A young woman comes to the coastal town of Seabrook, North Carolina in the 1940's to spend the summer with her family. Still in her teens, Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams) meets local boy Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) at a Carnival. On the spot, Noah senses that he and Allie are meant to be together. Though she is a wealthy debutante and he a mill worker, over the course of one passionate and carefree summer in the
South, the two fall deeply in love.
Circumstances - and the sudden outbreak of World War II - drive them apart, but both continue to be haunted by memories of each other. When Noah returns home from the war years later, Allie is irrevocably gone from his life, but not from his heart.
Though Noah doesn't yet know it, Allie has come back to Seabrook, where they first fell in love. But now Allie is engaged to marry Lon (James Marsden), a wealthy soldier she met while volunteering in a GI hospital.
Decades later, a man (James Garner) reads from a faded notebook to a woman (Gena Rowlands) he regularly visits at her nursing home. Though her memory has faded, she becomes caught up in the fiery story of Allie and Noah - and for a few moments, she is able to relive the passionate, turbulent time when they swore they'd be together always.
New Line Cinema presents The Notebook, a story of lost chances, growing up and the power of enduring love. A Gran Via Production, the film is directed by Nick Cassavetes from a screenplay by Jeremy Leven, adaptation by Jan Sardi, based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks. Academy Award winner Mark Johnson (Rain Man) and Lynn Harris are the producers. The executive producers are Toby Emmerich and Avram
The film stars Ryan Gosling (The Believer), Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls), Academy Award nominees James Garner (Murphy's Romance, TV's "Eight Simple Rules") and Gena Rowlands (Gloria, A Woman Under the Influence), James Marsden (X-Men series) and Kevin Connolly (John Q.), with Academy Award nominees Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff, Black Hawk Down) and Joan Allen (The
The creative behind-the-scenes team is led by director of photography Robert Fraisse AFC (Enemy at the Gates, Vatel), editor Alan Heim A.C.E. (American History X, All That Jazz), production designer Sarah Knowles and costume designer Karyn Wagner (The Lone Ranger, The Salton Sea, The Majestic). Aaron Zigman (John Q., Fighting For Care) composed the score. Casting is by Matthew Barry, C.S.A. and Nancy
New Line Cinema will release The Notebook (rated PG-13 by the M.P.A.A. for "some sexuality") nationwide on June 25th, 2004.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
The Notebook follows the turbulent journey of young lovers Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton (Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams), who forge a passionate summer romance and, after years of separation caused by class differences and World War II, find themselves unexpectedly reunited. The story of this couple's undeniable love, their obstacles and their passions, are decades later revealed to a woman
in a Southern nursing home by a gentleman who regularly visits to read her stories from a mysterious notebook.
Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson and producer Lynn Harris, who at the time was a production executive at New Line Cinema, first read Nicholas Sparks' novel The Notebook in galley form and went on to spend seven years developing it together as a feature film. During this time, the book shot onto the New York Times Best Seller list, where it remained for almost a year. "I loved the idea of it and
the romance of it, but what I especially liked was the idea of a love story that has not just one big, explosive moment, but that has this endurance," Johnson recalls.
Director Nick Cassavetes also responded to the book when he too read the galleys. "The interesting thing about the books Nicholas Sparks writes is that they're these lush romances about enduring love .and yet there's always a strong element of tragedy and loss," notes the director.
Though the story sprawls through the 1940s, during which the two main characters' love story unfolds, it begins and ends in the present day. "This love story unfolds through the writings of Allie, and the readings of Duke," comments Cassavetes. "It's through these words that we travel back in time to the beginning of their love story."
Ryan Gosling describes Noah's transformation from "a really simple guy from Seabrook who meets Allie, who is from Charleston and quite upper class. She comes to Seabrook for the summer, and their worlds immediately and profoundly change," he says. "In the beginning of the film, everything is an option and full of opportunities, and throughout the course of the film there's a loss of innocence...and then even
more than that, there is a loss of many lives, and ideals, and hopes. But with all of that, one thing remains true to him, which is a feeling he had one summer when he was nineteen and Allie came to Seabrook and changed his world. And he holds on to that idea...and never lets it go."
For Gosling, The Notebook is the kind of love story that hasn't been seen on screen in a long time. "Even though it's a big story, it's a simple kind of love and a simple idea," he explains. "I think that sometimes the honesty and the simplicity of life, and what you want in life, is complicated enough."
Noah first sees Allie as she's riding in the bumper cars at the Seabrook Carnival. "She's really getting thrown around, and she's just laughing her head off," Gosling says. "Noah and his buddies aren't used to seeing somebody of her class in a situation like that - free and unencumbered by anything she's supposed to be. And that's incredibly attractive to him."
Rachel McAdams plays 17 year-old Allie Hamilton, who stays at her family's estate in Seabrook prior to heading off to her first year of college in New York. "Allie is a debutante in every sense of the word - etiquette classes, tennis lessons, ballet, French, Latin and math tutors, and all sorts of different studies," describes McAdams. "She's athletic, proper and tony. But she also has a passion for painting,
which is something no one but Noah encourages in her."
Noah comes into Allie's life and, as McAdams notes, is a refreshing change from the types of people she's used to flocking with. "He's such a contrast to what she has been exposed to - a man of the earth who makes things with his hands," she says. "He's really interesting and exciting to her, and contrary to everything with which she is familiar."
