TUCK EVERLASTING
ABOUT THIS FILM

TUCK EVERLASTING
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS


This page was created on October 29, 2002
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005


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ABOUT THIS FILM

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

JAY RUSSELL (director) was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. From an early age, he developed a strong interest in both music and film.
At nineteen, Russell directed a series of commercials for the Arkansas Parks and Tourism division, where his boss was Governor Bill Clinton. At the same time, he was winning Regional Honors as a musician.
He accepted a full music scholarship to attend Memphis University where he received a Bachelor of Arts. While there, he studied in the Grammy Award winning Blues Preservation department. However, it was during this time that his attention to film took over.
Russell was accepted into the Film School of Columbia University where he received a Master of Fine Arts Degree. While at Columbia, under the direction of co-chairmen Milos Forman and the late Frank Daniel, Russell won filmmaking grants from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science as well as the Louis B. Mayer Foundation.

He was invited to attend the Sundance Institute Film Workshop, headed by Robert Redford, to develop his project "End of the Line." The well-reviewed independent film starring Wilford Brimley, Mary Steenburgen and Kevin Bacon was directed by Russell and was released theatrically by Orion Classics in 1998.

After the release of "End of the Line," Russell developed projects for Imagine Entertainment and TriStar Pictures. Subsequently, Russell pursued another passion - documentaries. He worked as a producer and director for the critically lauded Discovery Channel series, "Amazing America," as well as documentary series and specials for NBC, CBS, Learning Channel, USA Network and others.

In 1996, Russell was asked to write, produce and direct the five-hour miniseries "Great Drives" for PBS on famous highways of America. His installments as a director, "Highway 61, Revisited" with Rock'n'Roll Hall of Famer Levon Helm, and "Highway 93, The Killer Road," hosted by Oscar® nominated actor Graham Greene, premiered nationally in 1997.

It was while filming "Great Drives" that Jay first met the late award winning author Willie Morris who told him he was working on a book about his childhood and dog titled "My Dog Skip."

Russell stayed in regular contact with Morris and got the film rights to the book. In 2000, he directed and executive produced the critically acclaimed hit family film "My Dog Skip," based on Morris' best-selling memoir about his recollections of his first and favorite dog. The Warner Bros. film starred Kevin Bacon, Frankie Muniz, Luke Wilson and Diane Lane and was produced by John Lee Hancock and Academy Award®-winner Mark Johnson. "My Dog Skip" has received numerous awards, including the 2001 Broadcast Film Critics Award as Best Family Film.

JEFFREY LIEBER (screenplay by) grew up in Evanston, Illinois, where he stumbled into high school theater when it became painfully obvious that his inability to hit a curve ball was going to hamper his childhood dream of leading the Chicago Cubs to a World Series victory. Once in a theater, Jeffrey was hooked. He got a degree in acting from the University of Illinois, where he won the national Irene Ryan Acting Competition. After college, he moved back to Chicago, spending the early nineties acting and writing for such Chicago institutions as Steppenwolf Theatre, The Organic Theatre and Victory Gardens. In 1995, Jeffrey migrated west to California, where he started writing screenplays. Since then, he's written for Dreamworks, Paramount, Warner Bros., and Disney. Along with "Tuck Everlasting," his credits to date include "Tangled" (to released by Miramax) and "The Return of Morality" (written with fellow Chicagoan Jamie Pachino, to be shot by Lions Gate in the spring of 2003). More impressively, Jeffrey's move to California facilitated his reunion with an old high school girlfriend, Holly Long. The two were married in 1999 and in July of 2002, they were blessed with Josephine Adele Petunia Lieber. Jeffrey now tries to juggle his hectic screenwriting career with plans to teach Josephine to hit the curve ball.

JAMES V. HART (Screenwriter) grew up in Ft. Worth Texas on drive-in movies and Saturday matinees. Soon after graduating from SMU in Dallas he began producing independent films in the 1970s, including the critically acclaimed, "Summer Run," which includes a performance by French film star, Juliet Berto.

Hart settled in New York City with his wife, son and daughter, and began his screenwriting career. His writing/producing credits include "Hook," based on an idea by Hart's then 6 year old son, "Bram Stoker's Dracula," "Muppet Treasure Island," "Contact," "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein," and "Jack and the Beanstalk: the Real Story," a Jim Henson/CBS mini-series.

