A politically-charged serial killer thriller set in 1953 Soviet Russia, CHILD 44 chronicles the crisis of conscience for secret police agent Leo Demidov (TOM HARDY), who loses status, power and home when he refuses to denounce his own wife, Raisa (NOOMI RAPACE), as a traitor. Exiled from Moscow to a grim provincial outpost, Leo and Raisa join forces with General Mikhail Nesterov (GARY OLDMAN) to track down a serial killer who preys on young boys. Their quest for justice threatens a system-wide cover-up enforced by Leo’s psychopathic rival Vasili (JOEL KINNAMAN), who insists “There is no crime in Paradise.”
Based on author Tom Rob Smith’s best-selling novel, Child 44 is a gripping thriller set against the backdrop of 1953 Stalinist Russia. A proud product of the Soviet system, orphan-turned-war-hero Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) has risen through the ranks of the MGB, the state’s domestic security apparatus, to become a star investigator of dissident activity. When he and sadistic colleague Vasil (Joel Kinnaman) capture suspected spy Anatoly Tarasovich Brodsky (Jason Clarke), the “traitor” names Leo’s own wife, beautiful schoolteacher Raisa (Noomi Rapace), as a co-conspirator.
Forced to investigate Raisa on suspicion of treason, Leo also takes on the case of a boy found carved up alongside railroad tracks. Despite evidence to the contrary, Leo describes the death as an accident to the boy’s father, MGB Agent Alexei Andreyev (Fares Fares) because Stalinist decree dictates, “There is no crime in Paradise.”
When Leo refuses to denounce his wife, MGB Commander Major Kuzmin (Vincent Cassel) exiles the couple to the grim industrial city of Volsk. Confined to a one-room hovel and stripped of rank, Leo and Raisa learn that dozens of other dead boys have suffered gruesome “accidents” near railroad tracks under almost identical circumstances as Alexei’s son. Teaming with local Police Chief General Nesterov (Gary Oldman), they sneak back to Moscow and pursue clues before zeroing in on mild-mannered factory worker Vladimir Malevich (Paddy Considine).
Desperate to rein in his former colleague, the increasingly psychotic Vasili tries to stop Leo and Raisa before they catch the child murderer, who has no place in Stalin’s supposedly crime-free Communist society. In the end, only one man survives the spectacular forest showdown between hero, pedophile and bureaucrat. But despite the victims and the damage done, the Soviet State remains immune to Leo’s inconvenient truths.
Child 44 is directed by Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Snabba Cash aka Easy Money). Screenplay was written by Richard Price (Clockers, “The Wire”). Based upon the novel by Tom Rob Smith. Produced by Ridley Scott (Prometheus, Exodus: Gods and Kings), Michael Schaefer, and Gregory Shapiro. Executive Producers Kevin Plank, Molly Conners, Maria Cestone, Sarah E. Johnson, Hoyt David Morgan, Adam Merims (Safe House), Elishia Holmes (Exodus: Gods and Kings), and Douglas Urbanski (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Co-producers Matthew Stillman and David Minkowski. The Director of Photography is Oliver Wood (The Bourne Ultimatum, The Bourne Supremacy). The Production Designer is Jan Roelf (Fast & Furious 6). The film is edited by Pietro Scalia, ACE and Dylan Tichenor, ACE (Zero Dark Thirty). Costume Design is by Academy Award® winner Jenny Beavan (A Room with a View, Costume Design, 1986). Music is composed by Jon Ekstrand (Snabba Cash).
Child 44 is produced by Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer (Exodus: Gods and Kings) and Academy Award® winner Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker, Best Picture, 2009).
A sumptuous period thriller encompassing themes of power, love, betrayal and murder, Child 44 is loosely based on the crimes of real-life serial killer Andrei Chikatilo. Also known as “The Butcher of Rostov,” Chikatilo was convicted of murdering and mutilating 52 women and children in Soviet Russia in the early 1950s. Novelist Tom Rob Smith’s fictionalized version of the grisly case met with resounding critical and popular acclaim upon publication in 1998. Winner of the Crime Writers Association’s CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger award and translated into 26 languages, Child 44 became the first in a trilogy that now includes The Secret Speech and Agent 6.
“The great thing about detective stories and police investigations is they soak up a lot of the society in which they take place,” Smith says. “If you want to understand a world, take a look at the way the police work in that country.”
The author’s fans include Oscar®-winning filmmaker Ridley Scott. Galvanized by Child 44’s rich characterizations and epic scope, Scott arranged nine years ago to meet the novelist at his London production headquarters. “It was slightly surreal,” recalls Smith. “I’d gone from having this project I thought might not even get published to talking to Ridley Scott in his office sitting next to a Gladiator sword and a prop from Alien. Ridley was full of incredible ideas for the project.”
Scott initially intended to direct Child 44 himself. Then he saw Swedish director Daniel Espinosa’s 2010 crime thriller Snabba Cash (aka Easy Money). The highest-grossing movie in Swedish history, Snabba Cash showcased Espinosa’s inventively staged action sequences and stylish editing. “Ridley liked the movie and invited me dinner,” recalls Espinosa. “Just getting a chance to sit down and talk about movies with a master filmmaker like Ridley Scott was a great thrill. Then we started talking about Child 44, which I had already read. I gave him my thoughts and Ridley asked if I wanted to direct the movie with him producing. That was a very cool moment for me.”
