- About the Film
- Casting the Film
- About the Production
- How Card Counting Works
- About the Cast
- About the Filmmakers
Columbia Pictures' action/adventure 21 is inspired by the true story of the very brightest young minds in the country – and how they took Vegas for millions.
Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who – needing to pay school tuition – finds the answers in the cards. He is recruited to join a group of the school’s most gifted students that heads to Vegas every weekend armed with fake identities and the know-how to turn the odds at blackjack in their favor. With unorthodox math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) leading the way, they’ve cracked the code. By counting cards and employing an intricate system of signals, the team can beat the casinos big time. Seduced by the money, the Vegas lifestyle, and by his smart and sexy teammate, Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth), Ben begins to push the limits. Though counting cards isn’t illegal, the stakes are high, and the challenge becomes not only keeping the numbers straight, but staying one step ahead of the casinos’ menacing enforcer: Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).
Columbia Pictures presents in association with Relativity Media a Trigger Street/Michael De Luca production, a film by Robert Luketic, 21. The film stars Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, with Laurence Fishburne and Kevin Spacey. Directed by Robert Luketic. Produced by Dana Brunetti, Kevin Spacey, and Michael De Luca. Screenplay by Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb, based upon the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. The Executive Producers are William S. Beasley, Brett Ratner, and Ryan Kavanaugh. Director of Photography is Russell Carpenter, ASC. Production Designer is Missy Stewart. Editor is Elliot Graham. Costume Designer is Luca Mosca. Music by David Sardy.
21 has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for some violence and sexual content including partial nudity. The film will be released March 28, 2008 in theaters nationwide.
About the Film
“Who wouldn’t want to go to Vegas and make a killing, not because of luck, but because you’re smart about it?” asks Kevin Spacey, describing the appeal of the story behind 21. Spacey says that though it seems like fantasy wish-fulfillment, in fact the film is inspired by a real group of M.I.T. students in the 1990s. “I loved the juxtaposition between these kids’ lives in Boston – where they were geeks with pencils in their pockets – and the lives they make for themselves in Vegas, where they can become anybody they want to be.”
“You can become anyone you want in Vegas,” says Robert Luketic, who directs the film. “M.I.T. geniuses become rock stars. They’re given the keys to Las Vegas. They have access to things that most of us can only dream of.”
Long ago, Spacey’s producing partner, Dana Brunetti, had heard the rumors about the M.I.T. math gurus who had used their skills for a very concrete purpose: they had figured out how to beat the odds at blackjack and take the Vegas casinos for millions. “Ever since I started playing blackjack, I’ve been fascinated by the fact that it’s beatable,” says Brunetti. “Then, by chance, a friend of mine was having dinner with a guy who used to be a card-counter on an earlier team. I thought right away that it was a great idea for a movie.” Brunetti knew that the story would interest Spacey, “but it didn’t go anywhere until Ben Mezrich wrote his story for Wired magazine.”
Mezrich’s article appeared in the September 2002 issue of Wired. As it chronicled the budding geniuses at M.I.T. who had beaten Vegas at its own game, Mezrich’s tale had everything – featuring high stakes action, incredibly close calls with Vegas security staff, and the up- and downsides of a glitzy, glamorous Vegas lifestyle, Mezrich’s article was a true story that read like a Hollywood thriller. Immediately struck by the possibilities, Brunetti contacted Mezrich, but the author’s first impression was that one of the students was playing a prank (something that would not be out of character for an M.I.T. student).
“This guy calls me up and says, ‘Hi, I’m Dana Brunetti, and I have Kevin Spacey on the line.’ Yeah, right. I take down his number and say I’ll call him back. So I Google ‘Dana Brunetti’ – and he really is working with Kevin Spacey!” Brunetti and Spacey had soon locked up the rights to the article.
Coincidentally, Luketic also read the Wired story and thought it would be a great movie. “I’d just gotten back from touring Europe to support Legally Blonde and was looking for my next project. I read in Wired magazine about a team of brilliant M.I.T. students who’d beaten the house in Vegas – but when I called, I found out that Kevin Spacey had already bought the project. Years passed, but then a script landed on my desk and it all came back to me. I guess it was meant to be.”
Producer Michael De Luca explains that the book taps into everyone’s Vegas dream of beating the house. “I've always been a blackjack fan,” he says, “so after I read the book, I tried to pick up the counting method from the book. It’s hard for someone who's not a math genius, but it’s infectious. The few times you get the count right and you hit a hand for a lot of money, it feels really good.”
When Mezrich’s book hit the shelves, it became a phenomenon, staying on the bestsellers list for 59 weeks and moving 1.5 million copies. Translated into twelve languages, the book continues to enjoy strong sales.
In order to adapt Mezrich’s nonfiction book into a movie, the filmmakers made certain changes to the story, but the filmmakers point out that their dramatic license doesn’t change what has made the book so popular. “This is a fun movie – it’s not meant to be a docudrama,” says Dana Brunetti. “We made some changes to the real story in order to make it work as an entertaining movie. We set the movie in the present time and added a romantic element. But we never touched the heart of what made the story so exciting: the tense action, the high stakes, using fake identities and bravado to rise to the top in the fast-paced world of Vegas, beating the house and making millions. That's what the book is, and that's what the movie is, too.”
The book and the movie are both inspired by the experiences of Jeff Ma, who was a student at M.I.T. in the mid-1990s when he was recruited to join the blackjack team. Though Ma and his teammates were some of the brightest minds in the country, to succeed with the team, they would require something else. “I think the real reason that I was recruited to join the team was because they thought I would be good at it, not just because of my intelligence, but because of my demeanor and my ability to go into a casino and sell myself,” he says.
Ma visited the set numerous times, both in Vegas and in Boston, and even has a cameo as a blackjack dealer in the film. “This is a story that everyone would want to happen to them,” Ma says. “Everyone wants to be the one who beats Vegas, who gets to be in that lifestyle.”
While on the M.I.T. team, Ma was the big player; once his teammates, called spotters, had found a hot deck, Ma would sit down and play very high wagers with the odds in his favor. Ma says that he had to overcome the natural parts of his personality to play the big player convincingly. “There was always the fear, rational or irrational, that we would get caught,” he says. “I’m the type of person that doesn’t like to get yelled at by anyone. So regardless of whether the casinos have any ability to cause you physical pain, that fear is always in the back of your mind.”
The M.I.T. team changed Ma’s life, not only while he was on the team, but for the future as well. “I think a lot of people work at jobs they don’t really like to earn a paycheck,” he says. “Because of blackjack, I’ll never have to take a job like that. I had enough money that I could do what I wanted to do – coach water polo, and then start a sports company. I’ll never have to take a job that I don’t enjoy purely for the money. That’s the greatest gift that blackjack gave me.”
