Since his introduction to American cinema in the highly acclaimed MAMBO KINGS, ANTONIO BANDERAS (Greg) is irrefutably one of the leading international actors of his generation. He has received critical praise for his performances in film, television and theater, as well as behind the scenes as a feature film director. In 2005, he was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His second directorial feature is the Spanish film EL CAMINO DE LOS INGLESES (titled SUMMER RAIN in the U.S.). A coming of age story, the film follows the first loves, lusts and obsessions of friends on vacation at the end of the 1970s. He made his directorial debut with CRAZY IN ALABAMA starring his wife Melanie Griffith.
Banderas stole the show in the 2004 blockbuster animated film SHREK 2 as the voice of "Puss in Boots." He reprised this role in the widely anticipated sequel SHREK THE THIRD, the ABC Christmas special Shrek The Halls, and will also lend his voice to the fourth installment of the franchise, SHREK FOREVER AFTER, this summer.
In addition to YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, he also stars in the action thriller THE BIG BANG, directed by Tony Krantz, and will appear alongside Channing Tatum and Ewan McGregor in Steven Soderbergh's KNOCKOUT for Lionsgate. He recently starred with Laura Linney and Liam Neeson in THE OTHER MAN, directed by Richard Eyre.
In 2003, Banderas earned a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical for his Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theater Company production of "Nine," a musical inspired by Fellini's 8 ½. He also received a Best Actor Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama League Award and Theatre World Award. "Nine," which was directed by David Leveaux, also starred Chita Rivera. Banderas has worked with some of Hollywood's best directors and leading actors including Robert Rodriquez's DESPERADO opposite Salma Hayek and the sequel ONCE UPON A TIME IN MEXICO opposite Johnny Depp; ORIGINAL SIN opposite Angelina Jolie; Alan Parker's EVITA opposite Madonna, in which he received his first Best Actor Golden Globe nomination; Martin Campbell's THE MASK OF ZORRO opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones, in which he received his second Best Actor Golden Globe nomination, and the sequel THE LEGEND OF ZORRO; Neil Jordan's INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt; Jonathan Demme's PHILADELPHIA opposite Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington; Bille August's HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS with Meryl Streep and Glenn Close; and Brian de Palma's FEMME FATALE. Other film credits include the TAKE THE LEAD, the SPY KIDS trilogy, MIAMI RHAPSODY, FOUR ROOMS, ASSASSINS, NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS, TWO MUCH, THE 13TH WARRIOR, PLAY IT TO THE BONE and BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER.
He was nominated for his third Best Actor Golden Globe for his performance as the infamous Pancho Villa in HBO's 2003 release of "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself." Born in Malaga, Spain, Banderas attended the School of Dramatic Arts in his hometown, and upon graduation he began his acting career working in a small theater company based there. He later moved to Madrid and became an ensemble member of the prestigious National Theater of Spain.
In 1982, Banderas was cast by writer/director Pedro Almodovar in LABYRINTH OF PASSION. It was the first of five films Banderas would do with Almodovar, the others being MATADOR, LAW OF DESIRE, WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN and TIE ME UP! TIE ME DOWN! The international success of these films introduced to him to Hollywood.
JOSH BROLIN (Roy) continues to emerge as a powerful, sought after film actor willing to take on challenging roles in both major studio productions as well as independents. Brolin was nominated for an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and received awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review for his portrayal of 'Dan White' in Gus Van Sant's acclaimed film MILK.
Brolin has four diverse films slated for release in 2010. This summer he stars as the title character in DC Comic's franchise JONAH HEX, opposite an eclectic cast including John Malkovich, Megan Fox, Michael Fassbender and Will Arnett. He portrays a scarred bounty hunter who tracks down a voodoo practitioner bent on liberating the South by raising an army of the undead. The Warner Bros. film is set to be released on June 18th.
In September, Brolin re-teams with Oliver Stone for the highly anticipated WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS opposite Shia LaBeouf and Michael Douglas. The film will be released by 20th Century Fox on September 24th.
Additionally, Brolin will co-star opposite Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon in the Coen Brothers remake of the classic film TRUE GRIT. In the film, Josh plays a ruthless killer, who is tracked down by a U.S. Marshall (Damon) and a Texas Ranger (Bridges) in Indian territory. The film will be released by Paramount on Christmas Day 2010.
This fall, Brolin will star opposite Will Smith for the third installment of the MEN IN BLACK franchise directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
In 2009, Brolin produced, along with Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Anthony Arnove, and Howard Zinn, a documentary entitled THE PEOPLE SPEAK, based on Zinn's influential 1980 book A People's History of the United States. The feature, which aired on the History Channel, looked at America's struggles with war, class, race, and women's rights and featured readings by Viggo Mortensen, Sean Penn, and David Strathairn, among others.
Brolin received rave reviews for his portrayal of George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's biopic W. In 2007, he earned a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of an ensemble for his work in Joel and Ethan Coen's NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, which also won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. Additionally, he starred in Ridley Scott's blockbuster AMERICAN GANGSTER and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of this ensemble.
In early 2008, Brolin made his film directing debut with a short entitled X, which he also wrote and produced. It premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival before screening at such festivals as South by Southwest and the AFI Dallas Film Festival. He also directed the behind-the-scenes documentary for the NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN DVD.
Brolin made his feature film debut starring in the action-comedy GOONIES, directed by Richard Donner for producer Steven Spielberg, and has since appeared in several successful films including Paul Verhoeven's blockbuster hit HOLLOW MAN, with Kevin Bacon, and Jim Stern's controversial film, ALL THE RAGE, which made its debut at the 1999 Toronto Film Festival, featuring an all-star cast including Gary Sinise, Joan Allen, Giovanni Ribisi, and Anna Paquin.
Brolin received recognition from critics and audiences in David O. Russell's FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, portraying a bisexual federal agent, torn between a love from the past and the reality of a current relationship. The film featured an outstanding ensemble cast including Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Tea Leoni, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin and Richard Jenkins. Additional film credits include PLANET TERROR, part of the critically acclaimed Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez double feature GRINDHOUSE alongside co-stars Rose McGowan and Freddy Rodriguez; IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH for director Paul Haggis; Victor Nunez's COASTLINES, which premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, opposite Timothy Olyphant; Scott Silver's MOD SQUAD, opposite Claire Danes; Ole Bornedal's psychological thriller NIGHTWATCH, with Nick Nolte, Patricia Arquette, and Ewan McGregor; BEST LAID PLANS opposite Reese Witherspoon and Alessandro Nivola, produced by Mike Newell; Guillermo Del Toro's science-fiction thriller MIMIC, opposite Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, and Charles Dutton; as well as John Stockwell's INTO THE BLUE, where Brolin starred opposite Jessica Alba.
Brolin made his mark in television as a series regular in the popular ABC series "The Young Riders," as well as "Private Eye" for NBC and "Winnetka Road" for CBS. Brolin also received critical praise in the TNT's epic miniseries "Into the West," opposite Beau Bridges, Gary Busey and Jessica Capshaw. In addition, Brolin starred in the title role of NBC's acclaimed political drama, "Mr. Sterling." The show followed the efforts of an idealistic young politician as he attempted to both learn and work within an often corrupt system. He also appeared in the CBS movie-of-the-week "Prison of Children," and in the Showtime original film "Gang in Blue," with Mario Van Peebles, J.T. Walsh and Stephen Lang. Brolin co-starred opposite Mary Steenburgen, Gretchen Mol and Bonnie Bedelia in CBS's television adaptation of William Inge's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "Picnic."
Brolin spent five years with Anthony Zerbe at the Reflections Festival at the GeVa Theatre in Rochester, New York. While there, he performed in and directed several of the festival's plays, including "Pitz and Joe," "Life in the Trees," "Forgiving Typhoid Mary," "Oh, The Innocents," "Peep Hole," "Ellen Universe Joins the Band," "Lincoln Park Zoo" and "Hard Hearts." Brolin also starred opposite Elias Koteas in the acclaimed Broadway production of Sam Shepard's "True West." In 2004, Brolin starred in the award-winning Off-Broadway play "The Exonerated," based on the true stories of a half-dozen former death row inmates.
