MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY (Ward) is one of Hollywood's most sought after leading men whose films have grossed over a billion dollars at the box office. He is a Texas native who originally, while attending the University of Texas in Austin, planned to be a lawyer. When he discovered the inspirational Og Mandino book, The Greatest Salesman in the World, before one of his final exams, he suddenly knew that he had to change his major from law to film.
McConaughey began his acting career in 1991, appearing in student films and commercials in Texas and directing short films. It was a chance meeting in Austin with casting director and producer, Don Phillips, who introduced him to director, Richard Linklater, where he got cast as ‘Wooderson' in the cult classic "Dazed and Confused." McConaughey has appeared in over 40 feature films since then, and has become a producer, director and philanthropist all the while sticking to his Texas roots and philosophy.
Over the years, he has portrayed an athlete, a police officer, a football coach, and a lawyer, and has worked with Hollywood greats such as Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemekis, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Sandra Bullock, and Al Pacino to name a few.
McConaughey most recently starred as ‘Mick Haller' in the legal thriller, "The Lincoln Lawyer" adapted from the hit novel series by best-selling author, Michael Connelly. McConaughey just wrapped production on two indie films, "Bernie," "Killer Joe" and Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike." Exact release dates have not been set.
McConaughey starred as ‘Connor Mead' in the hit romantic comedy, "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," opposite Michael Douglas and Jennifer Garner, and appeared in the ensemble cast of Ben Stiller's wildly successful action comedy, "Tropic Thunder." Earlier, he headlined opposite Kate Hudson in "Fool's Gold," for director Andy Tennant. He also produced and starred in "Surfer, Dude," a comedy that featured music from recording artist, Mishka.
In 2007, McConaughey portrayed real-life college football coach ‘Jack Lengyel' in the critically acclaimed drama "We Are Marshall," the inspiring story of a small West Virginia town's struggle with devastating loss.
Previously, he starred in the action adventure comedy "Sahara," with Penelope Cruz and Steve Zahn. He earned a People's Choice Award for his role in the film, which opened at the top of the weekend box office and marked the first major motion picture produced by his production company, j.k. livin productions. McConaughey followed with a starring role opposite Al Pacino in the drama "Two for the Money" before closing 2005 as People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive."
Additional film credits include: the popular romantic comedies "Failure to Launch," with Sarah Jessica Parker, and "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," opposite Kate Hudson; the sci-fi adventure "Reign of Fire," with Christian Bale; the ensemble drama "Thirteen Conversations About One Thing;" the horror thriller "Frailty," written and directed by Bill Paxton; and Adam Shankman's hit romantic comedy "The Wedding Planner," opposite Jennifer Lopez.
McConaughey also starred in the World War II action drama "U-571," Ron Howard's "EDtv," Steven Spielberg's "Amistad," Robert Zemeckis' "Contact," and Joel Schumacher's critically acclaimed courtroom drama "A Time to Kill," as well as "Lone Star," "Angels in the Outfield," "The Newton Boys," and "The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
McConaughey's production company, j.k. livin productions, produced the feature documentary "Hands on a Hard Body," and is currently in development on numerous projects with various studios and production companies.
In addition to his film career, Matthew also takes the time to give back. In 2008, he started The just keep livin Foundation which is dedicated to helping boys and girls transform into men and women through programs that teach the importance of decision making, health, education, and active living. The just keep livin Foundation has partnered with Communities in Schools in West Los Angeles to implement fitness and wellness programs in two large, urban high schools. CIS is the nation's largest, non-profit, dropout prevention organization. Through the j.k. livin afterschool program, they are able to give kids a healthy start in life and the promise of a healthy future. The official website is: www.jklivinfoundation.org.
Nurturing an impressive body of work that encompasses film and television, ZAC EFRON (Jack Jansen) is one of Hollywood's most promising talents as his career continues to evolve with exciting and challenging projects. Efron has received ShoWest's Breakthrough Performer of the Year award, an MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Performance (2008) and Best Male Performance (2009) and multiple Teen Choice and Kids Choice Awards.
He next will be seen in "New Year's Eve," the ensemble piece directed by Garry Marshall, due for release this December. Efron recently finished working on Warner Bros., "The Lucky One," a film adaptation from the Nicholas Sparks novel of the same name which tells the story of a Marine who returns to North Carolina after serving in Iraq and searches for the unknown woman he believes was his good luck charm during the war. It's due for release in April 2012.
Efron's other starring roles include Universal's "Charlie St. Cloud," based on the acclaimed novel of same name, Warner Bros. "17 Again," which was #1 at the box office when it opened in 2009, "Me and Orson Welles," an adaptation of the period coming-of-age novel by Robert Kaplow, which debuted to rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008, and the box office smash hit, "Hairspray," which won the Critics Choice award for Best Ensemble as well as being nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG Award for the impressive ensemble work in the film.
