Academy Award winners Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”) and Billy Bob Thornton (“Sling Blade”) star in the satirical comedy “Our Brand is Crisis,” from director David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express,” “George Washington”) and producers Grant Heslov and George Clooney, the Oscar-winning producers of “Argo.”
A Bolivian presidential candidate failing badly in the polls enlists the firepower of an elite American management team, led by the deeply damaged but still brilliant strategist “Calamity” Jane Bodine (Bullock). In self-imposed retirement following a scandal that rocked her to her core, Jane is coaxed back into the game for the chance to beat her professional nemesis, the loathsome Pat Candy (Thornton), now coaching the opposition.
But as Candy zeroes in on every vulnerability – both on and off the campaign trail – Jane is plunged into a personal crisis as intense as the one her team exploits nationally to boost their numbers. “Our Brand is Crisis” reveals the cynical machinations and private battles of world-class political consultants for whom nothing is sacred and winning is all that matters.
The film also stars Anthony Mackie (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”), Joaquim de Almeida (“Fast Five”), Ann Dowd (“Side Effects,” HBO’s “Olive Kitteridge”), Scoot McNairy (“Gone Girl,” “Argo”), Zoe Kazan (“Ruby Sparks,” “Olive Kitteridge”), and Reynaldo Pacheco (“Beginners”).
Green directs from a screenplay by Oscar nominee Peter Straughan (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), suggested by the documentary by Rachel Boynton, which outlined the American political campaign marketing tactics employed in the real-life 2002 Bolivian presidential election.
Sandra Bullock, Stuart Besser, and Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King served as the executive producers.
Green’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes his frequent collaborators, director of photography Tim Orr, editor Colin Patton, production designer Richard A. Wright and composer David Wingo (“Manglehorn,”); as well as costume designer Jenny Eagan (“Now You See Me”).
Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Participant Media, a Smokehouse Pictures production, “Our Brand is Crisis.” The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.
ABOUT THE STORY
“Our Brand is Crisis” takes a timely and satirical look at the high-stakes gamesmanship behind the scenes of a presidential campaign, seen through the eyes and actions of the strategists-for-hire who are pulling the strings. Bringing audiences into the belly of the beast with a fictional story as relevant as today’s news cycle, it explores the often outrageous and unconscionable lengths to which some people will go in their competitive zeal to get the job done and cross the finish line ahead of the other guy.
“So much of politics and the election process is absurd, from big business to the media circus, the sound bites and the haircuts,” says director David Gordon Green. Addressing some of the film’s tonal facets, he adds, “Politics has become entertainment and marketing. That’s where the movie has some fun and a sense of humor, in exposing that absurdity, which gives the story its energy and momentum even as the characters are facing some difficult issues that we definitely don’t tiptoe around.”
It was Green’s gift for keeping that kind of balance in play that led the producers to enlist him for the project, citing his success not only with irreverent comedies like “Pineapple Express” and the acclaimed HBO comedy/drama “Eastbound and Down,” but for what producer Grant Heslov calls “character driven films about big ideas.”
Heslov, who produced “Our Brand is Crisis” in tandem with his Smokehouse Pictures partner George Clooney, goes on to acknowledge, “This isn’t a partisan thing. You can stand on either side and see it; the crazy amount of money involved and the B.S. that goes on. It’s something that has always interested us, the idea of winning at whatever cost. In the case of Jane Bodine, the cost is her soul, and that’s what she’s coming to terms with.”
Sandra Bullock stars as lead operative Jane Bodine, once considered among the best in the business, who has lately retreated from the political spotlight.
Bullock, who was also part of the producing team, explains, “When we first meet Jane, she’s had to remove herself from the world in which she’d spent most of her life, for the sake of survival. She was brilliant at her job. But it became an addiction to her, and what it turned her into and the mindset it required became dangerous. Jane is fragile. She has some instability issues, some addiction issues. And clearly all of that was exacerbated when she was in that world, so she just had to stop.”
“The thing I loved about this role was that there didn’t seem to be any rules or boundaries, whether emotionally or in the tone,” Bullock continues. “And that was indicative of the whole story, which, I feel really represents life in that there’s no such thing as all drama or all laughs in day-to-day events. Even serious stories can have painfully funny elements and you can find drama and tragedy in funny moments, and I was drawn to this character and this film because of those complexities.”
As the story opens, the infamous campaign fixer is in seclusion, following a tragically unsuccessful run that left her more shattered than she can admit. She’s not quite ready to return to the fray when a former associate comes knocking in hopes that Jane can help turn things around for a hugely unpopular presidential candidate in Bolivia, named Castillo. She declines. But when Jane learns that her bitter rival Pat Candy has been hired by the opposing party, her competitive nature kicks in. Having lost to Pat more than once before, this could be her chance to even the score.
“I imagine political consultants are, in a lot of ways, like actors,” says Billy Bob Thornton, who stars as Pat Candy. “Sometimes you do things because it’s something you really love and are passionate about and other times – hopefully not too often – you do it because you’re a professional and you’re getting paid, so you go in there and turn it on in that moment.”
Given Jane’s reputation, turning it on is exactly what everyone expects. But that part of her is badly damaged. Instead, Jane’s arrival in La Paz is uncharacteristically muted. Apart from noting that everything the campaign has been doing thus far is wrong, she barely participates, making both the American consultants and Castillo’s team wonder if she’s really lost her touch. Led to believe they were getting the infamous Jane Bodine, they see instead this disheveled and dispirited woman barely able to keep it together. Where is that brilliant mind and legendary drive, that killer instinct?
But just when it seems like hiring Jane was a big mistake, something clicks inside her. Maybe it’s muscle memory, maybe it’s the idea of Pat Candy throwing down the gauntlet, or maybe it’s just the siren call of a process she finds equally repellant and irresistible… Suddenly, and despite the obvious fact that she is still falling apart, Jane rises to the challenge. Vacillating between self-doubt and bouts of manic energy, she sets to work, collating focus-group data, poll results and media buzz with her still-honed instincts to assess Castillo’s mettle and craft an image of him that not only plays up his strengths but camouflages his weaknesses.
Then, in a breathtaking display of the kind of skill and genius that made her who she is, she sucker-punches his opponent and puts Pat on notice by flipping a negative into a positive: casting her privileged, confrontational and arrogant client as the only individual strong enough to lead his country out of its economic morass…and therein lies the meaning of the film’s title. Declaring the situation in Bolivia a crisis and holding up their man as its solution, they draw attention away from any other issues with a simple and dramatic directive that cannot be denied. Crisis becomes the foundation of their campaign, their slogan, their brand.
And they sell it hard.
But even as the campaign slowly starts to register an upturn, Jane is continuing to unravel. Unresolved issues plague her thoughts. Encounters with her old sparring partner Pat stoke more disillusionment than inspiration, as she begins to see the worst of herself in him. At the same time, she finds herself forming a friendship with a young local volunteer, Eddie, whose support of the campaign is heartfelt rather than calculated, and who represents the human face of this election. Win or lose, once the American consultants depart La Paz for fresh assignments, Eddie will be left to live with the results.
“Jane feels her life is being navigated by other people,” says Green. “We meet her at a vulnerable moment where she’s stepped away from the industry that has brought her so much success, and is then summoned back into action like a legendary gunslinger. She feels misguided in this impressive skill set she has, and that she’s not really proud of anymore, and is trying to figure out how to use it in a way that’s more meaningful. So it’s a journey in which Jane is testing her ethics and her motivations even while forging ahead to get a man she barely knows elected president.”
As extreme as her circumstances are, they may still ring familiar to anyone who has felt the gnawing anxiety of being very good at something they don’t want to do anymore. Anthony Mackie, who stars as Ben, the leader of the American consulting team suggests, “Many of us may have reached a point in our lives or careers where we’re just burnt out and looking for a new road, a new idea or even a new existence. I think people watching this movie will be able to relate to her on that level.”
Interestingly, Heslov reveals that in the script’s earliest incarnation, as Smokehouse was still developing the project, the part of the lead strategist was male. After Bullock read it and noted what a great role it could be for a woman, they took another look: “George and I thought that was a good idea,” he recalls. “So we went to the writer, Peter Straughan, and said let’s change it, let’s make this character a woman and see how that works. And we really liked it.”
Apart from fleshing out some minor details and subtleties, the transformation proved relatively effortless, as the conflicts and aspirations Jane reflects are universal. Recalls Bullock, “I didn’t want the character to change, or her being a woman to alter the main story points or connections.”
The depth of the story and the challenges faced by their lead character was what attracted producers Heslov and Clooney. “With some films the tone is very straightforward. Oddly enough, we rarely make those films,” Heslov says. “We usually find ones where the tone is on the precipice and can go several ways. This film is darkly funny, and also has moments of great seriousness, and there are underlying issues worthy of real thought.”
In their early meetings with the director, adds Bullock, “Everything David proposed and his understanding of the story not only matched what was already in our heads but enhanced it.”
While fictional in both its characters and story, “Our Brand is Crisis” was inspired by true events depicted in the 2005 documentary of the same name from writer/director Rachel Boynton, which chronicles the real-life presidential campaign of Bolivia’s Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada. “It was inspiring on every level,” notes Bullock, “but we had to let it go and create our own story.”
