Grosse Pointe Blank Production Notes
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Noted producing team Susan Arnold and Donna Roth found "Grosse Pointe Blank" the culmination of their search for an offbeat, outstanding film script which represented a different film genre than their previous and critically acclaimed "Benny & Joon" and "Unstrung Heroes."
As Susan Arnold explains, "We wanted a script with a fresh, original feeling, something that perhaps hadn't been seen before in a movie. We were thrilled when John Cusack brought the material to us and asked us to produce it."
Adds Donna Roth, "The script was completely different than anything we had read. This film is edgier and has more action than our other films but still offers a completely unique look at a universal quest-the search for self-only this time with a twisted and more satirical theme."
Arnold also notes, "Martin's a hitman experiencing a spiritual crisis. He's in therapy and his therapist says, `Okay, go back to your high school reunion, just try not to kill anybody while you're there.' He goes back and sees the girl he stood up on prom night-the girl he still thinks about. And they reconnect. That forces him to really examine his `career choice.'"
"John Cusack," Roth says, "was absolutely perfect for the role. He has a wonderfully skewed sense of humor combined with great charisma and intelligence."
Director George Armitage was the unanimous choice to helm this unusual film, one which would require much of the same keen ability to successfully mesh tension, humor and riveting action that he displayed in the critically acclaimed "Miami Blues."
"I was attracted to `Grosse Pointe Blank' by the opportunity to work with wonderful, collaborative people and by the challenges offered by the material," Armitage says. "The redemption of Martin Q. Blank was at the forefront of this challenge. How could we explain the motivations of a professional killer in such a way that the audience would not only care about his survival but also hope that he would end up with the girl as well?"
A writer of more than 50 feature film scripts, Armitage appreciated the dual roles that John Cusack brought to the project as actor and co-screenwriter. Armitage further understood the unique advantage Cusack brought to the project of having created his own character on the page and coming to the production with the character fully realized by the actor before filming had even begun.
"Grosse Pointe Blank" represents the realization of a long- standing dream for star/co-writer/co-producer Cusack. This film offered the multi-talented Cusack the rich opportunity to utilize the talents of some family members-sisters Joan, Ann and older brother, Bill-but to also work with several high-school friends from the Evanston, Illinois area.
Cusack, co-producer/co-writer Steve Pink, co-writer D.V. DeVincentis, and actors Jeremy Piven and Greg Sporleder all studied acting at the Piven Theatre Workshop, run by Piven's parents. Furthermore, all were part of New Crime Productions, the noted Chicago-based theatre company founded by Cusack, Pink and DeVincentis.
The principals eventually brought this joint venture to Los Angeles, where they also focused on discovering film projects for Cusack to both star in and produce. When they came upon a screenplay written by Tom Jankiewicz, they immediately optioned it and proceeded to tailor it to Cusack's specifications.
Jankiewicz conceived his story about an assassin facing an identity crisis and going back to face his hometown roots, after he received an invitation to his class reunion in Michigan. "I think everybody gets embarrassed and self-conscious when their class reunion comes up. You feel in competition with your classmates, you feel you have to justify your life. So, I thought there would be a lot of comedic and dramatic possibilities if the guy just happened to kill people for a living."
Ironically, Jankiewicz chose to not attend his own reunion. "I decided to have Martin go for me instead," he smiles.
The writer immediately chose Grosse Pointe as the perfect locale for this vividly offbeat, unpredictable tale. In his youth, the Detroit native had been in awe of the wealthy enclave of Grosse Pointe. "With their golf-course lawns and castle-like estates, the place seemed to project power and wealth. And, as Jack Kerouac once said, `There's no tragedy in Grosse Pointe.'"
Explaining the writing process with John Cusack and Steve Pink, DeVincentis says, "Our collaboration consists of sitting in a room with a computer and beginning a free-for-all competition to make each other laugh. That's when the good stuff comes. We've been doing this since we were fifteen, so it's become a pretty natural thing."
Co-writer Steve Pink describes "Grosse Pointe Blank" as "a satire of the American Dream, which teaches us the killer instinct, to be the best, often at any price. It's an entertaining notion to me, at least, and one that Martin Blank took literally. He takes professional pride in his accomplishments. Like any other businessman."
