Running Time: 102 minutes
Genre: Crime drama/Dark comedy
Rating: R (Restricted)
A cop (Matthew McConaughey) who moonlights as a hit man agrees to kill the hated mother of a desperate drug dealer (Emile Hirsch) in exchange for a tumble with the young man's virginal sister (Juno Temple) .
- Notes provided by LD Films --
ABOUT THE FILM
Love. Lust. Loyalty. Treachery. Innocent. Profane. Greed. Revenge.
Friedkin notes, ``There's a thin line between good and evil and there is the possibility of evil in all of us. Friedkin relished exploring that interplay especially when more sinister inclinations take the lead. ``Killer Joe depicts the definitive dysfunctional family that gives in to its basest instincts and is forced to face the hidden truths about themselves that they've been avoiding for years. It's not an entirely heartless reflection, however; more noble aspirations hide among the cruder ones. As Friedkin puts it, "I myself have felt all of the emotions in my films at one time or another. I was drawn to this project as it's about innocence, victimhood, vengeance, and tenderness.
``Killer Joe premiered as a stage production in 1998 at the famed Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. The play led to acclaimed productions in New York, London, and other cities around the world. In total, ``Killer Joe has been performed in 15 countries and 12 languages since its Chicago debut. When the play found a home at the Hyde Park Theatre in Austin, Texas, The Austinist announced, ``It's like someone took MacBeth, 'All in the Family' and Sylvia Plath, tossed them in a blender and splattered them inside a beat-to-fuck trailer out in Dallas County. Some have called Letts' work the lovechild of Tennessee Williams and Quentin Tarantino. The Oklahoma-born Letts, a fan of Southern Gothic tradition, calls Williams one of his inspirations, in addition to William Faulkner and Jim Thompson. These influences, combined with Letts' distinctive storytelling, come together to form a play that is shocking, blatant, poetic, and completely cinematic.
Producer Nicolas Chartier of Voltage Pictures was one of the story's early advocates. Friedkin, who also saw the play's big-screen potential, got a draft to Chartier, and the latter was thrilled to work with Friedkin. ``He's just brilliant, Chartier says simply of the filmmaker.
Fellow producer Scott Einbinder adds, ``Billy knows what he wants and how to get it. It was amazing to watch him work - he really believes in allowing the actors to sink their teeth into their character, but he also believes in a spare amount of takes, so the performances are really spontaneous. He tried to keep the cameras invisible to provide an atmosphere where the actors could do their best work.
``Killer Joe attracted McConaughey, who was drawn to the enigmatic title character's moral duality. A charming, soft-spoken, and eloquent gentleman on one hand, Killer Joe is also a stone-cold killer with alarming sexual proclivities. Indeed, McConaughey did not entirely wrap his head around the character until he met with Friedkin.
``The first time I read the script, I couldn't quite see the character clearly, says McConaughey. ``Then I met with Billy Friedkin and his affection for the love story and the blasphemous humor within this wickedly dysfunctional family helped me understand Killer Joe.
Emile Hirsch was cast next as Chris, the well-intended but often bungling drug dealer who would otherwise be the family savior. Hirsch was eager to work with Friedkin and was not disappointed.
``Every day was exciting working with Billy; he's so energetic and he's so passionate. It really feels like you are part of something. At the same time, he has this unbelievable attention to detail, it's incredible. You'll be doing a scene and he'll be checking every little aspect, even elements of your own character that you may not have even noticed. He has this extraordinary mind in that way - he's able to hold all the different elements of the production in his mind's eye while at the same time he has this strong vision for the movie in its entirety. He is a master and working with Billy was an extraordinary experience, Hirsch says.
The most difficult role to cast proved to be that of Dottie Smith, Chris' fragile younger sister who becomes the lynchpin of the movie. The role ultimately went to Juno Temple, for whom Friedkin was a staunch advocate. Friedkin worked to win her admiration, and the bond was critical when Friedkin filmed scenes in which Temple was literally and figuratively exposed.
``Working with Billy was amazing. I trusted him implicitly and he made me feel comfortable, regardless of the scene. He made me feel like I was perfect for the role and that I could just go for it. I wasn't afraid to take risks largely because of him, she says.
Temple adds that the film's location also contributed to her sense of liberation and ease. While the movie is set in Texas, the production filmed in New Orleans.
``I love New Orleans! I would happily move there. You get an incredible feeling of freedom and lust for life there. It's an alive and electric city, Temple says.
Producer Scott Einbinder adds that while New Orleans' tax credits for filming were enticing, the city itself was the ideal location and, as Temple suggests, set the right tone.
``Tax rebates aside, our filming location had to reflect the mood and atmosphere of the story. New Orleans has so many different faces it proved to be the perfect backdrop for the story, he says.