Once Espinosa signed on to direct, he recruited Oscar®-nominated screenwriter Richard Price (The Color of Money, The Wanderers). While the specifics are rooted in a particular time and place, the story resonates as a universal commentary about the way totalitarian states in general can crush the human spirit. “In all my films, I like to look at characters who are undergoing some kind of transformation,” says Espinosa, who made his first Hollywood movie, the Denzel Washington blockbuster Safe House, before embarking on Child 44. “For me, the story of Child 44 is about a man who loses his illusions. So the question then becomes: How does he keep going after everything he’s believed in, even his marriage, turns out to be based on lies?”
In Child 44, Espinosa saw an opportunity to blend visceral action sequences with psychologically nuanced character arcs against a rich historic tapestry. “Of course I love the high energy action aspects of the story but I also wanted to make this about the characters,” says Espinosa. “We wanted to explore the power dynamic between Leo and Raisa. For me, the story raises questions about trust, about what it means to love somebody in a society where everyone’s afraid to let down their guard.”
To anchor an adventure of such grand historical scope, the filmmakers needed an actor capable of handling the script’s demanding emotional and physical range, from quiet dramatic moments to brutal action sequences. They also needed someone who could subtly express the protagonist’s inner conflicts as he struggles to find his humanity in an inhuman situation.
They found their Leo Demidov in British actor Tom Hardy. Regarded as one of the most charismatic talents of his generation, Hardy impressed moviegoers as a violent convict in Bronson, then broke through to a global audience with his portrayal of the evil Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. More recently he earned both critical and popular acclaim for his role as a Brooklyn bartender with a dark secret in The Drop.
“I’ve been an admirer of Tom Hardy’s work for many years,” says Espinosa. “He’s one of those enormously talented and committed actors who becomes so subsumed into whatever role he plays that you forget it’s him and only see the character on the screen. I was thrilled when he agreed to play Leo, not just because he’s one of the most in-demand actors right now, but because I knew he would bring an intensity and honesty to the role that would propel the whole film.”
During production on Child 44, Hardy burnished his reputation for meticulous preparation and intense performance. “Tom came in the first day with a very clear idea of who Leo was,” says Espinosa. “He manages, with the subtlest expressions, to convey the inner emotions and uncertainty of a man who has been trained his whole life to avoid showing emotion or uncertainty, and who lives in a society where honesty can get you killed. And he does it all with a great Russian accent.”
Producer Ridley Scott introduced Rapace to Child 44 in Los Angeles when he cast her in his 2012 sci-fi epic Prometheus. “I loved the script and couldn’t let it go,” she says. “The love story is so complicated, it just hit me and stayed in me and I couldn’t forget about it because this character just started to live in me.”
When she learned Espinosa would be directing, Rapace was thrilled. “I had been wanting to work with Daniel for a long time,” she says. “He’s such a wild soul. Daniel’s like this street boy who makes gangster films and action films, but at the same time he’s an amazing director who can do anything and everything. He has an old soul and I felt he was perfect for this movie.”
Rapace was also pleased to be back on set with Hardy. “Tom and I have a really good connection,” says the Swedish actress. “I feel completely safe with him, so it really became about finding the truth in the scene and seeing how far it could take us. I love working with Tom because I feel like I can do anything, go anywhere, and he always has my back.”
Rapace’s portrayal of meek schoolteacher Raisa Demidova marks a dramatic departure from the role that brought her to international attention, the nail-tough title character in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. To understand Raisa’s timidity, Rapace imagined the paranoia experienced by ordinary citizens on a daily basis during the Stalinist regime. “Raisa has this survival instinct where she’s constantly scanning the room, playing angles, finding ways to disappear, to fade away, to not stand out,” Rapace explains. “You don’t want people to pay too much attention to you because that can be dangerous. Raisa’s managed to survive by not expressing her feelings or standing up for things, There’s a whole war zone going on inside her head but she can’t tell anyone because that would be too risky.”
Rapace notes that everything changes when Raisa goes into exile with Leo. “We’re sent away to this horrible little factory town where they force me to scrub floors at the local school,” she says. “Leo loses his power and influence and privileged lifestyle. We end up in a small crappy room and it’s a hard life but at the same time, it sets Raisa free because now, Leo can’t control her. She’s not playing the nice housewife game anymore.”
Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman, who first worked with Espinosa in Snabba Cash, enjoyed the challenge of developing treacherous secret-police bureaucrat Vasili as a three-dimensional character. “Vasili’s a damaged individual with sociopathic traits,” he says. “The challenge was to build a contrast, so that Vasili has a journey and evolves. Daniel and I did that by changing the relationship between Vasili and Leo. Early on, he looks up to Leo and wants to be him. When Leo gets exiled, Vasili starts living in his apartment. He’s wearing his robe. He’s always had strong feelings about his wife Raisa. He’s trying to be Leo.”
By film’s end, admiration turns to homicidal rage. “Vasili becomes this very devious and manipulative character,” says Kinnaman.
Kinnaman broke through to American audiences when he co-starred as slacker detective Stephen Holder in the cable television crime series The Killing. “I was shooting The Killing right up until I got on the plane and the next day I’m in Prague,” the actor recalls. “Until that moment, I hadn’t really been thinking so much about the fact that Child 44 was a period piece. But then I got off the plane and went straight to wardrobe where we started trying out these clothes and it suddenly hit me: ‘This is the ’50s!’ It was great because trying on these clothes gives you so much flavor. You can sort of step back and let the clothes and the boots and the haircut do a lot of work.”
For Academy Award® nominee Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Best Actor, 2011), the weary provincial police chief General Mikhail Nesterov he portrays in Child 44 embodies the moral compromises many citizens had to make in order to survive Stalinist-era politics. “There was so much emotional, physical, and psychological terror in Stalinist society that a character like Nesterov just turns a blind eye to it all,” he says. “The Soviet system won’t allow for evil capitalist things like murder, killing and prostitution, to the point that Leo and Nesterov have become, in a sense, ethically and emotionally straight-jacketed. If your thinking goes just a little bit off the party line, Stalin could banish you, which is what happened to Nesterov when he gets sent to this rural village, Volsk.”
