The main thing about John Plummer (Jason Lee) is that he's a regular Joe. Not the brightest bulb in the universe, perhaps, but an all-around good guy. Down-to-earth. Works hard in his less-than-inspiring job at a home medical supply store. The very soul of decency. And, as we shall see, generous to a fault...a big fault.
John is about to reap the rewards of his goodness, preparing to marry his longtime girlfriend Elaine (Leslie Mann) now that they've saved up their goal of $30,000 for a down payment on a dream house.
Because years before, John made a solemn and long-forgotten vow to pay for his trailer-park-dwelling niece Noreen's (Tammy Blanchard) college tuition if she got into a good school. Noreen hasn't exactly had it easy...her mother Patty (Megan Mullally), John's ever-lovin' sister, practically defines "trailer trash," with four marriages behind her and Lord knows how many more up ahead. But now, miraculously, Noreen has pulled herself up by the bootstraps and been accepted by none other than Harvard University, that glorious bastion of higher education. After taking into account financial aid and all of her savings, all Noreen needs from her Uncle John is another $29,879 for tuition.
A dilemma for John soon turns into a disaster when Elaine thrillingly announces that she's spent their entire thirty grand on a down payment for a house she liked. Unable to tell his fiancee of what's occurred for fear that she'll leave him and her overprotective father (Dennis Farina) will mutilate him, disaster soon tips over into catastrophe when a desperate John turns to his friend Duff (Tom Green) for help.
The main thing to remember about Duff is that he's a nitwit. Aside from the fact that he's lazy, shiftless and clueless, Duff has many fine qualities...although John seems to be the only one who can see them. And now, with only two weeks to raise the $30,000 for Noreen's tuition, Duff lures John into a brief and utterly hapless life of crime, as they wind up doing all the wrong things for all the right reasons.
One lame-brained plot after another--whether a ridiculously bungled liquor store robbery or an equally crackbrained get-rich-quick scheme choreographed by Duff's phlegmatic Uncle Jack (Seymour Cassel)--blows up in their faces as John and Duff try to tempt a highly resistant Lady Luck into their corner. But also just around the corner is the law, with Detective Charles (John C. McGinley)--who takes his job real seriously--hot on their trail.
Revolution Studios and Imagine Entertainment present Stealing Harvard, distributed by Columbia Pictures, an outrageous new comedy combining the creative talents of some of film's freshest new voices and most accomplished veterans.
Starring in the film as the luckless buddies are Tom Green, one of the most irreverent comic performers in North America, best known for MTV's The Tom Green Show and his iconoclastic appearances in Road Trip and Charlie's Angels; and Jason Lee, whose winning performances in such motion pictures as Almost Famous, Mumford and Vanilla Sky have marked him as a compelling and versatile young actor. Starring with Green and Lee in Stealing Harvard are Leslie Mann (George of the Jungle, The Cable Guy), Emmy Award-winner Megan Mullally (Karen Walker on TV's "Will and Grace," Dennis Farina (Snatch, Saving Private Ryan, Out of Sight, TV's "Crime Story") and Richard Jenkins (Changing Lanes). Also appearing are such noted character actors as and John C. McGinley (Platoon, TV's current "Scrubs"), Chris Penn (Murder by Numbers), Academy Awardr nominee Seymour Cassel (Faces, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) and Tammy Blanchard (Emmy nominee for her performance as the young Judy Garland in the mini-series "Me and My Shadows: Life With Judy Garland").
Stealing Harvard is directed by Bruce McCulloch, one of the members of the renowned comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall who has since directed the features Dog Park and Superstar. The producer is Susan Cavan (Superstar, Magic Hunter) and the executive producers are Howard Lapides (TV's The Man Show), Maureen Peyrot, Chris Brancato and Albert J. Salke (the Sci-Fi Channel's First Wave).
The story for the film is written by Martin Hynes and Peter Tolan (Analyze This and its forthcoming follow-up Analyze That, America's Sweethearts) and the screenplay by Peter Tolan.
McCulloch and the producers assembled a top-notch team of creative artists for Stealing Harvard, including director of photography Ueli Steiger, ASC (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me), production designer Gregory Keen (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), film editor Malcolm Campbell (Keeping the Faith), costume designer Betsy Heimann (Cameron Crowe's Vanilla Sky),) and composer Christophe Beck (Emmy winner for TV's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The film is rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and drug references.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Making a smart movie about not-so-smart people can be a challenging proposition. But director Bruce McCulloch, who created his share of wild comedy as a member of the innovative North-of-the-Border comedy troupe, The Kids in the Hall, saw a good opportunity with Stealing Harvard of telling a story about the have-nots rather than the haves. "I'm not that interested in people who get what they want in life," he notes. "I'm drawn to people who are in over their heads, who are having trouble, or who can't quite communicate perfectly."
