Director: Jonathan Demme
Cast: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Audra McDonald, Sebastian Stan and Rick Springfield
Three-time Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep goes electric and takes on a whole new gig – a hard-rocking singer/guitarist – for Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody in the uplifting comedy Ricki and the Flash. In a film loaded with music and live performance, Streep stars as Ricki, a guitar heroine who gave up everything for her dream of rock-and-roll stardom, but is now returning home to make things right with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer, who plays her fictional daughter; Rick Springfield, who takes on the role of a Flash member in love with Ricki; and Kevin Kline, who portrays Ricki’s long-suffering ex-husband.
Meryl Streep takes on a whole new gig – a hard-rocking singer/guitarist – for Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and Academy Award®-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody in Ricki and the Flash. In an original film loaded with live musical performances, Streep stars as Ricki Rendazzo, a guitar heroine who made a world of mistakes as she followed her dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom. Returning home, Ricki gets a shot at redemption and a chance to make things right as she faces the music with her family. Streep stars opposite her real-life daughter Mamie Gummer; Rick Springfield, portraying a Flash member in love with Ricki; Kevin Kline as Ricki’s ex-husband; and Audra McDonald as Kline’s new wife.
TriStar Pictures presents in association with LStar Capital, a Marc Platt / Badwill Entertainment production, Ricki and the Flash. Starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Audra McDonald, Sebastian Stan, and Rick Springfield. Directed by Jonathan Demme. Produced by Marc Platt, Diablo Cody, Mason Novick, and Gary Goetzman. Written by Diablo Cody. Executive Producers are Ron Bozman, Adam Siegel, Lorene Scafaria, and Ben Waisbren. Director of Photography is Declan Quinn, ASC. Production Designer is Stuart Wurtzel. Edited by Wyatt Smith, ACE. Costume Designer is Ann Roth.
Ricki and the Flash has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for thematic material, brief drug content, sexuality, and language. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on August 7, 2015.
ABOUT THE FILM
“Everyone has part of their past they wish they could change,” says director Jonathan Demme, who takes the helm of the new film Ricki and the Flash. Ricki, brought to unforgettable life by Meryl Streep, is a guitar-shredding, hard-rocking mama, filled with regret for the mistakes of her past, who now has a chance to make things right. “When Ricki sees her daughter in desperate straits,” Demme adds, “she understands that it’s a chance for a certain kind of redemption, and she’s going to make good on all of the bad choices she made in her past.”
“We all have to live with our mistakes,” says Streep. “I think she wishes that her kids liked her more, understood her – I think that is a regret – but she’s pretty clear-eyed about it. Ricki lives in the moment – she acts on the impulse that feels imperative to her. It’s a relief to play someone who doesn’t act how everybody thinks she should be. She’s saying, ‘I can’t help being the way I am.’”
“Ricki Rendazzo is definitely a Meryl Streep we’ve never seen before,” Demme continues. “Meryl has been taking these incredible acting chances – bringing to life some famous figures, or the terrifying witch in Into the Woods, she’s doing a lot of extreme characters. In this film, Ricki has her extremes, but Meryl plays it so down-to-earth – an actual, authentic, singing guitar player, a real twenty-first century woman.”
“It’s not tied up in a bow – it feels like real people,” adds Streep. “They’re real, complicated, bumpy, messy dilemmas. Itends up being funny, but it’s heartbreaking, too.”
Ricki Rendazzo was born in the mind of Diablo Cody, the Oscar® winning screenwriter of Juno and Young Adult and the television series “The United States of Tara.”
“When I read the script, initially, I found myself completely rooted in the characters – especially the journey of Ricki, and her relationships with her daughter, her ex-husband, and her new boyfriend,” says Marc Platt, a producer of the film. “By the end of the journey, I was very moved – I was elated. That’s the barometer for me, to see whether I want to get involved or not – do I have that kind of visceral reaction and response when I read a script? And I did. It left something real in my heart upon the first read.”
Cody says that the inspiration for such an original character actually came from real life and very close to home. “The character of Ricki was actually inspired by my mother-in-law, Terry, who is the lead singer in a Jersey Shore rock band called Silk and Steel,” says Cody. “Terry is a grandmother of six, and she’s still up there rocking out every weekend, walking on the bar, just electrifying the audience. Rock ‘n’ roll is her life, and I think there have been people in her life who have thought it was kind of a silly thing for a mom or grandmother to do – and she doesn’t give a damn. I love that about her.”
With Cody’s original screenplay in hand, producer Marc Platt was able to bring Streep into the role. “Having known Meryl Streep for many, many years, and knowing her love of musical performance, I instantly recognized that this was a character that I thought Meryl would want to play,” Platt explains. “I was over in London making Into the Woods with Meryl and I said to her one day, ‘I have something I think is really special and I’d like you to read it.’ Given the uncompromising truthfulness that Diablo Cody created with Ricki, I wasn’t really surprised when Meryl came back a few weeks later and said, ‘Remember that script you gave me? I loved it.’ The rest was very easy.”
In the film, Ricki Rendazzo heads from her home in L.A. to be with her daughter, Julie, at a moment of crisis. From her rock ‘n’ roll world, Ricki heads to Indiana, to the life she left behind as Linda Brummell, a wife and a mom of three. Still, Cody notes, as much as Ricki wants redemption, she still wants it on her own terms. “Ricki is Ricki,” she says. “In the past, she was Linda Brummell, Pete’s wife. She was a mom, she lived in Indiana. She doesn’t want to be that again; she’s very secure in her Ricki-ness.”
In writing a screenplay about a character who has remade herself with an entirely new persona, Cody is writing about a subject she knows well. “I have a very profound understanding of what it’s like to have a persona that’s separate from your persona of origin, shall we say,” Cody laughs. “I have these two distinct chapters in my life – I have Brook in the Midwest and Diablo Cody in Los Angeles, which is who I’ve been for the past eight years. Sometimes I have trouble integrating those two identities – so I understand how Ricki feels.”
Playing this role offered Streep the chance to be paired in scenes with her actress daughter, Mamie Gummer (Cake, SideEffects). A mother-daughter story at its core, the real-life frisson that results gives the film added potency. Demme insisted that the two not talk outside of the scenes. Very close in real life, their estrangement on film is as palpable as their resemblance. True genetics adds a rare level of reality to the film.
“Mamie is very dramatic and always has been, from the age of three – or maybe three months – so we’ve been acting together for a long time,” says Streep. “I’m so in awe of her and her willingness to go barebones at it. It’s tough to come into our business, with a mother who’s so prominent in Hollywood, but kids have a unique vision of their parents, which is not really to put them on a pedestal. So, finding a way to be mad at me, manufacture rage – no problem.”
Streep says that part of the reason for the distance between the mother and daughter characters is because they are so alike. “I think they’re both quick to rise to a fight,” says Streep. “They both see things as outsiders; they both see themselves as the truth teller. The apple doesn’t fall far. They both live their truth, no apologies.”