By the time Leo arrives in Volsk, Nesterov has acclimated himself to the reduced circumstances of local militia chief. “He’s not as much under the microscope and the watchful eye of Moscow,” says Oldman, who previously navigated Cold War moral ambiguity in the 2011 spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. “Nestorov has made a nice little nest for himself. He has a community, a family and his men. Leo’s appearance threatens all of that.”
When Leo explains that he’s trying to track down the killer who’s been dumping the bodies of his young victims along the railroad tracks, Nesterov, who has children of his own, rises to the occasion. “Leo re-ignites his conscience,” says Oldman.
With eight Academy Award® nominations plus a win for A Room with a View, costume designer Jenny Beavan has worked on her fair share of period dramas set in England, including Sherlock Holmes and The King’s Speech. But she had a chance to explore new terrain when she delved into Soviet-era fashion for Child 44. “I realised that a lot of the research I was finding on the internet, or in books and periodicals was actually propaganda,” Beavan says. “The images were being filtered through the Soviet Union system because they only wanted people to see the ‘happy’ Soviet life!’ It was difficult to find photographs of the real people and life as everything was so heavily censored.”
Once she determined the look she wanted for the civilian characters, Beavan scoured the Internet for warehouses stockpiled with old clothes. Then she enlisted wardrobe breakdown artist Joanna Weaving and her team of Czech crafters to give the clothes a well-worn appearance. “We found old clothes from the period as our starting point, but anything made new was then aged and distressed,” Beavan says. “The ager /dyers use all sorts of basic household tools to speed up the natural process of wear and tear-graters, wire brushes, dye, vaseline and paint - I also have the fabrics washed before we start cutting which helps soften the material. Jo Weaving is an textile artist who paints into the fabrics to enhance their age and wear.”
For the military outfits worn by Leo, Vasil and their colleagues, Beavan engaged a Polish manufacturer. “Hero Collection in Poznan are uniform specialists who make uniforms for the Polish army, police and sporting associations,” she says. “But Krzysztof’s passion is historical uniform. He has a very fine tailor with a very good eye for period cutting, and with the workshop set up they made about 400 uniforms for Child 44.”
“Drab” proved to be the operative word for most of the characters’ wardrobes, including Raisa’s. “I could dress Noomi in old sacks and she’d look fabulous,” Beavan notes. “Since she’s playing a teacher, we kept it very straightforward: simple clothing and cheap fabrics. She wears it well.”
Beavan took a similar approach when dressing 800 extras for a train-station crowd scene. “In the Soviet Union during this period there was an enormous fear among ordinary people,” she says. “So people in our crowds are not trying to stand out. Even for our leading characters I’ve kept the colours muted. Nobody wears blazing red or any bright colour. They didn’t want to show off for fear of being noticed.”
During a visit to Beavan’s headquarters, Espinosa was taken aback by the sheer volume of muted shirts, coats and dresses. Our workshop is in a warehouse building not unlike an aircraft hangar, but stuffed with clothes,” says Beavan. “Daniel told me he’d never seen anything like it in his life. We do have a lot of clothes organized on racks and they are all unrelentingly grim.”
Child 44’s 15-week shoot took place over the summer of 2013 in the Czech Republic. The capital city of Prague doubled for Cold War-era Moscow. Prague’s beautiful old National Theatre and the Rudolfinum, a neo-Renaissance concert hall, were used to shoot scenes in which the elite group of MGB officers and their wives watch “Swan Lake” performed by Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet. Additionally, two-time Academy Award®-nominated production designer Jan Roelfs (Gattaca, Art Direction, 1997) oversaw the creation of 125 sets for scenes staged at Prague’s famed Barrandov Studios.
In cooperation with the Czech Republic’s Cinematography Fund, Espinosa worked closely with Roelfs to secure as many period-specific locations as possible. “Prague and the Czech Republic had the best mix of Soviet-style architecture from the 1950s and 1960s within one hour of the city center and a highly experienced crew base,” says executive producer Adam Merims.
Contrasted with Moscow’s urban splendor is the grimy village of Volsk, where the exiled Leo and Raisa first meet Nesterov. A “ghastly, dirty, filthy industrial sort of swamp,” as Beavan describes it, Volsk is the desolate outpost where non-conformists are forced to live as punishment for deviating from Communist Party groupthink.
Having executive produced Safe House for Espinosa, Merims was familiar with the director’s strong preference for shooting on practical locations. “Daniel loves the feeling that it gives the actors, the crew,” Merims says. “He loves the sounds of actual period environments.”
Finding a real-world approximation of Volsk became paramount. The filmmakers scouted more than 50 locations within a three-hour radius of Prague. Eventually, they settled on the town of Králuv Dvur, home to a gargantuan steel mill in operation for 163 years. “The idea was to make the actual steel mill the town itself,” says Merims. “We used these surface tracks that had been set up to cart steel ore and heavy steel pieces of equipment in and out of the factory for our passenger train line.”
Shuttling between Moscow and Vost by rail, Leo and Raisa journey 600 miles in crowded trains. To lend authenticity to the couple’s treks, filmmakers made use of the “Big B” steam engine, manufactured in 1928 and capable of a maximum speed of 31 miles an hour. Train station sequences featured “German Girl,” an operational steam-engine train manufactured by Wiener Lokomotivfabrik in 1944. “We made sure the track was up to safety code and made it look like a real working train station, complete with period passengers and peasants coming on and off the train with chickens and suitcases and everything else,” recalls Merims.