But Allie's mother, Ann, played by acclaimed actress Joan Allen, does not approve. "She is a strong, wealthy Southern woman who has beautiful things, and a daughter that she has devoted 17 years to raising," Allen describes. "She wants only the best for her daughter."
While the headstrong Allie resists her mother's efforts to keep her apart from Noah, Ann endures it, but only for the summer. "I think Ann's relationship with her daughter is very loving, and I think they get along great," comments Allen, "but it's the 1940's and it's the South. There is an authoritarian stream that runs through families and the culture. But at the same time, we all need romance in our lives,
and we all need to believe that this kind of thing can work out. That's in our essential human nature."
As their summer draws to a close, Allie is whisked away to school, Noah is soon recruited to fight overseas in World War II, and his frequent letters to her never reach their target. When Noah ultimately returns home from the war, he finds himself still haunted by memories of Allie, and begins restoring a plantation home that resonates with the promises they made to each other during their summer together.
Allie becomes engaged to Lon, to whom she tends in a GI hospital. Like Allie, Lon is southern gentry. James Marsden, who portrays Lon, recalls something that director Nick Cassavetes told him about the South that informs his character. "Nick said something about wealthy families in the South as opposed to wealthy families in the North," the actor notes. "He said it seems like in the North, you make money, you
stash it away and you live the lifestyle where you stay at home and don't do anything. In the South, you've got money, you're buying people stuff, you're smoking cigars, you're out, you're happy, and you're full of life. It was enormously helpful with understanding and playing my character."
But the passion Allie felt for Noah has not dimmed, and with her impending marriage to Lon only weeks away, Allie is forced to resolve her longings and her life.
Like a puzzle within a puzzle, their youth is only the beginning of the compelling love story at the heart of The Notebook. Comments novelist Nicholas Sparks, on whose book the film is based, "I think the idea of reunion goes back to all those thoughts that people have about 'what would've happened if?' Everybody has a first love. Nobody goes through the world without loving something. And you go back and wonder,
'what if?' This story plays into that. Frequently people are not what you remember, but sometimes they are exactly what you remember, and you realize that is what you were looking for all along. There's a tendency for people to believe that young love isn't real, but of course it's real."
James Garner stars as Duke, the elderly man Noah Calhoun has become, who tends to his great love after she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. After her diagnosis, Allie became determined to write the story of her life and love in her notebook, and Duke, as her disease progresses, reads it to her. "Keeping a journal is a really poetic way of remembering and keeping track of your life and your emotions," comments
producer Mark Johnson.
"Duke is madly in love with Allie," James Garner notes. "And as she becomes more removed from reality, he keeps reading to her. And every once in a while, she comes out of her Alzheimer's, and remembers it, which the doctors say you can't do, of course . but she does. He brings her back, even it's only for a few minutes."
"Memories are interesting," says director Nick Cassavetes. "How do they shape human beings? I think it's different for everybody, and it depends on where you are in your life. If you're a young person, your memories are not that important to you because your entire life is in front of you. But as you get older, and certainly as you get to the latter part of your life, memories become everything because they are
really mostly what you have. So, for people that have Alzheimer's," he adds, "it's not only just taking their memories or experiences away from them, it's taking everything they've got away from them. And I think that would be the most precious thing in the world to lose."
Cassavetes feels that, in many ways, The Notebook is a portrait of love itself. "It's tough. It's certainly not always pretty. It certainly can drive you crazy at times," he reflects. "But part of the very nature of love, or what we like to think of as love, is that it endures. And what I'm doing with this movie, what I'd like to step out and say is, 'I believe in love, I believe in the biggest kind of
love, I believe that I can love an incredible amount, and I believe it can all work out.'"
The son of celebrated actor/director John Cassavetes and the Oscar-nominated star of many of his films, Gena Rowlands, Nick Cassavetes has been called the quintessential actor's director. "I expect a lot of my actors," he says. "I give a lot and I expect a lot."
Gena Rowlands, who portrays the adult Allie, feels that both her son and late husband "genuinely and actively have a love of actors," she comments. "They both beam. Nicky's a little tougher about holding you to an exact line. But he creates a very nice climate for acting, and he's got a very good eye."
"I have never heard a director say, 'Action, Mom' before," muses producer Mark Johnson. "She treated him like her director, but as professional as he was, we were very much aware she was his mother."
Johnson has the highest of praise for director Cassavetes. "He is an actor himself and comes from pretty impressive bloodlines," he says.
Cassavetes first directed his mother in the 1996 film, Unhook the Stars. "Being directed by Nick is absolutely wonderful," comments Rowlands. "I just love him as a director, and of course as a son. And it doesn't seem that unusual because we did a lot of movies, his father and I. In the house, when the children were small, they all grew up stumbling over cameras and equipment. And I don't think they had
any awe of filmmaking - they developed a love of it."
Rowlands's co-star, James Garner, concurs. "Nick's great...he's just a big kid. He's very confident in what he wants. He has a great relationship with people. And, growing up in that family, I think he's probably been in it all his life. He's a fine director and keeps a nice set. He knows just how to talk to actors."