Screenwriter Peter Tolan describes Stealing Harvard as a journey about "not-too-bright guys getting themselves into a not-too-good situation and handling it not-too-well...although it's all for a good cause."
Producer Susan Cavan, who produced McCulloch's previous films, admits that the director could connect with the script on a somewhat personal level. "I knew Bruce would relate to John's predicament in the story because he comes from a similar kind of family, and he takes care of a lot of people," she says.
At the foundation of Stealing Harvard is a study in friendship, however fraught with difficulties it may be, between two young men whose brain wattage is perhaps less than illuminating. "John is Everyman, only not as bright as I hope Everyman is," says screenwriter Tolan. "He's not a take-charge guy, so he gets buffeted around by external forces, and things begin to snowball because he doesn't really stand up for himself.
"Duff, on the other hand, is your friend from high school who never grew up. We all have one of those. You feel sorry for this friend and are a little embarrassed by him. But there's a history there that you can't ignore, even when your instincts are pulling you the other way."
And then there's family. "Patty is the sister from hell," adds Tolan. "Just horribly incorrect and socially blunt, but also great fun."
Such characters, in addition to a plethora of equally colorful characters who dot the Stealing Harvard landscape, made for a combustible combination and a casting challenge for Bruce McCulloch. As John, the director selected Jason Lee, who's enjoyed considerable success over the past few years as a performer who can easily move between leading and supporting roles in a wide range of projects. "I'd seen Jason in Kevin Smith's films as well as Mumford," McCulloch notes, "and I liked his quality of being an atypical leading man. He can pull off playing a man trapped in a cage, which is what John's predicament is in the film."
Jason Lee was, in turn, enticed by the project. "When you have a screenplay by Peter Tolan and you have an opportunity to work with Joe Roth, you jump! Stealing Harvard has a comedic edge and the comedy is dialogue-driven. I liked its subtle, intelligent humor." Lee was also attracted by the notion of working with the man at the helm. "You don't question people with Bruce McCulloch's history of comedy," he notes.
Stealing Harvard marked a reunion between McCulloch and Tom Green, as the director had cast the actor in a small role in his previous feature, Superstar. "I was really impressed with Tom's conceptual creations and his commitment to what he was doing," says McCulloch. "I knew that he had this complicated comedic brain, and that we could collaborate on and embellish Duff's character together."
McCulloch notes that he and Green work in a form that was familiar to both of them. "It's the 'what if, what if, what if' school of "Saturday Night Live" and "Kids in the Hall" kind of humor," he explains. Green describes Duff as "a bit of a scam artist, a con man. His old friend John comes to him for help because he figures that Duff is either smart or stupid enough to help him to get some money, possibly in a semi-illegal fashion. They end up engaging in some adventures together, and that's where the real fun begins."
Then there is the unconventional sister whose demands set the plot in motion. Megan Mullally describes her character, Patty, as "a well-meaning mess. She thinks of herself as an independent spirit, but basically, she's outrageous in everything she does. The great thing about Patty is that she says what's on her mind. She's certainly not trying to be offensive to anybody...she's just going to straighten you out."
Mullally didn't do any specific research for the part, but did have a secret role model in mind. "There's someone I grew up with--I won't say who--who reminds me of Patty. And it was inescapable for me not to think about her when I was on set," she admits.
Balancing out the cast was formidable, but McCulloch found a perfect piece to his puzzle when he cast Leslie Mann in the role of Elaine. "I think that Leslie is super-quirky, super-sexy and she really embodied what I wanted her character to be, which is not to just be 'the girlfriend.' As the film progresses, Mann gets to throw food off the table, get crazy in the middle of the night and kick butt with Jason and Tom. She also has a slightly weird relationship with her father. I knew that Leslie could combine the responsible 'girlfriend' with the wackiness of the rest of the story."
Rounding out the cast, McCulloch invited Tammy Blanchard--who received rave reviews and an Emmy nomination for her performance as the young Judy Garland in the ABC TV miniseries "Me and My Shadow: Life With Judy Garland" -- to make her big-screen debut as Noreen, the undisputed joy and, unwittingly, the bane of her Uncle John's existence. "I loved Noreen's spirit," says Blanchard, "and her eyes, which are sort of like an old soul. You kind of melt when she looks at you." Blanchard found the script "funny and sweet," and like McCulloch, found inspiration in her own family. "Noreen is like one of my favorite cousins, Crystal, who's so outgoing and good-natured. John is like several of my uncles, who are all fabulous and caring. Also, the story is based around family values, and that's the most important thing in the world to me."