Bringing the film together is director Jonathan Demme. “If there was ever a script for Jonathan Demme to direct, it’s Ricki and the Flash,” says Platt. “Think of Jonathan’s work – he’s brilliant with female actresses and roles. He’s made some of the great films with music groups – he lived in the world of rock. The texture of his films is all about diversity and tolerance and different people from different walks of life finding a life together. He was the inevitable choice. So when he called me and said, ‘I have to direct this movie,’ it was music to my ears, but not a surprise.”
ABOUT THE BAND…
“I found out early on that Jonathan wanted to do all of the music live, which shocked me,” says Cody. “Any time I’ve worked on a movie where there was music, it was phoney-baloney Hollywood – playback, lip syncing, fake guitar playing. They do that because it’s way easier to do it that way. But that is not the Jonathan Demme way. The Flash became a real band. Everything you see and hear is the real deal. Meryl is singing and playing guitar. They’re a band. Without question, it’s the coolest aspect of this movie.”
So, though Streep was the first, best, and only choice to play the role, she would have to learn to play guitar to bring Ricki to life. Demme’s vision for the film, from the very beginning, was to make the band real. “With this kind of character-driven film, we have to make people feel like it’s real,” he says. “It never occurred to me to do anything other than make the band real. The customary thing is that the band pretends to play, and you overlay a previously-recorded, perfect track, but I didn’t want to do that – I wanted this great band, with Meryl at the center, to really get out there and play.
Streep, already a talented singer, trained for months to play the guitar. “To begin with, I started learning on an acoustic guitar with a teacher in New York and then moved to the electric guitar about a month later,” Streep explains. “Then I worked pretty much every day with Neil Citron, who is this genius guitar teacher. He put the Telecaster in my hands and taught me a lot of little tricks that rock ‘n’rollers use, bar chords, quick changes and stuff like that.”
She says that she found the electric guitar easier to play, “but your mistakes are much louder. With an acoustic, you get away with it. With an electric, you have to be really committed to that bad note because it’s ringing through the hall! It was such a lot of fun.”
“I never doubted for a second that Meryl wouldn’t become an excellent rhythm guitar player, because I know she’s a research beast,” says Demme. “She works as hard in the months leading up to a movie as she does when she’s shooting it.”
At Ricki’s side, on lead guitar, Demme cast rock legend Rick Springfield. Best known for his 80s-era hits, Springfield’s career has taken on new dimensions with multifaceted and complex acting roles.
“The part of Greg is definitely dual-purpose,”says Demme. “We needed a terrific actor capable of going toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep, but also an authentic shredder. I was worried about finding a great Greg. The assignment to our great casting directors, Bernard Telsey and Tiffany Little Canfield, was to find any actor who can play guitar and might have the capacity to step up. Find anyone in that age range – I’ll see anybody. And then Rick Springfield came in, we meet him, he’s very nice – and then he plugs in and he’s amazing.”
Later, Springfield had a second meeting with Streep – a meeting to ensure that the two actors would have chemistry together. “All of this authentic warmth comes out of him – he got Meryl to open up to stuff that she hadn’t known was there yet. He came in knowing that he would be fantastic in this part – it was an exciting opportunity to play opposite Meryl Streep, to be a band member but also play a very complicated character beyond that,” says Demme.“When he left, we thought, ‘Oh my God, we have just found the greatest Greg of all.’”
“Rick is very alive and in the moment, as a person, a performer and an actor,” says Streep. “That’s a beautiful quality and a necessary one for Greg, because he’s a tender character. He’s the lead guitar in The Flash, but he also aspires to be the man in Ricki’s life. Greg just wants her to jump in with both feet, but Ricki has a lot of problems committing, and she’s really not sure she can make it not be a lie.”
“Greg is a good guitar player who never really made it,” says Springfield. “He had a brush with success that never went anywhere. But he loves to play and has been in love with Ricki for quite a while. He’s frustrated by her noncommittal, casual attitude to their relationship, but he loves playing music with her – that’s where they unite. They share that passion for music.”
Springfield’s greatest challenge in playing the role? “Not constantly going, ‘Oh, my God, it’s Meryl Streep!’” he jokes. Kidding aside, Springfield is used to owning the stage as a rock performer, but the part of Greg required him to defer to Ricki – the leader of The Flash. “I’m a bit of a show-boater,” he admits, “so to play the support role, I modelled it off a friend of mine, who actually has that relationship with his wife on stage. It was very fortuitous that I saw them – I kind of modelled it on that relationship. It’s an emotional thing that you hook into like you do with any acting role – you hook into that person through whatever process, and that guides a lot of how you react and how you work.”
Interestingly enough, Springfield and his character share a love for a very specific instrument. “In the script, Greg had a ‘68 SG. I actually have a ‘69 SG – I bought it new in 1970 and it’s been with me ever since. It was my main guitar on my first albums, and I played it and wrote a lot of my early songs on it, including ‘Jessie’s Girl.’ So it’s a very important guitar to me. I mentioned that to Jonathan, and he said, ‘Oh, we’ve got to use it.’ It was an instant connection for me to that guitar.”
Joining Springfield to portray The Flash are three legendary sidemen:
· Bernie Worrell, a founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic, who also worked with Talking Heads and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, plays keyboards;
· Rick Rosas – a/k/a “Rick the Bass Player” – who played with Neil Young, Joe Walsh, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Rivers, Ron Wood, and Etta James, who died late last year shortly after completing filming; and
· Joe Vitale, a longtime collaborator of Joe Walsh and the original touring drummer for Crosby, Stills & Nash, on drums
In the weeks before shooting, Ricki and the Flash, now a band, went into an intense rehearsal period. Springfield says that the period was as much about gelling as a band as it was rehearsing the songs. “They’re all great musicians. As far as getting the songs to sound good and together was, it was starting to happen the first day. Every one of the players really knew what they were doing. And it was exciting to see how much, how dedicated Meryl was – it’s really difficult to play an instrument you’ve never played before and singing – it’s really hard. She was amazing – incredibly dedicated. We got together and rehearsed for two weeks, and hung out at lunch, and started the process of asking,‘What would it be like if we really were a band? Let’s jam six years into two weeks and see if we can make it fly.’”
“Learning guitar was fun, but it was a private enterprise and then all of a sudden Jonathan said, ‘We’re going to get two weeks and the band’s going to get together.’ I thought, two weeks?! Two weeks to become a band?” Streep recalls. “It didn’t seem like enough time, but those guys were so great. They were very gentle with me and forgiving in the very beginning, because I really couldn’t keep up with them. Then, around the sixth day, we hit a groove and then we couldn’t stop playing. We played and played and played and I really get why Ricki wanted never to give that up, because it’s soooooo much fun.”
The rehearsals were so intense that the band barred all outsiders – even Demme himself – from the sessions. “That was fair,”Demme laughs. “When I finally showed up, three weeks in, and I entered the little room where they were playing, they were up on the bandstand and there was Meryl Streep, right in the middle of it, looking like she’d been doing it all her life. It was thrilling – the only thing more thrilling was when we started shooting and really seeing them play in front of a live audience.”
