On a mundane morning in an average town, five people are randomly shot dead while going about their everyday lives. All of the evidence points to one man: A sharp-shooting assassin who also is ex-military, a trained sniper. He is swiftly apprehended and dragged into custody.
Despite a marathon interrogation, the prisoner offers up nothing except a cryptic demand he scribbles on a notepad in lieu of a confession: GET JACK REACHER.
Who is this Reacher? Not an easy question to answer – in fact, it’s hard to prove that he even exists. Little matter - Jack Reacher (TOM CRUISE) is already on his way. Ex-Army, erstwhile military investigator, the enigmatic Reacher prefers to avoid the company of others – but, he knows this shooter. A news report about the killings compels him to come out of the shadows and share with the authorities what he knows about this prisoner, which is plenty. Based on lurid past history, Reacher believes they’ve got the right man.
By the time Reacher arrives, the accused killer lies in a coma, thanks to a brutal beating during transfer, and his defense attorney (ROSAMUND PIKE) is loaded with questions for Reacher: What is her client’s history with Reacher, and why would he request help from a man who’s convinced of his guilt? Despite some trepidation, she honors her client’s request and hires Reacher to investigate. At first it seems the police have effectively and thoroughly examined the crime scene and, through their perfect detective work, captured the killer. But Reacher has a problem with perfection. Quick with a quip, easily self-sufficient and hyper-observant, he is attuned to tiny but specific false notes that escape others. The more he delves into the case, the less clear cut it proves to be.
So begins an extraordinary pursuit for the truth, where nothing is what it seems and friend and family may actually be foe. Tough and smart, with a disarming wit, no detail is too small for Reacher. Although he may be a loner who plays by his own rules, ultimately he is driven by a keen sense of justice. Reacher finds himself pitted against an unexpected and astute enemy, one with an enormous predilection for violence and a secret to keep, maybe one worth killing for. Reacher will have to use every ounce of cunning and strategy to anticipate and outwit his new adversary in order to protect the innocent and expose the truly guilty.
From The New York Times bestselling series author Lee Child comes one of the most compelling heroes to step from novel to screen - ex-military investigator “Jack Reacher.” Written and directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker CHRISTOPHER McQUARRIE, “Jack Reacher” stars TOM CRUISE, ROSAMUND PIKE, ROBERT DUVALL, RICHARD JENKINS and WERNER HERZOG. It is produced by Tom Cruise, Don Granger, Paula Wagner and Gary Levinsohn. Executive producers are Jake Myers, Ken Kamins, Kevin Messick, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Paul Schwake. Music is by Joe Kraemer. Costume designer is Susan Matheson. Kevin Stitt, A.C.E. is the editor. James Bissell is the production designer. Caleb Deschanel, A.S.C is the cinematographer. “Jack Reacher” is based on the book One Shot by Lee Child.
THE JOURNEY FROM PAGE TO SCREEN
Global bestselling author Lee Child did not set out to be a bestselling author. After attending law school in his native Great Britain, Child signed on with the U.K.’s Granada Television, and spent the next 18 years working as a presentation director on some of the most respected shows and series during what some critics term “the golden age” of British television. But a corporate restructuring left Child without a job in 1995, and so he sat down to write a book, eventually titled Killing Floor. Published in 1997, his debut novel featured a central character named Jack Reacher, who immediately captivated readers. 17 Reacher novels later, Child’s (and the readers’) affinity for the character has not lessened.
Child comments, “When I considered the question of Reacher’s origins, looking back now I see that he came from all the reading I’d done over the years. He’s a very legendary, myth-based character…the Robin Hood, the hero in the western. He shows up in every period of history—the mysterious stranger, the noble loner—the ‘knight errant’ is what they called him in literary criticism terms. He’s the guy who’s relatively high-principled, but for some reason is banished to wander the land and do good deeds.”
It is not only the character’s mythic qualities, the author reasons, that has led to his immense (and still growing) popularity:
“In my opinion he is a metaphor for what we all secretly desire, which is justice. And that’s the big appeal of Reacher, both for men and women. Women especially, I think, are very offended by injustice. And here is Reacher, who will find a situation that’s wrong and he will set it right. He will do whatever it takes, with no qualms whatsoever. And sure, there’s a lot of violence in the books, very uncompromising. But I think secretly, deep down, we want that. We want to see things set right, and we want to see bad guys punished,” Child says.
For someone to actually embody such a multi-dimensional, iconic character as Reacher, it would take a certain brand of fearlessness – not just literally (Reacher gets into scrapes regularly, which would require intense stunt work), but in the grander sense. Reacher cares little for what people think of him, an idiosyncratic hero, a character who is tricky to play, especially for fans of the book with their own vision of who and what Reacher is. So it is not surprising that it took roughly seven years from Child’s initial meeting with producer Don Granger for his book to become a movie. Child views this lengthy gestation as positive, however.
“At this point, I have to say that I’m glad it happened that way. I’m very excited about the movie and honestly I was never worried. I sold it to the right people and they have done a great job. I took so long because the team was so committed to getting it right. Waiting so long has paid off in the sense that this is a massive, gold-plated, A-list project, from absolute bottom to top,” Child says.
“Jack Reacher” is based on One-Shot, the ninth in the series of Reacher novels, so why begin in the middle, as it were? Producer Granger says, “One Shot is perhaps the most cinematic of all of the books. Within the novel are presented several elements that we thought were important in a first movie. First, I think it’s got one of the very best introductions for Reacher—it’s a great way to bring him into the plot that’s already in motion. But secondly, and perhaps even more importantly, there’s a moral dilemma for him. He comes into the story believing one thing, and then has to realize that the facts are perhaps pointing in a different direction. He then has to decide whether to take the easy way out of this, or the tougher way, and in that decision, we get to realize why Jack Reacher’s different from any other movie hero.”
To take such a hero and transfer him to the screen would also require both a writer and a director comfortable with both action and enigma, with complex, detailed set pieces, big and small, and characters whose loyalties and motivations are suspect at best. In filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie, it became a case of one-stop shopping.
McQuarrie had to get much of the narrative out of his head without losing Reacher’s unique worldview. “It was about finding an interesting way to visualize his unique perspective so that it wasn't always Reacher telling you exactly what he was thinking. Lee was so fantastic and so supportive throughout. If it worked, I think it’s largely because Lee and I really clicked on what we thought was most important to highlight about Reacher’s thought processes and outlook and how to translate that in a visual way,” McQuarrie says.
Child notes, “In Hollywood terms, I think Reacher had two challenges. Number one is that a lot of the appeal of the book is internal—Reacher’s thoughts, eccentricities, his unusual take on things. Challenge number two is that, unlike practically any other story, there is no character arc within a Reacher story—he doesn’t go on a journey, he doesn’t learn anything, he’s not different at the end. So what the film needed was, quite simply, people that got it. And McQuarrie totally did. We were just in agreement. When it came to the screenplay, I didn’t say anything to Chris. I remember when he sent me the script, it was a very trepidatious moment. I was about to read the screenplay that somebody had developed from my book. And I read it…and I then immediately re-read it, just for the pleasure of it—it was so good. I’ve never read anything back-to-back twice. It was literally perfect in my opinion. And so, from that point on, I knew it would work.”
Granger remembers, “I spoke to Lee right after he first read the screenplay. And he said that now there were two people in the world who could write Jack Reacher: him and Chris McQuarrie.”
The movie, of course, is anchored by the title character, played by Tom Cruise.
“We really wanted to focus on an actor who could bring the gravitas the skill and the talent to make this a memorable role. And more importantly, someone who could bring out Reacher's personality, which is very specific. When we told Lee who we were thinking about casting as Reacher and how we’d come to that conclusion, he was great about it. He said, ‘Why wouldn’t I want the biggest movie star who ever lived to play the character I created?’” McQuarrie says.
For Cruise, Child’s stamp of approval was key. “Firstly, I’m very sensitive to it. This is Lee’s book and Lee’s character. His blessing was crucial to me. If he hadn’t, I wouldn’t have done it,” says Cruise.
Cruise was thrilled, of course, to play Reacher, an incredibly rich, compelling and unique force of nature with such an archetypal code of honor.
“Reacher is such a great character. He doesn’t have a cell phone, he doesn’t have email. He's an analog guy in a digital age. He’s off the grid. He pays for things in cash. People look at things through the prism of the colors of their life, but Jack Reacher does things the way we want to sometimes. In that sense, he’s sort of a Dirty Harry, a James Bond, a Josey Wales,” Cruise says.
While Cruise does not resemble Reacher as described in the books, Child says that Cruise captured Reacher’s ethos and that was more important than any physical likeness.
“Cruise, at his core, is a character actor in the most literal sense. He really gets into a role. He understood Jack Reacher. He projected his vibe. But the only real answer to that is, go see the movie. I guarantee you will come out of it, thinking, ‘What was I worried about?’” Child sums up.
