Running Time: 100 minutes
Genre: Comedy drama
Rating: 14A (14A)
Long-married couple Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) love each other, but after so many years together, Kay feels the need to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. Hearing of a renowned marriage counselor (Steve Carell) in the town of Great Hope Springs, Kay manages to persuade her stubborn mate to attend a retreat with her. As they shed their bedroom hang-ups, Kay and Arnold find that the real challenge is reigniting the spark that originally brought them together.
- Notes provided by Sony Pictures -
Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) are a devoted couple, but decades of marriage have left Kay wanting to spice things up and reconnect with her husband. When she hears of a renowned couple's specialist (Steve Carell) in the small town of Great Hope Springs, she attempts to persuade her skeptical husband, a steadfast man of routine, to get on a plane for a week of marriage therapy. Just convincing the stubborn Arnold to go on the retreat is hard enough - the real challenge for both of them comes as they shed their bedroom hang-ups and try to re-ignite the spark that caused them to fall for each other in the first place.
Columbia Pictures, Mandate Pictures, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures present a Film 360 / Escape Artists production, a David Frankel film, Hope Springs. Starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carell. Directed by David Frankel. Produced by Todd Black and Guymon Casady. Written by Vanessa Taylor. Executive Producers are Steve Tisch, Jason Blumenthal, Nathan Kahane, and Jessie Nelson. Director of Photography is Florian Ballhaus. Production Designer is Stuart Wurtzel. Editor is Steven Weisberg. Costume Designer is Ann Roth. Co-Producers are Kelli Konop, Brian Bell, and Lawrence Grey. Music by Theodore Shapiro. Music Supervisor is Julia Michels.
Hope Springs has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for Mature Thematic Content Involving Sexuality. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on August 10, 2012.
Hope Springs is the story of a marriage that has lost that special spark. ``Kay wants to reconnect with her husband, Arnold, says Meryl Streep, who stars opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell in the comedy. ``She wants to feel connected, to feel intimately involved with him, to feel that he's intimately interested in her. But I think Arnold, if you asked him, wouldn't think anything was a problem at all. If you were asking him where they are in their marriage, he'd say, 'I don't know - about the middle.'
``He's a pretty complacent fellow, says Jones of his character. ``He's sort of accepted his fate in life. He doesn't do a lot of thinking about the state of his marriage. He's not the kind of person who challenges the status quo.
Streep says that that is a disconnect that many couples go through - but one that speaks to a culture that has many distractions. ``As our attention becomes atomized and spread out, it intensifies the longing we have to connect with each other, says Streep. ``These questions of intimacy and wanting, yearning, longing to be seen and to be understood and loved is central to our culture.
Vanessa Taylor, who wrote the screenplay, which landed on the ``Black List of the industry's best work that has yet to be produced, says that she was inspired by those big questions. ``I had been thinking about marriage and how people keep passion and sexuality in a long-term marriage, she says. ``I'd been doing some reading on that and on marital counseling. And I started thinking - what would it be like to try to get your spark back if you never quite had it to start with? Especially from a woman's point of view; if you weren't comfortable with yourself and your sexuality, how much courage would it take to step forward and say, 'Our marriage is fine, but it's not good enough. I want more. I deserve better.'
``I haven't been married, but I've certainly been in relationships where a distance built up, Taylor continues. ``I was shocked to find how difficult it was to cross back over. It seems like somehow you should be able to bridge that divide. That was part of what motivated me to write this - I wanted to know if these people could get back.
``I think a lot of people have an idea of their relationship - where it is, where it needs to go to succeed, says Steve Carell, who plays Dr. Feld, the psychiatrist whose legendary Maine retreat is Kay's last best hope for her marriage. ``I think that's what makes this movie so funny - people can see what Kay and Arnold are going through, and relate to that and laugh at it.
Producer Guymon Casady says that Taylor possesses a unique voice: ``She is so observant, and she possesses this incredible ability to write characters with such dimension and detail, he says.
When Executive Producer Nathan Kahane first read Vanessa Taylor's script, he found himself empathizing with the characters of Kay and Arnold. ``There are always challenges in a marriage, he says. ``Hope Springs takes a look at how easy it is to let the magic slip away and how hard it can be to get it back. I immediately liked the script. It's a universal story.
It was producer Guymon Casady, founding partner of Management 360, who took the first steps toward nurturing Hope Springs into the light of day. He reflects on how he first came upon the script: ``My wife Robyn, who is also a screenwriter, had met Vanessa Taylor at a barbecue, and as a result of that, Vanessa gave Robyn the Hope Springs script. A week later, Robyn and I were lying in bed reading, and she was deep into the script. When she finished it, she turned to me and said, 'I know it's late, but you have to read this screenplay. It's phenomenal.' I read it that night and fell in love with it, and decided I wanted to pursue it as a producer. But Robyn deserves a lot of credit, because she has a great eye, and found the script first. Casady approached Taylor and let her know how much he loved the script, and wanted to produce it. Casady then approached producer Todd Black to join him on the project, and Black set the project up with executive producer Nathan Kahane at Mandate Pictures. Black, Casady, and Kahane brought on board the cast and director David Frankel.