ABOUT THE STORY
Tracy Letts assured the successful adaptation of his award-winning play by penning the screenplay himself. ``Killer Joe the play won top honors at the 1994 Fringe Theatre Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland before playing to sold-out audiences at London's The Buck and West Theatre. During it's four-month run, ``Killer Joe also won the Time Out Award as the Best Play of 1995. In 1998, the play found an off-Broadway home at the 200-seat SoHo Playhouse in New York City. In 2004, Tracy Letts received a Pulitzer nomination for ``The Man from Nebraska and more recently won for his searing family drama ``August: Osage County the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as well as the Tony Award for Best Play.
Letts explained his take on the story and characters in great detail and shared the information with the producers, cast, and crew.
``He even went as far to create an in-depth memo we could pass around to everybody involved on the production, Friedkin notes. ``We followed that pretty closely and it was an eye-opener in terms of what was the driving force underneath everything we were doing. In my humble opinion, it's that second level that makes the performances in this film so very rich and very real.
This ``second level informed the characters and impressed Gina Gershon. ``Tracy's uniqueness lies in the creation of his super intense characters. It becomes an amazing piece for actors to exploit, she says.
Emile Hirsch concurs: ``The movie is, first and foremost, an actor's dream. The dialogue-rich scenes and well-rounded characters created the potential for amazing performances which seemed limitless. I think that's what's so great about Tracy's writing. You can have these morally dubious and questionable characters, and he still manages to maintain some kind of integrity in some corner of their souls. That is a very hard thing to do as a writer."
The story is both gritty and engaging, with characters who are both brutal and tender - it is a morality play in a looking glass world. Ansel's conniving wife Sharla at first seems to have her husband and step-daughter's best interests at heart - until it is revealed that she is, in fact, the archetypal wicked stepmother. Joe Cooper, who has no qualms about his depraved double life as hired killer and detective, truly falls for his captive Dottie and is ultimately the person to unmask Sharla and her real intentions - in his own inimitable fashion. He thus exposes Ansel to the cause of all the family problems. Ansel may be craven but when Joe forces him to face the facts, he is clear-eyed. Chris, a bumbling, failed con man, may be inept but in his fashion, he has a heart and a conscience and, ultimately, his better nature bests his more venal instincts. Friedkin accepted and embraced Letts' vision and both intentions inform the screen version of the play.
Einbinder elaborates: ``Billy saw the characters as dreamers, all of whom were searching for some sort of fulfilment. Although problematic individuals, they each were rich and unique in their own way. Tracy Letts' dialogue is, of course, amazing - but Billy filled in the nuances and layers, which allowed us to attract such a wonderful cast.
In fact, the switch from stage to screen made a subtle difference to Thomas Haden Church. ``With it being such a honed stage play, and now adapted for the big screen, the pacing ends up helping you find the character living within you, and to find the vitality within it, explains Church. ``The audience may think they know where something's headed, but due to the organic nature of the relationships, it could go askew at any moment.
``Askew is an understatement, especially when describing Detective ``Killer Joe Cooper - a role unlike anything Matthew McConaughey has ever played. Known more as a likable, leading man, McConaughey's portrayal of Killer Joe is light-years away.
``'Killer Joe' is a pretty outrageous story, McConaughey says. ``This film was a departure from any project I've ever worked on before. The writing and the rhythms are different than anything I've ever read or been a part of before. Co-star Emile Hirsch states, ``I'm particularly excited to see McConaughey in this part as he brings in so many different elements. It's something very unexpected from him and it reminds me a bit of John Travolta doing 'Pulp Fiction.'
ABOUT THE CHARACTERS
Matthew McConaughey plays ``Killer Joe Cooper, a sheriff in the Dallas Police Department who doubles as a hired hit man. Joe is a calm, methodical killer whose charm and placid demeanor belies his explosive violence and oddball sexual proclivities.
McConaughey reflects, "I tried not to make too many decisions for Joe, but instinctually fell into some spots that really inspired me early on. It's part of why this has been fun all the way. There was something new with Joe every single day at work and that's what I was hoping for. That's what I'd foreseen in reading the script."
McConaughey believes Joe's attraction to Dottie and the Smith family stems from the character's lack of a family of his own. ``He evidently lost his sense of family pretty early on in his life, so the only structure this guy gets is from his job, McConaughey says. ``He needs a family - it's what he didn't have.
When he sees Dottie for the first time, Killer Joe becomes infatuated with her and sees her as a possible salvation, not merely collateral in lieu of payment. A distinct connection forms and a perfect rhythm ensues between Dottie and Killer Joe. McConaughey describes them as, ``being on two parallel universes that happen to intersect at the same time, allowing them to understand each other.