The filmmakers were captivated by the idea of paid political consultants plying their expertise to manage elections not only on their home soil but in far-flung locations around the globe. Bringing in renowned screenwriter Straughan, together they imagined what such people might be like – their lives and back-stories, their motivations and relationships, and the scope of their influence.
“Working on this project only confirmed what I always thought existed in the political world,” says Bullock. But at the same time, she observes, “The film is not really as much about politics as it is about people and what drives them. It’s set in the tense, ticking-clock world of a political election and you get caught up in what’s going to happen next but to me it’s more about which of these people are going to do the right thing, and what that means. You see the comedy and the absurdity, the pain and chaos that is often caused by people who just want to win and you think, if it was you, would you be strong enough to get off the carousel?”
Green concurs. “That, to me, is part of the fun of a movie like this, to take a journey with characters that entertain you or touch you, or make you roll your eyes at their attitude and maybe want to smack them in the face, and it opens your imagination to the possibilities of politics and personal ethics. That’s why I think it’s important to have an ensemble of people and voices representing various sides. You watch them grow or fail to grow and maybe wonder what you might do in the same situation.”
“I’ve always admired Sandra Bullock for the diversity of roles she has played and the way she consistently challenges and invites audiences to explore the emotional intricacies of her characters, tap the natural humor, and go on these journeys with her,” says Green. “Whenever we see her on screen, we just believe in her and root for her, and I knew she would make Jane someone whose future we really care about.”
Clearly, this isn’t the first time Jane Bodine and Pat Candy have taken positions on opposite sides of a fight. For strategists at their level, it’s no surprise they have frequently crossed paths. And swords. “I love this kind of powerful, adversarial relationship that may also have just a hint of affection,” says Thornton. “They get it, what most people wouldn’t understand. They know what it’s all about.
“I’ve been doing this for 30 years and worked with a lot of actors, and I have to say that working with Sandra has been a real pleasure,” he continues. “She’s been the girl next door, she’s been a big commercial movie draw, and she’s been an edgy actress who delivers award-winning performances; Sandra’s run the gamut and she knows what kind of weight to bring to a role like this. She’s got grit.”
Conversely, “Billy Bob was the perfect choice for Pat because he can say the nastiest things and you still love him,” Green remarks. “There’s a very specific quality and charisma that comes with a great actor that, no matter what he does, you know you’re going to forgive him just a little. As Pat tests Jane, we wanted an actor who could be a formidable counterpart for Sandra, someone with gravitas and wit…and that smile that lets him off the hook.”
Describing that smile as “Cheshire cat,” Bullock adds, “Billy Bob just transforms on screen with all that mischievousness and evil. I would have to take a deep breath every time we started a scene because I had no idea what that man was going to bring. Yet I trusted him completely.”
For Thornton, “Jane and Pat are chess players, but chess players moving real people around the board. Pat Candy is so confident and so good at what he does that he probably gets bored easily and so he constantly has to stir things up to keep himself interested. When he sees Jane, he thinks, ‘Good, now I have someone to play with.’”
“In a way, Pat is the devil on her shoulder, always keeping her alert and aware,” says Green. “Pat is convinced he taught Jane everything she knows and delights in anticipating her next move.” Consequently, they dig deep and elevate each other’s game. If he scores a photo op for his camp, she undercuts it; she organizes a rally and he sabotages the coverage; he floats a damning rumor and she turns it to her advantage. And so it goes, riding the polls and counting down the hours to Election Day.
Audiences should feel the heat as these two Oscar-winning actors bring this unique and troubled relationship to life with every look, every pointed barb and sly suggestion of things unsaid between the lines.
But at what point did it become more about Jane and Pat than the clients they represent? To add dimension to their relationship, Bullock relates, “We created a whole unspoken history between these two characters because we wanted it to feel, from the moment they were together on screen, that there was subtext. Otherwise, I don’t think there would have been the same dynamic and the feeling that we were saying one thing but meaning something else or alluding to some secret, shared past.”
“Did they or didn’t they? That’s something I’ve often asked myself,” Thornton teases, though offering no definitive answer to just how close Jane and Pat might once have been.
But for all their similarities, professional and personal connections, Green contends, the weight of this relationship rests on their fundamental divide. “Pat Candy is someone for whom self-interest will always come first, as long as he’s successful and doing what he’s good at. Even if he’s doing things that may challenge the political climate or the culture of a country, he’ll fly home afterwards and sleep comfortably in his own bed. He has no problem with that. But I think Jane is someone who takes things more personally and tosses and turns when she feels she’s doing something wrong.”
Jane has an entirely different relationship with Anthony Mackie’s character, Ben, the team leader, whom Green describes as “smart, energetic and good-willed, the likeable anchor in the film. When everyone else seems to be challenging their ethics and making you question where they’re coming from or what their agendas are, he’s the one audiences will look to as someone who may still have some perspective.
“From playing Tupac to the Falcon in the Avenger movies; he has such a range of memorable performances to his credit, I thought he’d be great as a clean-cut, solid, upstanding American navigating a political campaign in Latin America. He understands that Jane has problems but comes to realize she’s powerful and capable. He’s not there to manipulate her. He wants to learn, and be good at his job, and he also wants the world to be a better place.”
Which is not to say that Ben isn’t a willing participant in the game, but he has his limits.
At the core of the multi-layered character, Mackie feels, “Ben is the guy who doesn’t have all the answers but he definitely knows how to impose his will on the circumstances and he has their candidate’s best interests at the front of his mind at all times. He takes his job very seriously. At the same time, he would hope the politicians he represents are actually addressing the people in their campaign as opposed to just lying to them and telling them what they want to hear.”
For Bullock, it’s that sense of equilibrium that defines Ben and makes him a fitting complement and contrast to Jane. Amidst the madness of the campaign, their brief and refreshingly candid conversations, so simple on the surface, prove increasingly enlightening. “He is a moral compass, the soul of the story,” she says. “He’s smart and ethical, but he’s also realistic, so he’s saying, ‘I know it’s about the people and the country but we have to stay cognizant that this is an election and it’s a business.’ He’s the man in the middle, holding the scales and trying to keep them balanced. Sometimes the scales tip, and you wonder which way he is going to go, but you want to feel he’s going to do the right thing in the end.”
Though this is the first time Jane and Ben have met, Jane is brought into the campaign by someone who knows her well. Her former associate Nell, played by Ann Dowd, realizes they’re facing an uphill battle and is convinced Jane is their best hope to turn it around.
“She’s the senior member of the group, and like a producer in that she brings the right people together,” says Dowd, who stars as the veteran consultant with a maternal manner that belies a steely resolve. “Knowing that Pat Candy is working for the opposition, and knowing that Jane and Pat have a powerful and toxic past that drives Jane, Nell puts it all together.”
Though the particulars are not spelled out, all indications are that these two women have moved in the same professional circles for years and have an excellent grasp of each other’s value. “A lot of these relationships are enigmatic,” Heslov allows. “There are references to things in the past but you don’t need to know the specifics. They have worked together and there’s an easy banter, but you never get the impression that they’re really friends. It’s more based on, ‘What you can do for me, and what I can do for you.’”
“Nell knows how dangerous and chaotic Jane can be and that’s why she brings her in. With her skill set and her background, she knows that when Jane goes off the rails, that’s when it really gets good,” notes Green, a longtime fan of Dowd, with whom he last collaborated as an executive producer on “Compliance.” “I jumped at the opportunity to cast her as Nell because I knew she could convey a nice, motherly aura that you could put a twist on; a smart, cunning, manipulative person under an unassuming sweet façade.”
Like all the main players, Nell has more complexity than she reveals, and resourcefulness every bit as honed as Jane’s but not so much in strategy as in networking. “She has connections and a long reach, which she uses when necessary, and I don’t think she spends a lot of time wondering if it’s ethical or not. She lets circumstances dictate and can live with herself fairly easily in the decisions she makes,” says Dowd.
The team’s hot-shot advertising expert, Buckley, is likewise untroubled. Played by Scoot McNairy with a permanent air of importance, Buckley takes charge of the campaign’s print ads and TV spots. Having worked on promotions for soft drinks and computers, he views every voter as a consumer and believes he can sell them what they want…despite this being his first-ever political campaign, despite it being in an unfamiliar country and culture, and despite his literally not knowing a llama from a camel. As such, Buckley provides a measure of humor to the story, although he would be the last to recognize the joke.
McNairy had fun with it, drawing partly on his personal experience with commercials. “It’s not a role I ever thought I would play but, having gotten the part, I realized that so much of Buckley is familiar to me, and was already there in the back of my head. He’s one of those guys who thinks he knows everything about everything and doesn’t really know that much about anything. But he has to maintain this impression that he’s the one with all the answers.”
Green pulls no punches in saying, “Buckley represents the pinnacle of arrogance in the movie, a guy who is more concerned about his moisturizer than about the Bolivian people he is there to quote-unquote support. He comes with questionable ethics, which remain, unexamined, on the table. He wants to look good and get paid and put this on his resume. As part of the team, he was probably the most naïve as to what he was getting into, and one of the things I find most fun is watching him get in over his head and out of his comfort zone and yet not really evolve as much as you hope a young man in such circumstances would.”