Rachel McAdams describes Cassavetes as "fierce and passionate. He's very smart, and he's also willing to listen to other ideas," she describes. "Sometimes he pushed us really hard, but afterward you realized you've learned a great deal. It's something that will be with you always - a life lesson."
Though initially thrown off by Cassavetes' style of not using a video assist monitor, Joan Allen ultimately found it an exciting part of the process. "He picks a spot because he likes to watch the action live," she says. "It's sweet that he likes to see it really happening in front of him. I'm kind of old fashioned, and I really like that. He likes to get very specific and original, and really thinks about what
each moment means."
When it came time to begin the casting process, Nick Cassavetes brought Ryan Gosling on board first. Says Gosling, "The Notebook was certainly different from anything else I've ever done. It gave me an opportunity to play a character over a period of time - from 1940 to 1946 - that was quite profound and formative. I felt that nobody would want me for a part like this except for Nick, because he's crazy and brave
enough to cast me. I knew I was not going to get another opportunity like that again."
The filmmakers then conducted a nationwide search to find the right actress to play the young Allie. "When Rachel McAdams came in and read, it was apparent that she was the one," Nick Cassavetes remembers. "She and Ryan had great chemistry between them."
Gosling has high praise for his young co-star. "She just constantly delivers," he says. "No matter how uncomfortable or challenging circumstances of filming might have gotten, she went toe to toe for every take. She just won over the whole crew with her drive - it was pretty impressive and motivating for all of us."
McAdams fell in love with the story, and responded to the time periods in which the film unfolds. "It's a beautiful love story that spans different periods of time, and you get to see it from the beginning to the end," she says. "It's very epic and has lots of ups and downs - the fighting, the joys, the sadness, the tragedy and the reuniting. It's got all the good stuff that big, huge love stories possess."
Gena Rowlands had always wanted to work with her co-star James Garner. "We've known each other for a long time, but we've never had the chance to work together," she says. "That was a big plus for me. And then I loved the fact that it was being shot in Charleston and Georgetown, because I love South Carolina. Also," adds Rowlands, "I just like the idea of a love story. You don't see many of them these
days...and particularly a love story that depends on a miracle that all of the doctors have said is an impossibility."
Garner, too, has always admired Rowlands. "I love her acting. And then I got the script. I didn't know Nick Cassavetes...but I figured if he came from that family, he'd be all right," he says. "And he is!"
For acclaimed actor, writer and director Sam Shepard, it was the indelibility of the story that drew him to play Ryan Gosling's father. "I think the most important thing is the enduring nature of love, and it's something I think in this time that we don't really value much," he says. "Love is exterminated all the time; it's turned over; it's discarded; it's thrown away. But I think there are still possibilities
of love that endure not only through our time, but beyond that. It's this enduring possibility, not just a temporary fling, but something that goes for a long, long time, and has reverberations down through the generations, too. That's important."
The filmmakers searched tirelessly for the perfect place to film The Notebook, including North Carolina and Virginia. "The film called for a small Southern town with a peaceful, rural setting," producer Mark Johnson remembers.
"Nicholas Sparks' story is set in Newburn, North Carolina, but when we came to the Charleston area in South Carolina, we fell in love with it, and so we changed the locale of the movie," Johnson continues. "There is an old adage about movie makers - you don't see your own hometown. A foreigner will come in and shoot it way better than you might because they see the beauty which you're callous to because you're
used to it and take it for granted. I looked out at all these beautiful spots - the old plantations - the incredible downtown architecture - all of the scenic potential of the area, and thought, 'it's the most beautiful place I've ever seen in my life.' And you come in and just kind of shoot the things you find beautiful here, the people with their accents, where they live and who they are and how much they love."
"And the Low Country is exactly what the doctor ordered," Johnson adds. "It's also exactly what's called for both by the book and in the script. Quite frankly, we found all of our locations in and around Charleston, and add to that, we had heard great reports from people who had shot here."
Set amidst the austere beauty of the coastal Carolinas in the 1940's, The Notebook was filmed almost entirely on location in South Carolina - in and around the cities of Charleston and Georgetown, on Edisto Island, at numerous sites on the Charleston Naval Base, at various lush South Carolina plantations and at Cypress Gardens in Berkeley County.
Besides its obvious appropriateness to the story, the decision to shoot The Notebook in South Carolina was based largely on the support, cooperation and expertise of the South Carolina Film Office, a division of the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
Big name Hollywood films are being made in the Low Country, and with Charleston as a movie backdrop, it creates it's own unique attraction. Mark Johnson says, "I've never seen anything quite like it. I love to wander around downtown and explore, walk the cobblestone streets, marvel at the old, historic houses. Just the area itself is a great piece of history that's used beautifully in our film."
Rachel McAdams spent two months prior to shooting to get a real feel for the South. "Nick said it's different here - there's a different feeling, people are different, and the way girls are raised - especially debutantes -- is very different," she says. "Everything is so different for me as a Canadian, so spending time in Charleston prior to filming made a tremendous impact on me, and enabled me to get into character
Sam Shepard is well aware of the textures of the South. "There's this recurring theme in Southern literature: Tennessee Williams has it, Faulkner has it, everyone has this thing of the plantation; this thing of the old South; of the South that went down with Dixie. And it's an incredible, powerful, and controversial nostalgia about place," he says. "There are just so many ghosts down here. I'm not altogether
superstitious, but I always feel that when I enter the South. That is, I think, one of the great crutches of Southern literature - that it already has this extraordinary past. They don't have to invent anything."