Additional stage credits include "The Skin of Our Teeth," "The Crucible," and "A Streetcar Named Desire," at the Kennedy Memorial Theatre; "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Lebrero Theatre; and "Dark of the Moon" at the Ann Capa Ensemble Theatre.
ANTHONY HOPKINS (Alfie) received an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS in 1991 and was subsequently nominated in the same category for his performances in THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (1993) and NIXON (1995). He also won the Best Actor Award from the British Academy of Film & Television Arts for THE REMAINS OF THE DAY. In 1993, he starred in Attenborough's SHADOWLANDS with Debra Winger and won numerous critics awards in the U.S. and Britain including the BAFTA for Best Actor. In 1998, he was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in Steven Spielberg's AMISTAD.
Hopkins can next be seen in Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger opposite Josh Brolin and Naomi Watts, as well as in Joe Johnston's THE WOLFMAN. He is currently filming THOR at Marvel Studios, with Kenneth Branagh directing.
Other recent acting credits include FRACTURE, in which he stars opposite Ryan Gosling; ALL THE KING'S MEN, directed by Steven Zaillian and co-starring Sean Penn, Jude Law and Kate Winslet; THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN, written and directed by Roger Donaldson; PROOF, directed by John Madden and co-starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Gwyneth Paltrow; and Oliver Stone's ALEXANDER, in which he stars opposite Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie.
In 2001, Hopkins starred opposite Julianne Moore in Ridley Scott's HANNIBAL, the sequel to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. In the late 1990s, he starred opposite Brad Pitt in MEET JOE BLACK, directed by Martin Brest; in THE MASK OF ZORRO, directed by Martin Campbell and co-starring Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones; in INSTINCT, directed by Jon Turletaub; and opposite Jessica Lange in TITUS, Julie Taymor's film adaptation of Shakespeare's TITUS ANDRONICUS. He also narrated the 2000 holiday season hit DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS.
Hopkins also appeared in the feature adaptation of Stephen King's HEARTS IN ATLANTIS for director Scott Hicks; the action comedy BAD COMPANY, co-starring Chris Rock; the box-office hit prequel to SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, RED DRAGON, co-starring Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes and Emily Watkins; and in Miramax Films' adaptation of the Phillip Roth novel THE HUMAN STAIN opposite Nicole Kidman. Previous film credits include SURVIVING PICASSO, in which he played the title role opposite Julianne Moore; the David Mamet-penned THE EDGE; HOWARD'S END; BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA; and LEGENDS OF THE FALL. His early credits include THE ELEPHANT MAN, MAGIC, A BRIDGE TOO FAR, and THE BOUNTY. He received two Emmy Awards for "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case," in which he portrayed Bruno Hauptmann and "The Bunker," in which he portrayed Adolf Hitler.
Hopkins currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife Stella and is also a composer and a painter.
GEMMA JONES (Helena), one of Britain's most acclaimed actresses, is best known in the US for her roles as Bridget's mother in BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY, and BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON; Madam Poppy Pomfrey, the matron of the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts School, in HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS, HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, and upcoming, HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS; and as Mrs. Dashwood, mother to Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, in Ang Lee's SENSE AND SENSIBILITY.
After making her debut in Ken Russell's THE DEVILS, Jones' other notable film credits include PAPERHOUSE, FEAST OF JULY, WILDE, THE THEORY OF FLIGHT, THE WINSLOW BOY, CAPTAIN JACK, SHANGHAI NIGHTS, FRAGILE, GOOD, and FORGET ME NOT, which is set to premiere at the London Independent Film Festival.
The daughter of British actor Griffith Jones, Gemma (born Jennifer) Jones trained at RADA where she won the Gold Medal in 1962. Shortly after graduating, she appeared in "The Cavern," for which she won a Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress of the Year, and she has primarily concentrated on her stage and television career until recently. Among her many notable performances include "Baal" (Johanna), "The Merchant of Venice" (Portia) "Saint Joan," "Hamlet" (Ophelia), "A Streetcar Named Desire" (Blanche Du Bois), "Cabaret" (Sally Bowles), "Macbeth" (Lady Macbeth), "King Lear" (Goneril), "The Master Builder" (Aline Solness) "Tolstoy" (Sonya Tolstoy), "The Glass Menagerie" (Amanda), "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" (Big Mama), and recently, roles in "Everything is Illuminated," "On Religion," and "Family Reunion" at the Donmar Warehouse.
Jones toured throughout the world in the early 1970s with Peter Brook's famed production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and appeared in the US with the National Theatre's 1994 production of "The Winter's Tale."
She is fondly remembered in this country for her starring role as the lower-class cook turned upper-crust hotelier in two series of the BBC's "The Duchess of Duke Street," for which she won her third BAFTA nomination. She had received her first BAFTA nomination for "Play for Today: The Lie" (written by Ingmar Bergman) and "The Spoils of Poynton," and her second for "BBC Play of the Month: The Cherry Orchard" and "Play for Today: The Man in the Sidecar."
Her other television work includes "Jane Eyre," "The Borrowers," the BAFTA-award winning "Longitude," "Trial & Retribution," "Spooks" (aka "MI-5"), and "Ballet Shoes." FREIDA PINTO (Dia) traversed the modeling circuit in Mumbai for two years before gaining her big break when director Danny Boyle picked her out in the audition process to play the female lead, Latika, for his project SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (2008). In a promo interview, Boyle likened spotting her to his discovery of Kelly Macdonald for TRAINSPOTTING. Between 2006-07, she anchored 'Full Circle', a travel show which was telecast on Zee International Asia Pacific. She went on assignments to Afghanistan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Fiji among other countries. After SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE's success, she went on to star as the title role in Julian Schnabel's upcoming film MIRAL (2010), followed by YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER. She is currently filming IMMORTALS, directed by Tarsem.
With four projects in the works, 2010 will prove to be a break-out year for LUCY PUNCH (Charmaine). First up, Lucy stars alongside Steve Carell and Paul Rudd in Paramount Pictures' DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS set for release July 23, 2010, followed by the fall release of YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, and the dramedy EARTHBOUND alongside Kate Hudson, Kathy Bates, and Gael Garcia Bernal, which she is currently filming. In March 2010, she will begin work on Columbia Picture's BAD TEACHER, alongside Cameron Diaz for director Jake Kasdan.
Lucy began her feature film career working opposite Geoffrey Rush in 2004's THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS. This was followed by the family fantasy, ELLA ENCHANTED, with Anne Hathaway. In 2006, Lucy was chosen as the British Shooting Star by the Berlin Film Festival for her work in BEING JULIA opposite Annette Bening and Jeremy Irons. She has also appeared in ST. TRINIANS and Edgar Wright's British action comedy HOT FUZZ. Most recently, Lucy worked with Topher Grace and Anna Faris in Universal Pictures' YOUNG AMERICANS and starred in the musical dramedy, UNTITLED alongside Adam Goldberg and Marley Shelton.
Lucy has also appeared in numerous television series in the UK such as, "Days Like These," "Doc Martin, and "Let Them Eat Cake." She made her West End debut as Elaine Robinson in "The Graduate," directed by Terry Johnson. In 2007, Lucy returned to TV in the CBS comedy, "The Class," alongside Lizzy Caplan, Jason Ritter and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. She also worked on the HBO TV Movie "1%" alongside Donal Logue and Kim Dickens. In October of 2010 she will star in the three part mini-series "Vexed" for BBC opposite Toby Stevens.
Lucy was born and raised in London, England. She divides her time between London and Los Angeles.