In directing the film, Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel re-teams with Meryl Streep. ``David understood that this was an intimate story but also a universal one, says Black. ``That's not an easy thing, to balance those moments - you can make it too big or too personal. But David understood how to make these moments play on both levels.
``David really understood the piece, says Casady. ``For him, it was about yearning, but also that we had to be on the edge of our seats watching whether these two people were going to make it. His collaboration with Meryl from Devil Wears Prada was so successful, it felt like the perfect pairing.
``What the very good directors do - what David does - is to make you feel that anything is possible and there are no wrong moves, says Streep. ``You can go out on a limb for him - you can create a person that's real, but maybe different than you've done before. He gives you complete freedom.
``David can nudge his actors in a different direction if he feels it's necessary, but he trusts them implicitly to explore the characters, says Steve Carell. ``He's generous and supportive, and it opens you up to all sorts of different angles on your character.
``It's very pleasant to work with David - he doesn't waste any time or words, says Jones.
``David's films strike a chord with audiences because the comedy organically comes out of each character, says Kahane. ``He doesn't force it - he lets his actors find the genuine, funny moments, and encourages them to find the truth in those moments. When the chemistry between the actors feels real, their dialogue is more relatable to audiences and that is where great comedy lives.
Frankel says that having Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, and Steve Carrell bringing the characters to life was the key to telling the story. ``These are extraordinary actors who speak the same language, if you will, he explains. ``They all instantly felt comfortable with each other, and really understood the characters so deeply. I'd like to say it was easy. I know they did a lot of hard work. But they made it easy for me.
Meryl Streep plays Kay. ``She wants to shake things up - she wants to reconnect with Arnold in a way that they had been connected in their earlier years, she says. ``She's on a search - she feels this dissatisfaction, and she's looking for answers, and finds it in Dr. Feld's book. It's not long before she's using her own money to book a trip to his therapy retreat in Maine.
Not that it's easy to convince Arnold to go along. In fact, it's only at her insistence that he gets on the plane. ``For Kay, this is a big deal, says Black. ``She says, 'I'm going, with or without you,' and you see this woman from Omaha, Nebraska, become a Titan.
``From the very beginning, we all focused on Meryl Streep for this role, says Kahane. ``Meryl - like she does in each of her performances - completely embodies this woman and brings her to life. And she makes it all seem effortless, when in fact there is a huge amount of preparation she does for any role.
Frankel says that Arnold is coming at the problem from a completely opposite point of view from his wife. ``Kay is worried that she'll live the rest of her life in this forbidding, icy state. She's worried that it could go on like this forever. But Arnold, I think, is worried about how much he has to lose, he says. ``He's afraid of what he's going to find out if they start asking questions - how did they get here, why did they end up like this. He has a line in the movie - if you don't come into therapy with problems, you're going to leave with problems, because you're going to say stuff that can't be unsaid. He doesn't want to risk that.
Arnold's reluctance even to admit that there is a problem is at the heart of their characters - but Black says that the actors bring out the characters not as closed-off caricatures but full human beings. ``They can't communicate with each other, he says, ``but with Meryl and Tommy playing the roles, you feel everything that Kay and Arnold love about each other but haven't expressed in so long - or maybe ever.
Frankel says that Jones's playing such a closed-off character is a true expression of his skill as an actor. ``In real life, Tommy is a charismatic, larger-than-life, polo-playing cowboy, and Arnold is none of those things. It was wonderful to see him transform into a guy you'd think he would find pitiable, but in fact he has sympathy for. You see Arnold emerge as an everyman - and that's Tommy's wonderful skill at work.
``The chemistry between Tommy and Meryl works perfectly, says Kahane. ``I don't know how they do it, except that they are great actors: they bring the history so that you feel the underlying love between husband and wife that has faded from not communicating for so long. You feel it in their silent moments and when they're speaking to each other. You know that they know everything there is to know about each other, for better or worse.
Steve Carell plays Dr. Feld, the psychiatrist with the insight to help Kay and Arnold reconnect. ``He specializes in intense couples' therapy, says Carell. In researching his role, he jokes, ``I read Freud, Jung - all the greats - and I was in therapy for seven years, all in preparation for this role.
Seriously, Carell says that the secret to Dr. Feld's magic is that there isn't any magic. ``He's intelligent, he listens, and he helps people connect the dots, he says. ``He doesn't even offer specific advice or tell people what to do. He just helps them open themselves up to new ideas and explore where they can help themselves.
``Steve is a great dramatic actor, says Black. ``People think of him from his role on 'The Office' or the comedies he's done, but when you look at him in, for example, Little Miss Sunshine, he's a wonderful dramatic actor. That said, because he's also a comedian, he brings an empathy to the role of Dr. Feld that another actor might not.
