Eye In The Sky (2016) Production Notes

Director: Gavin Hood
Writer(s): Guy Hibbert
Main Cast: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen, Phoebe Fox, Monica Dolan
Genre: Drama, Thriller, War
Release Date: 2016-03-11
Age Rating: 5 v
Runtime: 102 mins. / 1 h 42 m

London-based military intelligence officer Colonel Katherine Powell is remotely commanding a top secret drone operation to capture a group of dangerous terrorists from their safe-house in Nairobi, Kenya. The mission suddenly escalates from a “capture” to a “kill” operation as Powell realizes that the terrorists are about to embark on a deadly suicide mission. From his base in Nevada, American drone pilot Steve Watts is poised to destroy the safe-house when a nine year old girl enters the kill zone just outside the walls of the house. With unforeseen collateral damage now entering the equation, the impossible decision of when to strike gets passed up the “kill chain” of politicians and lawyers as the seconds tick down.

EYE IN THE SKY is a contemporary international thriller set in the shadowy world of remotely piloted drone warfare.

After tracking a British citizen-turned-terrorist for six years, Colonel Katherine Powell (Academy Award winner Helen Mirren) finally corners her target in Kenya with the help of high-tech American drone surveillance. As Special Forces troops close in, the discovery of plans for a pair of imminent suicide bombings turns an intended capture into a mission to kill. But just as the Las Vegas-based drone pilot (Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul) prepares to launch a powerful Hellfire missile at the safe house, a nine-year-old girl is spotted in the kill zone, sparking an international debate at the highest levels of government about whether saving one child’s life is worth the almost certain death of hundreds of others. Meanwhile, a local operative (Academy Award nominee Barkhad Abdi) risks everything to try and get the girl to safety.

Taking place in near real-time across four continents, Eye in the Sky is a white-knuckle thriller that tackles the moral ambiguities of modern-day warfare head on. With a top-flight ensemble cast that also includes Alan Rickman, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen and Phoebe Fox, the film deftly explores a political, legal and moral minefield in which every decision comes at a steep price.

Please note: Some production notes may contain spoilers.

After tracking a British citizen-turned-terrorist for six years, Colonel Katherine Powell (Academy Award winner Helen Mirren) finally corners her target in Kenya with the help of high-tech American drone surveillance. As Special Forces troops close in, the discovery of plans for a pair of imminent suicide bombings turns an intended capture into a mission to kill. But just as the Las Vegas-based drone pilot (Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul) prepares to launch a powerful Hellfire missile at the safe house, a nine-year-old girl is spotted in the kill zone, sparking an international debate at the highest levels of government about whether saving one child’s life is worth the almost certain death of hundreds of others. Meanwhile, a local operative (Academy Award nominee Barkhad Abdi) risks everything to try and get the girl to safety. Taking place in near real-time across four continents, Eye in the Sky is a white-knuckle thriller that tackles the moral ambiguities of modern-day warfare head on. With a top-flight ensemble cast that also includes Alan Rickman, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen and Phoebe Fox, the film deftly explores a political, legal and moral minefield in which every decision comes at a steep price. Entertainment One presents Eye in the Sky, directed by Gavin Hood (Ender’s Game, Tsotsi) and starring Helen Mirren (Trumbo, The Queen), Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad,” “The Path”), Alan Rickman (the Harry Potter franchise, A Little Chaos), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips, “Hawaii Five-O”), Jeremy Northam (Gosford Park, The Net), Iain Glen (“Game of Thrones,” “Downton Abbey”) and Phoebe Fox (The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, “A View from the Bridge”). The screenplay is by Guy Hibbert (“Complicit,” Five Minutes of Heaven). Director of photography is Haris Zambarloukos (Locke, Thor). Production designer is Johnny Breedt (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Hotel Rwanda). Music is composed by Paul Hepker (Rendition, Tsotsi) and Mark Kilian (Trust Me, Pitch Perfect). The film is produced by Ged Doherty (Loving, Amá), Colin Firth (Loving, Amá) and David Lancaster (Nightcrawler, Whiplash). Executive producers are Claudia Bluemhuber (A Hologram for the King, The Railway Man), Benedict Carver (Wolves, Maps to the Stars) and Xavier Marchand (Suite Française, Quartet).  ABOUT THE PRODUCTION Following on from his 2007 film Rendition, director Gavin Hood returns to the realm of contemporary warfare with the tense thriller Eye in the Sky, which explores both the practical application and the ethical ramifications of drone warfare. “I was aware of all the different aspects of drone warfare,” begins Hood, “because I’d made a film about American military adventures with Rendition. I’d read articles, I’d read opinions and I’d read books. I had always tried to keep up-to-date with what was happening in the American military but I hadn’t taken a deep dive into this very specific question of targeted assassination.” The opportunity to explore this highly contentious aspect of modern warfare came when Hood read the Eye in the Sky script from screenwriter Guy Hibbert, who has written the films Five Minutes of Heaven (2009), Omagh (2004) and Shot Through the Heart (1998) as well as contributing to a number of highly acclaimed British television series. “I knew drones and computerised warfare were going to become more and more prevalent in the 21st century,” explains Hibbert, “and I thought, ‘Well, no one is writing about this, so let’s have a look at it.’” Hibbert visited an arms-fair in Paris “and drones were just everywhere,” he says. “Every arms manufacturer had brought out a new bit of kit. Then I started talking to the military and they said that there had never been a public debate about this form of warfare. “What troubled them was that in traditional warfare, the commander is on the ground and he makes a decision in the moment. That is not true with drone warfare and so exploring that idea seemed a good starting point for a movie.” The script was developed with producers Colin Firth and Ged Doherty. “I loved the ideas in Guy’s script,” Doherty explains, “and eventually we got it in front of Gavin Hood, who is a tremendous director.” Hood’s interest was sparked by the questions that the script posed: “Here was a piece by a very talented writer that generated something which could spark a conversation among the general public and the general media,” the director says. “It created a situation that didn’t provide an easy answer.” The situation unfolds in Nairobi, Kenya. American and British military chiefs are afforded the opportunity to remotely assassinate a key terrorist target, Susan Danford (Lex King), also known as Ayesha al-Hady, an English convert and high-value al-Shabab terror suspect. The narrative then focuses on the men and women on the ground that are charged with tracking the terrorist subject, as well as personnel in Kenya, the UK and the US, including high-ranking military and political figures, along with the drone pilot and his team. Together, these figures form the ‘kill chain’, an attack structure that co-ordinates target identification and the specific force dispatched to remove the target. It also incorporates all those discussing and giving the orders to attack the target, and those finally responsible for implementing the destruction of the target itself. “Kill Chain was my original title for the film,” notes Hibbert. “Through centuries of warfare, the general in the field has always been in command of the decision whether to shoot or not to shoot. With computerized warfare, images are now sent to everybody’s desktop all over the world, and all these different people want input. “The military call this the kill chain and that poses important questions. Who has the power to make that decision, to press that button? Is it the politicians, or the general in London, or the general in the US, or the commander in Kenya? The people about to be killed in our story include a Kenyan, two Brits and an American, so who makes the decision?” The decision to destroy the targets is further complicated by the problem of collateral damage, which again has to be measured from afar. “Guy’s script created a very complex scenario,” continues filmmaker Gavin Hood, a South African filmmaker who counts the likes of Ender’s Game (2013), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and Tsotsi (2005) among his directing credits. “The script is informative in the way that it sets up the landscape, the chain of command and the way modern drone warfare is used. “We see how profoundly human emotions are tested in a difficult scenario. Then, with the audience being made aware of the process, we can begin to debate the merits of using this technology.” The question remains: when to use a weapon of war? And what are the consequences of using that weapon? The weapon may be effective at taking out a target but what are the unintended consequences of using the weapon? As Hood identifies, when a Hellfire missile is fired from a high-flying drone, it’s not as precise as a sniper’s bullet. “They give rise to very large explosions, throwing lots of debris around,” the director explains. “Inevitably, when you see that explosion in the film it becomes very difficult to argue that no collateral damage could occur. On the contrary, you see that it very easily can occur. “In using this weapon, however careful