"The Snow Goose," based on the Paul Gallico novella, which Hart is producing with Blue Sky Pictures, is set for production in England from an adaptation by Hart.

Hart is set to direct his adaptation of Peter Gent's novel, "The Last Magic Summer" for Radar Pictures, and he will also direct "Restless Hearts," an original screenplay based on his experiences growing up in Texas.

Hart also worked on the book for the new musical "Time and Again," based on the novel by Jack Finney, which completed its run Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

His first novel, "The Peter Pan Journals," based on the adventures of Peter Pan as seen from several a completely different points of view, is being published by Laura Geringer Books for Harper Collins in 2002.

He is currently adapting Clive Cussler's best selling novel, "Sahara," for Paramount Pictures and Crusader Entertainment.
Jim has been nominated for the Humanitas Prize for screenwriting for "Contact," and received the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Best Writing Award for his work on "Bram Stoker's Dracula."
Hart teaches screenwriting at the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts in New York City. He considers his family his best story department.

Even as a very young girl, author NATALIE BABBITT showed great promise as a painter and writer, although writing was not then in her plans. She wanted to be an illustrator of books for children because books had played such a great role in her own childhood.

At Smith College she majored in art, but upon her graduation she married Samuel Fisher Babbitt and spent the next ten years raising three children up to school age.

Her first illustration was for a book entitled "The Forty-Ninth Magician," written by her husband. It seemed like a promising collaboration. But when her husband's other professional responsibilities allowed him no time for writing, Babbitt decided to do the writing herself.

Like "Tuck Everlasting," her other books for young people often contain a combination of fantasy and reality, which she uses as a means for her main characters to learn more about themselves and grow. Her choice of genre reflects the books she chose to read when she was young…fairy tales and Greek myths.

The first two books she did by herself were long stories in verse. Encouraged by her editor, she tried writing in prose. Her first effort, which she thought would be just a little picture-book story, kept growing and growing. Before she finished, she had written, "The Search for Delicious." That book and Babbitt's succeeding books which she wrote and illustrated, "Kneeknock Rise," "The Devil's Storybook," "Eye of the Amaryllis" and "Tuck Everlasting" were all American Library Association Notable Children's Books.

Various of these and others of her works have also garnered a Christopher Award, Lewis Carroll Shelf Awards, and have been included in the Children's Book Council's Children's Book Showcase. In 1981, Babbitt was nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal.

It is "Tuck Everlasting" for which Babbitt is best known by children.

Babbitt also published two picture books, "Nellie" and "Bab," each with full color illustrations.

Babbitt wrote only one book that was not for children, "Herbert Rowbarge," which she describes as being "for women over forty."

JANE STARTZ (Producer) has received over fifty major awards in the category of children's and family programming including six Emmys, ten Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, two Cable-Ace Awards, Parents Choice Awards and an Action for Children's Television Award.

In 1997, Startz formed her own independent production company, Jane Startz Productions, Inc. which currently has a first-look deal with Miramax Films. She is a co-founder and was executive vice president of Scholastic Productions, the film and television division of Scholastic Inc. Under her creative aegis the company grew to be one of the preeminent producers of family entertainment.

She produced the company's first two motion pictures, "The Indian in the Cupboard" and "The Baby-Sitters Club." She also launched Scholastic Productions into the television series arena with the long-running situation comedy series, "Charles in Charge" and executive produced "The Baby- Sitters Club" for HBO and several award-winning family dramas including the Cable Ace Award-winning "The Truth About Alex." Her ABC television movie, "The Great Love Experiment" garnered an Emmy for her in the category of Outstanding Children's Entertainment Specials. She also executive produced the American Playhouse trilogy "The Prodigious Hickey," "The Beginning of the Firm" and "The Return of Hickey."

Startz created and produced the Emmy Award-winning television series "The Magic School Bus," (for PBS, now on Fox TV) which was named one of the year's top ten television shows for kids by TV Guide, Parents Magazine and Entertainment Weekly.

With her new company, Startz recently produced "The Mighty" (Miramax), which was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards. She is currently producing the feature film adaptation of the Newbery Honor winning novel, "Ella Enchanted," starring Anne Hathaway, for Miramax Films.

Other upcoming films include "Burger Wuss," "The Night Room" and "I Want to Buy a Vowel." Projects in development include "The Engineer of Beasts," "Son of the Mob," "Things Not Seen," "Lord of the Nutcracker Men," "This is Not a Toy," "Teen Angst," "Pushcart War" and "The Two Princesses of Bamarre." Additionally, Startz is developing a series of films based on books by best-selling author, Judy Blume.