Child 44’s climactic showdown in Rostov at the Rostelmach Factory, home base for the serial killer, was shot amid the industrial landscapes of Králuv Dvur and Hrádek u Rokycan. “The world that Daniel gives you is so authentic that it actually does a great deal of the work for you,” Oldman says.
If politics are ultimately personal, then Child 44 can be seen as a cautionary tale from a nightmarish chapter of history: tyrannical political cultures stifle fundamentally decent people with tragic results.
TOM HARDY (Leo Demidov) shot to global attention with his captivating performance as a real-life, notoriously violent convict in Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson in 2009. The London-born actor’s subsequent film credits include John Hillcoat’s Lawless, Tomas Alfredson’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and both Inception and The Dark Knight Rises for director Christopher Nolan. More recently Hardy received rave reviews for his powerhouse performance in the independent film Locke, written and directed by Steven Knight.
Hardy last starred in the crime drama The Drop, alongside the late James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace. Up next is George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road, in which Hardy plays the title role, followed Legend, for director Brian Helgeland. In the film he takes on the roles of both notorious Kray twins, London’s most reviled gangsters. Hardy is currently shooting director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s next film The Revenant, where he stars opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in the 19th century Western thriller.
On television Hardy received a BAFTA nomination for best actor for his role in “Stuart: A Life Backwards” in 2008. Other TV credits include “Band of Brothers,” “The Reckoning” and “Wuthering Heights.”
Hardy’s stage performances include “Festen” at the Almeida, “Blood” at the Royal Court, “Man of Mode” at the National and “In Arabia We’d All Be Kings,” for which he won the award for Best Newcomer at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards in 2003. Hardy was also nominated for an Olivier Award as Most Promising Newcomer.
GARY OLDMAN (General Mikhail Nesterov) has been a legendary presence on the screen for more than 25 years and is known to millions worldwide for his embodiment of some of cinema’s most iconic characters. In addition to Commissioner Jim Gordon, he has portrayed such wide-ranging and unforgettable roles as Harry Potter’s beloved godfather Sirius Black, Dracula, Beethoven, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sid Vicious and John le Carré’s ultimate spy, George Smiley (in an Oscar®-nominated performance).
Oldman is one of the highest-grossing actors at the global box office, having appeared in a number of the most successful films of all time. He originated the part of Sirius Black in 2004’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, reprising his role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and the record-breaking finale Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.
He first played Commissioner Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s 2005 hit Batman Begins. Oldman returned to the role of Batman’s crime-fighting ally in 2008’s billion-dollar blockbuster The Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
In 2011 Oldman portrayed master spy George Smiley in the film version of John le Carré’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In addition to an Oscar® nomination, Oldman’s performance was recognized with nominations for a BAFTA, a British Independent Film Award and an Empire Award (all for Best Actor).
Oldman has repeatedly been honored for his work on the screen, including the 2011 Empire Icon Award (bestowed for a lifetime of outstanding achievements), the Gotham Awards’ Career Tribute prize and the International Star of the Year Award at the Palm Springs Film Festival.
Oldman began his acting career on the stage in 1979 and for the next few years he worked exclusively in the theater. From 1985 through 1989 he performed at London’s Royal Court. His earliest onscreen work includes the British films Meantime, for director Mike Leigh, and The Firm, directed by the late Alan Clarke. To follow came such features as Sid & Nancy, Prick Up Your Ears, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, State of Grace, JFK, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, True Romance, Romeo Is Bleeding, The Professional, The Fifth Element, Immortal Beloved, Murder in the First, The Scarlet Letter, Lost in Space, Air Force One and The Book of Eli.
In 1995 Oldman and manager/producing partner Douglas Urbanski formed a production company that subsequently released the highly acclaimed Nil by Mouth, marking Oldman’s directing and writing debut. It was selected to open the main competition for the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, where Kathy Burke won Best Actress and Oldman was nominated for a Palme d’Or. Among other honors, the film won the prestigious Channel 4 Director’s Prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival, an Empire Award and BAFTA Awards for Best Film and Best Original Screenplay.
In 2000 Oldman starred in the political drama The Contender, which he and Urbanski also produced. The film, which also starred Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater and Sam Elliott, received a number of accolades including two Oscar® nominations.
NOOMI RAPACE (Raisa Demidov) captured the eyes of the international entertainment community with her commanding, unnerving and critically acclaimed portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the film adaptations of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest.
Rapace can next be seen in Daniel Espinosa’s film adaptation of the critically acclaimed Tom Rob Smith novel, Child 44 opposite Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman and Jason Clarke. The film follows Leo Stepanovich Demidov (Hardy), a war hero in Russia, and true believer in the state despite its hypocrisy and brutality in the final days of Stalin's rule. Rapace plays Raisa, Leo’s wife. Lionsgate is set to release the film on April 17, 2015.
Rapace was recently seen in Michaël R. Roskam’s crime-drama The Drop alongside Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini. Set in Boston, the film focuses on a man, Bob (Hardy), who wants to shed his criminal past but somehow gets mixed up in a bad heist and a killing resulting from a lost and contested pit bull. Rapace will play Nadia, a woman who crosses paths with Bob when he finds a wounded puppy outside her home. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival and was released by Fox Searchlight on September 12, 2014.
Rapace wrapped production on Mikael Hafstrom’s spy thriller Unlocked in which she will star opposite Michael Douglas and Orlando Bloom. She plays a female CIA interrogator duped into getting a terrorist to provide key information to the wrong side.
Upcoming, Rapace will begin production on Tommy Wirkola’s What Happened to Monday?, Síofra Campbell’s The Price, Khurram Longi’s Alive Alone, and Julius Onah’s Brilliance.