you are, it can result in collateral damage and we must ask what is the effect of that collateral damage on the local population and on their feelings towards the western world? “I think what Guy’s script does so brilliantly is to invite this genuine conversation,” he adds. “It is not simplistic. The dilemmas faced by the characters in the film are real and not easily solved. Their responses to these dilemmas are profoundly human and I hope that the audience can find something in the film to connect to, whether it is the emotional response of the drone pilot or the response of the commander in Kenya, or those in London or the US.” The collateral damage caused by a drone strike extends beyond potential human casualties. The killing of civilians, even accidentally, has a profound impact on the propaganda war. “That is a very important conversation,” says Hood. “Are drone strikes, which inevitably do result in civilian casualties, actually generating so much anti-Western sentiment that whatever success they may have in taking out a high-value individual, is offset by a growing animosity for the West? That’s a propaganda question. In war, propaganda is an extremely important tool. Are we creating negative propaganda towards the West through the use of drones? “I think the film asks whether we really are winning when using this form of warfare. Are we really winning when using these drones? When should we use this technology? What are the consequences of using this technology? Come and see this movie and you can decide for yourself.” For the filmmakers, it was vital that the narrative posed these difficult questions while asking the audience to decide on the answers. “What you don’t want to do as a director is preach to your audience,” says Hood. “You want to create a sense of pace, a sense of tension, a thriller, while at the same time, raising difficult, philosophical questions in the mind of the audience. “In order to do that you have to keep the story moving forward so as to keep the tension alive, while at the same time finding moments where the story breathes, which allows the audience to catch up. You need to give the audience time to process the arguments. “And then, just when the audience thinks they have sided with one particular argument, you throw in another argument that turns it on its head and has the viewer asking, ‘Wait a minute, do I really think what I just thought a minute ago? No, maybe I don’t.’ And just when they’re agreeing with someone else, here comes another point of view.” THE KILL CHAIN: CHARACTERS AND CAST In order to stimulate and maintain this debate for the audience, Hood required performances from his cast that were absolutely truthful. “What I was looking for from each actor was an honest emotional and intellectual response, given the situation in which their particular character finds themselves,” he says. “No one character has complete knowledge of the situation they’re watching on their screens, and every character, like every human being, sees the world from the perspective in which they find themselves. It was important that each character occupied their particular space with sincerity.” Hood didn’t want any ‘stock’ characters in the movie. “Sometimes, when actors play a character that is controversial or takes a position that is morally questionable,” he says, “the actor will almost want to suggest that they themselves don’t believe it. We couldn’t have that.” Hence, the casting decisions were absolutely crucial. Arguably the most hawkish character in the film, the person with the greatest desire to take out the target is Colonel Katherine Powell, brought to life on screen by Oscar-winner Dame Helen Mirren. “Originally, the Helen character was a man but then we said, ‘Why don’t we make this character a woman?’,” explains producer Ged Doherty. “And that completely changed the complexity of the piece. “The idea of having Helen was so brilliant because, on the one hand, you might think, ‘Well, a woman would think twice perhaps before she pulled the trigger.’ Equally, you know it is Helen Mirren and you know that she can play a badass. You’re never quite sure which way she’ll go. Helen gives the character that perfect balance and we went to her with the role straightaway.” Hood adds, “What is so brilliant about an actress like Helen Mirren is that even as she’s making decisions that may be morally questionable, you completely believe that she is sincere in taking that position — given the role that she has as a Colonel in the British military. So we empathise with her even in moments that we may not agree with her, and similarly with Aaron Paul’s character.” Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul features as pilot, Steve Watts, who operates the drone from a United States Air Force base deep in the Nevada desert. Like all the characters in the film, he acts within the parameters of his training, and what he can see on his computer screen. “Aaron Paul stands up to Colonel Powell,” explains Hood, “but the key is for him to do it in a way that comes from a real place. He is the person who actually has to pull the trigger. Other people may be making decisions to fire the missile, but ultimately, Steve fires the weapon. “And to imagine what that must feel like, you need an actor who invites you into his dilemma and doesn’t judge the character that he’s playing. What I’m very proud of from all the actors is that no one in the film comes across as some sort of stereotype. “I hope it’s the case that you like Helen and you like Aaron even though they’re coming at it from completely different positions,” he adds. “You may not agree with them over certain points but you can see that they’re real people wrestling with a real dilemma in a real way.” There are many more people in the kill chain beyond Powell and Watts, ranging from the people on the ground in Kenya to those watching screens all across the world. Among this clutch of characters are British Foreign Secretary James Willett (Iain Glen), British Lieutenant-General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) and the key man on the ground, Jama Farah (Barkhad Abdi). A lot of the casting ideas, notes producer Ged Doherty, came from his business partner, British screen legend Colin Firth. “It was Colin who suggested Alan Rickman and Colin who suggested Aaron Paul,” Doherty says. “Barkhad Abdi was my suggestion because I loved him in Captain Phillips. We have been so blessed with the cast we have been able to put together. “Aaron was brilliant in many ways,” the producer continues. “He is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and on set he created such a wonderful atmosphere with the crew and other members of the cast. Actually, he and Helen were so good that we cut out a lot of their back-story because we realised that as you watched the movie the characters revealed themselves through their actions. The viewer didn’t need us to set them up. “You understand the fact that Aaron Paul’s character is a nice guy and this is the first time he is pulling the trigger and that he has morals. In my opinion, when you watch what he goes through in this movie, his story is in many ways the emotional heart of the film.” Also playing a key role is English stage and screen icon Alan Rickman whose character, as well as playing a key role in the kill chain, also brings a little levity to the story. We meet Lieutenant-General Frank Benson in a toyshop where, as a fish out of water, he struggles with the purchase of a child’s doll. “It is funny watching him worrying about buying a doll,” says Doherty, “but having that in the story shows how a military man has to switch between two such extreme modes of living.” The director agrees. Brief moments of levity are vital to the story, says Hood. “Just as in life, there are moments where tension is released through humour and laughter,” he says. “Sometimes laughter comes out of frustration and the ridiculousness of the situation.” He points to the ludicrousness of the kill chain, which, at times, leaves its participants paralysed. “These folks sometimes find themselves in an almost farcical position. “And often, as soon as you laugh, you realise the dilemma that these folk are facing. The film teases the audience in ways that are very true to life. One moment we’re feeling tremendous irritation and frustration at the situation and the next moment we have to laugh at it. And that is a tricky thing to do in a film like this. If the film is endlessly dark, then it’s almost too much to handle. “If it is broken up by humour in the right amounts then that humour provides a much-needed release from the tension,” Hood says. “If, on the other hand, you insert humour in an inappropriate way, then you will only irritate your audience. “So again, these are conversations that I had with the actors: how to find moments of humour so that we don’t over indulge but which are still true to life.” Moments of levity also emerge on the ground as Jama Farah forms a relationship with a young boy, while at the same time spying on the target for the British and American military. Somalia-born actor Barkhad Abdi, who came to international attention playing a modern-day pirate in Captain Phillips, brings Farah to life on screen. “I thought Barkhad’s performance in Captain Phillips was one of the most compelling I’d seen in the last four or five years, from a brand new actor that no one knew anything about,” says Doherty. “I remembered that he was the bad guy in Captain Phillips but we still had sympathy for him because of the situation he was in. At the same time I was scared of him. “I just thought it would be brilliant to cast him as a hero this time, a good guy and, again, for me he brought that same intensity as he did with Captain Phillips. He was wonderful to work with.” Another very important character is the Somali child called Alia, who during the course of the film emerges as a potential causality when