has collected weapons throughout time, adopting a practice of adapting and modifying them, rather than replacing them. The process for developing these specialized props was a matter of design, redesign and then continuing with the evolution until they were finalized.

Hooper remarks, “Bekmambetov has a slightly curious view of this group of characters, and he likes to think outside the box. It was quite apparent from an early stage that he had a different take on what these guys could do, and he wanted the guns and knives to reflect that.”

Myhre adds, “Modern guns aren’t at all interesting to me, but Bekmambetov, with his fantastic way of thinking, started considering flintlocks [older gunlocks in which a flint strikes against steel to produce sparks that will ignite the priming on the piece], so we came up with the whole design concept of turning a flintlock into a semiautomatic weapon. We created a visual style and used it to adapt a lot of older weaponry—sort of like illuminating a manuscript. It was such an unusual style that we used it on the contemporary guns as well by carving into their barrels.”

Once the art department started developing these beautiful engravings on the guns, the suggestion was floated to continue the design of the firearm as a tattoo on a hand—so when a Fraternity member picks up his or her weapon, the engraving effectively continues as a tattoo. Hair and makeup designer Hannon says, “It was supposed to be a trademark of all of the Fraternity members, but at the end of the day, it was decided it would be best to keep this beautiful effect for one person…and that person was Fox.”

The paramount concern of any armorer is the safety of the actors and the crew. Not only do the performers have to learn how to use the guns and how to make their use look authentic—but also, they must be operated in a manner that ensures the safety of everyone involved. So it wasn’t just the principal actors who received firearm training, but also the crowd extras. Hooper comments, “We went to great lengths to make sure that every extra was trained for each sequence, each take, each piece of action. They were rehearsed and rehearsed so that everyone knew exactly what it was they had to do.”

So is there any possibility in modernizing ancient weapons or the physics of bending bullets around corners? Hooper laughs, “Oh, we’re just having fun. It’s pure fantasy, I’m afraid, but a bloody good one.”

Wanted: members of the Fraternity

In describing how the members of the Fraternity live their lives, you cannot overemphasize the importance of physical acumen. Their bodies are very much a part of their arsenal. Although the Fraternity of assassins are not superhuman, they do possess certain powers specific to their characters, which even the most regular gym-goer would be hard-pressed to mimic.

That necessitated quite a bit of physical training for the most active among the Fraternity, namely McAvoy and Jolie. McAvoy, in particular, had to do a convincing job of turning his body from that of a couch potato into a sleek, sinewy killer in record time.

Personal fitness trainer GLENN CHAPMAN, hired to ready the normally thin actor for his role as Wesley, explains: “The biggest challenge training McAvoy was the weight gain. I think he weighed around 62kg [137lbs] when we started training in London two months before the shoot, and we got him to 74kg [164lbs] at his heaviest point in Prague. The time we had to train was limited, and he needed bulk, so we did a combination of different types of training—sometimes weights, interval training and training at different speeds.”

Even after signing on, McAvoy was fairly unaware of the physical work ahead of him, and he confesses: “I’d rather eat dog poo than go to the gym. The training was a big change for me—sometimes my trainer pushed me so hard that I was on my knees wanting to be physically sick. He made me eat really, really horrible food at bad times of the day, but it seemed to do the trick. It gave Wes the body he needed.”

There was a dramatic change to McAvoy’s body shape in a short period of time. Although his training program was rigorous and intense, it was never the goal to give Wesley an overly bulky physique. McAvoy says, “We needed to keep Wesley as a character the audience could believe went from a convincing geek with small muscles, through this transformation, to someone who is bulkier…but not so big that you couldn’t hide it.”

McAvoy’s personal training underwent a necessary period of adjustment after he arrived for the shoot in Prague, as the sessions had to adapt around the shooting schedule. Fight training and kickboxing took away from his daily workouts, as he had to concentrate on learning the actual fight scenes for the film. McAvoy observes, “Size doesn’t necessarily equal power a lot of the time. That really helped me in this movie. It doesn’t really matter whether you look big or not; it’s whether you can make that jump or lift yourself with the force and power of your thigh. As soon as we started doing the action sequences and I didn’t have time to do my personal training at the end of the day, I could feel my muscles starting to disappear. My costumes felt a bit bigger on me than they did at the beginning of the shoot.”