Ma is no longer allowed to play blackjack in most casinos in Las Vegas – though the casinos welcome him at other games, he can’t play his best game. For Ma, the thing he misses most isn’t the blackjack, but being part of the team. “We were a group of 10 or 20 kids – literally kids, 21 years old – managing a multimillion-dollar company, trying to make it work and trying to make more millions. I miss that camaraderie.”
To direct the film, the producers looked to Robert Luketic. Producer Michael De Luca says that he, Brunetti, and Spacey were attracted by Luketic’s vision for the film. “21 spans many genres, many tones,” he says. “It’s a suspense film with action, comedic, and romantic elements, and it’s inspired by true events. Even with all of those balls in the air, Robert was able to balance it into one unified vision.”
“I had directed several romantic comedies and was eager to try something different,” says Luketic. “With everything that 21 had to offer – high stakes tension, close calls, and the fantasy-come-true of giving Vegas a taste of its own medicine, it seemed like a tremendous opportunity.”
Kate Bosworth, who previously worked with Luketic on Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, says, “He’s created this incredible balance of being extremely professional and serious when he needs to be, but really he’s just a little kid at heart. I love that! I really feel like people with that kind of personality often make the best films because they make it fun.”
She continues, “Robert has a great sense of humor. I feel like I can try anything when I’m with Robert and that’s not something I can say for everybody.”
Casting the Film
Taking on the lead role is Jim Sturgess, who previously starred for director Julie Taymor in Across the Universe. Luketic says that Sturgess is on the cusp of a breakthrough as a major star. “He’s the complete package,” says the director. “He’s dramatically spot-on and comedically gifted, which is a rare combination. He has a real passion to him; as a director, I look for that passion, that love, that excitement, that need and desire. With that passion, in addition to his talent and his charisma, I knew he’d be perfect for the role.”
Sturgess recalls, “I sent out an audition tape, not expecting anything to come of it. Then, I got a phone call saying that Robert wanted to meet me. We had breakfast together in London, I did a few screen tests, and then they offered me the part.”
Sturgess says that his character has a “genius mind,” but that’s not enough. “He’s at a point in his life when his brain can only take him so far,” he says. “He needs something else about him, about his personality, to give him an edge – something more than just having good grades on a piece of paper.”
In the film, the characters take on disguises to help them elude Vegas enforcers. For Sturgess, that was one of the most interesting challenges of 21: the chance to play many characters within one film. Sturgess says that his costume helped him find the role. “When you're in a classroom with a check shirt and a hoodie, it helps you feel like an M.I.T. student. When you're in the bright lights of Vegas in an Armani suit and thousands of dollars in your pocket, it definitely helps you to make the transition.”
Producer De Luca says, “Jim is a find. I think he’s going to be a major, major movie star. He brings innocence, vulnerability, and a brooding intensity that he can turn on when he needs to.”
Laurence Fishburne adds, “Jim is a lovely young actor who has the stuff, has the talent, and is really committed to his craft. He gives you everything he has. That is what we actors do – we play off of each other. It really was refreshing to work with him.”
Opposite Sturgess in the role of Jill Taylor is Kate Bosworth. After co-starring with Spacey in Beyond the Sea and Superman Returns, landing Bosworth for the role was as simple as a phone call. Bosworth remembers, “During Superman Returns, Kevin mentioned this project. Quite a while later, I was wrapping up another film and planning to take a holiday when Kevin called. His exact words—‘Will you please come play in Vegas and Boston?’ It was quite difficult to say no.”
Describing the appeal of the project, Bosworth says, “Everyone likes to see a group of ordinary people beat the system and that’s what these kids did. It’s extraordinary, almost unbelievable, but true.”
In an ensemble film like 21, Bosworth says, the relationship between the actors is as important as the actors themselves. “Because the story is about a group of kids who have known each other for a long time, who trust each other completely, this movie really depends upon the chemistry of the cast to pull that off,” she says.
“Kate is a movie star – she brings her megawatt charisma and Hollywood glamour to that role,” says De Luca. “But she also has gravity, bringing a level of character acting that you don’t find in too many actresses. We were lucky to have her.”
“It’s always a pleasure to work with Kate,” says Spacey. “She’s very beautiful, fiercely intelligent, incredibly talented, and a load of fun to hang with in Vegas for three weeks. I was thrilled that it worked out.”
Spacey, of course, always intended that he would play the supporting role of Micky Rosa, the mad genius and stats nut who puts together the M.I.T. team in the film. “The character is an amalgamation,” he notes. “The character is a combination, a compilation of several real people and imagination – partly my imagination, I hope, since I play him.”
Spacey says that with no real math skills upon which to base his performance, “this is acting at its best. Actually, I failed basic math in my last semester in high school, so the idea that I could count cards is fairly ludicrous. Still, I hope, you believe it.”
Laurence Fishburne, a seasoned veteran with a huge fan base, was also happy to join the cast, thanks to Spacey’s involvement.
He offers, “I’ve known Kevin Spacey for a long time. We travel in the same circles and have mutual friends. I’ve admired and respected him, but we never worked together before so I was excited at the chance to come and play with him.”
“I’m not a big gambler, but there’s something sexy about that life and the gambling culture,” adds Fishburne. “Playing this part is a way to be involved in that world.”
Spacey says, “I’ve always wanted to work with Laurence Fishburne. One of the things I admire about him is the places he goes to create his characters, giving them a history, depth, and weight.”
Aaron Yoo, who co-starred in last year’s blockbuster hit Disturbia, was cast as Choi. Liza Lapira, most recognized for her turn in the Showtime series Huff, plays Kianna. Jacob Pitts, who starred in the comedy Eurotrip, is Fisher.
Yoo says, “I read the book when it came out and later found out that Kevin Spacey had optioned it. I called my agent and said that I hoped there was a part in this movie for me, if it ever gets made. Well, years later, I’m in Sundance, insanely busy, when my agent calls – can you make an audition tape and FedEx it to L.A. They want you for that project you told me about a million years ago. I ended up flying straight from Park City to Vegas for the table read. It was out of control.”
Yoo adds that he was excited about the way 21 told its story in an entirely fresh and original way. “In my experience, college is all about separating yourself from what you were and figuring out what you are. There’s something about that in this movie that I grab onto.”
Lapira says that she was astounded by the chance to work with Kevin Spacey. “I was so excited to find out that I got this role with Kevin in the movie. I know it’s a cliché thing to say, but just watching him work, I learned a lot.”
Pitts says that the attraction for him was the way that the film was different from so many other current films set in Las Vegas. “So many movies set in Vegas are full of hard-boiled characters, jaded by the world they live in. In 21, the characters are, essentially, kids. They are living the lifestyle, but without the pain behind it. The movie is about their introduction to that side of the city – their innocence going through a grinder.”