ABOUT THE CAST
Ryan Gosling (Noah Calhoun)
Ryan Gosling had his career breakthrough when he landed the challenging lead role of Danny in the controversial film, The Believer. His performance garnered him unanimous rave reviews and industry-wide attention. In addition to taking the Grand Jury prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, Gosling also received a prestigious 2002 IFP Spirit nomination for Best Actor. He was also awarded the Golden Ram for Best Actor
by the Russian National Critics Association and has recently been nominated for Best Actor by the London Film Critics' Circle - all for The Believer. Most recently he was lauded as ShoWest 2004's Male Star of Tomorrow.
Gosling returned to Sundance in 2002, with the independent feature, The Slaughter Rule, playing the emotionally vulnerable and estranged teen, Roy, opposite David Morse. Gosling's desire to pick intricate and complex characters led him to being cast in the lead role of Leland in the film, The United States of Leland, opposite Don Cheadle and Kevin Spacey, and which again brought him glowing notices out of Sundance
in 2003. Gosling also received high praise for his work in the psychological thriller, Murder by Numbers, opposite Sandra Bullock, and under the direction of Barbet Schroeder. Other film credits include the role of Bosley in Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington. Gosling most recently completed production on Stay, opposite Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, for director Marc Forster.>
Rachel McAdams (Allie Hamilton)
Just over two years ago, Rachel McAdams was living in Canada trying to launch her acting career. Literally overnight, this talented actress has captured the attention of Hollywood - landing the starring role in Disney's The Hot Chick, in which she held her own opposite Rob Schneider. In the film, which was released in 2002, McAdams plays a popular but mean-spirited cheerleader who wakes up one day to find that she has
switched bodies with a man in his 30's (Schneider).
McAdams most recently appeared in the lead role opposite Lindsay Lohan in Paramount's hit movie, Mean Girls, written by Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey, produced by Lorne Michaels and directed by Mark Waters (Freaky Friday). The film is based on Rosalind Wiseman's book Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends and Other Realities of Adolescence.
McAdams is currently in production on the New Line Cinema comedy Wedding Crashers, also starring Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Christopher Walken. The Wedding Crashers follows two pals who crash weddings to meet women. Things get complicated when Wilson's character falls hard for a bridesmaid (McAdams). The film will be released in 2005.
James Garner (Duke)
One of Hollywood's most popular actors, Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winner James Garner currently stars in the hit television series "8 Simple Rules" as Katy Segal's father, having been added to the cast following the untimely death of the series star John Ritter.
Garner has long been regarded as one of America's foremost and distinguished actors, easily transiting between film and television. Some of his recent credits include: Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Space Cowboys, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, the Showtime telefilm "The Last Debate," "Chicago Hope," the animated series "God, the Devil and Bob," the ratings
hits "One Night Special," which reunited him with Julie Andrews, and "Legalese," for which he received his third SAG Award nomination.
Since 1994, Garner has starred as Jim Rockford, one of his best-known and loved characters, in seven two-hour made-for-television movies of "The Rockford Files." Garner earned an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Rockford during the series' initial run. The Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation "Breathing Lessons" earned Garner an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination.
Other film credits include the hit movie Maverick, The Children's Hour, The Great Escape, The Americanization of Emily, Grand Prix, Cash McCall, Move Over Darling, Support Your Local Sheriff, The Thrill of it All, Victor/Victoria and Murphy's Romance, for which he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
For television, notable credits include the Hallmark Channel's "Mark Twain's Roughing It," the one-hour CBS legal drama series "First Monday," "Nichols," "Space," "Glitterdome" and "Decoration Day," for which he received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Special. He also received Emmy nominations for his performances in
the telefilms "Heartsounds," "Promise" and "My Name is Bill W."
In total Garner has received one Academy Award nomination, 15 Emmy nominations (with two wins), 13 Golden Globe nominations (with four wins), two People's Choice Awards and three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. He was the recipient of a Clio Award for the commercials he did for Polaroid.
Gena Rowlands (Allie Calhoun)
Gena Rowlands is recognized internationally as an actress of rare accomplishment and talent, and finds herself constantly in demand in theater, film and on television.
A recent Emmy award winner for HBO's "Hysterical Blindness," for which she also received a Golden Globe nomination, and an Emmy nominee for Showtime's "Wild Iris," she also appeared in Showtime's "Charmed: The Easy Life." She recently completed a co-starring role in "The Incredible Mrs. Richie."
Prior to this, Rowlands received an Emmy nomination for her starring role in CBS's "The Color of Love: Jacey's Story." She also starred in Hallmark Hall of Fame's "Grace and Glory."
The recipient of a Doctorate of Performing Arts from the American Film Institute and the Sundance Film Festival's Piper-Heidseick Award, as well as a tribute from the American Cinematheque, she has received several other film festival awards, the most recent being that from the Montreal International Film Festival.