For McAvoy, who is in almost every scene of the film, Wanted turned out to be the most physically demanding movie on which he had ever worked. Despite that, he still insisted on doing his own stunts. The stunt coordinators found the actor willing to give into the physical work the job required, with McAvoy often stepping in for his stunt double. He reasoned that the audience expects it.

Of his many manuevers, there was one that particularly pleased McAvoy: “My favorite stunt was jumping over the “L” train, which I did completely by myself. I had a stunt double, of course, who did the more dangerous things and makes me look incredibly good…but jumping over the bridge was all me and it was incredibly cool to do.”

His tutor would join him in much of the film’s action. “There’s one scene where my character, Fox, gets to beat up Wesley,” says Angelina Jolie. “All of the stunt team kept telling me that James has the qualities of a stuntman when it comes to taking a punch and throwing himself onto the floor—and they were right. He’s really great to work with. It’s always fun to do a scene where you get to jump around and punch people, but you don’t want to hit too hard, especially if you’re wearing brass knuckles. It can be funny or strange or even dangerous, but it really comes down to working with someone as good as McAvoy.”

Unfortunately for Wesley, it’s not only Fox who gets to subject him to a beating…so do fellow Fraternity brothers The Repairman (played by British actor MARC WARREN) and The Butcher (actor DATO BAKHTADZE).

Bakhtadze went through two weeks of harsh, strict stunt training for his knife fight with McAvoy. Bakhtadze says, “I arrived in Prague about two weeks before I was due to shoot, and that wasn’t a great deal of time for the fight coordinator to turn me into a killing machine! The stunt team helped me understand how to fight, not just with the weapon, but with emotion. It’s not all about the knife swing or knife swirl; it’s about what makes you want to do that move in the first place.”

Producer Marc Platt adds, “Our actors, all of them, loved doing stunts, particularly McAvoy and Jolie. There was a lot of training for this film, especially with McAvoy, whose character has to literally transform. You’ll be able to tell how much his training paid off in terms of making it a real and exciting experience for the audience.”

Wanted tells the story of an ordinary man who discovers this very different world

It might be said that creating a believable world that doesn’t really exist is the specialty of Timur Bekmambetov—although he would be quick to point out that that world might bear a slight resemblance to our own, but just tweaked, skewed and heightened.

Producer Marc Platt offers, “Hopefully, audiences will enjoy the film and be marvelously entertained, but also see something original. They should have a reason to go out to the movies on a Friday night—to experience a thrill ride with great characters all under the very sure and deft hand of a truly visionary filmmaker. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

Angelina Jolie comments, “I think what’s really cool is that with James as an action hero—he’s not an obvious action movie star—but with him, it will be nice for people in the audience to actually relate to him…like, ‘If that was me and I was working in my little cubicle and my life sucked, but I had skills and I didn’t know what I was worth…could I do that?’ James surprised me a lot. This movie will be more about Wesley’s story, as opposed to him being some ideal action hero. But James represents the everyman, and that is very, very cool to see.”

But how does the hero everyman feel? James McAvoy muses, “I don’t see myself doing another action movie for awhile. The 14-year-old boy in me was very excited about doing Wanted and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to play Wesley but, to be bloody honest, I didn’t even have this much pain when I was 14. Maybe that’s why a 14-year-old boy would be keen to do this kind of thing, you know? I really have enjoyed it, though. It was just amazing.”

Timur Bekmambetov closes, “Wanted tells the story of an ordinary man who discovers this very different world…and all along this world was right next to him. Like in your neighborhood, but only two blocks away, and you never walked that way in all of your life. And one day, you walk differently and you find it. He just didn’t know it was there. And now that he’s there, what will he do?”