About the Production
Two weeks prior to filming, the five actors who play the M.I.T. team of card counters spent time with card consultant Kyle Morris to learn how to play the game. Morris, who lives in Las Vegas and consults for films, worked closely with the cast during filming and appears as a blackjack dealer in one scene.
Regarding learning the game, he offers, “The cast really surprised me. A lot of them knew absolutely nothing about blackjack but they knew quite a bit about acting. It was more important to teach them how to look and act like a blackjack player.”
Jim Sturgess admits, “I had never played blackjack before in my life. Kyle taught us basic strategies—how to hold yourself at a table, how to do the signals—just to make us looked relaxed at a blackjack table.”
Jacob Pitts explains, “Last time I played blackjack I was twelve years old. Kyle taught us basic strategies and all the signals, but he also showed us techniques for moving chips and manipulating them – the kind of moves that you pick up when you spend a lot of time in casinos.”
The one person who didn’t pick up the chip tricks is Jim Sturgess. “I asked Jeff Ma about it and he said, ‘No, I never did those kinds of tricks. I was the big player – if I was doing chip tricks, they would have sniffed me out,’” he remembers.
Liza Lapira says, “Before being in this movie, I never thought playing blackjack was fun. But thanks to ‘research,’ we got to go to a lot of cool places. It didn’t feel like we were working!”
Kate Bosworth laughs, “The research we had to do on this film was to learn how to play blackjack with real blackjack players in Vegas. How tough is that? I’ve been to Vegas and have gambled a bit, but now I feel like I somewhat know what I’m doing.”
Morris reveals, “A couple of the cast took it even further. Aaron and Liza practiced their card counting. A couple of times I’d spread the cards out and Liza would tell me what the count was and she would be right!”
Lapira isn’t so sure in her skills. “I got Beat the Dealer, the famous book by Edward O. Thorp, and tried to count cards. I’m sure I looked like a big freak in the Santa Monica Coffee Bean, counting to myself.”
Morris says that the cast did have some success at the tables. “I know some of the people in the cast had some big wins while we were in Vegas and chalked it all up to research,” he says. “Hopefully, later on, they won’t blame their losses on me.”
Once filming got underway, it was important to the filmmakers to shoot in real casinos whenever possible. Initially, the filmmakers were concerned that Vegas honchos would not want to cooperate in the filming of a story that shows them being taken by card-counters. “What we soon found out is that the casinos actually liked the story, because it makes people think they can beat the system, and do it easily. That helps bring the people into the casinos,” says Brunetti.
When filming began in Las Vegas, one of Luketic’s challenges was to capture the chaos of Sin City. “You can never completely shut down a casino,” says Luketic, “but we were able to get a table or two or a small section. We’d be filming at one table, orchestrating a complicated camera move, and at the next would be a bunch of frat boys having a great time. The casinos were great partners and helped us tremendously – I’m very proud of what came out of our two weeks in Vegas.”
Capturing the complicated tracking shots between tables and doing it in a highly stylish, sophisticated, brightly colored way was Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Russell Carpenter, ASC. “Vegas never closes – the casinos have business 24/7. The key challenge was to shoot our scenes without interrupting the business going on around us. It was exciting.”
Carpenter adds that they were able to find creative and unique ways to achieve the look that Luketic wanted through very unusual means. “We found that we could add a lot of sizzle to our scenes by shooting a long lens through a 35-cent light-up Twizzler that we bought in a hotel gift shop,” he says. “It looks great, like you’re shooting through miles of neon.”
“Robert’s directing style on set in Vegas was very relaxed,” notes producer Dana Brunetti. “He’d arrive completely organized and knowing what he wanted to get, but at the same time, he would be open to new ideas and see where a performance would go. He created an atmosphere that was both loose-and-lively and methodical, and that kept things moving stress-free amid the pandemonium of Vegas.”
Luketic says the best-selling book had all the dramatic moments and tension the film needed, but to translate the story to film required him to make creative decisions on how to bring the internal world of card counting to the screen. “Blackjack really isn’t a spectator sport, but we had to make it into an arena game,” he says. “We asked ourselves, ‘How do we visualize genius? How do we get inside our lead character’s mind?’ Using specialized lenses and cameras and CGI, we were able to get right onto the surface of the cards and into the characters’ eyes. As a filmmaker, 21 challenged and pushed me.”
Production Designer Missy Stewart, who previously collaborated with Luketic on Legally Blonde, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, and Monster-In-Law, was responsible for presenting Vegas’s glitz on the screen. “We talked about how in Las Vegas there would be a lot of camera movement, the kids would be on the go, in a very animated, almost psychedelic environment.
“What you’ll see is what I consider the ‘new Las Vegas,’ which is the Las Vegas that the younger people go to for a weekend. It’s very different than the old casinos,” Stewart continues. “The Red Rock Resort & Casino, the new Planet Hollywood, the Hard Rock—all hip, fun places to go to and to be seen in.”
Contrasting with the hyper-realized Vegas is a very controlled, quiet look for the Boston sequences. “Boston has the traditional look of a 19th Century city,” she says. “We embraced the idea that most of our Boston work would be in older buildings, like Doyle’s Tavern, that has been around since the 1800s.”
Carpenter concurs, “My favorite part of this movie has been establishing a different look for what we shot in Vegas and what we shot in Boston. We use a different color palette and a different way of shooting for the energy of Vegas versus the sense of enclosure that our character, Ben, feels in Boston.”
Luketic adds, “Working in two distinctly different locations was a challenge. But ultimately, with this highly talented group of filmmakers and cast behind me as well as the cooperation of the casinos and the cities of Boston and Cambridge, I think we have a great looking and exciting movie.”
Differentiating styles was equally important for Costume Designer Luca Mosca. After all, he was responsible for helping the actors transform from M.I.T. students into Vegas’s highest rollers. “It was great fun to create the chameleon quality of these kids from one environment into the next,” he says.
But changing the students into the coolest kids on the block is just one transformation. In fact, even as a student, Ben changes over the course of the film as he becomes more self-assured. “It was especially challenging to gradually build Ben, our lead, from a plain student in a maroon M.I.T. sweatshirt into a student with a new degree of confidence without revealing too much,” Mosca notes.
For the actors, donning their Vegas identities was part of the fun. Kate Bosworth says, “One of my favorite things about the project was the fact that the students disguised themselves so that they wouldn’t be recognized by the casinos. I had my ‘Southern Belle’ look, my ‘Soprano-Jersey Girl’ look, and my ‘Louise Brooks’ look. It was fun!”
How Card Counting Works
In 21, the spotters play low-wager bets, counting the cards and waiting for the deck to become hot – the more face cards left in the deck, the hotter the deck is. Once a face card is played, the spotters score it -1. Cards 2 through 6 are +1. 7, 8, and 9 are neutral and have no value.