While Dottie's family believes her to be ``simple, Juno Temple found her character's complexity very intriguing.
``Dottie has so many different layers, which are slowly exposed within each scene, especially her scenes with Killer Joe, as she is invoked in this weird sexual awakening, explains Temple. ``She has an overwhelming love for her brother, in that she doesn't want to disappoint him, but ultimately realizes that he has nothing going for himself. She can't stay with this dysfunctional family forever and she wants to go live her life.
McConaughey adds, ``Her family has whored her out and bartered her to this man, who they don't know, as a retainer to kill their mother. Underneath Joe thinks this to be quite despicable. For that he wants to help her escape, but he also realizes that he can save himself along the way. Not in a self-righteous way, but in this biblical, Old Testament, fire and brimstone type way by teaching Chris, Ansel, and Sharla, especially Sharla - some lessons.
Hirsch describes his character Chris as being a small-time drug dealer who just can't catch a break. "He's a flawed guy, but he still has big dreams and aspirations. He's a bit of an entrepreneur and a likable loser at the same time. It seems everything Chris touches goes awry for everybody, himself included. Even the family dog only barks at him whenever he approaches the trailer, he says.
Given his murky morals, it's surprising that Chris proves to be such a sympathetic character, even after he willingly offers up his sister as a retainer for Joe's $25,000 murder fee.
``He is without a moral compass and just very, very unlucky. I don't think he's malicious at heart - apart from killing his mother, pimping out his sister and selling drugs to his father," producer Chartier jokes.
Though the film may be called Killer Joe, it is seen from the eyes of Dottie. ``She's very childish, but then also incredibly wise beyond her years. She's one of the most honest characters I've ever played in my entire life, Temple explains. ``Dottie is similar to that of a China doll, involved in a whirlwind of violence and madness. Joe is the first person who has ever looked at her as a woman, which is quite extraordinary for her. He actually involves her in conversation and makes her feel very special."
Gina Gershon plays Sharla, the second wife of Ansel Smith and wicked stepmother to Chris and Dottie. She is deliciously self-absorbed - she drinks, says exactly what is on her mind, cheats on her husband and has a penchant for walking around naked.
``Sharla just wants to get out, but can't as she's always got her hand into too many wicked things. She's like a little bug trying to survive and just barely surviving at that, Gina explains. ``Like a femme fatale in the noir movies of the 30s and 40s, she manipulates everyone, until Killer Joe figures out her scheme.
Thomas Haden Church plays Chris and Dottie's father Ansel. It is Ansel's ex-wife -- and mother to his children -- who becomes the target for Killer Joe when Chris discovers she has a $50,000 life insurance policy that names Dottie as the beneficiary. "He's pretty straight-forward. He's a guy who has given up on his dreams. Now he's just earning a paycheck and living day-to-day," Church reveals about his character.
``Ansel might seem dumb, but he's probably the only character who actually knows what's good for him. The problem is, he just wants to live a simple life," Chartier adds. ``I had worked with Thomas years ago on 'Rolling Kansas,' the first film he directed, and he was fantastic. He's a lot of fun; a very, very nice man and a great actor. His comedic timing is impeccable.
Friedkin describes Church as a ``tremendous actor. ``He understood this role better than I did, so I let him do his thing, Friedkin says. ``Church is from the part of the country where this film takes place, Dallas, Texas. That being said he, understood the character very well. He didn't have to fake it, put on an accent, or a disguise. Similarly, with Gina Gershon, she understood Sharla and knew the dark side of her character. At first she didn't want to go there, as there were times that were very difficult, not only for an actress, but for a human being. She recognized that this was brilliantly written and it was something she should do. I'm glad she did because Gina gave a brilliant performance.
Ultimately, Friedkin believes that these flawed characters might provide a tragic, social commentary of some kind. He understands that the film will provide some uncomfortable yet unflinching truths, but he views his characters with an open mind and hopes others will do the same. Friedkin proclaims, ``It's set in the contemporary world, and nothing shocks me in this world. That's why I was able to approach this film. There's some nasty stuff going on out there and 'Killer Joe' explores behaviors that are sometimes difficult to understand. So little of what happens to us in life is something that we have control of; all the characters in 'Killer Joe' are trying to get control of their lives, but they can't. Friedkin describes Joe as a dark ``deus ex machina, a force of nature that comes in from the outside and affects the lives of all the other people who he touches. However, in this instance, they willingly brought him in; they opened the door to this character, as some people open the door to God within themselves... or to the devil.