Recognized around the world for his role as ‘Troy Bolton' in Disney's "High School Musical," when "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," the third installment of the extremely successful "High School Musical" franchise opened in movie theaters, it set a box office record as the highest grossing opening weekend total for a musical. As the break out star of the Emmy Award-winning Disney Channel phenomenon, "High School Musical," when "High School Musical 2" debuted on television, it broke cable television records as it garnered 17.5 million viewers.
Efron's other television credits included a recurring role on the WB series "Summerland," guest starring roles on "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody," "ER," "The Guardian" and "C.S.I. Miami." Additionally, Zac starred on stage in the musical "Gypsy" and has appeared in productions of "Peter Pan," "Mame," "Little Shop of Horrors" and "The Music Man."
A native of Northern California, Efron currently resides in Los Angeles. He recently started his own production shingle and has several feature film projects in development.
NICOLE KIDMAN (Charlotte Bless) first came to the attention of American audiences with her critically acclaimed performance in Phillip Noyce's riveting 1989 psychological thriller "Dead Calm." She has since become an internationally recognized, award-winning actress known for her range and versatility.
In 2003, Kidman won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and a Berlin Silver Bear for her portrayal of ‘Virginia Woolf' in Stephen Daldry's "The Hours." In 2002, she was honored with her first Oscar nomination for her performance in Baz Luhrmann's innovative musical, "Moulin Rouge!" For that role, and her performance in writer/director Alejandro Amenabar's psychological thriller, "The Others," she received dual 2002 Golden Globe nominations, winning for Best Actress in a Musical. She was awarded her initial Golden Globe for a pitch-perfect, wickedly funny portrayal of a woman obsessed with becoming a TV personality at all costs, in Gus Van Sant's "To Die For," and has been nominated three additional times: for her performances in Jonathan Glazer's "Birth," Anthony Minghella's "Cold Mountain," and Robert Benton's "Billy Bathgate."
Most recently, Kidman starred opposite Aaron Eckhart in "Rabbit Hole," for which she received Academy Award, Golden Golden, Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best Actress. From David Lindsay-Abaire's own screenplay adaptation of his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Rabbit Hole" was developed by Kidman's Blossom Films production company and is directed by John Cameron Mitchell. She will next be seen opposite Nicolas Cage in Joel Schumacher's "Trespass" as well as in HBO's "Hemingway and Gellhorn" with Clive Owen. She is currently filming "Stoker" this fall in Nashville.
Kidman's additional film credits include Noah Baumbach's "Margot at the Wedding"; "The Golden Compass" with Daniel Craig; Academy Award winning animated musical "Happy Feet"; "Just Go with It" with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston; Rob Marshall's film adaptation of the musical "Nine" with Daniel Day Lewis, Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard; Baz Luhrmann's World War II love story, "Australia," with Hugh Jackman; Steven Shainberg's "Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus" with Robert Downey, Jr.; Sydney Pollack's "The Interpreter" with Sean Penn; Nora Ephron's "Bewitched" with Will Ferrell; Robert Benton's "The Human Stain" with Anthony Hopkins and Ed Harris;, Lars von Trier's "Dogville" with Paul Bettany and Lauren Bacall; Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut" with Tom Cruise; Jez Butterworth's "Birthday Girl" with Ben Chaplin; Mimi Leder's "The Peacemaker" with George Clooney; Jane Campion's "The Portrait of a Lady" with John Malkovich; Joel Schumacher's "Batman Forever" with Val Kilmer and Jim Carrey; Harold Becker's "Malice" with Michael Keaton and Alec Baldwin; and Ron Howard's "Far and Away." She also narrated the documentary release (Sundance Grand Jury Award and Audience Award-winner), "God Grew Tired of Us," and the film biography of Simon Wiesenthal, "I Have Never Forgotten You."
Kidman made a highly-lauded London stage debut in the fall of 1998, starring with Iain Glenn in "The Blue Room," David Hare's modern adaptation of Schnitzler's "La Ronde," for director Sam Mendes and the Donmar Warehouse. For her performance Kidman won London's Evening Standard Award and was nominated in the Best Actress category for a Laurence Olivier Award. "The Blue Room" moved to Broadway for a sold-out, limited run from November of 1998 through March of 1999.
In January of 2006, Kidman was awarded Australia's highest honor, the Companion in the Order of Australia. She was also named, and continues to serve, as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM, whose goals are to foster women's empowerment and gender equality, to raise awareness of the infringement on women's human rights around the world and to end violence against women. For the past nine years, Kidman has served as the UNIFEM Ambassador for Australia. Most recently, Kidman has lent her voice in support of the Women's Cancer Program at Stanford with Dr. Jonathan Berek. Along with her husband, Keith Urban, she helped to raise nearly half a million dollars for the Women's Cancer Program which is a world-renowned center for research into the causes, treatment, prevention, and eventual cure of women's cancer.