the kill chain assesses the collateral damage from its drone strike. Her role in the story becomes pivotal. Indeed, for writer Guy Hibbert, the life of an innocent African child caught up in a global conflict, was reason enough to write the screenplay. “It’s difficult to make films where victims are key characters, since they are victims of somebody else’s energy,” he says. “It was a real challenge. But I was looking at warfare and thinking that victims in the world often don’t get a proper place in storytelling. Alia was my way of working out how to make the victim the driving force in the story.” SHOOTING EYE IN THE SKY: AUTHENTICITY, LOCATIONS & CINEMATOGRAPHY The plot for Eye in the Sky could have unfolded at no other time but now, according to Chris Lincoln-Jones, the film’s UK military advisor. Jones spent 25 years in the army as a Royal Artillery Officer, before leaving in 2000 to work in the defence industry. “The plot sits very well with what is happening in the world today,” he says. Hibbert approached Jones because the latter’s knowledge of unmanned air vehicles, which meant he could give vital insight to this new fighting technology. Jones’s primary task was to give authenticity to the Permanent Joint Headquarters, the British tri-service HQ in London from where all overseas military operations are planned and controlled. This is where Colonel Powell is planning her complex military operation in a faraway, al-Shabab controlled zone of Nairobi. Jones brought an understanding of military law, uniforms, and language. He also provided background information on the characters that would inform the actors bringing them to life. Colonel Powell, he thought, might have joined the army during the Falklands conflict. With her sharp intelligence, she would have climbed the ranks. But Eye in the Sky represents a moment when she would be, “seeing out her career and finding a last chance to take out a woman [Susan Danford] whom she has been hunting for the last six years.” The film’s American military advisor, Chris Hercules, meanwhile, has practical experience of piloting drones. “A day in the life of a drone pilot is always unique,” he says. “You never know that morning where in the world you will be flying. You will be based in Nevada or Texas but you will be flying in any number of theatres around the world. We can support a number of different groups around the world and we will do this two or three times a day. “I was so excited to work on this film,” he adds. “It is an important topic and the narrative is very well executed. It shows that warfare is horrible, but that we all do our best — from aviators to officers to enlisted people — to do the right thing.” With regard to locations, the entire film was shot in or around Cape Town, South Africa, apart from the Nevada Desert Air Force base, which was filmed around five hours north of the city in the Karoo desert. “The rest of the film was shot in or around Cape Town Film Studios,” explains Doherty. “The Nairobi scenes were all shot on the back lot at the studios. They are the equivalent of Pinewood in the UK and the set that you see for Nairobi was originally the set for The Long Walk To Freedom that we adapted thanks to our production designer, Johnny Breedt, who also worked on that film. We took his Soweto set from that film and converted it into our modern-day Nairobi.” Interestingly, every static set in the film is linked by the fact that it features a screen that allows the kill chain to survey its target and to direct its drone strike. “There literally isn’t a scene or a moment where there aren’t screens that have part of the narrative carried to and from these different locations,” says visual effects supervisor Simon Hansen. “If ever there was a ‘screens’ movie, this is it,” says motion graphic supervisor Paul Kalil. “Pretty much every static set has a screen in it, or multiple screens. There’s lots of exposition that happens through screens. They’re almost a character in themselves. “We are trying to achieve a level of realism, so we try not to make anything up,” adds Kalil. “Our American military advisor — Chris Hercules — gave us extensive information about what type of screens they would have and what each of the screens would do. In Ground Control alone, there are 16 screens.” This meant that the actors were reacting to screens, rather than to each other. In fact, the main actors — Mirren, Paul and Rickman — were not on set together during filming. “Not only were the actors not present to talk to each other, but also the visuals that the actors are looking at on screens were not complete, as they were to be done in post-production,” says Hood. “The cast had to react in a truthful way to an image on a screen that just wasn’t there.” To help the actors bring their craft and imagination to the story, Hood showed them visual references that were similar to what they would be seeing. He also discussed each scene and its rhythm in detail with every actor. When it came to physically shooting the film, however, the director faced another challenge. There is plenty of tense, on-the-ground action but, equally, much of the film focuses on key figures locked in rooms discussing their options. “The great fear that I had with this film was that it might be a lot of talking heads in different rooms,” Hood concedes. “That could seem very static and almost like a TV movie. So the challenge from a directing point of view was to bring energy, pace and rhythm to a film where a lot of people are in these separate rooms. “You bring energy to a scene in a number of ways and one of them is the way you block the scene,” he adds, “which allows the actors’ movements. I asked for 45 days to shoot the movie as opposed to 30 so that my production designer, Johnny Breedt, could build sets that allowed the actors to get up and move, so that we feel their tension. “Throughout the film, the staging allows a certain energy to be brought to each scene where the actors can actually move, which you would do in real life. The room where Alan Rickman’s character and the politicians sit had to be quite big — otherwise the table dominates it. “If you look at Barack Obama’s actual Situation Room, for example, it’s very cramped,” he continues. “If you look at the room that we created for the movie, it is quite large and allows the actors to pace around, particularly the minister, who’s really stressed. The set allows him to get up, walk away, pour a glass of water, walk back to the table. At the same time, the characters are quite small in this big space.” The windows down the side of this particular room were slatted, so that the filmmakers could change the mood throughout the day rather than having the characters sitting in a one-tone, neon-lit room. “A lot of these rooms are actually neon-lit in real life,” says Hood, “but by having these windows down one side of the room, you allow a cross-light to unfold, which is better for mood lighting on an actor. And, as the day progresses, we slowly move around and you feel there’s a change in mood.” The set that houses the drone pilot was also interesting, says Hood. “In real life, that guy’s just in a pod. He’s in a container out in the desert. But for the movie, that whole set was designed so that every wall could be removed to get a camera further back, allowing us to lengthen the lens and compress the intensity of the shot of the actor’s face rather than being stuck with wide lenses in a very small space. “We built a lot of these sets in order to enhance the visual interest and we lit very carefully to enhance the mood in each scene. I think, and certainly hope, that it all adds to the movie.” ABOUT THE CAST HELEN MIRREN (Colonel Katherine Powell) has won international recognition for her work on stage, screen and television. Mirren earned both Oscar® and Golden Globe Award® nominations for her performance in The Last Station, playing Sofya Tolstoy. For her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen (2006), she won the Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and BAFTA Award (Best Actress). Mirren was also named Best Actress by virtually every critic’s organization from Los Angeles to London. In 2014 she was honored with the BAFTA Fellowship for her outstanding career in film. Most recently, Mirren was seen in Trumbo, portraying Hedda Hopper alongside Bryan Cranston as screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. She also starred in Woman in Gold as Maria Altmann, an Austrian Jewish refugee who fought to reclaim her family’s art stolen by the Nazis in World War II. Other recent films include Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred-Foot Journey, produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, and the HBO biopic “Phil Spector,” for which she won a SAG Award for her performance and was nominated for both an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe. Previously, Mirren voiced the character of Dean Hardscrabble in Monsters University; costarred in RED 2, with Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins; and appeared in Hitchcock, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe and a SAG Award. She was also seen in the John Madden thriller The Debt and Hungarian director István Szabó’s The Door. Mirren began her career in the role of Cleopatra at the National Youth Theatre. She then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she starred in such productions as “Troilus and Cressida” and “Macbeth.” In 1972 she joined renowned director Peter Brook’s theater company and toured the world. While her film career began with Michael Powell’s Age of Consent, Mirren’s breakthrough film role came in 1980 with John Mackenzie’s The Long Good Friday. She also appeared in Pat O’Connor’s Irish thriller Cal, winning the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival and an Evening Standard Film Award. Over the next 10 years she starred in a wide range of acclaimed