Past film credits include a number of films directed by and/ or-co-starring her late husband, John Cassavetes: A Child Is Waiting; Faces; A Woman Under the Influence, for which she received a Golden Globe Award as Best Actress, and Academy Award nomination as Best Actress, a National Board of Review Award, and a San Sebastian Film Festival Award; Gloria, for which she received an Academy Award nomination
as Best Actress, a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actress, was the co-winner of the Venice Film Festival Best Actress Award and The Golden Lion; Opening Night, for which she received the Berlin Film Festival's Silver Bear Award as Best Actress; Love Streams, for which she received a Gold Award as Best Actress at the Taormina Film Festival.
Other film credits include Unhook the Stars (directed by her son and director of The Notebook, Nick Cassavetes), The Mighty, Playing By Heart, Hope Floats, Paulie, The Weekend, Something to Talk About and Taking Lives. She is currently filming The Skeleton Key opposite Kate Hudson.
James Marsden (Lon)
Displaying astonishing versatility with a wide range of films, James Marsden is quickly making his mark on Hollywood.
Marsden recently completed filming Merchant Ivory's Heights. The film follows a photojournalist (Elizabeth Banks) who is forced to come to terms with a complicated relationship in her life. Marsden stars as Banks' fiancee and Glenn Close stars as her mother. The film will be distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.
Marsden will next be seen in the independent feature 24th Day for writer/director Tony Piccirillo. On the 24th day after Tom (Scott Speedman) has found out that he is HIV-positive, he kidnaps Dan (Marsden), the man he slept with five years earlier and takes a blood sample for an HIV test. If Dan's test comes back negative, Tom will let him go; but if it is negative, he will kill him. The film premiered at the 2004 Tribeca
Most recognized for his role as 'Cyclops' in 20th Century Fox's blockbuster X-Men, Marsden once again joined the superhero lineup for 2003's X2. In the sequel, the X-Men band together to find a mutant assassin who has made an attempt on the President's life. The news of the assault causes a public outcry against the mutants and the Mutant Academy is attacked by military forces. The sequel rejoined original
cast members Patrick Stewart, Rebecca Romijn Stamos, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin and Ian McKellen.
Marsden's feature film credits include a starring role in the MGM thriller Disturbing Behavior with Katie Holmes and Nick Stahl; Davis Guggenheim's Gossip, a Warner Bros. drama opposite Kate Hudson; New Line Cinema's comedy Sugar and Spice with Mena Suvari and Marley Shelton for director Francine McDougall; and Interstate 60 with Gary Oldman, Chris Cooper, Ann Margaret, Amy Smart, and Christopher
Lloyd. His notable television roles include 'Glen Floy' on the final season of the Emmy winning, David E. Kelley series "Ally McBeal."
Marsden currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife Lisa and son Jack.
Kevin Connolly (Fin)
Kevin Connolly, an actor/director hailing from Long Island, NY, started his acting career at age 6. After appearing in a number of television commercials, Connolly made his feature film debut in Rocky V.
After 5 years on the WB's television series "Unhappily Ever After", Connolly appeared in Nick Cassavetes' John Q. and Denzel Washington's Antwone Fisher He is starring in the new HBO original series, "Entourage", which is slated to premiere in June of 2004.
Connolly's directing career began on the set of "Unhappily Ever After", where he directed six episodes. Last year he made his first short film, Whatever We Do, produced by Tobey Maguire, written by Nick Cassavetes and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Tim Roth, Amanda Peet and Zooey Deschanel. Connolly is currently in development on his first feature film, Gardener of Eden, with Leonardo Di Caprio's production
vehicle Appian Way.
David Thornton (John Hamilton)
A New York actor's actor, Thornton has worked with the following famed indie filmmakers in the following films: John Turturro for Illuminata; Lisas Cholendenko for High Art; Nick Cassavetes for Unhook The Stars and She's So Lovely; Whit Stillman for Last Days of Disco; Paul Auster for Lulu on the Bridge; Cindy Sheman for Office Killer and David Salle for Search and Destroy.
A graduate of Yale School of Drama and Hamilton College, his other roles include working with Steven Zaillian for a memborable virtuoso performance in his film A Civil Action and with Tim Disney in the feature Blessed Art Thou.
Thornton also has performed off-Broadway and in several major regional theatres. He won a Los Angeles Dramalogue Award for the LA production of "Johnstowne Vindicator" and he most recently starred off-Broadway in "Big Al" for the ArcLight Theatre Company.
Thornton has been working steadily over the past few years, appearing as the lead or co-starring in films including XX/XY, Nick Cassavetes' John Q, Guy Ritchie's remake of Swept Away and the indie projects Private Property, Garmento and 100 Mile Rule.
Jamie Anne Brown (Martha Shaw)
Jamie Anne Brown was born in Parsons, Kansas and is the oldest of five.
At a very early age Brown dreamed of being an actress.
Pursuing her childhood dream, Brown moved to Los Angeles. In a very short time, she has already proved herself to be a very powerful and versatile young actress. Among just a few of her credits are "Six Feet Under", "The Practice" and the "The Shield".
This summer Jamie will be starring in an independent feature titled Automatic in which she portrays a young woman who learns how to accept love for the first time.
When Brown is not working on a film or television project, she enjoys working with autistic children and also pursuing her hobby of sky-diving.