Startz is a member of the Writers' Guild, Women in Film and Television, and is on the board of The Institute for Child, Adolescent and Family Studies as well as The Chemotherapy Foundation.

Producer MARC ABRAHAM is President of Strike Entertainment, the new development/production entity he formed in early 2002. Strike is based at Universal, where the Company enjoys a comprehensive first-look, four-year production agreement.

Previously Abraham was the President of Beacon Communications, the hugely successful financing/production company that he co-founded in 1990. Abraham also spearheaded the formation of Beacon Records, which released five soundtracks that sold over 4 million units worldwide.

Abraham recently produced (with Doug Wick) "Spy Game," directed by Tony Scott, and starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. His next release is "The Emperor's Club" for Universal, starring Kevin Kline.

In 2000, Abraham produced "The Family Man," starring Nicolas Cage and Tea Leoni, and the summer blockbuster hit "Bring It On," starring Kirsten Dunst. He also produced "A Thousand Acres," based on the Pulitzer Prizewinning novel, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Abraham executive produced the action-thriller "Air Force One," starring Harrison Ford, a worldwide hit which has earned $330 million to date. He went on to executive produce "The Hurricane," starring Denzel Washington and directed by Norman Jewison; "For Love of the Game," starring Kevin Costner; and "End of Days," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

During its first few years, Beacon also produced such award-winning films as "The Commitments," which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as Best Picture in 1991 and went on to win four BAFTA awards, and Keith Gordon's well-received "A Midnight Clear," starring Ethan Hawke. In a co-venture with Turner Pictures, Abraham executive produced David Mamet's "A Life in the Theatre," which won a Cable ACE Award for Best Dramatic or Theatrical Special. Beacon also produced "Sugar Hill," starring Wesley Snipes; "Princess Caraboo," starring Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline, for which Abraham was a Golden Halo winner; "The Road to Wellville," directed by Alan Parker and starring Anthony Hopkins; and "The Baby-Sitters Club," based on the best-selling series of books from Scholastic Magazine.

Abraham's entry into film began with the documentary "Playing to Win," an inside look at the Cuban athletic system. He authored several screenplays for such companies as 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and CBS and wrote for the popular series "21 Jump Street" and "Moonlighting." In 1990, Abraham won a Writer's Guild Award for "The Earth Day Special."

Abraham began his career as a copywriter for Young & Rubicam in New York City after graduating from the University of Virginia. He left advertising to concentrate full time on a writing career and freelanced as a sportswriter for many newspapers and magazines and wrote two books on the International Olympic Games for Universal Press. Abraham is a member of the Writer's Guild, the Producer's Guild, and on the board of the Virginia Film Festival and the Violence Policy Center. He was recently honored with the Spirit of Chrysalis Award which recognized Abraham for his outstanding commitment to helping change lives through jobs, and helping thousands of disadvantaged and homeless individuals and families in Los Angeles.

ARMYAN BERNSTEIN (Executive Producer), Chairman of Beacon Communications, ShoWest Producer of the Year, has produced and executive produced such films as "The Hurricane," starring Denzel Washington; "Air Force One," starring Harrison Ford; "Thirteen Days," starring Kevin Costner; "End of Days," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger; "Family Man," starring Nicolas Cage; "Bring It On," starring Kirsten Dunst; "For the Love of the Game," again starring Costner; and "Spy Game," starring Brad Pitt and Robert Redford.

Bernstein co-founded Beacon Communications in 1990 and it has become one of the most successful independently financed film companies in the entertainment business. Its first films were "The Commitments," directed by Alan Parker, which was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Picture in 1991 and went on to win four BAFTA Awards; Keith Gordon's critical triumph "A Midnight Clear," starring Ethan Hawke; "A Thousand Acres," based on the Pulitzer Prizewinning novel, starring Michelle Pfeifer and Jessica Lange; "Sugar Hill," starring Wesley Snipes; "Playing God," starring David Duchovny and Timothy Hutton; "Princess Cariboo," starring Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline; "The Road to Wellville," directed by Alan Parker and starring Anthony Hopkins; and David Mamet's "A Life in the Theatre," which won a Cable ACE Award for Best Dramatic or Theatrical Special.

