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Birdman Production Notes

In BIRDMAN, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s black comedy, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) hopes that by spearheading an ambitious new Broadway play he will, among other things, revive his moribund career. In many ways, it is a deeply foolhardy move – but the former cinema superhero has high hopes that this creative gambit will legitimize him as an artist and prove to everyone – and himself – that he is not just a Hollywood has-been.

With the play’s opening night looming, Riggan’s lead actor is injured by a freak accident during rehearsals and needs to be replaced quickly. At the suggestion of lead actress Lesley (Naomi Watts) and the urging of his best friend and producer Jake (Zach Galifianakis), Riggan reluctantly hires Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) – a loose cannon who is guaranteed to sell tickets and get the play a rave review. As he preps for the stage debut, he must deal with his girlfriend and co-star Laura (Andrea Riseborough), his fresh-from-rehab daughter and personal assistant Sam (Emma Stone), as well as his ex-wife Sylvia (Amy Ryan), who appears every so often to check-in with the intent to stabilize things.

Iñárritu notes that elements of Riggan’s story resonated with him, particularly the ephemeral nature of success and the question of relevance. “I was interested in exploring the battles with the ego, the idea that no matter how successful you are, whether in money or recognition, it’s always an illusion. It’s temporary. When you are chasing the things you think you want and empower the people to validate you, when you finally get them, you soon find an impermanence in that joy.”

“Riggan is profoundly human,” Iñárritu says. “I saw him as a kind of Don Quixote, where the humor comes from the disparity and permanent dislocation of his solemn ambitions and the ignoble reality that surrounds him. Basically, it’s the story of all of us.”

“I love characters that are flawed, uncertain, driven by doubts and contradictions…which means everybody I know. Riggan’s choices have been poor and this one has affected the people around him. Throughout his life, Riggan has confused love for admiration. And it’s until he realized the irrelevance of the second one that he has to painfully start learning how to love himself and the others”.

Keaton says of his character: “I just looked at Riggan as a person. However, being an actor – that’s a job that requires a specific type of personality. It’s already subject to extreme self-consciousness, ego, all that. And in this case, here’s a guy who has all those qualities run amok, to say the least.”

For Riggan’s tortured ego, the line between reality and illusion is paper thin – and often not there at all. The shadow of Birdman - a constant, nagging companion – is always there, whether he likes it or not. “He embarks on a journey of validation. So it is a ‘me’ journey, the ego journey. And as he fights against his mediocrity, his ego – faithful friend and tormentor – repeat the patterns Riggan would like to leave behind and confronts him with his multiple limitations and delusional possibilities.

There is something tragic, and something funny, and something very real, and also something very surreal about it,” Iñárritu explains.

“Birdman is Riggan’s super ego, and from Birdman’s perspective, Riggan has lost his mind by doing this play that is clearly beneath them. From Riggan’s perspective, it’s Birdman that has lost his mind. From the perspective of the era, both are irrelevant.”

Like all of Iñárritu’s films, BIRDMAN takes an acute look at the human existence as seen through the characters, anchored by Riggan, but it walks a tonal tightrope between comedy and pathos, illusion and reality, allowing for multiple interpretations.

“I always said that after you turn 40, anything that doesn’t really scare you isn’t worth doing. And this scared me in a good way. It was new territory and I was definitely out of my comfort zone,” Iñárritu says.

“It is a character based piece and an intense character drama with comedic elements. It’s a new type of film for Alejandro,” says producer John Lesher. “He is very skilled at the terrain that is the human condition.”

“It’s always about the project, about the movie, about the story, about the people, about it being really heartfelt and really meaning something. This is as good as it gets from that perspective,” says Keaton.

While the movie centers on the trials and tribulations of actors, Iñárritu sees their quest for gratification as a universal longing. “The modern definition of accomplishment - people want to be famous immediately, not from a body of work developed over years. In one second, people have 800,000 likes or followers and for some that is achievement in itself – but it’s delusional. The immediacy of social media can easily distort the reality of one person, especially Riggan, who has to fulfill expectations of what it is to be famous. And all this is new to him, that crossover is difficult. This is the story of a man trying to prove that he is more than that, more than the popular ‘liked’ guy. But in today’s world, where irony is king, anybody who wants to be earnest or honest is crucified. It is an absurd, surreal world,” Iñárritu explains. “In the end, I just tried to recount in a funny way the disasters of our human nature to reconcile, if not with the defects or faults of the world and our nature, with the way we approach and live them.”

The play that Riggan mounts at the historic St. James Theater is based on Raymond Carver’s short story, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, and of course the mercurial search for love and acceptance is a thread woven throughout BIRDMAN.

“Since adolescence I have been a big fan of Raymond Carver and this story is a classic. I chose it for Birdman because it was actually a very bad idea. I mean, I always try to think as the character and for somebody like Riggan, who does not belong to the theater, to mount a play based on a short story of Raymond Carver is extremely challenging and almost absurd. I needed to have a play taking place and there was this incredible coincidence in terms of the themes of this short story. And Riggan looking to be loved and trying to figure out where that love comes from. I wanted to play with the idea that he was trying to project some of the elements of the play on to his own New York life. And little by little he becomes the character he is playing, that desperate guy, going into the motel room, asking to be loved. I was so lucky that Tess Gallagher, his widow, was generous enough to trust me to give me the rights to the story for this. I am very grateful,” Iñárritu explains.

Casting The Cast

The lynchpin of BIRDMAN is Michael Keaton, cast as Riggan Thomson. Keaton, who has played a wide range of roles in all sorts of genres, famously starred in Tim Burton’s two seminal BATMAN movies, films that really began the comic book superhero tent pole genre. A la Riggan, he did not continue with the franchise and others assumed the role of the Dark Knight in subsequent films.

“Michael is a very talented, impressive actor who dominates the craft of drama and comedy unlike anybody I have seen or worked with before. At the same time, he is one of the few guys who have truly worn that cape – actually I think he was one of the first global movie star superheroes and he resurrected one of the biggest icons, Batman. He is the grandfather of that overwhelming kind of comic book franchise world we are now living in, so he was the perfect choice. When he said yes, I knew then that the film would be exactly what I wanted because he would not only reflect and project a much stronger reality because of his background and authority but also because of his incredible depth of talent,” Iñárritu notes.

He also notes that Keaton’s unflinching commitment to depicting Riggan’s foibles and triumphs without judgment was critical to the role.

“Michael played him with absolute truth and honesty. Because of the way I shot it, it demanded of him not only an absolute physical precision in pace and rhythm but an extraordinary ability to transition to different territories without a grain of irony. He went to very deep places. I don’t know how he did it but it was magnificent to observe,” Iñárritu says.

In the span of those takes, a kaleidoscope of emotions played out; Riggan’s enthusiasm, doubts, regret, ambition, rage, kindness, hopes and fears are all on full kinetic display, not to mention he is visited by a larger than life figment of his imagination Birdman character.

Keaton himself matched Iñárritu’s take on the character beat for beat. He says, “I think the heart of the character is his contradictions. He feels like a comet one moment and two seconds later, completely deflated. And all that and more would happen within one scene. I have never been in a movie or play where in one to two minutes it went from really funny, to really twisted, back to funny, then really sad, and finally kind of crazy within such a short space of time. The contradictions are what are really cool about it.”

“In terms of the parallels, I’ve never related less to a character than Riggan but I did understand him on a lot of levels because he was so visceral and true and heartbreakingly human,” Keaton says.

“You know, I think casting is one of the biggest decisions as a director. I tried to cast actors who would not make a caricature of these characters but who would understand their humanity and give them depth even when the circumstances are absurd. I knew that our entire cast consisted of great actors but I also knew they had impeccable awareness and were really capable of being in the moment, to commit to the narrative of the film,” Iñárritu says.

Naomi Watts, who plays Lesley, an actress who makes her Broadway debut in Riggan’s play, has an easy rapport with Iñárritu, having worked with him previously on 21 GRAMS. She says that because of his exacting visual approach to the material, “… it was the hardest thing I have ever done because it is one unbroken shot, continuous scenes, several actors, room to room, and 15 pages of dialogue. You cannot mess up. Usually, you shoot several different angles in coverage and you get to repeat lines if you didn’t like the way you said it. You have a lot of freedom to save or improve yourself. Not in this case. Because of the way he shot it, it’s everybody’s moment all the time. And not just the actors, by the way. There were so many people standing on the cliff edge with us – props, stunts and especially the camera crew. It’s like a relay race and you don’t want to let anyone down because they could be doing their best work. You’re constantly aware of the whole team,” Watts says.

Nevertheless, Watts found the experience to be exhilarating. “It was like a master class. Although it was excruciating, it was a great challenge and I was thrilled to experience something new. It was much harder on Alejandro. There were a couple times when we were an hour away from wrapping and he still hadn’t gotten the shot and then suddenly we’d get into a zone where we were all synchronized. It had to work on the day because he couldn’t cut into it or edit it later but at the end of the take, if he liked what he was seeing, there was this massive cheer. We all wanted to please him. It was like winning an Olympic race,” Watts says.

For her character Lesley, the opportunity to appear on Broadway is tantamount to going to the Olympics also and it informs everything she does. Her single-mindedness leads to the casting of the ultimate bad boy artist, Mike Shiner, played by Edward Norton.

“Performing on Broadway is her childhood dream and it’s finally here. She’s so focused on it; she wants nothing to get in the way. What I love about it is that actors can be very complex people who are absolutely worth poking some fun at from time to time. Lesley in particular is just so desperate for her big break on Broadway. So when they lose one of the actors right before previews, she is worried that it all might fall apart. So at risk to herself, she puts forward the name of her boyfriend who she knows will bring trouble, but she does it anyway,” Watts says.

Norton, known for his work on stage as well as in movies, was impressed at how accurately BIRDMAN captured the New York theater world.

“When I read the script, I found myself wondering how Alejandro and his writing partners got so inside some of the hilarious and poignant nuances of not just the lives of actors but specifically the particular experiences and vicissitudes of New York theater actors. Having come up in the New York theater world early in my career and still being involved in it, I was impressed at how spot on the script was,” Norton says.