NAOMI WATTS (Sally) is an accomplished actress, consistently receiving rave reviews and accolades for her many performances. In 2004, she was honored with an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role in Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu's 21 GRAMS. Her performance in the film, in which she starred alongside Sean Penn and Benicio Del Toro, also garnered Best Actress Awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Southeastern Film Critics Association, Washington Area Film Critics and San Diego Film Critics, as well as Best Actress nominations from the SAG Awards, BAFTAs, Broadcast Film Critics and Golden Satellites. At the film's premiere at the 2003 Venice International Film Festival, she received the Audience Award (Lion of the Public) for Best Actress.
Watts most recently starred in Tom Twyker's THE INTERNATIONAL opposite Clive Owen. She was also seen in David Cronenberg's drama/thriller EASTERN PROMISES opposite Viggo Mortensen and Michael Haneke's thriller FUNNY GAMES. In addition to YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, she recently completed production on Doug Liman's FAIR GAME starring alongside Sean Penn. as well as Woody Allen's where she is part of an all-star cast including Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin and Anthony Hopkins. She will next be seen in Rodrigo Garcia's MOTHER AND CHILD starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Annette Bening.
Watts has had an impressive list of movies since her acclaimed debut in David Lynch's controversial drama MULHOLLAND DRIVE, in which she earned Best Actress Awards from a number of critics' organizations, including the National Board of Review and National Society of Film Critics. In addition to starring as 'Ann Darrow' in Peter Jackson's epic remake of KING KONG; her credits include WE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, in which she starred and produced; THE ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON opposite Sean Penn and Don Cheadle; David O. Russell's I (HEART) HUCKABEE'S with Jude Law and Dustin Hoffman; Marc Forster's STAY opposite Ewan McGregor and Ryan Gosling; Gore Verbinski's THE RING and the sequel THE RING 2; Merchant-Ivory's LE DIVORCE, alongside Kate Hudson, Glenn Close and Stockard Channing; and John Curran's THE PAINTED VEIL opposite Edward Norton, which was based on W. Somerset Maugham's novel.
Born in England, Watts moved to Australia at the age of 14 and began studying acting. Her first major film role came in John Duigan's FLIRTING. She produced and starred in the short film ELLIE PARKER, which screened in competition at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. In 2005, a full-length feature of the short debuted at Sundance.
Among her many awards and recognitions, Watts received the Montecito Award from the Santa Barbara Film Festival in 2006 for her role in King Kong; was honored by the Palm Springs Film Festival in 2003 for 21 GRAMS; and in 2002, she was named the Female Star of Tomorrow at ShoWest and received the Breakthrough Acting Award at the Hollywood Film Festival, both for MULHOLLAND DRIVE. Watts currently resides in Los Angeles and New York.
What's New Pussycat? (1965) - screenwriter, actor
What's Up, Tiger Lily? (1966) - co-screenwriter, actor
Casino Royale (1967) - actor
Take the Money and Run (1969) - director, co-screenwriter, actor
Don't Drink the Water (1969) - co-screenwriter
Bananas (1971) - director, co-screenwriter, actor
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask (1972) - director, screenwriter, actor
Play It Again, Sam (1972) - screenwriter, actor
Sleeper (1973) - director, co-screenwriter, actor
Love and Death (1975) - director, screenwriter, actor
The Front (1976) - actor
Annie Hall (1977) - director, co-screenwriter, actor, Academy Award nominee (& winner): Best Director, Academy Award nominee (& winner): Best Original Screenplay, Academy Award nominee: Best Actor
Interiors (1978) - director, screenwriter, Academy Award nominee: Best Director, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Manhattan (1979) - director, co-screenwriter, actor, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Stardust Memories (1980) - director, screenwriter, actor
A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy (1982) - director, screenwriter, actor
Zelig (1983) - director, screenwriter, actor
Broadway Danny Rose (1984) - director, screenwriter, actor, Academy Award nominee: Best Director, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) - director, screenwriter, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) - director, screenwriter, actor, Academy Award nominee: Best Director, Academy Award nominee (& winner): Best Original Screenplay
Radio Days (1987) - director, screenwriter, narrator, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
September (1987) - director, screenwriter
Another Woman (1988) - director, screenwriter
New York Stories ('Oedipus Wrecks') (1989) - director, screenwriter, actor
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) - director, screenwriter, actor Academy Award nominee: Best Director, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Alice (1990) - director, screenwriter, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Scenes from a Mall (1991) - actor
Shadows and Fog (1992) - director, screenwriter, actor
Husbands and Wives (1992) - director, screenwriter, actor, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) - director, co-screenwriter, actor
Bullets Over Broadway (1994) - director, co-screenwriter, Academy Award nominee: Best Director, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Don't Drink the Water (made-for-television movie) (1994) - director, screenwriter, actor
Mighty Aphrodite (1995) - director, screenwriter, actor, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Everyone Says I Love You (1996) - director, screenwriter, actor
Deconstructing Harry (1997) - director, screenwriter, actor, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
The Sunshine Boys (made-for-television movie) (1997) - actor
Antz (1998) - actor (voice)
The Impostors (1998) - actor (cameo)
Celebrity (1998) - director, screenwriter
Sweet and Lowdown (1999) - director, screenwriter, on-camera interviewee
Small Time Crooks (2000) - director, screenwriter, actor
Picking Up the Pieces (2000) - actor
Company Man (2001) - actor (cameo)
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001) - director, screenwriter, actor
Sounds from a Town I Love (short) (2001) - director/screenwriter
Hollywood Ending (2002) - director, screenwriter, actor
Anything Else (2003) - director, screenwriter, actor
Melinda and Melinda (2004) - director, screenwriter
Match Point (2005) - director, screenwriter, Academy Award nominee: Best Original Screenplay
Scoop (2006) - director, screenwriter, actor
Cassandra's Dream (2007) - director, screenwriter
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) - director, screenwriter
Whatever Works (2009) - director, screenwriter
Academy Awards summary
Nominated six times for Best Director; won for Annie Hall
Nominated fourteen times for Best Original Screenplay; won for Annie Hall and Hannah and Her Sisters
Nominated one time for Best Actor
Two films nominated for Best Picture; won for Annie Hall
LETTY ARONSON (Producer) previously produced Woody Allen's WHATEVER WORKS, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, CASSANDRA'S DREAM, SCOOP, MATCH POINT, MELINDA AND MELINDA, HOLLYWOOD ENDING, and THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION.
Her extensive film, television, and stage experience includes numerous other collaborations with Mr. Allen. She co-executive-produced such films as DON'T DRINK THE WATER, which marked Mr. Allen's first foray into television moviemaking; BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, which garnered seven Academy Award nominations, winning for Best Supporting Actress (Dianne Wiest); MIGHTY APHRODITE, for which Mira Sorvino was awarded the Best Supporting Actress Oscar; and SWEET AND LOWDOWN, for which Sean Penn and Samantha Morton both earned Oscar nominations. Her other credits as a co-executive producer include Mr. Allen's highly acclaimed musical comedy EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU; and his CELEBRITY, DECONSTRUCTING HARRY and SMALL TIME CROOKS.
In addition, Aronson co-executive-produced THE SPANISH PRISONER, written for the screen and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and critically acclaimed filmmaker David Mamet. Critics universally praised the film when it was released in 1998. She also co-executive-produced INTO MY HEART, which was written and directed by two newcomers, Sean Smith and Anthony Stark; and Coky Giedroyc's WOMEN TALKING DIRTY, starring Helena Bonham Carter, which marked Ms. Aronson's first European co-production with Elton John's Rocket Pictures.
Her credits also include "Dinah Was," the off-Broadway musical about blues legend Dinah Washington; THE STORY OF A BAD BOY, written and directed by acclaimed playwright Tom Donaghy; JUST LOOKING, a heartwarming coming-of-age film directed by Jason Alexander; and the comedy SUNBURN, directed by Nelson Hume, which screened at the Galway Film Festival and the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival.
Aronson's television work includes SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and THE ROBERT KLEIN COMEDY HOUR, both for NBC. In the world of theatre, she served as associate producer of "Death Defying Acts," an off-Broadway comedy consisting of three one-act plays written by Elaine May, Woody Allen, and David Mamet. She had earlier served as Vice President of the Museum of Television and Radio for ten years.