Moreover, McQuarrie notes, the physical attributes described in the book are nearly impossible to find in any performer. Recalls McQuarrie: “We were never going to find an actor who fit the rather extreme physical characteristics as are described in the books, so we decided first thing that could not be our primary concern.”
More important, McQuarrie says, were the unique characteristics that make Reacher so captivating that he knew would resonate with Cruise on a personal level. Reacher is a man comfortable in his own skin, a quality that intrigued McQuarrie and especially appealed to him in terms of how Cruise might inhabit that.
“What I really like about Reacher is he’s a completely confident and centered individual, and a very comfortable loner. More than anything, he’s self-assured and very in tune with his environment,” MrQuarrie explains. “Most of the characters Tom is accustomed to playing in movies – he’s usually a man under intense pressure, and driven by the pursuit of the object of the plot. Reacher is somebody who never experiences pressure, who lets the entire story come to him. When you spend any time with tom you realize that, as a person, he’s a lot more like Reacher.”
Which is not to say that Cruise is a vigilante or loner – rather, Cruise shares Reacher’s personable side. Even in the most stressful situations, Reacher displays a dry wit combined with a genuine concern. Reacher is not bombastic – he is thoughtful, deliberate and also, when he’s not under attack from bad guys, good company.
“What was really exciting to me,” McQuarrie continues, “was to be able to put Tom in a role where he’s playing somebody closer to himself, someone who’s a lot cooler, a lot more relaxed, a lot more amiable. What we were going for with Reacher is not really an intensity, but more a matter-of-factness. He seems to understand how everything is going to happen around him, and is just waiting for it to occur. Even down to his first big fight with the townies—he basically tells the guys, ‘This is the way the fight’s going to go,’ and that’s how it goes. He gives them every opportunity to walk away, and they don’t do it.”
It helped to have a willing and supportive partner in Cruise, who also serves as producer. McQuarrie and Cruise worked together on “Valkyrie” and found they shared a similar cinematic sensibility and passion for films; they have engaged in an ongoing conversation about movies ever since. They also share a similar enthusiasm for classic cars – at their first meeting, McQuarrie drove up in “… this old Cadillac that I’ve had since I was a young single guy. My car was in the shop so it was either my wife’s minivan or this 1964 Cadillac convertible. Tom asked if he could look at the motor and pointed out that there was a wire that needed some work…we chatted all afternoon…” McQuarrie recalls.
“Yeah, he had this GREAT car,” Cruise confirms. “I had been a fan of his since ‘Usual Suspects’ and we just started talking about cars and films, about cinematography, performance and structure. We just hit it off. Chris has such a love of movies and an understanding of structure and editing. You can actually see the film as you're reading it. His writing is amazing, he writes lines that as an actor you just want to say, you want to be a part of that world,” Cruise says.
Their shared love of certain films – and even muscle cars -- found their way into the fabric of “Jack Reacher.”
“It has elements of a thriller and a suspense film, along with a very strong romantic streak running under it. What we’re trying to do is a little bit of a throwback, in style and tone, to the movies that Tom and I grew up on, the movies we really love. We were really trying to avoid a lot of the modern conceits of the genre. It has a feeling of Americana that has somewhat disappeared, and it’s something that our character is looking for,” McQuarrie notes.
The material, Cruise adds, seemed to contain all the elements that are uniquely suited to a Christopher McQuarrie Film – whether or not Cruise starred in it.
“It’s an incredible character and story, my favorite kind of movie and it has a very McQuarrie-esque voice – adventure, wit, twists and turns and humor. I said, ‘If you’re interested in the project, I’d like to play it, but it’s your decision. Regardless, I think you’d be the perfect director and I’d love to play the part but, otherwise, I’ll just produce it.’
Fortunately, “Jack Reacher” proved to be the perfect project for McQuarrie and Cruise, with Cruise in roles both in front of and behind the camera.
The next big concern was the critical casting of Helen Rodin, the public defender who takes on the comatose alleged sniper as a client. They found their Helen in Rosamund Pike.
Because of logistical obstacles, McQuarrie and Pike first met over Skype. Their scheduled 20-minute chat ended two hours later and McQuarrie knew he had found his leading lady. Pike seemed to innately understand and embody her intelligence, vulnerability and capable defiance.
Pike was likewise eager to tackle the role, particularly after her lengthy discussion with the writer/director. She notes, “I really wasn’t interested in portraying a stereotypical lawyer that’s popular now in a lot of Hollywood fare. We’ve sort of come to expect a type of law portrayed on film that has become somewhat perfect, groomed, manicured, hard-edged and slightly cold. I was interested in finding the humanity of this woman, someone who’s actually trying to present a polished front but is, in fact, struggling to hold it all together. We both were looking for some cracks to appear.”
In the development of her character, Pike and McQuarrie sought to raise the stakes. "In the novel, Helen’s firm was strongly opposed to her taking on the James Barr case. I wanted to feel that Helen was out on a limb, without means or funds to build a strong case. Her client is in a coma and she doesn't have the financial backing from her firm to hire a private investigator. I wanted the audience to see a different side of the law, a lawyer who is winging it rather than in full control of her game. Her hiring of Reacher is a gamble, one that at one point seems likely to backfire, as Helen starts to wonder if she has hired a conspiracy theorist, a violent lunatic who doesn't care about proof.”
Pike appreciated the latitude McQuarrie afforded his cast to use each camera take as an opportunity to explore other possibilities within the scene. Pike continues, "Chris McQuarrie was greatly influenced by Hitchcock in the creation of suspense. He has an innate sense of rhythm which is the essence of his writing and also his film-making. Once you catch on to this sense of timing, working with the camera moves and allowing yourself to trust his instincts can be great fun. You feel a thread of tension and suspense: you have one end of it, and it goes straight through the camera to the audience. McQuarrie balances the buildup of tension with his trademark subversive humor. He also makes sure the dialogue moves at a lick. He really admires the machine gun rattle of the dialogue in films such as "His Girl Friday" and Tom and I both used this as reference for pace in certain scenes."
Pike’s approach to the emotional and intellectual layers of Helen impressed Cruise; her poised performance reminded him of classic actresses.
“… like Faye Dunaway or Grace Kelly. Like them, she’s beautiful and brings a complexity and intelligence and charm to the character. We had a lot of tricky scenes together, 15 pages of dialogue and so many story points and subtleties to their relationship. It’s romantic but not overtly so, there’s an elegance and surprise to it. So much is conveyed by what is not said between them. She’s incredibly dynamic, enormously talented and I had a great time working with her,” Cruise says.
In fact, McQuarrie’s favorite scene in the movie reveals the nuance and texture of the relationship between Reacher and Helen.
“My favorite scene is a phone call between Tom and Rosamund,” McQuarrie confesses. “It’s after a huge car chase. Reacher has been framed for murder and knows that what the villains want him to do is run. And he calls Helen at her apartment when she's being interviewed by the police who are looking for Reacher, and she has to make the decision, whose side am I on? Am I going to turn him in to the police, who I am talking to, or am I going to put my faith in this guy who I'm really starting to believe is crazy. And overwhelming evidence is now indicating that he's murdered someone and she has to make a choice. It's a situation in which all of the character dynamics that we've been building up in the course of the story have coalesced into this one scene. Tom’s performance, Rosamund caught in the middle dynamic and what she decides to do and how she does, it’s the stuff of great movies that I love. Everyone working together really pulled it off beautifully and I’m really proud of it,” McQuarrie says.
Pike’s public defender naturally crosses paths with the district attorney, whom she doesn’t entirely trust, a relationship made more complicated because he is her father, played by Richard Jenkins.
The filmmakers note that Jenkins was their first and only choice to play District Attorney Rodin. Both McQuarrie and Granger are fans of Jenkins’ considerable body of work. His scenes are vital in establishing the gradations of doubt and double-cross inherent to the case his daughter is investigating. Moreover, the filmmakers knew that Jenkins could communicate all of the levels of the complex relationship he has with his daughter; love, disappointment, old scars, fear for her well-being.
“We knew he could play the gray in the soul. When we watched him filming certain scenes, it was fascinating to watch what was going on behind his eyes—exactly what is he feeling for Helen? Is he with her, or against her? This makes their relationship endlessly captivating,” Granger says.
Jenkins adds that he was fascinated by the fraught, complicated relationship between father and daughter.
“I find the dynamic between the two characters very believable. I would love to know how they got there. There’s almost another movie in that. We both have our ideas, but they aren’t openly explored in the course of the film. But the viewer doesn’t need that—the only important thing is that they are there. There’s a great butting of heads, and it’s a tricky father/child relationship Lee and Christopher have fashioned,” he says.
Beyond that, Jenkins appreciates the ‘carnival ride’ offered in “Jack Reacher.”