For the therapy scenes, Frankel felt that the best way to achieve a fresh, lively, fun and funny scene was to avoid over-rehearsal - or, in some cases, any rehearsal. For Carell, this could be intimidating - for obvious reason. ``Imagine - you sit down opposite Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones for a nine-page scene, they say 'Action!,' and you just go! There is definitely an element of fear - I think David wanted to see if he could capture that deer-in-the-headlights look, especially from me - but it's fun, too. I can understand why David didn't want to over-rehearse; he wanted it to feel fresh and organic; not scripted. Sometimes, if you rehearse too much, the ideas are right there-as opposed to finding them, which is a bit more raw.
In the end, the pieces add up to a film that captures all the ups and downs of a marriage, according to Black and Casady. ``It felt like such an honest portrayal of a marriage, both the pain and the humor. And we responded to the idea of exploring such a universal idea - such as marriage - that is so abundantly relatable. Our hope always was that the story would become a lightning rod to spark a societal conversation about marriage, how difficult it is, and how it requires work on all of our part to make it work.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Hope Springs is set mostly in Maine, with a few sequences in Omaha, but was filmed entirely in the state of Connecticut. The first three weeks of filming took place on the outskirts of South Norwalk, within a former factory that had been turned temporarily into a soundstage. (It has since found a new calling as a vast indoor ice rink.) There, Stuart Wurtzel, the film's production designer, designed a large, light, airy set for Dr. Feld's office and other interior sets.
After the filming of the therapy scenes, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones got down to filming the sequences depicting the Soameses in their home in Omaha, at the chain motel in Maine, and in their room at a romantic country inn. Several of these scenes depicted the couple's fumbling, awkward attempts at foreplay and intimacy. ``Bedroom scenes of any kind are always tricky, because you're trying to suggest this illusion of privacy and intimacy, and yet in real life, if you backed up a little bit, there's this giant camera and sixteen people crowded into a small space, and somebody holding a big boom mike over the bed. There's just absolutely nothing private or intimate about it, says Frankel. ``Yet, obviously, great actors are able to make it feel deeply personal and very moving. So our job is to stay out of the way as much as possible, and create an environment where the rawness of the emotions can come through.
For the Soames' home, Wurtzel and his location scouts found a perfect house on a perfect block, slightly off the beaten path, in Darien, Connecticut. It had a large open-plan kitchen with plenty of space, and just the right neighborhood view out the windows.
Stonington, Connecticut plays the role of the fictional town of Great Hope Springs, where Dr. Feld has built his retreat. The easternmost town in Connecticut before the Rhode Island border, Stonington is a charming fishing village that juts out on a tiny peninsula, miles away from any interstate. Founded during the Colonial era, it boasts a high number of Colonial, Greek Revival, and Victorian structures on the National Register of Historic Places. With charming town greens at each end of Main Street, gorgeous views of the sea, and its own lobstering and fishing fleet, it proved the perfect stand-in for fictional Great Hope Springs, Maine. ``It was perfect, says Frankel. ``It's a tiny little town, but it had every element for our story - the inn in the center of town, a great house that we turned into Dr. Feld's, a restaurant - even on the outskirts of town, there was an Econolodge where Arnold and Kay stay to save some money.
``I liked Stonington because it was real and it was a working town, says Wurtzel. ``It didn't look or feel too gentrified. It still has a very vibrant fishing industry; there are still telephone poles and telephone wires, and it still has a chockablock combination of historic architecture to it. It has had a long endurance, and it doesn't look like it was all built yesterday.
For Wurtzel, Stonington also helped tell the story on a more subtle, visual level. ``I wanted there to be a contrast between their comfort-zone home in Omaha and the rocky coast of Maine, where things are not so easy for them. I also wanted there to be a visual contrast; I wanted us to see a lot of water. I felt all of that added, in a sort of subliminal way, to the quiet turmoil Kay and Arnold were enduring in their marriage. Stonington really gave us that sense of place. Not only due to the water, but because it is truly a small town-and in a small town, there is no hiding. In this fictional town of Great Hope Springs, if you're a stranger, everybody knows why you're there. The strangers are all couples; they're all going through the same sessions with Dr. Feld, so there's no protection. They're really vulnerable.
Wurtzel and his team did make a few temporary changes to Stonington to turn it into Great Hope Springs. Stonington has no movie theater, so for the key scene in which Kay and Arnold go to the movies, he designed and added an art-house marquee to one of the existing buildings on Water Street. A couple of vacant storefronts were turned into a chocolate shop and a hardware store, and Noah's Restaurant-designated Connecticut's best neighborhood restaurant of 2011 by Connecticut magazine-became the Nor'easter Diner, decorated on the outside with a 1950s-era mural and on the inside with an exuberantly kitschy seafood motif.
The old inn where Kay and Arnold go to dine and spend the night was actually a composite of three different locations. The exterior was an actual inn on Water St. in Stonington, the dining room was located in a mansion a half-mile away on the other side of town, and the upstairs guest room was filmed on a soundstage.
Throughout the Stonington filming, area locals gathered not only to observe, but to participate as extras.
About the Cast
For almost 40 years, MERYL STREEP (Kay Soames) has portrayed an astonishing array of characters in a career that has cut its own unique path from the theater through film and television.