With an impressive body of work spanning over two decades, JOHN CUSACK (Hillary Van Wetter) has evolved into one of Hollywood's most accomplished and respected actors of his generation, garnering both critical acclaim as well as prestigious accolades for his dramatic and comedic roles. Cusack will next star in Relativity Media's "The Raven" where he portrays the infamous author, ‘Edgar Allen Poe,' due for release on March 9th 2012. He is currently filming in Alaska on the independent thriller, "The Frozen Ground" opposite Nicolas Cage, which is based on the true story of serial killer, Robert Hansen.
In 2010, Cusack starred in "Hot Tub Time Machine," an R-comedy centered on a group of adult men who are transported back in time to 1987. When he starred in the apocalyptic thriller, "2012," that was released in 2009, the international blockbuster went on to gross more than $766 million worldwide. Prior to that, Cusack wrote and produced the political satire, "War Inc." with Dan Aykroyd, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff & Joan Cusack, and voiced the lead in MGM's animated feature, "Igor."
Other important credits for Cusack include "Grace Is Gone," which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Audience Award, Dimension Films' box office hit "1408," the dark comedy "The Ice Harvest," "Runaway Jury," starring with Hollywood legends Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman, and the controversial film, "Max," which Cusack also produced and garnered strong reactions at the 2002 Toronto Film Festival when it debuted.
Some of his earlier feature films include "Con Air" from director Simon West, Clint Eastwood's "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," the World War II combat epic, "The Thin Red Line," directed by Terrence Malick, Mike Newell's comedy "Pushing Tin," and the political thriller, "City Hall," among many other films. In addition, Cusack has worked twice with Woody Allen on "Shadows and Fog" and "Bullets Over Broadway." Cusack also starred in several romantic comedies, including "Serendipity," with Kate Beckinsale, "America's Sweethearts," opposite Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Billy Crystal, and "Must Love Dogs" with Diane Lane.
Cusack first gained the attention of audiences in the 1980s by starring in a number of teen classics such as "Sixteen Candles," "The Sure Thing," "Stand By Me" and "Say Anything." As he expanded his film repertoire, starring in "Broadcast News," "Eight Men Out," "The Grifters," "True Colors," "The Road To Wellville," "Grosse Pointe Blank," "Being John Malkovich," and "High Fidelity," where he received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actor, Cusack successfully shed his teen-heartthrob image.
DAVID OYELOWO (Yardley Acheman) – pronounced ‘oh-yellow-oh'—graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), having received the ‘Scholarship for Excellence' from Nicholas Hytner in 1998.
Since then, Oyelowo has crossed ‘the Pond' and established himself as an actor to watch. This year alone, he has several movies out, including "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes," starring alongside James Franco, and "The Help," with Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer. He next will be seen in "Red Tails," the story about the heroic Tuskegee Airmen who fought in World War II, which will be released in January 2012.
In addition, he's appearing in several independent films this year, including "96 Minutes," that premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, "Default," a thriller directed by Simon Brand, and Ava Duvernay's "The Middle of Nowhere." Oyelowo is currently working with Director Steven Spielberg on "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day-Lewis, and will next segue from that movie into "Nina," opposite Mary J. Blige.
He first impressed audiences in "The Suppliants" at the Gate Theater playing ‘King Palasgus,' for which he received the Ian Carleson award commendation. Following this, he played the title role of "Henry VI," becoming the first Black actor to play an English king for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The role won him the Ian Charleson Award and an Evening Standard Award nomination. Other theater credits include an acclaimed performance in Richard Bean's "The God Brothers" at the Bush Theater and the title role in Aeschylus' "Prometheus Bound," which was off-Broadway for which Oyelowo received rave reviews.
Beyond theater, Oyelowo starred in the BAFTA award-winning series, "Spook/MI-5," which also aired in the US on BBC America. Additionally, he won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor and was also nominated for a BAFTA for the same role for his work on "Small Island." In addition, Oyelowo starred in the BBC1 original television movie, "Born Equal," opposite Colin Firth, as well as ABC's production of "A Raisin In the Sun," alongside Sanaa Lathan and Sean ‘Puffy' Combs.
Oyelowo made his US debut in two HBO productions. He first starred in "As You Like It," directed by Kenneth Branagh, and then later as the lead in the miniseries, "5 Days." He returned to HBO when he appeared in "The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency," directed by the late Anthony Minghella.