STEPHEN TENENBAUM (Producer), winner of the Golden Globe for Best Picture in 2008 for VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, previously produced Woody Allen's WHATEVER WORKS and CASSANDRAS'S DREAM. He served as executive producer on SCOOP, MATCH POINT, MELINDA AND MELINDA, ANYTHING ELSE, HOLLYWOOD ENDING, and THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, the last of which marked his first onscreen producing credit.
Tenenbaum graduated with a B.S. from New York University, where he majored in Accounting. He began his show business career in the financial arena, handling such noteworthy clients as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, Percy Faith, the Platters, Nat King Cole, Mario Lanza, Gilda Radner, Robin Williams, and many others.
Tenenbaum later decided to venture into the field of motion picture and television production, as well as personal management. He is currently a partner in Morra, Brezner, Steinberg & Tenenbaum Entertainment, Inc. (MBST), where his client roster includes Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, and Alain Boublil (the creator of "Les Misérables" and "Miss Saigon"). MBST has also been involved in the production of feature films, including Barry Levinson's GOOD MORNING VIETNAM; Steve Gordon's ARTHUR; Danny DeVito's THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN; and Bill Paxton's THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED, to name only a few.
JAUME ROURES (Producer) is a founding partner of MEDIAPRO-IMAGINA, a leading group in the creation and production of integrated audiovisual content and one of the three biggest audiovisual producers in Europe.
He has produced more than 20 feature-length films, both independently and in co-production with prestigious names such as Elías Querejeta and Pedro Almodóvar. Social awareness and the defense of values, such as tolerance and solidarity, are recurring themes in his films: MONDAYS IN THE SUN, LA ESPALDA DEL MUNDO, ASESINATO EN FEBRERO, SALVADOR (PUIG ANTICH), etc. His films, distributed all round the world, have earned both critical and audience recognition, winning a host of awards at some of the world's most emblematic international festivals including the Cannes International Film Festival, The Berlinale, and the Sundance Film Festival.
His filmography includes both works by debut directors as well as internationally renowned filmmakers such as Oliver Stone (COMANDANTE), Patricio Guzmán (SALVADOR ALLENDE) and Jean-Jacques Annaud (SA MAJESTÉ MINOR).
Jaume Roures co-produced the internationally acclaimed and awarded VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, and more recently YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER. MEDIAPRO will also be involved in the production of the Woody Allen's next two films.
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER is the 18th film that HELEN ROBIN (Co-Producer) has co-produced for Woody Allen, the most recent being WHATEVER WORKS. She began her film career as a production assistant on Allen's STARDUST MEMORIES. Over the course of his next 18 films, she worked her way up from an office production assistant, production coordinator, and production manager to, eventually, line producer. Robin co-produced ALICE, SHADOWS AND FOG, HUSBANDS AND WIVES, MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, MIGHTY APHRODITE and EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU.
Following the last, she left Allen's production company to take some time off and do freelance film work. During that period, she worked as an associate producer on Allan Arkush's highly-rated television miniseries THE TEMPTATIONS for Hallmark Entertainment and NBC.
After a three-year hiatus, Robin returned to work with Woody Allen on his comedy SMALL TIME CROOKS, which she co-produced. She has since served as a co-producer on all of his films, including SCOOP, MELINDA AND MELINDA, ANYTHING ELSE, HOLLYWOOD ENDING, THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, MATCH POINT, CASSANDRA'S DREAM and VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA.
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER marks NICKY KENTISH BARNES' (Co-Producer) fourth collaboration with Woody Allen as the UK Producer. It began in 2004 with MATCHPOINT, with Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, followed by SCOOP with Johansson, Hugh Jackman, and Allen, and then CASSANDRA'S DREAM, with Colin Farrell and Ewan Macgregor. Between working with Woody Allen she has produced other films namely HIPPE HIPPIE SHAKE in 2007 for Working Title which follows the story of the OZ trial and THE GOODNIGHT, written and directed by Jake Paltrow.
Other producing credits include TRAUMA, a psychological chiller, directed by Marc Evans and starring Colin Firth. ABOUT A BOY, from Nick Hornby's novel, directed by Paul and Chris Weitz, starring Hugh Grant, Toni Collette and Rachel Weiz, for Tribeca Productions/Working Title. HIGH HEELS AND LOW LIFES, directed by Mel Smith, starring Minnie Driver and Mary McCormack for Disney. John Henderson's LOCH NESS, starring Ted Danson and Joely Richardson for Working Title.
Co producing credits include Paul McGuigan's GANGSTER NO 1, starring Paul Bettany and Malcolm Mcdowell: Oliver Parker's AN IDEAL HUSBAND starring Rupert Everett, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore and Minnie Driver, and for Working Title, Mark Joffe's THE MATCHMAKER.
She began her career in films in 1984 with Merchant Ivory Productions, as assistant to Ismail Merchant on A ROOM WITH A VIEW directed by James Ivory, and then MAURICE, also directed by Ivory. She then began line producing. Her credits include Nic Roeg's HEART OF DARKNESS, THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES SERIES III for George Lucas and THE YOUNG AMERICANS, for Working Title, starring Harvey Keitel and Thandie Newton.
In 2002 she set up Pelican Flicks which currently has four films in development which include, MY WAR GONE BY, I MISS IT SO, being adapted by the author Anthony Loyd, and THE FIRE PEOPLE, to be directed by Marc Evans.
JAVIER MÉNDEZ (Executive Producer) comes from a family well versed in the entertainment industry. His father was a film producer for more than 50 years and his brothers are also in the business. Javier Méndez began his career as an acquisition executive in Sogecable, the main Pay TV operator in Spain. After this he went to Antena 3 TV, one of the biggest free television stations in Spain, as Head of Acquisitions, Sales and Materials. During those days, Antena 3 was able to get the leadership among the private television stations.
When he left Antena 3, he had the opportunity to start working on the production side. At that time MEDIAPRO was creating their Film Production Division. After almost 8 years with the company, MEDIAPRO has already produced 30 films. They always work with the best filmmakers, either internationally, such as Oliver Stone (COMANDANTE) or Jean Jacques Annaud, or locally, such as Fernando León de Aranoa (MONDAYS IN THE SUN, PRINCESAS, the upcoming AMADOR), Isabel Coixet (THE SECRET LIFE OF WORDS, MAP OF THE SOUNDS OF TOKYO – Cannes 2009 Official Selection in Competition) and Javier Fesser (CAMINO). He has served as either Executive Producer or Associate Producer on all of these films.
MEDIAPRO has earned the Best Film Spanish Award (Goya) twice as well as over 50 nominations. MEDIAPRO has attended the most important festivals around the world including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, Toronto, and Sundance.
MERCEDES GAMERO (Associate Producer) has devoted her entire professional career to television and audiovisual media, notably at Sogecable (Spain's leading cable channel), AXN Channel (Pay TV/Cable/Satellite), and Telemadrid (Madrid's Public TV station). She joined Antena 3 TV in 2004 as Director of Acquisitions and became General Manager of Antena 3 Films in 2009. Since then she has been involved in the production of such films as PAJAROS DE PAPEL (aka PAPER BIRDS), QUE SE MUERAN LOS FEOS, LOPE, LOS OJOS DE JULIA, 3 METROS SOBRE EL CIELO, INTRUSOS, and RETRASADO. She has also worked on the TV movies UN BURKA POR AMOR, LA PIEL AZUL, EL GORDO, NO SOY COMO TU, SOFIA, LAS MARAS, LA PRINCESA DE EBOLI, and RAPHAEL. Gamero also produced BRAIN DRAIN and ROAD TO SANTIAGO, executive produced PLANET 51, and served as associate producer on SOUTH FROM GRANADA, BOX 57, YOU SHOULDN'T BE HERE, and DON'T TEMPT ME, which featured YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER star Gemma Jones.