Streep was educated in the New Jersey public school system through high school, graduated cum laude from Vassar College, and received her MFA with honors from Yale University in 1975. She began her professional life on the New York stage, where she quickly established her signature versatility and verve as an actor. Within three years of graduation, she made her Broadway debut, won an Emmy (for "Holocaust") and received her first Oscar(R) nomination (for The Deer Hunter). In 2011, in a record that is unsurpassed, she won her seventeenth Academy Award(R) nomination for her role as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. For this role, she has won the Academy Award(R), British Academy Award, and the Golden Globe for Best Actress. She will next begin shooting August: Osage County alongside Julia Roberts in Fall 2012.
Streep serves as spokesperson for the proposed National Women's History Museum.
She also lends her efforts to Women for Women International, Women in the World Foundation and Partners in Health. She is a member of the Vassar College Board of Trustees and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has been accorded a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government, a Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Film Institute, a 2008 honor by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The 2010 National Medal of Arts by President Obama and in 2011 she received a Kennedy Center Honor.
Her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, and she are the parents of a son and three daughters.
One of the most acclaimed and accomplished actors in Hollywood, Academy Award(R) winner TOMMY LEE JONES (Arnold Soames) brings a distinct character to his every film.
Jones made his feature film debut in Love Story and, in a career spanning four decades, has starred in such films as Eyes of Laura Mars, Coal Miner's Daughter - for which he received his first Golden Globe nomination - Stormy Monday, The Package, JFK, Under Siege, The Fugitive, Heaven and Earth, The Client, Natural Born Killers, Blue Sky, Cobb, Batman Forever, Men In Black, U.S. Marshalls, Double Jeopardy, Rules of Engagement, Space Cowboys, Men in Black 2, The Hunted, The Missing, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, A Prairie Home Companion, In the Electric Mist, The Company Men and Captain America: The First Avenger.
He was awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar(R) for his portrayal of the uncompromising U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard in the box office hit The Fugitive in 1994. For this performance, he also received a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actor. Three years earlier, Jones received his first Oscar(R) nomination for his portrayal of Clay Shaw in Oliver Stone's JFK.
In 2007 Jones starred in the critically acclaimed film In the Valley of Elah for which he received an Oscar(R) nomination for Best Actor and in the same year he starred in the Academy Award(R) winning film No Country for Old Men written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and based on the Cormac McCarthy novel.
Jones most recently reprised his role as Agent K in Men in Black 3. He will next co-star in Lincoln for director Steven Spielberg, which opens in December. He has also completed filming The Emperor on location in New Zealand for director Peter Webber. Jones portrays General Douglas MacArthur. Next year, he will play a role in the film Malavita opposite Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro for director Luc Besson. He is also set to write, direct, produce, and star in The Homesman.
In 1995, Jones made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed telefilm adaptation of the Elmer Kelton novel ``The Good Old Boys for TNT. Jones also starred in the telefilm with Sissy Spacek, Sam Shepard, Frances McDormand and Matt Damon. For his portrayal of Hewey Calloway, he received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and a CableACE Award nomination.
In 2005, Jones starred in the critically acclaimed film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which he also directed and produced. The film debuted in competition at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and garnered Jones the award for Best Actor and screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga the award for Best Screenplay for this film about friendship and murder along the Texas-Mexican border.
Most recently, Jones directed ``The Sunset Limited for HBO. This telefilm, which premiered in February 2011, is based on the play of the same name by Cormac McCarthy and starred Jones and Samuel L. Jackson.
Jones has also had success on the small screen. In 1983, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for his portrayal of Gary Gilmore in ``The Executioner's Song, and, in 1989, he was nominated for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for ``Lonesome Dove.
His numerous network and cable credits include the title role in ``The Amazing Howard Hughes, the American Playhouse production of ``Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, ``The Rainmaker for HBO, the HBO/BBC production of ``Yuri Noshenko, KGB and ``April Morning.
In 1969, Jones made his Broadway debut in John Osborne's ``A Patriot for Me. His other Broadway appearances include ``Four on a Garden with Carol Channing and Sid Caesar, and ``Ulysses in Nighttown with the late Zero Mostel.
Born in San Saba, Texas, he worked briefly with his father in the oil fields before attending St. Mark's School of Texas, then Harvard University, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in English.
STEVE CARELL (Dr. Bernard Feld) has emerged as one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood. First gaining recognition for his contributions as a correspondent on Comedy Central's Emmy Award-winning ``The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Carell has successfully segued into primetime television and above-the-title status in the film world with equal aplomb. Proving that his talents extend beyond acting and writing, Carell also spearheads his own production company, Carousel Productions.
Carell opened his first lead feature, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, which he co-wrote with director Judd Apatow, at 1, a spot it remained in for two straight weekends. The surprise hit of 2005 went on to gross more than $175 million worldwide and had 1 openings in 12 countries. The success of the film has continued, as it has also generated over $100 million in DVD sales in North America alone. On an award level, the film was honored with an AFI Award named one of 10 Most Outstanding Motion Pictures of the Year and took home Best Comedy Movie at the 11th annual Critics' Choice Awards. The film also earned Carell and Apatow a co-nomination for Best Original Screenplay by the Writers Guild of America.