Norton admits that this world offers a delicious opportunity to investigate and occasionally harpoon the “idiosyncrasies” of Theater People and Mike Shiner is an entertaining specimen.

“I think any time you dig into the life of actors, inevitably you’ve got some blend of authentic artistry and a real passion for storytelling – and then you’ve also got narcissism, ego, self-regard, all of it. The appealing thing to me about Shiner is that he is paradoxically a cad with an enormous ego and is supremely vain, covetous, a little sneaky, but he is also extremely talented. He knows what he is talking about, he is committed to the craft, he works hard, and he is very sensitive. He is able to perceive people’s essence through their own kind of protective veils. I feel like Riggan’s relationship to him is similar to what the audience’s might be,” Norton says.

Norton adds that while BIRDMAN is specific to actors, it was the project’s universal themes that intrigued him. “Alejandro said to me in the beginning that he didn’t want this to be just about actors or even artists per se. He wanted it to be about something that anybody would relate to. I think what he was really in interested in was the idea of those moments in life when you feel you’ve gotten far away from the noble idea that you had of yourself at some earlier place in your life. Alejandro has such a soulful view. It can be a deeply existentially terrifying kind of moment as you approach a certain age and you start thinking about your own mortality and have to confront the idea of being less than you had somehow envisioned you would be. I think that the story hinges on Riggan taking an audacious shot at recovering a sense of himself that he can be proud of – he just happens to be an actor. How he does it, to me, is poignant and often hilarious because of the lengths he is willing to go to achieve it,” Norton explains.

Some of the dynamics between Riggan and his troupe of actors, Norton adds, are also archetypal. “My character is the younger guy who threatens Riggan, makes him feel insecure, the generational tension between the Young Turk and the guy fighting to maintain his relevance and sense of his own strength. There are love affairs, issues with children and an ex-wife, stuff that anyone can relate to,” Norton says.

Trying to keep all of this together is the play’s producer and Riggan’s best friend Jake, played by Zach Galifianakis. He has his work cut out for him on every level. Of all the characters, Jake is probably the sanest – which was a welcome change for Galifianakis, who certainly knows his way around crazy.

“I was a big fan of Alejandro’s movies. I liked him even before I knew him and when we met for coffee, he told me he wanted me to play something a little bit more real and subtle as opposed to a caricature, which was a refreshing thing for me to try,” Galifianakis says.

He comments further on his character: “Riggan and Jake have been working together for a while. I think they probably had some good days in the past, when Riggan was at the top of his game. And now they are trying to figure out their next movie which means going to Broadway to legitimize their careers a little bit. Jake’s a little bit of an archetypal character for me. Jake is a little bit of a hot head and loses it from time to time, which is also fun to play,” Galifianakis says.

Emma Stone plays Sam, Riggan’s daughter, newly sprung from rehab and working as her father’s assistant. Their relationship is strained – his onetime fame as the super hero Birdman meant that he was absent for much of her youth. Hiring her as his aide doesn’t do much to improve their situation. Sam has a keen eye and observes her father and the histrionics that come with his play with wry dispassion that is spot on but also a bit of a defense mechanism.

She says: “Because she is fresh out of rehab, I assume she needs to be watched by a family member. So she makes a huge mistake by working for him. It doesn’t help that he can’t connect with her at first and has her doing really menial errands. So it doesn’t begin well but by the end, she starts to see that they are very similar. Sam is one of the few characters in the movie who isn’t an actor, who isn’t in the play. That was kind of nice to play, she’s on the outside and witnesses all that is happening without being in the tornado on stage with all these crazy people,” Stone says.

And while this play has become Riggan’s single focus and his bid for artistic relevance, his daughter has a completely different and modern definition/measurement of what it is to matter.

“We find Riggan at a point of no return, in the midst of mounting a career comeback mostly driven by his desire to be relevant. My character Sam teaches him a lot about social media and the new nature of fame, which is something he is willfully ignorant of. The way actors are accessed now is very different than when Riggan was coming up as Birdman, 20 or 30 years prior. He wants to mean something but he also wants to be well-liked and respected as an artist but there is this sort of a modern day keeping up with the Joneses, this desire for mass appeal – and I think everyone can understand and relate to that,” Stone says.

Fortunately, she had a supportive guide in Iñárritu. “I learned so much. It was so exciting to live and breathe the character for the entire length of the scene. And Alejandro is so tuned in to actors, he knows what is going on your head line by line, sometimes better than you do. There was a day when I knew it just wasn’t working for me and suddenly I could feel it kick in and as I did, he clapped and said, ‘That’s IT!’ It’s amazing. I’ve never met a director who could do that, he feels what you do,” Stone says.

Amy Ryan plays Sylvia, Sam’s mother and Riggan’s ex-wife, who stops by the theater from time to time to check on them both. “Sylvia is the one sound, sane, grounding voice in their lives, I think. She provides the voice of reason and represents real love, whereas everyone else confuses adoration for love to measure their self-worth,” Ryan says.

Unlike many people who are in and have been in Riggan’s life, Sylvia is not an enabler, but, as Ryan points out, a cheerleader. And Riggan doesn’t make that an easy job. “I think the most daunting thing about being a cheerleader for someone is when they don’t hear you. Which is what happens between Riggan and Sylvia – he keeps getting in his own way and can’t see the truth or beauty that she sees. Even after their divorce, she tries to support him and it’s exhausting,” Ryan says.

Like the rest of the cast, Ryan had to get used to the very specific visual aesthetic. She literally had to get her bearings and was grateful that it was a team effort. “The extensive rehearsals helped. It was great to have everyone around and so rare to work on a film where you’re with the entire company. We were all in it together,” she says.

As Laura, one of the actors in Riggan’s play, Andrea Riseborough plays his lover. His apparent ambivalence triggers all sorts of reactions in Laura but unlike Riggan, she is actually pining for real, adult love as opposed to mere adulation. Riseborough got to know Laura intimately during the elaborate rehearsals Iñárritu staged, a process that continued throughout production. As important as the technical aspects of the cinematography were to performance, Iñárritu paid equal meticulous attention to the nuances of the characters and storylines.

“Alejandro has a temperature gauge for each moment; he made every single section real. One of the most fascinating things about working with him was that before we even started filming, during rehearsals, he made sure I felt a sense of who this person was. I felt I knew Laura innately. And during production, every day I discovered more about her through him. He unfolds a character for you by saying very little, which allows you to find the character too. Sometimes, that for me was an amazing and totally unique experience,” Riseborough says.

In Concert With The Camera

Long before the film was shot, the film was conceived, written and meant to be a continuous life experience. “Since the first page of the script, I knew I wanted it to be live and make the audience experience a real point of view from the main character in a radical way. This represented a completely new approach for me and all the people involved so the challenge started from the script to the last frames of post-production,” says Iñárritu.

The extended, intuitive, unbroken nature of these shots, accomplished via Steadicam and hand-held cameras meant that the lighting was not done with traditional film equipment. The blocking and dialogue were precisely timed with the camera movement. As such, it was less like a movie set and more like the theater in which much of the film takes place.

“We first blocked, rehearsed and designed the shots in an empty set with stand-ins. In comedy, rhythm is king. So through this process, I not only found the internal rhythm of the scenes but the sets and spaces were designed with enormous precision after we all learned from it,” explains Iñárritu.

“Chivo (aka Emmanual Lubezki) was the best partner I could have had. Not only is he a master of light but I think few DPs would have been able to handle the technical requirements of this film. We were not able to light the actors in the traditional way – when you do conventional coverage, you light each angle and have the time to do it. That he was able to accomplish the lighting in this way without compromising the look of the film took incredible skill and craft and I think only Chivo could have done it,” Iñárritu says.

Because the camera work was so specific, Iñárritu insisted on comprehensive rehearsals with all the actors. “They really had to understand what I was doing - every movement, every step, every turn of the face was pre-decided and meticulously choreographed. Nothing was improvised, it was a study in timing, with the precision of a clock,” Iñárritu explains.

“It was shot every day as one scene. You shot in continuity. Usually you get five takes here, get 12 takes here, get close-ups, lot of choices to stitch together a performance. There is none of that here. You have no safety net. You have one shot at it. And it all had to come together, and every actor had to be right on it,” says Keaton.

“I had a Philippe Petit picture in my office and I sent a copy of it to every actor. I wanted them to remember that we would all be walking on a high wire – dependent upon precision, confidence and a trust in each other. We could fall very easily,” says Iñárritu.

Although the technical aspects of these run-throughs were obviously important, equally vital was the time spent delving into the characters. “We went through a very deep and interesting process to really observe all the scenes, the meaning and objective of the material, the macro and micro of all the characters, the objectives and motivations as well as the repercussions of their emotions and actions,” Iñárritu explains.

Norton relished the tracking shot approach to filming BIRDMAN and notes that it not only underscores the sometimes weird, twisted and loving bonds between the characters, it is the logical next step in Iñárritu’s film canon. Fittingly, in a movie about a play, Norton also notes that it lent a theatricality to the production as well.

“Alejandro was trying to do something incredibly exciting which was to create literal interconnectedness through the shot. The notion of essentially filming in one take was to me a variation of on a theme that Alejandro has been pursuing which is how do create a wild experience of interconnected moments. For instance, with BABEL you’ve got different worlds interconnected ultimately by threads. In this one you've got relationships and events interrelated by this visually seamless transfer from one moment to the next, to the next, to the next, to the next and I loved it. It puts the baton in an actor’s hand in a way you really only get to do in theater. And there is something really potent about that. I think is also does something unconsciously to the energy of the performance. Alejandro likened it to being on a tightrope without a net. It sharpens you up in a way that is different from typical movie shoots,” Norton says.

Iñárritu’s uninterrupted takes were a nerve-wracking experience for Stone as well. “We did this scene where I had just one or two lines but it was very important because it was part of a very long scene between Michael and Edward. My job was to come in and say something like ‘Larry’s ready for a fitting now’ and then take Edward around a corner. That was all I had to do, but Alejandro told me I had to slow down by about 30% or he wouldn’t be able to make the scene work. I was like, oh my God. I can’t mess up. By take 25, I was just sitting backstage and couldn’t even deliver my line. The pressure was immense. It was just like theater, every take is on you. It was like going to an acting gym. Everything is extremely technical but you also need to be present and alive because every moment that you are on camera will be in the film there is no cutting away. There’s no, ‘oh, I screwed that up but they can use a different take,’” Stone says.