Universal Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment Present, In Association with Relativity Media, A Marc Platt/Kickstart Production, In Association with Top Cow: Wanted, starring James McAvoy, Morgan Freeman, Terence Stamp, Thomas Kretschmann, Common and Angelina Jolie. The music is by Danny Elfman. The costume designer is Varya Avdyushko. The film editor is David Brenner, ACE; the production designer is John Myhre; and the director of photography is Mitchell Amundsen. The executive producers are Adam Siegel, Marc Silvestri, Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber. The film is produced by Marc Platt, Jim Lemley, Jason Netter and Iain Smith. Wanted is based on the series of comic books by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones; the story is by Michael Brandt & Derek Haas; the screenplay is by Michael Brandt & Derek Haas and Chris Morgan. Wanted is directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

Wanted: Effects That Bend Bullets and Slow Time

Director Bekmambetov finds the idea of “fix it in post” a horrific concept—to him, visual effects are intended to take the shot further than captured in-camera, not to wholly create something that didn’t start on the set.

Bekmambetov explains, “For me, it is the emotion that is important, not really the effect. It may be a little old school, but this is how I get what I need from my actors and crew. I don’t use effects to make up for what is not there. If it’s in the character, in his or her emotions, it will be on the screen.”

Longtime collaborator/editor and second unit director of Wanted, DMITRI KISELEV, has worked with Bekmambetov in Russia for the last 10 years and is only just now starting to understand his friend’s vision. Kiselev describes, “Timur breaks so many rules, but he is always looking for something natural, something real in a shot before he even contemplates using CG to complete it. He will create his visual effects around an existing shot.”

Producer Lemley picks up: “When we were drafting the screenplay and developing the sequences, Bekmambetov would go away to his ‘science lab’ and come back with pre-visual sequences that illustrated exactly how he would shoot and what the focal point of each scene would be. That focus was always specific to the emotions we wanted the characters to convey and the impact those feelings would bring to the visual effects that completed the scene.”

Visual effects producer Farhat adds, “He uses his pre-vis as a tool—he uses it to educate and discuss with those who are trying to capture the action, but he doesn’t cripple people’s visions with it.

“There is no bad idea with Bekmambetov,” Farhat continues. “He knows there is more than one way to do something and he’s very open to ideas, but as experienced as he is, he understands that ideas always need to be fresh.”

The director has his own visual effects house in Moscow, Bazelevs (a production and postproduction/effects facility), which served as a “clearing house” for the effects created for Wanted. While not all of the effects were completed under its roof, Bazelevs maintained an overall watch on all out-of-house work.

Farhat says, “One of the biggest challenges making a film where you’re using multiple facilities is keeping the continuity, the look and the style consistent all across the board. Bazelevs works not only all over Russia, but the world. The visual effects were split up among various facilities—some worked on modeling, others created texturing, others animating and so forth. So Bazelevs created this digital pipeline, a digital asset management system, where they could actually follow the progression of any shot and compare it to the progression of any other shot in a sequence or anywhere else in the movie. The separate houses really acted as one house—a virtual company.”

One effect that stayed under the Bazelevs roof, however, was the creation of computer-generated stunt doubles. Even with Bekmambetov’s insistence on shooting as much of the story as can be captured in the real world, there were certain things (the height of assassin mode and high-risk action sequences such as running on the roofs of moving trains) that could not be filmed—even with the help of the best stunt performers and the most advanced wire works. To complete those scenes, digital stunt doubles were created through cyber-scanning.

Think of cyber-scanning as an enormous 3-D copy machine, which rotates around the actor (for around 15 seconds) and creates a 3-D model of that person. The model is transferred to the computer in a CG mold, which then has to be “rigged” (inserting skeletal and muscular systems and texturing the exterior) and fitted with wardrobe (which has also been scanned). That rig then has to be “taught” to replicate the way the actor—and the actual stunt double—move. The result is a digital double that doesn’t balk at engaging in the most life-threatening stunts imaginable.

In addition to high-end film cameras, Bekmambetov adapted a still technique for use in several sequences, particularly the “L” train chase. The director and cinematographer Admundsen employed a series of six synched 35mm cameras mounted on a special plate that could rotate 180°. The cameras’ lenses angled to capture the horizontal top of the train as it drives through Chicago and overlapped frames to produce a contiguous all-around view. When seamed all together and matched with green-screen shots of the actors, the result is a scene with a cylindrical or spherical texture and a complete 180° view of the nonstop action atop the speeding “L.”