Last summer, Carell starred in Crazy, Stupid, Love opposite Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone. Produced by Carell's production company, Carousel Productions, the critically acclaimed film went on to earn $130 million worldwide.
In the summer of 2010, Carell lent his vocal talents in the lead role of Gru in the animated feature film, Despicable Me, which opened at 1 in the box office and went on to make more than $500 million worldwide. In June of 2008, Carell starred as Maxwell Smart in Get Smart, opposite Anne Hathaway and Alan Arkin. The film grossed over $230 million worldwide. He also lent his voice as The Mayor of Whoville in 20th Century Fox's animated film Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! based on the children's book written by Dr. Seuss. Directed by Jimmy Hayward (Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc.), Carell played opposite Jim Carrey, and helped launch the film as an international success earning over $295 million worldwide. In 2006, as part of an ensemble, he starred in Little Miss Sunshine, which earned an Academy Award(R) nomination for Best Picture and won the SAG Award(R) for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Previous film credits include Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Bruce Almighty, Bewitched and Dan in Real Life. Carell just completed his Emmy-nominated turn in the Americanized adaptation of Ricky Gervais' acclaimed British television series ``The Office. In 2006, Carell earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series-Musical or Comedy, followed by two more nominations, for his portrayal of Michael Scott, the pompous and deluded boss of a Pennsylvania paper company. In the past years, the show has won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.
In May of 2012, Carell starred in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opposite Keira Knightly. He recently wrapped production on The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, where he portrays a jaded magician trying to stay relevant opposite Jim Carrey and Steve Buscemi.
In 2013, Carell will return as the voice of Gru in the animated film Despicable Me 2. Carell will soon start production on Foxcatcher, where he portrays John du Pont as a paranoid schizophrenic who kills Olympic wrestler David Schultz. It was most recently announced that Carell will return as Brick Tamland in Anchorman 2, along with Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd.
Born in Massachusetts, Carell now resides in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Nancy Carell (NBC's Saturday Night Live), whom he met while at the Second City Theater Group in Chicago, where both were members. He is the proud father of a daughter and a son.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
DAVID FRANKEL (Director) is an Academy(R) and Emmy Award-winner whose films include The Big Year, Marley and Me, and The Devil Wears Prada. He also directed Miami Rhapsody, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Antonio Banderas and Mia Farrow. His other feature credits include the screenplay for Funny About Love, directed by Leonard Nimoy, starring Gene Wilder.
In 1996, Frankel won the Academy Award(R) for Best Live Action Short for Dear Diary, which he wrote and directed.
Frankel has also been honored for writing, directing and producing a slate of seminal television. He was nominated for an Emmy Award for directing the pilot episode of HBO's cutting-edge comedy Entourage, and he won the Emmy for Outstanding Directing of a Mini-Series for HBO's World War II saga Band of Brothers. Frankel's television directing credits include episodes of Entourage, Sex and the City, and From the Earth to the Moon; the ABC film The Pennsylvania Miners' Story. He also co-created The Ellen Burstyn Show. As a showrunner, Frankel wrote, produced and directed the CBS comedy series Doctor, Doctor and Grapevine, which he also created.
VANESSA TAYLOR (Written by) has written for television for over ten years, on such shows as ``Gideon's Crossing, ``Alias, ``Everwood, and ``Jack and Bobby (which she co-created with Greg Berlanti). She currently serves as co-executive producer on the HBO series ``Game of Thrones. Hope Springs is her first feature film.
Born in Washington, D.C., Taylor was raised in California and is a graduate of Princeton University.
In January 2001, TODD BLACK (Producer), along with his partner, Jason Blumenthal, merged with the Steve Tisch Company to form Escape Artists, an independently financed company housed at Sony Pictures. Their first produced movie was A Knight's Tale, starring Heath Ledger.
Black's recent feature film credits include The Pursuit Of Happyness and Seven Pounds, both starring Will Smith, The Taking Of Pelham 123, directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta, Knowing, starring Nicolas Cage and directed by Alex Proyas, and The Back-up Plan starring Jennifer Lopez.
He was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture (Drama) for The Denzel Washington directed The Great Debaters. In addition, Black was honored with the Producer Guild's Stanley Kramer Award for The Great Debaters and for his 2002 film, Antwone Fisher, Denzel Washington's directorial debut.
Born in Dallas and raised in Los Angeles, Black attended the theatre program at the University of Southern California. He began his entertainment career as a casting associate. In 1995, Black became President of Motion Picture Production at Sony's Mandalay Entertainment and managed such films as Donnie Brasco, Seven Years In Tibet, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Les Miserables and Wild Things.
GUYMON CASADY (Producer) is a founding partner of leading talent management and entertainment company Management 360 and its respective film and television production units Film 360 and Television 360. Casady's client list includes director Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Stranger than Fiction) and writer David Benioff, the co-creator and executive producer of HBO's hit television series Game of Thrones. His film producing credits include The Expendables, Paper Man, The Killing Room, My Best Friend's Girl, Stay, The Final Cut and The Match. Upcoming are The Expendables 2, The Infiltrator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio for Warner Bros., and Office Xmas Party starring Will Ferrell, Ed Helms and Jason Bateman for Dreamworks. Currently in development are projects including Walter Isaacson's authorized biography Steve Jobs for Sony and Sesame Street for 20th Century Fox. In television, Casady is a co-executive producer on HBO's multiple Emmy Award winning Game of Thrones. He was also executive producer of the TV series Hope and Faith.