Heslov, who worked with McNairy on “Argo,” says, “We knew Scoot would bring something special to the role, and we loved what he did with it, all the little things that finish off the character. He hit all those cool, perfect, funny notes.”
Meanwhile, the person who may well have all the answers is LeBlanc. If not, just give her a minute and an internet connection and she is guaranteed to find them.
“LeBlanc is brought in by Jane as a kind of secret weapon to research and uncover the underbelly of these candidates, not just the opposition but also their own,” says Zoe Kazan, who stars as the whip-smart investigator. “She’s there to dig up dirt. It’s not necessarily the worst information you could imagine, but it could be enough if it’s used the right way.”
Citing one of Kazan’s best-known roles, Green says, “We wanted to cast against type, placing the person many know as Ruby Sparks in the role of this largely unknown operative who knows everything about you and is all business. Zoe really pulls it off.”
Adds Heslov, “It’s a case of youth being mistaken for innocence, until you get deeper and discover there’s a lot more darkness there.”
Fiercely loyal and beholden to no one but Jane, LeBlanc is summoned as the campaign is already underway because Jane knows the time has come to get their hands dirty. As Kazan understands her, “LeBlanc keeps to herself and mostly observes. I don’t think there’s a moral or a political component for her; she’s not thinking about ruining someone’s life or hurting someone’s campaign, it’s just another problem to solve.”
That being the case, LeBlanc and Buckley immediately butt heads and develop what could have been a rivalry along the lines of the Jane-and-Pat dynamic if only LeBlanc was invested enough in one-upping Buckley to care.
While all of this churns behind the scenes, front and center stands presidential candidate and veteran politico Castillo, who sees his consultants as a necessary evil, and whose mix of charm, pride and privilege is deftly captured by Portuguese actor Joaquim de Almeida.
Coincidentally, this film marks the second time that de Almeida has portrayed a Bolivian president. The first was in “Che,” when he appeared as real-life President Barrientos.
The actor nearly didn’t make the “Our Brand is Crisis” shoot because of an ill-timed gym injury shortly before production, but instead opted to use the situation to his advantage. “Castillo is not an easy guy, not a smiling, happy guy. He has issues. He’s impatient. So I used my own discomfort for the character,” he says.
“He’s a man with money and power,” de Almeida continues. “Castillo is not used to being told what to do, especially by a woman, but these are experts who are well-paid and have run successful campaigns in other countries so he’s willing to hear them out. Then there’s a turning point when he sees the results of Jane’s work, and even if she has a tough way of explaining things and confronts him with the truth, and even if he has a hard time accepting that, he can’t argue with the results.”
Jane sees immediately who Castillo is. Perhaps it’s because these two personalities, often vocally at odds, are oddly simpatico in their single-minded pursuit of the prize.
“Joaquim plays Castillo brilliantly like a person who has once been president but is no longer the president, and is trying to get his groove back,” notes Green. “In that respect, he is similar to Jane in not wanting to step down from the throne and wanting to get back into control. But is he looking out for the best interests of the country, or just addressing his own ego?”
“We auditioned many actors and when Joaquim read we all looked at each other and said, ‘That’s the guy,’” recalls Heslov. “He really captures that toughness and machismo and Castillo’s sense of entitlement, while alluding to aspects of this man we may never know.”
Bullock agrees. “There’s great sub-text in his work. He makes Castillo someone both endearing and repulsive. He gives the role an element of power and depth, and it’s clear that he hasn’t been an angel.”
Among the Castillo campaign’s local staff is an enthusiastic young volunteer called Eddie, played by Bolivian-born Reynaldo Pacheco. Eddie’s late father was a Castillo booster and now Eddie treasures a photo of his father holding him as a child, taken with the former president. It’s this sentimental touchstone that spurs him to support Castillo’s re-election, though it puts him out of step with his brother and best friend, as well as many in his community.
“I loved the fact that Reynaldo is from La Paz,” notes Green. “In that respect, he became a collaborator and navigator for me. Even though the reality of his life was very different from Eddie’s, there was still a great cultural understanding, which helped us create a character that felt authentic.
“I saw tapes of hundreds of actors,” he adds. “There was just something about Reynaldo, something in his eyes and the way he immediately made that emotional connection.”
Says Heslov, “While Anthony’s character, Ben, is the one person closest to being the moral compass of the story, Eddie is its heart.”
Fueled by his memories and his optimism, “Eddie doesn’t know much about politics; he just wants to help Castillo,” Pacheco explains. “His father loved Castillo, the first president to grant the indigenous people the right to vote, so it’s important to him that this man continue the path of change Eddie believes he started years ago. He also believes he has formed a real bond with the consultants, especially Jane, and that these are good people who are not just here to do a job but to make a difference.”
For Bullock, “Eddie represents the innocence we all had. Unfortunately, we all remember the moment when we realized we couldn’t un-see or un-know what we know. You can’t go backwards. I think people will remember a time when they thought people did things for good, and that politicians and governments were pure but then they stepped out into the world and realized that everything is for sale, everything has a price. Eddie is at the point right before that moment, and you watch him, knowing that he’s going to get crushed.
“If Jane is not the same person at the end of the movie, it’s partly because of the way he has gotten under her skin and reminded her of who she once was,” she says.
Rounding out the main cast, Octavio Gómez Berríos and Luis Chávez play, respectively, Eddie’s brother Pepe and their friend Abraham, who adamantly oppose Eddie’s devotion to the former president. Bolivian-American Dominic Flores is Castillo’s loyal campaign manager Hugo, who is more than a little skeptical about some of the foreign team’s methods; and Louis Arcella is Castillo’s robust competitor, the remarkably photogenic populist candidate, Rivera.
ALL ROADS LEAD TO LA PAZ
The practical challenges of shooting entirely in Bolivia led the production to alternative sites, including Puerto Rico, which served as a convincing proxy for exteriors, and New Orleans, where many of the indoor scenes were filmed. They followed this with a week of shooting in Bolivia, where Green says he sought locations infused with “life, rust and texture,” to complete the illusion that they had been there all along.
Months prior to cameras rolling, Green and some of his colleagues, including production designer Richard A. Wright and costume designer Jenny Eagan, took a scouting trip to La Paz, focusing their attention on the city but also exploring rural areas like Lake Titicaca and the rainforests. Says Green, “We went just to educate ourselves on what we were going to recreate and really fell in love. We took lots of notes and photos, and brought back ideas as well as props and wardrobe.
“Bringing the production ultimately to Bolivia was essential to the legitimacy of the storytelling,” he continues, “where you could shoot in front of the presidential palace in La Paz, and the parliament building, or stand on the steps of the church where demonstrations have taken place. There’s such gorgeous architecture. Some things can be recreated, certainly, but there’s nothing like capturing the real thing. I believe you could spin a camera 360 degrees virtually anywhere in La Paz and find beauty.”
At approximately 11,800 feet, La Paz is the de facto highest capital city in the world (Sucre is technically Bolivia’s capital, though the seat of government is La Paz), which can offer a rocky reception to first-time visitors. For Green, the altitude proved calming, but for Wright it was a different story. “His arrival in La Paz was very much like Jane’s in the movie,” the director laughingly recalls of his longtime friend and colleague. “The second we landed, Richard reached up to the overhead bin and fainted. The air is so thin, he couldn’t breathe. It’s common to see people greeting passengers with oxygen as they get off the plane because they haven’t acclimated. So there I was, carrying my green friend through customs with an oxygen tank.”
Green’s partnership with Wright goes back 15 years to the University of North Carolina’s School of Filmmaking, as does his alliance with cinematographer Tim Orr, who has lensed every one of Green’s movies since the two were students.
Orr opted to shoot on film, noting, “I wanted it to be vivid. I also processed the film for more saturation, contrast and grain to make it look more realistic and give it a bit of grit while still having a sense of cinematic style and craft.” Pursuing that balance, he also alternated between fluid dolly shots and handheld camera work, using handheld especially in the campaign office and some of the street scenes, where it lent a natural feel. Additionally, his selection of lens length or the amount of movement the cameras had in relation to their subjects infused the action with what he calls “a kinetic energy.”
The filmmakers sought echoes of Bolivia’s architectural tones in Puerto Rico. These included the small town of Naranjito, where the exterior of Eddie’s neighborhood was filmed, to stand in for El Alto, with its similarly stacked and tightly spaced buildings. Portions of the hotel where Jane and Pat antagonize each other from opposite sides of a wide atrium were filmed at the Edif San Miguel, in Old San Jose, and the Casa Espana, in Old San Juan. The El Yunque National Forest, in northeastern Puerto Rico, doubled for a Bolivian rainforest, which, Wright says, “takes us away from La Paz, provides scope and allows the film to cover more ground.”