Galifianakis calls Iñárritu’s visual style a “seamless narrative” and also sees it as a fittingly bracing acting test in a movie about actors. “I think it is such an interesting way of telling a story, the camera moving in real time. There is real geography and timing, in terms of hitting your marks, delivering your lines. I didn’t think I was capable of it but Alejandro was so easy-going and nice. I found the whole thing to be intriguing – a movie about an actor ends up being a real actor piece for all of us,” Galifianakis observes.

Setting The Stage

BIRDMAN shot for 30 days entirely in New York City, Iñárritu’s first movie in Gotham and there were never any other stand-in cities the filmmakers considered.

“The city and Broadway are characters themselves in the film. To make the film feel as authentic as it possibly could, what better place than New York. The great thing is that there is such a talented pool of artists and technicians and actors in New York, just the right balance of stage and movie people that Alejandro wanted,” says producer John Lesher.

The filmmakers also elected to shoot the movie largely in the order that the story plays out, unusual for any production but especially ambitious for one photographed in such a specific way with such a short filming schedule. “Continuity was essential for Alejandro’s process as well as exploring Riggan’s internal path; it supported the film. Each day Michael did a yeoman’s job, setting the proper tone and pacing the transformation of his character - he was truly amazing,” says producer Jim Skotchdopole.

The production shot much of the film in the real Broadway theater, the St. James on 44th Street in the heart of Times Square. The St. James has a storied history. Built on the site of the original Sardi’s Restaurant, it opened in 1927 and many notable productions have opened there, including “Native Son,” “Oklahoma,” “The King and I,” “The Pajama Game,” “Beckett” and more recently, “Gypsy,” “American Idiot,” “Hair” and “Bullets Over Broadway.”

“It’s unprecedented for a show to come into a working Broadway house and shoot interior scenes for as long as we did. But the theater was the anchor of everything in the movie,” says location manager Joaquin Prange. “That was the biggest challenge, finding the right theater that could work with our schedule. We culled it down to about half a dozen and Alejandro – and everyone – responded to its history and look and feel. While it is majestic, it has a lot of character, it’s rough around the edges and I think that fits with what he is going for Riggan. He is in a house that is not quite the premiere stage on Broadway; it’s on a side street, not Broadway itself. And while there are successful shows all around him, this is a house that has had a lot of turnover and you feel that this is a place where the play could actually take place.”

“The Broadway world has a schedule, they rehearse every day from 8 am to midnight – whereas our call time depended on what we had to shoot and when we finished the day prior. So little things like that threw the theater guys for a loop but they rolled with it and were great. It was a real learning process for all of us” Prange says.

BIRDMAN of course utilized the St. James’ stage where at one point, the actors performed the final scene of the play “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” in front of a live audience of extras. The theater lobby and exterior were also set pieces in the film.

“I know it was important for Alejandro to capture the spirit of Times Square and Broadway itself, the activity on the street, the people, the lights, the traffic, just the density of everything, and certainly 44th Street is great because it’s right on the precipice of Times Square. We felt that energy just a block away,” Prange explains.

Production designer Kevin Thompson was tasked with marrying the St. James with a recreated backstage and dressing room set that his team built at Kaufman Astoria Studios. “My first conversation with Alejandro was about the physical world of the theater on stage and behind it. He was very interested in the two emerging and overlapping. I thought it would be incredibly challenging to have these two worlds meet. And the idea of filming in a real Broadway theater, designing sets for that and for the play plus the backstage dressing rooms and labyrinth of corridors was really intriguing,” Thompson explains.

Those rehearsals became blueprints for the sets and ultimately morphed throughout production, not just to accommodate camera moves but also to reflect Riggan’s mental condition. “The notes that came out of those rehearsals defined the actual size and shape of the set. Like when we would go downstairs, when we go upstairs, when we would go on a long walk through a corridor, when we would stop, where they would stop, that had to be a special kind of transition period and the sets had to accommodate all of that. The rehearsals informed the length of the corridors between the dressing rooms, for instance, how far from Michael Keaton’s dressing room is to the stage entrance. It had to be a certain length and it had to turn a number of times so we would change the backstage configuration to adapt to the scenes so it would seem as though it was done without any cuts or edits. And then the corridor to Michael Keaton’s dressing room would shrink as the movie went on – we made it narrower and dropped the ceiling – to make it more about the state of mind that he was in. The set was also made so we could fly out a little section here or there to make the camerawork possible. Chivo could back into a wall all of a sudden or have a piece of it disappear, which you can’t do on location,” Thompson says.

Thompson also discusses the lighting and color palette for the film. “Alejandro likes introducing color in a curated and controlled way. The way it was accomplished in my department was through Chivo’s lighting. We used practical fixtures throughout because we had to be able to move the camera freely without movie lighting getting into or in the way of the shot. So we’d get a lot of different color temperatures of light, from cool tungsten to a warmer incandescent. It was lit for film, not theater – Broadway productions have a more heightened version of blue and red lights but ours were more like cool and warm colors crashing into each other and layering on top of each other. Chivo lit the stage in such a unique way, with a big LED in the ceiling and being able to change the color and move the light around as we shot,” Thompson says.

Costume designer Albert Wolsky, with whom Thompson closely collaborated, has vast experience in both movies and theater. He has won two Oscars® for Best Costume Design (“Bugsy” and “All That Jazz”) and has been nominated five times and earned a Tony® Award nomination for his work on the 2013 production of “The Heiress.” Throughout his career, he has moved easily between stage and film. The push-pull of Broadway and Hollywood is an underlying theme in the movie and manifests in Wolsky’s costumes because of his background, no one understands that tension better than Wolsky. That uneasy alliance played out mostly in the characters’ “backstage” clothing. Says Wolsky: “For the backstage rehearsals, I was trying to capture a certain kind of casualness. Nobody dresses up and then there was also the feeling that this informal, laid-back style came from California. In the back of my mind, I was always balancing the theater and Hollywood. The difference is subtle between the New York version of casual and that of California but it’s there.”

Wolsky, of course, had to design the costumes the characters wore in the actual play, which was also a balancing act. He had to create wardrobe that could plausibly work on Broadway but was also cinematic and stood out from their everyday clothing.

“Even though Carver wrote the story in the early 80s, I thought it was better to push the wardrobe for the play a little further back. I thought the 50s would be good because the 70s and 80s are too close to what we wear today. And then I had to consider the materials we would use because we were still shooting a movie. The camera sees differently than the actual eye does, it sees in two dimensions whereas your eye does not, so the texture and depth of some fabrics are more evident on stage than they are on film. I learned that when I started going back and forth between theater and film. In features, details that work for a close-up, for instance, do not work for the tenth row in the theater. In terms of color, I could push it a little bit. Chivo doesn’t like primary colors so I was conscious of using deeper hues for the play than I would for their backstage wardrobe,” Wolsky says.

Wolsky believes that his work on ALL THAT JAZZ, a seminal movie that also examines the world of Broadway and Hollywood and ambivalence between the two, as well as the nature of art and commerce, intrigued Iñárritu. “The first thing we talked about was ALL THAT JAZZ. Directors seem to be very influenced by that movie. For me, I work from the material but your own experience of course becomes an influence and after a while it is hard to tell where something comes from because it is part of your DNA,” Wolsky says.

Wolsky did not design one specific piece of wardrobe – the actual Birdman suit. That fell to Mike Elizalde to help bring Birdman to life. Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro recommended Elizalde to Iñárritu. “I was thrilled because I’ve been a huge fan of Alejandro for years. He’s a brilliant filmmaker, and it’s a rare opportunity for someone who works in creature effects and prosthetics that get to work with somebody that makes the films that Alejandro makes. It became clear to me very quickly that he knew exactly what he wanted, which always makes our job easier,” Elizalde says.

The look and feel of Birdman began with Elizalde’s first read of the script and it was obvious that Birdman would be like no other entity Elizalde had ever created.

“He is Riggan’s alter ego and I felt how important this character really was and what a deep part of Riggan’s consciousness he was. Birdman elevated him to fame and maybe cursed him to be pigeonholed as this superhero. So it was multilayered for us. Typically when we design a creature, we know exactly what it is. It’s a ghoul. It’s a werewolf. Whatever it is, but Birdman was much more than that. He is a psychological symbol of this man’s past, the thing that grounds him and also potentially can destroy him, maybe DID destroy him on some level. It was a cool challenge,” Elizalde explains.

Elizalde explains that the design was a collaborative effort between Iñárritu, Keaton and Elizalde and his team.

“Alejandro intentionally wanted to preserve what was familiar to us about Michael playing Batman. So parts of his face that are exposed are in the same sort of shape and proximity to Batman. He also showed us pictures of the back of a vulture - that had these beautiful shoulders and lots of rough, iridescent blue feathers. We came up with a basic head to toe look – some areas more textured than others, a darker color scheme to reflect his psychology, elements of grandiosity like his big, gold belt buckle, to underscore his ego. Like Birdman was this grand kind of character who was the antithesis of what the actor Riggan became. We also established a hawk-like face, impressive wings and a sleek looking, modern silhouette that also had an element of camp,” Elizalde explains.

Elizalde and his team constructed the suit and the molds with Keaton using special proprietary fabrics. This bespoke Birdman suit fit him perfectly and was also light enough to allow him to act. He gave us a huge compliment when he told us, ‘I can move in this one.’ So on a practical level I think we delivered something that he was able to perform in more freely and still retain some of the aesthetic of his character,” Elizalde says.

Editors Stephen Mirrione and Douglas Crise were tasked with piecing all these distinctive elements together without mangling the elegant, seamless lines of the cinematography. Both have worked together with Iñárritu on previous films and Mirrione both understood how crucial editing is for this movie.

“During production, Alejandro said to me many times, ‘I have to think of everything now. On every other movie, I could fix it later in the editing room …,” Crise says.