For Demme, that was a critical moment, and not necessarily one he had been expecting. “What I didn’t realize is that, when we played in front of the audience, there would be a bonus energy from our dancers in the film – nothing beats dancing to live music. I was thrilled to see people up on their feet rocking out to what Ricki and the Flash were laying down.”
Ricki and the Flash is a cover band, so Demme and his collaborators chose a number of well-known songs that served two purposes: not only did they have to be songs that a cover band would be likely to play, but also songs that thematically fit the story. “Everybody collaborated on a list of their favorite songs,” says Platt. “It’s the music you’d hear from a classic rock cover band, or at a family celebration. We culled these lists of songs and went through them – some that are familiar and have stood the test of time, and other more recent songs, of the moment, that the people want to hear, whether the band is into it or not.”
“Originally, Jonathan said, ‘Three songs, it’s going to be easy, you’re going to have two weeks of rehearsal and three songs, tops!’” says Streep. “Well, there are ten songs in the movie – ten! – and that’s hard.”
Ricki and the Flash performed all of their songs live during photography, and Demme says they brought new life to the tunes. For example, Demme says, “‘Keep Playin’ That Rock N Roll’ is a song that was appropriate for them to have in their repertoire – I never cared much for it, but when they do it, it sneaks up on me. The life that Meryl breathes into that song is just beyond belief, and it becomes one of my favorite songs.”
Of course, Streep not only learned to play the guitar, but became a full-fledged rock ‘n’ roll performer, too. “Like all of Meryl’s moves, every moment is something that comes out of her,” Demme says. “On one song, ‘Let’s Work Together,’ she leaves the bandstand, plays her way through the crowd, goes up to the bar, has a drink – all on her own. I’m like, ‘Where did you get those moves?’ and she said, ‘That’s just what I felt like doing at the time.’”
But perhaps the most meaningful on-stage moments are between Ricki and Greg. “Ricki sings ‘Drift Away’ to Greg, and Greg, because it’s a very guitar riff-driven song, is responding,”Demme says. “It fills you up so much – it’s tremendously moving. It’s a beautiful moment for rock ‘n’ roll – Meryl and Rick, making this music, but also this tremendously dramatic acting experience, making it so real and pulling it all together.”
Demme himself chose “Wooly Bully” for the band, while Cody had written P!nk’s “Get the Party Started” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” into her screenplay. But it was Streep who chose one of the film’s major set pieces, Bruce Springsteen’s “My Love Will Not Let You Down.”“Meryl was coming out of her driveway to come to work one day and that song came on the radio,” Demme relates. “She called me up and said, ‘My God, I found the song.’ It just works so good.”
Perhaps the most meaningful song that Ricki performs is an original – “Cold One,” credited to Ricki in the film, but actually written by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice. “I was a fan before we started working together,” says Demme. “We had to have an original song and Diablo hadn’t written one, so I went to Jenny and Johnny and said, ‘Imagine a song that this character might have written 15 years ago.’ They sent me a demo for ‘Cold One,’ and it was lightning in a bottle. It was just so easy.”
Streep recalls hearing Springfield play the song as she prepared to do the same. “I heard Rick playing ‘Cold One’ – we were in a dollar store and he was in back, in one of the dressing rooms, playing around, and it was just so beautiful. But I was going to have to play it acoustically in the movie!” she says.
Though Streep admits that she isn’t quite at Springfield’s level with the guitar, she found a performance that fit the character and the moment. “I found a way of playing it that was like booming the guitar – you play the chords and pound the strings and it’s rhythmic, you hear the chord changes. It works for the scene, because she’s playing in an intimate scene for her family, but she’s not committing to playing it. This is a song that was supposed to be her breakthrough into rock ‘n’ roll stardom, but nobody picked up on it. She’s playing it, and not playing it – she’s uncertain about her work.”
The song is actually heard four times in the film. The first comes during a tender scene in Indianapolis, Ricki plays a gentle, acoustic version for Pete and Julie, and the last is in the climactic wedding scene, when Ricki and the Flash blow it out. In between, it is heard twice in instrumental: once, on the guitar of Rick Springfield, as Ricki returns from Indiana to Los Angeles with her tail between her legs, and again, in Indianapolis, as she faces her fear of attending the wedding, on the moody keyboards of Bernie Worrell.
…AND ABOUT THE FAMILY
When Ricki is called back to Indiana, she makes the most of her chance to make things right with her family.
Leading the way as Ricki’s ex-husband is Kevin Kline, Streep’s longtime friend and collaborator, having previously acted opposite Streep in Sophie’s Choice and A Prairie Home Companion, as well as a number of stage plays, including a 2012 performance of the famous balcony scene from “Romeo & Juliet” at New York’s Shakespeare in the Park. “Kevin is a brilliant actor – I’ve been a fan of his since Sophie’s Choice and the Pirate King in ‘Pirates of Penzance’ on Broadway,” says Platt. “Kevin is really funny, but he also carries drama at the same time. The character he’s portraying is really complicated; his relationship with Ricki is very complicated. On that level alone, I thought he’d be a great actor for that role. But also, given that he and Meryl have a history between them on screen and they’re friends off-screen, I thought it would serve the storytelling very well. There’s so much unsaid between Ricki and Pete. So, he was the first person I suggested to Meryl when I first gave her the script.”
“Kevin is a very talented musician himself,” Streep notes. “He came up to me on the first day that we were playing in the club, and he said, ‘You don’t sound bad.’” I thought, ‘That was the highest compliment.’”
“Kevin was very daring and courageous in the way he brought Pete to life,” says Demme. “There’s authentic warmth and real depth there, but there’s also a guy who doesn’t want to rock the boat, because he’s very happy in his current life. He makes cold decisions so as not to rock the boat. With Kevin in that part, I love Pete, but Ricki deserves better – and later, she gets it.”
Ricki and the Flashalso unites Meryl Streep on screen with her real-life daughter, Mamie Gummer. “Having known Meryl for years, I’ve also known Mamie personally, but also as an actress,” says Platt. “I’ve always felt that she’s a terrific actress and there’s that role out there for Mamie that would make her a star. When I read the script and was thinking of Meryl in the role of Ricki, the thought came into my head that this would be a perfect role for Mamie. That would be true whether or not Meryl was playing Ricki, but when you add in the fact that it’s a mother-daughter story and Meryl would be playing the mother, I thought, this is that role.”
“She owns the role of Julie,” says Platt. “She’s made Julie even more interesting and complex and moving, and her relationship with her mom is fraught with complexity and love and anger and a whole mix of emotions.”
“Julie and Ricki are completely different, but as it turns out, they have incredible similarities,” says Demme. “The way they become close is really terrific. It was a lot of fun working with Mamie. Part of my job was to try to put a wedge between her and her mother – ‘That’s not your mom. That’s not Meryl Streep. This is a whole other mother we’re dealing with, and let’s team up and really give her a very tough ride, because she deserves it.’”