In New Orleans, Wright used source images from Bolivia to craft interiors and exteriors. “Architecturally, La Paz has different looks but the vast majority of it is brick block,” he says. “The color of the walls is mainly terra cotta except where it’s been painted by graffiti or fading paint, so we tried infuse those elements of color into the mix. There are murals and some wild-style graffiti and political statements rolled right onto the walls, houses, everywhere you look. We we wanted to bring as much of that as we could to New Orleans.”
With help from Bolivian Spanish-language advisors, “our graphic designer Jason Perrine made signs, political posters and even outlet sticker covers that, from a distance, look like Bolivian outlets,” Wright continues. Additionally, “We searched New Orleans for those tiny wedges of space that, with a little adjustment, could create the illusion of Bolivia. If something looked particularly American, we would cover it with posters or graffiti. It not only helped set the scene but served to camouflage where we actually were.”
The transformation gave even the actors pause. Citing a demonstration sequence filmed in New Orleans, Scoot McNairy recalls, “We were in traffic, a good quarter of a mile. I looked at the spray paint and graffiti and all the little shops, and thought, ‘This neighborhood is amazing, it’s perfect.’ Then I saw the rest of the street and realized the neighborhood wasn’t like that at all. Richard had come in and designed this entire 15 blocks of greatness.”
In other instances, authenticity conflicted with artistry and creative license took precedence. Says Green, “There was an important scene with a train in the script, but there are no trains in La Paz. So we thought, ‘Well, it’s a great sequence. Should we take the leap and just assume we’re in some other nearby region? Let’s just put the train in the movie.’ Sometimes you make those decisions for the sake of the story.”
Wright built nearly a dozen stage sets in New Orleans, including the snowbound cabin where Ben and Nell first approach Jane about joining the Castillo campaign; the Bolivian jail cell where Jane lands after an uncharacteristic night on the town; and the worn interior of Eddie’s home.
The most complex set, Wright outlines, was Jane’s hotel room. “The room opens up to a balcony and there’s a lot of back and forth between this balcony and the inside of the room. The exterior was shot in Puerto Rico while the set was in New Orleans, so we spent a lot of time trying to coordinate the balcony with a green screen to match the location footage.”
Visual Effects, overseen by VFX supervisors Jonathan Hairman and Jonathan Dearing, was an integral part of blending three locations to resemble one, matching extensive plates of mountains and other images shot in La Paz to location footage in Puerto Rico and New Orleans.
Finally, with a storyline requiring crowds and so much action on the streets, Heslov says, “One of our biggest challenges was assembling people for the background. New Orleans isn’t known for its large Bolivian population, so we cast a wide net. We drew extras from Arizona, New Mexico and other states.” Luckily, Houston, Texas, is home to one of the largest Bolivian communities in the U.S., and some 400 of its residents signed up to appear in the film.
For Reynaldo Pacheco, who has family in La Paz, the production schedule culminated in an emotional homecoming. “It was surreal, starting in New Orleans and Puerto Rico, seeing how they were recreating Bolivia, and then actually being there,” he recounts. “We filmed in Achocalla, an hour and a half away from the main Plaza Murillo. It’s a symbolic location for political campaigns because the candidates have to travel around from town to town, making the same speech and the same promises – and that’s what we were capturing there.”
TAKE OFF THE JACKET AND
ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES
When it comes to the concept of clothes making the man, savvy campaign consultants and seasoned costume designers such as Jenny Eagan are in sync. During a pivotal moment in the story, as Castillo prepares to address a crowd with Jane’s talking points still ringing in his ears, she delivers one last-minute direction: lose the jacket and the fancy cuff-links.
“In the beginning, we see Castillo quite dressed to impress, with a bit of flair, because that’s who he is,” says Eagan, whose work on “True Detective” first caught the filmmakers’ attention. “He’s rich and has expensive taste. He has become accustomed to the finer things. Throughout the movie, Jane attempts to tone that down so he can connect with the people of Bolivia, most of whom can’t afford custom-made suits.”
Jane’s look conveys a message as well, with the coat she wears daily that, Eagan suggests, protects her from more than the weather. “The coat we decided would be a shield or a sort of safety blanket to hide beneath. When Jane started this journey she was pretty low and then, as she gains momentum and things progress, she comes out of that shell a little bit, only to return to it. Whether it’s that coat or a different one, there’s always that idea of safety.”
For the team, the broad strokes are similar: functionality, comfort, and as much polish as they can manage while living out of suitcases. “These people are professional travelers; they don’t take cases upon cases of clothes,” says Eagan. “They’re here for a reason and it’s not a fashion show. But, at the same time, they have to present themselves professionally, so we mixed and matched a nice, tailored, business wardrobe that can be stretched a long way.”
Within those parameters, the designer worked with the cast to personalize individual looks. For example, she says, “Scoot and I talked about how everything is a little too much, a little over the top with his character, Buckley. Buckley would not only drive a Porsche but wear Porsche sunglasses, his tie would match the little fox print on his shirt, and the belt would match the loafers. Anthony Mackie’s character, Ben, has a more relaxed feel but he’s also their leader and people have to trust him, so his look is both warm and dignified. Nell is there to get the job done. She cares how she looks, of course, but her clothes are a bit more relaxed and comfortable. And LaBlanc is always on the run. She’s got everything with her at all times; she’s ready to go at any moment when Jane calls.”
Eagan’s biggest task was outfitting hundreds of extras in Puerto Rico and New Orleans to look like Bolivians in numerous crowd scenes. Accompanying Green and Wright on their initial La Paz scout, the designer did an extensive amount of shopping for clothes, textiles, hats and other details, later augmented with the help of a local buyer.
“Some of it we could have recreated but having it from La Paz makes it more special and realistic,” she says. “I couldn’t knit those sweaters anywhere else. I could make Cholita skirts and the traditional hats but not with the same fabrics. Being there really opened my eyes to the culture of Bolivian people, their traditions and their clothing. Much of it is a bit backdated; not period but not current, either. There’s a lot of texture and everything seems to have a haze of dust because the altitude is so high and the winds blow so much. These are working people and they’re wearing the clothes they work in.”
The weather was often against them. Production took place in New Orleans and Puerto Rico in October and November of 2014, when temperatures were still too warm for the wool sweaters and coats people would be wearing in Bolivia. Still, says Eagan, “They were troupers.” Working with 150 or more background players at a time, she explains, “We used them in multiple scenes, rotated them and made them look different. We had amazing teams in all cities of about six or seven people at any given location who worked very hard to get everyone dressed head-to-toe and make multiple changes on a moment’s notice.”
But even as the design efforts of everyone involved combined to offer the illusion of Bolivian locales, the cast and filmmakers behind “Our Brand is Crisis” knew that this was not a story exclusive to Bolivia. Rather, it’s representative of a system that exists around the globe. As Jane, Pat, Ben, Nell and the others arrive in La Paz, and again when they depart, they casually reference previous and future assignments like musicians boarding the bus for their next gig.
“These are universal themes and universal practices,” says Green.
The fact that “Our Brand is Crisis” depicts Americans spearheading presidential campaigns beyond their borders introduces additional issues, to which the director offers, “The hope is that people take these jobs to spread something they think, in their hearts, is beneficial to the world, and not just for profit, or because they believe they know better than the electorate so they’re going to walk in there and tell them how it’s done.
“We’re not trying to take a political viewpoint but rather to explore some of these thoughts through an ensemble of characters that deal with it in different ways,” he says. “I think what a movie like this can do is open a conversation about what people’s motives are as political representatives or consultants, and shine a light on some of the things going on in the culture in a fun and engaging way.”
ABOUT THE CAST
SANDRA BULLOCK (Jane / Executive Producer) is one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading ladies, whose films have grossed over $3.6 billion worldwide.
Last year she received her second nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Dr. Ryan Stone in the critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller “Gravity,” opposite George Clooney and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Her portrayal also garnered her nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Golden Globe, and SAG awards as well as her first BAFTA Award nomination. A massive critical and popular success, “Gravity” has grossed over $716 million worldwide and won seven Academy Awards.
Most recently, Bullock was heard as the villain Scarlett Overkill in the animated blockbuster “Minions.”
In 2010, Bullock won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “The Blind Side,” based on the true story of Michael Oher, in which she portrayed the matriarch of a conservative suburban household. Bullock also won a Critics’ Choice Award, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy. In the same year, she starred in the enormously successful “The Proposal,” which garnered her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy. In 2013, Bullock starred alongside Melissa McCarthy in the buddy cop comedy “The Heat,” which was the second highest grossing comedy of that year.
Bullock’s other recent films include “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Premonition,” “The Lake House,” also starring Keanu Reeves, and Paul Haggis’ “Crash,” which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Following acclaimed performances in several motion pictures, Bullock’s breakthrough came in the 1994 runaway hit “Speed.” Her next two features, “While You Were Sleeping,” which earned her first Golden Globe nomination, and “The Net,” were both well received by critics and audiences alike.
Her other credits include starring roles in “A Time to Kill,” “In Love and War,” “Two if by Sea,” “The Vanishing,” “Demolition Man,” “Wrestling Ernest Hemingway,” “The Thing Called Love,” “Divine Secrets of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” “Hope Floats,” “Miss Congeniality,” “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,” and the psychological thriller “Murder By Numbers,” which she also executive produced. She received critical acclaim for her performance as Harper Lee in “Infamous,” a film that chronicles Truman Capote’s life from 1959 through 1965.