Heather Wahlquist (Sara Tuffington)
A native of Oklahoma, Heather Wahlquist is quickly making a name for herself with roles in a number of high-profile feature films and television productions. The 27-year-old actress has appeared opposite Denzel Washington in the drama John Q, and was seen opposite Gena Rowlands in the Showtime television movie "The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie." Wahlquist can also be seen in the upcoming Xan Cassavetes-Ross directed
The Sky Is Green and has appeared on stage in productions of "Rockstar", "Born Yesterday" and "Girls Guide to Chaos," among others.
Sam Shepard (Frank Calhoun)
Sam Shepard is an actor, screenwriter, director and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright for his 1979 three-act play "Buried Child." Shepard's numerous other plays have included "Angel City," "Curse of the Starving Class," "Killer's Head," "Action," "The Mad Dog Blues," "Cowboy Mouth" and "The Rock Garden."
One of the writers of Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriski Point, he later won critical acclaim for his original screenplay of Wim Wenders' Paris, Texas.
As an actor, Shepard debuted in Bob Dylan's Renaldo and Clara, followed by a number of strong appearances in Days of Heaven, Resurrection, Raggedy Man, opposite Jessica Lange in Frances, and as astronaut Chuck Yaeger in The Right Stuff, which brought him an Academy Award nomination. He re-teamed with Lange in Country and Crimes of the Heart, and played the lead role in Robert Altman's
adaptation of Shepard's play Fool For Love. Other film credits include: Baby Boom, Steel Magnolias, Defenseless, Thunderheart, Bright Angel, Voyager, The Pelican Brief, Snow Falling on Cedars, Hamlet, All the Pretty Horses, The Pledge, Swordfish, Black Hawk Down and the upcoming Leo.
Shepard's notable television films and mini-series include: Larry McMurtry's "Streets of Laredo," "Lily Dale," "Purgatory," "Dash and Lilly," for which he received both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his performance as writer Dashiell Hammett, "One Kill" and "Wild Geese."
Shepard directed the features Far North and Silent Tongue, both of which he also wrote.
Joan Allen (Anne Hamilton)
Three-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen is one of the film world's busiest actresses.
She will next be seen in The Bourne Supremacy for director Paul Greengrass, starring opposite Matt Damon. She will be seen in Yes, for writer-director Sally Potter, and Off the Map, directed by Campbell Scott and co-starring Sam Elliott. She most recently wrapped production on The Upside of Anger for director/writer Mike Binder, starring opposite Kevin Costner, Evan Rachel Wood, Erika Christensen,
Keri Russell and Alicia Witt. The film is scheduled to be released by New Line Cinema in late 2004.
Allen starred in The Contender opposite Jeff Bridges, Gary Oldman and Christian Slater and directed by Rod Lurie, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, an Independent Spirit Award and an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Allen starred in Pleasantville opposite William H. Macy and Jeff Daniels, which earned her several critics awards. Her role opposite John Travolta and Nicolas Cage in the smash hit film Face/Off earned her critical kudos as well as Blockbuster and MTV Movie Awards. Her emotionally devastating role in The Ice Storm opposite Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver, also earned her several critics awards.
In 1996, Allen starred in Oliver Stone's Nixon, for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She also won 7 critics association awards, including the L.A. Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics Awards.
Allen received her second consecutive Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination in 1997 for her role opposite Daniel Day Lewis and Winona Ryder in Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
Allen has appeared in numerous other feature films including Compromising Positions, Peggy Sue Got Married, Manhunter, Tucker: The Man And His Dream, Ethan Frome, Josh and S.A.M., In Country, Searching for Bobby Fisher, Mad Love, It's the Rage, and When the Sky Falls.
Allen is also one of the New York theater world's most honored actresses and winner of every major prize for her work on and off-Broadway. She received the Best Actress Tony Award for her performance opposite John Malkovich in Lanford Wilson's "Burn This," and was nominated in the same category for the title role in "The Heidi Chronicles." Off-Broadway she starred in "The Marriage of Bette & Boo"
(for which she won the Obie Award), and reprised her Steppenwolf Theatre/Joseph Jefferson Award-winning role in "And A Nightingale Sang," for which she received the Clarence Derwent, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Theatre World Awards. Off-Broadway she also starred in "Delores" and "The Heidi Chronicles." An original member of Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Allen starred in their production of "Burn This," "Earthly Possessions,"
"Reckless," "A Lesson From Aloes" (Joseph Jefferson Award), "Balm in Gilead" and "Of Mice and Men."
Allen recently received an Emmy nomination for the "Mists of Avalon," opposite Anjelica Huston and Julianna Margulies, for TNT.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Nick Cassavetes (Director)
Nick Cassavetes, in his desire to create personal films marked by narrative authenticity and universal resonance, embraces the tools of classical filmmaking while always remaining true to his independent roots. Cassavetes directed the New Line Cinema hit film John Q., starring Oscar-winner Denzel Washington, where he evidences a deft blending of craft and intensity, the timeless and the immediate. Prior to that,
Cassavetes directed She's So Lovely, a bold and unflinching drama about the inexorable bonds of love starring Sean Penn, Robin Wright Penn and John Travolta, the only film to win two awards at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, including the Best Actor Award for Sean Penn and a Best Cinematography Award.