He continues, “The story kind of takes the viewer by the nose, saying, ‘I’m taking you here.’ And you say, ‘I know, I know.’ ‘Ah, but no you don’t,’ the story retorts. It’s just great storytelling and really good writing. Chris has found ways to reveal each character in a different way. He does it with my character. Police investigator Emerson is standing there, showing pictures of the crime scene to James Barr, who supposedly pulled the trigger. And Emerson says, ‘We’ve got all the evidence we need. You’re done.’ Then he sits down and points to this character—me—leaning on the wall and says, ‘This is the D.A.’ So I’ve been standing there the whole time. You don’t see me until he sits – and Chris loads this movie with little touches like that.”
To play the pivotal part of Cash, a former military man who now runs a shooting range, filmmakers cast the venerable and Oscar®-winning Robert Duvall -- who previously collaborated with Cruise on “Days of Thunder,” nearly 22 years ago. Their reunion was eagerly anticipated by the entire company.
Granger says, “These are actors of their generation. To watch them play off of each other is like watching master chess or tennis players. Despite the years since they’ve worked together, they quickly established a rhythm, like they had just come off the ‘Thunder’ set last week. Actually, they both have the same quality—between every take they step back, close their eyes. They themselves are looking, along with Chris as he directs, for a different choice, inflection or way to play the character. Watching them work together is thrilling.”
For Duvall, a link is forged with every acting partner, no matter how far in the past. He observes, “It’s a funny business. You work with people for eight or ten weeks, then you go away and you never see those people. It’s fickle, in a way, but yet the ties are there when you see somebody you’ve worked with after a number of years. There were a lot of laughs, hugs, joking around, and it was good. We picked up right where we left off. We’ve been through different passageways and different transformations, but to come back together…he’s a fine actor. When you talk and listen, and listen and talk, that is the beginning and the end of the whole process of acting, and he’s right there with you every time. People think it’s easy to play a character but everyone should try it. It’s not that simple to stay relaxed and plug into the moment,” Duvall notes.
While Cash is wary of Reacher at first, the two eventually join forces and their unusual alliance provides some of the most entertaining moments in the film.
Cruise was likewise thrilled to reunite with Duvall and agrees that when they saw each other again on set, it was like no time at all had passed.
“To be honest, it was like we never left. There was a real ease between us and he’s such an interesting man and great to work with. I mean, he’s an icon. He’s given some of the greatest performances in cinema and he’s a true actor’s actor. I was so happy when he said he would do it. I love when you’re watching a movie and you think you know where it’s going and then suddenly this treasure appears and that’s Duvall, an extraordinary actor who plays this wonderful character. And I love how the relationship evolves between the two of them – the stuff between them was so witty and fun, it was exciting to play every day he was there,” Cruise says.
Another venerated actor appears in the movie, as the shadowy, morally bankrupt character called The Zec – Werner Herzog. The enthusiasm, work ethic and pedigree of the legendary filmmaker impressed and humbled Cruise.
“He’s an extraordinary filmmaker in his own right and he was so excited to come in and make this movie. He just dug right in and was incredibly supportive, interested and generous. Specifically, we were shooting at night in January and I was cold and wet, soaked to the bone, but he was right there with me, giving everything to the scenes 100%,” Cruise says.
Herzog particularly appreciated McQuarrie’s helming style and especially his open attitude towards the actors’ contributions to the script.
“It was very easy with him, and you could always feel the clear guidance. He was always flexible to change slight meanings of dialogue to make things more evident. I adapted to it quickly. I always appreciate having someone who is both writer and director – you know that changing half a sentence of dialogue won’t result in a boardroom meeting at a studio,” Herzog says.
Another key character in the story of “Jack Reacher” is police detective Emerson. Granger notes that there are points in the story where the audience might actually begin to believe that Emerson and Reacher will join forces. Granger describes Det. Emerson as “a stalwart, straight, compassionate detective, possessing a fierce morality and intellect, with the inherent capacity to save the day.”
Enter David Oyelowo, who recalls, “When I first sat down with Chris, something he felt very strongly about was that Emerson feel sort of like the yang to the yin of Reacher. There’s always the possibility of them teaming up—but the fact is that when they’re together in the same room, there’s a slight rivalry. Both have an investigative mind, and they both understand information gathering with a view toward tracking down a criminal. Part of the tension comes from a level of competition, with both trying to apprehend their man, as opposed to butting heads because of their differences.”
Off-screen, Oyelowo has nothing but admiration for Cruise, both as an actor and as a producer.
“I don’t believe I’ve ever worked with an actor with his level of commitment, enthusiasm and can-do attitude. We have a car chase in this movie, and some pretty insane things go on, and that’s largely because Tom sets the bar so high as to what he wants to accomplish with stunts. As a producer on the movie as well, he cares so much about the project – it was very inspiring to be around him,” he says.
Oyelowo’s not the only one who feels this way about Cruise and his genuine love of movies – producer Don Granger recalls a day on set “… where I had that sort of furrowed brow producer look, because there’s always some issue that’s causing producer’s headaches. And Tom asked if I was okay, and I said the typical, ‘Yeah, just some problems we’re dealing with.’ He looked at me dead in the eye and said, ‘Problems? You’re making a movie. There are no problems. We’re lucky.’ And he’s absolutely right. Tom’s a guy who doesn’t go to his trailer, he just hangs out on the set, because he loves the process. He loves setting up the shot as much as actually getting in front of the camera and doing it. He loves everything about making movies, everything about the technical craft, and there’s no other place he'd rather be. And that’s infectious for everybody and it makes us all better at what we do.”
CARS AND FIGHTS IN THE CITY OF PITTSBURGH
In the tradition of such classic thrillers of the 1970s as “Bullitt” and The French Connection, “Jack Reacher” boasts a stunning car chase sequence through the downtown streets and alleys of Pittsburgh, where the story takes place.
Academy Award® -nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel harkened back to such ‘70s thrillers as “The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.” With that in mind, McQuarrie decided to shoot in anamorphic wide screen, as many of those classic films had, and to avoid anything “shiny and new” about Reacher, per McQuarrie. To compliment this, the film shot on location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which gave the production “an industrial feel,” according to Granger.
“Pittsburgh conjures that great city-dug-out-of-the-rock, mined-out-of-the-earth and built out of the Industrial Revolution, with its rich palette of steel, red clay and earth tones. That is evident in the way that Jim Bissell designed the movie, and the way Susan Matheson has costumed the characters, particularly Reacher. We wanted to introduce our version of the quintessential new American hero in very much the quintessential American city.”
A classic feature of the best American action movies is the car chase, one of the few things for which Jack Reacher – who doesn’t drive – is not prepared.
Originally, the car chase was scheduled to be filmed over five nights, but Cruise suggested McQuarrie expand the sequence and make it the signature piece of the film. McQuarrie recalls, "Tom said, 'I want you to go for it. I want you to look at all your favorite car chases. Tell me what you want to do and we'll make it happen.”
McQuarrie met with (second unit director and stunt coordinator) Paul Jennings to map out such a sequence. "Chris and I sat down in a room and started talking about what we could do to be different and new," Jennings remembers. "At the same time, we still wanted it to be classic, based on the great car chases we all knew and loved. We reasoned that everyone thinks how to shoot a car chase is to cheat angles, make this look quicker, fast cutting. And we thought 'You know what? They just drove really fast in those old movies. That's why it looked cool.'" McQuarrie and Jennings also realized that Cruise is an experienced and professional driver. "Chris and I decided we should be using Tom in every shot that we possibly could," says Jennings. "And if the camera is not in danger, the shot is not worth doing..." Cruise fully embraced this philosophy and over the next two months he worked with Jennings and McQuarrie to meticulously plan every beat of the chase, including all the high-speed driving and collisions. Most importantly, Cruise and McQuarrie agreed that Cruise would drive the entire car chase.
But the biggest challenge would be schedule. "We originally had five days for the whole chase," McQuarrie explains. "Now it was much bigger. But Tom was determined to keep us on time and on budget. This required him to work 24 hour days. No days off. A 30 minute nap between a long day with main unit and an all-nighter with the action unit. No one else could do that. No one."
Second unit director and stunt coordinator Paul Jennings explains, “Originally in the script, there was a small car chase, and then there was a chase on foot. Chris and I sat down in a room and started talking about what we could do to be different and new. But at the same time, we still wanted it to be classic, and base it on the great car chases we all knew and loved. We reasoned that everyone thinks how to shoot a car chase, like cheat angles, make this look quicker, fast cutting. And we thought, ‘You know what? They just drove really fast in those movies, and that’s why it looked cool.’ We started off at that point. We also thought it would be nice to contrast a modern car, like an Audi, chasing an old muscle car, the Chevelle SS. And it’s been amazing.”
From there, talk turned to utilizing Cruise’s accomplished driving skills and putting them to good use. Prior to cameras rolling for the extensive shoot of the chase, Cruise trained with a stunt driving expert in Los Angeles, which he then continued on location, behind the wheel of one of nine 1970 Chevrolet Chevelles obtained by production (rounded up from Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and a broker in Connecticut). Granger recalls the day he “dropped by to see how the car was running.”