Bernstein was born and raised in Chicago and attended the University of Wisconsin. He was a journalist for PBS and then with ABC. He wrote the 1978 cult classic "Thank God It's Friday," starring Debra Winger and Jeff Goldblum. He then wrote and co-produced Francis Ford Coppola's legendary Vegas romance, "One from the Heart." Bernstein made his directing debut with "Windy City," from his screenplay, which starred John Shea and Kate Capshaw. He also co-wrote and directed "Cross My Heart," starring Martin Short and Annette O'Toole. Bernstein wrote and produced ABC's Emmy Award-winning "The Earth Day Special."

THOMAS A. BLISS (Executive Producer) co-founded Strike Entertainment with Marc Abraham in 2002. Previously, Bliss served as Chief Operating Officer at Beacon Communications, which he joined in 1990. Bliss is currently executive producing "The Emperor's Club" (Universal 2002). Previously, Bliss "Spy Game," "Thirteen Days," "The Family Man," "The End of Days," "The Hurricane," "Air Force One," "Trippin'," "A Thousand Acres," "Playing God," "The Baby-Sitters Club" and produced "Bring It On," "A Life in the Theatre" and "Box of Moonlight."

Born in Hollywood, Bliss made his first (8mm) film in junior high school. After graduating from UCLA Film School, Bliss served as Dean of Students at USC's Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, and returned to UCLA for a degree in law. Bliss next earned a spot in the Directors Guild of America - Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Training Program. Bliss has been honored by a Peabody Award and two Cable Ace Awards.

Bliss serves on the Board of Trustees of the Directors Guild of America - Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Training Program, the Board of Governors of the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts, the Board of External Overseers to the Stanford University Social Science History Institute and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

WILLIAM TEITLER (Executive Producer) also recently executive produced "The Hurricane," starring Denzel Washington.

Teitler's other credits include "Jumanji," "Mr. Holland's Opus," "Looking for Richard," "Picture Perfect," and "Unforgettable."

Teitler's television credits include the Cable Ace Award-winning series, "Tales from the Crypt" as well as "Tales from the Darkside" and "Moment of Fear."

Teitler is in a producing partnership with Chris Van Allsburg, Golden Mean Productions. They are developing a diverse slate of projects including the adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg's classic books, "The Polar Express" and "The Widow's Broom" as well as a "Jumanji" sequel.

Born in New York, Teitler attended Williams College.

DEBORAH FORTE (Executive Producer) is President of Scholastic Entertainment Inc. (SEI). Forte has full responsibility for Scholastic's worldwide media, feature film, television and consumer products businesses.

Forte is responsible for creating and managing Scholastic Entertainment, and serves as SEI's lead creative and business executive.

Forte is an award-winning producer of children's and family media including movies, television programming, CD-ROMs and internet sites. She has created and/or produced over 220 productions, including: "Clifford The Big Red Dog"; "Dear America," the critically-acclaimed series on HBO; Scholastic's Emmy Award-winning series, "The Magic School Bus"; "Goosebumps"; and "The Baby-sitters Club". She executive produced the feature films "The Baby-sitters Club" and "The Mighty," and will produce Philip Pullman's best-selling classic, the "His Dark Materials" trilogy as a feature for New Line Cinema. Her productions have won over 100 awards.

MAX WONG (Executive Producer) began her career as the story editor for Limelight Productions developing feature films and special projects, most notably "The Specialist," "Coneheads," and the animated series "Reboot." In 1993, she developed "The Last Seduction" with Jonathan Shestack, who was then the head of Limelight's film division.

Wong left Limelight in 1994 with Shestack to form Jonathan Shestack Productions. For the next eight months she developed and set up an eclectic slate of film and television projects including "Iron Horseman," "Apogee" "Revolution of the Deaf," "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief," and "Gramps."

From 1995 to 2000, Wong worked as a development and production executive for Beacon Pictures where she oversaw a slate of over 20 feature projects. She was the development executive on the smash hit "Air Force One," starring Harrison Ford. Her other projects included "Family Man" starring Nicolas Cage, directed by Brett Ratner; "In a Dark Wood," a revisionist Robin Hood story written by Greg Chabot and Kevin Peterka; and the teen comedy "Bring It On," starring Kirsten Dunst and Eliza Dushku which she also exec-produced.