Cassavetes' facility for character-driven intimacy was evidenced when he made his feature film directorial debut with the critically acclaimed Unhook the Stars, starring Marissa Tomei, Gerard Depardieu and Gena Rowlands. An incisive and deeply felt drama about a lonely widow whose lust for life is rekindled through a series of unlikely relationships, this critically acclaimed film was recognized by the National Board
of Review, while also garnering Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Rowlands and Tomei.
A one-time student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Cassavetes began his career as an actor, appearing in such films as Just Like Dad, Blind Fury, Quiet Cool, The Wraith and Twogether, as well as on television in NBC's "L.A. Law" and "Quantum Leap," and in CBS's critically acclaimed "Shannon's Deal." Most recently he starred opposite William H. Macy in Henry Bromell's Panic,
with Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron in New Line's The Astronaut's Wife and opposite Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence in Ted Demme's Life. In addition, Cassavetes appeared as playwright Robert E. Sherwood in Alan Rudolph's Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, and opposite John Travolta and Nicholas Cage in John Woo's Face/Off.
In addition, Cassavetes has penned several projects including Blow, The Godforsaken and Unless That Someone is You.
Cassavetes is the son of the late director John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands.
Mark Johnson (Producer)
Mark Johnson is the Academy Award-winning producer of the hit film, The Rookie, starring Dennis Quaid, and the recent releases The Alamo, Moonlight Mile, starring Susan Sarandon and The Banger Sisters, starring Goldie Hawn and Susan Sarandon. Other recent features include: Dragonfly, starring Kevin Costner and Kathy Bates, and directed by Tom Shadyac, An Everlasting Piece, directed
by Barry Levinson, What Lies Beneath, starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer and directed by Robert Zemeckis, My Dog Skip, starring Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane and Frankie Muniz and directed by Jay Russell and Galaxy Quest, starring Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver and directed by Dean Parisot.
In his successful partnership with director Barry Levinson, Johnson produced all of Levinson's films (through 1994) including Rain Man, which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture as well as a Golden Globe for Best Picture, Good Morning Vietnam, The Natural and their 1982 debut project Diner.
Other films made during this period include Avalon, Bugsy, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards including Best Picture and won the Golden Globe for Best Picture, Tin Men and Young Sherlock Holmes.
In 1994, Johnson established his own production company. He produced the critically acclaimed and Los Angeles Film Critics New Generation Award-winner A Little Princess, and the quirky comedy Home Fries, starring Drew Barrymore. Johnson also produced the dramatic thriller Donnie Brasco, starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. He is currently the executive producer of the CBS hit drama "The Guardian."
He has either presented or executive produced Sniper, Bob Roberts, Kafka, Quiz Show and Journey of Hope
Johnson is currently producing the screen adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
Johnson serves as the chairman of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' foreign language film award selection committee.
Lynn Harris (Producer)
Lynn Harris spent ten years as an executive for New Line Cinema, where she executive produced Blade and Blade 2, Seven, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Bed of Roses, Body Shots, Town & Country, Life as a House, Living Out Loud and Simone. She also served as executive producer on Universal's About a Boy.
Prior to joining New Line Cinema, Harris ran Lynda Obst Productions, where she developed such films as Contact.
In 2003, Harris formed Sirius Pictures, where she produced Blade: Trinity, the third installment of the Blade series. The film is scheduled for release in December 2004.
Harris is currently Executive Vice President of Production at Warner Brothers.
Avram Butch Kaplan (Executive Producer/UPM)
Avram Butch Kaplan was born in New York City and received a classical French education from Lycee Francais before moving, at age 15, to Israel and attending agricultural high school, where he matriculated in dairy farming. He subsequently joined the Israeli Defense Forces in 1974 and served as a paratrooper for three years in the standing army, and later in the reserves.
In 1982, Kaplan entered the film business as the Israeli distributor at CIC. In 1985, he returned to the United States and began working in production in Los Angeles, going on to produce various TV shows including "Red Shoes Diaries" for Showtime, "Strangers" for HBO, "Allies" for CBS / Paramount and "Beyond Belief" for Fox.
Kaplan's feature credits include executive producer on the upcoming films Raise Your Voice, starring Hilary Duff, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, John Q directed by Nick Cassavetes, Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula filmed in Romania, The Patriot, directed by Dean Semler, Lawnmower Man 2 for New Line Cinema, and Lake Consequence. Kaplan
served as line producer/UPM on Buffalo 66, directed by Vincent Gallo. It was while producing She's So Lovely, that Kaplan formed a working relationship with Nick Cassavetes.
Jeremy Leven (Screenwriter)
Jeremy Leven, who most recently wrote the screenplay for The Legend of Bagger Vance, previously wrote and directed the offbeat romantic comedy Don Juan DeMarco, starring Marlon Brando, Johnny Depp and Faye Dunaway. He also wrote Lovers, Liars and Thieves, which he is planning to direct in Paris in 2005.
Prior to beginning his film career, Leven earned a graduate degree in Child Psychology from Harvard and was a Fellow in the Department of Child Psychiatry at the Yale University Medical School. He also served on the faculty of Harvard, was a hospital psychologist in Massachusetts and was the Director of Youth, Drug Treatment and Methadone Programs for Western Massachusetts.