As filming got underway, a decision was made to subtly alter Tom Green's appearance as Duff. "I put a cap on my front teeth because I wanted to change my voice and speech pattern a little bit," says the actor. "Also, I purposely wanted to wear tighter-fitting clothes to make me feel different, and affect my posture."
All of the film's actors echoed equal enthusiasm for director Bruce McCulloch throughout the shooting schedule on practical locations and sound stages in and around Los Angeles. "I never questioned Bruce's directing choices for me because I just knew he knew what he was doing," notes Jason Lee. "He was awesome."
For Tom Green, McCulloch had been the clincher to his participation all along. "Although I loved the script, the fact that Bruce was going to direct it made it just perfect. And making the movie lived up to my expectations. Bruce is really a kind of goofy guy. He makes me laugh a lot when he goes off into these weird places. So if you're laughing between takes, and the mood of the set is up, then it makes it easy to come to work every day."
"Bruce has a great sense of humor," agrees Megan Mullally. "And he was wonderful with helping me play with my part, experiment with it, and come up with ways of doing a scene that I wouldn't necessarily have come up with right away."
Producer Susan Cavan adds "Bruce has several strengths as a director. Firstly, he's a skilled and funny writer, so his work in supervising the final script stages is intense and unquestionably contributes to an inspired shooting script that exploits the particular talents of his cast to the hilt. He's also very much an actor's director, able to inspire his cast and motivate their performances. So he has his unique idea about the world of his film, and it will be cinematic, fresh and twisted."
McCulloch expresses mutual regard for his Stealing Harvard cast. "All the actors did such an amazing job. They made their roles funnier and more complex than they appeared on the page."
ABOUT THE CAST
TOM GREEN (Duff) Tom Green is fast becoming one of the hottest comedic talents in motion pictures today. Tom was seen last summer in the New Regency feature Freddy Got Fingered," which was his feature film directorial debut. In addition to starring, Tom co-wrote the film with long time writing partner Derek Harvie. He also recently launched his own production company, Bob Green Films, which has a three-year, first look deal with Fox based Regency Enterprises for film and television.
Despite his recent forays in to feature films, Tom continues to star in and produce television specials. This past June, the WB aired a half hour special entitled "The Skateboard Show," which Tom executive produced and starred in. This past March, Tom returned to the MTV airwaves with his one hour special "Tom Green's Subway Monkey Hour," in which he headed to Japan to visit it's many attractions and stir up trouble.
Tom's other feature film credits include a role in the box office hit Charlie's Angels and a starring role in the smash comedy hit Road Trip, directed by Todd Phillips. In November 2001, Tom fulfilled his longtime goal of hosting "Saturday Night Live," which received its highest ratings for the season.
Green began his career as an amateur stand-up comedian at Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club in Ottawa, Ontario. While taking a television production course at Algonquin College, Green released Organized Rhyme: Check the O.R., a rap album under the Island Records label. Two music videos were released with the album, one of which earned the band a Canadian Juno Award nomination.
After the release of his album, he developed and hosted "The Midnight Caller," a radio show that aired on the University of Ottawa's CHUO. The show was the most popular program on the station for several years.
After graduating from college, Green pitched an idea for a talk show to Rogers Community Television in Ottawa. After only four episodes, "The Tom Green Show" was already a hit with viewers and media alike. Three years later, The Comedy Network picked up the show where it has continued to grow in popularity on a national level. Green not only starred in the show, but also wrote, edited and created the music for the series. The second, 13-episode season of "The Tom Green Show" began on The Comedy Network on December 4, 1998. MTV bought "The Tom Green Show," for the U.S. audience, which premiered on the network on January 25, 1999. The series was picked up by Australia's thecomedychannel and began airing there in December of 2000. The show also airs around the world on MTV.
With a flourishing career that includes an Independent Spirit Award and three upcoming studio features, JASON LEE (John) is solidly establishing himself among critics, directors and peers alike.
Lee made a strong impression as Jeff Bebe, the lead singer for the rock band Stillwater in Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous, and then as Brian Shelby, the best friend to Tom Cruise's character, in Crowe's Golden Globe award-winning Vanilla Sky.