As one might expect, acting against one of cinema’s most renowned actresses, who also happens to be her mother, was an inspiring, but demanding, experience for Gummer. “It was more challenging than I anticipated, but also very rewarding and a rich experience,”she says. “It was tricky and fun and enlightening and empowering – every human emotion came into play. She’s the person who I’m intrinsically connected to, so to examine that bond and take it apart and put it back together every day was intense.”
“I think Ricki has always loved Julie, but has been so paralyzed by guilt over what she’s done, she’s been afraid to reach out,” Gummer explains. “In this story, she finally has an opportunity – suddenly Ricki is not the troubled person in the family. She can come in and say, from experience, that it gets better and it’ll be okay.”
“Julie was so committed to not being her mother,” says Gummer. “She was planning to be a stay-at-home mom. She was going to devote her life to her family and be the kind of mother that Ricki never was to her. So when it all blows up, she doesn’t know who she is or what her purpose is.”
“Diablo Cody created an amazing character, and Mamie brings her to life – she’s shocking and hilarious and heartbreaking and unpredictable,” says Demme. “She just slays it beyond belief.”
The six-time Tony Award-winning singer and actress Audra McDonald joins the cast as Maureen Brummell, Pete’s second wife. “Maureen is the exact opposite of Ricki,” she explains. “She’s the perfect stepmom, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter – she’s just rushed off to her father’s side as he’s dealing with a really bad illness. She’s incredibly protective – in her view, she has put the Brummell family back together, after Ricki left Pete, and helped raise these children. She’s very protective of that world, and doesn’t want it disturbed in any way.”
“Diablo gets you to not like Maureen before she shows up,” says Demme. “You hear things about her – the irritating homilies she has placed around the kitchen; how she wanted the cantilevered windows in their McMansion – and then Audra McDonald shows up. Suddenly there’s all that warmth, vivacity, beauty and depth – and it’s like, whoa! Audra is such a superb actor, and she brings the courage to be a loving person, but also a badass when she has to be. There’s a scene when Audra and Meryl go toe-to-toe and it’s like The Gunfight at the OK Corral.”
McDonald says there’s nothing quite like verbally dueling with Meryl Streep in a scene. “It’s like being shot by Cupid’s arrow,” she says. “She makes you feel like you’re an amazing actress because you’re standing next to her. You feel like you’ve been blessed by the gods.”
Rounding out the cast as Josh Brummell, one of Ricki and Pete’s three children, is rising star Sebastian Stan. On the eve of his wedding, Stan’s character isn’t quite sure how he feels about his mother attending.“I think he feels that it’s the right thing to do,” he says. “He’s getting married, his mom should be there. But I think he also feels like he wishes he felt more for his mom – to him, she feels more like a family friend than a mother. But I think there’s also part of him that respects that Ricki decided to follow her dreams and remain who she is. There is distance between him and Ricki – there are issues that are still buried deep down, and I don’t know if he’s completely dealt with all of it.”
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Ricki and the Flash takes place in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles and in Indiana. However, the film was largely shot in New York (with a few exteriors in L.A.). It fell to production designer Stuart Wurtzel to create locations that would serve both settings.
Ricki’s home-away-from-home is the Salt Well, the dive bar where Ricki and the Flash are the house band. To create the space, Wurtzel, at Demme’s direction, first looked to reality. “The Rodeo Bar on the East Side had just closed down, and it had been a model in my head for what our movie bar might be like,” says Demme. “It had probably been a country-and-western bar at one point, but by the end, it was whatever was going on. So, we raced in, right as they were closing, and said, ‘Can we have this place for six weeks?’ And the band moved into the empty bar, and that became their rehearsal space for six weeks.”
While the band practiced in the former Rodeo, Wurtzel created The Salt Well on a soundstage, using the Rodeo as his inspiration. “Stuart created an amazing rock ‘n’ roll bar – it’s a bar that’s seen better days, but it’s very rich in atmosphere,” says Demme. “I wish I could have had a beer there.”
“The idea was to create a kind of club that might once have been quite popular, but time had passed it by,” says Wurtzel. “It had a different life earlier in its existence and is now past its glory – in the same way that Ricki’s career is not exactly at the apex of what she had envisioned for herself.”
But Wurtzel would also have to create a second world for Ricki, to contrast against the Salt Well. “There’s the world that shows her in her element, performing – but there’s another world that shows where she came from, and how her life might have been had she stayed. Those, along with other elements – the loneliness of her life offstage, the romance that builds with Greg – are all aspects of Ricki.”
In that way, Wurtzel created the world of Indianapolis. “We open the movie with seven minutes of hardcore rock ‘n’ roll, and then spend the next hour getting her out of town and stripping away that identity, so that by the end of the next hour, you’ve forgotten who Ricki Rendazzo really is,” Demme notes. “We wanted to make that part of the movie as green as possible, to contrast with the lurid rock ‘n’ roll look of Ricki’s life in L.A.”
Pete Brummell’s Indiana home was found in Rye, New York – “It’s very upscale, suburban, it’s got a swimming pool, it’s grand. It has a large entry area, probably done by a decorator,” Wurtzel notes. Not only does the location itself contrast with everything Ricki doesn’t have – she lives in a small, one-bedroom Valley apartment – but so does the decoration. “There are lots of family pictures,” Wurtzel continues. “Where they’ve traveled, raising the children. They’ve had a quite happy life. Maureen is wonderful, fulfilling and very warm. And Ricki is not a part of that – not because she didn’t want it, it just didn’t happen.”
To create Ricki’s rocker look, Demme turned to costume designer Ann Roth, costumer Nina Johnston, Makeup Department Head Patricia Regan, Makeup Artist Bernadette Mazur, and Hair Department Head Alan DAngerio. “I love to let the actors lead the charge, to team up with the costumers and the makeup and hair people – I need to keep my distance at the beginning,” says Demme. “Later, I’ll see it, and I’ll probably fall in love with it, or, if I have concerns, I’ll express myself and at that point, some collaboration starts. But the look of Ricki arrived fairly fully born. I was really thrilled by who Meryl showed up as on the day of the screen tests. There was tweaking here and there, but Ricki looks like Meryl’s conception in collaboration with Ann Roth and Alan DAngerio and others that were trusted in her circle.”
ABOUT THE CAST
For almost 40 years, Meryl Streep (Ricki) has portrayed an astonishing array of characters in a career that has cut its own unique path from the theater through film and television.
Ms. 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® nomination (for The Deer Hunter). She has won three Academy Awards® and in 2015, in a record that is unsurpassed, she earned a 19th Academy Award® nomination for her role as The Witch in Into the Woods. Her performance also earned her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. Ms. Streep is currently in production on Stephen Frears’Florence Foster Jenkins.
Ms. Streep has pursued her interest in the environment through her work with Mothers and Others, a consumer advocacy group that she co-founded in 1989. M&O worked for ten years to promote sustainable agriculture, establish new pesticide regulations, and ensure the availability of organic and sustainably grown local foods.
Ms. Streep also lends her efforts to Women for Women International, Equality Now, Women in the World Foundation, and Partners in Health.