“There’s a parking lot across the river that he was practicing in, just him and one of the stunt drivers. Tom is going up and down, driving around the cones laid out for the stunts. ‘C’mon, get in,’ he said. When I got in, he put on his five-point harness, and I’m in this little lap belt. He’s doing three-sixties, donuts, sliding in and out of turns—I never wanted to get back in the car. That was enough for me.”
But all that exacting practice paid off. Cruise wound up driving the entire chase sequence himself, “from start to finish. I will tell you this. I don't know that anyone could shoot a car chase like this ever again for the following reason—you’d have to find somebody like Tom who wanted to put themselves in a car, and launch themselves into other cars going 60 miles an hour. And secondly, you'd have to find somebody who was actually trained to do that, even if they wanted to. I don't know anybody else other than Tom who fits both those requirements,” says Granger.
“Make no mistake, it was fun driving those cars,” comments Cruise. “The sound of the engines, the potential of what we were going to get on screen … they weren’t on rigs, we didn’t shoot green screen, so we planned as much as we could but even then, you don’t know 100% what is going to happen because of road conditions. We’re talking about wet surfaces, cold tires, changing temperatures, a car that has a lot of sway to it and I’m not in a cage. Basically, I had a five-point harness on underneath [my wardrobe.] We put in a racing seat and stabilizers but there was still a lot of impact – plus the consideration of a camera mounted inside or outside the car. It was real precision work and it was sensational - driving those cars and seeing how far we could push it,” Cruise says.
Second unit director Jennings muses, “I learned a lot about guns, forensics and cars. Every movie you do, you learn something. During the car chase, we had to shoot it in a whole different way, because now we were trying to shoot the actor in the car, as opposed to a stunt driver in the car, which is a lot more common. It was a new way of filming the chase, and it was exciting.”
Befitting an unconventional hero like Reacher, the film features an uncommon fighting style; the Keysi Fighting Method. Created in Spain, this style was chosen as it best reflects Reacher's raw, brutal "street-fighting" technique, acquired during his formative years living abroad. Keysi is a self-defense method of basic combat principals guided by a heightened sense of natural instincts. It utilizes elbows, knees, the leverage of weight - all favorites of Jack Reacher. The style also seeks ways of fighting multiple opponents. Cruise began training with Jennings and assistant stunt coordinator Robert Alonzo, seven days a week for four months, until the fighting style became instinct. Meanwhile, Cruise, McQuarrie, Alonzo, Jennings, and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel went to work painstakingly choreographing the three major fight scenes in the film. As with the car chase, there would be none of the usual film artifice of shaking cameras and fast editing to create false energy. Instead, the camera would remain outside the periphery, forcing Cruise and his combatants to really trade blows. Fights would be shorter, more physically exhausting, hits would be more devastating. What emerges on screen is as close to real hand-to-hand combat that has been seen in cinema for a very long time.
Befitting an unconventional hero like Reacher, the film features an uncommon fighting style, the Keysi Fighting Method, created in Spain—a self-defense method of basic combat principals guided by a heightened sense of natural instincts, utilizing elbows, knees, the leverage of weight, anything available to a combatant engaged in a skirmish with more than one adversary. Born out of the streets, the style seeks ways around fighting multiple opponents. Deschanel sought different ways to capture the fights on film, eschewing quick cuts for more continuous camera work, to maximize the brutality and specific movements fight choreographer Robert Alonzo created. As with the car sequence there was none of the usual film artifice - no wire work, just clever camera angles and meticulous maneuvers.
Fight choreographer Alonzo elaborates: “The fights in “Jack Reacher”were designed from a military and tactical background. We utilized a lot of knife drills, aiming for high, middle and low target points, which would be more deadly the higher the striking point. I didn’t want anything to get too over-choreographed, so I trained Tom how to fight in that particular style. I worked with him for a couple months, pretty much daily, and got him to engage in reactionary movement. I trained him as a fighter, so that at any point in time, he is reacting to a fight, not executing choreography.”
Cruise readied himself for the daunting task of tackling the stunts created for “Jack Reacher” during pre-production, and he even continued his grueling schedule of rehearsals, filming, training and stunt work during principal photography. It was important to Cruise to master these sequences because “Chris and I would talk forever about how each fight had to be distinct and propel the story.”
As such, one key fight sequence – or rather, Reacher’s approach to it – reveals Reacher’s true nature. In a pivotal scene, a group of thugs challenge Reacher and over and over he warns them that combat will end badly – for them.
“Reacher is someone who just wants his freedom, to live his life as he chooses but he gets pulled into these situations because he carries a sense of responsibility, of what is right. The fight outside the bar is a great example. He doesn’t want to do it, he resists it but he gets pushed into a position where he has to fight these people. He has a level of integrity and humanity that is unique,” Cruise notes.
LEE CHILD’S JACK REACHER BOOKS
BY THE NUMBERS
Lee Child has published seventeen Jack Reacher novels. Titles include:
The Hard Way
Bad Luck and Trouble
Nothing to Lose
Worth Dying For
A Wanted Man
**Note: JACK REACHER is based on the novel One Shot
60 million copies have been sold worldwide.
The books are available in 95 countries
The books have been translated into 40 languages
ABOUT THE CAST
TOM CRUISE (Jack Reacher) has achieved extraordinary success as an actor, producer, and philanthropist in a career spanning over three decades. He is a three-time Academy Award® nominee and three-time Golden Globe Award winner whose films have earned in excess of eight billion dollars worldwide—an incomparable accomplishment. Seventeen of Cruise’s films have grossed over one hundred million dollars in the United States alone and eighteen have grossed over two hundred million globally.
Since he first appeared on screen in the films “Endless Love” and “Taps” in 1981, Cruise’s versatility is evidenced by the varied films, and roles he chooses. He has made 34 films, had a producing role on 17 and worked with a remarkable list of acclaimed film directors, including Harold Becker, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Brickman, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, Martin Scorsese, Barry Levinson, Oliver Stone, Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, Sydney Pollack, Neil Jordan, Brian de Palma, Cameron Crowe, Stanley Kubrick, Paul Thomas Anderson, John Woo, Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, J.J. Abrams, Robert Redford, Ben Stiller, Bryan Singer, James Mangold, Brad Bird, Adam Shankman, Christopher McQuarrie and Joe Kosinski.
“Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol” opened in December 2011 to critical acclaim and grossed close to 700 million dollars making it the biggest box office success of Cruise’s career. The franchise has brought in over two billion dollars worldwide since Cruise conceived the idea for the films and began producing them at Paramount while starring as the legendary spy Ethan Hunt. Cruise produced the fourth film with J.J. Abrams and Brad Bird directed.
Most recently Cruise appeared as rocker Stacee Jaxx in “Rock of Ages.” This December, Cruise will star in Christopher McQuarrie’s suspense thriller “Jack Reacher,” based on the Lee Child book One Shot, from his hugely successful series about a former military police-man-turned-drifter. Next, Cruise stars in Joseph Kosinski’s “Oblivion,” which will be released in April 2013. Cruise is currently shooting the sci-fi action film “All You Need Is Kill” directed by Doug Liman out in March 2014.
In 2010, Cruise starred with Cameron Diaz in the romantic-action-comedy “Knight & Day.” Two years earlier, Cruise played German officer Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg in the critically acclaimed and worldwide hit “Valkyrie”, the historical thriller about the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler during World War II. Directed by Bryan Singer, the film grossed $200 million world-wide making it the 5th highest grossing WWII film, of all time. Cruise also appeared in Ben Stiller’s comedy smash “Tropic Thunder” as the hip hopping foul-mouthed Hollywood movie mogul Les Grossman. This performance, based on a character he created earned him critical acclaim and his seventh Golden Globe Award nomination.
Cruise received Academy Award® nominations for Best Actor for “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Jerry Maguire”, in addition a Best Support Actor nomination for “Magnolia”. He also garnered two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor for “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Jerry Maguire”, as well as Best Supporting Actor for “Magnolia”, and nominations for his roles in “Risky Business”, “A Few Good Men”, “The Last Samurai” and “ Tropic Thunder.” Cruise has also earned acting nominations and awards from BAFTA, the Screen Actors Guild, the Chicago Film Critics Association, and the National Board of Review.
His list of memorable credits also includes such diverse films as “Collateral,” “Minority Report,” “Interview with the Vampire,” “The Firm,” “Rain Man,” “The Color of Money” and “Top Gun.”
Cruise has been honored with tributes ranging from Harvard's Hasty Pudding Man of the Year Award to the John Huston Award from the Artists Rights Foundation as well as The American Cinematheque Award for Distinguished Achievement in Film.