Adds John Cusack, "This film looks at what happens when a guy tries to go back into his past and finds out who he is. What happens is that the past will meet the present and the two worlds will collide. And you have to live with the consequences. Martin tries to find out who he is by going back to Detroit, looking into his past, but it doesn't dawn on him until he's well in it that the dangerous world he's living in now followed him right there to Detroit. There's no escaping. And Martin has to face his past, present-and future."
For actress Minnie Driver, "Grosse Pointe Blank" allowed her to realize one of her professional desires. When she first arrived in America from England for a publicity tour for "Circle of Friends," she was often asked by interviewers to name the actors she most wanted to work with if given the opportunity. She invariably cited John Cusack and Alan Arkin, at the time not knowing either of the two actors, nor imagining she would be working with them in a single film project less than a year later.
Driver was particularly pleased when she was completely accepted by what she affectionately terms the "Chicago Boys Club" of the tightly-knit band of high school pals. "They know each other so well, and have a very tight friendship," she explains. "They're all incredibly articulate, incredibly inspired. It all works in this sort of strange symbiotic way between the lot of them. When one leaves off, another begins. They sort of let me in magnanimously, and it's quite nice to be part of all of that."
Minnie Driver says of her role in the film as high school sweetheart to Cusack: "They were very much a couple, really in love. It was sort of them against the rest of high school. Then he disappeared. To have him removed from her life left a really huge hole, like losing a limb."
The actress pauses and notes, "When you describe lost love, you start using analogies that involve the loss of bodily parts. Perfect for this film, for describing Martin the hitman and his relationships with other people. It's frightening," she jokes, "how naturally you slip into disabling yourself through metaphors. When you think about it, it's all rather unnerving!"
Joan Cusack comes in for much praise from the film's writers. As co-writer DeVincentis notes, "She brought so much to the project. She brought the material to life. With her, it jumped off the page. She's a tremendous actress with extraordinary instincts."
Noted film actor and comic Dan Aykroyd was irresistibly drawn to "Grosse Pointe Blank"-not so much in the challenge of playing the villain in the film, but for the opportunity to work with John Cusack and director Armitage.
"Because of John's cut-through style of acting, great voice, great presence, and great charisma, you really can't take your eyes off him when he's on screen. And I really liked George Armitage's work on `Miami Blues.' That's the way I determine my jobs now-to look at the people involved with the project. And I really wanted to work with the two of them."
For his part, George Armitage offers, "It was a wonderful group of people to work with. It was exciting. With this talented group of actors, I didn't know quite what I was going to get from them moment to moment, because they are so unpredictable and exciting in what they offer to a director and to audiences. So I was able to feel like part of the audience every day we filmed. And they gave me things which were hysterically funny. It was wonderful, fresh and fun and that great attitude of creativity continued throughout the entire shoot."
Under the supervision of gifted production designer Stephen Altman, the design team and locations department were met with the formidable task of recreating Grosse Pointe, Michigan in various areas in and surrounding the Southern California Mecca of Los Angeles. To that end, the main street of the small town of Monrovia was transformed into the Detroit suburb's main drag; the nearby communities of Duarte and Pasadena were spotlighted in the use of their vast mansions to depict those of posh, old money Grosse Pointe; and a high school near downtown Los Angeles was transformed into Grosse Pointe High.
For star/co-writer/co-producer John Cusack, the transformation from actor to motion picture hitman had definite purpose in the telling of this unusual, compelling story. "It's a black comedy about the American Dream, that `win at all costs' personality you see everyday, the type we like to hold up as heroes. The American professional cold-blooded type who's a killer at the office and a good guy at home. The kind of person who thinks that if they are unethical at work it has nothing to do with who they really are. Their behavior has nothing to do with their self image.
"The film," Cusack adds, "takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the American value system. How else can you describe the story of a hitman who sees a shrink because there's emptiness in his life? His work is getting a little sloppy. He never thinks the problem may lie in the fact that he's doing horrible things all the time, that he's the creator of his own emptiness, his own life."
ABOUT THE CAST
JOHN CUSACK (Martin/Screenplay by/Co-Producer) is one of Hollywood's most versatile actors, now making his screenwriting and co-producing debut with "Grosse Pointe Blank." He most recently starred in "City Hall" with Al Pacino and Bridget Fonda and includes among his other films, Woody Allen's acclaimed comedy, "Bullets Over Broadway" and Bruce Beresford's film version of T.C. Boyle's novel, "Road to Wellville," which also starred Bridget Fonda. Later this year he is starring with Nicolas Cage and John Malkovich in the action picture "Con Air."