Matthew McConaughey ``Killer Joe Cooper
Matthew McConaughey is one of Hollywood's most sought after leading men and a huge box office draw. His numerous films have grossed over a billion dollars worldwide at the box office. He is a Texas native who, while attending the University of Texas in Austin, planned to be a lawyer. After discovering the inspirational Og Mandino book ``The Greatest Salesman in the World before one of his final exams, he suddenly knew that he had to change his major from law to film.
McConaughey began his acting career in 1991, appearing in student films and commercials in Texas and directing short films. It was a chance meeting in Austin, TX with casting director and producer, Don Phillips that led to an introduction to the then up-and-coming film director Richard Linklater. Linklater cast McConaughey as the unforgettable Wooderson in the cult classic Dazed and Confused. McConaughey has appeared in over 40 feature films and has portrayed an athlete, a police officer, a football coach, and a lawyer. He has worked with Hollywood greats such as Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Sandra Bullock, and Al Pacino to name a few. In addition to acting, McConaughey is a producer, director, and philanthropist. Known around the world for his work, McConaughey is ground by his Texas roots and ``j.k. livin philosophy
McConaughey recently wrapped production on Lee Daniel's The Paperboy, opposite Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, and Zac Efron. McConaughey will appear as the title character in Jeff Nichols' drama Mud, and is costarring along Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer in Steven Soderbergh's upcoming indie drama, Magic Mike.
In 2011, McConaughey starred as Mick Haller in the legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, adapted from the hit novel series by best-selling author, Michael Connelly. McConaughey was also recently seen in Richard Linklater's latest dark comedy, Bernie opposite Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine. Bernie premiered at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Matthew starred as Connor Mead in the hit romantic comedy, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past opposite Michael Douglas and Jennifer Garner in 2009.
In 2008, McConaughey appeared in the ensemble cast of Ben Stiller's wildly successful action comedy, Tropic Thunder. Earlier in 2008, he headlined opposite Kate Hudson in Fool's Gold, for director Andy Tennant. He also produced and starred in Surfer, Dude a comedy that featured music from his own j.k. livin recording artist, Mishka.
Previously, McConaughey portrayed real-life college football coach Jack Lengyel in the critically acclaimed drama We Are Marshall, the inspiring story of a small West Virginia town's struggle with devastating loss.
In 2005, he starred with Penelope Cruz and Steve Zahn in the action-adventure comedy Sahara - the first major motion picture produced by his production company j.k living productions. He earned a People's Choice Award for his role in the film, which opened at the top of the weekend box office. Later that year, McConaughey starred opposite Al Pacino in the drama Two for the Money and was named as People Magazine's ``Sexiest Man Alive for 2005.
Additional film credits include: the popular romantic comedies Failure to Launch, with Sarah Jessica Parker, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, opposite Kate Hudson; the sci-fi adventure Reign of Fire, with Christian Bale; the ensemble drama Thirteen Conversations About One Thing; the horror thriller Frailty, written and directed by Bill Paxton; and Adam Shankman's hit romantic comedy The Wedding Planner, opposite Jennifer Lopez.
McConaughey also starred in the World War II action drama U-571, Ron Howard's EDtv, Steven Spielberg's Amistad, Robert Zemeckis' Contact, and Joel Schumacher's critically acclaimed courtroom drama A Time to Kill, as well as Lone Star, Angels in the Outfield, The Newton Boys, and The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
McConaughey's production company, j.k. livin, executive produced the feature documentary Hands on a Hard Body, and is currently in development on numerous projects with various studios and production companies.
In addition to his film career, Matthew is dedicated to giving back to the community through his philanthropy work. In 2008, he started the j.k. livin foundation which is dedicated to helping teens lead active lives and make healthy choices to become great men and women. The core message of the foundation is that each child will benefit given the opportunity for a healthy lifestyle. The j.k. livin foundation works with schools throughout the United States and in other parts of the world to reach the maximum number of children with the greatest needs. The official website is: www.jklivinfoundation.org
Emile Hirsch Chris Smith
Emile Hirsch recently took time off from acting to work on a humanitarian journey that took him through the Congo, Zimbabwe, and the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. Following those incredible experiences Emile had a fire to get back to acting and he's been busy ever since. First came The Darkest Hour, a sci-fi action thriller directed by Chris Gorak set in Russia about a group of kids who struggle to survive after an alien invasion. Immediately following that, Hirsch went to New Orleans to work with legendary director William Friedkin on Killer Joe. Following Christmas break, Emile jumped into The Motel Life, based on the novel by Willy Vlautin, starring opposite Dakota Fanning. He recently finished working on Oliver Stone's Savages with Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, and Benicio Del Toro. Hirsch will next shoot Venuto al Mondo in Italy, based on the best selling book by Margaret Mazzantini, which will star Penelope Cruz and will be directed by Sergio Castellitto.