While continuing to explore new artistic challenges, Cruise has used his professional success as a vehicle for positive change to become an international advocate, activist and philanthropist in the fields of health, education and human rights. He has been honored by the Mentor-LA organization for his work on behalf of the children of Los Angeles and around the world and in May, 2011 he received the Simon Wiesenthal Humanitarian Award. This past summer he received the Entertainment Icon Award for Humanitarianism from the Friars Club. He is the fourth person to receive this honor after Douglas Fairbanks, Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra.
ROSAMUND PIKE (Helen Rodin) has quickly emerged as a contemporary and multifaceted actress having earned international acclaim for both her stage and film roles. She began her career at the age of 16, when she discovered her love of the stage while starring as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet.” After starring in many other stage productions, such as “The Taming of the Shrew” and “The Libertine,” Pike found herself starring in her first BBC production, “Wives and Daughters,” opposite Michael Gambon. She received critical acclaim for her performance and her film career immediately took off.
Pike starred in the James Bond film, “Die Another Day,” opposite Pierce Brosnan. She returned to the London stage to star in the Royal Court Theatre production of “Hitchcock Blonde,” directed by Terry Johnson. Due to its enormous success, the play moved to the Lyric Theater in the West End.
In 2004, Pike began work on Laurence Dunmore’s film version of “The Libertine,” opposite Johnny Depp. Pike was rewarded for her performance with a 2005 British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor/Actress.
Pike then starred alongside Kiera Knightley, Brenda Blethyn and Judi Dench in the film adaptation of the classic Jane Austen novel, “Pride and Prejudice,” directed by Joe Wright. Pike earned rave reviews and a 2006 London Film Critics Circle Award for her portrayal of Jane Bennett.
In 2007, Pike was seen opposite Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins in the legal thriller, “Fracture,” directed by Gregory Hoblit. She also starred in the Jeremy Podeswa directed independent film, “Fugitive Pieces,” which opened the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. Pike then starred in the independent film, “Devil You Know,” directed by James Oakley and also starring Lena Olin.
Pike returned to the stage, starring at the Old Vic Theater, in Patrick Hamilton’s Victorian thriller “Gaslight,” directed by Peter Gill. She followed that performance by starring in the independent film, “An Education,” directed by Lone Scherfig. Pike then starred in “Surrogates,” opposite Bruce Willis, and then in the independent film, “Burning Palms,” directed by Christopher Landon. In 2009, Pike starred in The Wyndham Theater’s production of “Madame de Sade,” opposite Judi Dench. Shortly after completing this production, she began pre-production on the independent film, “Dagenham Girls,” opposite Sally Hawkins, directed by Nigel Cole. Pike then starred in another independent film, “Barney’s Version,” opposite Paul Giamatti and Dustin Hoffman.
Last year, Pike starred in the title role of the UK touring production of “Hedda Gabler,” for which she received rave reviews. Immediately following the final performance, Pike traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to star in the BBC movie, “Women in Love.”
Pike was recently seen starring in “Wrath of the Titans,” the sequel to the 2010 blockbuster “Clash of the Titans,” opposite Liam Neeson and Sam Worthington; “The Big Year,” opposite Owen Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin; and the film comedy “Johnny English Reborn,” starring opposite Rowan Atkinson.
RICHARD JENKINS (D.A. Rodin) is one of the most in-demand character actors in Hollywood, with almost seventy feature film credits on his resume.
Jenkins received an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor for his highly praised performance in director Tom McCarthy’s “The Visitor.” The film premiered to critical acclaim at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival and the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Prix at the 34th Deauville Festival of American Film. Richard’s performance as Walter Vale, a disillusioned Connecticut economics professor whose life is transformed by a chance encounter in New York City, made “The Visitor” the independent film hit of 2008 and also earned him Independent Spirit Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations.
In 2012, he starred with Bradley Whitford in Drew Goddard’s thriller, “Cabin in the Woods;” in Andrew Dominik’s “Cogan’s Trade” opposite Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta and James Gandolfini; and in Lawrence Kasdan’s comedy/drama, “Darling Companion,” starring with Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline and Dianne Wiest.
Jenkins also starred alongside Shia LaBeouf, Robert Redford, Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte and Julie Christie in Redford’s “The Company You Keep.” An adaptation of the Neil Gordon novel, it’s the story of an ex-Weather Underground militant wanted by the FBI for 30 years, who must go on the run when his true identity is exposed by a young, ambitious reporter. Jenkins plays a college professor who is a link to former radicals in hiding.
Jenkins starred opposite Johnny Depp in Bruce Robinson’s adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson, “The Rum Diary”; re-teamed with the Farrelly Brothers for “Hall Pass,” opposite Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis; and appeared in Will Gluck’s “Friends with Benefits,” with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.
In 2010, he earned rave reviews when he starred alongside Julia Roberts in Ryan Murphy’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” based on the international bestseller by Elizabeth Gilbert, and in Overture’s “Let Me In,” written and directed by Matt Reeves.
In 1997 Jenkins received an Independent Spirit Award nomination as Best Supporting Male for his performance in David O. Russell’s comedy, “Flirting with Disaster,” appearing with Ben Stiller, Tea Leoni, Josh Brolin and Lily Tomlin.
In 1986, Jenkins had his first starring film role in Oscar®-winning writer Horton Foote’s “On Valentine’s Day.” Numerous film roles followed, including George Miller’s “The Witches of Eastwick,” opposite Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Cher and Michelle Pfeiffer; Richard Benjamin’s “Little Nikita,” opposite River Phoenix and Sidney Poitier; “Sea of Love” with Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin; Mike Nichols’ “Wolf,” appearing again with Jack Nicholson; with Charlize Theron in 2005’s “North Country”; opposite Jim Carrey and again with Tea Leoni in the Judd Apatow comedy “Fun with Dick & Jane”; and in Peter Berg’s 2007 film, “The Kingdom”.
More recent credits include Lasse Hallström’s “Dear John,” based on the Nicholas Sparks novel; the Coen brothers’ “Burn After Reading,” with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand (his third collaboration with the writing / directing duo); and Adam McKay’s hit comedy, “Step Brothers,” alongside Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Mary Steenburgen.
Over the years Jenkins has worked with such esteemed filmmakers as Clint Eastwood in “Absolute Power,” the Farrelly brothers in “There’s Something About Mary” and “Me, Myself & Irene,” opposite Jim Carrey; and Sydney Pollack in “Random Hearts,” opposite Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas.
In 2001, Jenkins began a collaboration with Joel and Ethan Coen, when he appeared with Billy Bob Thornton, James Gandolfini and Scarlett Johansson in “The Man Who Wasn’t There.” He went on to work again with the Coen brothers in 2003’s “Intolerable Cruelty,” opposite George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
On television, Jenkins is best remembered as Nathaniel Fisher,’ the deceased patriarch of the Fisher family, on HBO’s immensely successful drama, “Six Feet Under.” His occasional appearances as the heart of this often-dysfunctional family help earned the cast a Screen Actors Guild nomination in 2002 for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. He also appeared in numerous made-for-television films, including “Sins of the Father” and the Emmy-winning HBO film, “And the Band Played On.”
In theater, Jenkins has amassed an impressive list of credits as a company member for 14 years at Rhode Island’s Trinity Repertory Company, and served an additional four years as its Artistic Director.
DAVID OYELOWO [Pronounced – “oh-yellow-oh”] (Detective Emerson) graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), having received the Scholarship for Excellence from Nicholas Hytner in 1998.
Oyelowo has been seen in a variety of compelling projects, from indie films to big studio blockbusters, including; the George Lucas-produced bio-pic “Red Tails,” which told the story of the heroic Tuskegee Airmen who fought in WWII; the summer blockbuster “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” alongside James Franco and Frieda Pinto; the critical and popular hit “The Help.”
He was also completed filming on Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy,” opposite Nicole Kidman and Matthew McConaughey; and Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” with Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones. Additionally, David was also seen starring in “96 Minutes,” which premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival; Simon Brand’s thriller “Default”; and Ava Duvernay’s “The Middle of Nowhere.”
Oyelowo first impressed audiences in “The Suppliants,” at the Gate Theatre, playing King Palasgus, for which he received the Ian Charleson award commendation. Following this he played the title role of “Henry VI,” becoming the first black actor to play an English king for the RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company). The role won him the Ian Charleson Award and an Evening Standard Award nomination. Other theatre credits include an acclaimed performance in Richard Bean’s “The God Brothers” at the Bush Theatre and the title role in Aeschylus’ “Prometheus Bound,” which was off-Broadway and for which David received rave reviews.
Beyond theatre, David starred in the BAFTA award-winning series “Spooks” (airing as “MI:5” on BBC America), playing Danny Hunter. 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.” David also starred in the BBC1 original television movie “Born Equal,” opposite Colin Firth, as well as ABC’s 2008 production of “A Raisin in the Sun,” alongside Sanaa Lathan and Sean Puffy Combs.