He previously earned great critical notice for his portrayal of a clever young con artist in Stephen Frears' "The Grifters" and received accolades for his performances in "Eight Men Out," "Say Anything" and Rob Reiner's "The Sure Thing." Cusack later worked with Reiner in a supporting role in "Stand By Me."
Born in Evanston, Illinois, Cusack made his feature film debut in 1983 in the coming-of-age story, "Class," with Jacqueline Bisset. His subsequent film credits include John Hughes' "Sixteen Candles," "Grandville, U.S.A.," "Better Off Dead," "One Crazy Summer" (for cult director Savage Steve Holland), "The Journey of Natty Gann" and "Tapeheads."
Although Cusack's early career was marked primarily by his work in comic films, his role in John Sayles' exploration of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, "Eight Men Out" provided a dramatic point of departure for his career. He followed the role with performances opposite Paul Newman in Roland Joffe's "Fat Man and Little Boy"; and opposite James Spader in Herbert Ross' "True Colors."
Other film credits include Woody Allen's "Shadows and Fog," Robert Altman's "The Player," and Tim Robbins' "Bob Roberts." Earlier film work also includes "Map of the Human Heart," "Postcards from the Edge" and "Money for Nothing."
In addition to his motion picture credentials, Cusack co- founded New Crime Theatre Company with "Grosse Pointe Blank" co- writers Steve Pink and D.V. DeVincentis. Cusack has directed several plays for New Crime Theatre Company, including "Amalgazam...After The Dog Years" and "Methusalem," winning him a "Jeff" citation for Best Director at Chicago's noted Joseph Jefferson Awards. He also directed Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas."
MINNIE DRIVER (Debi) has become one of Hollywood's most sought-after young actresses following her great critical and popular success for her winning performance in "Circle of Friends" which teamed her with Chris O'Donnell.
Driver was also seen in the James Bond thriller, "Goldeneye," "Sleepers" (with Brad Pitt) for director Barry Levinson; and "Big Night" for director Stanley Tucci. She has just completed production on "The Flood" opposite Christian Slater, a spring release from Paramount Pictures.
Her other films include "That Sunday," "Zebra Man" and "God on the Rocks." The British actress has amassed an impressive list of television and stage credentials, including numerous BBC productions and theatrical appearances in such plays as "The Comedy of Errors," "The Married Man," "School for Scandal" and "Camino Real."
ALAN ARKIN (Dr. Oatman) was born in New York, and launched his career with the original company of Chicago's improvisational revue, "Second City." This led to his first part on Broadway, the lead in Carl Reiner's play, "Enter Laughing," for which Arkin won a Tony Award. The following year he again starred on Broadway in Murray Schisgal's hit, "LUV."
Arkin's first feature film, "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming," earned him both a Golden Globe Award and an Oscarr nomination for Best Actor. He received a second Oscarr nomination for his performance in "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter." His many other film credits include "Wait Until Dark," "Popi," "Catch 22," "Little Murders," "Freebie and the Bean," "The Seven Percent Solution," "The In-Laws," "Simon" and "Chu Chu and the Philly Flash." These were followed by "Improper Channels," and "Joshua Then and Now," each of which earned him a Canadian Academy Award. His most recent films include "Havana," "Edward Scissorhands," "The Rocketeer," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "So I Married An Axe Murderer," "Doomsday Gun" on HBO, "Steal Big, Steal Little," "Mother Night," "What is This Comrade?" and "The Eighth Day."
In addition to his acting career, Arkin has directed projects for all media. His many directorial credits for the theater include several productions with Circle in the Square, including Jules Feiffer's "The White House Murder Case," which earned him an Obie Award, and on Broadway, "The Sunshine Boys." He wrote and directed two short films, "T.G.I.F." and "People Soup," and directed the feature film, "Little Murders."
DAN AYKROYD (Grocer) takes a slightly unexpected and sinister turn in his vivid portrayal of the rival hitman. Bringing his brilliant comedic and dramatic style to films and television for over two decades, Aykroyd recently starred in four films: "Sgt. Bilko" (with Steve Martin and Phil Hartman); "Celtic Pride" (with Damon Wayans and Daniel Stern); "Getting Away with Murder" co- starring Lily Tomlin, Jack Lemmon and Bonnie Hunt; and a special appearance in "Feeling Minnesota" with Keanu Reeves.