Farhat concludes, “This technique really freed us up a lot. We’ve all seen tiled stills, where you take a series of stills and you match them end-to-end spherically, basically freezing the action and rotating the point-of-view. But in this case, we’re doing it with moving footage. I’d say it was one of the toughest sequences in the show, because we’re basically taking real actors and putting them in a world that doesn’t really exist.”

McAvoy and Bekmambetov spent a lot of time developing the actual on screen physical technique

Welcome to Assassin Mode

This is a trait shared by all in the Fraternity. It enables them to see things more clearly than a normal person. With the world at a snail’s pace, the assassin has more time in which to think, decide and act. While in the mode, the fighter can discern what is happening at any given moment with a jewel cutter’s precision—thus making life-altering decisions with ease and clarity.

The Assassin Mode was a complex notion to try to achieve visually, and Bekmambetov wanted it to work within the Wanted bounds he had established: that every effect needed to have an emotional basis. Ergo, if Wesley was to be in Assassin Mode, the director wanted the audience to be in Assassin Mode as well, not merely looking at it as an observer. And although all Fraternity members have the ability to go into the mode, the audience would only see it from Wes’ point of view.

McAvoy explains, “Within the mythology of the film, the senses of the assassins in the Fraternity become heightened as their hearts pump in excess of 400 beats-per-minute. They’re not supermen and they don’t have superpowers, but they see things faster and clearer—but making a decision that quickly, compared to everyone else around them, might be seen as something superhuman.”

Bekmambetov likes to push his boundaries—so how about defying the laws of physics? Why not? So he and DP Mitchell Amundsen fashioned a shot specific to the Fraternity that enabled them to bend bullets (again, to be augmented with visual effects).

McAvoy explains the concept behind the technique: “The Fraternity members can bend bullets because they have non-rifled chambers and barrels in their guns—non-rifled means there’s no interior grooving which causes the bullet to spiral as its fired. So, in our theory, that means that if I swing my wrist like I’m taking a tennis shot, the bullet arrives at your target but in a curved trajectory—not a straight shot. You can bend around objects. Instead of moving to get a target in sight, you just move your arm.”

McAvoy and Bekmambetov spent a lot of time developing the actual on screen physical technique that would “bend bullets.” Their goal was to create an action that looked “cool, but functional…seamless, rather than apparent.” Several crew (from both Team Amundsen and Team Farhat) were also involved in quite a bit of research to create a move that—in both camera effects and visual effects—would look completely possible and completely within the grasp of reality. (Of course, don’t ask a science professor or physics expert about the plausibility of this…)

Jolie comments, “I’m probably the only person that found the bending of bullets the most difficult thing to do in the movie. It’s a little odd to try and talk about it seriously, but when Morgan Freeman’s character is explaining how it works, and because it’s Morgan saying it, you actually start to believe it.”

Ultimately (and fully) dispelling the myth, McAvoy adds, “Oh, come on…It’s all made up, I’m afraid. Kids, don’t try this at home!”

Lots of Shooting: Bekmambetov Lenses Wanted

Another major factor in deciding to shoot in Prague was the availability of a panoply of architectural styles (from Beaux Arts to Communist Industrial) that could be utilized as locations. Such an array of structures could potentially offer up production-differing styles for each phase of the film (changing as Wes advances from the “real” world to the Fraternity world).

In addition to the dormant sugar factory, Prague provided such shooting sites as: the famous Strahov Stadium, the largest stadium in the world with seating for 220,000 spectators; Křivoklát Castle, 40km west of the city, begun in the 13th century and reborn several times (now standing thanks to a 19th-century restoration); and other, less distinctive locales (e.g., a disused practice train track, an old wine factory).

One of the most spectacular sequences—the train crash and subsequent tumble of cars into a gorge—was actually filmed in Romania. Locations supervisor Sharp comments, “I’ve researched gorges from Norway to Chile to see which would suit the film best, given the color and the scale. The color and the texture of the rock in the gorge and in the tunnel had to be stone specific to Europe. We needed to distinguish where we were to give us a sense of Wesley’s journey, to prove he’s moved on and to make all the other pieces fit.”