“’But this time, I know I have to get it right,’” adds Mirrione. “He was constantly worried about that. There is no question that the reason they were able to pull it off is because the actors came in incredibly prepared.”

Like the actors and really everyone on the crew, the thorough rehearsals became the basis of their edit.

“Before cameras even rolled, we had an assembly made up of the rehearsal footage and some of the table read so together with Alejandro we could begin to gauge what the film would look and sound like, where a conversation was redundant, where the moves would be. So we were able to get started very early on,”Mirrione says.

The editors also found they had an able partner in the visual effects team, who organically contributed to the unique cuts in Birdman. Happy, creative additions happened as a result of this collaboration.

As with every film, the editors used their ears as much as their eyes but because of the precision of the shots, they had to be extremely vigilant in their aural choices. While the seamless nature of BIRDMAN may look and sound effortlessly fluid, the actual assembly, like everything else in the film, was painstakingly crafted. “The big difference with this film was that we didn’t have the conventional places where one scene started and another ended. Every scene walks into the next one. Alejandro described it as going down a hill and not stopping. There wasn’t really a transition, the characters just keep moving on,” Crise says.

“I think we really anticipated a lot of the potential pitfalls and really prepared, but what we didn’t plan on were all the speed changes,” Mirrione adds. “At certain points, when the scene was not popping for us, if the tempo was a little off, we could actually dial up the pace or slow it down as need be without it being perceptible to the audience and that made a big difference.”

As it turns out, Mirrione and Crise applied syncopation and pace in another way as well - they worked closely with Iñárritu and sound designer Martín Hernández on an insistent percussive refrain that, like Birdman, accompanied Riggan wherever he went. The process began during production when Crise huddled with Iñárritu to provide a first pass for the editors.

“By editing you can alter rhythm and pace. Not having that tool in a comedy can be extremely challenging. So I thought the drums as the main score would provide the film not only a good vibe but the possibility in helping me find the beat it needed. The Mexican drummer Antonio Sanchez, one of the best in the world, and I rented a studio one week before I started shooting and he recorded and improvised 60 tracks based on some objectives or emotions the film needed. That helped me enormously and sometimes I even used it on the stage for the actors to understand the rhythm of the scene. Rhythm is everything in cinema,” says Iñárritu.

“Alejandro had all these drum recordings and he told me to pick six of my favorites. We cut those together so that he could have a track that the drummer could mimic when they shot that scene. He had the idea for the soundtrack from the very beginning and we had those samples cut in from the start too,” Crise says.

“And then Martín took it to another level. Once there was an first pass at the movie, with a lot of those drum tracks laid in as an outline, he spent a lot of time working with Alejandro, to strip layers away, add some in, trying a lot of different beats. Obviously, in every movie, music will have an impact on point of view and mood and tone. But with this I think it was especially important because the rhythm is so tied to the camera and you can’t make those kinds of cadence adjustments with as much flexibility as you can with cuts. We had to lean on the music a little more than normal at times, to push back or pull forward,” Mirrione says.

The rhythm of the drums tied to the flow of the camera tethered to Riggan’s journey towards self-discovery and artistic reflection were not mere gimmicks but rather indicators of the movie’s heart.

“I think it’s a kind of magic, this narrative. By a continuous shot my hope was really to get audiences in the point of view of the character. To really live through Riggan and his mind, to walk in his shoes. A continuous flow of emotion and like Riggan, unable to escape it. To understand his desperation as he walks by those walls and through corridors. Because in the end, our life is just one continuous shot. We wake up in the morning and then we are all day with a Steadicam of sorts floating with us, we don’t escape, we don’t cut to another reality. We are trapped in our own reality. That’s the way we experience life so I wanted to experience Riggan’s world that way too. It’s not just a visual. I wanted to have an emotional narrative with dramatic tension and purpose. I hope it worked,” Iñárritu sums up.

“Now look, your grace,” said Sancho, “what you see over there aren’t giants, but windmills, and what seems to be arms are just their sails, that go around in the wind and turn the millstone.”

“Obviously,” replied Don Quixote, “you don’t know much about adventure.” – Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes

About the Cast

MICHAEL KEATON (Riggan) gained national attention in the hit comedy NIGHT SHIFT, followed by starring roles in such films as MR. MOM, JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY, and THE DREAM TEAM.

In 1989, he earned the ‘Best Actor’ award from the National Society of Film Critics for CLEAN AND SOBER and Tim Burton’s BEETLEJUICE. Keaton later re-teamed with Burton to play the title role in the blockbusters BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS.

In 2002, Keaton played ‘Robert Weiner’ in HBO’s critically-acclaimed “Live from Baghdad,” based on a true story of the CNN crew who reported from Baghdad during the Gulf War, and he received a Golden Globe® nomination for his performance.

In 2005, Keaton was featured in GAME 6, a story centered on the historic Game Six of the 1986 World Series, and in the following year, he starred in the feature film THE LAST TIME.

In 2007, Keaton was in the TNT mini-series “The Company,” a dramatic story of how the CIA operated during the Cold War, and that same year, he made his directorial debut and also starred in the drama THE MERRY GENTLEMAN, which was accepted into the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Also, in 2009, Keaton co-starred in the Fox Searchlight comedy POST GRAD.

In 2010, Keaton was the voice of ‘Ken’ in TOY STORY 3, the latest addition to the successful and endearing Pixar franchise, and he also co-starred in the comedy feature THE OTHER GUYS, with Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson for Columbia Pictures. In 2013, Keaton appeared opposite Michelle Monaghan in the feature film PENTHOUSE NORTH, and earlier this year, he was featured in both ROBOCOP and NEED FOR SPEED.

After failing his last college course by one point at North Carolina State University, ZACH GALIFIANAKIS (Jake) moved to New York City. He got his start performing his brand of humor in the back of a hamburger joint in Times Square and later graduated to doing stand-up at night clubs and coffee houses in the city. While working as a busboy, he got his first acting job on the sitcom BOSTON COMMON for NBC. An eclectic career has followed.

Galifianakis most recently reprised his role as ‘Alan,’ the hapless member of the wolf pack in THE HANGOVER PART III. Directed by Todd Phillips, the Warner Brothers film went on to became the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all time. Before completing the trilogy, he also starred alongside Will Ferrell in the Jay Roach directed comedy for THE CAMPAIGN. Galifianakis was featured in DUE DATE, in which he reteamed with director Todd Phillips to star opposite Robert Downey Jr. In a departure from comedy, Galifianakis starred in the Focus Feature film, IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY, where he played a patient in a mental hospital, bringing his warmth and humor to the character of ‘Bobby.’

Galifianakis will next be seen opposite Owen Wilson in the Independent feature, YOU ARE HERE, directed by Matt Wiener. His other credits include DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, opposite Steve Carell and Paul Rudd; the independent feature YOUTH IN REVOLT; the Jerry Bruckheimer produced live-action Disney feature G-FORCE, which debuted at number one in the box office and grossed over $290 million worldwide; as well as a cameo role in Jason Reitman’s Academy Award® nominated film UP IN THE AIR. He also appeared in the critically acclaimed feature INTO THE WILD from Paramount Vantage and director Sean Penn.

On the small screen, Galifianakis starred in the HBO comedy “Bored to Death” with Jason Schwartzman and Ted Danson. He previously hosted the critically acclaimed talk show for VH1, “Late World with Zach,” as well as writing and starring in “Dog Bites Man” for Comedy Central. Galifianakis also hosts an Emmy®-nominated internet talk show titled “Between Two Ferns,” on which he has interviewed such guests as President Barack Obama, Steve Carell, Natalie Portman, Conan O’Brien, and Justin Bieber.

EDWARD NORTON (Mike) has acted in the films PRIMAL FEAR, EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU, THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, AMERICAN HISTORY X, ROUNDERS, FIGHT CLUB, KEEPING THE FAITH, THE SCORE, DEATH TO SMOOCHY, FRIDA, RED DRAGON, 25TH HOUR, THE ITALIAN JOB, DOWN IN THE VALLEY, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, THE ILLUSIONIST, THE PAINTED VEIL, THE INCREDIBLE HULK, PRIDE AND GLORY, LEAVES OF GRASS, STONE, MOONRISE KINGDOM, THE BOURNE LEGACY, and earlier this year, he appeared in Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND HOTEL BUDAPEST.

His upcoming projects include MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, for which he wrote the screenplay and will also direct, and SAUSAGE PARTY, the animated comedy by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.

Norton has been nominated for two Academy Awards, for PRIMAL FEAR and AMERICAN HISTORY X, and won a Golden Globe for ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture,’ for PRIMAL FEAR, along with numerous other awards for his performances. In 2002, he also won the Obie® Award for his performance in the Signature Theater production of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This.

Norton directed the film KEEPING THE FAITH and also produced the Cannes Film Festival selection DOWN IN THE VALLEY, THE PAINTED VEIL, LEAVES OF GRASS, THANKS FOR SHARING and the documentary BY THE PEOPLE: THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA.

lass 5 Films is currently working in partnership with Brad Pitt’s Plan B to produce an epic seven-part series for HBO based on Stephen Ambrose’s acclaimed book about the Lewis and Clark expedition, Undaunted Courage. Norton and Pitt will executive produce the series, which is to be directed by Norton’s frequent collaborator, John Curran.

Class 5 Film's documentary BY THE PEOPLE: THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA was released by HBO in November 2009 and was nominated for three Emmy awards and won for ‘Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming.’ The company’s most recent documentary production, David Sampliner’s MY OWN MAN, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was acquired by Netflix. It will be released as a Netflix Original Documentary in 2015.

Class 5 Film’s other documentaries include THE GREAT RIVERS EXPEDITION, a film by Jim Norton, and David Sampliner’s DIRTY WORK, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and aired on the Sundance Channel. The company also collaborated with the Sea Studios Foundation on their highly acclaimed, multi-million dollar series about earth system sciences for National Geographic, STRANGE DAYS ON PLANET EARTH, which Norton hosted and narrated. The film premiered on PBS in April 2008.

At the age of nine, ANDREA RISEBOROUGH (Laura) first appeared on stage at the People’s Theatre in Newcastle, home of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and she went on to appear in upwards of sixty theatrical and film productions until she left for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London at age nineteen.