films, including John Boorman’s Excalibur, Peter Weir’s The Mosquito Coast, Peter Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, and Charles Sturridge’s Where Angels Fear to Tread. Mirren earned her first Oscar® nomination for her portrayal of Queen Charlotte in Nicholas Hytner’s The Madness of King George, for which she also won Best Actress honors at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. Her second Academy Award nomination came for her work in Robert Altman’s 2001 film Gosford Park. Her performance as the housekeeper also brought her Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations, several critics group awards, and dual SAG Awards (one for Best Supporting Actress and a second as part of the ensemble cast). Among her other film credits are Terry George’s Some Mother’s Son (also associate producer), Calendar Girls, The Clearing, Shadowboxer, State of Play, The Tempest and Brighton Rock. On television, Mirren starred in the award-winning series “Prime Suspect” as Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison. For this role, she earned an Emmy Award and three BAFTA Awards, as well as numerous other award nominations. She won another Emmy and earned a Golden Globe nomination when she reprised the role in 2006’s “Prime Suspect 7: The Final Act,” the last installment in the PBS series. Mirren was also honored for her performance in the title role in the HBO miniseries “Elizabeth I,” winning an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award. Mirren’s long list of other television credits includes “Losing Chase,” “The Passion of Ayn Rand,” “Door to Door” and “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone.” Mirren has also worked extensively in the theater. In 2013 at London’s West End she debuted her stage role as Elizabeth II in “The Audience,” a play by Peter Morgan and directed by Stephen Daldry. Mirren won the Olivier Award, Evening Standard Award and 2014 WhatsOnStage Award (Best Actress). She recently reprised her role on Broadway and won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. Previously, Mirren’s work in “Mourning Becomes Electra” at London’s National Theatre earned her an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress. In 2009 she returned to the National Theatre to star in the title role in “Phèdre,” directed by Sir Nicholas Hytner. Mirren became a Dame of the British Empire in 2003. AARON PAUL (Steve Watts) is a three-time Emmy Award winner and one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood. For five seasons, Paul portrayed the role of the beloved, troubled Jesse Pinkman opposite Bryan Cranston on AMC’s critically acclaimed Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series “Breaking Bad.” In addition to his three Emmy wins for Best Supporting Actor (for a total of five nominations in five seasons), Paul also received a Golden Globe nomination in 2014. Paul will soon be seen in Triple 9, opposite Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Casey Affleck and Gal Gadot. Directed by John Hillcoat, the story revolves around a crew of dirty cops blackmailed by the Russian mob and forced to execute a virtually impossible heist. The film will open in February 2016. He will also appear in Fathers and Daughters, alongside Amanda Seyfried, Diane Kruger, Jane Fonda and Russell Crowe. Directed by Gabriele Muccino, the film is about a woman struggling with relationship issues who reflects on growing up with her famous novelist father. Alexandre Aja directed Paul in The 9th Life of Louis Drax, in which he stars with Jamie Dornan. The film will open in March 2016. Paul is currently on location in New York starring in and producing the Hulu original series “The Path,” through his production company Lucid Road Productions. The show examines a couple struggling with relationships, marriage and power. Each episode will take an in-depth look at what it means to choose between the life we live and the life we want. The series premieres in 2016. Paul recently filmed writer and director Zach Whedon’s film Come & Find Me, which is the story of a man who must track down his missing girlfriend after he realizes she’s not who she is pretending to be. Prior to that, he shot Central Intelligence, opposite Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson. The film will be released in June 2016. In 2014 Paul starred in Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods & Kings, opposite Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton. He also starred in Kat Candler’s Hellion, also serving as executive producer alongside Jeff Nichols and Sarah Green. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year. He also starred alongside Toni Collette and Pierce Brosnan in Pascal Chaumeil’s A Long Way Down, the film adaptation of Nick Hornsby’s novel. Prior to that, Paul starred in the blockbuster Need for Speed, for director Scott Waugh. The film, which grossed over $200 million at the box office and is based on the popular video game, tells the story of a street racer who joins a cross-country race to seek vengeance for the murder of his best friend. He was also seen in James Ponsoldt’s Smashed, alongside Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Mission: Impossible III, alongside Tom Cruise. When not acting, Paul is a passionate music fan and an avid traveler. He is also an advocate for the Kind Campaign, a non-profit organization founded by his wife Lauren that seeks to raise awareness and heal the negative, lasting effects of girl-against-girl crime and bullying. ALAN RICKMAN (Lieutenant General Frank Benson) made his feature-film acting debut in Die Hard. Other film credits include the Harry Potter series, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, A Promise, CBGB, Gambit, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Snow Cake, Bottle Shock, Nobel Son, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Love Actually, Play, Blow Dry, Galaxy Quest, Dogma, Dark Harbor, Judas Kiss, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (in a BAFTA Award-winning performance), Sense and Sensibility, Michael Collins, Truly, Madly, Deeply, An Awfully Big Adventure, Bob Roberts, Mesmer (Montreal Film Festival Award), Close My Eyes (Evening Standard Award) Quigley Down Under, Closet Land and The January Man. Rickman reprised his role as the Blue Caterpillar in director James Bobin’s Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, which will be released in May 2016. Rickman’s second and final feature film as director, A Little Chaos, opened worldwide in 2015 after premiering at the Closing Gala for the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Rickman co-wrote and starred in the film with Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts and Stanley Tucci. Rickman made his directorial debut with the feature-film adaptation of The Winter Guest, starring Emma Thompson and Phyllida Law. The film was honored with the Cinema Avvenire Award and the OCIC Award at the Venice Film Festival. It also won Best Film at the Chicago Film Festival. Rickman starred on Broadway in Theresa Rebeck’s “Seminar.” He also delivered Tony-nominated performances in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” which he performed in London’s West End and on Broadway; and “Private Lives,” which he also performed both on Broadway and in London’s West End (Variety Club Award and Olivier nomination). Additional theater credits include “John Gabriel Borkman,” at The Brooklyn Academy of Music and Dublin’s Abbey Theatre; “Antony and Cleopatra,” at the National Theatre; “Hamlet,” at the Riverside Studios; “Tango at the End of Winter,” at the Edinburgh Festival and in London’s West End (Time Out Award); “Mephisto,” “As You Like It,” “Troilus and Cressida,” “Love’s Labours Lost,” “The Tempest” and “Captain Swing,” all for the Royal Shakespeare Company; “The Lucky Chance,” “The Grass Widow” and “The Seagull,” at the Royal Court; “The Last Elephant” and “Commitments,” both at the Bush Theatre; “The Devil Himself,” at the Lyric Studio; “Bad Language,” at the Hampstead Theatre; and “The Brothers Karamazov,” at the Edinburgh Festival. Rickman directed the plays “Creditors,” at the Donmar Warehouse and the Brooklyn Academy of Music; “My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” at the Royal Court, in the West End and in New York (Theatregoers’ Award); “Wax Acts,” in the West End; and “The Winter Guest,” at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Almeida Theatre. For television, Rickman starred with Emma Thompson in the BBC Two adaptation of “The Song of Lunch.” Previously, Rickman starred in the title role in HBO’s “Rasputin,” winning Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG awards for his performance. He also starred in “Something the Lord Made,” receiving an Emmy nomination. Additional television credits include “Fallen Angels,” “Revolutionary Witness,” “Screenplay: The Spirit of Man,” “Theatre Night: Benefactors,” “Busted,” “The Barchester Chronicles,” “Thérèse Raquin” and “Romeo and Juliet.” BARKHAD ABDI (Jama Farah) will next be seen in The Brothers Grimsby, starring Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Louis Leterrier, and Extortion, starring Danny Glover and Eion Bailey, directed by Phil Volken. Abdi was born in Somalia and spent his early years there. When he was seven his family moved to Yemen, where he lived until he was fourteen. His mother then got a green card for the family to move to the U.S. He landed in Minneapolis and has called Minnesota home ever since. When the feature film Captain Phillips was casting the roles of Somali pirates, they had an open casting call in Abdi’s adoptive hometown. Abdi was one of 700 young men who came to the audition and he won the role of “Muse” after a long casting process. For this performance Abdi was nominated for an Oscar®, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award, winning BAFTA and London Critics