In addition to her Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Awards, Bullock has received numerous other awards for her work, including four MTV Movie Awards, nine Teen Choice Awards, nine People’s Choice Awards, and three Critics Choice Awards.
BILLY BOB THORNTON (Pat Candy) is an Academy Award-winning writer, actor, director and musician who has had an extensive and impressive career in motion pictures, television and theater.
Celebrating a high water mark in his career, Thornton recently starred in the critically acclaimed FX limited series “Fargo,” based on the 1996 Oscar-winning film by the Coen brothers, for which he received a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture, the Broadcast Television Critics Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries/Movie, and nominations for a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries and an Emmy for Best Actor in a Miniseries or Movie.
He recently starred in the ensemble drama “Jayne Mansfield’s Car,” an original script co-written by Thornton and longtime collaborator Tom Epperson, for which he again stepped behind the camera to direct. The film stars Thornton, Robert Duvall, John Hurt and Kevin Bacon. Additionally, he starred in the drama “Parkland,” with Paul Giamatti and Marcia Gay Harden; directed “The King of Luck,” a documentary about country music legend and longtime friend Willie Nelson; starred with John Malkovich, Bruce Dern, Oliver Platt and Liam Hemsworth in “Cut Bank,” which screened at the Los Angeles and Toronto film festivals; and in David Dobkin’s “The Judge,” alongside Robert Downey Jr. and Duvall, also screened in Toronto.
He will next be seen in the drama “London Fields,” co-starring Amber Heard, and is currently in pre-production on David Kelley’s original series “Trial,” for Amazon.
His prior projects have included the action thriller “Faster,” co-starring Dwayne Johnson; the film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ best-selling novel “The Informers”; the Polish brothers’ dark comedy “The Smell of Success”; “Eagle Eye”; the comedy “Mr. Woodcock”; “The Astronaut Farmer,” directed by Michael Polish; “School For Scoundrels”; the re-make of the “The Bad News Bears”; and “Friday Night Lights.”
In 2003 he garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for his role in the critically acclaimed box-office hit “Bad Santa,” and in 2004 he received rave reviews for his portrayal of legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett in “The Alamo.”
Showing his versatility, in 2001 Thornton starred in the caper comedy “Bandits,” for director Barry Levinson, with Bruce Willis and Cate Blanchett; the noir “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” for the Coen brothers; and the heart-wrenching drama “Monster’s Ball,” in which he co-starred with Halle Berry, Peter Boyle and Heath Ledger. Each of the three performances garnered Thornton unprecedented critical acclaim, and resulted in his being named Best Actor of 2001 by the National Board of Review, Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Drama for “The Man Who Wasn’t There” and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for “Bandits,” and an American Film Institute Award nomination for Best Actor for “The Man Who Wasn’t There.”
Thornton’s 1996 release of the critically acclaimed and phenomenally popular feature film “Sling Blade,” which he starred in and directed from an original script he wrote, firmly secured his status as a preeminent filmmaker. For his efforts, he was honored with both an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The film also starred Robert Duvall, J.T. Walsh, Dwight Yoakum and John Ritter.
Prior to “Sling Blade,” Thornton already had an extensive motion picture credit list. He wrote and starred in the critically praised character drama “One False Move,” directed by Carl Franklin. His powerful script, co-written with Tom Epperson, was enhanced by his intense performance as a hunted criminal, and the film was a sleeper success. Additionally, he has been featured in such films as Alex Cox’s “The Winner,” Adrian Lyne’s “Indecent Proposal,” Jim Jarmusch’s “Deadman,” and George Cosmatos’ “Tombstone,” as well as “On Deadly Ground,” “Bound by Honor,” “For the Boys” and “The Stars Fell on Henrietta.”
As a writer, Thornton has worked on numerous projects for studios and production companies. He also scripted “A Family Thing,” a highly regarded feature film that starred Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones.
Thornton co-starred in producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s blockbuster action-adventure film “Armageddon,” with Bruce Willis; opposite Sean Penn and Nick Nolte in Oliver Stone’s “U-Turn”; and in Mike Nichols’ “Primary Colors,” opposite John Travolta and Emma Thompson. He also starred in the dark comedy “Pushing Tin,” opposite John Cusack.
Thornton received an Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his celebrated work in the tightly woven drama “A Simple Plan,” for director Sam Raimi, as well as a Best Supporting Actor award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Screen Actors Guild.
For his second and third directorial outings, Thornton chose the comedy “Daddy and Them,” which he again wrote and starred in, and “All the Pretty Horses,” from the epic best-selling Cormac McCarthy novel, starring Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz and Henry Thomas.
Thornton also co-wrote “The Gift,” starring Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi and Hillary Swank. His other film credits include “Waking Up in Reno,” with Charlize Theron, Patrick Swayze and Natascha Richardson; “Levity,” with Morgan Freeman; “Intolerable Cruelty,” with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones; and “Love Actually,” with Hugh Grant.
ANTHONY MACKIE (Ben), classically trained at the Juilliard School of Drama, is a great and talented young actor able to capture a plethora of characters.
Mackie was discovered after receiving rave reviews playing Tupac Shakur in the off-Broadway play “Up Against the Wind.” Immediately following, he made an auspicious film debut as Eminem’s nemesis, Papa Doc, in Curtis Hanson’s “8 Mile.” His performance caught the attention of Spike Lee, who subsequently cast Mackie in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival Masters Program selection “Sucker Free City” and “She Hate Me.” He also appeared in Clint Eastwood’s Academy Award-winning “Million Dollar Baby,” opposite Hilary Swank, Morgan Freeman and Eastwood; Jonathan Demme’s “The Manchurian Candidate,” alongside Denzel Washington and Liev Schreiber; and the comedy “The Man,” starring Samuel L. Jackson.
Mackie earned IFP Spirit and Gotham Award nominations for his performance in Rodney Evans’ “Brother to Brother,” which won the 2004 Special Dramatic Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and Best First Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards. In 2005, he appeared opposite David Strathairn, Timothy Hutton and Leelee Sobieski in “Heavens Fall,” based on the historic Scottsboro Boys trials, which premiered at the 2006 SXSW Film Festival in Austin.
Mackie had five features on the big screen in 2006. In addition to “We Are Marshall,” he starred in “Half Nelson,” with Ryan Gosling; Preston Whitmore’s “Crossover”; Frank E. Flowers’ ensemble crime drama “Haven,” opposite Orlando Bloom and Bill Paxton; and the film adaptation of Richard Price’s “Freedomland,” starring Samuel L. Jackson.
Throughout his film career, Mackie was seen in several theatrical performances both on and off Broadway. He made his Broadway debut as the stuttering nephew, Sylvester, alongside Whoopi Goldberg in August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” He was the lead in Regina King’s modern retelling of Chekov’s “The Seagull,” starred in Stephen Belber’s “McReele” for the Roundabout Theatre Company, and in the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Soldier’s Play.” Most recently, Mackie was part of the production of “August Wilson’s 20th Century” at the Kennedy Center, a stage reading of all ten plays in August Wilson’s cycle. Mackie participated in three of the ten shows and hopes to return to the stage soon.
In 2009 Mackie was seen as Sgt. J.T. Sanborn in Kathryn Bigelow’s multiple Academy Award-winning film “The Hurt Locker,” for which he earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination. 2009 also saw Mackie revisit the role of Tupac Shakur in the Notorious BIG biopic “Notorious” and star as Major William Bowman in “Eagle Eye.”
In 2010 Mackie returned to Broadway, starring in Martin McDonough’s latest creation, “A Behanding in Spokane.” He also reunited with Kerry Washington in the drama “Night Catches Us.” In 2011 Mackie was seen in “The Adjustment Bureau,” with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, as well as “Real Steel,” with Hugh Jackman. He was also featured in “Man on a Ledge” with Sam Worthington, and in Timur Bekmanbetov’s “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” both released in 2012; and “Ten Year,” with Channing Tatum. He starred in the 2013 crime drama “Gangster Squad,” alongside Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emma Stone, and Ryan Gosling, and in the Michael Bay-directed “Pain & Gain,” starring alongside Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson. Released on April 26th, 2013 the film opened at #1.
Mackie is a member of the Marvel Comics family. He made his Marvel debut as Sam Wilson/The Falcon in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” The film, released on April 4th, 2014, opened at #1, earning over $96 million and breaking the record for an April release. Mackie also starred in the second installment of the franchise and his Falcon made an appearance in the recently released “Avengers: Age of Ultron” as well as “Ant-Man.” He is currently filming “Captain America: Civil War,” set for a May 6, 2016 release.
He was recently seen in “Black or White,” opposite Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer and “Playing it Cool,” with Chris Evans. His film “Shelter,” with Jennifer Connelly, premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and will be released nationwide on November 13, 2015, and “Love the Coopers,” with an ensemble cast including Marisa Tomei, Diane Keaton and Amanda Seyfried, will be in theatres November 13, 2015. Mackie will also star opposite Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon Levitt in Rogen’s “The Night Before,” on November 25, 2015, and opposite Woody Harrelson and Kate Winslet in “Triple 9,” on March 4, 2016.