Once the deck is hot, the spotters cross their arms to signal the big player. He comes in, flashes his cash, and makes high-wager bets on the hot deck, leaving and bouncing to another table when the cards are shuffled. The spotters signal the big player by speaking in code to let him know what the count is:
+1 = Tree
+10 = Bowling
+2 = Switch
+11 = Football
+3 = Stool
+12 = Eggs
+4 = Car
+ 13 = Witch
+5 = Glove
+14 = Ring
+6 = Gun
+15 = Paycheck
+7 = Craps
+16 = Sweet
+8 = Pool
+17 = Magazine
+9 = Cat
+18 = Voting Booth
For example, if the count is +15, a spotter might give the big player a clue by pretending that he has lost money at the table, saying, “I’ve blown my whole paycheck. My girlfriend is going to kill me.”
If a spotter needs to talk to another team member, the signal is to touch the eye. If the spotter sees that the big player has lost the count, the spotter can signal that the deck is cooling with a hand to the forehead. And if a team member sees that the dealer, or the pit boss, or security has figured out what’s going on, the signal is fingers through the hair: Get. Out. Now.
About the Cast
JIM STURGESS (Ben Campbell) has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading men.
Sturgess recently made his film debut in Julie Taymor’s groundbreaking musical Across the Universe, opposite Evan Rachel Wood. He may currently be seen opposite Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana in The Other Boleyn Girl.
Sturgess most recently completed production on director Wayne Kramer's Crossing Over, starring opposite Harrison Ford, Ashley Judd and Sean Penn. Crossing Over is a multi-character drama about immigrants of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles. The film addresses the issue from the point of view of the immigrants, as well as the immigration authorities tasked with enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. Crossing Over will be released by The Weinstein Company.
Sturgess resides in London, England.
KATE BOSWORTH (Jill Taylor) has made the seamless transition from a young Hollywood starlet to one of today’s leading ladies. She recently starred as the iconic Lois Lane in the blockbuster hit Superman Returns for director Bryan Singer. She will next be seen starring opposite Sigourney Weaver in David Auburn’s drama The Girl in the Park.
Bosworth graced the screen in Kevin Spacey’s Beyond the Sea, in which she portrayed screen icon Sandra Dee opposite Spacey as Bobby Darin. Receiving rave reviews from critics, Dee herself gave a nod of approval for Bosworth’s portrayal as the ultimate golden girl.
Most recognized for her strong-willed performance in John Stockwell’s hugely successful Blue Crush, Bosworth landed her first lead role after dedicating herself to a crash course in surfing. Contradicting the blonde surfer-girl image and showcasing her multidimensional range, Bosworth’s next project, the dark indie biopic Wonderland had her portraying the real-life girlfriend of the late, infamous porn star John Holmes, played by Val Kilmer.
With this determination not to be type-cast, it is no surprise that Bosworth made another turn in her next film Win a Date with Tad Hamilton, Robert Luketic’s romantic comedy in which she starred opposite Topher Grace and Josh Duhamel. Critics dubbed her as America’s next sweetheart for her performance as a small town girl caught in a love triangle. Bosworth also made a cameo appearance in Bee Season as a Hari Krishna convert opposite Max Minghella, Richard Gere, and Juliette Binoche.
While she made her feature film debut at the age of 14 in Robert Redford’s film The Horse Whisperer, Bosworth made the decision to make education her priority and chose parts that would accommodate her school schedule. While in high school, she starred in the WB’s hit summer series “Young Americans” and took a role in Jerry Bruckheimer’s Remember the Titans. Subsequent to her graduation, Bosworth starred in Roger Avary’s Rules of Attraction.
Born in California, but raised in New England, Kate Bosworth has become bicoastal.
LAURENCE FISHBURNE (Cole Williams) is respected by his peers and adored by audiences. The talented thespian has enjoyed a career that spans movies television, and theater. Among his many honors and awards are a Tony, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critic's Circle Award, and a Theater World Award for his work on Broadway in August Wilson's “Two Trains Running”; an Emmy Award for his rare television appearance in the premiere episode of Fox TV’s “Tribeca”; and an Oscar® nomination for his portrayal as Ike Turner in What's Love Got to do With It.
Fishburne will soon be seen in Days of Wrath, opposite Amber Valetta and Wilmer Valderrama, and in Tortured, with Cole Hauser and James Cromwell. Fishburne will also be seen in Black Water Transit, which tells the story of the conflicting agendas of criminals, cops, and lawyers, and in Armored, a heist film that revolves around an armored truck and the stealing of $10 million. He will return to Broadway on April 30, 2008, at the Booth Theatre for a limited engagement of the one-man show “Thurgood,” based upon the life of Thurgood Marshall.
He was last seen on the big screen in Bobby, which was honored with a SAG nomination for best ensemble cast, and in Mission: Impossible III. Prior to that, he starred in Akeelah & the Bee, a film that Fishburne produced under his Cinema Gypsy production banner. Akeelah & the Bee went on to win several awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Fishburne, and three other awards at the 2006 Black Movie Awards.
Fishburne also starred in the box-office blockbuster trilogy The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, and The Matrix Revolutions. His other recent movie credits include Mystic River, Assault on Precinct 13, and Biker Boyz.
Fishburne’s many impressive credits include Boyz N the Hood, Just Cause, Searching For Bobby Fischer, Deep Cover, Fled, Othello, Event Horizon, Hoodlum, Bad Company, Higher Learning (for which he received an NAACP Image Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture), and the Oscar®-nominated film The Color Purple, as well as Class Action, King of New York, Red Heat, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3, The Cotton Club, and Rumblefish.
Passionate about theater, Fishburne portrayed an inspirational teacher in the drama “Without Walls” at the Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles in 2006. He then starred opposite Angela Bassett at The Pasadena Playhouse in August Wilson’s “Fences,” which broke the playhouse record for sales as it had a sold out run. His performance in “Fences” also earned him the NAACP Theater Award for Best Actor. Previously, Fishburne starred on Broadway as Henry II in a revival of “The Lion in Winter.”
In October of 2000, Fishburne made his directorial debut, in addition to starring in and producing Once in the Life, a film released by Lions Gate. The screenplay, which he wrote, is based on the one-act play “Riff Raff,” in which Fishburne starred, wrote, and directed in 1994. The play received critical praise and was later brought to New York's Circle Rep Theater. The initial run in Los Angeles was the first production produced under his own banner L.O.A. Productions.
Other important television credits include his starring role in “Miss Evers’ Boys.” For his performance, Fishburne received an Emmy nomination (for outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or special) and an NAACP Image Award. The HBO movie won five Emmys, including outstanding made-for-television movie and the coveted President’s Award, which honors a program that illuminates a social or educational issue. He also starred in the original HBO film “Tuskegee Airmen,” for which he received an NAACP Image Award for best actor in a miniseries, and Golden Globe, Emmy and Cable Ace nominations. Fishburne also starred in HBO’s “Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned,” which was directed by Michael Apted from an original screenplay by Walter Mosley.