An Academy Awardr nominee for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of "Boolie Werthan" in "Driving Miss Daisy," the actor's extensive list of film credits include "The Blues Brothers," "1941" for Steven Spielberg, "Neighbors," "Trading Places," "Ghostbusters" and its equally successful sequel; "My Girl" and its sequel, "Dragnet" (co-writer); "Coneheads" (co-writer); "The Couch Trip," "My Stepmother is an Alien," "Loose Cannons," "Sneakers," "Chaplin," "North," "Exit to Eden," "Tommy Boy" and "Rainbow."
He has made guest appearances in such films as "Into the Night," "Twilight Zone: The Movie," and "Caddyshack II." In 1986, Aykroyd produced the feature film, "One More Saturday Night" for videocassette and cable audiences. In 1991, Aykroyd made his directorial debut with the comedy, "Nothing But Trouble," co- starring Chevy Chase and John Candy.
Born in Evanston, Illinois, JOAN CUSACK (Marcella) studied acting at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Chicago and later earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Wisconsin. She received an Oscarr nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "Working Girl," opposite Melanie Griffith. Cusack's other film work includes roles in "Two Much," "My Bodyguard," "Class," "Sixteen Candles," "Married to the Mob," "Say Anything" (opposite her brother John), "Men Don't Leave," "Broadcast News," "My Blue Heaven," "Hero," "Addams Family Values," "Toys," "Corinna, Corinna" and "Nine Months." Joan can also be seen in "A Smile Like Yours" with Lauren Holly and Greg Kinear, and also in "In and Out" with Kevin Klein, due out later this year.
She has appeared on stage numerous times, including roles in recent productions of "Tis Pity She's a Whore" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Joan also appeared in Lincoln Center's production of "Road," and in the New York debut production of "Brilliant Traces" at the Cherry Lane Theatre. She was also a member of the ensemble cast of "Saturday Night Live" during the 1985-'86 season.
Ms. Cusack resides in Chicago, where she oversees ARC Productions, her own company. She is currently developing a number of projects for film and a television show for CBS scheduled for mid-season 1997.
JEREMY PIVEN (Paul) drew from personal experience to portray a best friend to John Cusack's character in "Grosse Pointe Blank," imitating their true-life roles with living in Evanston, Illinois.
Currently starring in the hit ABC series, "Ellen," Piven has received critical praise for his role as Ellen's cousin "Spence." His recent film work includes "Heat" with Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer; "Just Wright" with Sherlyn Fenn, "Larger Than Life" with Bill Murray, "Livers Ain't Cheap," and "Laying Low" for The Shooting Gallery.
Recent film appearances include "Miami Rhapsody," "PCU" and "Judgment Night." He teamed opposite John Cusack in "Say Anything," "The Grifters" and "The Player."
Piven first came to Los Angeles to appear in Carol Burnett's NBC series, "Carol & Company" and went on to appear on "The Larry Sanders Show" for two seasons, portraying Larry's beleaguered head writer, Jerry. He also starred in the NBC series, "Pride and Joy" with Julie Warner.
Raised in Evanston, where his parents founded the Chicago- based Piven Theatre Workshop (claiming John and Joan Cusack, Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn as alumni), Piven became high school friends with Cusack, "Grosse Pointe Blank" co-producer/writer Steve Pink and writer D.V. DeVincentis. The group founded the New Crime Theatre in Chicago. In 1990, Piven was nominated for a Best Actor "Jeff" Award for his acclaimed performance in the title role of "Methusalem" (directed by John Cusack) for their Chicago-based New Crime Theatre.
HANK AZARIA (Lardner) previously starred in "The Birdcage" opposite Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. His other feature film credits include "Heat," directed by Michael Mann and also starring Al Pacino; "Now and Then," produced by and co-starring Demi Moore, directed by Lesli Glatter; the Academy Awardr nominated "Quiz Show" directed by Robert Redford; and Touchstone Pictures' blockbuster "Pretty Woman" with Julia Roberts. He will next star in "Great Expectations," with Robert De Niro, Gwenyth Paltrow, Anne Bancroft and Ethan Hawke and recently wrapped "Homegrown" starring with Kelly Lynch and Jamie Lee Curtis.
On television, Azaria provides the voices of several key characters on FOX's long-running comedy series "The Simpson," and appears in the recurring role of Nat the dogwalker on NBC's "Mad About You." In addition, he starred in CBS' romantic comedy "If Not For You" with Elizabeth McGovern and FOX's innovative sitcom "Herman's Head."