Before Management 360, Casady was a manager/producer at Industry Entertainment. He began his career in the motion picture talent department at CAA, after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in European history and art history.
STEVE TISCH (Executive Producer) has the distinction of being the only person on the planet with both an Academy Award(R) and two Super Bowl rings. He won the former as one of the producers of Forrest Gump, which was awarded the Oscar(R) for Best Picture of 1994, and the latter as Chairman of the Giants, who defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and XLVI.
Tisch joined the Giants organization as Executive Vice President in July 2005. He has been intimately involved with the team since his father, Preston Robert Tisch, purchased 50 percent of the franchise in 1991. With the passing of his father in 2005, Steve Tisch assumed the additional title of Chairman. In the previous three years, Steve worked closely with John Mara on the planning and construction for the New Meadowlands Stadium, the beautiful new venue that is the Giants' new home. The new stadium is a joint venture with the New York Jets.
In addition, Steve joined Mara, his brother Jonathan (the Giants' Treasurer) and Jets owner Woody Johnson is leading the teams' successful bid to bring Super Bowl XLVIII to Met Life Stadium in February 2014. It will be the first Super Bowl played in an open-air stadium in a cold weather region.
Tisch is one of the most successful producers in the motion picture industry. He is a partner in Escape Artists, an independently financed film production company based at Sony Pictures Entertainment. His television and feature film projects have consistently focused on the lives of everyday people and the vital impact they have in society.
Tisch began his career in entertainment when he was a student at Tufts University. His summer jobs included booking films in the family's movie theater chain, working for director John Avildsen and serving an apprenticeship under Otto Preminger. Upon his graduation, Tisch worked as Peter Guber's assistant at Columbia Pictures. At 22, he became an executive at the studio, and during his four-year tenure he worked on such films as The Lords of Flatbush, Tommy and The Last Detail.
Tisch has also generously contributed his time and resources to such organizations as The H.E.L.P. Group and the ERAS Center. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and is on the Board of Trustees of The Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles, The Sundance Institute, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Cancer Center at Duke University.
JASON BLUMENTHAL (Executive Producer) was born and raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from Crossroads School for the Arts and attended Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communications.
After graduation, Blumenthal joined Wizan/Black Films in 1990. There, he was involved with the development and production of Iron Eagle II, Split Decisions, The Guardian, Short Time, Class Act, Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, Dunston Checks In, A Family Thing, and Bio Dome. They also executive produced Becoming Colette and Fire In The Sky.
Blumenthal was Senior Vice President of feature production at Mandalay Entertainment from the company's inception in 1995 through March of 1998. During his tenure as Senior Vice President, Blumenthal managed Mandalay's production slate which included such films as The Fan, Donnie Brasco, Seven Years in Tibet, Les Miserables, Wild Things, Gloria, and The Deep End of the Ocean. One of Mandalay's biggest box office successes was I Know What You Did Last Summer, which went on to be 1 at the box office for three weeks and grossed more than $130 million worldwide, and spawned a sequel, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.
In April 1998, Blumenthal and his partner Todd Black formed Black & Blu Entertainment and entered into a first look production deal at Sony Pictures Entertainment. In 2001, Black & Blu merged with the Steve Tisch Co. (Forrest Gump) to become Escape Artists while still maintaining their first look deal at Sony Pictures. Escape Artists has since produced A Knight's Tale, starring Heath Ledger, and Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Denzel Washington which was released through Fox Searchlight. Before the success of The Pursuit of Happyness, which went on to gross more than $300 million worldwide, they produced The Weather Man directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Nic Cage and Michael Caine. Escape Artists recently released the Alex Proyas thriller Knowing starring Nic Cage, Seven Pounds starring Will Smith, and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 directed by Tony Scott, and starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta, and The Back-up Plan starring Jennifer Lopez.
NATHAN KAHANE (Executive Producer) is a partner along with Joe Drake in Good Universe, an independent full-service motion picture financing, production and global sales company with the infrastructure and resources to develop, package, produce and fully finance its movies. Having served as an executive producer on more than 25 films in his career, Kahane is a creative force and an integral component behind the growth of the full-service motion picture financing and production company. Kahane oversees the development and production of the company's growing feature slate, nurtures relationships with high-level talent and filmmakers and has unique ability to put together winning business models behind compelling films.
Kahane is currently shepherding Good Universe's diverse production and development slate which includes a remake of the internationally acclaimed South Korean film Oldboy, directed by Spike Lee starring Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley; the comedy Last Vegas with partner CBS Films which features an all-star cast including Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, and Morgan Freeman; The Arrangement, to be directed by Phillip Noyce and written by Brian Tucker; Dogs of Babel to be directed by John Carney; and Kahane is once again reteaming with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Jonathan Levine, and Will Reiser to develop a feature comedy entitled Jamaica.