He next stars as the romantic lead in the comedy A Guy Thing. He plays a marketing executive who fears he may have committed the ultimate betrayal to his fiance (Selma Blair), when he wakes up the morning following his bachelor party next to a tiki dancer (Julia Stiles). He also appears in director Lawrence Kasdan's upcoming ensemble thriller Dreamcatcher.
Born and raised in Huntington Beach, California, Lee turned a childhood pastime of skateboarding into a professional career. After moving to Los Angeles in his early twenties, however, he developed an interest in acting.
Lee's big break came in 1995 with the lead role in writer-director Kevin Smith's comedy, Mallrats, in which he deftly portrayed the inconsiderate slacker, Brodie. He went on to star in Smith's Chasing Amy, for which he won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male for his role as Ben Affleck's insecure, outspoken roommate, Banky. He next showcased his intuitive timing as the demonic Azrael in Smith's supernatural comedy Dogma, and he reprised his Chasing Amy role in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.
His additional feature credits include: director Barry Sonnenfeld's ensemble comedy Big Trouble; the comedy Heartbreakers with Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt; Kasdan's ensemble comedy Mumford; the political action-thriller Enemy of the State; Kissing A Fool; and American Cuisine.
Lee has most recently established the non-profit Jason Lee Foundation for the Arts (www.jasonleefoundation.org), to support artists and artistic projects.<#$>LESLIE MANN (Elaine) is perhaps best known for her starring role opposite Brendan Fraser in the 1997 summer hit "George of the Jungle." Last year she starred in the feature Timecode. Prior to that she starred opposite Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick in the dark comedy The Cable Guy. The California native's other feature film credits include Big Daddy, Things I Never Told You, She's The One, Last Man Standing and Orange County.
MEGAN MULLALLY (Patty) can be seen weekly in her Emmy and SAG Award-winning role of 'Karen Walker' on the NBC's "Will and Grace."
Mullally made her television series debut as Ellen Burstyn's daughter on "The Ellen Burstyn Show." Her other television credits include series regular roles on "My Life and Times" and "Rachel Gunn R.N." as well as guest starring roles on "Seinfeld," "Frasier" and "China Beach." She also recently starred opposite Stanley Tucci as Walter Winchell's wife in Paul Mazursky's award-winning bio-pic "Winchell."
Mullally made her Broadway debut starring opposite Rosie O'Donnell in the revival of "Grease." She then received an Outer Critic's Circle Award nomination for starring opposite Matthew Broderick in the Broadway revival of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
She won the 2000 Backstage West Garland Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play and the LA Weekly Award for Best Lead Performance Female for "The Berlin Circle" at the Evidence Room.
She appeared opposite Susan Sarandon for director Wayne Wang in the feature film Anywhere But Here, and starred in Everything Put Together, which was directed by Monster Ball's Marc Forester and premiered in the main competition at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.
DENNIS FARINA (Mr. Warner), one of Hollywood's busiest actors, will be a familiar face to moviegoers this year with several new films scheduled for release. Recently, Farina co-starred with Brad Pitt and Oscarr-winner Benicio Del Toro in the darkly comic crime drama Snatch, directed by Guy Ritchie. Later this summer in Sidewalks of New York, Farina re-teams with his Saving Private Ryan co-star Ed Burns, who also directed the film. Stanley Tucci, Heather Graham and Brittany Murphy also star. Farina reunited with Get Shorty director Barry Sonnenfeld in the comedy Big Trouble, also starring Tim Allen, Rene Russo, Stanley Tucci, Janeane Garafalo, Katie Holmes and Tom Sizemore.
Farina is well remembered for his role in recent releases such as Steven Soderbergh's Out of Sight. This was Farina's second outing in an Elmore Leonard best seller adaptation for Jersey Films, the previous one being Get Shorty, directed by Sonenfeld and co-starring John Travolta, Rene Russo and Gene Hackman. Farina received an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male for his performance as Ray "Bones" Barboni.
Farina's other numerous screen credits include Saving Private Ryan, Reindeer Games, The Mod Squad, Midnight Run, Little Big League, Striking Distance, Another Stakeout, Manhunter and Thief.
Farina is also recognized for his roles on television series like "Buddy Faro," created by Mark Frost ("Twin Peaks"), and the acclaimed NBC series "Crime Story." He also appeared in the Emmy-nominated "The Drug Ways: Columbia."
A veteran of Chicago theater, he appeared in Joseph Mantegna's "Bleacher Bums," "A Prayer for my Daughter" (directed by John Malkovich), "Tracers" (directed by Gary Sinise) and many others.