VILMOS ZSIGMOND ASC (Director of Photography) was born and raised in Szeged, Hungary, a small town whose main industry was a rope factory. He was barely in his teens when World War II ended, and the Russian government and army established a communist regime which cut off all contact with the Western world. Zsigmond developed a keen interest in still photography when he was 17 years old while reading "The Art of Light," a book filled with photographs taken by Eugene Dulovits. Communist authorities initially denied him the privilege of continuing his education, because his parents were bourgeois. Instead, Zsigmond was put to work in the rope factory. He saved money to purchase a camera and became a self-taught still photographer. Zsigmond organized a camera club at the factory where he taught his fellow workers how to take pictures. He was rewarded by being allowed to study cinematography at the Academy for Theater and Film Art in Budapest. The idea was that he would come back to the factory and teach his fellows how to make home movies. On October 23, 1956, shortly after Zsigmond graduated from the Academy, there was a spontaneous public uprising against the communist regime. Zsigmond and Laszlo Kovacs, ASC, who was still a student, borrowed a motion picture camera and recorded thousands of feet of 35mm black-and-white film documenting the slaughter of brave civilians fighting Russian tanks and soldiers on the streets of Budapest. After the rebellion was crushed, Zsigmond and Kovacs carried the film out of the country during a perilous journey across the border into Austria. They wanted the world to see what happened. Zsigmond and Kovacs migrated to the United States as political refugees with a dream of becoming Hollywood cinematographers in February, 1957. They didn't speak a word of English, and had no connections in the film industry. Zsigmond supported himself by working at odd jobs and spending weekends and evenings shooting 16 mm educational and student films. He found a niche in the TV commercial industry, and also began shooting low-budget features aimed at drive-in theaters during the mid-late 1960s. In 1971, Robert Altman asked Zsigmond to shoot McCabe & Mrs. Miller. That was his entry into mainstream Hollywood.
Zsigmond has compiled some 80 narrative film credits during his storied career. He received The British Academy Award (BAFTA) for THE DEER HUNTER, and the American Academy Award for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and has had many nominations both in the United States and internationally for the his body of work. When he earned the Oscar® for innovative cinematography on CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND in 1977, he dedicated that award to his mentors at the film school in Hungary during a memorable acceptance speech that was seen on television by millions of people around the world. There were other Academy Award nominations for THE DEER HUNTER in 1978, THE RIVER in 1984 and THE BLACK DAHLIA in 2006. Zsigmond also won an Emmy Award for the television film Stalin in 1992 and another nomination for THE MISTS OF AVALON in 2001.
In 2005, Zsigmond and Kovacs were among the first four recipients of The Legends Award from the Hungarian Society of Cinematographers. The award is a tribute to cinematographers whose lives and film are an inspiration to other filmmakers around the world. Zsigmond just recently returned from his alma mater in Budapest where he mentored film students in a master class. He and Kovacs helped to create the concept for the semi-annual summer master class in 1994. Zsigmond is and has been a regular participant in master classes all over the world.
Zsigmond is now completing shooting on BOLDEN to be released with LOUIS, a pair of films he has photographed for director Dan Pritzker that are a cinematic tribute to a pioneer of the early history of American jazz in BOLDEN and his subsequent influence on the great Louis Armstrong in the silent movie LOUIS.
There have been many other tributes, including Lifetime Achievement Awards from the CamerImage International Festival of the Art of Cinematography in 1997 and the American Society of Cinematographers in 1999. His body of work includes many other now classic films, including Blow OUT, DELIVERANCE, THE LONG GOODBYE, THE SUGARLAND EXPRESS, CINDERELLA LIBERTY, THE ROSE, HEAVEN'S GATE, THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK, SLIVER, and two previous films with Woody Allen; MELIND AND MELINDA and CASSANDRA'S DREAM.
JIM CLAY's (Production Designer) diverse career ranges from the fanciful design of the BBC classic "The Singing Detective" to the starkly realistic dystopian world of Alfonso Cuaròn's CHILDREN OF MEN. Clay was nominated for a BAFTA for the former, and won a BAFTA, and an Art Directors Guild nomination for the latter. Some of the more notable credits for Clay, who previously teamed with Woody Allen on MATCH POINT, include Richard Curtis' LOVE ACTUALLY, Chris and Paul Weitz's ABOUT A BOY, Atom Egoyan's FELICIA'S JOURNEY, Neil Jordan's THE CRYING GAME, and with "Singing Detective" director Jon Amiel, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE, COPYCAT, AUNT JULIA & THE SCRIPTWRITER, TUNE IN TOMORROW… and QUEEN OF HEARTS.
Clay's other film credits include THE BROTHERS BLOOM, THE DECAMERON, STAGE BEAUTY, CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN, THE TRENCH, ONEGIN, CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, WAR OF THE BUTTONS, and A KISS BEFORE DYING. He won another BAFTA Award for the BBC's "Christabel." Upcoming films for Clay are SHANGHAI, and THE DEBT.
ALISA LEPSELTER (Editor) marks her twelfth collaboration with Woody Allen with YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER. She first teamed with him on the critically acclaimed feature SWEET AND LOWDOWN, and has since edited SMALL TIME CROOKS, THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, HOLLYWOOD ENDING, ANYTHING ELSE, MELINDA AND MELINDA, MATCH POINT, SCOOP, CASSANDRA'S DREAM, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA (for which she was nominated for an ACE award) and WHATEVER WORKS. Lepselter began her editing career as an intern on Jonathan Demme's SOMETHING WILD. She has also worked with other acclaimed filmmakers such as Nicole Holofcener, Nora Ephron, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorsese.
BEATRIX ARUNA PASZTOR (Costume Designer) was born in Budapest and brings her evocative, European style to every film she works on. She has a brilliant understanding of character, and her stunning creative talent has allowed her to collaborate with such interesting, and innovative directors as Gus Van Sant, Jane Campion, Curtis Hanson, Oliver Stone, Joel Schumacher, Terry Gilliam and most recently Woody Allen.
Over the years Beatrix has bought her iconic designs to the screen on many feature films, including DRUGSTORE COWBOY, TO DIE FOR, GOOD WILL HUNTING, ALFIE, VANITY FAIR, IN THE CUT, WONDER BOYS, U TURN, SHE'S SO LOVELY, INDECENT PROPOSAL, THE FISHER KING, and AEON FLUX.
In addition to YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, her most recent credit is IRONCLAD, a medieval action film directed by Jonathan English.
JULIET TAYLOR (Casting Director) has worked with some of the leading directors of our time, including Mike Nichols, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen, Louis Malle, Martin Scorsese, Alan Parker, James L. Brooks, John Schlesinger, Stephen Frears, Nora Ephron, Neil Jordan and Sydney Pollack. She has cast more than 80 films, with more than 30 of them for Woody Allen.
Among her credits are: SCHINDLER'S LIST, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, DANGEROUS LIAISONS, BIG, THE GRIFTERS, MISSISSIPPI BURNING, THE KILLING FIELDS, WORKING GIRL, JULIA, TAXI DRIVER, NETWORK, PRETTY BABY and THE EXCORCIST. She won an Emmy Award for casting on the HBO Miniseries ANGELS IN AMERICA. Her work with Woody Allen dates back to LOVE AND DEATH in 1975 and includes most recently MATCH POINT, CASSANDRA'S DREAM, SCOOP, VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, and WHATEVER WORKS.
Juliet Taylor graduated from Smith College in 1967, and joined the staff of David Merrick, remaining there until the spring of 1968. At that time, she went to work as a secretary to Marion Dougherty who was opening a motion picture casting office in New York. In 1973, when Marion Dougherty left casting to produce films, Taylor ran Marion Dougherty Associates until 1977, when she became Director of East Coast Casting for Paramount Pictures. She left that position in 1978 to cast motion pictures independently.