She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and has been accorded a Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government and an honorary César. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, a 2008 honor from the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and the 2010 National Medal of Arts from President Obama. In 2011, Ms. Streep received a Kennedy Center Honor, and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She holds honorary doctorates from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth Indiana Universities, the University Of New Hampshire, Lafayette, Middlebury, and Barnard Colleges.
Her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, and she are the parents of a son and three daughters.
KEVIN KLINE (Pete)has seamlessly transitioned between the worlds of theatre and film and has earned equal distinction in both. Kline is the recipient of numerous awards, including an Academy Award® and two Tony Awards.
Kline will next be seen in several eagerly anticipated upcoming films, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, directed by Bill Condon with an all-star cast including Emma Watson, Ian McKellen, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, Dan Stevens, and Josh Gad, and comedian Demetri Martin’s debut as a writer and director, Dean, opposite Martin, Mary Steenburgen, and Gillian Jacobs.
In addition to his 1988 Academy Award® for his role in the comedy A Fish Called Wanda and a 2008 Screen Actors Guild Award for HBO’s As You Like It, Kline isa five-time Golden Globe nominee for his roles in Sophie’s Choice, Dave, In & Out, Soapdish and De-Lovely; and he earned a Screen Actors Guild nominationfor his performance in Life As A House. He was also the recipient of a CareerTribute at the 1997 Gotham Independent Film Awards.
His additional film credits include The Big Chill, Silverado, I Love You To Death, Grand Canyon, French Kiss, Cry Freedom, The Ice Storm, A Midsummer Night’sDream, The Anniversary Party, Fierce Creatures, Wild Wild West, The Emperor’sClub, A Prairie Home Companion, The Extra Man, Trade (for which he won the CineMerit Award at the Munich Film Festival), Queen to Play, The Conspirator,Darling Companion (his sixth collaboration with director Lawrence Kasdan), TheLast of Robin Hood, Last Vegas, and My Old Lady.
A Juilliard graduate, Kline made his Broadway debut playing Vershinin in Anton Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters”for John Houseman’s The Acting Company, of which he is a founding member. For Hal Prince’s “On the Twentieth Century,”he won both a Tony and a Drama Desk Award, and for “The Pirates of Penzance,” which had a successful run at The Public Theater before transferring to Broadway, he again won both a Tony and a Drama Desk Award, as well as the Obie Award for Outstanding Achievement by an actor.
More recently, Kline was seen on Broadway in the critically acclaimed “Cyrano de Bergerac,” for which he received an Outer Critics Circle Award. Additionally, thisis Kline’s second staged production to air on PBS’“Great Performances”series. The production earned him Emmy and SAG Award nominations.Kline won rave reviews for his Broadway performance in Shaw’s “Arms and the Man”directed by John Malkovich as well as Michael Weller’s “Loose Ends,”directed by Alan Schneider, and starred in Gerry Gutierrez’s production ofChekhov’s “Ivanov”at Lincoln Center. He won a Drama Desk award for hisperformance as Falstaff in Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s“Henry IV.” At The Public’s Shakespeare in the Park, Kline has also appearedopposite Meryl Streep in “The Seagull”and in “Mother Courage and Her Children.”
Kline has a three-decades long history with The Public Theater, during which he has played numerous Shakespearean characters, including the title roles in “KingLear,”“Richard III”and “Henry V.” Additional credits include Duke Vincentio in “Measure for Measure,” Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing”and the title role in two productions of “Hamlet.” For the first production of “Hamlet,”he won the Obie Award for Sustained Achievement in Theatre and for the second, which he also directed, he received five Drama Desk nominations, including best director and actor nominations. Later, he co-directed a televised version of the production for the PBS “Great Performances”series.
Kline has received the William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, which recognizes an artist who has made a significant contribution to classical theatre in America, and was the first American actor to receive the Sir John Gielgud Golden Quill Award. In 2007, he was honored with the Lucille Lortel Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2004, Kline was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
Film, television and stage actress Mamie Gummer (Julie) made her off-Broadway debut in 2005 with the premiere of “Mr. Marmalade,” in which she won a Theatre World Award. In 2007, Gummer received a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for her performance in “The Water’s Edge.” She also received high critical praise for her Broadway debut in the Tony Award-nominated revival of “Les liaisons dangereuses” in 2008.
In 2006, Gummer made her first film appearance in Lasse Hallström’s The Hoax with Richard Gere and Hope Davis. In 2007, she appeared in Evening with an all-star ensemble including Claire Danes, Patrick Wilson and Vanessa Redgrave. Other film credits include: Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, Kimberly Peirce’s Stop Loss, Jodie Markell’s TheLoss of a Teardrop Diamond, Daniel Adams’The Lightkeepers, John Carpenter’s The Ward, Jeff Lipsky’s Twelve Thirty, Liz W. Garcia’s The Lifeguard, Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects and Daniel Barnz’s Cake.
Gummer will next be seen in James Ponsoldt’s End of the Tour.
In television, Gummer has received positive buzz on her guest starring role on the Emmy nominated series “The Good Wife.” In 2008, she was seen in the Emmy and Golden Globe winning HBO miniseries “John Adams” with Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. Other television credits include “Off the Map,”“The Big C,” and “Emily Owens M.D.” She also recently shot the pilot “The Money” for HBO.
Gummer is a graduate of Northwestern University and additionally studied theater at the British Academy of Dramatic Arts.
Audra McDonald(Maureen) is unparalleled in the breadth and versatility of her artistry as both a singer and an actress. A record-breaking six-time Tony Award-winner (“Carousel,”“Master Class,”“Ragtime,”“A Raisin in the Sun,”The Gershwins’“Porgy and Bess,”“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill”) and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2015, she has also appeared on Broadway in “The Secret Garden,”“Marie Christine” (Tony nomination), “Henry IV,” and “110 in the Shade” (Tony nomination). She returns to the stage in the 2015-16 season as Lottie Gee in “Shuffle Along, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed.”The Juilliard-trained soprano’s opera credits include “La voix humaine” and“Send”at Houston Grand Opera, and “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny”at Los Angeles Opera. On television, she was seen by millions as the Mother Abbess in NBC’s “The Sound of Music Live!” and played Dr. Naomi Bennett on ABC’s “Private Practice.” She has received Emmy nominations for “Wit,”“A Raisin in the Sun,” and her role as official host of PBS’s “Live From Lincoln Center.” Other TV credits include “The Good Wife,”“Homicide: Life on the Street,”“Law & Order: SVU,”“Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years,”“The Bedford Diaries,”“Kidnapped,” and the 1999 remake of “Annie.” On film, she has appeared in Seven Servants, The Object of My Affection, Cradle Will Rock, It Runs in the Family, The Best Thief in the World, She Got Problems, and Rampart; upcoming, she can be seen in Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast. A two-time Grammy Award-winner and exclusive recording artist for Nonesuch Records, shereleased her fifth solo album for the label, “Go Back Home,” in 2013. McDonald also maintains a major career as a concert artist, regularly appearing on the great stages of the world and with leading international orchestras. An ardent proponent of marriage equality and an advocate for at-risk and underprivileged youth, she sits on the boards of Broadway Impact and Covenant House. Of her many roles, her favorites are the ones performed offstage: wife to her husband, actor Will Swenson, and mother to her daughter, Zoe Madeline.