In order to anchor the story in Chicago, production moved from Prague (once principal photography had wrapped) to the Windy City, where exterior and action shots were filmed. Lensing with the main unit lasted two weeks, when the majority of the car chase sequences—Wes and Fox in a lightning-fast, red Viper versus police and other cars—were shot (and where production made use of the famous double-decker highway Wacker Drive, shooting on the ground level, or Lower Wacker). Images of Jolie, McAvoy and Kretschmann filming these car scenes were a regular feature on the local nightly news and splashed daily across the Internet.

Regardless of location, however, the view of the Wanted world is the same—usually through the eyes of Wesley. And that meant visually representing his thoughts, his feelings…and one particular problem.

In his former life, Wesley suffers, as many do, from anxiety and insecurity. This manifests itself to such an extreme that his heart races and he undergoes actual physical and physiological changes—he assumes all of this is due to a severe anxiety attack.

But after being reeled into the Fraternity by Fox, Wesley learns that this condition is actually genetic, passed on to him by his father…and it’s not a curse—it’s actually a gift. With his heart wildly beating, his system is flooded with a gargantuan amount of adrenalin, and as his inner world races, the outer world slows to a crawl.

Wanted: three-time Golden Globe winner ANGELINA JOLIE (Fox)

Academy Award® and three-time Golden Globe winner ANGELINA JOLIE (Fox) continues to be one of Hollywood’s most talented leading actresses. Jolie’s most recently released films were Robert Zemeckis’ Beowulf and Michael Winterbottom’s critically acclaimed A Mighty Heart, the dramatic true story of Mariane and Daniel Pearl. Jolie’s performance in A Mighty Heart earned her nominations from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics and Film Independent’s Spirit Awards.

She recently completed filming Clint Eastwood’s Changeling and was heard as the voice of Tigress in DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda, opposite Jack Black. Upcoming films include the long-awaited adaptation of Ayn Rand’s seminal novel “Atlas Shrugged,” to be directed by Vadim Perelman.

Jolie’s previous films include The Good Shepherd, directed by Robert De Niro and co-starring Matt Damon; Mr. & Mrs. Smith, co-starring Brad Pitt; Alexander, directed by Oliver Stone and co-starring Colin Farrell and Anthony Hopkins; and the action/adventure Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, with Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow. She lent her voice to the animated feature Shark Tale, directed by the creators of Shrek, which also featured the voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro and Jack Black. Jolie also starred in the Warner Bros. thriller Taking Lives, also with Ethan Hawke. In 2003, she played the lead role in the action/adventure Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, the sequel to the 2001 box-office smash Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and portrayed a relief worker for the United Nations in the provocative drama Beyond Borders.

In 2001, she starred in director Simon West’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Original Sin, opposite Antonio Banderas for Gia writer/director Michael Cristofer. The previous year, she was seen along with co-stars Nicolas Cage and Robert Duvall as car thieves committing their final heist in the smash hit Gone in Sixty Seconds for producer Jerry Bruckheimer. She was also in the romantic comedy Life or Something Like It. Jolie’s portrayal of a mental patient in Girl, Interrupted garnered her an Academy Award®, her third Golden Globe Award, a Broadcast Film Critics Award, ShoWest’s Supporting Actress of the Year Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film, based on the true story by Susanna Kaysen, was directed by James Mangold and co-starred Winona Ryder.

Prior to that, she played a rookie police officer opposite Denzel Washington’s veteran detective in the thriller The Bone Collector, directed by Phillip Noyce. She also co-starred in Mike Newell’s Pushing Tin with Billy Bob Thornton and John Cusack. Playing by Heart earned her the National Board of Review’s award for Breakthrough Performance; this character-driven drama, directed by Willard Carroll, featured an all-star ensemble cast, including Sean Connery, Gena Rowlands, Madeleine Stowe, Ellen Burstyn, Gillian Anderson and Dennis Quaid.

The HBO film Gia earned Jolie critical praise as well as a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of supermodel Gia Carangi, who died of AIDS. Jolie also received an Emmy nomination for her role opposite Gary Sinise in director John Frankenheimer’s George Wallace, a period epic for TNT about the controversial governor from Alabama. The film earned Jolie her first Golden Globe Award and a CableACE nomination for her portrayal of George Wallace’s second wife, Cornelia.