Circle awards, among many other honors. He has been working steadily ever since. JEREMY NORTHAM (Brian Woodale) is a versatile actor, successful on the stage and screen. He has been seen in such films as Michael Winterbottom’s Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, Norman Jewison’s The Statement, Keith Gordon’s The Singing Detective, Neil LaBute’s Possession, Robert Altman’s Gosford Park, Michael Apted’s Enigma, David Mamet’s The Winslow Boy, Sidney Lumet’s Gloria, Steven Spielberg’s Amistad and Guillermo Del Toro’s Mimic. Up next for Northam is Matt Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity, alongside Jeremy Irons, Dev Patel and Toby Jones, and Susanna White’s Our Kind of Traitor, with Damian Lewis, Ewan McGregor and Naomie Harris. The actor recently appeared on the miniseries “New Worlds” and “White Heat” as well as the series “Miami Medical.” Other television credits include “The Crown,” for Stephen Daldry, Showtime’s “The Tudors” and the U.K.’s “Agatha Christie: Poirot.” Northam was born in Cambridge, England, and attended Bristol Grammar School. He graduated from the University of London’s Bedford College in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. After graduation he attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and worked his way through regional theater to the London stage. Northam was the recipient of the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award, the British equivalent of the Tony, for his 1990 performance as Edward Voysey, the moral pivot of “The Voysey Inheritance.” The Royal National Theatre revived this 1905 play with Richard Eyre at the helm. Other notable stage credits include “Old Times,” for Roger Michell at the Donmar Warehouse, and “Hay Fever,” as Richard Greatham at the Noel Coward Theatre. Northam began his film career with roles in Peter Kosminski’s Wuthering Heights and Christopher Hampton’s Carrington. In 1994 he made his American film debut in the Irwin Winkler thriller The Net, co-starring Sandra Bullock. He then starred as Mr. Knightley opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in Emma (1996), a role for which he received many accolades. IAIN GLEN (Foreign Secretary James Willett) is a Scottish actor best known for playing Jorah Mormont on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” He also received much acclaim for his role in Silent Scream (1988), receiving honors at the Berlin Film Festival (Silver Bear for Best Actor) and the Scottish BAFTAs (Michael Powell Award). The actor has been seen in such films as Kick-Ass 2, The Iron Lady, Harry Brown, Kingdom of Heaven, Mountains of the Moon, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Gorillas in the Mist and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Glen will next be seen in James Marquand’s Beautiful Devils, opposite Rachel Hurd-Wood. He will also appear in the forthcoming Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, to reprise his role as Dr. Alexander Isaacs in the long-running, highly successful film franchise. Television credits include “Downton Abbey,” “Dr. Who,” “Cleverman,” “Autopsy: The Last Hours Of,” “Breathless,” “Prisoners Wives,” “Glasgow Kiss” and “Ripper Street.” Also an accomplished stage actor, Glen received an Olivier nomination for Best Actor and won a Broadway Drama League Award for his performance opposite Nicole Kidman in “The Blue Room” at Donmar Warehouse, directed by Sam Mendes. He also received an Olivier nomination (Best Actor in a Musical) for his performance in “Martin Guerre,” for Declan Donnellan. His performance in “Henry V,” directed by Matthew Warchus, earned him an Evening Standard nomination for Best Actor. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Glen was educated at the Edinburgh Academy, an independent school for boys (now co-educational), followed by the University of Aberdeen. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he was the winner of the Bancroft Gold Medal. PHOEBE FOX (Carrie Gershon) is a young British actress based in London. Most recently, she appeared in the lead role in The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death, alongside Helen McCrory and Jeremy Irvine. She was also seen in the features War Book and One Day. Fox recently appeared in the three-part BBC drama “Life in Squares,” written by BAFTA Award-winning writer Amanda Coe. Fox stars in this emotional drama that studies the lives of the Bloomsbury Set, a revolutionary group who helped to shape 20th-century culture. Fox has also recently completed filming for the second series of “The Hollow Crown,” starring alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench and Hugh Bonneville. Last year Fox was seen opposite Tom Hollander in the BBC drama “A Poet in New York.” Directed by BAFTA winner Aisling Walsh, the drama explored the last days of the great poet Dylan Thomas. Fox also starred in the BBC hit series “The Musketeers” as the Duchess of Savoy. Other British TV credits include the series “New Tricks,” “Switch,” “Coming Up” and “Black Mirror.” Fox is well known for her roles on stage. In 2011 she was nominated for Best Newcomer at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and was also featured on the 2011 Screen International “Stars of Tomorrow” list. Last year Fox was seen on stage starring in “A View From the Bridge” and the play has now transferred to Broadway, where Fox appears alongside Mark Strong, Nicola Walker and Russell Tovey. For her performance in “The Acid Test” at the Royal Court Theatre, Fox was shortlisted for the Milton Shulman Award for Outstanding Newcomer at the 2011 Evening Standard Theatre Awards. She was also seen in “King Lear,” “There Is a War” and “As You Like It.” MONICA DOLAN (Angela North) has worked with a number of leading film directors on notable films such as The Falling, with Carol Morley; Pride, with Matthew Warchus; The Arbor, with Clio Barnard; Sightseers, with Ben Wheatley; Never Let Me Go, with Mark Romanek; and Topsy-Turvy, with Mike Leigh. Other film credits include Alan Partridge and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dolan won a BAFTA Award (Best Supporting Actress) for her performance in the 2011 TV miniseries “Appropriate Adult,” co-starring Emily Watson and Dominic West. She was featured alongside David Oyelowo in the BAFTA winner “Complicit,” for Channel 4. Other TV work includes “W1A,” “The Casual Vacancy, “Wolf Hall,” “The Escape Artist” and “The Commander: Blacklight.” ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS GAVIN HOOD (Director) is best known as the screenwriter and director of the Academy Award-winning South African film Tsotsi (2005), based on a novel by the acclaimed playwright Athol Fugard. The film was also nominated for Golden Globe and BAFTA awards, winning the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Tsotsi was followed by Rendition, starring Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman. Next came Ender’s Game, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis and Hailee Steinfeld.  Hood grew up around actors. His parents met while working in the theater and his early work in the South Africa entertainment industry came as theater and television actor. Persuaded by his parents to have “something to fall back on,” Hood graduated with degrees in economics and law from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. In 1989 he moved Los Angeles to study screenwriting and directing at UCLA.   After completing his studies, Hood returned to South Africa, where he got his first writing and directing work making educational dramas for the national Department of Health, which was just beginning to feel the impact of the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. For his work in educational television, Hood won an Artes Award (a South African Emmy.) His first low-budget feature, A Reasonable Man, was based on a case of ritual murder he studied while at law school. On the strength of this film, Variety named Hood one of their “Ten Directors to Watch” in 2000.   GED DOHERTY (Producer) is the founding partner of Raindog Films, a British film production company that he formed in 2012 with Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth. He is the former chairman and CEO of Sony Music U.K. and current chairman of the BPI, the U.K. music industry’s trade body. Raindog Films is based in London and has just finished work on their second feature, Loving, written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter). The film, starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, and will be released at the end of 2016.  Doherty began his career in artist management, where his acts sold 20 million records. This led him to become head of international marketing at Epic Records in 1992. He oversaw the global marketing campaigns for superstar acts for artists such as Michael Jackson. In 1996 he was appointed Managing Director of Columbia Records in London, where he worked with their legendary roster. Doherty moved to the BMG label group in 1999 and met Simon Cowell, which led to a long and fruitful working relationship. Being an integral part of the merger of BMG and Sony Music in 2004, he took over the position of chairman in 2006 and worked with artists such as Dido, Kings of Leon, Calvin Harris, Beyonce, Kasabian and Foo Fighters.  While at Sony Music in 2009, Doherty was instrumental in putting together the global joint venture between Sony and Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment. The deal created a long-term enterprise to focus on the production and exploitation of music, television, film and digital content.  