David made his U.S. debut in two HBO productions: the Kenneth Branaugh-directed “As You Like It,” opposite Bryce Dallas Howard; and in the mini-series “Five Days,” for which he won the Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. In 2008, David starred in the acclaimed adaptation of the Alexander McCall Smith novel “The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency,” directed by the late Anthony Minghella.
He was also seen on the big screen in Kevin MacDonald’s “The Last King of Scotland”; “Who Do You Love”; “A Sound of Thunder”; “Derailed”; and “The Best Man”. His most challenging screen role to date was in the acclaimed BBC2 film “Shoot the Messenger,” which earned him a Best Actor nomination at the 2006 TriBeCa Film Festival.
WERNER HERZOG (The Zec) was born in Munich and grew up removed from technology in a remote Bavarian village. He worked as a welder to fund the production of his first film at age 19 (and ‘borrowed’ a camera from a local school) and has since directed more than 50 features. He has also published more than a dozen written works and directed as many operas.
His films have won numerous awards, including the special Grand Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival for “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser” (’74) and Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for “Fitzcarraldo” (‘82).
His other films include: “Aguirre, Wrath of God” (‘72), “Nosferatu” (‘78), “Little Dieter Needs to Fly” (‘97), “Grizzly Man” (‘05), “Rescue Dawn” (‘06), “Encounters at the End of the World” (‘07, Oscar®-nominated for Best Documentary) ,“Bad Lieutenant” (‘09), “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” (‘10) and “Into the Abyss” (‘11).
Rising star JAI COURTNEY (Charlie) has quickly become highly sought after having already been cast opposite two of Hollywood’s biggest stars – Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher” and Bruce Willis in “A Good Day to Die Hard.”
Most recently Courtney was cast opposite Joel Edgerton and Tom Wilkinson in “Felony,” which centers on a decorated cop (Edgerton) who runs a cyclist off the road after drinking with his buddies to celebrate a major gang bust. His split-second decision to lie about the incident changes everyone’s lives forever. Jai plays a young police detective who suspects Edgerton’s character is lying and gradually builds a criminal case against him. The film will shoot in Australia this fall.
Courtney was born and raised in the northwest region of Sydney where he developed an early interest in acting. He participated in a state sponsored drama program for young people, which led him to audition for the National Institute of Dramatic Art after high school. In 2004 he joined the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) a well-respected institution in Perth that counts Hugh Jackman and the late Heath Ledger among its alumni and from where he graduated in 2008.
Following graduation, he quickly landed guest star roles on two hit Australian shows, “Packed to the Rafters” and “All Saints” and later that year he won a Theatre Critics Award for Best Newcomer for his performance in The Turning at the Perth Theatre Company.
In 2009 he landed the sought after role of Varro in the international Starz hit television series “Spartacus: Blood and Sand.” The character of Varro became the closest confidante to Spartacus until his death in the tenth episode. Fans of the show created an uproar over Varro’s death and to this day continue to lament about it on the many Spartacus fan sites and blogs.
After “Jack Reacher,” Jai went directly to the Lionsgate film “I, Frankenstein” opposite Aaron Eckart. The film is a modern twist on the classic horror tale, in which he plays the leader of one of two immortal clans raging in endless war, with Frankenstein’s soulless monster standing between them. The film, which is directed by Stuart Beattie, is scheduled to be released in 2013.
After “I, Frankenstein,” he shot “A Good Day to Die Hard “on location in Europe this year. The fourth installment of the “Die Hard” franchise opens in February 2013.
In addition to these roles, Jai has been working tirelessly to raise awareness and the funds needed to produce the feature-length documentary “Be Here Now” about his friend the late Andy Whitfield, who passed away 18 months after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It was Andy’s desire to have this documentary produced in order to help and inspire others dealing with cancer or any of life’s challenges. The documentary is helmed by Academy Award nominated documentarian Lilibet Foster.
JOSEPH SIKORA (Barr) will be seen in Lionsgate’s “Safe,” opening April, 2012, in which he plays a Russian gangster and nemesis to Jason Statham. The picture is produced by Lawrence Bender and directed by Boaz Yakin.
Sikora was born in Chicago, studied improv and acting at Columbia College, and scored a Jefferson nomination for one of the many plays he starred in within the prestigious Chicago theatre community. In Los Angeles, he worked at the Geffen Playhouse and won an L.A. Theatre Ovation Award for his performance in “Killer Joe” at the Lost Angeles Theatre.
In television, he’s been seen guest-starring in more than two dozen television programs, including Martin Scorsese’ pilot episode of “Boardwalk Empire,” “CSI: NY,” “CSI: Miami,” “Criminal Minds,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and also starred opposite Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson in the highly controversial HBO film, “Normal.” Sikora—who was also seen in Scorsese’s “Shutter Island”—was last featured in David Schwimmer’s directorial debut “Trust,” opposite Clive Owens.
Sikora is based in New York.
Originally from Michigan, MICHAEL RAYMOND-JAMES (Linsky) received his training at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in New York City, where he studied with esteemed acting coach George Loros. Following several stage appearances in New York, including “The Petrified Forest” at the Pantheon Theater, he relocated to Los Angeles.
Raymond-James was soon compiling a growing list of television credits in guest-starring roles for such shows as “ER, “Boston Legal,” “Cold Case” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” before he landed a regular role on Alan Ball’s HBO series “True Blood.” He was last seen as Donal Logue’s partner on Sean Ryan’s “Terriers” for FX. His other television credits include “The Walking Dead” and “Law & Order.”
In his feature debut, Raymond-James played Justin Timberlake’s best friend in Craig Brewer’s “Black Snake Moan,” starring Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson. Raymond-James also starred in Jonny Hirschbein’s award-winning short film, “The Fix,” working alongside Robert Patrick and David Paymer. His full-length feature film credits include “Moonlight Serenade,” starring as a piano prodigy opposite Academy Award® nominee Amy Adams.
Raymond-James has also just landed a lead in the NBC drama pilot “Midnight Sun.” The thriller, based on an Israeli format, follows the mysterious disappearance of Midnight Sun, a group living on a cult-like commune in Dugan, Alaska, and a female FBI cult specialist leading the investigation that uncovers a larger conspiracy. Raymond-James will play the second-in-command of the Dugan Police Department, an Alaskan lawman.
Actress ALEXIA FAST (Sandy) is quickly making a strong impression as a rising star in the young Hollywood community.
Fast recently starred in the Canadian drama “Blackbird” and independent feature “Last Kind Words” with Brad Dourif. She also appeared in Carl Bessai’s indie feature “Repeaters,” with Dustin Milligan and Amanda Crew.
Her other credits include the indie western “Hungry Hills,” with Kier Gilchrist, which premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival; and alongside Ashley Judd in the indie feature “Helen,” which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival (and which garnered Fast a Leo Award nomination for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Feature Length Drama). Her other past film credits include “Triple Dog,” with Brittany Robertson and Scout Taylor Compton; “Kickin’ It Old Skool,” with Jamie Kennedy; the indie thriller “Past Tense” (for which she won a Leo Award for Best Lead Actor in a Feature Film); and “Fido,” with Carrie Anne Moss.
Fast’s television credits include starring roles in the telefilms “The 19th Wife,” “Tin Man,” “Wildfires,” “Gym Teacher” and “Fakers”; and a variety of leading and guest-starring roles on such series as MTV’s “Kaya,” “The Cult,” “The 4400,” “Flashpoint” and “Supernatural.”
Fast began her career in film at the age of seven, when she wrote, directed and starred in the short film, “The Red Bridge,” which premiered at the 2002 Atlantic Film Festival.
She currently resides in Vancouver.
A leading man since the 1960s, ROBERT DUVALL (Cash) has specialized in taciturn cowboys, fierce leaders and driven characters of all types. Respected by his peers and adored by audiences worldwide, he has earned numerous Oscar® nominations for his performances in “The Godfather,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The Great Santini” and “The Apostle.” Duvall won the Academy Award® as Best Actor for his role in “Tender Mercies,” and later earned the Golden Globe for his performance in the title role of HBO’s “Stalin.” More recently, Duvall was honored with the Golden Globe and Emmy Award for his iconic portrayal of Prentice Ritter in AMC’s “Broken Trail.”
Duvall made his big screen debut in 1962, as the creepy Boo Radley in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” He has gone on to star in such films as “Bullitt,” “True Grit,” “M*A*S*H,” “The Conversation,” “Network,” “The Natural,” “Colors,” “Days Of Thunder,” “A Handmaid’s Tale,” “Rambling Rose,” “Wrestling Ernest Hemingway,” “Phenomenon,” “A Civil Action,” “Open Range,” “Thank You For Smoking,” “The Road,” “Get Low” and “Crazy Heart,” among many others.
As a director and producer, Duvall got behind the camera for his labor of love project “The Apostle,” in which he also starred. The film went on to earn many accolades, including being named on over 75 film critics “Top 10 Films for 1997” lists, including The New York Times and Los Angeles Times. He also wrote, produced and starred in “Assassination Tango.”