JOHN C. McGINLEY (Detective Charles) has recently won wide attention for his performance Dr. Perry Cox in the popular series "Scrubs." McGinley has been seen in six films from Oliver Stone: Platoon, Wall Street, Talk Radio, Born on the Fourth of July, Nixon and Any Given Sunday. His more than 40 feature film credits have included The Animal, Get Carter, Office Space, Three to Tango, Nothing to Lose, The Rock, Seven, Mother, Set It Off, Wagons East, Surviving the Game, On Deadly Ground, Point Break, Highlander II: The Quickening, A Midnight Clear, Fat Man and Little Boy and the upcoming I.D.
McGinley's independent feature credits include johns, Kiefer Sutherland's Truth or Consequences, N.M., Colin Fitz, a film McGinley co-produced which premiered in competition at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, and Flypaper. McGinley first worked both sides of the camera, serving double duty as actor and producer for the romantic comedy Watch It!
On cable television, McGinley executive produced and acted opposite John Cusack in HBO Pictures' well-received western, "The Jack Bull," directed by John Badham. He previously appeared in HBO NYC's "The Pentagon Wars." McGinley received rave reviews for his starring role in Dean Koontz's gripping suspense drama, Intensity, a four-hour original film for Fox TV that was the network's highest rated mini-series ever. He also starred in the miniseries "Dean Koontz's Sole Survivor."
McGinley's theatrical credits include roles on Broadway in "Requiem for a Heavyweight" and off-Broadway in "The Ballad of Soapy Smith" at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre.
CHRIS PENN (David Loach) made his acting debut at age 16 in Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 classic Rumblefish. Recently, he was awarded the Best Actor Award at the 1996 Venice Film Festival for Abel Ferrara's The Funeral. <#$>Among his over 30 film credits are Reservoir Dogs directed by Quentin Tarantino; True Romance directed by Tony Scott; Short Cuts directed by Robert Altman; Rush Hour directed by Brett Ratner; At Close Range directed by James Foley; Deceiver directed by Jonas and Josh Ratner; and Mulholland Falls directed by Lee Tamahori.
TAMMY BLANCHARD (Noreen) is most recently known for her stand-out Emmy-winning performance as young Judy Garland in the ABC two-part mini-series "Me and My Shadows: Life With Judy Garland" opposite Judy Davis. She also received a Golden Globe nomination and an AFI Award nomination.
She has recently co-starred opposite Blythe Danner and Beu Bridges in the critically acclaimed Lifetime movie "We Were The Mulvaneys," based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates.
Blanchard's first foray into acting was as Dorothy Gale in a high school production of "The Wizard of Oz." Following graduation, she had a short stint as a struggling unknown before landing the part of Drew Jacobs in the cast of the popular daytime drama "The Guiding Light." Blanchard was on the show for three years. Her other television credits include a regular role on "The Further Adventures," a new CBS series pilot starring Mary Stuart Masterson, Mason Gamble and Rhea Perlman and guest starred in the NBC drama series "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
BRUCE McCULLOCH (Director) Bruce McCulloch is an award-winning writer, actor, director and recording artist.
Bruce is best known as one of the members of the comedy troupe "The Kids in the Hall." Beginning in 1989, the television series ran on Canada's CBC as well as CBS and HBO in the United States. The show currently runs on Comedy Central, The Comedy Network and in over 30 countries worldwide. In May of 2002, the troupe completed their North-American theatric tour of "Kids in the Hall: Tour of Duty."
Bruce directed the feature film, Superstar for Lorne Michaels and Paramount Pictures. Starring Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell of "Saturday Night Live," Superstar was released in the fall of 1999.
His first feature, Dog Park, which he wrote, directed and starred in with Natasha Henstridge, Janeane Garafalo and Luke Wilson in 1998, was distributed by New Line in the U.S. and Lions Gate internationally.
Bruce began his career as a director with four short films that he wrote, directed and starred in for NBC's "Saturday Night Live," as well as a half hour short film entitled Coleslaw Warehouse.
In 1996 Bruce co-wrote and starred in Kids in the Hall - Brain Candy. It was produced by Lorne Michaels for Paramount Pictures.<#$>In addition to his ongoing role with "The Kids in the Hall," Bruce's acting credits include Dick, Dog Park and Further Tales of the City.
Also the author of several stage plays: "Trapped on a Lawn Chair," "Jazz Stenographers," and "The Two Headed Roomate," Bruce most recently toured Western Canada with his one man show "Slightly Bigger Cities."
Bruce's debut album "Shame Based Man," was released on Atlantic Records. Leading up to the album release, Bruce wrote and starred in his own comedy retrospective which aired on Canada's Much Music. In July of 1995, he closed the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal with his comedy production of "That's America."