COLIN FIRTH (Producer) is a classically trained British theater actor and Academy Award winner with an impressive body of work spanning over three decades. He has appeared in three films that have won the Academy Award for Best Picture: The King’s Speech, Shakespeare in Love and The English Patient. Firth’s performance as King George VI in The King’s Speech (2011) garnered an Academy Award as well as Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, British Independent Film, Critics’ Choice and BAFTA awards. Additionally, Firth won the BAFTA in 2010 and the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, both for his performance in Tom Ford’s A Single Man. Firth recently wrapped production on Genius, directed by Michael Grandage and also starring Nicole Kidman and Jude Law, as well as James Marsh’s untitled Donald Crowhurst project, based on the true story of a yachtsman’s disastrous attempt to win the 1968 Golden Globe Race. Firth will also be seen reprising his role as Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Baby, which will release on September 16, 2016. The film also stars Renée Zellweger and Patrick Dempsey. Firth’s recent film appearances include Kingsman: The Secret Service, directed by Matthew Vaughn and based on the acclaimed comic book of the same name; The Railway Man, directed by Jonathan Teplitzky and co-starring Nicole Kidman; and Woody Allen’s Magic in the Moonlight, opposite Emma Stone. Firth starred in Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, opposite Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy; Mamma Mia! with Meryl Streep; Bridget Jones’s Diary, alongside Renée Zellweger; A Thousand Acres, with Michelle Pfeiffer and Jessica Lange; Milos Forman’s Valmont, opposite Annette Bening; and Love Actually, part of an all-star cast. Other film credits include the Oscar® nominated Girl With a Pearl Earring, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Devil’s Knot, Arthur Newman, Then She Found Me, When Did You Last See Your Father? Easy Virtue, A Summer in Genoa, A Christmas Carol, The Importance of Being Earnest, Where the Truth Lies, Trauma, Nanny McPhee, What a Girl Wants, Apartment Zero, My Life So Far, Fever Pitch, Circle of Friends and Playmaker. On the small screen, Firth is famous for his breakout role as “Mr. Darcy” in the BBC adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” a role for which he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor and the National Television Award for Most Popular Actor. He was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2001 (Outstanding Supporting Actor) for his role in the critically acclaimed HBO telefilm “Conspiracy.” He also received the Royal Television Society Best Actor Award (and a BAFTA nomination) for his performance in “Tumbledown.” Other television credits include BBC television movie “Born Equal,” “Donovan Quick,” “Performance: The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd,” “Performance: The Deep Blue Sea,” “Hostages” and the miniseries “Nostromo.” Firth’s London stage debut came in the West End production of “Another Country,” playing Guy Bennett. He was then chosen to play the character Judd in the 1984 film adaptation opposite Rupert Everett. Firth is an active supporter of Oxfam International, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty and related injustice around the world. He was honored with the Humanitarian Award of BAFTA Los Angeles at their 2009 Britannia Awards. In 2006 Firth was voted European Campaigner of the Year by the EU and in 2008 The Hollywood Reporter named him Philanthropist of the Year. DAVID LANCASTER (Producer) had a highly successful 2014, producing the Oscar® winner Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons; Oscar® nominee Nightcrawler (winner of the Best First Feature award at the Independent Spirit Awards), written and directed by Dan Gilroy with stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. He also shepherded No Escape, starring Owen Wilson and Lake Bell, which was released in 2015 and grossed more than $27 million in the U.S. Lancaster is currently in post-production on the thriller Message From the King, starring Chadwick Boseman, Teresa Palmer, Luke Evans and Alfred Molina. The film is directed by Fabrice du Welz. Since his start in the entertainment business in the early 1980s, Lancaster has been involved in the development, finance, production and distribution of more than 40 motion pictures as well as several major stage plays and television series. Lancaster launched Rumble Films in June of 2014 after serving as co-president of Bold Films from 2006 through March 2014. While at Bold, Lancaster oversaw the cult sensation Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn (winner of the Best Director Award at Cannes). The film was released by FilmDistrict and grossed over $76 million worldwide. He also oversaw the Robert F. Kennedy drama Bobby, a Golden Globe nominee for Best Drama; Joe Dante’s thriller The Hole, a 3-D film; the Toronto Film Festival selection Middle of Nowhere, starring Susan Sarandon and Anton Yelchin; and the 2010 apocalyptic thriller Legion, starring Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid, which accumulated a $40 million domestic gross. Earlier films include Golden Globe nominee ‘night, Mother, starring Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft; A Love Song for Bobby Long, starring John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson; and Persons Unknown, directed by George Hickenlooper and starring Naomi Watts, Kelly Lynch and Joe Mantegna. In the world of television, Lancaster recently acted as executive producer for both Syfy’s “Dominion,” based on his feature film Legion, and ABC’s “Black Box,” starring Kelly Reilly. Lancaster also returned to Broadway in 2014 with the Tony-winning musical production of “The Bridges of Madison County.” He previously produced the Pulitzer Prize winner “’night, Mother,” both with longtime colleague Marsha Norman. GUY HIBBERT (Writer, Executive Producer) won BAFTAs for writing the telefilms “No Child of Mine” (1997), directed by Peter Kosminsky; “Omagh” (2005), for Pete Travis; and “Complicit” (2014), starring David Oyelowo; as well as the feature Five Minutes of Heaven (2009), starring Liam Neeson. Three other scripts – for telefilms “The Russian Bride,” “Prime Suspect: The Scent of Darkness” and “May 33rd” – received BAFTA nominations. Hibbert also won the World Cinema Screenwriting Award at Sundance in 2009 and the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize in 2010 (a Northern Ireland peace prize), both for Five Minutes of Heaven. That film and Hibbert’s “Omagh” won Irish Film Academy Awards for Best Drama. Other recent works include television projects “Blood and Oil” (2010), starring Naomie Harris and David Oyelowo, and “One Child” (2014), a BBC/Sundance TV co-production. A United Kingdom, starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike, is in post-production. Hibbert is currently writing Arctic 30, a script for David Puttnam and Tessa Ross. XAVIER MARCHAND (Executive Producer) is president of eOne Features at Entertainment One, a leading international entertainment company specializing in the acquisition, production and distribution of film and television content. It has operations employing more than 1,300 people in Canada, the U.K., Benelux, Spain, Australia and the U.S. In his current role, Marchand has overseen the production of Saul Dibb’s epic war drama Suite Française, Tom Harper’s Woman in Black: The Angel of Death and Gavin Hood’s war thriller Eye in the Sky, starring Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul, which had its world premiere at the 40th Toronto International Film Festival. Marchand recently wrapped the eOne production A Message from the King, a revenge thriller to be directed by Fabrice Du Welz, with rising star Chadwick Boseman. Prior to his appointment as president of production in January 2014, Marchand was one of four executives running Alliance Films. He joined Alliance in 2004 as the managing director of its European businesses, Momentum Pictures in the U.K. and Aurum Producciones in Spain. Previously, Marchand was a founder and director of Haystack Productions, which produced or co-produced features such as David Caesar’s Dirty Deeds, Jonathan Glazer’s Birth, Olivier Assayas’ Clean and Valérie Lemercier’s Palais Royal. Before Haystack, Marchand held senior roles at Polygram (president of international distribution), Portman Entertainment (MD), Warner Bros. (senior vice president of theatrical distribution for Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and Sovereign Films (president of theatrical sales and distribution for Europe and Latin America). BENEDICT CARVER (Executive Producer) is senior vice president of production at Entertainment One Features, where he supervises feature-film production. After joining the company in 2011, he executive produced Maps to the Stars, directed by David Cronenberg. Julianne Moore’s performance in the film won Best Actress honors at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and earned a Golden Globe nomination as well. Message From the King, a thriller shot in Los Angeles starring Chadwick Boseman, is now in post-production. Born in England, Carver received an M.A. in Spanish and politics from Edinburgh University. He started his career in entertainment as a film reporter for Variety. In 1999 Carver joined Sony Pictures’ genre division, Screen Gems, and rose to senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions. He oversaw a string of successful releases for Sony including Resident Evil, Underworld, Silent Hill and Hostel. While at Screen Gems, Carver also acquired many critically lauded titles including Girlfight, the Oscar® nominated El Crimen del Padre and Golden Globe nominee The Squid and the Whale. In 2005 Carver left Screen Gems to become a producer and his first production was the anarchic comedy London, starring Jason Statham, Chris Evans and Jessica Biel. Other credits include post-apocalyptic action adventure Doomsday, directed by Neil Marshall, and the Rob Schneider comedy Big Stan. CLAUDIA BLÜMHUBER (Executive Producer) is CEO and managing partner of Silver Reel Partners. Since 