His other television experience includes "Decoration Day" for Hallmark Hall of Fame, "For Us the Living" for PBS, "Rumor of War" for CBS, and numerous other starring or guest starring roles.
Fishburne has been acting since he was 10, starting on the soap opera “One Life to Live,” then making his feature film debut in Cornbread, Earl and Me. By age 15, he was heading off to the Philippines to work under the most extreme circumstances in the epic Apocalypse Now.
Fishburne continues to give back serving as an Ambassador for Unicef.
For the past five years, KEVIN SPACEY’S (Micky Rosa; Producer) main focus has been to serve as the Artistic Director of London’s Old Vic Theatre Company. Since launching this new company in 2004 he has appeared in productions of “National Anthems,” “The Philadelphia Story,” “Richard II” (directed by Trevor Nunn) and the recent “Moon for the Misbegotten,” directed by Howard Davis, which transferred to Broadway this past spring. The Old Vic is heavily involved in Education and Community work, using the tools and artists of theatre for young people as well as its vast program for emerging artists, Old Vic/New Voices. The company is currently enjoying its fourth season with an adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s “All About My Mother” with Diana Rigg and the upcoming “Cinderella,” written by Stephen Fry.
Since childhood his primary allegiance has been the theatre, with roles beginning in junior high school and leading to Broadway. He trained at the Juilliard School of Drama and made his NY stage debut in Joseph Papp’s Central Park production of “Henry IV, Part I.”
His breakthrough came when director Jonathan Miller cast Spacey as Jack Lemmon’s son in the 1986 Broadway production of Eugene O’Neill’s “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” which also played the Haymarket Theatre in London. Other favorite roles include Treplov in “The Seagull” with Colleen Dewhurst (Kennedy Center); Paul in Barrie Keefe’s “Barbarians” (SoHo Rep); and Athol Fugard’s “Playland” (Manhattan Theatre Club). For his performance as Uncle Louie in Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers,” he won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1991.
His close association with Jack Lemmon continued as they shared the screen in George Stevens Jr.’s “The Murder of Mary Phagan” for NBC, Gary David Goldberg’s Dad for Paramount, and David Mamet’s screen adaptation of Glengarry Glen Ross, co-starring Al Pacino, Ed Harris and Alec Baldwin.
In 1995, cinema audiences discovered Spacey in three distinct performances: as Buddy Ackerman in George Huang’s Swimming With Sharks; Verbal Kint in Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects; and John Doe in David Fincher’s Se7en. He has continued to build an impressive body of work with such films as L.A. Confidential, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Negotiator, Hurlyburly, Looking for Richard, The Big Kahuna, K-Pax, The Shipping News, The Life of David Gale, Superman Returns and American Beauty. Many of these performances have won him nominations and awards, including two Academy Awards® for Best Supporting Actor for The Usual Suspects and Best Actor for American Beauty, for which he also received the Screen Actors Guild and British Academy’s BAFTA Award for Best Actor.
In 1998, he returned to the stage in Eugene O’Neill’s classic “The Iceman Cometh,” directed by Howard Davis. The production originated at London’s Almeida Theatre and later transferred to the Old Vic Theatre and onto Broadway. For his performance as Hickey, he won the Evening Standard and the Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Actor.
His work on television has included seven episodes of the CBS series “Wiseguy” and the role of Clarence Darrow in the PBS/American Playhouse film “Darrow.”
He made his directorial debut with the Miramax film Albino Alligator starring Matt Dillon, Gary Sinise, Faye Dunaway and Viggo Mortensen, and most recently directed, as well as starred, as Bobby Darin in the film Beyond the Sea, for Lions Gate opposite Kate Bosworth. This performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. He was also nominated for a Grammy Award for the soundtrack.
Spacey formed Trigger Street Productions in 1997, which produced “The Iceman Cometh.” Trigger Street’s feature films include The Big Kahuna starring Danny DeVito, The United States of Leland, starring Don Cheadle and Ryan Gosling, and The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang, which won the Slamdance Film Festival and Best Actor and Best Director at the Aspen Comedy Festival. Trigger Street also produced Fanboys with the Weinstein Company, which is to be distributed by MGM this spring.
A new arm of the company, Trigger Street Independent, produced “Bernard and Doris,” starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes and directed by Bob Balaban, which recently made its premiere on HBO.
In November 2002 Spacey and business partner Dana Brunetti launched TriggerStreet.com, a web-based filmmaker and screenwriter community; an interactive site for the purpose of discovering and showcasing new and unique talent. Budweiser Select sponsors the site with Real Networks. In just four years the site has achieved over 200,000 registered members from around the world and averages 15 million hits per month.
He was most recently seen co-starring opposite Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti in the Warner Brothers comedy Fred Claus and recently completed shooting HBO’s “Recount,” the story of the recount in Florida during the Bush/Gore election, directed by Jay Roach, produced by Sydney Pollack, Paula Weinstein and Trigger Street Productions. In addition, he plays a role in Nick Moran’s British film Telstar, with Pam Ferris and Con O’Neill.
He will next appear at the Old Vic in January in the Matthew Warchus production of David Mamet’s “Speed-The-Plow.”
AARON YOO (Choi) most recently starred in the box office hit Disturbia opposite Shia LaBeouf and in the HBO/ Picturehouse production Rocket Science which won the Best Director Award for Jeffrey Blitz at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. He also recently starred in The American Pastime, an independent feature in which he played Lyle, a young saxophone-playing baseball pitcher who is relocated to the Topaz interment camp for Japanese-Americans during WWII.
He will next appear in Sony Pictures Classics’ The Wackness, Sony’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist opposite Michael Cera and Kat Dennings and in Lionsgate’s Game, opposite Gerard Butler.
On television, Yoo played a recurring role of James Fong in WB’s The Bedford Diaries. His other television appearances include Law & Order: SVU, Love Monkey, and Ed.
Yoo’s career began Off Broadway, where he starred in the U.S. and world premiere productions of “Where Do We Live” at the Vineyard Theatre, “wAve” and “Savage Acts” for the Ma-Yi Theatre Company, “Cellophane” at the Flea Theatre, and the National Asian-American Theatre Co.’s “Fuenteovejuna.” Other notable theater credits include “The Gifted Program” at the LAByrinth and “Karaoke Stories” for the Imua! Theatre Company.
Yoo, who was born in Dallas and grew up in East Brunswick, New Jersey, earned his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Pennsylvania.
LIZA LAPIRA (Kianna), who pronounces her name “Lisa,” is a magnetic presence. She will next star in Universal’s Repossession Mambo, opposite Jude Law and Forest Whitaker.