Last summer, Bruce went into studio to record his second album, The Drunk Baby Project with musicians Craig Northey (The Odds) and Brian Connelly. The album will be released commercially in 2002.
PETER TOLAN (Screenwriter) has co-written the screenplays for America's Sweethearts, Bedazzled, What Planet are you From?, Analyze This and My Fellow Americans. His current projects include the upcoming Analyze That and Till Death Do Us Part.
His television writing credits include "Murphy Brown, " "Billy Crystal's HBO series "Sessions," "Style and Substance," "The Larry Sanders Show," and "The Job" with Denis Leary.
Tolan won his first Emmy Award on "Murphy Brown," and his second Emmy for writing (with Garry Shandling) the series finale of "The Larry Sanders Show," an episode that also won the prestigious Peabody Award.
Tolan hails from Massachusetts. He attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. While at school he wrote a series of successful musical comedy revues about campus life. After college Tolan went to work as an actor/writer at Dudley Rigg's Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis. He then went on to New York where he wrote one-act plays that were produced there. He also performed with a partner, Linda Wallem, eventually doing an Off-Broadway show "Laughing Matters." Soon after, he came to Los Angeles and started working in television and film.
MARTIN HYNE (Story By) graduated from Columbia University and during and after college, he worked in the theatre in New York - directing, writing and acting Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop, the Riverside Shakespeare Company, and Circle Rep.
Hynes received the Paramount Pictures Fellowship while at graduate film school at USC. His student film, a romantic comedy in which he also starred, premiered at HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, the Mill Valley Film Festival, Seattle's One Reel Festival and the London Film Festival.
Stealing Harvard is his first screenplay sold after film school.
SUSAN CAVAN (Producer) was executive producer on the Lorne Michaels feature film Superstar starring Molly Shannon and Will Ferrell, directed by Bruce McCulloch and released by Paramount in 1999.
In 1999 she also developed and produced "Dead Aviators" a cable feature for Canada's CBC, Showtime and Hallmark, which was directed by David Wellington, starring Marsha Mason and Lothaire Bluteau. Released as Restless Spirits in the U.S., the film won several prestigious awards including the Gemini for Best Direction, Best Children's Film at the Atlantic Film Festival, the Certificate of Merit for Outstanding Achievement at the Chicago International Children's film Festival, and Gold Prize at the New York Television Awards. It also garnered a Daytime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing in a Children's Special for Semi Chellas.
Cavan produced 13 episodes of the critically acclaimed Gemini award-winning series "Twitch City," written by and starring Don McKellar and directed by Bruce McDonald.
She also produced Bruce McCulloch's first feature film Dog Park, starring Natasha Henstridge, Luke Wilson, Janeane Garofalo and Harland Williams which debuted with a gala screening at the Toronto International film Festival. Released by New Line Cinema and Independent Pictures in the U.S., and Lions Gate Pictures in Canada in 1999, Dog Park garnered three Genie nominations and won Best Supporting Actor for Mark McKinney.
Cavan produced the feature film Joe's So Mean to Josephine, winner of the prestigious Claude Jutra Award and a 1997 Sundance Film Festival invitee. Written and directed by Peter Wellington, it starred Eric Thal and Sarah Polley.
She also served as the producer on a series of short comedy films for "Saturday Night Live," written and directed by Emmy nominated Bruce McCulloch, and starring Janeane Garafalo, Laura Kightlinger and Michael McKean. Previously, Cavan produced McCulloch's short film Coleslaw Warehouse which was an audience favorite at film festivals and was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Cavan acted as co-producer, along with Andras Hamori and David Bowie of the feature film Mesmer, an international co-production written by Dennis Potter, starring Alan Rickman and directed by Roger Spottiswoode. Mesmer premiered in Official Competition at the World Film Festival in Montreal where Alan Rickman won Best Actor. Cavan and Hamori also produced with Bowie, the feature film Magic Hunter, starring Gary Kemp and Sadie Frost, directed by Ildiko Enyedi. Magic Hunter was also at the World Film Festival and was in Official Competition at the Venice Film Festival. After the formation of Accent Entertainment, Cavan produced the company's first feature film, South of Wawa, starring Rebecca Jenkins, and directed by Robert Boyd.
She also served as a producer on "Sweating Bullets" a 66 episode hit series for the CBS, and on 13 episodes of CBC's critically acclaimed "Material World."