Jolie also co-starred with David Duchovny and Timothy Hutton in director Andy Wilson’s Playing God. Prior to that, she starred in Hallmark Hall of Fame’s four-hour miniseries presentation True Women; directed by Karen Arthur, it was based on Janice Woods Windle’s best-selling historical novel. Jolie also starred in Annette Haywood-Carter’s much-acclaimed Foxfire and Iain Softley’s Hackers.

A member of the famed MET Theatre Ensemble Workshop, Jolie trained at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute and has also studied with Jan Tarrant in New York and Silvana Gallardo in Los Angeles.

Jolie has also received wide recognition for her humanitarian work. She was the first recipient of the Citizen of the World Award from the United Nations Correspondents Association, as well as the Global Humanitarian Award in 2005. In February 2007, Jolie was accepted by the bipartisan think tank Council on Foreign Relations for a special five-year term designed to nurture the next generation of foreign policy makers.

Jolie is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She helped push through the Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act and founded the National Center for Refugee and Immigrant Children, an organization that provides free legal aid to asylum-seeking children.

Wanted: Grammy Award-winning artist COMMON (The Gunsmith)

In 2006, the Grammy Award-winning artist COMMON (The Gunsmith) made his big screen debut as a musical performer in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party. In January 2007, he made his acting debut co-starring opposite Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys and Ryan Reynolds in Smokin’ Aces for Universal Pictures and writer/director Joe Carnahan. In November 2007, he co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott. His most recent motion picture work was seen in David Ayer’s Street Kings, starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker.

Prior to acting, Common rose to prominence as one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists, having recorded more than six albums: “Can I Borrow a Dollar?,” “Resurrection,” “One Day It’ll All Make Sense,” “Like Water for Chocolate” and “Electric Circus.” In 2004, he partnered with Chicago native and rap music megastar Kanye West to produce “Be,” which went on to garner four Grammy Award nominations. In July 2006, his video for the single “Testify” was nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Hip-Hop Video.

On July 31, 2007, Common released his critically acclaimed seventh album, “Finding Forever;” it debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart and went on to earn a Grammy. He’s recently wrapped production on his latest album, “Invincible Summer,” slated for a June 2008 release date.

In the last year, Common’s launched his Soji hat line and the Common Ground Foundation, which gives back and allows our youth to realize their full potential. The Foundation is dedicated to the empowerment and development of urban youth in the United States.

Additionally, Common offers a younger generation a better understanding of self-respect and love, using the cultural relevance of hip-hop in the children’s books he has written. The first one, titled “The Mirror and Me,” teaches lessons of life, the human spirit and human nature. His follow-up book, “I Like You but I Love Me,” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award; his third book, “M.E. (Mixed Emotions),” was recently released.

Wanted: JAMES McAVOY (Wesley Gibson)

JAMES McAVOY (Wesley Gibson) was born in the Scotstoun area of Glasgow, Scotland, in 1979 and is a graduate of the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. In his short career, he has tested himself with a wide variety of work, on stage, television and film, and is regarded as one of the U.K.’s most exciting acting talents.

Although he cut his teeth with small parts in high-profile projects like the World War I drama Regeneration (alongside Jonathan Pryce and Dougray Scott) and the hugely successful HBO series Band of Brothers (produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg), McAvoy first came to prominence in the U.K. with the role of Josh in the Channel 4 adaptation of Zadie Smith’s popular novel “White Teeth,” with Geraldine James, John Simm and Naomie Harris. This brought McAvoy to the attention of Hollywood and, in 2002, he was cast as Leto Atreides II in the Emmy Award-winning massive hit miniseries Children of Dune, directed by Greg Yaitanes and co-starring Susan Sarandon and Steven Berkoff.

As McAvoy’s body of work grew, the roles being offered to him grew more and more significant, and he soon found himself playing the role of Dan Foster in the BAFTA-winning BBC One political-drama series State of Play, with Bill Nighy, John Simm and Kelly Macdonald. Written by Paul Abbott and directed by David Yates, the series ran in the U.K. in autumn 2003 and on BBC America in 2004 and became one of the most successful U.K. television exports of recent years.