During her last year of conservatory, she began to work professionally in film. Upon graduating, Riseborough starred in the Oppenheimer Award winning Brief History of Helen of Troy on London’s West End, for which she earned “Best Newcomer’ at the WhatsOnStage Awards in 2005.

In 2006, Riseborough played the lead role in Miss Julie and Measure for Measure with Sir Peter Hall and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her work in both performances earned her the National Theatre’s ‘Ian Charleson Award.’ That same year, she filmed the Universal comedy MAGICIANS, with Robert Webb and David Mitchell.

In 2007, Riseborough worked with Mike Leigh on HAPPY GO LUCKY. The same year, she was nominated for ‘Best Supporting Actress in a Play’ at the WhatsOnStage Awards for her portrayal of ‘Kalina’ in Bruce Norris’ The Pain and the Itch. Riseborough then played a teenage punk in Patrick Marber’s LOVE YOU MORE, which was directed by Sam Taylor Wood and nominated for the ‘Palme D’Or’ at Cannes.

In 2008, Riseborough played the title role in “The Devil’s Mistress,” with Michael Fassbender and Dominic West, and she starred opposite Kenneth Branagh and Tom Hiddleston as ‘Sasha’ in Tom Stoppard’s adaptation of Ivanov, directed by Michael Grandage for the Donmar Warehouse.

In 2009, she filmed Fox Searchlight’s NEVER LET ME GO, directed by Mark Romanek; Paramount’s MADE IN DAGENHAM, alongside Sally Hawkins; and BRIGHTON ROCK, with Helen Mirren. All three films opened at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Riseborough earned nominations for ‘Best Actress’ and ‘Best Newcomer’ at the 2010 British Independent Film Awards. She also was nominated for ‘Best by BAFTA for her portrayal of ‘Margaret Thatcher’ in “The Long Walk to Finchley.”

In 2010, Riseborough starred Off-Broadway alongside Ben Wishaw and Hugh Dancy in The Pride, directed by Joe Mantello. Her performance won ‘Best Off-Broadway Debut’ at the 2010 Theatre World Awards and earned her nominations for ‘Outstanding Featured Actress’ at the 2010 Lucille Lortel Awards and Drama Desk Awards. The same year, she played ‘Wallis Simpson’ in The Weinstein Company’s W.E., directed by Madonna, and starred in RESISTANCE.

In 2011, Riseborough played ‘Colette,’ in James Marsh’s SHADOW DANCER, and in 2012, she won ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film’ at the British Independent Film Awards, ‘British Actress of the Year’ at the London Film Critics Circle Awards and ‘Best Actress’ at the Evening Stand British Film Awards.

In 2012, filmed Universal’s OBLIVION, with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman, and then starred in the Warner Brothers thriller HIDDEN.

In 2013, she could be seen in WELCOME TO THE PUNCH, opposite James McAvoy and the ensemble drama DISCONNECT. She was also nominated for the 2013 BAFTA ‘EE Rising Star’ Award.

She recently starred in THE SILENT STORM, produced by Barbara Brocolli.

AMY RYAN (Sylvia) is having a busy year so far, having completed work on three highly anticipated films: Paramount’s MONSTER TRUCKS, directed by Chris Wedge and co-starring Barry Pepper and Rob Lowe; Sony’s GOOSEBUMPS, co-starring Jack Black, directed by Rob Letterman and produced by Neal Moritz; and Jared Hess’ DON VERDEAN, co-starring Sam Rockwell, Will Forte and Danny McBride.

She last appeared, with Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones, in Drake Doremus’ BREATHE IN, produced by Indian Paintbrush and Jonathan Schwartz. Her other recent credits include Greg Mottola’s “Clear History” for HBO, co-starring Larry David and Jon Hamm, and Atom Egoyan’s DEVIL’S KNOT with Colin Firth.

For her acclaimed performance in Miramax’s GONE BABY GONE, Ryan was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award™, and she won the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ awards from the National Board of Review, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Her other film credits include WIN WIN, GREEN ZONE, JACK GOES BOATING, CHANGELING, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD, CAPOTE, DAN IN REAL LIFE, WAR OF THE WORLDS, KEANE, YOU CAN COUNT ON ME and THE MISSING PERSON.

Ryan made her Broadway debut in Wendy Wasserstein’s The Sisters Rosensweig. For her work in the 2000 production of Uncle Vanya, she earned her first Tony nomination, and in 2005, she received her second Tony nomination for her work in A Streetcar Named Desire. Additionally, she appeared on London’s West End in Neil LaBute’s The Distance from Here and the 2013 production of Lisa D’Amour’s critically acclaimed Detroit, directed by Anne Kauffman for Playwrights Horizons.

Ryan’s television work includes her memorable portrayals as ‘Holly Flax’ on “The Office,” ‘Adele’ on “In Treatment” and Officer ‘Beatrice Russell on “The Wire.”

Most recently, Golden Globe nominated actress EMMA STONE (Sam) could be seen reprising her role as ‘Gwen Stacy’ in the second installment of Columbia Pictures’ franchise feature THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2.

Stone recently wrapped production on the UNTITLED CAMERON CROWE project for Columbia Pictures, opposite Bradley Cooper and Alec Baldwin. She also stars in the Woody Allen film MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT, opposite Collin Firth.

When she’s not filming, Stone, is an advocate for Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. Laura Ziskin, the late producer of THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN, started the organization and got Stone involved. In addition to SU2C, Stone is also an ambassador for Gilda’s Club New York City. Named for the late comedian and original cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” Gilda Radner, Gilda’s Club offers a place where people dealing with cancer can join together to build social and emotional support. Stone has become an active member in the Gilda’s Club community and continues to do so by engaging with their younger departments for children and teens.

A native of Arizona, Emma currently splits her time between New York and LA.

NAOMI WATTS (Lesley) was honored with an Academy Award nomination for ‘Best Actress’ for her performance in Juan Antonio Bayona’s THE IMPOSSIBLE, starring alongside Ewan McGregor. For her role as a courageous wife and mother struggling to survive the aftermath of a tsunami, she also earned a Golden Globe nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a Screen Actors Guild nomination, a Critic’s Choice Award nomination from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, and she received the ‘Desert Palm Achievement Award’ at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. She also earned an Academy Award nomination for ‘Best Actress’ for her role in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s 21 GRAMS, in which she starred alongside Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro. Her performance also garnered ‘Best Actress’ award nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and the Golden Satellites, as well as ‘Best Actress’ honors from multiple critics' associations. At the film’s premiere during the 2003 Venice International Film Festival, she received the ‘Audience Award for Best Actress.’ The film itself won the ‘Special Distinction Award’ at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Watts is currently shooting INSURGENT, the next installment of the successful DIVERGENT franchise, which is based on the popular, bestselling novels written by Veronica Roth.

She most recently starred in the biopic DIANA in the lead role as the iconic ‘Princess Diana’ and ADORE with Robin Wright, which had its premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. She will next be seen in ST. VINCENT, with Melissa McCarthy. She also recently completed production on Noah Baumbach’s WHILE WE’RE YOUNG, with Ben Stiller and Amanda Seyfried.

She has starred in many other films in recent years, including Clint Eastwood’s critically acclaimed J. EDGAR, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio; Doug Liman’s FAIR GAME, opposite Sean Penn; Woody Allen’s YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, as part of an all-star cast, including Josh Brolin, Anthony Hopkins, Freida Pinto and Antonio Banderas; Rodrigo Garcia’s MOTHER AND CHILD, for which she received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ and Tom Twyker’s THE INTERNATIONAL with Clive Owen.

Watts has had an impressive list of movies since her acclaimed turn in David Lynch’s controversial drama MULHOLLAND DRIVE, for which she earned ‘Best Actress’ awards from a number of critics’ organizations, including the National Board of Review and National Society of Film Critics. In addition to starring in Peter Jackson’s epic remake of KING KONG, her credits include WE DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, which she starred in and produced; THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON, opposite Sean Penn and Don Cheadle; David O. Russell’s I HEART HUCKABEE’S, with Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman; Marc Forster’s STAY, opposite Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling; Gore Verbinski’s THE RING and its sequel, THE RING 2; Merchant-Ivory’s LE DIVORCE, alongside Kate Hudson, Glenn Close and Stockard Channing; John Curran’s THE PAINTED VEIL, opposite Edward Norton, which was based on W. Somerset Maugham’s novel; David Cronenberg’s drama/thriller EASTERN PROMISES, opposite Viggo Mortensen and Michael Haneke’s thriller FUNNY GAMES.

Born in England, Watts moved to Australia at the age of fourteen and began studying acting. Her first major film role came in John Duigan’s FLIRTING. She produced and starred in the short film ELLIE PARKER, which screened in competition at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, and in 2005, a full length feature of the short debuted at Sundance.

Among her many awards and recognitions, Watts received the ‘Montecito Award’ from the Santa Barbara Film Festival in 2006 for her role in KING KONG, she was honored by the Palm Springs Film Festival in 2003 for 21 GRAMS, and in 2002, Watts was named the ‘Female Star of Tomorrow’ at ShoWest and received the ‘Breakthrough Acting Award’ at the Hollywood Film Festival, both for her work in MULHOLLAND DRIVE. She was also honored for her entire body of work at the 2011 Deauville Film Festival. Watts resides in Los Angeles and New York with her partner and two sons.

LINDSAY DUNCAN’S (Tabitha) most recent work in theatre includes Elizabeth for The Royal Ballet; Hayfever on the London West End; That Face at the Royal Court Theatre; Private Lives on the London West End, for which she won the Olivier Award, Tony Award, Variety Club Award, Drama Desk Award, and Critics Circle Award for ‘Best Actress’; The Homecoming, Berenice, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Prince of Homburg, The Provok’d Wife and Plenty at the National; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Les Liaisons Dangereuses in London and on Broadway; Troilus and Cressida for the Royal Shakespeare Company; Celebration and The Room at the Almeida; Ashes to Ashes and Top Girls at the Royal Court and in New York.