Prior to founding Accent Entertainment in 1989, Cavan was a founding partner and president of Alliance communications Corporation, Canada's largest integrated entertainment company. In addition to her presidential functions, she concentrated on international coproductions with European, Canadian and American partners such as reteitalia, HBO, TFI, and Antenne 2. She was executive producer of the Western television series "Bordertown" for CBN/Family Channel and CTV. She so acted as executive producer on Gail Singer's "Wisecracks," a theatrical documentary on women stand-up comics featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Paula Poundstone.
A graduate of law from Queen's University, Cavan specialized in entertainment law, and in 1979, was appointed vice-president of business and legal affairs for Cineplex Corporation. She worked closely with Garth Drabinsky on such feature films as Tribute starring Jack Lemmon and Kim Cattrall, The Amateur starring John Savage, and Losin' It starring Tom Cruise and Shelley Long.
From 1982 until the formation of Alliance in 1985, Cavan was the production executive for such films as the Academy Awardr winning Quest for Fire and the Golden Globe Award winner Atlantic City. She was also executive producer of the Dan Petrie film The Bay Boy, starring Live Ullman and introducing Kiefer Sutherland.<#$>HOWARD LAPIDES (Executive Producer) began his career in radio at age 16 at WYSL-FM in Buffalo, New York. While attending Emerson College in Boston, he produced the top-rated "The Steve Fredericks Show" on WMEX and worked week-ends on-air at WEIM in Fitchberg, MA. After graduation, Lapides worked for the next five years with Baton Broadcasting of Canada, lending his on-air and programming expertise to CKLW, Windsor and CFGO, Ottawa.
Following his success in radio, Lapides chose the private sector and became one of Canada's most successful concert promoters. In the early eighties he fine-tuned his entrepreneurial skills by co-founding Callex International, Inc. with his brother, real estate developer Jeff Lapides. It was one of the first bargain-rate long distance companies (similar to Sprint and MCI) in the United States. After expanding nationwide, the company was sold to I.T.T. As a one-day favor to a friend, Lapides also developed and hosted a post-game talk show on the Buffalo Bills radio network. That one day turned into years of top-rated success with the Bills and WBEN radio.
From his offices in Beverly Hills, California, Lapides is now managing comedians, actors, writer/producers, talk show hosts and authors, as well as executive producing a variety of client-based shows in the United States and Canada.
One of his latest projects is serving as an executive producer for clients Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla on Comedy Central's "The Man Show." He also produced his client Tom Green's feature directorial debut, Freddy Got Fingered. Starting with his client Mike MacDonald's "My House! My Rules!" Showtime special, Lapides continued on to become the creative consultant for Canada's critically acclaimed talk show "Open Mike" with Mike Bullard on CTV and Canada's Comedy network.
Lapides has been nominated for two Cable Ace Awards, and his primetime CBC specials have been nominated for numerous Gemini Awards in Canada.<#$>Lapides is a member of the Conference of Personal Managers and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also authored a variety of articles for the Hollywood Reporter and Comedy USA.
MAUREEN PEYROT (Executive Producer) has been working with Imagine Entertainment for the past 12 years, where she has acquired numerous books and scripts for the very prolific and successful production company. Imagine, under the partnering team of producer Brian Grazer and director Ron Howard, has produced many highly successful films such as The Nutty ProfessorI and II, Liar, Liar, Apollo 13, Backdraft, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Beautiful Mind.
Ms. Peyrot started in the motion picture industry as a Production Assistant on such films as The Fisher King, Presumed Innocent, Alice, Awakenings and What About Bob? She entered the world of feature development as the assistant to Ron Howard and Karen Kehela, now Co-Chair of Imagine Entertainment, at their New York Offices.
Two years later, Ms. Peyrot was transferred to the Los Angeles office and soon began acquiring projects for the company. Some of these include the Bruce Willis starrer Mercury Rising, for which Ms. Peyrot worked as Co-Producer, and Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas where she was responsible for developing script, casting, as well as overseeing all aspects of its production. Ms. Peyrot was also Co-Producer of last year's A Beautiful Mind, winner of seven Academy Awardsr including Best Picture.
Currently, Ms. Peyrot is Executive Producing Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, which begins production this September; and Gideon Force, the true story of British General Orde Charles Wingate's triumph over Mussolini's armies in the dark jungles of Africa, which is being adapted by Jim Uhls (Fight Club).<#$>CHRIS BRANCATO and ALBERT J. SALKE (Executive Producers) are best known for creating the top-rated Sci-Fi Channel series "First Wave" which ran for three years. In addition to its Emmy nominated title sequence (the Sci-Fi Channel's first Emmy nomination), "First Wave" was groundbreaking in making the first-ever internet-TV music deal, a deal between the show and MP3. They are currently co-executive producing the new NBC drama "Boomtown."