Nathan Kahane is also partners with Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Joe Drake in Ghost House Pictures, a production label dedicated to the financing, development and release of films in the horror thriller genre. The company had five 1 films out of the gate, including the 2004 remake of The Grudge, which grossed more than $188 million worldwide. Kahane continues to oversee the daily operations of Ghost House and is currently executive producing The Possession, to be released by Lionsgate in August 2012; and the much anticipated Evil Dead remake, to be released by Sony Pictures and FilmDistrict in April 2013. Ghost House has a diverse production and development slate which includes The Day of the Triffids, written by Neil Cross based on the classic sci-fi horror novel written by John Wyndam and the 1962 film Invasion of the Triffids.
In his former role as President of Mandate Pictures, Kahane's commitment to producing quality films at 'independent' budgets generated global box-office success for the company with films such as Juno, the $227 million worldwide box office sensation which garnered a host of accolades including an Academy Award(R) for Best Original Screenplay and three additional Academy Award(R) nominations; and Marc Forster's critical darling Stranger Than Fiction. The company also launched successful franchises such as the Harold & Kumar series and Ghost House Pictures' The Grudge series. When Lionsgate acquired Mandate in 2007, Kahane continued to operate it as an autonomous brand moving the company forward with hits he executive produced including the Golden Globe(R)-nominated and Independent Spirit Award-winning (Best First Screenplay) comedy 50/50; the Golden Globe(R)-nominated comedy Young Adult, directed by Jason Reitman; Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley; The Switch, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman; Drew Barrymore's directorial debut Whip It; and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. He served as a producer on The Strangers, and on all three installments of the Harold & Kumar series. Kahane shepherded Mandate's upcoming feature film releases which include the Untitled Diablo Cody Project starring Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman and Holly Hunter and the Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg feature directorial debut from an original comedy they wrote, The End of the World, to be released by Sony Pictures in June 2013 with Kahane serving as an executive producer.
Kahane previously headed development and acquisition of feature films for the LA-based Senator International. Prior to joining Senator International, he co-headed the development and production slate for Mark Canton's production company, The Canton Company (housed at Warner Bros.), where he was Executive Vice President of Production. Kahane is a graduate of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, and began his entertainment career in the agent training program at ICM.
JESSIE NELSON (Executive Producer) struck a chord in the hearts of moviegoers with her directorial debut Corrina, Corrina starring Whoopi Goldberg, Ray Liotta and Tina Majorino. She directed the film from her own screenplay, and bore producer credit as well. She was also co-wrote, directed and produced I Am Sam, starring Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer, for which Penn received an Academy Award(R) nomination.
Nelson also co-wrote and produced The Story of Us, directed by Rob Reiner and starring Pfeiffer and Bruce Willis, as well as Fred Claus. She co-wrote the 1998 box office hit Stepmom starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon, as well as Because I Said So, which starred Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore.
Nelson began her career as an actress in New York, working with the Obie Award-winning experimental theater Mabou Mines at Joseph Papp's Public Theater. She went on to the New York Shakepeare Festival starring opposite Raul Julia in The Tempest in Central Park. She began her career as a filmmaker when she directed the documentary My First Time, which led to her directing the award-winning short film To the Moon, Alice for Showtime.
FLORIAN BALLHAUS (Director of Photography) reunites on Hope Springs with Meryl Streep and director David Frankel, both of whom he worked with on The Devil Wears Prada. Born and raised in Germany, the son of the revered director of photography Michael Ballhaus, he first came to the U.S. at 17 and worked on several American films with his father, first as a second cinematographer's assistant and eventually as a camera assistant and operator. He later returned to Germay to make his own name in his father's profession, then came back to the U.S. years later and began working as a cinematographer on episodes of Sex and the City. It was at that time that he first began working with David Frankel, the director of many of those episodes.
His first American feature for which he was director of photography was Alan Rudolph's The Secret Lives of Dentists. Among his many other feature films are Flightplan, Definitely, Maybe, David Frankel's Marley and Me, The Time Traveler's Wife, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Red, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and Gambit.
STUART WURTZEL (Production Designer) has enjoyed a lengthy career as a production designer for film and television. He was nominated for an Academy Award(R) for Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters and won an Emmy for the acclaimed HBO miniseries Angels in America. He received Emmy nominations for Empire Falls and Little Gloria, Happy at Last, and won Art Directors Guild awards for Empire Falls and Angels in America.
Wurtzel was born and raised in Newark, N.J. and studied in Pittsburgh at Carnegie-Mellon University. He started out designing for the stage, and for four years was resident stage designer at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He moved to New York and began designing on Broadway, with A Flea in Her Ear, Sizwe Banzi is Dead, and The Island among his credits. He was nominated for a Drama Desk award in 1982 for his designs for Henry IV.
Among his many films are Hester Street, Hair, The Chosen, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Old Gringo, The Mambo Kings, I.Q., Before and After, Stepmom, Enchanted, Marley and Me, Letters to Juliet, and Mr. Popper's Penguins. His other television work includes Lipstick Jungle, Wit, and A Gifted Man.