In September 2000, Wong left Beacon to form Pink Slip Pictures with producer Karen Firestone.

Wong has degrees in Film Production, French, and Still Photography from the University of Southern California.

JAMES L. CARTER (Director of Photography) first worked with director Jay Russell on the highly acclaimed theatrical feature, "My Dog Skip."

His other film credits include "Phoenix," "Gunfighter's Moon," The Road Killers," "Web of Deception" and "Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III."

His numerous television credits include the television series "Family Law" and "Michael Hayes," as well as television movies "Love's Deadly Triangle: The Texas Cadet Murder," "Payback," and "Ruby Jean and Joe."

Although Carter has served as a cinematographer for over 20 years, he likes to point out that he first worked with "Tuck's" Sissy Spacek and Amy Irving in the mid '70s when they starred in "Carrie" and he worked as a production assistant.

JAY CASSIDY, A.C.E. (Editor) comes to "Tuck Everlasting" from Sean Penn's most recent directorial effort, "The Pledge." Cassidy and Penn worked together previously on Penn's earlier films, "The Crossing Guard" and "The Indian Runner."

Born in Chicago and raised in Highland Park, Illinois, Cassidy earned a degree in American Culture from the University of Michigan. With a background of documentaries and political advertisements in Washington, D.C., he moved to Los Angeles in the late '70s where he attended the American Film Institute's Center for Advanced Film Studies.

Cassidy's other credits include "The Replacement Killers" for Columbia, "Gossip" for Warner Bros., "Urban Legend" for TriStar, "Albino Alligator" for Miramax and "The First Year," a documentary about five first-year teachers in the Los Angeles County school system which aired on PBS in the fall of 2001.

Production designer TONY BURROUGH came from a painting background in England, having studied to become a painter/sculptor. He soon began applying his art to design work for a company that specialized in big art projects…civic centers, big murals, big relief panels, stained glass windows, and other decorative art work, all of which appealed to him because of their grand scale. For the first few years, he worked exclusively in England. When the company took over some contracts in California, Burrough found himself working there for a few years.

When he returned to England, he was invited to join the staff of the BBC television by the station's head of design. Burrough stayed with the BBC for a number of years. Initially, he worked with a very talented designer who taught him about designing and building sets. Later, he started designing sets himself. When he left the BBC, it was to begin his independent career as a motion picture and television production designer.

Burrough received a BAFTA Award for Best Production Design for "Richard III" (1995) and was nominated for an Oscar® for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration for the same production.

Previously, he had been nominated for a BAFTA Award for his work as production designer for the mini-series, "Talking Heads" (1987).

In 2000, Burrough was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries, Movie or Special for "Arabian Nights."

CAROL RAMSEY (Costume Designer) had unusual training for becoming a highly successful costume designer. Before entering the competitive field of costume design, she earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree in harpsichord performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.

Putting that aside, she began her costuming career in the Boston Shakespeare Company costume shop. She quickly moved into designing for many Boston-based theaters, dance companies, private clothing clients, commercials and films. In 1983, she directed her talents into the feature film world. Since that time, she has designed wardrobe for over 20 feature films. Included are: "A Soldier Never Cries," "Surviving Picasso," 'Mr. and Mrs. Bridge," "The Santa Clause," "Jungle 2 Jungle" and "Dragon."

Her television credits include "Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis," for which she received a Costume Designers' Guild nomination.

WILLIAM ROSS (music by) is a prolific, award-winning composer and arranger whose work has spanned feature films, the recording industry, and television. He has composed the scores to such films as "My Dog Skip," the IMAX film "T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous," "A Smile Like Yours," "The Evening Star," "My Fellow Americans," "Tin Cup," "Black Sheep," and "The Little Rascals." His work for television includes the critically acclaimed miniseries, "Me and My Shadows: Life with Judy Garland" and the opening sequence for "The Wonderful World of Disney," among others.

Ross has arranged for a remarkable list of artists, including Barbara Streisand, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Whitney Houston, Kenny G, Michael Jackson, David Foster, Quincy Jones, and Babyface. He arranged Dion's performance of "The Star Spangled Banner" for the 2002 Super Bowl and her performance of "God Bless America" on the nationally televised Concert for America.

His arrangements have been featured in many films, including Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" (from "Titanic"), Gloria Estefan's "Music of My Heart" (from "Music of the Heart"), and Jennifer Lopez' "Alive" (from "Enough").

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