His other noteworthy credits include "The Last King of Scotland," opposite Forrest Whitaker and James MacAvoy, "Who Do You Love," "A Sound Of Thunder," "Derailed," and "The Best Man." He also appeared in BBC2's "Shoot The Messenger" which was nominated for Best Foreign Film and earned Oyelowo a Best Actor nomination at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008.
SCOTT GLENN (W.W. Jansen) has enjoyed an extensive career in front of the camera for over thirty years. Currently, working on "The Bourne Legacy," he was last seen in Zach Snyder's "Sucker Punch," and Disney's "Secretariat." Other recent credits include "Nights In Rodanthe," "Surfer Dude" with Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson, and Oliver Stone's biopic, "W.," where he played the controversial ‘Donald Rumsfeld.'
Glenn got his big break when he landed the role opposite John Travolta in the cult classic, "Urban Cowboy." Other major film roles followed, including Robert Towne's "Personal Best," John Frankenheimer's "The Challenge," Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff," Lawrence Kasdan's "Silverado," John McTiernan's "The Hunt For Red October," Jonathan Demme's Academy Award-winning "The Silence Of the Lambs," Ron Howard's "Backdraft," Edward Zwick's "Courage Under Fire," Clint Eastwood's "Absolute Power," and Sofia Coppola's directorial debut, "The Virgin Suicides."
A lifelong member of the Actors Studio, Glenn made a triumphant return to Broadway in Lanford Wilson's "Burn This" and off-Broadway in the critically acclaimed "Killer Joe," for which he earned a Drama Desk Best Actor nomination and a special honor at the Drama League Wards presentation. He also starred in Arthur Miller's final play, "Finishing The Picture," at the Goodman Theater in Chicago for which Miller wrote a scene for him.
Glenn has been married to artist, Carol Schwartz, since 1967. The Glenns are active supporters of numerous charities, including the Naval Special Warfare Foundation for families of fallen servicemen, and the Delta Society that helps train and sponsor service and therapy dogs.
Multi-talented entertainer MACY GRAY (Anita) is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, record producer and actress. Perhaps best known for her international hit single, "I Try," taken from her multi-platinum debut album "On How Life Is," she has appeared in many movies, including Director Lee Daniels' directorial debut, "Shadowboxer," in 2005.
Other acting credits for the busy performer are "Training Day," "Spider Man," "Scary Movie 3," the remake of "Around The World in 80 Days," with Jackie Chan, "The Crow: Wicked Prayer," "Domino," and "Idlewild." She also appeared in HBO's "Lackawanna Blues" and ABC's television drama, "MDs." More recently, she starred in Tyler Perry's ensemble piece, "For Colored Girls Only," with Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose and Phylicia Rashad, among many others.
With five albums released since her debut in 1999, Gray has also collaborated with such artists as Carlos Santana on the track "Amore (Sexo)," and her song, "Time Of My Life" was featured on the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed film "8 mile" in which she was the only female artist. She also recorded "Cell Block Tango/He Had It Comin'" with Queen Latifah and Lil Kim for the Academy Award-winning "Chicago." In addition, the talented singer/songwriter's first single, "Beauty In The World," of her fifth album, "The Sellout," released in 2010, is featured in the series finale of the hit series, "Ugly Betty."
Gray has just completed work on her new album, "Covered," which will be released in the spring of 2012.
LEE DANIELS (Director/Screenwriter/Producer) has a background filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates. By the age of 21, Daniels had founded and was running his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals while simultaneously trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his healthcare business, he began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Natasha Kinsky and Aishwarya Raid, and turned to producing as a natural result of trying to create great material for his clients that eventually lead to directing.
"Monster's Ball" was the first film from Daniels' production company, Lee Daniels Entertainment. The film marked Daniels as the first sole African-American producer of an Oscar-winning film. Daniels also produced "The Woodsman," which premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, the film received the CICAE Arthouse Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the Jury Prize at the Deauville International Film Festival, and Special Mention for Excellence in Filmmaking from the National Board of Review.
Daniels' directorial debut, "Shadowboxer," was a bold and heart-wrenching tale of two assassins that was released in 2006. Following the film's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006, Daniels was also nominated for the New Directors Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival the same year.
His next feature as a director was "Precious," a movie that earned him an Academy Award nomination as Best Director as well as winning Academy Awards for Mo'Nique as Best Supporting Actress and Geoffrey Fletcher for Best Adapted Screenplay. The courageous film also won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the AFI Film Award as Movie of the Year and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director and Best Feature, among other accolades.
Other producing credits for the talented filmmaker are "Tennessee," which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Next up for Daniels is directing the pilot for the television series, "Valley Of The Dolls."
AVI LERNER (Executive Producer) is co-chairman of Nu Image, Inc. and Millennium Films, Inc. With more than 300 films to his credit, he is one of the most experienced producers and distributors of independent films in the international motion picture industry. Most recently, Lerner produced the highly anticipated action hit "The Expendables" starring Sylvester Stallone, and "The Mechanic" starring Jason Statham.