Duncan’s television credits include “Sherlock,” “You, Me & Them,” “The Honourable Woman,” “Wallander,” “Lawless,” “Black Mirror,” “White Heat,” “Richard II,” “Count Arthur Strong,” “Merlin,” “Marple,” “Margot,” “Doctor Who,” “Margaret,” “Criminal Justice,” “Lost in Austen,” “Rome,” “Longford,” “Spooks,” “Poirot,” “Perfect Strangers,” “Oliver Twist,” “Shooting the Past,” “The History of Tom Jones,” “Jake’s Progress,” “The Rector’s Wife,” “A Year in Provence,” “G.B.H.,” “Redemption” and “Traffik.”

Her film credits include, LE WEEK-END, ABOUT TIME, LAST PASSENGER, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, STARTER FOR TEN, AFTERLIFE, UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, MANSFIELD PARK, AN IDEAL HUSBAND, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, THE REFLECTING SKIN, PRICK UP YOUR EARS, SAMSON AND DELILA and LOOSE CONNECTIONS.

MERRITT WEVER (Annie) has appeared in such feature films as RIGHTEOUS KILL, INTO THE WILD, MICHAEL CLAYTON, NEAL CASSADY, TWELVE & HOLDING, A HOLE IN ONE, SEASONS OF YOUTH, BRINGING RAIN, SIGNS, SERIES 7: THE CONTENDERS, THE ADVENTURES OF SEBASTIAN COLE, ARRESTING GENA, GREENBERG, TINY FURNITURE, and THE MISSING PERSON.

Her television credits include “Nurse Jackie,” for which she won an Emmy for ‘Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy,’ “New Girl”, “Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip,” “Conviction,” “1/4life,” “The Good Wife,” “NCIS,” “The Wire,” “Blue River” and “Something The Lord Made.”

Her theater appearances include Uncle Vanya, for which she won the 2012 ‘Joe A. Calloway Award,’ The Illusion, Sam & Lucy, Bad Girls, Smashing, Cave Dweller, Roulette, Cape Cod Souvenirs, To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday, Running On Earth, Here We Are, Children Of The Flames, Female of the Species, and Touch(ed).

She is a graduate of the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts.

Since receiving a Tony nomination for his starring role in the Broadway production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Clybourne Park in 2012, JEREMY SHAMOS (Ralph) has appeared on Broadway with Al Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, with Judith Light in Richard Greenberg's Tony nominated Assembled Parties, and Off-Broadway in Dinner With Friends, for which he won the 2014 Lucille Lortel Award. He also recently starred in Woody Allen's MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT, and in television, he made guest appearances on “The Good Wife” and “Unforgettable,” both for CBS, as well as Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s pilot for Showtime, “Happyish.”

His other Broadway credits include Elling, Reckless and The Rivals. Off-Broadway, Shamos appeared in Clybourne Park, for which he earned Drama League and Lortel Award nominations; Animals Out of Paper, for which he received Second Stage and Drama Desk nominations; Engaged for the Theatre for a New Audience, for which he received an Obie Award; We Live Here and Corpus Christi for the Manhattan Theatre Club; The New York Idea for the Atlantic Theatre Company; 100 Saints You Should Know and Miss Witherspoon for Playwrights Horizons; Gutenberg! The Musical for the Actors’ Playhouse and the 59E59 Theatre; Observe the Sons of Ulster… at the Lincoln Center; The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Century Center; Race and The Alchemist at the Classic Stage Company; Stranger at the Vineyard Theatre; Hamlet, Cymbeline and Paris Commune at the Public Theatre.

Shamos has starred in many other films in recent years including THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY, TAKING WOODSTOCK, DEDICATION, THE REBOUND, and TRUST THE MAN. He has also starred in episodes of “Fringe,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and “Damages.” Shamos received a Master of Fine Arts from the New York University Graduate School of Acting.

BILL CAMP’s (Crazy Man) credits include 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE MAID’S ROOM, LINCOLN, LAWLESS, COMPLIANCE, TAMARA DREWE, PUBLIC ENEMIES, DECEPTION, REVERSAL OF FORTUNE, IN & OUT, and THE GUITAR. He also recently finished production on MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, UNTITLED CAMERON CROWE FILM and LOVE & MERCY.

His television credits include a co-leading role with Robert DeNiro in the HBO limited series “Criminal Justice,” directed by Steve Zaillian; recurring roles on “Boardwalk Empire,” “Damages,” and “Brotherhood”; and guest starring roles on “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Joan of Arcadia” and “New York Undercover.”

Camp’s Broadway credits include Mike Nichols’ Death of a Salesman, for which he received a Drama Desk Nomination, Jackie: An American Life and Heartbreak House. Off-Broadway, Camp appeared in Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul, for which he was nominated for an OBIE Award; The Misanthrope, for which he received a Drama League Nomination; Beckett Shorts; Hamlet and Macbeth. He was also a co-adaptor and lead in Notes from the Underground at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Yale Repertory Theatre, and La Jolla Playhouse and In a Year with 13 Moons at the Yale Repertory Theatre. Camp is a graduate of The Juilliard School.

DAMIAN YOUNG (Gabriel) moved to New York in 1984, where he spent years with the Cucaracha Theater Company. His most recent Broadway appearance was in All My Sons, directed by Simon McBurney.

Young’s film credits include THE DELIVERY MAN; MUHAMMED ALI’S GREATEST FIGHT; DRUID PEAK; HELLO, I MUST BE GOING; RED STATE; ART MACHINE; DETACHMENT; EDGE OF DARKNESS; THE ORANGES; THE GOOD HEART; EVERYBODY’S FINE; REUNION; NOLA; KILL THE POOR; G; THE GURU; UNBREAKABLE; MONSTER; SNOW DAY; THE CITIZEN; GOING NOMAD; OLYMPIA; THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION; AMATEUR; and SIMPLE MEN.

In television, Young was the series lead in “The War Next Door,” he appeared as a series regular on “The Comeback,” and he has guest starred on series such as “Black List,” “White Collar,” “Person of Interest,” “Pan Am,” “Californication,” “Damages,” “CSI: Miami,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Third Watch,” “Canterbury’s Law,” “Numb3rs,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” and “The Adventures of Pete and Pete.”

About the Filmmakers

ALEJANDRO G. IÑÁRRITU (Directed by, Written by, Produced by) is the first Mexican director to be nominated for an Academy Award and a Directors Guild Award. He is also the first Mexican-born director to have won the ‘Prix de la mise en scene’ at Cannes. Iñárritu’s four feature films, AMORES PERROS, 21 GRAMS, BABEL and BIUTIFUL, have garnered critical acclaim worldwide, having received a total of twelve Oscar nominations in different categories including ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Director,’ a ‘Best Picture’ Golden Globe, and a BAFTA Award for ‘Best Foreign Film.’

In 1985, while studying Communications at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Iñárritu began his career as a radio host at the Mexican radio station WFM. In 1988, he became the director of the station, and over the next five years, he spent his time interviewing rock stars, transmitting live concerts, and making WFM the number one radio station in Mexico.

In the nineties, Iñárritu created Z films with Raul Olvera in Mexico. Under Z Films, Iñárritu started writing, producing and directing short films and advertisements, but in order to make the final transition into television and film directing, Iñárritu studied theater for three years under the tutelage of the well-known Polish theater director Ludwik Margules, as well as Judith Weston in Los Angeles.

In 1995, Iñárritu wrote and directed his first television pilot called “Detras del dinero,” starring Miguel Boise. Z Films went on to be one of the biggest and strongest film production companies in Mexico, launching seven young directors in the feature film arena. In 1999, Iñárritu directed his first feature film, AMORES PERROS, which was written by Guillermo Arriaga. The film explored Mexican society told through the perspective of three intertwining stories. In 2000, AMORES PERROS premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won the ‘Critics Week Grand Prize.’ After its historic first showing at Cannes, AMORES PERROS went on to be nominated for ‘Best Foreign Film’ at the Academy Awards.

After the success of AMORES PERROS, Iñárritu revisited the intersecting story structure in 21 GRAMS. The film starred Benicio del Toro, Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, and it was presented at the Venice Film Festival, winning the ‘Volpi Cup’ for Penn. At the 2004 Academy Awards, Del Toro and Watts received nominations for their performances.

In 2005, Iñárritu embarked on his third film and the last one of his trilogy with BABEL. Set around three continents, four countries, and in four different languages, Babel consists of four stories set in Morocco, Mexico, the United States, and Japan. The film stars Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett but introduced a full cast of non-actors and some new actors such as Rinko Kikuchi and Adriana Barraza. It was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, where Iñárritu was awarded the coveted ‘Prix de la mise en scène,’ the ‘Best Director Prize.’ BABEL was released in November 2006 and received seven nominations at the 79th Annual Academy Awards, including ‘Best Picture’ and ‘Best Director.’ BABEL went on to win ‘Best Motion Picture - Drama’ at the Golden Globe Awards, and the film’s composer, Gustavo Santaolalla, won the Academy Award for ‘Best Original Score.’

In 2008 and 2009, Iñárritu directed and produced BIUTIFUL, starring Javier Bardem and written by Iñárritu, Armando Bo, and Nicolás Giacobone. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010, and Bardem went on to win ‘Best Actor’ (shared with Elio Germano for LA NOSTRA VITA). BIUTIFUL is Iñárritu’s first film in his native language since his debut feature, AMORES PERROS. For the second time in his career, his film was nominated for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at the Academy Awards. It was also nominated for the Golden Globes in the category of ‘Best Foreign Film,’ for the BAFTA awards in the categories of ‘Best Film Not in the English Language’ and ‘Best Actor.’ Javier Bardem’s performance was also nominated for the Academy Award for ‘Best Actor.’

Iñárritu’s next film will be THE REVENANT, which he co-wrote with Mark L. Smith. The film is based on the novel of same name by Michael Punke, and it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Will Poulter with shooting set to begin in September. The film has a release date of December 25, 2015.