Mackie will begin production this fall on the HBO, Jay Roach-directed adaptation of the Tony Award-winning play “All The Way.” He will play the role of Martin Luther King Jr. opposite Bryan Cranston’s Lyndon B. Johnson.
JOAQUIM de ALMEIDA (Castillo) was born in Lisbon, Portugal. He moved to New York City in 1976, where he studied with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler to pursue his career in acting.
De Almeida is best known for his performances in the features “Atlas Shrugged: Who is John Galt?,” director Phillip Noyce’s “Clear and Present Danger,” Justin Lin’s “Fast Five,” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Che: Part 2.”
He has made his mark in television as well. He had a recurring role on season three of the popular series “24,” and has additionally guest-starred on “Once Upon a Time,” “Revenge,” “Missing” and “Parenthood.”
De Almeida is fluent in six languages, has won countless awards and has appeared in more than 90 films and television shows. He has worked alongside Harrison Ford, Kim Basinger, Antonio Banderas, Kiefer Sutherland and Robert Rodriguez, among many others.
Residing in Santa Monica, he also spends time with his family in Portugal.
ANN DOWD (Nell)’s acting career spans television, film, and theater. She just wrapped “The Great & the Small,” written and directed by Dusty Bias and, last fall, shot Matt Ross’ “Captain Fantastic,” opposite Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella and Steve Zahn.
Her screen experience includes such films as “Oppenheimer Strategies,” “St. Vincent,” “Wildlike,” “The Drop,” “Side Effects,” the Sundance hits “Compliance” and “Bachelorette,” “Marley & Me,” “The Informant!,” “Garden State,” “Lorenzo’s Oil,” “Philadelphia,” “The Manchurian Candidate” and “The Forgotten.” Dowd was recognized for her portrayal of Sandra in Craig Zobel’s “Compliance,” winning the National Board of Review award for Best Supporting Actress in a Film, and earning nominations for an Independent Spirit Award and a Critics' Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Dowd is a series regular on “The Leftovers,” from Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta. She can also be seen on season one of HBO’s “True Detective,” and the miniseries “Olive Kitteridge,” and she is currently recurring on Showtime’s “Masters of Sex.” Dowd is in the recently released Lifetime movie “Big Driver,” opposite Maria Bello, and has also appeared in the pilots for Shonda Rhimes’ “Gilded Lilys” and WEtv’s “The Divide.” She appeared as a series regular in “Nothing Sacred,” and has had recurring roles on “Freaks and Geeks,” “The Education of Max Bickford” and “Third Watch.” She has additionally appeared multiple times on all of the “Law & Order” series, and as a guest star on many television shows such as “House,” “NYPD Blue” and “Louie.”
As a stage performer, Dowd has appeared in several Broadway shows, including “Candida,” as Prossy, for which she received the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Broadway Debut; and British director Ian Rickson’s production of “The Seagull.” In New York, she has also appeared in “Blood From A Stone,” with the New Group; as Mrs. Gibbs in David Cromer’s production of “Our Town” at Barrow Street Theatre; opposite Ed Harris in “Taking Sides”; and as St. Joan in “The Lark.” Dowd has also performed extensively in regional theatre.
SCOOT McNAIRY (Buckley) is an actor and producer who in recent years has come to industry attention in both capacities. He was a Best Actor nominee at the 2010 British Independent Film Awards for his performance in the acclaimed “Monsters,” written and directed by Gareth Edwards. The year prior, “In Search of a Midnight Kiss,” for which McNairy both starred and produced, was honored with the John Cassavetes Award (Best Feature Made For Under $500,000) at the Independent Spirit Awards. The film was written and directed by Alex Holdridge.
McNairy shared a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture for his performance in Ben Affleck’s” Argo.” The film’s many other honors included the Academy Award for Best Picture. He was again a SAG Award nominee with actors from the ensemble of Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” a film which also earned numerous awards, including Academy Award for Best Picture.
Most recently seen in David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” he is awaiting the release of Zack Snyder’s globally anticipated “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” He has just completed work opposite Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan in “Sleepless Night,” and will soon begin filming opposite Brad Pitt in “War Machine.”
Named one of Variety’s “10 Actors to Watch” in 2012, McNairy’s other feature acting credits include Andrew Dominik’s “Killing Them Softly,” in which he was the lead opposite Brad Pitt, and was honored as a Breakthrough Performer at the Hamptons International Film Festival; Kevin MacDonald’s “Black Sea,” opposite Jude Law; Jaume Collet-Serra’s hit “Non-Stop,” opposite Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore; Lenny Abrahamson’s “Frank,” opposite Michael Fasbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal; David Michôd’s “The Rover,” opposite Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson; Lynn Shelton’s “Touchy Feely,” opposite Ellen Page; Megan Griffiths’ “The Off Hours”; Terry Zwigoff’s “Art School Confidential”; and Gus Van Sant’s “Promised Land,” opposite Matt Damon and Frances McDormand.
McNairy also stars on the AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire,” with Lee Pace and Mackenzie Davis, which recently finished its second season. He has made guest appearances on hit shows such as “Six Feet Under,” “The Shield,” “CSI” and “How I Met Your Mother,” and had a recurring role on “Bones.”
With John Pierce, McNairy has formed The Group Films, currently in production on his directorial debut. Their film “Frank and Cindy,” starring Rene Russo and Oliver Platt, premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival. The company’s previous productions include James Cox’s “Straight A’s,” starring Ryan Phillippe, Anna Paquin, and Luke Wilson. Separately, McNairy recently reteamed with Gareth Edwards as executive producers of Tom Green’s “Monsters: Dark Continent,” the sequel to “Monsters.”
ZOE KAZAN (LeBlanc) is an actor, playwright and screenwriter, born and raised in Santa Monica, CA, and currently residing in Brooklyn, New York.
As an actress, her film and television credits include Sam Mendes’ “Revolutionary Road,” “In The Valley Of Elah,” “Fracture,” “The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee,” “Me and Orson Welles,” “Happythankyoumoreplease,” “Meek’s Cutoff,” “It's Complicated,” “In Your Eyes,” “The Pretty One,” “What If,” and HBO’s “Bored To Death.” In 2009, she was awarded Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film at the Tribeca Film Festival for her first starring performance as Ivy in “The Exploding Girl.” In 2015, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work in a supporting role in the acclaimed HBO miniseries “Olive Kitteridge.” Kazan also starred in “Ruby Sparks,” which she wrote and executive produced.
She will be seen in the upcoming films “My Blind Brother,” and “There Are Monsters.”
Kazan made her New York stage debut in 2006 in the off-Broadway revival of “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.” Her other off-Broadway credits include Jonathan Marc Sherman’s “Things We Want” and “Clive,” both directed by Ethan Hawke at The New Group Theater; the Signature Theater Company’s revival of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” in which she played Harper Pitt; Manhattan Theater Club’s production of Sarah Treem’s “When We Were Young and Unafraid”; and Playwrights Horizons’ “100 Saints You Should Know,” for which she received a Drama Desk Award nomination and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress. Kazan’s Broadway credits include MTC’s revival of William Inge’s “Come Back, Little Sheba,” the world premiere of Martin McDonagh’s “A Behanding in Spokane,” and the Royal Court’s revival of Chekhov’s “The Seagull,” for which she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. In 2008, Kazan received the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Actress, making her the only actor to be awarded the Derwent for three roles in one year.
As a writer, Kazan has had plays produced at the Humana Festival at the Actor’s Theater of Louisville (“Absalom,” in 2009), South Coast Repertory Theater (“Trudy and Max in Love,” in 2014), and off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theater Club (“We Live Here,” in 2011). She also wrote the screenplay for “Ruby Sparks,” for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay.
REYNALDO PACHECO (Eddie) was born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia. By the time he was 18 he had traveled with theater groups to Mexico, France, Ecuador, England and the United States, where he obtained a MFA in acting from the University of Southern California.
Since then, Pacheco has worked with award-winning actors including Christopher Plummer, Ernest Borgnine, June Squibb, Kate Del Castillo, Eva Longoria, Oscar Nunez and many more in theater, film and television.
In 2012 Pacheco founded The Hollywood Academy of Performing Arts school, which allows artists from the entire world to create, learn and apply acting techniques such as Stanislavsky, Grotowski, Meisner, Adler, and Linklater. The students get to study different types of text and dialogue: Classic, Absurd, Contemporary, TV, Film, Solo Performance, Novels, Poetry, and/or a different text from their mother tongue. Different forms of drama and expression are applied to modern performance such as Clown, Taichi, Yoga, Free Play, and Commedia dell’ arte. Soon students will be able to take classes all over the world, including countries that have never been accessible before.
Currently the face of Toyota, Reynaldo’s talent has graced campaign ads around the country for Honda, Master Card, Dunkin Donuts, Jack In The Box, Sears, and Sam’s Club, just to name a few. He has been featured in and on the covers of magazines such as Vanities, Mexicana, Paloma, Cosas, The Globe, Fashion London and Amazonas.