Lerner was born in 1947 in Haifa, Israel. He studied economics at the University of Tel Aviv and served as a paratrooper in the Israeli Army. After a short period in the banking industry, Lerner entered the film business in 1972 when he established the first and only drive-in cinema in Tel Aviv. He went on to develop a chain of six movie theaters in Israel.
In the late 1970s, Lerner was the first to recognize the potential of the home video market. He effectively cornered the Israeli home video market by acquiring the rights to more than 7,000 motion pictures.
In 1984, Lerner went to South Africa to produce the remake of "King Solomon's Mines," starring Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone. The success of the film led to a sequel, "Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold," and Lerner's decision to sell his Israeli company and relocate to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Between 1984 and 1992, Lerner produced more than 40 motion pictures in South Africa for his company Nu Metro Productions and sold them all over the world. In 1986, he acquired the Metro cinema chain in South Africa and the South African home video operations of Thorn EMI. Over the next four years, Lerner built the Nu Metro Entertainment Group into one of the largest and most aggressive entertainment companies in Africa. Nu Metro included four different companies encompassing production, distribution, theaters and home video.
In 1991 and 1992, partly as a result of the political instability in South Africa and partly because of Lerner's desire to establish a Los Angeles based production and distribution company, Nu Metro Ltd. (excluding the film production operations) was sold. The proceeds were used partly to produce the first five films for the new group and partly to establish a new company in Los Angeles.
In 1992, Lerner moved to America and established Nu Image with Danny Dimbort and Trevor Short. In 1996, Nu Image formed Millennium Films to address the market's growing need for quality theatrical films and higher budget action features, while Nu Image continued to cater to the lucrative worldwide home video market. Between the two divisions, over 230 films have been produced since 1992.
Today, Lerner is one of the most respected and prolific independent film producers in the industry. He is a member of the Board of Directors of both the Independent Producers Association and the American Film Marketing Association. His company Nu Image/Millennium Films currently produces between 14 and 15 independent pictures a year.
Under the Millennium label, Lerner has produced such films as the blockbuster "The Expendables," "The Mechanic," starring Jason Statham, "Lonely Hearts," starring John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Jared Leto and Salma Hayek; "Black Dahlia," with Hilary Swank, Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson, under the direction of Brian DePalma; "16 Blocks," directed by Richard Donner and starring Bruce Willis and Mos Def; "88 Minutes," directed by Jon Avnet and starring Al Pacino, Alicia Witt and Leelee Sobieski; "Day of the Dead," directed by Steve Miner and starring Christa Campbell, Nick Cannon, Mena Suvari and Ving Rhames; "The Contract," with Morgan Freeman and John Cusack; "The Wicker Man," with Nicolas Cage and Leelee Sobieski; "John Rambo," with Sylvester Stallone and Julie Benz; "Mad Money," with Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes and Diane Keaton; and "Righteous Kill," starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, directed by Jon Avnet.
TREVOR SHORT (Executive Producer) was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. He studied law at the University of Zimbabwe and obtained an M.B.A. degree at the University of Cape Town, where he was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit. After obtaining his law degree, Short entered the world of banking and commerce. He headed the Corporate Finance Division at Investec Bank in Johannesburg before joining Nu Metro Entertainment as Managing Director.
Following the acquisition of Nu Metro by a retaining giant, Short became Managing Director of Nu World Services, a film production company based in Johannesburg. In this capacity, Short produced films both in South Africa and outside the country.
DANNY DIMBORT (Executive Producer) began his entertainment career with the Israeli distribution company Golan-Globus Films and became managing director within two years. In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles to join Cannon Films as head of foreign sales. He then returned to Israel to produce several feature films prior to joining Cannon/Pathé back in Los Angeles, where he was in charge of distribution. President of International Distribution at MGM until 1991, Dimbort then formed Nu Image with Avi Lerner and served as partner in charge of sales and marketing.
BOAZ DAVIDSON (Executive Producer) is a prolific filmmaker who has produced some 75 motion pictures, written over 30 and directed over 40 films. His many credits include directing such movies as "Lemon Popsicle," "Looking for Lola," "Outside the Law," "Solar Force," "Salsa," "Going Bananas," "Dutch Treat" and "The Last American Virgin." Born in Tel Aviv, Davidson began his association with Nu Image/Millennium Films in 1995, and he currently serves as the company's head of production and creative affairs.