Lapira made her mark in television with a recurring role on Showtime’s Emmy award-winning show “Huff.” She played Maggie Del Rosario, Oliver Platt’s long-suffering assistant.
Her film credits include Domino, Brown Sugar, and LA Blues. Her notable credits on television include guest appearances on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Monk,” “The Sopranos,” and “Sex and the City.” She also has recurring roles on “Law & Order: SVU” and “NCIS.”
21 marks JACOB PITTS’ (Fisher) second studio feature, following his role in Eurotrip for DreamWorks. Current film credits include Across the Universe and Quid Pro Quo. On television he co-starred in the Showtime original movie A Separate Peace, based on the book by John Knowles, and has made appearances on numerous episodics including “Sex and the City, “Law & Order,” and “Ed.” On Broadway, Pitts has appeared in “MacBeth” with Kelsey Grammer and co-starred Off Broadway in Christopher Shinn’s play “Where Do We Live?”
About The Filmmakers
ROBERT LUKETIC (Director) is best known for directing the smash hit comedy Legally Blonde. This film, which grossed close to $100 million and was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, marked Luketic’s feature film directing debut.
More recently, Luketic directed the hit film Monster-in-Law, starring Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda, which was Fonda’s first acting role in fifteen years. Luketic also directed the romantic comedy Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, which starred Kate Bosworth, Nathan Lane, Josh Duhamel and Topher Grace.
Born in Sydney, Luketic won his first award at the age of 15, when he was honored for Best Film at the ATOM Film Festival. Luketic went on to study at the Victorian College of Arts – School of Film and Television (VCA), one of Australia’s most prestigious film schools. His award-winning short film, Titsiana Booberini, screened at many film festivals, including Sundance, Telluride, Aspen and Santa Barbara and brought him to the attention of Hollywood.
Up next for Luketic is The Ugly Truth, a romantic comedy that will re-team him with Karen McCullah Lutz & Kirsten Smith, the writers of Legally Blonde. The film is slated to star Katherine Heigl.
The director is currently developing numerous projects, including Matt Helm, an action-adventure film based on a series of spy novels written by Donald Hamilton for Dreamworks.
DANA BRUNETTI (Producer), president of Trigger Street Productions, oversees all project development and production for the Los Angeles-based company.
Originally from Virginia, Brunetti relocated to New York while serving in the United States Coast Guard. After completing four years of military service, he then moved on to Wall Street as a stockbroker, focusing primarily on the technology sector. From there, Brunetti was recruited by a start up company to help launch the first digital wireless network in New York City.
Determined to pursue a career in entertainment, he began working with Kevin Spacey in 1997 as his executive assistant; he later attended NYU Film School. In November 2002, Brunetti co-founded and launched TriggerStreet.com, a platform for undiscovered talent to showcase their work and receive feedback from their peers while gaining exposure to a global audience.
Brunetti previously served as co-producer of the motion picture Beyond the Sea. His many other credits include “Uncle Frank” (HBO), “America Rebuilds - A Year at Ground Zero” (PBS), “Bernard and Doris” (HBO), “Mini's First Time” (HBO), and The Sasquatch Dumpling Gang (Sony / BMG).
Upcoming projects include the films Fanboys, Hacker: Shades of Grey, and Columbus Day.
Michael De Luca (Producer) founded Michael De Luca Productions in March of 2004 and has a development and production agreement with Columbia Pictures.
A former production chief for film companies such as DreamWorks and New Line Cinema, De Luca is focusing his production company on developing appropriately budgeted, provocative specialized films with visionary filmmakers, and pop culture, mainstream genre films with franchise potential. His debut projects as a producer for Columbia have included Jon Favreau’s science fiction adventure Zathura, adapted from a book by Chris Van Allsburg, and Ghost Rider, starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Mark Steven Johnson. De Luca is currently in production on The Love Guru, starring Mike Myers for Paramount Pictures.
Prior to forming Michael De Luca Productions, De Luca served as DreamWorks' Head of Production. At DreamWorks, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the live-action division and the production of such films as Todd Phillips' Old School and Adam McKay and Will Ferrell's hit comedy Anchorman, as well as Head of State and Win A Date With Tad Hamilton.
He previously spent 7 years as President and COO of New Line Productions. During his tenure, he created the highly successful Friday, Blade, Austin Powers, and Rush Hour franchises. He championed such groundbreaking sleeper hits as Seven, Wag the Dog, Pleasantville, and Boogie Nights, and launched the directing careers of Jay Roach, Brett Ratner, Gary Ross, Alan and Albert Hughes, F. Gary Gray, and the Farrelly brothers, among others.
PETER STEINFELD (Screenplay by) launched his career with the 1995 Lincoln Center production of his play “C'est La Vie.” Shortly after, he made his first foray into film by selling his screenplay Drowning Mona. The independent feature that starred Danny DeVito and Bette Midler opened successfully in 2000.
Steinfeld followed with penning Analyze That, which opened in 2002, starring Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal. His next screenplay, Be Cool, starring John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Danny DeVito, and Vince Vaughn, opened in 2005.
Following 21, Producer John Goldwyn hired Steinfeld to continue to expand his adaptation repertoire with the screenplay for the Sabin Willett novel Present Value. Steinfeld is also writing and producing the script The Big Shot with his wife and business partner, DeShawn Schneider, for Plan B Entertainment. He recently completed the Imagine Entertainment feature film script Ebony and Ivory. Currently, Steinfeld is at work on the re-make of the 1977 Paul Newman hockey classic Slap Shot, for Kennedy-Marshall and Universal Pictures.
In addition to his other credits, Steinfeld has also written and executive produced a number of pilots for television. Presently he and DeShawn Schneider have completed their pilot script “Pulse” for Sony Pictures Television. Steinfeld and Schneider have also signed a new writer/Executive Producer deal to develop and write a new pilot for Sony Pictures Television, for the 2007/2008 pilot season.
To this day, Steinfeld considers his all-time most spectacular productions to be his 3 year old daughter Chloe and 16-month old daughter Ally. Granted, he had a lot of help. They are hands down his finest work!
ALLAN LOEB (Screenplay by) worked at the Chicago Board of Trade until 1992, when he gave it up to move to L.A. and write screenplays. Loeb took a screenwriting class at UCLA extension and started writing script after script, selling his first project, The Second Time Around, to DreamWorks in 1997.
Loeb then spent several years in Hollywood as a struggling writer, earning Guild minimum for scripts that were all put into turnaround. He was thinking about leaving the business in 2004, but instead went to New York to write The Only Living Boy in New York. That script sold to Sony Pictures, and since then, he has written eleven scripts for five studios.
His first produced screenplay, Things We Lost in the Fire, was released last year.