Additionally, Rapace will reprise her role as ‘Elizabeth Shaw’ in the sci-fi sequel Prometheus 2. Ridley Scott's Prometheus, was released in 2012 and Rapace starred opposite Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce and Michael Fassbender, portraying scientist 'Elizabeth Shaw.' The film followed the crew of the Prometheus space ship, as they explore an advanced civilization and the origins of humanity.
Rapace began her acting career at the age of seven, in Iceland's In the Shadow of the Raven. She has since gone to appear in over twenty films and television shows. In 2007, she made her mark on the big screen with a breakthrough performance in the 2007 Danish film, Daisy Diamond. In the film, Rapace portrays a troubled teen-mother who leaves her home to pursue a dream, ultimately failing and having a breakdown with fatal consequences. For her performance, she was honored with the Bodil Award (Danish Critics Award) and a Robert Award (Denmark's Academy Award®) for Best Actress.
She garnered high praise for her breakthrough performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first installment of the Millennium Trilogy which opened in February 2009 in Sweden. She won the Best Actress Guldbagge Award (Swedish Academy Award®) and the Best Actress International Jupiter Award (Germany) in addition to being nominated for an Orange British Academy Film Award for Lead Actress and a Best Actress European Film Award for her role. Rapace garnered subsequent praise for her performances in the second and third installments, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
Additional credits include Guy Ritchie's sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Rapace portrayed a gypsy fortuneteller, 'Sim,' who sees more than she is telling. Rapace was also seen in the action thriller Dead Man Down in which she reunited with director Niels Arden Oplev and starred opposite Colin Farrell. Rapace portrayed 'Beatrice’, a crime victim seeking retribution. Additionally Rapace starred in Pernilla August's directorial debut, Beyond (Svinalägorna), in Sweden. The film screened at the 2010 Venice Film Festival and won the Venice Critic's Week prize, and the 2011 Nordic Council Film Prize. Based on the best-selling novel, the film is a poignant story about a young girl's dramatic childhood growing up in a home plagued by abuse and alcoholism. Rapace was nominated for a 2011 Guldbagge Best Actress' Award in Sweden for her performance.
Following “Beyond,” Rapace was seen in Pål Sletaune's Norwegian thriller Babycall, about a young mother who believes she overhears a murder. For her performance, Rapace received the Best Actress honor at the 2011 Rome Film Festival.
JOEL KINNAMAN (Vasili) has quickly become a sought-after commodity in Hollywood. Most recently he took on the leading role in the remake of Robocop, directed by José Padhilla. He starred as the title character, Officer Alex Murphy, opposite an impressive cast including Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson and Abbie Cornish. His next film projects include Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, in which he stars alongside Natalie Portman and Christian Bale. Kinnaman also recently completed the Warner Bros. thriller Run All Night, starring opposite Liam Neeson under director Jaume Collet-Serra.
Hailing from Sweden, Kinnaman made his debut in the Swedish trilogy Snabba Cash, directed by Daniel Espinosa. The first of a three-film series is based on the international best-selling series written by Jens Lapidus and is the highest grossing Swedish movie in history. Kinnaman won a 2011 Guldbagge Award (the Swedish equivalent of the Academy Award®) for Best Actor for his work in the film. More recently he starred in Snabba Cash’s latest installment, which was released last year.
His rise to stardom began after he screen-tested for the lead roles in George Miller’s Fury Road for Warner Bros. and Kenneth Branagh’s Thor for Paramount. Soon after relocating to Los Angeles, he went on to win the male lead in the critically acclaimed AMC series The Killing, which will premiere its fourth and final season on Netflix August 1st, after three successful seasons on AMC.
Following his notable debut in The Killing, Kinnaman starred in New Regency’s The Darkest Hour, squeezed in a cameo in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was reunited with director Daniel Espinosa in the Universal action-thriller Safe House and even tried his hand at romantic comedy in Fox Searchlight’s Lola Versus.
Originally from Stockholm, Joel Kinnaman is a graduate of the prestigious Swedish Academic School of Drama, whose alumni include Stellan Skarsgård, Peter Stormare and Lena Olin.
PADDY CONSIDINE (Vlad) is an award-winning actor and now a lauded director following the release of his feature debut Tyrannosaur, starring Olivia Colman, Peter Mullan and Eddie Marsan. Considine won the Sundance Film Festival award for Best Director in the world drama category, the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut and the British Independent Film Awards’ Douglas Hickox Award for Best Debut Director. Tyrannosaur was also nominated for Best International Film at the Independent Spirit Awards and won a Satellite Award.
In 2014, Considine appeared in the feature film Pride which won the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut. He can next be seen in Miss You Already and Macbeth which are both scheduled for a 2015 release.
Considine began his acting career when his friend Shane Meadows cast him in the leading role in A Room for Romeo Brass. Next he took the lead in Pawel Pawlikowski’s Last Resort, for which he won the Best Actor Award at the Thessaloniki Film Festival. Since then he has appeared in Hollywood films such as Cinderella Man, The Bourne Ultimatum and In America. Considine again collaborated with Shane Meadows on Dead Man’s Shoes, co-writing and starring in the film. He received numerous nominations and awards including both The Evening Standard and Empire Film awards for Best Actor.
Considine recently appeared in the British films Now Is Good and Submarine. He was also seen in director Edgar Wright’s sci-fi comedy The World’s End, their second collaboration after the 2007 comedy Hot Fuzz.
In 2007 he wrote and directed the short film Dog Altogether, for which he won the BAFTA Award and the Venice Film Festival’s Silver Award.