Duvall was most recently seen as Johnny Crawford in “Seven Days in Utopia.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE (Director) is an Academy Award winning writer, producer and director whose credits include “The Usual Suspects,” “The Way of the Gun” and “Valkyrie.”
McQuarrie grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey where he attended high school with director Bryan Singer, actor Ethan Hawke and musician James Murphy. In lieu of college, he spent the first five years out of school traveling and working at a detective agency before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film.
Three years later, his screenplay for “The Usual Suspects” garnered him the Edgar Award, the Independent Spirit Award and the British and American Academy Awards. The film was later included on the New York Times list of the 1000 greatest films ever made and the character of Verbal Kint was included on the AFI's list of the 100 Greatest Heroes and Villains of All Time. In 2006, the Writers Guild of America included “The Usual Suspects” on their list of The 101 Greatest Screenplays.
In 2000, he directed “The Way of the Gun” starring Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro and James Caan. In 2008 he produced and co-wrote “Valkyrie” starring Tom Cruise. Upcoming projects include “The Wolverine,” “Jack the Giant Slayer” and “All You Need is Kill.”
TOM CRUISE (Producer) — Please see above biography.
In the twenty-five years DON GRANGER (Producer) has been involved in the motion picture business, he has established himself as one of the industry’s consummate creative forces.
Before producing “Jack Reacher,” Granger served as President of Motion Picture Production at United Artists from 2007-2011, running the day-to-day development and production operations.
Prior to United Artists, Granger was the senior executive of C/W Productions from 2004-2007, in charge of all production, development, and operational aspects of the company. During that period, Granger helped bring “War of the Worlds,” “Mission Impossible III” and “Elizabethtown” to the screen. Granger also served as Producer on the C/W productions of “Ask the Dust” and “The Eye”, and Executive Producer of “Death Race.”
Before C/W, Granger served as Senior, and then Executive Vice President of Motion Picture Production at Paramount Pictures from 1990-2001. In that capacity, Granger was responsible for bringing most of the large budget action-adventure movies made at the studio during this period to the screen and some of today’s most powerful filmmakers to the fore. Granger was the supervising studio executive on the “Mission Impossible,” “Star Trek,” and Tomb Raider” franchises, “Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger,” “Sum of All Fears,” “Varsity Blues,” “The Saint,” “Kiss the Girls,” Along Came a Spider” and “Saving Private Ryan” (which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards® and the winner of five) among many others. Overall, Granger oversaw the development and production of thirty-five films during his time at Paramount.
Under his partnership with Gary Levinsohn at the Mutual Film Company from 2001-2003, Granger served as Executive Producer of “Timeline,” and was one of the Producers of New Line’s 2006 “Snakes on a Plane.”
From 1987 to 1988, Granger was a Creative Executive at The Weintraub Entertainment Group. He then joined Touchstone Pictures from 1989-1900, where as Creative Executive and later Director of Motion Picture Production, he worked on such films as “Pretty Woman,” “Three Men and a Little Lady,” and “The Doctor.”
In 2010, Don Granger received one of the highest honors in the Motion Picture Industry when he was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Don Granger grew up in Woodbridge, Connecticut. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University in 1985. Before moving to Los Angeles and entering the motion picture business, Granger worked on Wall Street as a financial analyst.
Granger lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lisa McRee, and their son and daughter.
PAULA WAGNER (Producer) has worked in the top ranks of the entertainment industry. She was a powerful talent agent, then a successful producer, and now currently helms one of the most famed studios in Hollywood.
Wagner began her career at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), where she spent 15 years representing some of the top actors in the business. In 1993, she launched Cruise/Wagner Productions with her former CAA client Tom Cruise. For the next 13 years, she and Cruise produced a wide range of pictures that earned numerous awards, widespread critical praise and global box office success. The first film released under the C/W banner was the international hit “Mission: Impossible,” the success of which brought the company the 1997 Nova Award for Most Promising Producers in Theatrical Motion Pictures. C/W went on to produce such critically acclaimed films as “Without Limits,” “Shattered Glass,” “Narc,” “The Others,” “Vanilla Sky,” “Elizabethtown,” “The Last Samurai” and “Ask the Dust,” not to mention such international blockbusters as Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds” (which Wagner executive-produced) and “Mission: Impossible II” and “Mission: Impossible III,” which Wagner produced. In all, in the decade that separated “Mission: Impossible” and “Mission: Impossible III,” films produced by Cruise/Wagner Productions earned more than $3 billion in worldwide box office receipts. She also served as producer on the later releases “The Eye” and “Death Race.”
In November 2006, Wagner took on a new role as co-owner of United Artists Entertainment, LLC (along with Cruise and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.) and also serves as the company’s chief executive officer, overseeing all its day-to-day operations. She and Cruise took charge of United Artists with the aim of reviving the venerable studio founded nearly 90 years ago by movie legends Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D.W. Griffith. Since then, the reborn studio has released its first film, the political thriller “Lions for Lambs,” directed by Robert Redford and co-starring Redford, Meryl Streep and Cruise; the World War II thriller “Valkyrie,” directed by Bryan Singer and starring Cruise; the comedy “Hot Tub Time Machine”; and the horror/thriller “The Cabin in the Woods.”
Wagner was honored by Premiere magazine with the Women in Hollywood Icon Award in 2001. The following year she was featured in Bravo’s “Women on Top,” a documentary that profiled exceptional women in entertainment. In 2004, she and Cruise were honored by Daily Variety as “Billion-Dollar Producers.” That same year, Wagner and Cruise received the UCLA/Producers Guild of America Vision Award. In 2006, Wagner was the recipient of the Excellence in Producing Award at the Sarasota Film Festival and served as the president of the First-Time Directors Jury at the Venice Film Festival. Wagner has also served as co-chair of the Hollywood Film Festival for several years. She was also honored by the Costume Designers Guild with its Swarovski President’s Award in 2008.
Wagner serves on the board of trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, where she received her Bachelors in fine arts. She is a member of the American Cinematheque’s board of directors and the executive committee of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Wagner also serves on the board of Interlochen Center for the Arts and the National Film Preservation Foundation through the Library of Congress.
As founder and co-partner of Mutual Film Company, GARY LEVINSOHN (Producer) has been attached to some of the industry’s highest profile and most profitable films, establishing himself as one of the most successful financier/producers in the motion picture industry. Additionally, Mutual Film Company, which Levinsohn established in 1996 for the production, co-financing and international distribution of feature films, has earned a reputation as a highly innovative film financing entity, known both for delivering eclectic, high quality films and its relationship with overseas distributors, broadcasters and theater owners. Some of the titles Levinsohn has been involved with under the Mutual Film banner include: “Saving Private Ryan,” directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks, which received 11 Academy Award® nominations and grossed more than $400 million worldwide; the “Tomb Raider” franchise, starring Angelina Jolie; “The Patriot,” starring Mel Gibson, which received three Academy Award® nominations; the critically acclaimed “Wonder Boys,” starring Michael Douglas and directed by Academy Award®-winning director Curtis Hanson, which garnered three Academy Award® nominations; “A Simple Plan,” directed by Sam Raimi and starring Billy Bob Thornton; “The Jackal,” starring Bruce Willis and Richard Gere; and “Twelve Monkeys,” starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, and directed by Terry Gilliam.
Utilizing his extensive film financing experience, relationships in sales and distribution and producing skills, Levinsohn has co-produced and/or co-financed 23 major film productions since 1992, the collective budgets of which exceed $1 billion. By assembling “international end-users,”—his term to describe overseas distributors, broadcasters and theater owners—to equity-finance pictures, Levinsohn has arranged well in excess of $500 million in co-financing on these properties and helped to alter the face of international co-production. The combined worldwide revenue on films which Levinson has produced or financed is currently over $2 billion.
Levinsohn began his business career as an investment executive with the international brokerage house PaineWebber. He subsequently joined Dino De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (DEG) as Vice President, International Sales, where his primary responsibility was the worldwide television sales and distribution of DEG films and mini-series. After DEG was dissolved in 1989, Levinsohn formed Classico Entertainment and was retained as a consultant/sales agent with Dino De Laurentiis Communications (DDLC), where he was responsible for the distribution of DDLC’s product in all media. Additionally, he was instrumental in the evaluation, negotiation and ultimate sale of the DEG/Embassy library to Paravision International, as well as the evaluation, administration and sale of the Weintraub Entertainment Group/Thorn/Emi libraries. Levinsohn’s financial expertise garnered numerous substantial clients for Classico, including Bank of America, Credit Lyonnais, Banque Paribas, ICM and RAI (USA). Prior to forming Classico Entertainment, Levinsohn was head of Emerald Television, a company which represented the worldwide television rights to over 300 titles produced or acquired by Trans World Entertainment (TWE).