JOHN THOMPSON (Executive Producer) has an extensive body of work in the thirty years that he has been making movies. He started in the Italian film industry producing such films as Franco Zeffirelli's "Othello," nominated for two Oscars, Claude Dannas' "Salome" which was based on the famous Oscar Wilde play, Lina Wertmullers' "Camorra," winner of four Donatello Awards (Italy's equivalent to Hollywood's Academy Award), Liliana Cavani's "The Berlin Affair," and Paul Schrader's "The Comfort Of Strangers," starring Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, Natasha Richardson and Helen Mirren, among many others during his time in Europe.
In 1998, Thompson returned to Los Angeles to oversee production for Millennium Films. Under the Millennium Film banner, he has produced co-produced or executive produced over fifty feature films. These include such movies as "American Perfekt," "Shadrach," "Some Girl" (winner of the Audience Award at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival in 1998), "Guinevere," "Prozac Nation," "16 Blocks," "King Of California," "88 Minutes," "The Black Dahlia" and "Rambo IV," to name a few.
More recently, Thompson produced last summer's action blockbuster, "The Expendables," as well as "The Mechanic," starring Jason Statham, and "The Son Of No One," starring Channing Tatum and Al Pacino, which debuted at this year's Sundance Film Festival. He also produced "Rambo," Antoine Fuqua's "Brooklyn's Finest" with Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes, and "The Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call—New Orleans."
He recently completed "Playing The Field," due for release in March 2012, Simon West's "Medallion," starring Nicolas Cage, and "The Wedding," starring Amanda Seyfried, Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Robin Williams, Susan Sarandon and Diane Keaton.
MICHAEL BENAROYA (Executive Producer) is the CEO of Benaroya Pictures which he founded in 2006. The company has developed, financed and produced major motion pictures across a variety of genres and platforms.
Benaroya is currently in post-production on "The Words," featuring an all-star cast including Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, and Olivia Wilde. The film follows a writer who, at the peak of his literary success, discovers the price he must pay for stealing another man's work. Benaroya recently completed John Hillcoat's "The Wettest County in the World," starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy, as well as "Catch .44" starring Bruce Willis and Forest Whitaker.
The latest project from Benaroya, "Margin Call," premiered at Sundance 2011 and stars Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto and Paul Bettany. A Wall Street thriller about the crash of the 2008 market, "Margin Call" is currently receiving rave reviews and making a strong push for the awards season.
Past projects produced and financed by Benaroya includes "New York, I Love You" and the Paramount release, "The Romantics," starring Katie Holmes, Josh Duhamel, Anna Paquin, Malin Ackerman, Elijah Wood, Candice Bergen and directed by Galt Niederhoffer. The drama is about seven friends who reunite for a wedding and on the eve of the wedding it is revealed that a rivalry still looms between the bride and maid-of-honor over the groom.
Benaroya is currently prepping for the upcoming production of "Elvis & Nixon," starring Eric Bana and Danny Houston, which will mark the directorial debut of actor Cary Elwes. Other upcoming credits include "Clock Tower," which is a feature film adaptation of the popular Capcom video game, and "Kill Your Darlings," starring Daniel Radcliffe.
CASSIAN ELWES (Executive Producer) began his producing career with "Oxford Blues" starring Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy and went on to make another twenty-nine films, including "Men At Work", with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, and "The Chase" with Sheen.
In 1995, Elwes joined William Morris and headed William Morris Independent for 14 years. His first effort was the long stalled project "The English Patient," which won the Academy Award for Best Picture that year. He quickly followed up with such indie hits as "Slingblade" and "The Apostle," both of which were nominated for multiple Oscars. "Monster's Ball" was their follow up that won the Academy Award for Halle Berry as Best Actress.
The Hollywood Reporter recently said that Elwes was "involved in a virtual ‘Who's Who' of every great independent film of the last ten years" with such films as "Thank You For Smoking," "Half Nelson," and "Frozen River" '(the last two of which garnered Oscar nominations for Ryan Gosling and Melissa Leo respectively).
"What people lose sight of," Elwes recently said to Screen International, "is that these films cost a tenth of the films that they competed against at the Academy Awards. The privilege was the recognition."
Elwes is considered an expert in the field of arranging financing and distribution for independent films having done so for 283 films during his tenure at William Morris Independent.
Since leaving William Morris Independent a year and a half ago, Elwes has been involved in arranging financing and distribution of multiple films, including "The Wettest County," starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy, and the thriller "Medallion," directed by Simon West.
HILARY SHOR (Producer) is a NY/LA based producer She was First Position Producer on "Children Of Men," directed by Alfonso Cuaron that has been a worldwide hit. The film received two BAFTA awards and was nominated for three Academy awards. It has been recently listed as one of the top ten best films of the decade on numerous critics lists.
Prior to that, the Smith College/Annenberg School of Communications graduate had been a successful talent and literary agent in Los Angeles for 10 years. In addition, Shor was Executive Producer on "Eye Of the Beholder," starring Ewan McGregor and Ashley Judd, as well as the documentary "Beautopia," that was honored at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999 with the Grand Jury nomination. She also was one of the Executive Producers on "The Possibility of Hope," directed by Alfonso Cuaron.