An alumnus of the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, Azaria starred in the title role in "Hamlet" at Columbia University. He continued his theater studies at Tufts University where he appeared in productions of such plays as "Uncle Vanya," "The Merchant of Venice," "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" and "The Dumb Waiter."
Upon moving to Los Angeles, Azaria further honed his skills under the direction of Roy London. He worked in improvisation and sketch comedy, becoming a favorite at local comedy clubs, and co- wrote "An Evening on Thin Ice," which was presented at The Comedy Store. He also won a DramaLogue Award for his work in the play "Conspicuous Consumption."
BARBARA HARRIS (Mary Blank) won the Tony Award for her three characterizations in Mike Nichols' musical trilogy "The Apple Tree." She also received the Vernon Price Award for her role in the off- Broadway hit, "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You In the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad." She was also nominated for an Academy Awardr as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the feature film "Who is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?"
Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, Harris attended Wright Junior College and the Goodman School of Theatre, as well as the University of Chicago, where she made her professional stage debut in a wide variety of roles in repertory. She later joined Mike Nichols and Elaine May in the popular revue "From the Second City," for which she garnered critical praise when the show opened in New York.
Harris' Broadway credits include "On A Clear Day You Can See Forever," and she directed David Merrick's production of "The Penny Wars." She also directed Arnold Weinstein's "Lady Liberty's Ice Cream Cone" for the New York Cultural Center.
Her other feature film credits include "Casual Sex?" "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Everybody's All-American," "Peggy Sue Got Married," "A Thousand Clowns," "Plaza Suite," "Nashville," "Family Plot," as well as Walt Disney Pictures' live-action comedies "Freaky Friday" and "The North Avenue Irregulars."
MITCHELL RYAN (Mr. Newberry) has enjoyed a long and successful career as an actor in motion pictures and television. Among his recent feature film credits are "Liar, Liar" with Jim Carrey; and "The Devil's Own" with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt. His other films include "Judge Dredd," "Blue Sky," "Speechless," "Hot Shots! Part Deux," "Aces: Iron Eagle III," "Winter People," "Lethal Weapon," "Two Minute Warning," "Electra Glide in Blue," "The Friends of Eddie Coyle," "Magnum Force," "A Reflection of Fear" and "High Plains Drifter."
Ryan also appeared in such made-for-television movies as "A Face to Die For," "Deadly Game," "In a Child's Name," "Margaret Bourke-White," "The Ryan White Story," "Hostage Flight," "Kenny Rogers as The Gambler-The Adventure Continues," "Uncommon Valor," "Death of a Centerfold: The Dorothy Stratten Story," "Of Mice and Men" and "Angel City." In addition, he enjoyed roles in the miniseries "Favorite Son," "North and South," and "Robert Kennedy & His Times." His series credits include episodes of "Wings," "Murder, She Wrote," "Hardball," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "St. Elsewhere" and "The Rockford Files." He also starred on the daytime drama "Santa Barbara," and starred as Burke Devlin on the classic "Dark Shadows."
K. TODD FREEMAN (McCullers) has appeared in a long list of motion pictures, television and stage productions. He most recently finished shooting on the new Wim Wenders movie entitled "The End of Violence" in which he co-stars with Bill Pullman and Andie MacDowell. His other feature film credits include "Eraser," "Grand Canyon" and "Ricochet." On television, his favorite appearances were his recurring roles on "NYPD Blue" and "Sisters."
On Broadway, Freeman was nominated for the Tony Award as Best Actor for his performance in "The Song of Jacob Zulu" for which he also received a nomination for the Outer Critics Circle Award. His other stage credits include starring in the original production of "Angels in America" at the Mark Taper Forum and several productions at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago including "Clockwork Orange" and "Libra."
Mr. Freeman earned his BFA at the North Carolina School of the Performing Arts.
MICHAEL CUDLITZ (Bob Destepello) made his motion picture debut in "A River Runs Through It" as Chub. Subsequently he has appeared in "The Liar's Club," "The Dragon," "A Body To Die For," "Savage," "Follow the Bitch," and most recently, Walt Disney Pictures' live-action hit "D3: The Mighty Ducks." He will soon be seen in "Last Exit To Earth."
Cudlitz's television series credits include "Beverly Hills 90210," "Against the Grain" and "Hull High." As a series guest star he has appeared on "ER," "Renegade," "The Marshall," "The Last Frontier," "Picket Fences," "Life Goes On," "Step by Step," "Growing Pains," "L.A. Law," "21 Jump Street" and "JAG."