DAVID ELLISON (Executive Producer) formed Skydance Productions to create and produce elevated event-level commercial entertainment. The company focuses on tent-pole action, adventure, science fiction and fantasy films, along with modestly budgeted comedy and genre films. Skydance strives to be filmmaker friendly in a town where it is increasingly difficult to get films made.
In 2010, Skydance entered into a four-year production, distribution and finance deal with Paramount Pictures. The first film to be released under the deal was “True Grit,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s take on the Charles Portis novel, produced by the Coens, Scott Rudin and Steven Spielberg, and starring Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Jeff Bridges. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards®, including Best Picture.
Skydance most recently produced the Paramount feature “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” produced by J.J. Abrams and Tom Cruise, and directed by Brad Bird. The film was a wildfire hit, racking up nearly $700 million at the box offices around the glove.
Skydance is also producing “G.I. Joe 2: Retaliation,” starring Bruce Willis, Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson. Other films to be produced by Skydance include: the comedy “My Mother’s Curse,” starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen; the untitled Jack Ryan project, directed by Jack Bender, starring Chris Pine and produced by Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld; the sequel to the 2009 massive blockbuster (and re-launch of the franchise) “Star Trek”; and the Marc Forster-directed “World War Z,” starring Brad Pitt. The company will also be co-producing “Without Remorse,” written by Shawn Ryan. Currently in development is “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” written by Tom O’Connor.
Skydance recently moved their offices to the Paramount Pictures lot in June, 2011.
Ever the film enthusiast, Ellison grew up in Northern California and attended the University of Southern California’s prestigious School of Cinematic Arts. While in school, Ellison produced and starred in the World War I drama “Flyboys,” which combined his love of film and aviation. He is an accomplished pilot with over 2000 flying hours, a commercial multi-engine instrument rating and a helicopter rating. In 2003, at 20 years old, Ellison was the youngest airshow pilot performer at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s Airventure Show in Oshkosh, WI, where he was one of six pilots performing as the “Stars of Tomorrow.” Ellison is actively involved with Conservation International, where he is a member of the Board of Directors and sits on several committees.
DANA GOLDBERG (Executive Producer) joined Skydance Productions in 2010 as president of production. She was formerly president of production at Village Roadshow Pictures, where she was involved with the company’s entire slate of films, including the “Ocean’s Eleven” franchise, the “Matrix” trilogy, “Training Day,” “Get Smart” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” She also served as executive producer on many of the company’s films, including “I Am Legend,” “The Brave One” and the Academy Award®-winning animated feature “Happy Feet.” She will be serving as executive producer on the upcoming sequel to the 2009 massive blockbuster (and re-launch of the franchise) “Star Trek,” and the Marc Forster-directed “World War Z,” starring Brad Pitt. In her capacities as Skydance, she also recently worked on the global blockbuster “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” which grossed nearly $700 million domestically and internationally.
Prior to joining Village Roadshow in 1998, Goldberg spent three years with Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein at Baltimore/Spring Creek Pictures, where she was vice president of production. She began her career in entertainment as an assistant at Hollywood Pictures. Goldberg has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2007.
Jake Myers (Executive Producer) began working as an independent producer in New York city in 2000 before joining Miramax Films as Production Executive overseeing production on projects in the US, the UK and Canada, including “Chicago “(2002 dir: Rob Marshall) and “Derailed” (2005 dir: Mikael Hafstrom). He has gone on to work as a Producer on films including Terry Gilliam's “The Brothers Grimm” (2005), Mikael Hafstrom's “1408” (2007) and “Shanghai” (2010), and Asger Leth's “Man on a Ledge” (2012). Following the success of “Red” (dir: Robert Schwentke featuring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren) which Jake Exec Produced, he is currently working on the sequel “Red 2” (2013, dir: Dean Parisot).
CALEB DESCHANEL, ASC (Director of Photography) is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the American Film Institute. He first impressed moviegoers with his photography for “The Black Stallion” and “Being There,” which were both released in 1979. He went on to receive consecutive Academy Award® nominations in 1983 and 1984 for “The Right Stuff” and “The Natural.” In 1982, he made his directorial debut with American Zoetrope’s “The Escape Artist,” starring Raul Julia, Griffin O’Neal and Joan Hackett. He also directed “Crusoe,” starring Aidan Quinn, and multiple episodes of the television series “Twin Peaks” and “Law & Order: Trial by Jury.”
In 1996, Deschanel photographed “Fly Away Home,” for which he garnered his third Oscar® nomination for Best Cinematography and a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). He shot Forest Whitaker’s “Hope Floats” and Luis Mandoki’s “Message in a Bottle,” and won accolades for his lush camerawork on two epic productions: “Anna and the King” and Roland Emmerich’s “The Patriot,” for which he received another Academy Award® nomination and won an ASC award. He was again nominated for an Academy Award® for Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ.” Deschanel went on to photograph “National Treasure” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” and collaborated with director and writer Robert Towne on “Ask the Dust” and with Nick Cassevetes on “My Sister’s Keeper.” More recently, he worked with director William Friedkin on the feature “Killer Joe” and with Jim Sheridan on the dramatic thriller “Dream House.” Up next for Deschanel are the features “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and “August Osage County,” starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts.
In 2010, Deschanel was honored with ASC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
JAMES BISSELL (Production Designer) began his motion picture career as production designer on Steven Spielberg’s enduring classic “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” and he was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Production Design for his work on that film. He later reunited with Spielberg on the films “Always” and “Twilight Zone.”
Bissell’s other credits include “The Falcon and the Snowman,” “The Boy Who Could Fly,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Twins,” “Arachnophobia,” “The Rocketeer,” “Jumanji,” “Tin Cup,” “My Fellow Americans,” “Cats & Dogs,” “The 6th Day,” “Hollywood Homicide,” “The Ring 2” and George Clooney’s feature film directorial debut “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.”
Early in his career, Bissell won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Television Series for his work on “Palmerstown, U.S.A.” More recently, Bissell served as production designer for the box office hit “300” for Warner Bros.; for “Leatherheads,” written by, directed by and starring George Clooney; Mark Waters’ fantasy/adventure “The Spiderwick Chronicles”; and for the global blockbuster “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.”
His work on “Good Night, and Good Luck” garnered Art Direction nominations from both the Art Directors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as a Satellite Award for Best Production Design. The film was also runner-up to “2046” for Best Production Design during 2005 with the Los Angeles Film Critics.
Bissell is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.F.A. in theater. He continues to teach and conduct seminars, when time allows, on the art of production design.
SUSAN MATHESON (Costume Designer) recently designed the costumes for the international thriller “Safe House,” the remake of the horror comedy “Fright Night” and the acclaimed crime drama “The Town.” Among her other film credits are the Will Ferrell comedies “Step Brothers,” “Semi-Pro” and “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”; Peter Berg’s “The Kingdom” and “Friday Night Lights”; the surfing-themed hit “Blue Crush”; and the hit comedy “Couples Retreat.”
In addition, she has served as the costume designer on such films as “Honey,” “Highway,” “Max Keeble’s Big Move,” “Crazy/Beautiful,” “Meeting Daddy,” “Panic,” “Best Laid Plans” and “Dancer, Texas Pop. 81.”
KEVIN STITT, A.C.E. (Film Editor) recently reunited with director Jonathan Mostow for 2009’s futuristic thriller “Surrogates,” after editing his acclaimed 1997 thriller “Breakdown.”
Stitt, who has compiled over twenty years in the editing room, has also collaborated with such filmmakers as Mel Gibson (“Apocalypto”), John Badham (“Drop Zone,” “Nick of Time,” “Another Stakeout”), Brian Helgeland (“A Knight’s Tale,” “The Order,” “Payback”), John Woo (“Paycheck”), Richard Donner (“Lethal Weapon 4,” “Conspiracy Theory”), Brian Singer (“X-Men”) and Peter Berg (“The Kingdom”).
Over the past decade, Stitt has also edited such feature films as Renny Harlin’s “Deep Blue Sea” (additional editor), Rod Lurie’s “The Last Castle,” Rob Bowman’s “Elektra” and former editor (and mentor) Stuart Baird’s directorial debut, “Executive Decision,” which marked his first collaboration with longtime editor Frank Urioste.
He most recently completed work on the hit horror film, “Cloverfield”; the Michael Jackson concert documentary “This Is It”; and the thriller “Man on a Ledge.”
The Los Angeles native majored in communications at Cal State Northridge before beginning his career in the 1980s (“Twilight Zone: The Movie”) in an era he calls “the golden age of Hollywood action movies.” He cut his teeth as an assistant editor, apprenticing with the likes of Frank Morriss (“Romancing the Stone,” “Short Circuit,” “Point of No Return”), Donn Cambern (“Big Trouble,” “Harry and the Hendersons”) and Stuart Baird (“Lethal Weapon 2,” “Maverick,” “The Last Boy Scout”).