Chris Brancato hails from New Jersey, and graduated from Brown University. Albert J. Salke grew up in Los Angeles and attended the University of Pennsylvania and Vassar College, majoring in history and film.
Before they joined forces, Brancato was well-known as a screenwriter, writing episodes for such successful TV shows as "Beverly Hills 90210," "X-Files" and "Outer Limits" as well as writing the features "Species II" and "Hoodlum" which he also co-produced.
Salke was a feature studio executive, ran a production company at Paramount, and was a network executive at Fox.
After studying at the University of Zurich and the London International Film School, UELI STEIGER (Director of Photography) embarked on his film career in the early 1980s, racking up numerous high-profile credits in the process.
His feature films include: the recently released Rock Star, starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston; Roland Emmerich's Godzilla; as well as Jay Roach's Austin Powers II: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Frank Oz's Bowfinger; Cameron Crowe's Singles; Michael Hoffman's Soapdish and Some Girls; Dennis Hopper's Chasers and The Hot Spot and the just released Black Knight starring Martin Lawrence. He is currently filming Roland Emmerich's film, Tomorrow, to be released in 2003.
GREGORY KEEN (Production Designer) was born in England and grew up in New Zealand, where he earned a degree in architectural design. After his studies, he returned to the UK and quickly began work as an Assistant Designer for the BBC. He gained further experience at Holoco, the special effects company owned by legendary rock band "The Who." There he helped create laser effects and holograms for films such as Alien.
As an art director, Keen's credits include the critically acclaimed The Piano, as well as Searching for Bobby Fischer, Used People, Deceived, and the special effects actioner F/X2.
His first break as production designer came with director Kelly Makin on National Lampoon's Senior Trip. He has since collaborated with Makin twice more on comedy's Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy and Mickey Blue Eyes. Keen reunited with Kids In The Hall actor Bruce McCulloch on his studio directorial debut Superstar. Recent work includes the comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding for executive producer Tom Hanks.
MALCOLM CAMPBELL (Editor) is the editorial emperor of comedies. His extensive list of features includes Double Take, Keeping the Faith, Superstar, My Favorite Martian, Home Alone 3, Nothing to Lose, Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls, Richie Rich, Wayne's World, Hot Shots! Part Deux, Wayne's World 2, Nothing But Trouble, Coming to America, Real Men, Three Amigos, Spies Like Us, Into the Night, Trading Places, Twilight Zone: The Movie, An American Werewolf in London and The Blues Brothers.
Campbell also edited Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video, directed by John Landis, as well as the episodic television show "Police Squad," produced by the Zucker Brothers and Jim Abrahams.
BETSY HEIMANN's (Costume Designer) impressive list of feature film credits include Vanilla Sky starring Tom Cruise, Family Man starring Nicolas Cage, Almost Famous starring Kate Hudson, Anywhere But Here starring Susan Sarandon, Simon Birch starring Oliver Platt and Ashley Judd, Out of Sight starring George Clooney, Mercury Rising starring Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin, Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise, Switchback starring Dennis Quaid and Danny Glover, Two Days in the Valley starring James Spader and Jeff Daniels, Get Shorty starring John Travolta, Rene Russo and Gene Hackman, Renaissance Man starring Danny DeVito, Pulp Fiction starring John Travolta and Samuel Jackson, The Adventures of Huck Finn starring Elijah Wood and Jason Robards, Reservoir Dogs starring Harvey Keitel, One Good Cop starring Michael Keaton and the upcoming Red Dragon starring Anthony Hopkins and Ralph Fiennes.<#$> <#$>Her television credits include the hallmark Hall of Fame presentation "One Against the Wind," "Stranger on My Land" and "The Pee Wee Herman Show." In addition, Heimann served as the costume designer for Michael Jackson's video for the song "Remember The Time" directed by John Singleton.
CHRISTOPHE BECK (Composer) won an Emmy Award for the score of the popular series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He has written the music for such features as Bruce McCulloch's Dog Park, Past Perfect, Airborne, Guinevere, The Broken Hearts Club, Bring It On, Slap Her, She's French, Big Fat Liar and, upcoming, The Tuxedo and Just Married.
Beck's TV credits include the series F/X: The Series, Second Noah, The Practice and Angel, and the telefeatures Killing Mr. Griffin, George & Leo, Earthquake in New York and Caracara.
"Academy Award(s) (" and "Oscar(s) (" are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.