In January 2015 Pacheco co-founded the non-profit organization Changing Stories, an art production company giving voice to under-reported social issues and focuses on the creative minds of children through short films, art projects, theater and spoken word. Its goal is to provide a platform that inspires individuals to share their stories of transformation and change.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
DAVID GORDON GREEN (Director) most recently directed the drama “Manglehorn,” starring Al Pacino and Holly Hunter. Green’s other recent directing credits include the independent feature drama “Joe,” starring Nicolas Cage; the comedy drama “Prince Avalanche,” starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsh; the HBO series “Eastbound and Down”; and the upcoming series “Red Oaks,” for Amazon, and “Vice Principals” for HBO.
He has also served as executive producer on a wide range of film and television projects, including the musical documentary “Hot Sugar’s Cold World,” “Land, Ho!,” “Camp X-Ray,” and “Compliance,” as well as the FX series “Chozen” and MTV’s “Good Vibes.”
Green made his feature directorial debut in 2000 as the writer/director of the acclaimed drama “George Washington,” for which he received the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Toronto Film Festival Discovery Award, among numerous other honors.
His additional feature film credits include “All the Real Girls,” “Undertow,” “Snow Angels,” “Pineapple Express,” “Your Highness,” and “The Sitter.”
Born in Arkansas and currently living in Texas, Green is a graduate of The North Carolina School of the Arts.
GRANT HESLOV (Producer) has been recognized for his work as a producer, writer, director and actor. Together with George Clooney, he is a partner in Smokehouse Pictures. Among the company’s upcoming projects is “Money Monster,” directed by Jodie Foster and starring Clooney and Julia Roberts.
A four-time Oscar nominee, Heslov received his latest Academy Award nod and a Best Picture win for producing the historical drama and thriller “Argo.” He also earned a Golden Globe, BAFTA Award and Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award, among many others.
Heslov previously earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 2011 political drama “The Ides of March,” which he co-wrote with Clooney. In addition, Heslov received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations for the screenplay, as well as a PGA Award nomination as one of the film’s producers.
Heslov earned dual Oscar nominations, for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, for “Good Night, and Good Luck,” which he co-wrote with Clooney. For his work on the film, Heslov also won the Writers Guild of America Paul Selvin Award and the PGA’s Stanley Kramer Award. Among the film’s numerous honors, Heslov also garnered two BAFTA Award nominations, for both Picture and Original Screenplay; a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay; an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Feature; and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination as part of the ensemble cast.
In 2009, Heslov made his feature film directorial debut with “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” starring Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey.
Heslov also co-wrote and produced “The Monuments Men.” His other producing credits include the Clooney-directed “Leatherheads” and Anton Corbijn’s thriller “The American.”
He additionally served as co-creator and executive producer on the HBO series “Unscripted,” for which he directed half of the episodes, and as a co-executive producer on “K Street,” also for HBO.
Heslov is also known for his acting work in both film and television.
GEORGE CLOONEY (Producer) is recognized as much for his global humanitarian efforts as he is for his accomplishments in the entertainment industry.
Clooney’s achievements as a performer and a filmmaker have earned him two Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award, four SAG Awards, one BAFTA award, two Critics’ Choice Awards, an Emmy and four National Board of Review Awards. When Clooney received his eighth Academy Award nomination, he earned a special spot in the Oscar record books. He has now been nominated in more categories than anyone else in Oscar history.
Most recently, Clooney starred in the sci-fi film “Tomorrowland.” His upcoming films include the Coen Brothers’ “Hail, Caesar!,” set for release in February 2016 and “Money Monster,” in which he is starring and producing.
Through his production company, Smokehouse Pictures, Clooney will be directing and producing “Hack Attack,” based on the book by Nick Davies, Hack Attack: How the Truth Caught Up with Rupert Murdoch. Through Smokehouse, Clooney recently produced, directed and starred in “The Monuments Men,” and starred with Sandra Bullock in director Alfonso Cuarón’s drama “Gravity.” Smokehouse, along with Jean Doumanian Productions, recently produced a film adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play “August: Osage County,” which starred Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor, and Julia Roberts.
Other recent Smokehouse films include the Academy Award winning drama “Argo,” and “The Ides of March.” “Ides,” which Clooney starred in, co-wrote and directed, received Golden Globe nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Motion Picture Drama. In addition, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
In 2011, Clooney starred in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants,” for which he won the Critics’ Choice Award, Golden Globe Award and National Board of Review Award for Best Actor. In addition, he received a SAG nomination and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
In 2009, Clooney starred in the critically acclaimed film “Up in the Air.” He received an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe nomination, a SAG nomination and a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor for his performance. He also won National Board of Review and New York Film Critics’ Circle Awards.
When Clooney received his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for “Syriana” in 2006, he also earned Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for “Good Night, And Good Luck.” It was the first time in Academy history that an individual had received acting and directing nominations for two different films in the same year.
Clooney and his Smokehouse partner Grant Heslov first worked together at Section Eight, a company in which Clooney was partnered with Steven Soderbergh. Section Eight productions included “Ocean’s 11,” “Ocean’s 12,” “Ocean’s 13,” “Michael Clayton,” “The Good German,” “Good Night, and Good Luck.,” “Syriana,” “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” “The Jacket,” “Full Frontal” and "Welcome To Collinwood."
Before his film career, Clooney starred in several television series, becoming best known to TV audiences for his five years on the hit NBC drama “ER.” His portrayal of Dr. Douglas Ross earned him Golden Globe, SAG, People’s Choice and Emmy Award nominations.
For Section Eight’s television division, Clooney was an executive producer and directed five episodes of “Unscripted,” a reality-based show that debuted on HBO. He also was executive producer and cameraman on “K Street,” another show featured on HBO.
Additionally, Clooney was executive producer and co-star of the live television broadcast of “Fail-Safe,” an Emmy-winning telefilm developed through his Maysville Pictures. “Fail-Safe” was nominated for a 2000 Golden Globe Award as Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. The telefilm was based on the early 1960s novel of the same name.
Clooney is a strong First Amendment advocate with a deep commitment to humanitarian causes. In 2006, Clooney and his father, Nick, went to drought-stricken Darfur, Africa, to film the documentary “Journey to Darfur.” Clooney’s work on behalf of Darfur relief led to his addressing the United Nations Security Council. He also narrated the Darfur documentary “Sand and Sorrow.” In 2006, he received the American Cinematheque Award and the Modern Master Award from the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
In 2007, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Jerry Weintraub founded “Not On Our Watch,” an organization whose mission is to focus global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities in Darfur.
Among the many honors received as a result of his humanitarian efforts in Darfur, one of them was the 2007 Peace Summit Award, given at the eighth World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. In 2008, Clooney was designated a U.N. Messenger of Peace, one of eight individuals chosen to advocate on behalf of the U.N. and its peacekeeping efforts.
In January of 2010, Clooney, along with Joel Gallen and Tenth Planet Productions, produced the “Hope for Haiti Now!” telethon, which raised more than $66 million, setting a new record for donations made by the public through a disaster-relief telethon.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Clooney with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2010 Primetime Emmys. Later that year, he received the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award for his dedication to humanitarian efforts in Sudan and Haiti.
In December of 2010, Clooney, along with the United Nations, Harvard University and Google, launched “The Satellite Sentinel Project,” an effort to monitor violence and human-rights violations between Southern and Northern Sudan. “Not on Our Watch” funds new monitoring technology, which allows private satellites to take photographs of any potential threats to civilians, detect bombs, observe the movement of troops and note any other evidence of possible mass violence.
In March of 2012, Clooney was part of the delegation that peacefully demonstrated in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington, D.C., calling worldwide attention to the human-rights violations being committed in Sudan, which resulted in his arrest.
In October of 2012, Clooney was the honoree at the Carousel of Hope Ball, which benefits the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes (BDC).
PETER STRAUGHAN (Screenplay) is a BAFTA Award winner and Academy Award nominated screenwriter for the film “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” directed by Tomas Alfredson and featuring an all-star cast including Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Colin Firth and Benedict Cumberbatch.
He became a sought-after screenwriter when he adapted Jon Ronson’s book The Men Who Stare at Goats for BBC Films, directed by Grant Heslov and starring George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges. Straughan then adapted Toby Young’s memoir into “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People,” directed by Robert B. Weide, and wrote “The Debt,” directed by John Madden.
Straughan reteamed with Jon Ronson on the Lenny Abrahamson-directed “Frank,” which starred Michael Fassbender and won the British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for best screenplay. He also adapted the award-winning Hilary Mantel novel Wolf Hall as a dramatic TV series, starring Mark Rylance and Damien Lewis, for Company Pictures and BBC Television and PBS, for which he was nominated for an Emmy.
He is currently adapting “Smiley’s People,” from John Le Carré’s novel, with Tomas Alfredson to direct; “Berlin Noir,” for HBO; and Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Goldfinch.
SANDRA BULLOCK (Executive Producer) – Please see Cast Bio.