Prior to YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, PATRICIA DiCERTO (Casting Director) served as casting director on Woody Allen's VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, CASSANDRA'S DREAM, MATCH POINT, and SCOOP. She's also cast such independent features as JOSHUA, starring Sam Rockwell and Vera Farmiga; FLANNEL PAJAMAS, starring Julianne Nicholson and Justin Kirk; EULOGY, starring Ray Romano and Debra Winger; MARIE AND BRUCE, starring Julianne Moore and Matthew Broderick; and most recently ONCE MORE WITH FEELING, starring Chazz Palminteri, Drea DeMatteo and Linda Fiorentino.
In addition, DiCerto has worked alongside a number of the industry's top casting directors, including her longtime association with Juliet Taylor. As a casting associate, DiCerto has been involved in the casting of ten Woody Allen films, and has had the opportunity to work with directors such as James L. Brooks, Sydney Pollack, Mike Nichols, Alan Parker, Nora Ephron, and more recently with David Frankel and Martin Scorsese, among others.
GAIL STEVENS CDG (Casting Director) began her career at the Royal Court as Casting Director from 1981 to 1984 before setting up Gail Stevens Casting. Since then she has worked on numerous critically acclaimed and commercially successful films and television programmes including Slumdog Millionaire, THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA (1&2), MATCH POINT, CALENDAR GIRLS, DEFIANCE, TRAINSPOTTING, 28 DAYS LATER, OUR FRIENDS IN THE NORTH and the first two series of Spooks. Last year, in addition to casting YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, Gail cast David Gordon Green's follow up to PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, the medieval comedy YOUR HIGHNESS. More recent work includes Andrew Stanton's JOHN CARTER OF MARS and she is currently casting Andrea Arnold's film version of WUTHERING HEIGHTS.
One night, Alfie (Anthony Hopkins) wakes up with a sudden wave of panic over thoughts of mortality. Abandoning Helena (Gemma Jones), his wife of forty years, Alfie sets out to relive the pleasures of his youth. Devastated, Helena tries to kill herself, and then, finding no consolation from medicine and therapy, seeks out the help of a fortune teller, Cristal (Pauline Collins). Before long, Helena finds the tranquility she seeks by surrendering all her thoughts and actions to Cristal's guidance. Helena's daughter Sally (Naomi Watts) encourages her mother's pacifying visits to the charlatan fortune teller, as she is weary of dealing with her mother's trauma, and has marital problems of her own. Her novelist husband Roy (Josh Brolin) is unable to hold a paying job and the couple live off of Helena's support and Sally's earnings as an assistant to a prominent gallery owner, Greg Clemente (Antonio Banderas). Years ago, Roy produced an acclaimed first novel, but his subsequent books haven't lived up to his initial promise. Roy's fears that he may be a flash in the pan make him hard to live with and they clash over Sally's desire to have a child.
Years pass, and as Roy struggles to complete his latest novel, he becomes obsessed with a mysterious young woman in a red dress, who plays her guitar from a nearby window. Just as he is completing his book, a friend, Henry Strangler (Ewen Bremner), gives him the manuscript of his first novel. Roy recognizes that Strangler possesses the literary talent that has always eluded him. Cristal tells Helena that she will be finding new love with a handsome stranger. Roy, annoyed by Helena's frequent visits, tells her that the dark stranger she will meet is the one everyone eventually meets. Sally accompanies Greg to a jewelry store to help him choose earrings for his wife, a task Sally does and envies Greg's wife, the life she leads with Greg. While Alfie's pursuit of a second youth proved to be more challenging than he had hoped, one day he announces to Sally and Roy that he has found a woman, fallen in love, and is going to marry her. When Sally and Roy meet Alfie's fiancée, Charmaine (Lucy Punch), they discover her to be decades younger, very attractive, and utterly frivolous. Alfie fails to mention that he met Charmaine when he was paying for her services as a call girl.
To keep Helena occupied, Alfie had previously gotten her a job as a personal shopper for Enid (Celia Imrie) and Peter Wicklow (Jim Piddock). While at the Wicklow home, she meets Peter's uncle Jonathan (Roger Ashton-Griffiths), a recent a widower who runs an occult bookshop.
While not exactly handsome or tall, Jonathan is at least a stranger, and Helena starts keeping company with him.
As Roy anxiously awaits a response to his manuscript from his editor, Malcolm Dodds (Alex Macqueen), he invites the woman in the window for lunch. Seeing the woman, whose name is Dia (Freida Pinto), at close quarters for the first time, he discovers that she is both breathtakingly beautiful and soon to marry. Roy flirts brazenly with Dia, and she doesn't discourage him. Sally takes Greg to visit the gallery of a painter friend that she believes in as an artist, Iris (Anna Friel). Greg is impressed with her work and agrees to represent her. Greg has opera tickets for the evening, and as his wife can't go, he invites Sally to come with him. Afterwards, as Greg drops Sally off, he thanks her for coming with him, listening to his marital woes, and for all the help she gives him at the office. It's clear that Sally is developing a crush on her boss, but his interest in her is hard to gauge.
The passing days bring about impending troubles and disappointments: Alfie is increasingly aware he can't afford the luxuries he is showering on Charmaine: Sally is disheartened to find out that Greg is having an affair with Iris; and worst of all, Roy's book is rejected and he sees his world collapsing. Roy can't imagine living without writing, and he knows that without success he will never be able to support a life with Dia.
Just as Roy seems to have no way out, he hears that that two of his friends have been in an accident—Mike is in a coma and Strangler is dead. Certain that Strangler hasn't shown his book to anyone else, Roy breaks into Strangler's apartment and steals his manuscript.
Won over by Roy's persistent courtship, Dia cancels her marriage shortly before the ceremony, creating uproar in her family and her fiancé Alan's (Neil Jackson) family. With Dia now free and with the acclaim for Strangler's manuscript, Roy gets both the woman of his dreams and the literary success he had always yearned for.
Helena and Jonathan are getting more serious but as he believes in the afterlife, the two of them attempt to secure his dead wife's permission to marry at a séance. Now that Sally has the emotional burden of Roy out of her life, she decides to start up her own gallery with her friend Jane (Fenella Woolgar), and Helena agrees to bankroll her. As she'll no longer be Greg's employee, Sally feels the time is right for her to make her romantic feelings known to him. Finally, after discovering that Charmaine has been cheating, Alfie finally comprehends the calamity his behavior has brought for Helena and for himself, and decides to do something about it.
Just as the characters seem to be drawing towards resolutions of their problems, they learn there are no easy ways out. In fact, amid all their disappointments, it may only have been their fantasies that have kept them going. Through the stories of the characters in "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger" Woody Allen explores the human need to elude life's adversities by nurturing illusions.
A fortune teller and her predictions figure prominently in the story of YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, and so the title has an obvious literal meaning. But it also has a darker connotation, as Josh Brolin's character spells out: "You will meet the same tall, dark stranger that we all eventually meet," in other words, the grim reaper. It is the attempt to evade the inevitable that sets the story into motion, when Alfie Shepridge (Anthony Hopkins) wakes up in the middle of the night, realizes he only has a few years left. "Alfie starts to get antsy," says writer/director Woody Allen, "and wants to start eating health foods, and doesn't want to hear from his wife that he's not a young man anymore. He doesn't want to face up to that, so he gets rid of his wife, Helena (Gemma Jones), and embarks on a different life, catapulting everyone into different states of chaos." Taking on the accoutrements of youth—a sports car, a health club membership, a flashy bachelor pad—Alfie convinces himself he can regain the bloom of his life by sheer willpower. "I think there is something about the male ego that blinds Alfie," says Hopkins. "He literally goes out of his mind."
Shattered after being abandoned byAlfie, Helena (Gemma Jones) grasps at straws. After a failed suicide attempt, she tries medicine and analysis to calm her spirits, but finds no relief until she latches onto the unlikely solution of visiting a fortune teller, Cristal (Pauline Collins). Hearing Cristal's cheerful predictions of her future, especially involving romance, brightens her spirits almost immediately. "Helena is an innocent," says Jones, "she always is optimistic and she still believes there is love out there. She could have picked the other way and become really unhappy, but somehow she travels through it and comes out the other side." Because she is able to delude herself, she survives.