In 2008, Hirsch was a Screen Actors Guild Award nominee as part of the ensemble of Gus Van Sant's Milk. In the movie, Hirsch starred as real-life activist Cleve Jones opposite Sean Penn's Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award-winning performance as Harvey Milk. The following year, Hirsch worked on Taking Woodstock, directed by Ang Lee and based on James Schamus' adaptation of Elliot Tiber's memoir.
In 2007, Hirsch garnered attention for his captivating performance in Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn. Based on the bestselling book by Jon Krakauer and adapted for the screen by Penn, Into the Wild starred Hirsch as real-life adventurer Christopher McCandless. His portrayal earned him the National Board of Review Award for Breakthrough Performance by an Actor; the Rising Star Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival; Gotham and Critics' Choice Award nominations for Best Actor; and two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, in both the lead actor and ensemble categories.
Hirsch's other feature films include the Wachowski Brother's Speed Racer, Nick Cassavetes' Alpha Dog, and Catherine Hardwicke's Lords of Dogtown, opposite Heath Ledger.
Juno Temple Dottie Smith
In just a few years, Juno Temple has firmly established herself as one of the most versatile and talented young actresses in Hollywood.
Temple recently wrapped production on Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, the third film in the Batman franchise. Temple stars alongside Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. The movie is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on July 20, 2012. Temple is also starring in an independent film entitled The Brass Teapot about a young broke couple that steals a teapot that produces cash whenever someone feels pain.
Additionally, Temple is starring in Jack and Diane, a love story between two teenage girls, one of whom occasionally turns into a werewolf as a representation of all-consuming love and desire.
Temple can also be seen in Killer Films' Dirty Girl, in which the actress plays a notorious high school slut who journeys from Oklahoma to California to find her father. The Weinstein Company purchased the film for distribution at the Toronto Film Festival, and released it on August 5, 2011. Temple also starred as the Queen in Paul W.S. Anderson's The Three Musketeers, which was released by Summit Entertainment in October 2011. The cast includes Christoph Waltz, Mads Mikkelsen and Milla Jovovich.
Temple had two films premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. She starred as Lily Hobart opposite Kate Bosworth and Leslie Mann in Elgin James' Little Birds, which Millennium Entertainment acquired for distribution in fall 2011. Her other film, Kaboom, is Gregg Araki's sci-fi tale about the sexual awakening of a group of college students.
In 2009, Temple appeared in the independent drama, Cracks, directed by Jordan Scott. The film explores the dark side of female relationships at an elite, English boarding school. Temple plays Di Radfield, a student who becomes obsessed with her teacher, played by Eva Green. In 2010, Temple appeared in Focus Features' relationship dramedy, Greenberg, directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Ben Stiller.
In 2008, Temple was seen in The Other Boleyn Girl, opposite Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Temple played Jane Parker, who marries Anne Boleyn's (Portman) brother. Parker's accusations of incest between the two ultimately led to the executions of both George and Anne.
In 2007, she appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Atonement, opposite Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan. Temple played Lola Quincey, who changes everyone's lives when she is raped in the garden and Briony (Ronan) erroneously names Robbie (McAvoy) as the rapist.
Temple's breakthrough came in 2006 when she won the role of Cate Blanchett's daughter in the Academy Award nominated film Notes on a Scandal. Temple played Polly, the rebellious daughter of Blanchett's character Sheba.
Additional credits include Mr. Nobody, Year One, 1939 and British box office hits St. Trinian's, Wild Child and Pandaemonium.
Juno is the daughter of director Julien Temple and producer Amanda Temple. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Thomas Haden Church Ansel Smith
Thomas Haden Church received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Jack starring opposite Paul Giamatti in Alexander Payne's critically acclaimed film Sideways. The Fox Searchlight Pictures' release premiered at the 29th Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win numerous awards in 2004 and 2005, including a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Picture, Broadcast Film Critics award for Best Picture, a Screen Actors Guild / SAG Award for Best Ensemble Cast and 6 Independent Spirit Awards. Church was also honored as Best Supporting Actor by the Broadcast Film Critics and the Independent Spirit Awards.
Church most recently starred in the Disney Pictures' sci-fi, adventure John Carter opposite Willem Dafoe, Bryan Cranston, Samantha Morton and Taylor Kitsch. Previously, Church was in Cameron Crowe's We Bought A Zoo, which was released on December 23, 2011 by 20th Century Fox. The film also starred Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Patrick Fugit, and Elle Fanning. Church also starred in Another Happy Day opposite Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore, Ellen Barkin, Jeffrey DeMun, and Ellen Burstyn, which was released November 4th .