JASON CLARKE (Anatoly Tarasovich Brodsky) has emerged in the U.S. with a slate of critically acclaimed performances in both television and film. He is most known for his lead role as “Dan” in the Academy Award®-nominated film Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow. He will next star in the reboot of the Terminator series, Terminator: Genisys, as "John Connor,” alongside Emilia Clarke and Arnold Schwarzenegger, which Paramount will release on July 1, 2015.
Last year, he appeared in the highly anticipated sci-fi sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, co-starring Gary Oldman, Judy Greer and Keri Russell, which was released on July 11, 2014. Clarke was also seen in the Abraham Lincoln biographical drama The Better Angels, with Brit Marling and Diane Kruger, which Amplify released in the Fall of 2014. It premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews.
Upcoming films for Clarke include Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups opposite Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman.
Clarke most recently wrapped production on Everest, opposite Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Clarke recently starred as “George Wilson” in Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. Additionally, he was also seen in Roland Emmerich's White House Down, opposite Channing Tatum and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Clarke also appeared in John Hillcoat's period drama Lawless opposite Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pierce and Jessica Chastain, as well as several other high profile films including Michael Mann's Public Enemies opposite Johnny Depp, Oliver Stone's Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps opposite Shia LaBeouf and Michael Douglas, and Paul W.S. Anderson's Death Race.
Clarke first came to America's attention in the critically acclaimed dramatic Showtime series, Brotherhood, where he played Tommy Caffee, an ambitious Rhode Island politician who navigates the treacherous worlds of local politics and organized crime. He most recently starred in Shawn Ryan's acclaimed crime-drama, The Chicago Code on FOX. Clarke starred as Veteran Chicago Police Detective Jarek Wysocki who leads the special unit fighting against the corruption.
In the world of independent films, Clarke starred in Texas Killing Fields, which premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival, Jada Pinkett Smith's directorial debut, The Human Contract and David Schwimmer's Trust opposite Clive Owen and Catherine Keener, as well as Yelling to the Sky directed by Victoria Mahoney and Swerve, directed by Craig Lahiff.
In his native Australia, Clarke starred in Phillip Noyce's Rabbit Proof Fence, as well as Better than Sex and Park Street. In television, Clarke worked opposite Geoffrey Rush on Mercury.
Clarke graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and also has extensive credits in theater, both as an actor as well as director.
VINCENT CASSEL (Major Kuzmin) is a prolific and prominent actor who is well known for his bold choice of roles and fearless portrayal of characters.
He finished the filming of Matteo Garrone, The Tale of Tales with Salma Hayek (Gomorra, Reality which both won Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival), The Great Mystical Circus directed by Carlos Diegues and Mon Roi, Maïwenn’s movie (Polisse, Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival) and the movie Un moment d’égarement de Jean-François Richet (Mesrine ).
He played the main character in Ariel Kleiman’s first movie shot in Australia, Partisan.
Cassel has been seen, as the beast, in Christophe Gans' adaptation of the fairy tale Beauty & the Beast, featuring Lea Seydoux as the beauty.
In 2013, Cassel has been starring in Dominik Moll's The Monk, an 18th century-set story based on Matthew Lewis' Gothic novel depicting the rise and tragic downfall of Capucin Ambrosio, a respected Spanish monk. As well, co-starring in Danny Boyle's much anticipated art heist thriller, Trance, opposite James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson.
In 2010, Cassel was seen in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, which received a Best Picture Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, Critic's Choice Award and Independent Spirit Awards nominations as well as Best Ensemble Cast Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination.
Prior to Black Swan, Cassel starred in Jean-Francois Richet's Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 and Mesrine : Killer Instinct. The two-part films tell the true story of Jacques Mesrine, who became France's most notorious felon throughout the 1970's. Arch-fiend to some and folk hero to others, Mesrine's illegal career spanned nearly two decades of brazen bank robberies, prison breaks, and ingenious identity changes. Critically acclaimed worldwide, the film was a commercial success in France, garnering the country's highest honor in film, ten César Award nominations and winning the awards for Best Actor and Best Director. For his performance, Cassel went on to receive Best Actor honors at the Lumiere Awards, the Etoile D'Or and the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Cassel began his career in France in 1988 starting out with small roles on television and in film. In 1995, he made his mark in Mathieu Kassovitz's critically acclaimed film La Haine, where he played a troubled youth from the deprived outskirts of Paris. For his performance, Cassel received his first César Award nominations for Best Actor and Most Promising Newcomer.
Following this breakthrough performance, Cassel appeared in over thirty-five films in both France and the United States. Notable film credits in France include Gilles Mimouni's L'Appartement, Gaspar Noe's Irréversible, Jan Kounen's Dobermann, and Jacques Audiard's Sur Mes Lèvres, for which he received his third César Award nomination.
Cassel has appeared in various English-language films such as James Ivory's Jefferson in Paris, Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth, Luc Besson's The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, Mathieu Kassovitz's The Crimson Rivers, Christophe Gans' The Brotherhood of the Wolf, Paul McGuigan's The Reckoning, Andrew Adamson's Shrek, Jan Kounen's Renegade, Mikael Håfström's Derailed, David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises and A Dangerous Method. Cassel also co-starred in Stephen Soderbergh's Ocean's Twelve for which he later reprised the role in Ocean's Thirteen.
Behind the lens, Cassel also heads a production company, 120 Films. Formed in 1997, the banner has developed and produced Shabbat Night Fever, Irréversible, Renegade, Secret Agents, Sheitan, Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 and Mesrine: Killer Instinct, and Our Day Will Come.