Actor SEBASTIAN STAN’s(Josh) talent and versatility have made him noticeable amongst a strong peer group in Hollywood.
Stan reprised his role as Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier in Marvel’s smash hit Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the sequel to the 2011 film Captain America: The First Avenger. He recently completed filming Melissa Rauch’s The Bronze, which will be released in July.
Stan was seen opposite Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. Other film credits include Rachel Getting Married with Anne Hathaway; Spread with Ashton Kutcher; The Apparition, from Warner Bros. and producer Joel Silver; Gone with Amanda Seyfried; Hot Tub Time Machine with John Cusack and Chevy Chase; Fred Durst’s The Education of Charlie Banks; The Architect with Anthony LaPaglia, Isabella Rossellini and Hayden Panettiere; and Screen Gems’The Covenant.
In television, Stan is well-known for his recurring role as Carter Baizen on the hit television series “Gossip Girl.” He also starred as TJ Hammond opposite Sigourney Weaver in USA Network’s “Political Animals” and Prince Jack Benjamin in the NBC drama “Kings,” alongside Ian McShane. Stan appeared in season 1 of ABC’s hit series “Once Upon a Time” as the fan favorite, The Mad Hatter.
In 2007, Stan made his Broadway debut opposite Liev Schreiber in Eric Bogosian’s “Talk Radio.” During the Roundabout Theater Company’s 2013 season, Stan returned to Broadway stage in “Picnic,” directed by Sam Gold.
Stan currently resides in New York.
RICK SPRINGFIELD (Greg) is an accomplished actor, musician, composer and best-selling author.
With 25 million records sold, 17 top-40 hits, including “Don’t Talk to Strangers,”“An Affair of the Heart,”“I’ve Done Everything for You,”“Love Somebody” and “Human Touch,” as well as a 1981 Grammy® for Best Male Rock Vocal for his No. 1 hit single “Jessie’s Girl,” Springfield’s music career continues to be his main focus. He has toured for over 30 years and recently began a series of solo concerts that have garnered critical praise as well as new fans. His most recent tour, Stripped Down, traversed the United States. Later this year, he will release his 18th studio album, the country/rock-flavored “Mayhem.”
In 2014, Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone imprint published Springfield’s debut novel, Magnificent Vibration, which entered the The New York Times best-seller list. In 2010, his memoir Late, Late at Night entered The New York Times best-seller list at No. 13 and hit the Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly lists as well. Rolling Stone named it one of the top-25 rock autobiographies of all time.
In 2013 Springfield teamed up with Dave Grohl on Grohl’s multi-faceted passion project, Sound City, which encompassed a documentary (Sound City), an album (“Sound City: Real to Reel”), and the Sound City Players tour, a string of critically acclaimed shows with fellow musicians, including Stevie Nicks, Trent Reznor, John Fogerty, and Lee Ving among others. Springfield and Grohl co-wrote “The Man That Never Was,” which was inspired by a true story from World War II.
In 2012 came the documentary, An Affair of the Heart, which captured the close ties between Springfield and his fans.
In the early 1970s, Springfield already had a handful of hit records in Australia when he emigrated to the United States. Settling in Los Angeles, he began an acting career, eventually landing the role of Dr. Noah Drake on the daytime drama “General Hospital.” Music remained his passion and his professional life changed direction with the 1981 success of his album “Working Class Dog,” followed by “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet,”“Living in Oz,” the “Hard to Hold” soundtrack and “Tao.”
In addition to “General Hospital” his other notable TV roles include a 4-episode arc on “Californication” and a guest-starring role on this year’s “True Detective.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Jonathan Demme (Director) started as a writer and producer with Roger Corman in 1971, and has directed and produced more than 40 movies since. His films as director/producer, which have been nominated for 20 Academy Awards®, include Beloved, Melvin and Howard,Philadelphia, Kurt Vonnegut Jr’s “Who Am I this Time?”, Rachel Getting Married, The Manchurian Candidate, and The Silence of the Lambs, for which he won the Oscar® for Best Director in 1991. Fear of Falling, directed by Demme and based on Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn’s adaptation of “The Master Builder,” the play by Henrik Ibsen, will be released in 2014. In television, he has directed episodes of “Columbo,”“Enlightened,”“The Killing,” and the pilots for “A Gifted Man” and “Line of Sight.”
Demme has also produced Spike Jonze’s Adaptation, Tom Hanks’That Thing You Do and Carl Franklin’s Devil in a Blue Dress.
Documentaries and performance films directed by Demme include Cousin Bobby,The Agronomist, Haiti Dreams of Democracy, Stop Making Sense, Swimming to Cambodia, Neil Young Heart of Gold, Neil Young Trunk Show, Neil Young Journeys and Jimmy Carter: Man from Plains,I’m Carolyn Parker: The Good the Mad and the Beautiful, New Home Movies from the Lower 9th Ward, Tavis Smiley’s Been In the Storm Too Long and most recently Enzo Avitabile Music Life, released in 2013.
Demme was producer of 1994 Oscar® nominee Mandela Son of Africa (directed by Jo Menell and Angus Gibson) and Peabody Award-winning Beah: a Black Woman Speaks (directed by LisaGay Hamilton).
In addition, Demme has executive produced, produced and or presented Kate Barker-Froyland’s Song One, Adam Leon’s Gimme the Loot, Nancy Savoca’s Household Saints, Victor Nunez’Ulee’s Gold, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Wide Blue Road, Peter Omrod’s Eat the Peach, Susanna Styron’s Shadrack, and recently, Lindsay Jaeger’s Everett Ruess: Wilderness Song.
In 2014, Demme will be presenting two feature films – Nabil Ayouch’s Horses of God and Charlie Griak’s The Center – plus a new documentary, Sean Gallagher’s Brothers of the Black List.
Jonathan Demme serves on the Board of Directors of the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, New York.
Diablo Cody (Writer/Producer) is the Academy Award®-winning screenwriter of Juno, Jennifer’s Body, and Young Adult. She also created the Golden Globe and Emmy-winning series “United States of Tara” alongside Steven Spielberg.
MARC PLATT (Producer) stands among the few producers who have successfully bridged the worlds of theatre, film and television. His projects have garnered a combined 8 Oscar® nominations, 16 Tony nominations, 13 Golden Globe nominations, and 19 Emmy nominations.
Among Platt’s films are Into The Woods starring Meryl Streep and Johnny Depp, directed by Rob Marshall;Song One starring Anne Hathaway; Ryan Gosling’s writing/directing debut, Lost River, starring Christina Hendricks; Drive, starring Ryan Gosling, which was awarded the Best Director prize at the 2011 Cannes International Film Festival;2 Guns starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg; the smash hits Legally Blonde and its sequel, starring Reese Witherspoon; Scott Pilgrimvs. The World, directed by Edgar Wright; the critically acclaimed Rachel Getting Married, helmed by Oscar®-winning director Jonathan Demme and starring Anne Hathaway; the 2008 summer hit Wanted starring Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman;the musical Nine directed by Rob Marshall, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson and Fergie; Cop Out starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan; Winter’s Tale starring Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe; Charlie St. Cloud starring Zac Efron; The Other Woman starring Natalie Portman; Honey; Josie and the Pussycats; and The Perfect Man.