In 2010, Church was seen in Sony Screen Gems' Easy A, a comedy co-starring Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci, Penn Badgley, and Patricia Clarkson with Will Gluck directing. The film opened to critical accolades and has performed exceptionally well at the worldwide box office.
In 2009, Church starred opposite Elisabeth Shue and Melissa Leo in Don McKay, which premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Two other movies starring Church included 20th Century Fox's dark comedy All About Steve, opposite Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper and Paramount Pictures' family film Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy.
In 2007, Church gained worldwide appreciation for starring as the villain Sandman aka Flint Marko in the third installment of Sony Pictures franchise, Spider-Man 3, which was 2007's largest box-office success. That year, Church also starred opposite Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker in the Miramax art-house film, Smart People.
Church won an Emmy Award and received a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for his role as Tom Harte opposite the legendary Robert Duvall in the western epic, Broken Trail. The movie, directed by Walter Hill and premiering on AMC, was critically acclaimed and a huge ratings success. In 2006, Church utilized his unique voice in two voice-over roles; first as the cow in Dreamworks' Over the Hedge, and then as the crow, Brooks, in the remake of the classic, Charlotte's Web, released by Paramount Pictures.
Church made his feature film debut in the legendary film Tombstone in 1993. Church first gained prominence for his role as the bucket-headed mechanic, Lowell Mather, on the long-running NBC series Wings. He is also known for his lead role in the FOX series Ned and Stacey, in which he starred opposite Debra Messing as the self-righteous Ned Dorsey. In 1997, TIME Magazine proclaimed Ned Dorsey as ``One of the six reasons to watch television. That same year, and for the same performance, Church was declared ``unfit to live with dogs by National Public Radio.
Church has also had roles in numerous feature films, most notably opposite Brendan Fraser in the box-office blockbuster George of the Jungle, and the straight-to-cable Free Money, opposite the brilliant and (bizarre) Marlon Brando.
In addition, Church was the co-screenwriter and director of the film Rolling Kansas, which premiered as an official selection to the Sundance Film Festival in 2003.
Church resides on his ranch in Texas.
Gina Gershon Sharla Smith
Gina Gershon recently spent two seasons on HBO's hit show How To Make It In America as classy, sexy, Nancy Frankenburg. She is next set to star in The Unknown Son alongside Val Kilmer, Eric Roberts, and David Anders. She recently starred in Taylor Hackford's Love Ranch opposite Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci. Gina's other work includes such films as Richard LaGravenese's P.S. I Love You, Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls, The Wachowski Brothers' Bound, Robert Altman's The Player, Alex Steyermark's Prey for Rock & Roll (which she went on tour to promote and ended up producing the documentary Rocked for IFC), Michael Mann's The Insider, and John Woo's Face/Off. She has also had television roles on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Rescue Me, and Eastbound & Down.
Gershon is also a singer/songwriter releasing her first eclectic album entitled In Search of Cleo (which she then turned into a one-woman show) in 2007. Gershon went on to release with a kids' album, Beardo & Baddo - The Good, The Bad, & The Hungry. Gina is also a children's book writer. In 2008, Putnam Juvenile published her Camp Creepy Time, a tale of a boy who discovers aliens at his summer camp.
William Friedkin Director
Tracy Letts Writer
Letts wrote the screenplay for Bug, which was made into a feature film directed by William Friedkin and starring Ashley Judd. Friedkin also directed the feature film adaptation - also written by Letts - of Killer Joe starring Matthew McConaughey. Letts was the recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his play August: Osage County. He is currently adapting that play for the big-screen for The Weinstein Company.
Lett's most recent play Superior Donuts opened on Broadway in October of 2009.
Nicolas Chartier Producer
Nicolas Chartier, the Academy Award-winning producer of The Hurt Locker, has been involved in the financing, production and sales of a diverse range of films for the past ten years. In 2005, he founded Voltage Pictures, an International financing, sales and production operation. He has handled over 150 movies in the past six years. ``The Hurt Locker was Voltage Pictures first in-house production and claimed six Oscars in 2009, including Best Picture. Killer Joe is its second in-house film and was directed by William Friedkin and starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch. Killer Joe had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September 2011. His next film The Company You Keep is currently in postproduction and is directed by Robert Redford and starring Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon, Richard Jenkins, Julie Christie, and Brit Marling. Voltage has also co-financed or sold international rights for George's Romero's Diary of the Dead, The Whistleblower, Fire with Fire, Peace Love and Misunderstanding and Summer at Dog Dave's.