Shor partnered with Hit and Run Ltd. of London for 15 years, and through that company, oversaw Phil Collins' involvement and development of Disney's animated pictures, "Tarzan" and "Brother Bear." She nurtured those projects with Disney that eventually garnered Phil Collins Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy wins. She was pivotal in also bringing "Tarzan" to Broadway.
Shor is also a member of the prestigious Producers Guild of America.
ED CATHELL III (Producer) has been producing feature films for over twenty years, working on such films as the critically acclaimed "The Secret Life Of Bees," "The Hard Easy" and "Flight Of Fancy," to name a few. Most recently, he produced "Playing The Field," starring Gerard Butler, due for release in March 2012. Other feature films that he produced are "Conviction," starring Academy Award®-winner Hillary Swank, the critically acclaimed "Stone" with Academy Award®-winner Robert De Niro & Golden Globe winner Edward Norton, "Drive Angry," the 3-D film starring Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard & William Fichtner, and the independent drama, "Trust," starring Clive Owen, Catherine Keener and Viola Davis.
Cathell started in the entertainment business by working as an assistant director on such films as "The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre," starring Matthew McConaughey and Renee Zellweger, and "Cadillac Ranch." He moved into production management by overseeing such films as Victor Salvo's "Rites Of Passage" and George Clooney's "Leatherheads," among others.
ASGER HUSSAIN (Co-Producer), born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he graduated from Copenhagen Business School, began his career in the world of advertising working with DDB, where he oversaw strategic and creative aspects for big brand clients such as Best Western Hotels and McDonald's.
In 2003, Hussain joined producer and director Lee Daniels, overseeing all areas of independent filmmaking from foreign sales to physical production for his company, Lee Daniels Entertainment. He started as an assistant to the producers on the critically acclaimed, "The Woodsman," starring Keven Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Mos Def, and next worked closely with Lee Daniels on his directorial debut, "Shadowboxer," starring Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Moving along, he was an associate producer on "Tennessee," starring Adam Rothenberg, Ethan Peck & Mariah Carey, as well as the Academy Award-winning "Precious," which Daniels also directed. During this time Hussain was also responsible for showcasing all films produced by the company at the major film festivals around the world, including Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, San Sebastian, Deauville and AFI. Hussain lives in New York where he's a founder and partner of the independent film production company Game 7 Films.
SIMONE SHEFFIELD (Co-Producer) is the owner of the California-based company, Canyon Industries International, and has over 30 years experience in the entertainment industry. Her film producing credits include "The Woodsman," "Shadowboxer," "Knockout," the Academy Award-winning "Precious" and now "The Paperboy." She is currently developing "Sold," starring Gilllian Anderson and David Arquette, that will shoot in India early next year, and an animated feature, "The Adventures of Fleebert, The Pink Flamingo."
As a talent manager, Sheffield has worked with Aishwarya Rai, Djimon Honsou, Marvin Gaye and Jane Fonda as well as film legends Greta Garbo, Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner. In addition, she has produced live events, music videos and served as a talent coordinator on such historic events as The New 7 Wonders of the World, We Are The World, 1984 Olympics' Closing Ceremony, Statue of Liberty Celebration, Motown's 25th and 30th Anniversary Shows, Royal Concert Series for the Sultan of Brunei, Nelson Mandela's first visit to American and A Tribute to Rosa Parks.
Sheffield started as Creative Coordinater at Motown Record Corporation where she worked closely with her mentor, founder Berry Gordy. She also served as product manager for Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, The Temptations and Diana Ross.
ROBERTO SCHAEFER ASC, AIC (Director Of Photography) brings his discriminating eye to "The Paperboy." He first worked with Director Lee Daniels on the Academy Award-winning "Monster's Ball," a movie produced by Daniels and directed by Marc Forster.
A long-time collaborator with Forster, Schaefer shot his first film, "Loungers," which won the Audience Award at Slamdance when it premiered in 1996. Most recently, they filmed "Machine Gun Preacher," starring Gerard Butler. For the European director, he also shot "Finding Neverland," where Schaefer received a BAFTA nomination for his cinematography, "Stay," "Stranger Than Fiction," "The Kite Runner," and "Quantum of Solace," Daniel Craig's second venture as Agent 007.
Other noteworthy credits for the talented cinematographer include his work with Director Christopher Guest on his critically acclaimed comedies, "Waiting For Guffman," "Best In Show," and "For Your Consideration." Schaefer also shot "Leaves Of Grass," directed by Tim Blake Nelson and starring Edward Norton.