NICOLÁS GIACOBONE (Written by) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1975. He wrote the book Algún Cristo, and co-wrote the screenplays for OCÉANO, which was directed and co-written by Pascual Sisto; BIUTIFUL, which was directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, co-written by Armando Bo and Iñárritu, and nominated for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ by the Cinema Writers Circle Awards in Spain, the Goya Awards, and the Satellite Awards; and THE LAST ELVIS, which was directed and co-written by Armando Bo, and awarded the ‘Silver Condor for Best Original Screenplay’ by the Argentine Film Critics Association. Currently, Giacobone has taken on the roles of television writer and co-creator as he develops the series “1%” for MRC.

ALEXANDER DINELARIS, JR. (Written by) is currently represented in London's West End by the hit musical production of The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre. He is also the book writer for the upcoming Gloria Estefan musical, On Your Feet! His other recent work includes his play Red Dog Howls for the New York Theater Workshop, Still Life for the Manhattan Class Company, The Chaos Theories for the Shotgun Theater and In This, Our Time for 59e59. Dinelaris was nominated for two Drama Desk Awards for his work on the additional book and lyrics of the Off-Broadway hit Zanna Don't! He recently wrote the original screenplay THE YEAR OF THE MONARCHS and is currently writing and co-producing a new dramatic television series with Alejandro G. Iñarrítu entitled, “1%.” Dinelaris attended Barry University, where he was the winner of the ‘Mac McKindree Scholarship’ for theatre. He is a member of the Writer’s Guild, the Dramatists Guild and the ‘New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspects.’

ARMANDO BO (Written by) is a Buenos Aires-born filmmaker who made his feature film directorial debut with THE LAST ELVIS, which he co-wrote with Nicolás Giacobone. The film, which tells the heartbreaking story of an Argentine Elvis impersonator estranged from his wife and daughter, premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival to exceptional reviews. It was also the ‘Horizons Award’ winner at the San Sebastián International Film Festival, it was nominated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Argentina for ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best First Work, it won the ‘Critics’ Choice Award’ at the Zurich Film Festival, and it won the ‘Special Jury Award’ and the ‘Young Jury Award’ at the Sofia International Film Festival. Bo and Giacobone also won the ‘Silver Condor for Best Original Screenplay’ by the Argentine Film Critics Association.

Previously, Armando co-wrote BIUTIFUL with Giacobone and Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who also directed the film, which starred Javier Bardem and was nominated for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at the 2011 Academy Awards.

Bo’s next feature directing project will be STAND BY, which he also co-wrote. Award-winning producer Christine Vachon (Killer Films) has recently come on board.

A third generation filmmaker, Bo started working in movies and advertising at seventeen, and by twenty-one, he began directing. In addition to his feature work, he is currently an in-demand commercial director, working with clients such as Coca Cola, Samsung, Milk, and Volkswagen.

JOHN LESHER (Produced by) is the founder and President of Le Grisbi Productions, an independent film and television production company.

Most recently, Lesher produced FURY, written and directed by David Ayer, starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, and Logan Lerman. As the Allies make their final push into the European Theatre in April of 1945, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany. Sony will release the film in November, 2014.

Lesher is currently in post-production on BLACK MASS, starring Johnny Depp as notorious Boston gangster ‘Whitey Bulger.’ Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, Juno Temple, and Dakota Johnson costar in the film, which is being directed by Scott Cooper and will be released by Warner Brothers in 2015. Later this year, Lesher begins production on THE TRAP, written and to be directed by Harmony Korine, as well as TOKYO VICE, which is set up at FilmNation. Anthony Mandler will direct and Daniel Radcliffe is starring.

Lesher produced END OF WATCH, written and directed by David Ayer, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, and Anna Kendrick. He also produced BLOOD TIES, a film co-written and directed by Guillaume Canet, starring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, James Caan, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana, and Matthias Schoenaerts.

Le Grisbi Productions is developing feature projects at multiple studios, including Warner Bros, where it has set up SATORI, written by Shane Salerno & Don Winslow for Leonardo DiCaprio to star; CICERO, for Tom Hardy to star; as well as DARK INVASION and AMERICAN BLOOD, both for Bradley Cooper to star.

Le Grisbi Productions has a first look deal for original series at HBO. Projects that have been set up there include: “Hobgoblin,” written by Michael Chabon; “The Landlord,” written by Dan Clowes; “Muscle,” written and to be directed by Derek Cianfrance; “Toni/’Twan’/(Antoinette),” written by Dee Rees for Viola Davis to star; and “Keys to the City,” written by William Monahan.

Lesher is a graduate of Harvard University and began his career as an agent at the Bauer-Benedek Agency. He then went on to become a partner at the United Talent Agency, followed by the Endeavor Agency. He worked with such diverse talent as Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Martin Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson, Walter Salles, Harmony Korine, Fernando Meirelles, Sydney Pollack, Bennett Miller, Judd Apatow, and Ben Stiller. 



In 2005, Lesher left Endeavor to form Paramount Vantage, where he was responsible for such films as BABEL, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, and NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN. In 2008, he was appointed President of Paramount Pictures, working on such studio titles as STAR TREK, UP IN THE AIR, BENJAMIN BUTTON, TRANSFORMERS, and SHUTTER ISLAND, among others. During that time, he guided the studio to forty-nine Academy Award nominations, thirteen wins, and one Best Picture.

ARNON MILCHAN (Produced by) is widely renowned as one of the most prolific and successful independent film producers of the past twenty-five years, with over one hundred feature films to his credit. Born in Israel, Milchan was educated at the University of Geneva. His first business venture was transforming his father’s modest business into one of his country’s largest agro-chemical companies. This early achievement was a harbinger of Milchan’s now-legendary reputation in the international marketplace as a keen businessman.

Soon, Milchan began to underwrite projects in areas that had always held a special interest for him – film, television and theater. Early projects include Roman Polanski’s theater production of Amadeus, DIZENGOFF 99, LA MENACE, THE MEDUSA TOUCH and the mini-series “Masada.” By the end of the eighties, Milchan had produced such films as Martin Scorsese’s THE KING OF COMEDY, Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA and Terry Gilliam’s BRAZIL.

After the huge successes of PRETTY WOMAN and THE WAR OF THE ROSES, Milchan founded New Regency Productions and went on to produce a string of successful films including J.F.K, SOMMERSBY, A TIME TO KILL, FREE WILLY, THE CLIENT, TIN CUP, UNDER SIEGE, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, THE NEGOTIATOR, CITY OF ANGELS, ENTRAPMENT, FIGHT CLUB, BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE, DON’T SAY A WORD, DAREDEVIL, MAN ON FIRE, GUESS WHO, MR. AND MRS. SMITH, BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE 2, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, THE FOUNTAIN, MIRRORS, JUMPER, WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL, LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS, BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE 3, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIPWRECKED, IN TIME, the critically acclaimed 12 YEARS A SLAVE and the epic NOAH directed by Darren Aronofsky, starring Russell Crowe.

Upcoming films include TRUE STORY, starring Jonah Hill and James Franco, and GONE GIRL, directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

Along the way, Milchan brought on board two powerful investors and partners who share his vision: Nine Network and Twentieth Century Fox. Twentieth Century Fox distributes Regency movies in all media worldwide, except in international pay and free television where Milchan has taken advantage of the growing television and new media marketplace. Milchan also successfully diversified his company’s activities within the sphere of entertainment, most specifically in the realm of television through Regency Television (“Malcolm in the Middle,” “The Bernie Mac Show” and “Windfall”) and sports, where the company was at one time the largest shareholder of PUMA, the worldwide athletic apparel and shoe conglomerate based in Germany, which was later sold after a successful re-branding in 2003. In addition, Regency has acquired the worldwide television rights to Women's Tennis Association Tournaments from 1999 through 2012 and has licensed these rights to Pan European Broadcaster Eurosport S.A. Regency owns a large stake in the Israeli Network, a television station brought to the United States via a satellite distribution agreement with Echostarand Regency also acquired a large stake in Channel 10, one of only two commercial broadcast stations in Israel.

JAMES W. SKOTCHDOPOLE (Produced by), a native New Yorker, has been making films for over thirty-four years and worked on forty-eight feature films in seventeen different countries. He is currently in production on THE REVENANT, his second collaboration with director, Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Skotchdopole has executive produced for David O. Russell on the film NAILED and Quentin Tarantino on DJANGO UNCHAINED and DEATHPROOF, as well as four films for director Tony Scott, MAN ON FIRE, ENEMY OF THE STATE, THE FAN, and SPY GAME, during a nine-film association with the director which began in 1988 with REVENGE and included DAYS OF THUNDER, THE LAST BOY SCOUT, TRUE ROMANCE and CRIMSON TIDE.

He also had a long collaboration with director Nora Ephron, having worked many times as her executive producer and as an associate producer on SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE. Skotchdopole has produced commercials for directors Sam Mendes, Oliver Stone and Samuel Bayer.

In 1984, Skotchdopole was the youngest member to be accepted in the Director’s Guild of America. He cut his teeth in the industry by working as an assistant director with Sir Richard Attenborough, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian De Palma, Richard Donner, John Frankenheimer, Paul Mazursky, Mike Nichols, Frank Oz and John Schlesinger.

CHRISTOPHER WOODROW (Executive Producer) has produced numerous notable feature films, including Daniel Espinosa's crime thriller CHILD 44, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman; Eli Roth's horror thriller THE GREEN INFERNO; James Gray's period drama THE IMMIGRANT, starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner; Guillaume Canet's crime thriller BLOOD TIES, starring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana and James Caan; and William Friedkin’s black comedy, KILLER JOE, starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church.

MOLLY CONNERS (Executive Producer) is Chief Executive Officer at Worldview Entertainment, a leading independent motion picture studio that finances, produces and acquires theatrical quality feature films with budgets up to $50 million for worldwide distribution.

Conners has produced and executive produced numerous feature films including John Hillcoat’s TRIPLE NINE, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Kate Winslet; Daniel Espinosa's crime thriller CHILD 44, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman; Eli Roth's horror thriller THE GREEN INFERNO; James Gray's period drama THE IMMIGRANT, starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner; Guillaume Canet's crime thriller BLOOD TIES, starring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cotillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana and James Caan; and William Friedkin’s black comedy KILLER JOE, starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Gina Gershon and Thomas Haden Church.