Prior to forming Voltage, Chartier was VP of sales and acquisitions at Myriad Pictures. Here, Chartier was involved in the sales of a diverse range of films such as The Good Girl and Van Wilder. As the president of Vortex Pictures, he sold such titles as Joel Zwick's My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Nicolas Cage's Sonny. As head of sales and acquisitions at Arclight Films, Chartier acquired Dean Devlin's The Librarian, 2006 Academy Award winner Crash and The Matador starring Pierce Brosnan. During his time at Arclight, Chartier also sold Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage and The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino.
Prior to producing Killer Joe with Nicolas Chartier, Scott Einbinder was co-CEO of Leomax Entertainment, a Los Angeles- and Berlin-based motion picture production house. At Leomax, Einbinder produced: the psychological-thriller Walled In starring Mischa Barton based on the best-selling French novel; Grace, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, won the Special Jury Prize at France's prestigious Gérardmer Film Festival and played in over 30 festivals throughout the world; and The Shortcut, co-produced with Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions. Einbinder oversaw development, financing, business affairs, distribution, and production activities on the three films.
Previous to forming Leomax, Einbinder was a partner at Los Angeles-based Sandstorm Films. The company had a first look deal at the Screen Gems division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. At Sandstorm, Einbinder executive produced 14 motion pictures including The Covenant starring Taylor Kitsch and Chase Crawford. The film was number one at the box office in its opening weekend in 2006. Einbinder was responsible for forging a unique marketing deal between Screen Gems and Top Cow Comics, the third-largest comic book publisher in the world, in which Top Cow created, produced and distributed a comic book based upon The Covenant screenplay.
Other Screen Gems theatrical releases Einbinder produced include The Forsaken and Outside Ozona starring Academy Award nominees Robert Forster and David Paymer. Einbinder also executive produced 8MM 2 starring Jonathan Schaech, Alien Hunter starring James Spader, The Marksman starring Wesley Snipes, Vampires: The Turning and True Blue starring Tom Berenger, and both Sniper 2 and 3 both also starring Berenger.
While at Sandstorm, Einbinder oversaw development, production, financing, distribution, and business affairs of its movies shot in Thailand, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Canada, and the United States. At Sandstorm, Einbinder produced Exit in Red starring Mickey Rourke, Black Day Blue Night starring JT Walsh and Gil Bellows, and Shadowhunter starring Benjamin Bratt and Scott Glenn.
Prior to Sandstorm, Einbinder worked as a literary agent, then a manager and development executive, at Waterman Entertainment, where he worked on projects set up at Universal Pictures, NBC, HBO and The Family Channel. Einbinder began his career as a publicist and marketing executive at New World Pictures and Empire Entertainment, where he worked in both the domestic and international distribution arena, executing campaigns for the company's theatrical and home entertainment releases.
In addition to his work in the entertainment industry, Einbinder is involved in a number of charitable and philanthropic organizations. He is Chair of the Southern California Regional Council, and a member of the National Board of Progressive Jewish Alliance - Jewish Funds for Justice, which educates and advocates on issues of social and economic justice, civil liberties, peace and dialogue. He is a graduate of the Anti-Defamation League's Salvin Leadership Institute and was a member of the ADL's Entertainment Industry Committee.
Einbinder attended California State University Long Beach where he earned a BA degree in Film and Television and minored in Public Relations and Journalism. He also studied in the Department of Cinema at University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle.
Caleb Deschanel Director of Photography
Caleb Deschanel, ASC (Director of Photography) is a graduate of the USC film school and The American Film Institute. He first impressed moviegoers with his photography for The Black Stallion and Being There, both of which were 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 The Escape Artist starring Raul Julia, Griffin O'Neal and Joan Hackett for American Zoetrope. He also directed Crusoe starring Aidan Quinn. He's directed multiple episodes of the television series Twin Peaks and episodes of Law and Order.
Deschanel photographed Fly Away Home in 1996, garnering his third Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography and a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography by the American Society of Cinematographers. He shot Forrest Whitaker's Hope Floats, 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 the ASC Award). He was again nominated for an Academy Award for the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. He went on to photograph National Treasure and The Spiderwick Chronicles. He also collaborated with director and writer Robert Towne on Ask the Dust and Nick Cassevete's My Sisters Keeper. He was honored with the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Franco-Giacomo Carbone Production Designer
Carbone began his career as a stage designer in New York City working for avant-garde theater companies such as La Mama and Circle Repertory Company. He transitioned to film during the independent film boom of the mid-1990s, after graduating from the AFI film program with a Masters of Fine Art degree in production design for film and television. Carbone is also a previous graduate of the Parsons School of Design and the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Last summer's The Expendables was Carbone's third film collaboration with actor/director Sylvester Stallone. He first teamed up with Stallone on Rocky Balboa then set off for the jungles of Thailand for Rambo.