In 1968, he founded, wrote and directed "The Proposition," a satirical revue, which ran for ten years in Boston and four off-Broadway. To put himself through graduate school, he authored the books Creator, and the critically acclaimed Satan: His Psychotherapy and Cure by the Unfortunate Dr. Kassler, J.S.P.S, the latter of which has become standard reading in university contemporary fiction
courses. He later adapted Creator into a screenplay for a film of the same name, directed by Ivan Passar and starring Peter O'Toole and Mariel Hemingway. Leven also co-wrote Playing for Keeps, directed by Harvey and Bob Weinstein and starring Marissa Tomei.
Jan Sardi (Screenwriter)
Jan Sardi is one of Australia's most distinguished screenwriters. In 1997 he received an Academy Award Nomination for his screenplay for Shine, the poignant account of the life of pianist David Helfgott, as well as a BAFTA nomination, a Writers' Guild of America nomination and a Golden Globe nomination. Mr. Sardi has won numerous awards for his work in Australia, including Best Screenplay for Shine (Australian
Film Institute Awards and Australian Writers Guild Awards). In 2003 he wrote and directed Love's Brother, an Australian/UK co-production starring Giovanni Ribisi and Adam Garcia. Love's Brother recently won the Best Film Award at the 2004 Houston International Film Festival; it also won the award for Best Director and Best Cinematography. Mr. Sardi lives and works in Australia.
Alan Heim, A.C.E. (Editor)
Alan Heim received an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award and an Eddie Award for his editing of All That Jazz, as well as an Academy Award nomination and a BAFTA nomination for his editing on Network.
A veteran of more than 20 films, Heim has edited such features as The 12 Chairs, Godspell, Lenny, Hair, The Fan, Star 80, She's Having a Baby, Funny Farm, Valmont, Quick Change and Billy Bathgate. More recently, he edited the films American History X, Leave It to Beaver, Copycat and Dennis the Menace.
Heim's television credits include the HBO cable feature "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge," for which he won an Eddie Award, "Liza With a Z" and "Nobody's Child." He received an Emmy for his work on the miniseries "Holocaust."
Heim is a member of the board of directors of the American Cinema Editors and the Editors Guild.
Robert Fraisse, AFC (Director of Photography)
Robert Fraisse, a native of France, was nominated for an Academy Award for The Lover, which Jean-Jacques Annaud directed. They also collaborated on Wings of Courage, Seven Years in Tibet and Enemy at the Gates. Fraisse's more recent film credits include Luther and the upcoming Hotel Rwanda.
Other credits include: Ronin, starring Robert De Niro and Jean Reno; Vatel, starring Gerard Depardieu, Uma Thurman and Tim Roth; Season's Beatings/La Buche, Citizen X, Un Crime, La Passerelle, Keys to Tulsa, La Gitane, Le Jumeau, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Emmanuelle 2 and Story of O.
Sarah Knowles (Production Designer)
Sarah Knowles was born and raised in New York City. She attended SUNY in Purchase, NY, and studied visual arts at Tyler School of Art in Rome, NY, where she specialized in painting, printmaking, performance and dance. Knowles has worked as an art director for approximately 15 years, and The Notebook marks her first feature as the film's production designer.
Art direction, assistant art direction, set decorator and design credits include: Catch me If You Can, Simone, The Glass House, Flawless, The Astronaut's Wife, Gattaca, Money Train, Terminal Velocity, Calendar Girl, A Class Act, The Preacher's Wife, Demolition Man, The Good Son, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure and A League of Their Own. For television, Knowles' credits include "It's Dance" and "Monsters."
She has also done numerous commercials, pilots, shorts and PSA's.
Karyn Wagner (Costume Designer)
Karyn Wagner is a third generation industry veteran. Her grandfather, George Barnes, won an Academy Award for his black-and-white cinematography on Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca. Her grandmother was part of Erich von Stroheim's stock company and her father, a motion picture sound mixer, won an Emmy for his work on North and South.
The Hollywood native had no plans to enter the industry when she set out to study art history at the University of California, Davis. Before long, she won a production coordinator job on a feature, and then focused her career as a camera technician before becoming a costumer.
Wagner has collaborated with director Frank Darabont on the features The Green Mile and The Majestic and D. J. Caruso on the features The Salton Sea, and the HBO film Black Cat Run.
Additional feature credits include Steven Soderbergh's The Underneath, Robert Kurtzman's The Wishmaster, John Woo's first American movie, Hard Target and Kasi Lemmons' Eve's Bayou. Wagner also designed costumes for HBO's Something The Lord Made, Warner Bros. Television production, "The Lone Ranger" as well as TV pilots such as "Bump in the Night", "Beastmaster
III", and the PBS-Masterpiece Theatre TV movie "Cora Unashamed."
Aaron Zigman (Composer)
Aaron Zigman made his music composer debut with John Q., which was followed by Fighting for Care and Behind the Scenes of 'John Q.' Previously Zigman has worked extensively as a music producer, arranger and/or writer for such recording artists as Christina Aguilera, Seal, Aretha Franklin, Oleta Adams, Phil Collins, Tina Turner, Patti Labelle, Chicago, The Jets, Nona Gaye, Carly Simon, the Pointer sisters,
Huey Lewis, Dionne Warwick and Jennifer Holiday.
Zigman's work has been featured on such film soundtracks as Mulan, Buster, What's Love Got To Do With It?, License to Kill, Pocohantas and Fame.