Prior to this, Conners worked in procurement and legislative lobbying for diverse sectors including financial services and media. Conners holds a B.A. in Psychology from the George Washington University and is a member of the Producers Guild of America and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

SARAH E. JOHNSON (Executive Producer) is an owner of Worldview Entertainment, a leading independent motion picture production and investment company. She is an executive producer on several notable recent films including Zach Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE, starring Braff and Kate Hudson; Daniel Espinosa’s CHILD 44, starring Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace; James Gray's period drama, THE IMMIGRANT, starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner; Guillaume Canet's crime thriller BLOOD TIES, starring Clive Owen, Zoe Saldana and Mila Kunis; Atom Egoyan's crime thiller DEVIL’S KNOT, starring Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon; David Gordon Green's drama JOE, starring Nicolas Cage, and Eli Roth's horror thriller THE GREEN INFERNO.

Johnson is an environmental and educational activist. A former Portfolio Manager at Franklin Templeton, she is active on the boards of St. Lawrence University, Mission Markets, Conservation South Africa (a division of Conservation International), and Chairs the board at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (a member of the Earth Institute at Columbia University). Her philanthropy has involved charities throughout the United States, Africa, Burma and India. Her social issue documentaries include the Academy Award nominated THE SQUARE, CHASING ICE and THE INVISIBLE WAR, as well as the critically acclaimed LIVING IN EMERGENCY: STORIES OF DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS, among others. Johnson is also the founder of the children’s clothing line, Spike & Annie. She holds a B.S. in Biology from St. Lawrence University.

EMMANUEL LUBEZKI, ASC/AMC (Director of Photography) is a two-time BAFTA Award winner, a six-time Oscar nominee, and earlier this year, he won the Oscar for ‘Best Achievement in Cinematography’ for his work on Alfonso Cuarón’s GRAVITY. He also received two of his Oscar nominations for his collaborations with Cuarón on A LITTLE PRINCESS and CHILDREN OF MEN. His work on the latter brought him a BAFTA Award and awards from the American Society of Cinematographers and the Australian Cinematographers Societies, as well as a number of critics associations’ awards, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and National Society of Film Critics. He has enjoyed a long association with Cuarón, beginning in 1991 with SÓLO CON TU PAREJA (LOVE IN THE TIME OF HYSTERIA) and also including GREAT EXPECTATIONS and Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN.

Lubezki’s other Oscar nominations came for his work on Tim Burton’s SLEEPY HOLLOW, and Terrence Malick’s THE NEW WORLD and THE TREE OF LIFE. For THE TREE OF LIFE, he was again honored by the American Society of Cinematographers, Australian Cinematographers Societies, Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics, as well as the New York Film Critics Circle, among others.

He has since reunited with Malick on TO THE WONDER, as well as the upcoming KNIGHT OF CUPS and the UNTITLED TERRENCE MALICK PROJECT.

His long list of film credits also includes LEMONY SNICKET’S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON, ALI, MEET JOE BLACK, THE BIRDCAGE, A WALK IN THE CLOUDS, REALITY BITES and LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE.

KEVIN THOMPSON (Production Designer) is an Art Directors Guild nominated production designer, who has worked with directors such as Tony Gilroy, Marc Forster, Jason Reitman, David O. Russell, James Gray, and Michael Haneke.

His credits include LITTLE ODESSA, KIDS, PARTY GIRL, FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, THE PROPRIETOR, KICKED IN THE HEAD, OFFICE KILLER, TWO GIRLS AND A GUY, 54, DOWN TO YOU, THE YARDS, WORLD TRAVELER, IGBY GOES DOWN, BIRTH, TRUST THE MAN, STAY, STRANGER THAN FICTION, MICHAEL CLAYTON, FUNNY GAMES, DUPLICITY, DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS?, THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, YOUNG ADULT and THE BOURNE LEGACY.

DOUGLAS CRISE (Edited by) was nominated for an Oscar on Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s film BABEL. His revolutionary edit on SPRING BREAKERS for director Harmony Korine brought this seasoned editor much critical praise. Crise recently finished editing DARK PLACES for Mandalay and Exclusive Media starring Charlize Theron.

STEPHEN MIRRIONE, A.C.E. (Edited by) began his career in the nineties editing the movies SWINGERS and GO for director Doug Liman. He then went into a long collaboration with Steven Soderbergh cutting OCEAN’S ELEVEN, OCEAN’S TWELVE and OCEAN’S THIRTEEN, as well as THE INFORMANT, CONTAGION and TRAFFIC, for which Mirrione won an Academy Award.

In 2007, Mirrione received his second Academy Award nomination for his work on Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s drama BABEL, which garnered Mirrione an Eddie Award and the ‘Vulcain Artist-Technical Grand Prize’ at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Other films edited for Iñárritu include BIUTIFUL and 21 GRAMS.

Another notable collaboration was in 2005 with George Clooney on the Academy Award nominated drama "GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK," earning Mirrione both BAFTA and Eddie Award nominations. He has edited all of Clooney's directorial efforts, CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, LEATHERHEADS, THE IDES OF MARCH, and THE MONUMENTS MEN.

Other films edited by Mirrione include AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY and THE HUNGER GAMES. He is about to begin work on Iñárritu’s upcoming THE REVENANT.

ALBERT WOLSKY (Costume Designer) has won two Academy Awards for ALL THAT JAZZ and BUGSY. In a career that encompasses more than seventy-five films, Wolsky has received Academy Award nominations for SOPHIE’S CHOICE, REVOLUTIONARY ROAD, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, TOYS and THE JOURNEY OF NATTY GANN. His other film credits include ROAD TO PERDITION, CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR, ASK THE DUST, JARHEAD, GALAXY QUEST, YOU’VE GOT MAIL, THE GRASS HARP, GREASE, MANHATTAN, CRIMES OF THE HEART, THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN and THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER.

Wolsky’s first project with director Paul Mazursky, HARRY AND TONTO, led to a prolific eleven film relationship, including NEXT STOP GREENWICH VILLAGE, AN UNMARRIED WOMAN, MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON, DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS and ENEMIES: A LOVE STORY. Wolsky first worked with Bob Fosse on LENNY, starring Dustin Hoffman, subsequently designing the costumes for ALL THAT JAZZ and STAR 80.

Born in Paris, Wolsky immigrated to the United States at age of ten. He lived in New York City, graduated from The City College of New York and began his career in New York Theater, receiving his first solo Broadway design credit for Generation, starring Henry Fonda. Other stage credits include The Heiress, which earned Wolsky a Tony Nomination in 2013, Mike Nichol’s revival of The Country Girl, Sly Fox, Hamlet in Central Park for Joe Papp and Tennessee Williams’ 27 Wagons Full of Cotton, starring Meryl Streep.

The Costume Designer’s Guild honored Wolsky with a ‘Career Achievement Award,’ the first bestowed by the Guild. Wolsky served for four terms on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.

Four-time Grammy® Award winner ANTONIO SANCHEZ (Drum Score by) is considered by many critics and musicians alike to be one of the most prominent drummers, bandleaders and composers of his generation.

Born in Mexico City, he started playing drums at the age of five and began performing professionally in his teens.

Sanchez pursued a degree in classical piano at the National Conservatory in Mexico, and in 1993, he moved to Boston to enroll at Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in Jazz Studies.

Since his move to New York City in 1999 Sanchez has become one of the most sought after drummers in the international jazz scene. His playing is featured in over a hundred albums, and he has performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Chick Corea, Michael Brecker, Charlie Haden, Gary Burton and Toots Thielmans.

He has been the drummer of choice for twenty-time Grammy winner Pat Metheny and has been part of virtually every project the famed guitarist has put together since 2000. They’ve recorded eight albums together, and three of them have been awarded the Grammy.

He regularly collaborates with some of today’s most prominent jazz musicians such as Joshua Redman, Chris Potter, John Patitucci, Danilo Perez, David Sanchez, Paquito D'Rivera, Kenny Werner, Marcus Roberts, Avishai Cohen, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves, Miguel Zenon, Scott Colley, Dave Samuels, Luciana Souza, Billy Childs, and Claudia Acuña, just to name a few.

Sanchez’s continuous search as an artist has pushed him to compose and lead his own bands and ensembles. He has released three critically acclaimed albums under his name. His first one, Migration was called “one of the best new releases of 2007” by AllAboutJazz.com. The album features a star studded cast which includes Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Chris Potter, David Sanchez and Scott Colley. His second solo effort, Live in New York, was recorded during a four day run at the prestigious Jazz Standard in New York City and features saxophone greats David Sanchez and Miguel Zenon, as well as bassist Scott Colley.

Sanchez’s 2013 album New Life was made entirely of his own compositions and was widely received by critics all over the world. It was the winner of the prestigious ‘German Echo Jazz Award’ in 2014. Downbeat Magazine said, “New Life is that rare combination of great composing, great players and great musicianship”

2015 will see the release of two very distinct projects that are important milestones in Sanchez’s solo career: “Three Times Three”, a double album which features three stellar trios: Brad Mehldau and Matt Brewer, John Scofield and Christian McBride and last but not least Joe Lovano and John Patitucci. This record includes six original compositions and three standards arranged by Antonio. The second 2015 release will be with Migration, his working band since 2011, which features Seamus Blake on saxophone, John Escreet on piano and Matt Brewer on bass. This album will feature a forty-five minute suite, written by Sanchez especially for this project, as well as other original material.

His writing is also featured on two of Gary Burton’s latest releases. Common Ground and Guided Tour include four of Sanchez’s original compositions, and the earlier album was named after his tune of the same name.

Sanchez's interest in education has taken him around the globe performing clinics, drum festivals and master classes. Some of these festivals include the ‘Modern Drummer Festival Weekend,’ ‘Zildjian Day’ and the ‘Montreal Drum Festival,’ among many others.

He has also been the featured cover artist in some of the most widely read drum magazines in the industry, like Modern Drummer, Percussioni, Jazzit, Drumset, Drums and Percussion,and Musico Pro. He won the Modern Drummer Reader’s Poll for ‘Best Jazz Drummer’ in 2013 and has been a top contender since the early 2000’s. He’s also been among the top ranked drummers on DownBeat’s critic’s and reader’s polls since 2004.

He's made New York City his home since 1999.

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