Recently, Carbone wrapped production for the action comedy One for the Money starring Katherine Heigl, and The Last Stand starring Arnold Schwarzenegger for Lionsgate Films.
Darrin Navarro Editor
Killer Joe is Darrin Navarro's second feature collaboration with William Friedkin. After working with Friedkin as an assistant editor for a decade, he first moved into the editor's chair for the highly-acclaimed psychological thriller, Bug, starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon. Since then, Navarro has brought his rigorous eye and storytelling sense to Azazel Jacobs' films, Momma's Man and Terri, and Paul Solet's indie horror film, Grace, all of which were official selections at the Sundance Film Festival. Recently, Navarro edited Alison Bagnall's Indie drama, The Dish & the Spoon, starring Greta Gerwig.
Tyler Bates Composer / Innovator
Ambient electronic textures, intoxicating vocal melodies, driving hypnotic rhythms -- these are just some of the phrases to describe the musical innovations of Tyler Bates. Bates is creating some of the most distinctive music today whether as one of the most sought-after composers scoring hit films Watchmen, 300, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Rob Zombie's Halloween and Halloween 2, scoring Showtime's hit comedy Californication, or writing music for videogames such as Army of Two: The 40th Day, Activision's Transformers and the 300 and Watchmen games. His latest projects include Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch, Emilio Estevez's The Way, James Gunn's Super, and Genndy Tartakovsky's animated series for Cartoon Network Sym-Bionic Titan.
Bates' music possesses a timbre of its own, attracting visionary filmmakers who aim to make extraordinary films with commercial appeal. His work on Zack Snyder's battle epic, 300, embodies expansive orchestral and choral themes that express a sweeping range of color and emotion with a rock n' roll attitude. Snyder responded to Bates' score concept for Dawn of the Dead, and hired him to create the music for his zombie epic, which became an instant classic in the horror movie genre. Both Rob Zombie and Dawn script-writer James Gunn recognized the effect of Bates' music for Dawn, and recruited him to score their films, The Devil's Rejects, Halloween 1 and 2 and Slither, respectively, which have joined the pantheon of cult classic films and earned Bates' the moniker ``The Devil's DJ by his directors!
The film that cemented Bates' career in scoring movies was director Stephen Kay's art house Be-Bop film, The Last Time I Committed Suicide, starring Keanu Reeves, Adrien Brody, and Thomas Jane. This film, whose critically acclaimed soundtrack was released on Blue Note Records, led to their collaboration on several films, including Get Carter; the catalyst to Bates' stylistic emergence as a film composer. Bates followed up with Matt Dillon's directorial debut, City Of Ghosts, and Mario Van Peebles' acclaimed BAADASSSSS!
Early in his career, while composing a string of low-budget films, Bates, along with singer-songwriter Lisa Papineau, formed the band, Pet. The duo created a stir in Los Angeles that led to their major label debut on Atlantic Records, recorded at Amos' hillside castle in rural Ireland in 1996. Pet soon had a platinum record to their credit for the song Lil' Boots, from The Crow: City Of Angels soundtrack album, and began touring stints with Blink 182, Limp Bizkit, and Social Distortion. By late 1997, Bates' desire to write and record music on a daily basis prompted him to leave the group and focus his energy solely on scoring films.
Tyler Bates spent his formative years in Chicago, developing his keen obsession with music. An avid enthusiast, his mother introduced him to a wide range of recording artists; from Zappa to Coltrane, Simon and Garfunkel to Sly Stone. The soundtrack albums for the Broadway musicals Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar left an indelible impression upon him, both compositionally and emotionally.
At age ten, his hard-partying teenage cousins introduced him to Led Zeppelin and Kiss, which was all it took for Bates to drop his alto saxophone for an electric guitar. He then found the early records of U2, Gang of Four, and King Crimson, which influenced the principles apparent in his music today. The limitations of his home studio equipment became an integral part of his creative process; sparking an experimental approach in effort to complete his compositional ideas.
His foray into music production began by daisy-chaining cassette recorders to produce multi-track recordings. An Echoplex and other sound mutation devices became the gateway to his atmospheric explorations and counter-rhythmic sensibilities, as he studied the effects of varying tape speeds on live and pre-recorded sound sources.
By 19, Bates managed a trading firm in Chicago while enjoying the beginnings of great success in bands, but he could not ignore the calling to expand his career in music. In 1993, fueled by an offer to score a movie that paid less than a month's rent, Bates returned to his native Los Angeles with little experience in making music for films.
In 2011, with more than 40 films and 17 years of experience scoring movies, Bates is at the forefront of innovation in film music, steadfastly finding new ways to connect the emotional with the abstract and the organic with electronic.