Schaefer filmed his first feature, "La Fine Della Notte" (translated in English as "End of the Night") for Italian director, Davide Ferrario, in 1986. After his second Italian feature, "Le Mosche In Testa" ("Flies in the Head"), he moved from Rome to Los Angeles, California. He now divides his time between his homes in Los Angeles and New Orleans that he shares with his wife, costume designer Caroline Eselin-Schaefer.
DANIEL T. DORRANCE (Production Designer) began his career as an assistant Art Director. His first couple of opportunities came working for two of the most respected directors in history, Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, on their movies "Hook" and "Dracula," respectively. Dorrance then moved very quickly up the ranks, becoming the Supervising Art Director on such mega-hits as Mel Gibson's "Braveheart," J.J. Abrams and John Woo's "Mission Impossible II" and "III" and Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan," with the latter garnering him an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA Award nomination for ‘Best Art Direction.' Some of his other Art Directing credits include "Maverick," "Assassins," "Father's Day," "We Were Soldiers," "Collateral," "Serenity," "Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer," Louis Leterrier's "The Incredible Hulk" and "Cowboys & Aliens."
Director Richard Donner hired Dorrance as the Production Designer on Paramount's action adventure "Timeline." He next designed the sets for John Moore's "Max Payne," starring Mark Wahlberg. His more recent credits as Production Designer includes "Playing The Field," starring Gerard Butler, due for release in March 2012 by FilmDistrict.
CAROLINE ESELIN-SCHAEFER (Costume Designer) adds her special touch to "The Paperboy," with the costumes she created to bring to life the world of 1969 central Florida. Specializing in independent films, she previously designed the costumes for Wim Wenders' "Don't Come Knocking," starring Sam Shepherd & Jessica Lange, which was in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006, and Lance Hammer's "Ballast" which earned him the Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. Among the other films she designed are "The Yellow Handkerchief," starring William Hurt & Kristen Stewart, "Leaves Of Grass," starring Edward Norton, and "Justice," starring Nicolas Cage and Guy Pearce.
Eseline-Schaefer also designed the costumes as well as hair & makeup on two episodes of Martin Scorsese's PBS Series, "The Blues," directed by Wim Wenders and Charles Burnett.
JOSEPH KLOTZ (Editor), Academy Award-nominated for his work on "Precious," has cut dramas, comedies, and documentaries. Last year, Klotz edited "Rabbit Hole," directed by John Cameron Mitchell, and starring Nicole Kidman. Kidman was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress for her role in the film.
He most recently completed work on "Violet and Daisy," directed by Geoffrey Fletcher which premiered at this year's Toronto Film Festival.
In 2008, he edited "Precious," directed by Lee Daniels, and "The Winning Season," directed by James C. Strouse, where both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. "Precious" won the Audience and Jury awards and went on to be nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Editing.
Other noteworthy credits on the big screen for Klotz are "Choke," directed by Clark Gregg, starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Houston. It premiered at Sundance in 2008, and won Best Ensemble Cast. He also edited "Grace Is Gone" for director James Strauss, which starred John Cusack and won the Audience Award at Sundance in 2007, "The Living Wake" for director Sol Tryon, which premiered at CineVegas, and "Junebug" for director Phil Morrison, which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and won Special Jury Prize for Amy Adams' outstanding performance. "Junebug" also screened at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.
Some of his television credits include Comedy Central's "Chapelle's Show" and "Upright Citizens Brigade," among others.
A sexually and racially charged film noir from Oscar®-nominated director Lee Daniels (Precious), The Paperboy takes audiences deep into the backwaters of steamy 1960s South Florida, as investigative reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) and his partner Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) chase a sensational, career-making story. With the help of Ward’s younger brother Jack (Zac Efron) and sultry death-row groupie Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), the pair tries to prove violent swamp-dweller Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) was framed for the murder of a corrupt local sheriff. Based on the provocative bestselling novel by Pete Dexter (Mulholland Falls, Rush), The Paperboy peels back a sleepy small town’s decades-old façade of Southern gentility to reveal a quagmire of evil as dark as a Florida bayou.
Nicole Kidman as "Charlotte Bless" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
Zac Efron as "Jack Jansen" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
Nicole Kidman as "Charlotte Bless" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
Matthew McConaughey as "Ward Jansen" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
David Oyelowo as "Yardley Acheman" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
Macy Gray as "Anita" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
John Cusack as "Hillary Van Wetter" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
Nicole Kidman as "Charlotte Bless" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
Zac Efron as "Jack Jansen" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
John Cusack as "Hillary Van Wetter" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment
Zac Efron as "Jack Jansen", Matthew McConaughey as "Ward Jansen", Nicole Kidman as "Charlotte Bless" and David Oyelowo as "Yardley Acheman" in THE PAPERBOY.Photo courtesy of Millennium Entertainment