In addition to Ricki and the Flash, Platt’s upcoming films include Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Tom Hanks, and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, directed by Oscar®-winner Ang Lee.
Marc Platt is the producer of Broadway’s blockbuster “Wicked,” which The New York Times recently called “the defining musical of the decade.”“Wicked,” which just celebrated its eleventh anniversary on Broadway, continues to break box office records for the Gershwin Theatre. Platt created the show with composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz and book writer Winnie Holzman based on the novel of the same name by Gregory Maguire. The “Wicked” original cast recording CD broke the debut sales records for all Broadway shows since “Rent” and has been certified double-platinum. Seven companies are now playing worldwide including Broadway, London, a UK tour, Mexico City, Australia and two North American tours. In recent years, “Wicked” has also had productions in Korea, Japan, Germany and Holland.
Platt is also producing the new Broadway musical “If/Then” starring Idina Menzel. In addition, he produced the Broadway debut of “Three Days of Rain,” starring Julia Roberts, Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper; Matthew Bourne’s ballet “Edward Scissorhands,” for which he won his second Drama Desk Award; and the recent revival of “Pal Joey” starring Stockard Channing.
In television, Platt won the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries for “Empire Falls” (HBO) starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Ed Harris, Helen Hunt and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Platt also executive produced “Once Upon A Mattress” starring Carol Burnett and Tracey Ullman (ABC); the Emmy Award winning miniseries “The Path To 9/11” (ABC); and the MTV hit series “Taking The Stage.”
Prior to establishing his production company, Marc Platt served as president of production for three movie studios (Orion, TriStar and Universal). Platt is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and The Broadway League.
GARY GOETZMAN’s (Producer) producing credits include Where The Wild Things Are, Mamma Mia!, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Polar Express, Larry Crowne, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, That Thing You Do!, The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia, Devil in a Blue Dress, Beloved, Miami Blues, The Great Buck Howard, Starter for 10, the Talking Heads’ concert film Stop Making Sense, the 3D IMAX film Magnificent Desolation, the criticallyacclaimed HBO miniseries “Olive Kitteridge,” the Emmy winning
miniseries “John Adams,”“Band of Brothers,” and “The Pacific,”the Emmy Award-winning HBO events “The 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of FameConcert,” and “Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Ceremony,”the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated HBO series “Big Love,” and the Emmy and the Golden Globe winning HBO film “Game Change.”
Currently, Goetzman is producing the feature film A Hologram for the King, from Dave Eggers’ novel, directed by Tom Tykwer. He is alsoproducing the Justin Timberlake concert film 20/20 Experience, directed byJonathan Demme, the HBO miniseries “Lewis and Clark,” the sequel My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, and “The Seventies,” the follow up to the Emmy nominated CNN documentary series, “The Sixties.”
MASON NOVICK (Producer) began his career as a talent manager before serving as executive producer on the Wes Craven’s thriller Red Eye.
In 2007, Novick produced Juno from a script by Diablo Cody. It grossed over $200 million worldwide and is the second-highest-grossing platform release of all time. The film was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for BestPicture and won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature. That sameyear, Novick was nominated for the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award inTheatrical Motion Pictures by the Producers Guild of America. Juno was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Picture at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards in addition to being selected as one of AFI Top Ten outstanding feature films of 2007.
(500) Days of Summer was nominated for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) at the 2010 Golden Globes. It was also nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature, and won for Best Screenplay. The film was also chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2009.
Novick was also a producer on Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron and directed by Jason Reitman. The film earned Theron a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy.
Most recently, Novick executive produced Men, Women, and Children, directed by Jason Reitman. The film stars Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner. It premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and was released by Paramount.
Novick is currently working on several independent and studio features, including Sweet Valley High adapted by Diablo Cody for Universal and an adaptation of Richard Aleas’ Hard Case Crime novel Little Girl Lost with Jonathan Levine directing. He is also producing The Sweet Spot for Warner Bros. with John Hamburg writing and directing, and Dan Mintner: Badass For Hire, starring Dwayne Johnson, for New Line.
Novick graduated from the University of Arizona in 1997 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. Starting out as an assistant at ICM, he was eventually promoted to an agent in the motion picture literary department. As an agent, some of the films Novick helped put together include, Snakes on a Plane and the Underworld franchise. Novick currently manages several writers including Oscar®-winner Diablo Cody, screenwriter and author Chad Kultgen, and Josh Heald.
RON BOZMAN (Executive Producer) won an Academy Award® for producing Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs. He has been an invaluable part of Demme’s team since serving as first assistant director on Something Wild and making the jump to associate producer on Married to the Mob. His other producer credits with Demme are Philadelphia, Beloved, Jimmy Carter Man from Plains and most recently The Master Builder, Wallace Shawn’s adaptation of the Henrik Ibsen play.
Among his other producing credits are The Ref, For Love of the Game, Autumn in New York, Changing Lanes, The Human Stain, The Stepford Wives, Failure to Launch and The Tempest.
ADAM SIEGEL (Executive Producer) is President of Marc Platt Productions. He joined the company in 2000, after graduating from Wesleyan University.
Siegel most recently produced Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut Lost River, which premiered in competition at the 2014 Cannes International Film Festival as an Un Certain Regard selection. The film stars Christina Hendricks, Saoirse Ronan, Ben Mendelsohn, Iain Decaesester, Matt Smith, and Eva Mendes.
He has also produced Drive, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, and Christina Hendricks. The film earned the Best Director prize at the 2011 Cannes International Film Festival, as well as BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award nominations for Best Picture.
Siegel previously produced 2 Guns directed by Baltasar Kormakur, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. He was executive producer on Timur Bekmambetov¹s Wanted, based on the popular comic book series, that starred Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy & Morgan freeman. He also served as executive producer on Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World directed by Edgar Wright.
BEN WAISBREN (Executive Producer) is Chairman and President of LSC Film Corporation, which co-finances major motion pictures with Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. He is also an attorney with the international law firm of Winston & Strawn, where he advises clients in the U.S. and Europe in the media & entertainment and finance sectors. His clients include independent production and distribution companies, private equity firms, hedge funds, investment banks and commercial banks.
Earlier in his career, Waisbren was a managing director and head of investment banking restructuring at Salomon Brothers in New York, following a legal career at a large Chicago law firm, Lord, Bissell & Brook, where he led a national bankruptcy litigation practice.
Prior to joining Winston & Strawn in early 2013, Mr. Waisbren was the President of Continental Entertainment Capital LP, a direct subsidiary of Citigroup, with operations in New York, Los Angeles and Paris. Before that, he was a managing director of a global hedge fund company, Stark Investments, where he was a co-portfolio manager in the fixed income and private equity areas, and responsible for investments in the feature film industry, and the formation of the firm’s structured finance fund and a related, branded middle market leveraged lender, Freeport Financial.