While impressing on the small screen, McAvoy also proved to be a hit on the big screen, when Stephen Fry’s much anticipated comedy Bright Young Things was released in October 2004. The film had an all-star international cast, including Emily Mortimer, Dan Aykroyd, Peter O’Toole, Jim Broadbent, Richard E. Grant and many more. Bright Young Things was released in the U.S. in August 2005.

McAvoy’s popularity in the U.K. grew with his portrayal of the car thief Steve in the BAFTA-winning Channel 4 series Shameless, which began in the U.K. in early 2004. Once again written by Paul Abbott, the series tells the story of the fortunes and misfortunes of a family living on a Manchester council estate. McAvoy was nominated in the Best Comedy Newcomer category at the 2004 British Comedy Awards for his performance.

In 2004, McAvoy took his first feature film lead role in Inside I’m Dancing (U.S. title: Rory O’Shea Was Here). Directed by Damien O’Donnell and co-starring Romola Garai, the film tells the story of Rory, a young Irishman with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, who leads his cerebral palsy-stricken friend in a fight for physical and emotional freedom. The film received great critical acclaim, with McAvoy’s performance being especially noted; he received a nomination in the British Actor of the Year category at the 2005 London Film Critics’ Circle Awards. The film was released in the United States in February 2005.

December of 2005 saw the long-awaited arrival of Disney’s big-budget The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, filmed in New Zealand over the second half of 2004. McAvoy played Mr. Tumnus the Faun in this adaptation of the C.S. Lewis classic, directed by Andrew Adamson and co-starring Tilda Swinton. The film became a massive international success and is one of the 20 highest grossing films of all time. McAvoy won the Rising Star Award at the 2006 BAFTAs, and he was nominated in the British Actor of the Year in a Supporting Role at the 2006 London Film Critics’ Circle Awards for his performance.

In the summer of 2005, James traveled to Uganda to take on the lead role in The Last King of Scotland, directed by the Oscar®- and BAFTA-winning Kevin Macdonald. The film tells the story of Nicholas Garrigan, a Scottish doctor on a Ugandan medical mission, who becomes irreversibly entangled with one of the world’s most barbaric figures, Idi Amin, played by Forest Whitaker. McAvoy was nominated for a BAFTA, a European Film Award, a BIFA and a London Film Critic’s Circle Award for his performance.

Upon returning to the U.K., McAvoy started work on his lead role in the adaptation of the hugely popular David Nicholls book, “Starter for 10,” for HBO Films. The film was directed by Tom Vaughan and produced by Tom Hanks; McAvoy’s co-stars included Alice Eve, Rebecca Hall, Benedict Cumberbatch and Catherine Tate. The film was released in the U.K .in October 2006 and premiered at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival before a February 2007 U.S. release.

The actor’s next project was Penelope, directed by Mark Palansky and co-starring Reese Witherspoon, Christina Ricci and Richard E. Grant. McAvoy played a man called upon to save a young woman cursed with the snout of a pig. Penelope began filming in London in February 2006 and premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival ahead of a February 2008 U.S. release.

In April 2006, the ever-busy McAvoy moved to Dublin to start work on Becoming Jane, directed by Julian Jarrold and co-starring Dame Maggie Smith and Julie Walters. McAvoy played the brilliant and roguish Irishman Tom Lefroy, whose affair with Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) inspired her to write “Pride and Prejudice.” The film was released in the U.K. in March 2007 and in the U.S. in August 2007.

From Dublin, McAvoy returned immediately to the U.K. to begin work on Atonement. An adaptation of the popular Ian McEwan novel, the movie is directed by Joe Wright and co-stars Keira Knightley, Brenda Blethyn and Romola Garai. McAvoy played Robbie Turner, a Cambridge graduate falsely accused of rape, who goes on to fight in World War II with the accusation hanging over him. Atonement had its world premiere at the 2007 Venice Film Festival ahead of the September 2007 U.K. and December 2007 U.S. releases. McAvoy received Golden Globe and BAFTA Best Actor nominations and won awards from the London Film Critics’ Circle, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and the U.K. Regional Critics for the role.

In April 2008 James moved to Germany to begin filming The Last Station, a historical drama that illustrates Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s struggle to balance fame and wealth with his commitment to a life devoid of material things; the film is directed by Michael Hoffman.