STUART BESSER (Executive Producer) was previously an executive producer on “Big Miracle,” “The Losers” and “3:10 to Yuma.” He most recently served as executive producer on the action drama “Need for Speed,” starring Aaron Paul, and on director Walter Hill’s thriller “Bullet to the Head,” starring Sylvester Stallone. Additionally, Besser was a consulting producer on “Crossfire Hurricane,” the 2012 documentary about the 50th anniversary of the legendary rock band The Rolling Stones.
The New York native first collaborated extensively with director/writer Alan Rudolph, working as associate producer on such films as “Trouble in Mind,” “Made in Heaven,” “The Moderns” and “Love at Large.” He went on to produce “People Under the Stairs” and “Dr. Giggles,” and was line producer on Michael Moore’s comedy “Canadian Bacon.”
Among Besser’s many credits as co-producer are such films as “Vampire in Brooklyn,” “Scream,” “Finding Graceland,” “Music of the Heart,” “40 Days and 40 Nights” and “Delivering Milo.” He also was an executive producer on “The Sweetest Thing,” “Scream 3,” “Identity,” “Cursed” and “The Break Up,” served as associate producer on director Lindsay Anderson’s “Whales of August” and was supervising producer on “The Verne Miller Story.”
For television, Besser produced pilots for the series “Men in Trees” and “Wasteland” as well as produced the television films “Hollyweird TV” and “Laurel Canyon.” He was also associate producer on the pilot for the long-running series “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
JEFF SKOLL (Executive Producer), the founder, Chairman and Acting CEO of Participant Media, is a philanthropist and social entrepreneur working to bring life to his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity.
The first full-time employee and president of eBay, Skoll developed the company’s inaugural business plan and helped lead its successful initial public offering and the creation of the eBay Foundation.
Since 1999, Skoll has created an innovative portfolio of philanthropic and commercial enterprises, each a distinctive social catalyst. Together, these organizations drive social impact by investing in a range of efforts that integrate powerful stories and data with entrepreneurial approaches. The Jeff Skoll Group supports his organizations, which include the Skoll Foundation, the Capricorn Investment Group, Participant Media and the Skoll Global Threats Fund.
JONATHAN KING (Executive Producer) is Executive Vice President, Narrative Film, at Participant Media. King oversees development and production of Participant’s narrative feature films. Participant Media’s slate is driven by the idea that a good story well told can inspire and accelerate social change. During his tenure, King has overseen the production of such films as “A Most Violent Year,” “The Help,” “Contagion,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Lincoln,” “No,” “Snitch,” and “Cesar Chavez.”
Prior to joining Participant, King worked as both a producer and an executive for companies including Focus Features, Laurence Mark Productions, and Miramax Films. Some of the movies he has worked on include “Dreamgirls,” “The Lookout,” “Finding Forrester,” “Studio 54,” “Guinevere,” and “Judas Kiss.” He started his film career in MGM/UA’s New York office, scouting books, theater, and independent films.
King currently serves on the board of advisors for the Outfest Legacy Project, a partnership with the UCLA Film and Television Archive that restores and preserves important works of queer cinema. He also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council of the Florida State University Film School, and on the board of directors of the John Alexander Project, a new nonprofit dedicated to nurturing and supporting innovative investigative journalism.
TIM ORR (Director of Photography) studied cinematography at the North Carolina School of the Arts’ School of Filmmaking, alongside classmate David Gordon Green. Orr has since served as director of photography on all of Green’s films, from last year’s “Manglehorn,” through “Joe,” “Prince Avalanche,” “The Sitter,” “Your Highness,” “Pineapple Express,” “Snow Angels,” “Undertow,” and the Sundance Film Festival multiple award-winner “All the Real Girls,” to their first feature collaboration, “George Washington,” for which Orr was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and won for Best Cinematography at the Stockholm Film Festival. He also shot Green’s recent Amazon pilot, “Red Oaks.”
Orr’s most recent feature credits include Craig Zobel’s “Z for Zachariah,” David Burris’ “The World Made Straight,” starring Noah Wyle, Scot Armstrong’s “Search Party,” and Michael Almereyda’s “Cymbeline,” which premiered to acclaim at the 2014 Venice Film Festival and was nominated for a Horizon Award.
Previously, Orr served as director of photography on Mike White’s directorial debut, “Year of the Dog.” He also worked on director Peter Sollett’s award-winning “Raising Victor Vargas,” and on Mark Milgard’s “Dandelion,” for which Orr was again nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. His additional film credits include “Observe and Report,” “Choke,” “Trust the Man,” “Imaginary Heroes,” “Little Manhattan” and “Salvation Boulevard.”
His upcoming projects include the Netflix film “Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday,” produced by Judd Apatow and Paul Reubens, who will also star, alongside Joe Manganiello.
A native of North Carolina, Orr spent several years in New York working on numerous independent features and commercials before relocating with his family to Los Angeles in 2006.
RICHARD A. WRIGHT (Production Designer) studied film at New York City’s School of Visual Arts and at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he earned his degree.
Immediately following graduation, Wright was the production designer on David Gordon Green’s debut film, “George Washington,” which has been praised for its sumptuous visuals and Southern Gothic style. Since then, Wright has worked with Green on numerous feature films, including the Sundance Film Festival award winner “All the Real Girls,” the visually expressive “Undertow,” “Snow Angels,” “The Sitter,” “Prince Avalanche” and last year’s “Manglehorn.”
Wright served as production designer on Jeff Nichols’ acclaimed drama “Mud,” in 2012. His recent feature credits also include “Don Verdean,” for director Jared Harris, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and Peter Sattler’s “Camp X-Ray.”
Previously, Wright worked on Craig Zobel’s Gotham Award-winning feature “Great World of Sound,” which he also produced through a company he co-founded with Mortimer Jones, to produce commercials and music videos. His additional production design credits include Ramin Bahrani’s “Chop Shop,” which premiered at Cannes Film Festival Fortnight and was named by Roger Ebert as a top film of 2008; Jared Hess’ “sort-of-sci-fi” comedy “Gentlemen Broncos”; and Braden King’s “Here,” shot entirely in Armenia.
COLIN PATTON (Editor) has worked with director David Gordon Green on seven feature films, beginning with “Pineapple Express” in 2007. Prior to “Our Brand is Crisis,” he edited Green’s “Manglehorn,” starring Al Pacino; “Joe,” starring Nicolas Cage; and “Prince Avalanche,” starring Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch, which won the 2013 Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival.
He recently edited Green’s pilot for Amazon’s “Red Oaks,” as well as the 2014 feature “Life After Beth,” directed by Jeff Baena. His other post-production credits include “Knocked Up,” “Funny People,” and “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
Patton grew up in Seattle, Washington, and is a graduate of Columbia University.
DAVID WINGO (Composer) got his start writing music for films without even being aware of it. After sending his childhood friend David Gordon Green some of the ambient drone music he had been working on at home, Wingo was surprised to receive a copy of Green’s student film for that year which used one of the songs he had sent him. The song went hand-in-hand with the atmospheric images and evocative voice that Green was developing, and a working relationship was born.
Wingo composed original music for Green’s student film the next year and when Green made “George Washington” a year after graduating, he came back to Wingo to do the score for his first feature. Wingo collaborated on the score for the low-budget but gorgeous feature with his friend Michael Linnen and the movie went on to become one of the most acclaimed movies of the year, winning numerous awards and quickly gaining a reputation as one of the more astounding debuts in modern American cinema. Since then, Wingo has worked with Green on eight other features.
He has also worked with other renowned directors such as Jared Hess, Craig Zobel, and Todd Rohal and, in 2012, was nominated for the World Soundtrack Academy’s Discovery of the Year Award for his acclaimed score for Jeff Nichols’ award-winning “Take Shelter,” which took home the Grand Prix prize at Cannes in 2011. Wingo worked with Nichols again on his next feature, “Mud,” which also premiered at Cannes and, upon its release in April 2013 to unanimously rave reviews, became the breakout indie hit of the year.
2014 was one of Wingo’s busiest years yet with “Alex of Venice”; “Manglehorn,” director Green’s most recent feature on which Wingo collaborated with Explosions in the Sky; the documentary “The Great Invisible,” which just been nominated for an Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking; and the 2015 release “Maggie,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He most recently completed work on Jeff Nichols’ newest film, “Midnight Special,” set for a March 2016 release.
JENNY EAGAN (Costume Designer) has been nominated for a 2015 Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes, as well as a Costume Designers Guild Award, for her work on the acclaimed HBO miniseries “Olive Kitteridge.” Earlier this year she won the Costume Designers Guild Award for Outstanding Contemporary Series for HBO’s drama “True Detective.”
As a costume designer, her recent feature film credits include the independent thriller “Now You See Me,” and the crime drama “Contraband.” She also served as assistant costume designer on the Coen brothers’ multiple Oscar-nominated “True Grit” and their Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men,” and on Jon Favreau’s blockbuster “Iron Man 2.”
Eagan most recently wrapped on the feature war drama “Beasts of No Nation,” directed by Cary Fukunaga and starring Idris Elba, which will premiere at the Venice Film Festival and open in October. She is currently designing the pilot “Paradise Pictures” for the USA Network