Wurtzel is married another leading production designer, Patrizia von Brandenstein.
STEVEN WEISBERG (Editor) began his career editing such TV movies as The Wickedest Witch, Mrs. Cage, and The Last Light. He moved on to features with The Color of Evening, and his subsequent films have included Miami Rhapsody, A Little Princess, The Cable Guy, Great Expectations, Permanent Midnight, nurse Betty, Men in Black II, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Producers, Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, and Morning Glory.
ANN ROTH (Costume Designer) one of the most sought-after costume designers in the entertainment industry, began her theatrical career as a scenery painter for the Pittsburgh Opera Company. She soon moved to New York, and assisted such costume designers as Irene Sharaff and Miles White. Among her Broadway credits are Purlie, The Women, Play it Again, Sam, They're Playing Our Song and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The Odd Couple (original and revival), The Real Thing, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Deuce, The Year of Magical Thinking, The Vertical Hour, and The Book of Mormon. Over the course of her career she has received four Drama Desk nominations and five Tony nominations.
Roth has received four Academy Award(R) nominations, and won one for The English Patient. Her first motion picture was The World of Henry Orient in l964, and her first solo film credit was Midnight Cowboy in 1969. Among her many films are Klute, The Day of the Locust (for which she won a British Academy Award in l975), The Goodbye Girl, Coming Home, Hair, Dressed to Kill, The World According to Garp, Places in the Heart, Sweet Dreams, Working Girl, Regarding Henry, Pacific Heights, Wolf, Just Cause, Sabrina, The Bird Cage, In and Out, Primary Colors, Random Hearts, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Finding Forrester, The Hours, Angels in America, Cold Mountain, The Village, Closer, The Good Shepherd, Mamma Mia!, What Just Happened, Doubt, Julie and Julia, The Reader, Rabbit Hole, and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. She also designed the costumes for Todd Haynes's acclaimed HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. In 2000 she received the Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award.
KELLI KONOP (Co-Producer) has more than nineteen years of industry and production experience. Most recently, she served as Executive Vice President of Physical Production at Mandate Pictures for seven years. From pre-production through post, Konop oversaw all aspects of physical production for Mandate's entire slate of films, as well as those produced under the Ghost House Pictures banner. She joined Mandate's production team while serving as Executive in Charge of Production on Zack Helm's critically-acclaimed feature Stranger Than Fiction, starring Will Ferrell. While at Mandate, Konop was co-producer on the Academy Award(R)-nominated and box-office sensation Juno, as well as the hit comedy Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. She most recently co-produced Young Adult, released worldwide by Paramount Pictures; A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, released worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures; 50/50, released by Summit Entertainment; LOL, starring Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus; and Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.
Konop also served as co-producer on such films as The Switch, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman; Drew Barrymore's directorial debut film, Whip It, starring Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page; Rodrigo Garcia's Passengers; Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist directed by Peter Sollett; and Peacock, starring Cillian Murphy and Ellen Page. She served as an executive producer on The Strangers, Bryan Bertino's directorial debut starring Liv Tyler; and was executive in charge of production on Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, starring Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman. Her Ghost House Pictures credits include executive in charge of production on Drag Me To Hell, written and directed by Sam Raimi; along with co-producing credits on The Possession, released by Lionsgate; The Messengers, starring Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller; and Rise, starring Lucy Liu and Robert Forster.
Konop's producing credits outside of Mandate include Bring It On Again, one of the all-time top-selling DVD originals; the hit Universal Studios comedies, Beethoven's 3rd and 4th; The Breed for Sony Screen Gems; and Steve James's Joe and Max, the acclaimed Starz! made-for-TV movie about legendary prizefighters Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. Additionally, she executive produced Frank E. Flowers's Haven, starring Orlando Bloom, Bill Paxton and Zoe Saldana.
Konop is a graduate of Washington University with a degree in Psychology and Business.
BRIAN BELL (Co-Producer) has been producing critically acclaimed narrative features since 2001. In 2007, Bell was nominated for the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award for Michael Cuesta's Twelve and Holding.
Bell's most recent film is Jason Reitman's Young Adult, written by Diablo Cody and starring Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser and Patton Oswalt. In 2010, Bell line-produced the hit comedy Cedar Rapids as well as Dito Montiel's The Son of No One starring Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, Katie Holmes and Tracy Morgan. The latter was featured as the closing night film at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.
Among Bell's other films are The Switch (co-producer), Man Push Cart (co-producer), Personal Velocity (producer, winner Sundance Grand Jury Prize, the Independent Spirit Award's John Cassavetes Award, and Special Recognition by The National Board of Review), Keane (producer with Lodge Kerrigan and Steven Soderbergh, winner of Critics Award and Special Jury Prize at the Deauville Film Festival), Never Forever (producer, Special Jury Prize, Deauville Film Festival), Peacock (co-producer), and Assassination of a High School President.
LAWRENCE GREY (Co-Producer) BIO TO FOLLOW
THEODORE SHAPIRO (Music) BIO TO FOLLOW
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