Waisbren served as a member of the Board of Directors of France’s Wild Bunch, S.A., a pan-European motion picture production, distribution and sales company, from 2005 until 2009, in connection with private equity investments that he managed.
He was Executive Producer of Warner Bros. Pictures’300; Blood Diamond; V for Vendetta; Nancy Drew; The Good German; Poseidon; and The Assassination of Jesse James by the CowardRobert Ford. In addition, he was Executive Producer of the following independent studio releases: Cassandra’s Dream; First Born; Next; Bangkok Dangerous; and Gardener of Eden. For Sony Pictures Entertainment, he served as an executive producer of Columbia Pictures’22 JumpStreet, SexTape, The Equalizer, Fury, Chappie, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Aloha, and Pixels, and Screen Gems’The Wedding Ringer.
DECLAN QUINN, ASC (Cinematographer) has won three Independent Spirit Awards, for his work on In America (2002), Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996) and Leaving Las Vegas (1995).
Quinn began his career as a cinematographer on concert films for U2: Outside It’s America and Unforgettable Fire. He has continued to work on music documentaries, including three Neil Young concerts for director Jonathan Demme: Heart of Gold, Neil Young Trunk Show and Neil Young Journeys. He has also worked with Demme on the documentaries Jimmy Carter Man From Plains and I’m Carolyn Parker, as well as the features Rachel Getting Married and The Master Builder.
Among Quinn’s other feature film credits are five with director Mira Nair, Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair, Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, The Reluctant Fundamentalist and her segment of New York, I Love You. He has also worked multiple times with directors Mike Figgis, Jim Sheridan and Paul Weitz.
Quinn’s other feature film credits include, Admission, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Breakfast on Pluto, Cold Creek Manor, 28 Days and Vanya on 42nd Street.
STUART WURTZEL (Production Designer)received an Academy Award® nomination for his work on Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters. He also designed Allen’s Purple Rose of Cairo, as well as three films by Peter Yates: Suspect, The House on Carroll Street and An Innocent Man.
He has designed several projects for HBO, the first being Mike Nichols’ production of “Wit,” starring Emma Thompson. He continued the Nichols/HBO collaboration with “Angels in America,” for which he won both an Emmy Award and an Art Directors’ Guild award in 2004. His most recent HBO venture was “Empire Falls,” directed by Fred Schepisi and starring Paul Newman and Ed Harris. He was nominated for an Emmy Award and won an Art Director’s Guild award for that project.
Wurtzel’s numerous other feature credits include: Hope Springs, Enchanted, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Charlotte’s Web, Marley and Me, What Happens in Vegas, Before and After, Stepmom, Hair, Used People, Mermaids, Romeo Is Bleeding, Three Men and a Little Lady, Old Gringo, Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Mambo Kings, When a Man Loves a Woman, I.Q., Murder by Numbers, The Ghost and the Darkness and Little Manhattan.
Wurtzel’s first feature film design credit was Joan Micklin Silver’s Hester Street, on which he collaborated with his wife, Patrizia von Brandenstein. His association with Silver continued with “Bernice Bobs Her Hair” for the American Short Stories series on PBS and the feature Between the Lines.
Raised in Hillside, New Jersey, Wurtzel studied scenic design at Carnegie Mellon University, earning an MFA degree. He began working as a theatrical stage designer, with four seasons as resident designer at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and three seasons at Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park.
After moving to New York, Wurtzel designed numerous Broadway productions, including “Summer Brave,”“Unexpected Guests,”“Tiny Alice,”“A Flea in Her Ear,”“Sizwe Banze Is Dead,”“The Island,” and “Wally’s Café.” Off-Broadway credits include “Trumpets and Drums” and “Rosmersholm” at the Roundabout Theatre, “Gimme Shelter” at BAM, “Sorrows of Stephen” (for which he won the Joseph Maharam Award for Stage Design) and “Henry IV, Part I” for the New York Shakespeare Festival.
On television, Wurtzel’s design for “Little Gloria...Happy At Last,” earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Art Direction.
WYATT SMITH (Editor) has worked as a director and editor in the film, television and music industries.
The son of a roadie, Smith worked his first job as a production assistant for a Carly Simon HBO special at the age of 12. Throughout his teenage years, he worked on projects for a variety of artists including Mariah Carey and Paul Simon.
In the early 1990’s, Smith developed an interest in editing while working at Sony Music Studios in New York City. He soon began cutting the critically acclaimed music series “Sessions at West 54th,” and went on to edit documentaries for Black Sabbath, Brian Wilson and A&E “Biography,” music videos for Pearl Jam, John Mayer and Keith Urban, and television specials including CBS’s “Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration” and “Elvis By The Presleys.”
Expanding beyond music, Smith edited the comedy series “Chappelle’s Show.” In 2002, at the request of record producer Phil Ramone, he began directing multicamera shows including the “Songwriters Hall of Fame” (Bravo), VH1’s “The World Series of Pop Culture” and performance specials for Grammy Award winners John Legend and Evanescence. In 2006, Wyatt edited the multi-Emmy Award winning NBC special “Tony Bennett: An American Classic” directed by Rob Marshall, for which Smith received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Picture Editing for a Special.
Marshall brought him on to co-edit the Weinstein Company’s feature film musical Nine, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, for which Smith earned a Broadcast Film Critics Choice nomination for Best Editing. Continuing his work with Marshall, Wyatt edited the 3D Disney adventure epic Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Smith subsequently edited the documentary The Zen of Bennett and provided additional editing for The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn as well as Bachelorette starring Kirsten Dunst. After editing the concert segments for Sony Pictures’ 3D documentary One Direction: This Is Us, Wyatt returned to the action adventure genre with 300: Rise of an Empire, then Thor: The Dark World. Smith recently completed his third feature with Rob Marshall, Into the Woods. He was nominated for an Eddie Award for Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical for his work.
Academy Award® winner ANN ROTH (Costume Designer) designs for both theatre and motion pictures.
In addition to numerous productions on Broadway, Roth’s designs have appeared at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, San Francisco Opera, American Conservatory Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club and Circle in the Square, among others. She has received three Drama Desk nominations and four Tony nominations for “The Royal Family” (1976), “The Crucifer of Blood”(1979), “The House of Blue Leaves”(1986), and “The Book of Mormon” (2011).
In five decades as a costume designer for films, her credits include The World of Henry Orient, Midnight Cowboy, Klute, Day of the Locust, Goodbye Girl, Hair, Places in the Heart, Sweet Dreams, Working Girl, The Birdcage, Unbearable Lightness of Being, Primary Colors, The English Patient, The Hours, Cold Mountain, The Village, Closer, The Good Shepherd, Mamma Mia!, The Reader, Julie & Julia and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. On television, Roth designed costumes for the Emmy-winning mini-series “Angels in America” and “Mildred Pierce.”
She has received four Oscar® nominations with a win for her work on The English Patient and three BAFTA nominations with a win for The Day of the Locust.