Alfie and Helena's daughter, Sally (Naomi Watts), is also feeling strains in her marriage. Having married her novelist husband Roy (Josh Brolin) when he was at a high point after publishing a promising first novel, his subsequent inability to live up to his promise has rendered him irritable and unable to hold a job. Tired of subsidizing his artistic ambitions with her mother's money and her salary as the assistant to art gallery owner Greg Clemente (Antonio Banderas), Sally is anxious for the two on them to get on with their lives. "Sally's reached an age where she's hellbent on having a baby and can't get Roy on the same track as her," says Watts. "So she becomes fixated on it as women in their late thirties do. She wants to make it work with Roy, but as she can't get him on board, she starts seeking the attention of someone else."
As Roy turns out one failed book after another, it eats into his confidence. "Roy doesn't have sufficient talent to get beyond that first novel," says Allen. "At first he didn't mind trying, but it's starting to occur to him that maybe he's a one book phenomenon, a flash in the pan, and this is a very unpleasant thought." Weighted down by his anxiety, Roy procrastinates, laboring for seven years on his latest manuscript. "I don't think Roy needs to be a writer so much as to be a success, which is a very different thing," says Brolin. "For him it's not about what interests him or inspires him, it's just that he wants to be perceived as brilliant, needs to be perceived as brilliant, because the perception he has of himself is very, very low at this point in his life."
Sally encourages her mother's visits to Cristal, even though she knows the fortune teller is a fraud, and is making Helena increasingly delusional. As an only child whose mother has tried to kill herself, Sally needs to take care of her mother, and it is a very heavy burden. "She's thinks, what the hell, nothing else has worked and this guru is keeping her calm, keeping her from being suicidal," says Allen. "She doesn't want to upset the apple cart and have her mother take sleeping pills again or be distraught all the time." Jones thinks that Helena's personality made her especially susceptible to Cristal's chicanery: "I think she is a bit flakey. I think we all get a bit nuts as we get older, or our characteristics become eccentricities. Helena probably was a flighty girl and hasn't really grown up in some senses." Helena grew up religious but it failed her.
Taking his own side-trip from reality, Alfie falls head over heels for Charmaine (Lucy Punch), a capricious call girl half his age. "He makes a complete idiot of himself for this woman because she is glamorous and invigorates his self-esteem or what little self esteem he has," says Hopkins. As inappropriate for Alfie as Charmaine is, it's not hard to see how she could, in Roy's words, "put a charge in his batteries." "Charmaine is someone who always wants to have a good time, to be laughing, dancing, up for life and whatever's going on," says Punch. "She's almost like a bird, she never lands, fluttering from one thing to the next. She is also very sensual and sexual, led by her loins." His head spinning from Charmaine's company, Archie proposes to her, disregarding her taste for luxurious items he can't afford. "He thinks, 'Oh, I might as well marry the girl—I love her,'" says Hopkins. "The girl has reestablished his manhood and youth and he just wants to go all out and try to extend things." And Charmaine says yes. "I definitely think she's fond of him, although I'm not sure if she's in love with him," says Punch. "Definitely the fact that he had money was attractive; although I'm sure she had many wealthy suitors before. I think it was on a whim—I don't think she gave it a lot of thought. I don't think she ever had it in her mind that it was forever, nor does she ever think about the consequences of any of her actions."
Frustrated in her relationship with Roy, Sally finds herself increasingly drawn to her boss. In every way, Greg is the polar opposite of her husband: successful instead of struggling; calm instead of moody; capable to provide the kind of life she's yearning for—gifts, travel, trips to the opera, maybe even a child. "I think she wants to make it with Roy," says Watts, "but there is a massive hole for her that isn't being fulfilled. Greg represents all the surface things she thinks she's looking for." As she starts to fall for Greg, it's hard for her to tell if he returns her feelings. Although he usually treats her in a strictly professional manner, he sometimes sends out ambiguous signals. For example, he takes her to a jewelry store and has her try on earrings to help him select a pair for his wife. "He looks at her, measures her, and makes this move that may just destroy her heart if she has a crush on him," says Banderas. "It's innocent for him, but for her it means something. I think he is a little bit blind and doesn't know the effect he can produce on her by doing certain things." And for her part, Sally is waiting for him to make the first move. "She's reserved and wants to know that she's wanted before she's willing to put herself out on the line, as for example in a charged scene where they sit in a car after going to the opera and drinks together. " She thinks he's thinking about her, but they are out of sync, and it is really awkward," says Watts. "I think that Greg may be thinking, 'Wow! She's prettier than I thought!" says Banderas. " Now that he's looking at her in a different context she's quite interesting, and that comes as a surprise to him. But it doesn't go anywhere."
Stressing out in his room, straining to finish his novel, Roy becomes transfixed by a mysterious woman dressed in red who plays her guitar in the window across his courtyard. "He's having a tough time," says Allen, "and when he sees this breath of fresh air across the yard, he becomes intrigued with her and eventually she becomes a seductive fantasy for him." Roy is by nature a "grass is always greener on the other side" type of person, perpetually dissatisfied with what he has, and drawn to what is beyond his reach; he becomes even more interested in the woman when he discovers that she's involved with another man. "Roy feels lost," says Brolin, "and when he hears her playing her guitar, and sees the youth and beauty that she represents, he thinks that by attaining that, suddenly he can start over, or he can pretend like everything that's happened that's been painful in his past can be erased by creating something new."
Ultimately, Josh takes the plunge and invites the woman, whose name is Dia (Freida Pinto, star of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE), for lunch. While Dia is engaged to be married, she accepts his invitation. "I don't think that Dia went out with Roy with the intention of having an affair, but just for the prospect of meeting someone new and having a conversation," says Pinto. "But she is a confused girl, trying to figure out what she wants in life, and when he gives her such flattering compliments, she is definitely lured into wanting to know what might be. And somehow she realizes that what she has is not what she wants." She also has fantasies of being a writer.
While the characters in YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER don't manage their problems in the most productive ways, Roy crosses a line that the others don't. "Roy is the darkest, most complicated character," says Allen. "He's dissatisfied with himself, he's insecure, his relationship with Sally is deteriorating and he's drawn to Dia, so he's willing to make a bad moral choice, in the hopes that it will straighten his life out in some way." Brolin doesn't think that Roy struggled very hard with his decision. "I don't think there was even a second thought that went into it," he says. "'I can use this for me, he's dead, so why not?' Which is why I think the consequences are so severe."
As is often the case with Woody Allen's movies, YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER features a cast of prestigious and well-known actors as well as some talented newcomers. "It always surprises me how good they can be," says Allen. "I don't give them any rehearsal. Most of them ask me no questions about the character or about the script. They just come in and do it, sometimes on the first take or two, and then we move on." In fact, Allen hadn't even met Naomi Watts before she arrived on the set, and her first scene was one of the most emotional ones she had to play in the movie. "She came in that morning, said 'Hello,' and I said 'Hello,' and she started acting like a car that starts in third, without bothering to go to first or second," says Allen. "She was great from the moment she opened her mouth. I'd never seen anything like it before: she walks in cold, and instantly calls upon her acting talent and does it great straightaway." Watts remembers it slightly differently: "It was pretty nerve-wracking—and I was totally starstruck by Woody!"
Allen has high praise for Anthony Hopkins: "He brings a lifetime of superior acting: he can just walk in and show up on screen and automatically he just has something that's built in. he's such a forceful and tremendous actor that you just get overwhelmed by him all the time. He's one of those people who's lucky in life, he just has it." Hopkins said that Allen gave him a lot of confidence: "I felt like he trusted me for what I can do. He didn't over-direct me. At the same time, he didn't let me get away with anything. He's very demanding and he wanted the best out of me and that's just great. And he was very upbeat when I got it right!"