Cassel splits his time between Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
DANIEL ESPINOSA (Director) is a filmmaker whose edgy, visceral approach to his work brings his films to life in a way that captivates audiences and takes them on a journey into his characters’ aesthetically chaotic world. He made his U.S. directorial debut with Safe House, starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds. The film went on to gross more than $200 million worldwide. With the success of Safe House, Espinosa quickly became one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood.
Espinosa’s breakout film was Snabba Cash, aka Easy Money. It was one of the highest-grossing films in Swedish history and the first installment of a trilogy based on the international bestseller written by Jens Lapidus. First released in 2010, the film was re-released in the U.S. in July 2012 through The Weinstein Company. Warner Bros has since purchased the American remake rights.
Espinosa is a graduate of the director’s program at the prestigious National Film School of Denmark.
RICHARD PRICE (Screenwriter) is one of America’s preeminent novelists and screenwriters. He’s the author of eight novels including the national bestsellers Lush Life, Freedomland and Clockers, which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) Award. The Whites, released in February 2015, is high on The New York Times bestsellers list.
In 1999 he was the recipient of a literature award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His fiction, articles and essays have appeared in Best American Essays 2002, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, Esquire, The Village Voice and Rolling Stone.
His screenwriting credits include Sea of Love, Ransom, The Color of Money and Night and the City. He shared a 2007 Edgar Award as a co-writer of HBO’s classic drama series “The Wire.”
TOM ROB SMITH (Novelist) graduated from Cambridge University in 2001 and lives in London. Born in 1979 to a Swedish mother and an English father, his bestselling novels in the Child 44 trilogy were international publishing sensations. Among its many honors, Child 44 won the International Thriller Writer Award for Best First Novel, the Galaxy Book Award for Best New Writer and the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. The book was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for both the Costa First Novel Award and the inaugural Desmond Elliot Prize. His new novel The Farm is a number 1 international bestseller and the first crime thriller to be longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize.
RIDLEY SCOTT (Producer) is a renowned Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker honored with Best Director Oscar® nominations for his work on Black Hawk Down (2001), Gladiator (2000) and Thelma & Louise (1991). All three films also earned him DGA Award nominations. Scott’s most recent releases include Exodus: Gods and Kings starring Christian Bale and Joel Edgerton, The Counselor, written by Cormac McCarthy and starring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz and Javier Bardem, and the acclaimed hit Prometheus, starring Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Charlize Theron. Scott is currently in production on The Martian, a space thriller starring Kate Mara, Jessica Chastain and Matt Damon.
Scott has garnered multiple nominations over his illustrious career. In addition to his Academy Award® and DGA nominations, he also earned a Golden Globe® nomination for Best Director for American Gangster, starring Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. As he also served as a producer on the true-life drama, Scott shared in a BAFTA nomination for Best Film. Scott also received Golden Globe® and BAFTA nominations for Best Director for his epic Gladiator. The film won the Oscar®, Golden Globe® and BAFTA Award for Best Picture.
In 1977 Scott made his feature-film directorial debut with The Duellists, for which he won the Best First Film Award at the Cannes Film Festival. He followed with the blockbuster science-fiction thriller Alien, which catapulted Sigourney Weaver to stardom and launched a successful franchise. In 1982 Scott directed the landmark film Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford. Considered a sci-fi classic, the futuristic thriller was added to the U.S. Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 1993 and a director’s cut was released to renewed acclaim in 1993 and again in 2007.
Additional film credits as director include Legend, starring Tom Cruise; Someone to Watch Over Me, starring Tom Berenger; Black Rain, starring Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia; 1492: Conquest of Paradise, starring Gérard Depardieu; White Squall, starring Jeff Bridges; G.I. Jane, starring Demi Moore and Viggo Mortensen; Hannibal, starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore; Body of Lies, starring Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio; A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe and Albert Finney; the epic Kingdom of Heaven, with Orlando Bloom and Jeremy Irons; Matchstick Men, starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell; and Robin Hood, marking his fifth collaboration with star Russell Crowe, also starring Cate Blanchett.
Scott and his late brother Tony formed the commercial and advertising production company RSA in 1967. RSA has an established reputation for creating innovative and groundbreaking commercials for some of the world’s most recognized corporate brands.
In 1995 the Scott brothers formed the film and television production company Scott Free. With offices in Los Angeles and London, the Scotts produced such films as In Her Shoes, The A-Team, Cyrus, The Grey and the Academy Award®-nominated drama The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
On television, Scott executive produces the Emmy®, Peabody and Golden Globe®-winning hit The Good Wife, for CBS. He also served as an executive producer on the long-running series “Numb3rs,” which ran for six seasons on CBS.
Scott has also been an executive producer on the company’s long-form projects, including the Starz miniseries The Pillars of the Earth, the A&E miniseries The Andromeda Strain, the TNT miniseries The Company and the award-winning HBO movies RKO 281, The Gathering Storm and Into the Storm.
Additionally, Scott directed his first-ever television pilot with “The Vatican,” for Sony Pictures Television. Written by Paul Attanasio, the show explores the relationships, rivalries, mysteries and miracles taking place within the Catholic Church. Scott will also executive produce the series.
In 2003 Scott was awarded a knighthood from the Order of the British Empire, in recognition of his contributions to the arts.
MICHAEL SCHAEFER (Producer) was appointed president of Scott Free Films in 2012. Since then he has overseen production and development for all feature projects under the Scott Free banner, including The Counselor and the blockbuster biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, both directed by Ridley Scott.
Prior to Scott Free, Schaefer served as senior vice president of acquisitions and co-productions at Summit Entertainment, where he was instrumental to films such as Now You See Me, 50/50, Source Code and the Academy Award® winner The Hurt Locker. Previously, Schaefer worked at The Weinstein Company as VP of production and development.