WILLIAM S. BEASLEY (Executive Producer), a veteran of more than forty feature films, has been involved in the motion picture industry since 1975. He is re-teaming on this film with director Robert Luketic, whom he previously worked with on the comedy Win A Date With Tad Hamilton. Beasley most recently executive produced the David Goyer drama The Invisible, starring Marcia Gay Harden and Justin Chatwin.
He previously worked with director Gore Verbinski on The Weather Man, starring Nicolas Cage, and The Mexican, starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. In addition, Beasley executive produced the teen scream hit I Know What You Did Last Summer and then produced the successful follow-up, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. He also executive produced the action film, The Tuxedo, starring Jackie Chan.
In 1994, Beasley executive produced John Hughes’ Miracle on 34th Street, continuing an association which the director that began when Beasley was associate producer and production manager on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. He was also the co-producer and production manager on Hughes Entertainment’s Baby Day’s Out.
Beasley’s other credits as co-producer include Ben Stiller’s The Cable Guy, Something to Talk About, starring Julia Roberts, and Peter Weir’s Fearless, on which Beasley also was second unit director and production manager. In addition, he served as associate producer and unit production manager on the films Falling Down, Basic Instinct and Arachnophobia.
Born in San Francisco and raised in Los Angeles, Beasley graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in cinematography before joining the United States Air Force. He achieved the rank of Captain, serving as a rescue pilot in Vietnam and as part of the support team on the Apollo moon program. He later attended California State University at Northridge, working toward his Masters Degree when he learned about the Director’s Guild training program.
He was accepted into the program and worked as a trainee for a year and a half before becoming second assistant director on a number of projects including Goin’ South, Breaking Away and American Gigolo. He moved up to first assistant director on such films as Personal Best, My Favorite Year, Racing With the Moon, Johnny Dangerously, Ruthless People and The Lost Boys, among others.
In a very short time, BRETT RATNER (Executive Producer) has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most successful directors. Ratner’s eight feature films have grossed over one and a half billion dollars worldwide. At 26 years old he directed his first feature film, the surprise box office hit Money Talks, a comedy starring Charlie Sheen and Chris Tucker. His second film, the action comedy Rush Hour, starred Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker and earned $250 million worldwide. He followed that success with the romantic fantasy drama The Family Man, a critical and box office hit starring Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni. A year later, Ratner delivered Hong Kong-style action with Chan and Tucker in the hit sequel, Rush Hour 2, which grossed more than $342 million worldwide. Ratner made his first foray into the world of suspense thrillers with his fifth feature film Red Dragon, the Silence of the Lambs prequel starring Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, and Emily Watson. Ratner’s sixth feature film, After the Sunset, starring Pierce Brosnan, Salma Hayek, Woody Harrelson, and Don Cheadle enjoyed success in theatres nationwide.
Last year, Ratner shattered several box office records with the release of X-Men: The Last Stand, the third installment in the popular film series based on the X-Men comic books. The film opened with a staggering $123 million in just four days. It was the biggest Memorial Day weekend in history, even exceeding the previous Memorial Day weekend benchmark, The Lost World: Jurassic Park's $90.2 million in 1997. Its $45.1 million opening day marked the second-biggest single day box office ever, and the film has grossed more than $400 million worldwide thus far. Starring Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen and Halle Berry, the feature focuses on the ongoing war between the X-Men and the Brotherhood, a band of powerful mutants organized under Xavier's former ally, Magneto.
Most recently, Ratner directed the third installment of the blockbuster Rush Hour franchise. Rush Hour 3 sees Tucker and Chan reprise their roles as LAPD Detective James Carter and Royal Hong Kong Police Chief Inspector Lee and features an acclaimed international supporting cast that includes Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai), Max Von Sydow (Minority Report), Yvan Attal (Munich), Zhang Jingchu, Noemie Lenoir (After The Sunset) and Roman Polanski.
Raised in Miami Beach, Ratner had dreamed of being a filmmaker since the age of eight. He enrolled in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts at age 16, becoming the department’s youngest film major. While attending NYU Film School, he made Whatever Happened to Mason Reese, a short film starring and about the former child actor. The award-winning project received funding from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Ratner’s big break came after he screened his film for hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons, launching a successful career in music videos. He has directed more than 100 videos since then, for artists including Madonna, Mariah Carey, Jessica Simpson, Jay-Z, Wu Tang Clan, D’Angelo, Heavy D, Mary J. Blige, Foxy Brown, Public Enemy, P Diddy and many others.
Ratner won the MTV Video Music Award for “Best Video for a Film” for Madonna’s “Beautiful Stranger” from the Austin Powers soundtrack. In addition, Ratner received an MTV Movie Award for Best Fight Sequence for Rush Hour 2 as well as a TONY Award for producing Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. Ratner was the recipient of the Spirit of Chrysalis Award for his dedication and leadership in helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals change their lives through jobs. He is currently on the boards of Chrysalis and Best Buddies and serves on the Dean’s Council of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
In addition to success in film and music, Ratner has also segued into the world of book publishing. He published the controversial book, Naked Pictures of my Ex-Girlfriends and authored Hilhaven Lodge: The Photo Booth Pictures, which was released in October 2003.
Brett has recently ventured into still photography and his photographs have appeared in Vanity Fair, and have graced the covers of Vogue Homme, V-Life and Haute Living. In addition, he has shot the fashion campaigns for Baby Phat, Jimmy Choo and Jordache.
Brett Ratner currently resides in Los Angeles.
RYAN KAVANAUGH (Executive Producer) is the principal of Relativity Media, LLC, a financing, consulting and production company that structures slate financing for both major studios and independent production entities and who, according to Seth Lubove of Bloomberg News, “is one of the pre-eminent middlemen between hedge funds and Hollywood.”
Kavanaugh creates business and financial structures for a number of studios, production companies and producers, and has introduced over $8 billion of capital to these structures over the years. Current deals and clients include Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers, Marvel, Atmosphere Entertainment MM, Marvel, French distributor/sales agent Exception Wild Bunch among others. Most recently, Kavanaugh closed an extensive four-year co-financing partnership between Relativity Media and Universal Pictures. Through the agreement, Relativity Capital, a newly announced partnership between Relativity Media and Elliott Associates, L.P., will co-finance a significant portion of Universal's release slate through 2011.
In a significant milestone for the entertainment finance industry, in 2007 Kavanaugh created a wholly owned subsidiary, Relativity Media Holdings I LLC, which has concluded an agreement with Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking on a co-financing package for approximately 45 studio films over the next five years. Under this subsidiary, a co-financing deal with Sony was established called Beverly Boulevard. With this deal, Relativity will co-invest in approximately 75% of Columbia's films, under a five-year revolving credit facility. Jill Goldsmith of Variety wrote of Kavanaugh: “His co-financing deals are the most successful ever in Hollywood. He’s been amazingly proactive, and is the envy of many on Wall Street involved in the business.”