2009 Silver Reel’s executives have built a wide network with producers, writers, directors, actors, agents and distributors worldwide, giving the company unprecedented access to projects of the highest quality. In this function Blümhuber has financed and executive-produced a wide range of independently produced motion pictures, including Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson; Tanya Wexler’s Hysteria, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal; Andrew Niccol’s The Host, a screen adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s bestseller; Jonathan Teplitzky’s The Railway Man, starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth; and Grace of Monaco, with Olivier Dahan directing Kidman in the lead role. Among the company’s latest projects are Fallen, based on the bestselling teen series penned by Lauren Kate; Solace, directed by Afonso Poyart and starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Colin Farrell; and Unlocked, a fast-paced, female-driven spy thriller starring Noomi Rapace, Michael Douglas, Orlando Bloom and John Malkovich. Blümhuber is also a board member of Raindog Films, the production company of Colin Firth and Ged Doherty. She has more than 20 years of experience in the media industry and 15 years of experience in private equity and asset management. During this time, Blümhuber has been focused on investing family office resources as well as institutional monies in absolute return and non-correlated alternative investment opportunities, with a special focus on the entertainment sector. These activities include equity, mezzanine and debt investments, both in project and corporate financing. ANNE SHEEHAN (Executive Producer) acts as a finance and business affairs consultant for a number of media clients, including New Sparta Films and Raindog Films. In 2014 and 2015 she executive produced and structured the financial investment for the feature films Chef, Tale of Tales, Miss You Already, Brimstone and The Limehouse Golem. Other executive producer credits include Madame Bovary, U Want Me 2 Kill Him?, Trap for Cinderella, Island and Keeping Mum. In 2013 Sheehan created a 15-year, £55 million business plan for Locksmith Animation and co-wrote the investment memorandum. This resulted in backing from Elizabeth Murdoch and Double Negative, with the company launch taking place in April 2014. From 2009 to 2013 as director of film finance for Prescience and Sheehan was responsible for the financial appraisal and business affairs for 17 of their films, including The Guard, The King’s Speech and Madame Bovary. Before joining Prescience in 2009 she acted for a number of Film Fund clients and devised Visible Films for three leading producers based in the U.K. From 1999 to 2003 she was director of finance and business affairs at Renaissance Films. After qualifying as a chartered accountant in the U.K., Sheehan began her film career as an international operational auditor for Warner Bros. She was subsequently financial controller for Palace Pictures, BBC Films, PolyGram Film International and FilmFour. STEPHEN WRIGHT (Executive Producer) is the head of drama for BBC NI. His film credits as producer or executive producer include Five Minutes of Heaven, written by Guy Hibbert and starring Liam Neeson and James Nesbitt. Other films include Good Vibrations, starring Richard Dormer and Jodie Whittaker, and The Mighty Celt, starring Gillian Anderson and Ken Stott. His future projects include My Mother and Other Strangers, written by Barry Devlin; Paula, by Conor McPherson; the fourth series of “Line of Duty,” by Jed Mercurio; and The Woman in White, adapted by Fiona Seres. Wright’s television credits include “A Song for Jenny,” with Emily Watson and Steven Mackintosh; three previous series of “Line of Duty,” starring Adrian Dunbar, Vicky McClure and Martin Compston; three series of “The Fall,” with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan; “From There to Here,” starring Philip Glenister, Liz White and Saskia Reeves; “Hidden,” with Philip Glenister; “On Expenses,” starring Anna Maxwell Martin and Brian Cox; and three series of “Murphy’s Law,” with James Nesbitt. HARIS ZAMBARLOUKOS, BSC (Director of Photography) has shown a wide range of abilities with a camera, fulfilling the promise signified by his inclusion in the 2006 Variety list of “10 Cinematographers to Watch.” He’s shot such major motion pictures as Phyllida Lloyd’s Mamma Mia (2008), Richard Eyre’s The Other Man (2009) and Kenneth Branagh’s Thor (2010). For his work on Death Defying Acts (2007), starring Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Zambarloukos was nominated for a 2008 AFI Award for Best Cinematography. Most recently, he lensed Locke for Steven Knight as well as two films for Kenneth Branagh, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Cinderella. Zambarloukos is on the Board of Governors of the British Society of Cinematographers and a member of both the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the European Film Academy. The cinematographer acquired a B.A. in fine arts from Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. While studying in London, he shot Debbie Emmin’s Docket Box at Shepperton Studios, work that garnered a Fuji Film Award. Zambarloukos received his M.F.A. in cinematography from the American Film Institute in 1997 and his AFI thesis film, First Daughter, won numerous awards at festivals such as San Jose, City of Angels and Empire State Film Festival. It received the International Cinematographers Guild Award for Artistic Achievement in Cinematography. Zambarloukos was mentored by Conrad Hall, ASC while working on the feature A Civil Action. After this experience he shot many commercials, documentaries and shorts in the U.S., Europe and Central America. In 1999 Zambarloukos shot his first U.S. feature, Camera Obscura. In 2004 he earned a nomination for Best Technical Achievement at the British Independent Film Awards for Enduring Love (2004), starring Daniel Craig. He quickly went on to build a reputation through his work on such films as Venus (2006), starring Peter O’Toole, and Kenneth Branagh’s Sleuth (2007), starring Michael Caine and Jude Law. JOHNNY BREEDT (Production Designer) designed such films as Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda, Dennis Iliadis’ remake of Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left and Carroll Ballard’s Duma. For Phillip Noyce’s Catch a Fire, he was nominated for a South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA). Breedt also designed the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, directed by Justin Chadwick. For this he was awarded the SAFTA for Best Production Design. Breedt is currently the production designer on the new TV series “Of Kings and Prophets,” for Disney/ABC. Other film credits include The Breed, Primeval, Death Race 2 and Beat the Drum. For television, Breedt collaborated with Anthony Minghella on HBO’s “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series. While studying at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa, Breedt completed a four-year course in theater and stage design and graduated with distinction. Thereafter he held various positions within the art department on both local and international films, including Anna and the King, The Ghost and the Darkness, I Dreamed of Africa, The Grey Zone and Chronicle. His debut as production designer came on the local film A Woman of Color, followed by the art film Paljas, for which he received an MNET All-Africa Award nomination for Best Art Direction. Paljas was also the first South African film entered into the Best Foreign Film category for an Academy Award. Breedt wrote and directed the short film The Far Far Tree in 2011. In 2014 he wrote and directed his first feature, Die Ontwaking, winning the Golden Aloe award for Best Feature at the 2015 Indie Karoo Film Festival. MEGAN GILL (Editor) has edited three other films for director Gavin Hood: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Rendition and Tsotsi, which won the Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film. She is currently editing the drama Shepherds and Butchers, starring Steve Coogan and Andrea Riseborough. Born in Malawi, Gill currently divides her time between Los Angeles and South Africa with her son Gabriel. RUY FILIPE (Costume Designer) is recognized as one of South Africa’s most talented costume designers, receiving a 2000 Canadian Gemini Award for Best Costume Design and a nomination for Best Costume Designer at the South African Naledi Awards. Filipe is known for his work on such films as Inescapable, starring Joshua Jackson and Marisa Tomei; Terry George’s Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo; The Bang Bang Club, starring Ryan Phillippe; the award-winning A Reasonable Man, helmed by Gavin Hood; Darrell Roodt’s Dangerous Ground, starring Elizabeth Hurley; Cry, the Beloved Country, starring James Earl Jones and Richard Harris; and Cyborg Cop, with David Bradley and John Rhys-Davies. Other film credits include Malunde, Queen’s Messenger, Fools, One Last Look, Lion Girls, Otelo Burning and Jump the Gun. His television work includes the BBC’s “Mrs. Mandela,” starring Sophie Okonedo, and a substantial body of work for British, German, French, Italian and Canadian television including the series “Angel,” “Whiskey Echo,” “Silent Witness,” “Coup,” “Diamonds,” “Wild at Heart,” “Zero Hour 3” and “Zulu Love Letter”; the documentaries “A Species Odyssey” (“L’odyssée de l’espèce”) and “Beat the Drum”; as well as television movies “Dr. Lucille,” “King Otto,” “The Canterbury Tales,” “Desert Rose,” “Cape of Good Hope” and “African Skies.” His South African TV work includes “Soul City,” “The Principal” and “Jacob’s Cross.” Filipe has worked on more than 200 commercials as well as the short films Eezie’s Tears, Dramatic Encounters, Lucky Day and Loaded. Theater credits include “Prophet of the Waterberg” and “Street Woman.” Filipe began his career in the entertainment industry nearly three decades ago, after obtaining an Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema diploma in Lisbon in 1982. He is also the founder and CEO of the costume house Ikaya of Costumes. PAUL HEPKER (Composer) has now collaborated three times with director Gavin Hood and four times with fellow South African composer Mark Kilian. He recently composed the music for Kite, starring Samuel L. Jackson, and Shepherds and Butchers, starring Steve Coogan. Hepker co-composed the music for such films as Tsotsi (which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film), Rendition and The Bird Can’t Fly. His score for Into the Light, a documentary exploring the AIDS crisis in Tanzania, featured Kenyan singer Ayub Ogada. Hepker served as series composer on numerous Discovery, History and National Geographic Channel series including “Deadliest Catch,” “Crash Files,” “Impact: Stories of Survival,” “America’s Deadliest Season,” “Into the Firestorm,” “Raw Nature,” “Iditarod,” “Herrings” and “Shark Taggers.” A long-time member of acclaimed Los Angeles theater company Circle X, Hepker garnered an Ovation Award, two L.A. Weekly Awards and numerous nominations for his work as composer or musical director on stage productions such as “Grendel,” “Laura Comstock’s Bag-Punching Dog” and “Romeo & Juliet: Antebellum, New Orleans, 1839.” Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, Hepker trained as a concert pianist under Adolphe Hallis. He worked as a musical director at the national theaters in Pretoria and Cape Town and has performed or recorded with a number of prominent South African and international artists such as Shirley Bassey, Miriam Makeba, Ice Cube and Vusi Mahlasela. He also wrote the voter-education theme “Make Your Mark” for the first democratic elections in South Africa, which gave birth to a national TV game show of the same name. In the mid-1990s Hepker toured the world as a member of Grammy Award®-nominated band Johnny Clegg and Juluka/Savuka before moving to Los Angeles in 1997 to pursue a career in composing for stage and screen. In 1999 Hepker was a finalist in the inaugural John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Hepker returned to South Africa in 2012, where he has been involved in music production, writing music for commercials and scoring films. MARK KILIAN (Composer) has a deep understanding and appreciation of South African music, jazz, electronica and modern classical music. He has formed a distinct style that has been described as rhythmically sophisticated, evocative and driving, while retaining a raw emotional simplicity that draws on the creative use of everyday sound. Since scoring his first film, Lover Girl (1997), Kilian has written music for many features including Blind Horizon, The Animatrix, Raise Your Voice, Traitor, La mission, The Least Among You, The Ward and Bless Me Ultima. He worked as orchestrator, arranger and conductor for Paul Oakenfold, Rob D and Juno Reactor on The Matrix Reloaded. His special affinity for percussive music led fellow composer Christophe Beck to hire Kilian to record and produce the electronically manipulated percussion element of the score for Elektra. In 2004 Kilian went to South Africa to score Tsotsi for writer-director Gavin Hood, along with South African composer Paul Hepker. The film won the 2005 Academy Award for best foreign film. Kilian and Hepker went on to score Hood’s next film Rendition, traveling to Morocco and South Africa to research and record the music. They also scored The Bird Can’t Fly, a Dutch-South African co-production. In 2007 Kilian traveled to India to record the music for Santosh Sivan’s Before the Rains. He also wrote the music for Michael Skolnik’s award-winning documentary Without the King, for which he won the Worldfest Special Jury Remi Award for Best Music. Born in Benoni, South Africa, Kilian studied piano and guitar at school. He continued his studies at the University of Natal in Durban under professor Darius Brubeck, where he received his bachelor of music degree in jazz performance. While studying, he lectured at the Department of Music’s Gerald LaPierre electronic music studio and taught piano at the Shell School for underprivileged children. In 1994 he was chosen to serve on the board of directors of the PWV Music Academy in Johannesburg. Kilian has twice won the South African International Composers Competition and has been a recipient of the SAMRO (South Africa’s ASCAP) overseas scholarship for pianists, the Creative Arts Foundation of South Africa’s Composer’s Scholarship, the Harry Oppenheimer Memorial Trust for Overseas Study, and the International Association of Jazz Educators’ Special Citation Award. During the early ’90s Kilian spearheaded the popular Durban band Shades, which was one of the foremost club jazz bands to break the color barrier in South Africa at the time. He went on to perform with artists such as Shirley Bassey, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Airto Moreira and the Brubeck brothers. As Gathering Forces and the NU Jazz Connection, he toured the U.S. and Europe and recorded two albums with Darius Brubeck. With an eye set on studying film music composition in the U.S., Kilian enrolled at USC’s film-scoring program and received his master of music degree in composition. Shortly thereafter he was recruited by legendary film composer Christopher Young and worked on such films as Species, Copycat, Virtuosity and Hard Rain. Kilian has also scored many high-profile commercials for companies such as Apple, Toyota, Budweiser, Microsoft, MasterCard and United Airlines. His television credits include ABC’s “Day Break,” “Jake in Progress,” “Kitchen Confidential,” “Body of Proof, “King Solomon’s Mines” and “Icon.” Video games “The Matrix: Path of Neo” and “Full Spectrum Warrior” feature Kilian’s work. He’s also written concert works such as the symphonic “Scenes From a Forthcoming Attraction” and “So Who Was Here First?” Kilian’s African-influenced “String Quartet No. 1” was recorded in Los Angeles and his chamber music includes “Mismatch This Match” and “A La-La La-La Long Time We Have Waited,” both of which are competition winners. He also wrote and recorded for Glenn Hughes and released two albums as electronica outfit Ape Quartet, with Christophe Beck. Kilian released two solo albums under the name The Gravy Street. DEBORAH AQUILA, CSA (Casting) has been nominated 14 times for the Casting Society of America’s Artios Award and she won in back-to-back years for the comedy feature RED (2011) and My Week with Marilyn (2012), which landed Michelle Williams an Academy Award nomination. In 2003 Aquila was recognized by the Hollywood community with the Hollywood Film Festival Career Achievement Award. Her most recent film credits include La La Land, Deepwater Horizon, Woman in Gold, The Age of Adaline, American Pastoral and The Moon and the Sun. After graduating from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Stella Adler Conservatory, Aquila worked as an associate on the first two seasons of “Miami Vice” and several feature films including Michael Mann’s Manhunter and The Pope of Greenwich Village. Her independent casting-director career began with Steven Soderbergh’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape and Uli Edel’s Last Exit to Brooklyn. By the time she moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to cast Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption, Aquila had completed more than 18 independent films in New York.  In 1993 she was named senior vice president of feature-film casting for Paramount Pictures. Notable films Aquila cast at Paramount were Primal Fear, Mission: Impossible II, Double Jeopardy, Varsity Blues, The Brady Bunch Movie, Kiss the Girls, Mother and What Women Want. After departing Paramount in 1999, Aquila returned to the independent casting world with Sam Raimi’s The Gift. Aquila’s notable television credits include critically acclaimed series such as Showtime’s “Dexter,” FX’s ”The Shield” and TNT’s “Mob City.” Aquila has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1994. TRICIA WOOD, CSA (Casting) started her casting career as an intern in 1993 in the features casting department at Paramount Pictures Studio, under her mentor and then Sr. VP of Casting Deborah Aquila. During the next three years Wood continued her casting education in the same department, moving up from casting assistant to casting associate. After a brief period working in production, Wood was reunited with Deborah Aquila in 1999 when they formed an independent casting team. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Wood is a member of the Seneca-Cayuga and Cherokee Indian tribes. She studied architecture at Oklahoma State University before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. KATE DOWD (Casting) has done European casting for directors such as Gore Verbinski (on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl), Doug Liman (for The Bourne Identity), Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York) and Danny Boyle (The Beach). This is her third collaboration with Gavin Hood, after Ender’s Game and Rendition. She recently cast the television series “Galavant” and “The Assets,” both for ABC, as well as the feature Automata, starring Antonio Banderas and Dylan McDermott. Dowd is originally from the U.S. but has been living and working in London for 30 years. She also spent several years working in Paris. Dowd has cast several films for director Marc Forster: World War Z, Quantum of Solace, The Kite Runner and Finding Neverland. Other film credits include Me Before You, for Thea Sharrock; The Book Thief, for Brian Percival; Dredd, for Pete Travis; Never Let Me Go, for Mark Romanek; Nine, for Rob Marshall; Traitor, for Jeffrey Nachmanoff; Elizabeth, for Shekhar Kapur; and Sabrina, for Sydney Pollack.