When Allen was casting the role of Helena, Gemma Jones' name kept coming up. "When I described the character, everyone said to me, 'you mean Gemma Jones,'" he says. "We looked at many people for the role, and not only is she a wonderful actress, she just seemed a natural for this part, a part that really fit her like a glove." Says Jones: "It was quite tricky to see how to play Helena. I had to play her 'for real,' as it were, and not be seduced into taking it into farce, although the situations are fairly farcical. And we had quite a problem deciding how she should look. And then Woody said, 'think out of date clothes and hats,' and it all sort of fitted into place, the costume and the sensibility of someone who is fragile. And that's what I hung my performance on." Allen has the highest praise for Jones's work. "She came in and knew the character and what to do, and performed it immaculately, as beautifully as any author could want one of his characters played." Compared to the other actors, Josh Brolin had numerous ideas and questions for Allen. "The thought of playing any character that's anywhere 'normal,' whatever that is, always frightens me," says Brolin. "So my suggestion to Woody at the beginning was that Roy be in a wheelchair. I wrote him a three page email about why I thought it was necessary, and I think I mentioned a Yugoslavian accent at one point. And he wrote me back an email response that just said 'no.' I laughed a lot—I'm still laughing. That was the beginning of our friendship." Says Allen: "Some actors have no questions, Josh has many, he really gets into it—he asked me about his haircut, how he should walk, dress, conduct himself, and that's great, it works for him. I could only make one or two little suggestions here and there, but his answers were always better than mine. He thinks it emerged from a dialogue with me, but it's really him. What I did keep telling him was, 'you're a great actor, use your instinct, just trust it and it will make you great again.'"
The role of Greg Clemente was a departure from the kind of roles Antonio Banderas normally plays. "Normally, especially in America, I have been called to play characters that are bigger than life, heroic characters in epic movies like ZORRO and DESPERADO. I never play just a sweet, normal, well intentioned person. It's kind of new for me, actually." But the heartthrob quality that Banderas displayed in those epic parts made him ideal for this quieter kind of role. Says Allen: "I needed someone who would be believable as an international art dealer, that was successful, and Antonio had everything I wanted—the stature, the elegance, the good looks that would make a woman fall for him, and he's a wonderful actor." While Greg might seem the one character in the film with his feet planted firmly on the ground, he also has some issues, albeit more subtle ones. "He married a woman who was bipolar, not a good choice, and he's had a tough time with her, and he's switched over now to a woman who has had a problem with dope and alcohol," says Allen. "He'd probably be better off with Sally, but instead he picks her friend who has not had such a completely healthy past."
While Allen provided Banderas with a copy of the script when he arrived on location, he chose to not read anything except for the scenes he was in. "I asked Woody if he wanted me to read it and he said it was up to me. If I didn't want to read it, I could do my part independently of what the story is all about, and everyone is just playing their parts. Because it was my first time with Woody and it was a different experience than I had ever had before, I decided not to." As Dia is an enigmatic figure for Roy, a screen upon which he projects his fantasies, Allen doesn't let the audience get a good look at her until Roy does. For the first half of the film; she's visible only from a distance, through the window. "When you finally do see her, it bowls you over—she is so remarkably beautiful," says Allen. "She's probably had a more complex life because of her unusual beauty." Pinto found it liberating to play such a mysterious character. "It allows you to have more freedom," she says. "Not many people will question you, saying, 'you shouldn't have done that, it's out of character.' Still it was a bit of a challenge, as it was only my third film, and here I was working with Woody and Josh. Everyone was so encouraging, though, and I got over it in a few days."
As the original name of her character was the same as her character in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, Pinto asked Allen if he would change her character's name. When she felt the second name he picked wasn't appropriate for her character's class, she asked if she could choose a name herself, and he was happy to oblige her. Pinto spent a few days thinking about it. "It may not seem that important, but I felt like she needed a name that felt like the character," she says. "Dia didn't come to me easily, I had to think about it. It means 'day' in Spanish and Portuguese, and in Hindi it means 'light,' both having to do with lightness."
The final character to be cast was Lucy Punch as Charmaine. "We looked for a long time, and went through every conceivable permutation, known and unknown, but in the end, Lucy won this part by sheer talent," says Allen. "She has a great look, she's very funny, she's a wonderful actress, has a tremendous personality, and she's 100% alive on the screen." Says Punch: " I only read a couple of the scenes in my first audition, but when I came back to do more, I don't know why, I just felt like I knew her, just thought I knew how to do it. I decided that anything that Charmaine said about herself was probably untrue, or she made it up on the spot. She just keeps reinventing herself and changing her story. There's a lot that's unlikeable in her, but I really connected with her love of life and fun and her vivaciousness." Punch calls the day she got the role the most exciting day of her life. "I was screaming, running around the house. I rang up my mother, everyone was screaming. Then a half hour later, I locked myself out of my apartment."
Banderas says that before he came to location, he got a letter from Allen (which he has now framed) telling him that he could feel free to change dialogue if it made him more comfortable, including dropping or adding lines. All the actors mention Allen's receptiveness to improvisation. "Charmaine speaks in a certain type of way and Woody let me improvise a lot, and let me try different lines and different jokes," says Punch. "A couple of times he would say, 'stop being funny.' He likes things to be very real and I guess I was doing something a little contrived. But generally he let me do what I wanted." Says Pinto: "The advice he gave me was to not act for the camera. He detests actors acting for the camera—he wants you to be more natural." Allen's style of shooting scenes in one long take was both exciting and challenging for the actors. "You could be doing a six-page scene," says Brolin, "and you walk in and figure out the blocking in about ten minutes, and you may walk into six different rooms, so the blocking is extremely complicated. You have fifteen minutes to incorporate it into your mind, as they're setting up the lighting, and he gives you a few takes to do it in, when it's only one shot.
So you definitely have to be focused and present." Says Watts: "I always wondered why people end up speaking or sounding like him in his movies," she says. "A lot of that has to do with the fact that you're kind of on edge in these scenes. You stumble through your dialogue, like, 'uh-uh-oh I gotta pick up the glass! Now I've gotta go out there and get another drink!' But that's what I love about him. He gives you these brilliant words, but he's not so profoundly tied to them. When you do the scene that way, and you're searching for words, and you're making them your own." Compared to all the characters in the story, Helena appears the most serene. Living in her happy cloud, she even finds a soul-mate with an equally preposterous disregard for reality. "Helena is crazier than everybody else," says Allen, "and in this tragic life that we all live, you can find happiness, provided that you're nuts, if you buy into fairy tale fantasies, and black out reality." This notion isn't limited to people as irrational as Helena. "I think everyone finds his own way of denying and rationalizing the awful human predicament, says Allen. "That's how people get through life: by constantly denying reality, constantly buying into illusions of artistic immortality, of meaning to the universe, an afterlife, all kinds of illusions." Hopkins feels this idea is exemplified by Alfie's intense need to have a child that is his own. "He wants someone to carry on and immortalize him or eternalize him," he says. "Whatever we do to bolster our lives, to ward off the inevitable—fame, fortune, wealth, the red carpets, or whatever it is—is to try to perpetuate immortality, to ward off the horror because that is what we all feel deep down inside: the mystery of life and death."
The film opens and closes with a line taken from "Macbeth": "a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Allen explains: "All these characters are running around trying to find meaning in their lives, and find ambitions and successes and love. They're all running around, bumping into each other, hurting each other, getting hurt, making mistakes—a constant chaos. But in the end, after a hundred years, everybody on earth along with them will be completely gone, and after another hundred years, there will be a new set of people. And after all of the ambitions, and aspirations, and the plagiarism and adultery, what once was so meaningful won't mean a thing. Many years from now the sun burns out and the earth is gone, and many years after that the entire universe is gone. Even if you could find a pill that makes you live forever, that forever is still a finite number, because nothing is forever. It's all sound and fury, and in the end it means nothing."
Considering the bleakness of his vision, why does Allen continue to make films?
"It's a distraction that has its own little challenges and consequently keeps my mind off morbid thoughts."