Kavanaugh has created a number of other unique financing packages, including Gun Hill Road I and Gun Hill Road II, which provide discrete and separate funds for both Sony Pictures Entertainment and Universal Pictures, marking the first time two studios received funding from the same source, resulting in a total of 44 films in various stages of production and release. In addition, Kavanaugh facilitated a $528 million multi-picture, co-financing arrangement for Warner Bros. Pictures as well as a $525 million financing deal for Marvel Enterprises. Kavanaugh also structured and raised a 120 million Euro acquisition, production and distribution fund for Exception Wild Bunch S.A., the French distribution and sales company founded by former Studio Canal management. In January 2008, Relativity Media announced the formation of the wholly-owned subsidiary, Relativity Capital, which is to be a principal investor in major media transactions, including studio slates, the Relativity Media Single Picture Business, library acquisitions, and other media-related cash flow investments. Elliott Associates, L.P, a New York- based hedge fund with $10 billion in assets under management, will be working with and providing financing to Relativity Capital In these media transactions.
Kavanaugh also runs Relativity Media’s “single picture business,” wherein the company finances, produces and distributes an average of one film per month. The Relativity Single Picture business was set up to offer “studio quality product to the independent world" and has so far committed over $400 million to a slate that includes the following projects: 3:10 to Yuma ($55M budget) starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale for director James Mangold; The Bank Job ($22M budget) starring Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows, and directed by Roger Donaldson; the upcoming The Forbidden Kingdom ($55M budget) in which Jet Li and Jackie Chan star together for director Rob Minkoff; The Untouchables ($67M budget) starring Academy Award® winners Nicolas Cage and Benicio Del Toro and directed by Brian De Palma; and Without Remorse, based on the Tom Clancy best seller.
Prior to his work with Relativity, Kavanaugh started a venture capital company at the age of 22, and during such time raised and invested over $400 million of equity to a number of venture and private equity transactions.
RUSSELL CARPENTER, ASC (Director of Photography) won an Academy Award® for Best Cinematography for his beautiful imagery on Titanic, the enormously successful romantic drama directed by James Cameron. He also collaborated with the director on T2 - 3D: Battle Across Time and True Lies. Carpenter previously worked with director Robert Luketic on Monster-In-Law.
Most recently he worked for director Joby Harold on Awake, starring Jessica Alba, Hayden Christensen, Terrence Howard, and Lena Olin. He also shot the action-packed Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and Charlie’s Angels starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu for director McG; the comedy Shallow Hal for Bobby and Peter Farrelly, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black; as well as the dramatic thriller The Negotiator with Samuel L. Jackson and Kevin Spacey for director F. Gary Gray.
Carpenter’s other credits include Money Talks, Indian in the Cupboard, Hard Target, Attack of the 50-Foot Woman, Pet Semetary II, Lawnmower Man, Perfect Weapon, Death Warrant, Solar Crisis, Critters II and Lady in White.
He also shoots commercial campaigns for several Fortune 500 companies in between his feature work.
MISSY STEWART (Production Designer), a graduate of Bennington College with a degree in Fine Arts and Literature, followed an arts career until the late eighties when her interests began to shift from the world of fine art to cinema. She found the collaborative and narrative aspects of film very appealing and the visual side stimulating and not so dissimilar to painting.
Moving to Portland, Oregon, Stewart began to work with a group of independent filmmakers, one of who was Gus Van Sant. She went on to collaborate with him on Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho. She became his production designer on To Die For and the Academy Award®-winning Good Will Hunting.
21 marks the fourth time Stewart teams with Director Robert Luketic. They previously worked together on Legally Blonde, Win A Date With Tad Hamilton and Monster-In-Law. Other credits for the talented designer include Playing By Heart, Moonlight Mile, and Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, and, most recently, Feast of Love. Her work will next be seen in Columbia’s I Know What Boys Like, due in theaters this summer.
ELLIOT GRAHAM (Editor) most recently edited Superman Returns, his third collaboration with director Bryan Singer, whom he previously teamed with on X2: X-Men United and the pilot episode of Singer’s Emmy-winning medical series, House, M.D.
Other feature film credits include actor/director Bill Paxton’s The Greatest Game Ever Played, Stephen Norrington’s The Last Minute, and numerous music videos for such artists as Michael Jackson and Britney Spears. Graham’s work will next be seen in Gus Van Sant’s Milk, starring Sean Penn.
Graham attended New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, double-majoring in film and history.
LUCA MOSCA (Costume Designer) was born in the dynamic fashion capital of Milan, Italy. At the insistence of his family he attended medical school and became a doctor. But he soon pursued his true vocation in the fashion arts and worked for five years as a couture designer for the Italian fashion houses Romeo Gigli and Callaghan.
After moving to the United States in 1994, Mosca and business partner Marco Cattoretti founded and designed the innovative and trend-driven collection LUCA+MARCO, which was successfully sold by high-end stores worldwide.
Shortly after, the Mosca-Cattoretti design team took its business to another level when it was recruited to design the costumes for an independent feature film.
Mosca has since served in various costume design positions for such award winning feature films as Girlfight, starring Michelle Rodriguez; Hamlet 2000, starring Ethan Hawke, Sam Shepard, Bill Murray, and Julia Stiles; 3 AM, starring Michelle Rodriguez, Danny Glover, and Pam Grier; In the Weeds, starring Eric Bogosian, Ellen Pompeo, and Molly Ringwald; Griffin And Phoenix, starring Blair Brown, Dermot Mulroney, and Amanda Peet; among others. Mosca also designed costumes for TV for the critically acclaimed series “The Education of Max Bickford,” starring Richard Dreyfuss, Peter O'Toole, and Marcia Gay Harden. .His work was most recently seen in Columbia Pictures’ Vantage Point.
Mosca currently serves as a costume designer for the film industry, while continuing to create fashion collections for several high-end and trend driven international companies.
David Sardy (Music by) was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1967. Growing up playing in numerous underground rock bands and touring since the age of 14, he began touring and recording in earnest with his band Barkmarket in 1987. At the same time, he worked in Off Off Broadway’s Theater for the New City as a sound designer, and writing music for independent films. Sardy and his bandmates were signed as the first artist to be released on Rick Rubin’s newly named American Recordings. While touring, recording six albums, and writing and producing songs for Barkmarket, Sardy gained many fans in other bands, who often asked Sardy to produce their own recordings. Over time, these productions became more and more successful and diverse, including seminal recordings from Slayer, The Dandy Warhols, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Marilyn Manson, Johnny Cash, Oasis, Wolfmother, and Jet, as well as Library of Congress recordings of Sacred Harp shape-note singing.
“ACADEMY AWARD®” and “OSCAR®” are the registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.