GREG SHAPIRO (Producer) is the Academy Award®-winning producer of The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, which received a total of six Oscars®, including Best Picture.
Shapiro was also executive producer on Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which received five Academy Award® nominations, and Bruce Robinson’s The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp.
Shapiro most recently produced James Gray’s much anticipated The Immigrant, starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner, which premiered at the 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival as part of the official competition and was released by The Weinstein Company in 2014.
His other producing credits include The Conspirator, directed by Robert Redford, Detachment, directed by Tony Kaye, and the popular Harold & Kumar franchise.
ADAM MERIMS (Executive Producer) most recently executive produced the film Straight Outta Compton [August 2015] as well as the widely acclaimed film Lee Daniel’s The Butler, which features a stellar ensemble cast featuring Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Lenny Kravitz, Terrence Howard and Academy Award® winner Cuba Gooding Jr. Merims and director Daniel Espinosa first collaborated on the blockbuster action-thriller Safe House, starring two-time Academy Award® winner Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds.
Merims also executive produced The Lucky Ones, starring Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins and Michael Peña; The Hunting Party, starring Richard Gere, Terrence Howard and Jesse Eisenberg; and Breach, starring Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe and Laura Linney.
His earlier executive producer credits are Casanova, directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller, Oliver Platt and Jeremy Irons; writer-director Richard Shepard’s The Matador, starring Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis; and House of D, David Duchovny’s feature directorial debut, starring Robin Williams, Téa Leoni, Erykah Badu and Anton Yelchin.
Merims produced writer-director Billy Ray’s critically acclaimed first feature Shattered Glass, starring Hayden Christensen, Peter Sarsgaard, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Rosario Dawson and Hank Azaria. As producer, his other credits include Ed Solomon’s Levity, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter and Kirsten Dunst; Love Stinks, written and directed by Jeff Franklin and starring French Stewart, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, Tyra Banks and Bill Bellamy; and Cold Around the Heart, written and directed by John Ridley and executive produced by Oliver Stone. He was co-producer of Universal Soldier: The Return and the HBO movie “Freeway.”
From August 1993 to November 1994 Merims was producer and head of West Coast operations for Nickelodeon Movies. At Nickelodeon he was responsible both for managing the start-up of a Nickelodeon features office in Los Angeles and for identifying and developing projects suitable for motion-picture production in the family-entertainment arena, in conjunction with 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.
Before Nickelodeon Merims was vice president of production at Lobell/Bergman Productions from 1990 through 1993. He was responsible for all development at the company and served as associate producer on Andrew Bergman’s Honeymoon in Vegas, Herbert Ross’ Undercover Blues and Andrew Scheinman’s Little Big League.
From 1984 to 1989 Merims worked as a freelance producer, production manager and assistant director. In these capacities, he was involved with a number of projects, most notably the original miniseries “Lonesome Dove.” He has been a member of the Directors Guild of America since 1986.
Merims graduated from Williams College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and economics. He is also a graduate of the Collegiate School in New York City.
ELISHIA HOLMES (Executive Producer) joined Scott Free as a vice president in 2011 and by early 2013 had risen to senior vice president of production and development. Under the Scott Free banner, Holmes oversaw the biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings and is currently at work on the sci-fi film Wool and a sequel to Prometheus.
Prior to Scott Free, Holmes was vice president of development at Graham King’s GK Films. She served as a production executive at Warner Bros. for four years, working on the Hughes brothers’ post-apocalyptic thriller The Book of Eli (starring Denzel Washington) and the mega-blockbusters Sherlock Holmes and The Dark Knight.
DOUGLAS URBANSKI (Executive Producer) is a theater impresario, raconteur, film producer and occasional actor. As one of Broadway and London’s most active stage producers during the 1980s, he presented plays by Tennessee Williams, Harold Pinter, Noel Coward, Herman Wouk, Anton Chekhov, Michael Frayn, Eugene O’Neill, Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein. Among the actors who starred in his productions were Geraldine Page, Sir Peter Ustinov, Charlton Heston, Jack Lemmon, Vanessa Redgrave, Sir Rex Harrison, Claudette Colbert, Dame Maggie Smith, Glenda Jackson, Dame Joan Plowright, Donald O’Connor, Sir Ian McKellen and Lauren Bacall. The shows received numerous Tony Award® nominations and Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
Urbanski and Gary Oldman produced the feature Nil by Mouth, Oldman’s screenwriting and directing debut. The film was selected to world premiere as the opening-night film of the 1997 Cannes International Film Festival, where its leading lady Kathy Burke won the Best Actress award. Subsequent honors for Nil by Mouth included the prestigious Channel Four Director’s Prize, awarded at the Edinburgh International Film Festival; six British Independent Film Award (BIFA) nominations, with wins for Burke and her fellow cast members Ray Winstone and Laila Morse; the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay; and BAFTA’s Alexander Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year (shared by Oldman and Urbanski).
The team’s subsequent productions have included Rod Lurie’s The Contender, starring Joan Allen and Jeff Bridges. The film received two Academy Awards®, two Golden Globe® Awards and three Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® nominations, including one for Best Supporting Actor (Gary Oldman). The ensemble and the writer-director were honored with the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association Alan J. Pakula Award.
Urbanski 2011 acclaimed performance as former Harvard president Larry Summers in the multiple-Academy Award®-winning drama The Social Network, directed by David Fincher and scripted by Aaron Sorkin. won Urbanski a share in the Ensemble Acting Awards the film received at the Palm Springs and Hollywood Film Festivals. Also, in 2011 he Executive Produced Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which received several Academy Award® Nominations and also won numerous BAFTA Awards, including the Alexandra Korda Award for Outstanding British Film of the Year.