Cudlitz has also appeared in a long list of stage productions including "Ring of Steel" at The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, as well as "Tartuffe," "Much Ado About Nothing," "Dead Giveaway," "Coriolanus," "The Cherry Orchard," "Bus Stop," "The Lion in Winter," "Charley's Aunt" and "Summer and Smoke."
Born in Long Island, New York, he graduated from the California Institute of the Arts, and now resides in Los Angeles with his wife.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
GEORGE ARMITAGE (Director) is renowned for his ability to mesh tension, humor, a droll visual style and riveting action, as evidenced in his critically acclaimed "Miami Blues," making him the perfect choice to direct "Grosse Pointe Blank." Hailed as "the kind of picture Hollywood ought to be making more of" by Time magazine, "Miami Blues" starred Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Fred Ward and was hailed as a quirky, compelling mixture of violence and black humor.
Armitage entered the film industry in the mid-1960s, via the 20th Century-Fox mail room, and quickly moved on to produce two of television's top-rated series of the day, "Peyton Place" and "Judd For the Defense." He also produced the studio's first telefilm, "Panic in the Streets." Under the aegis of famed filmmaker Roger Corman, Armitage made his motion picture bow in the late `60s under the New World banner and wrote the screenplay for "Gasss-ss," which Corman directed for American-International Pictures. Armitage subsequently made his own directorial debut for Corman. Films he has written and directed include, "Hit Man," "Vigilante Force" (with Kris Kristofferson and Bernadette Peters); and "Hot Rod." He received an Emmy Award nomination for writing the critically acclaimed HBO film "The Late Shift."
SUSAN ARNOLD and DONNA ROTH (Produced by) together bring years of diverse experience and a proven track record for critically acclaimed films to "Grosse Pointe Blank." This current project marks the third film for their Roth/Arnold Productions.
The highly regarded producing team made their debut as producers with the quirky love story, "Benny & Joon" (starring Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson), directed by Jeremiah Chechik. Following its success, Roth/Arnold last year produced the critically lauded "Unstrung Heroes," starring Andie McDowell, John Turturro and Michael Richards, and directed by Diane Keaton.
Roth/Arnold currently has several projects in various stages of production. Prior to the formation of their production entity, Arnold was an esteemed casting director, on such films as "Airplane," "Gremlins," "Revenge of the Nerds," "Independence Day" and "Top Secret."
Roth's prior background was in the development arena. She began her career as a script reader for her father, famed motion picture figure Samuel Arkoff, owner and operator of American- International Pictures. She eventually worked in production and development for such independents as Roger and Julie Corman and Lawrence Gordon.
ROGER BIRNBAUM (Produced by) is the head of Caravan Pictures, an independent motion picture company based at The Walt Disney Studios and founded by Joe Roth in January, 1993. Birnbaum is now solely responsible for overseeing all aspects of Caravan Pictures' numerous productions.
Birnbaum, along with Roth, produced "Angels in the Outfield" (Walt Disney Pictures), "I Love Trouble" (Touchstone Pictures), and "While You Were Sleeping" (Hollywood Pictures). Other credits for The Walt Disney Studios include "The Three Musketeers," "Angie," "A Low Down Dirty Shame," "Heavyweights" and "Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill." For the Studio, Birnbaum has also produced the Hughes Brothers' "Dead Presidents," "Powder," as well as such releases as "Before & After" starring Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson, "Celtic Pride" starring Damon Wayans, Daniel Stern and Dan Aykroyd, "First Kid" starring Sinbad, "The Rich Man's Wife" starring Halle Berry, and "Metro" starring Eddie Murphy. His upcoming films include, "In Pursuit of Honor" (working title) starring Demi Moore, "Washington Square" starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney, Maggie Smith and Ben Chaplin, as well as the comedies "Gone Fishin'" starring Danny Glover and Joe Pesci, and "Rocket Man."
Earlier in his career, Birnbaum produced the popular comedy "The Sure Thing" which was directed by Rob Reiner, and "Young Sherlock Holmes" which he presented in association with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment. For television, he has been executive producer of the telefilms "Scandal Sheet," "Happily Ever After," "When Your Lover Leaves" and the Emmy Award-winning "All the Kids Do It."
Birnbaum has helmed several production companies, including serving as president of the Guber/Peters Company where he developed such films as "Batman," "Rain Man" and "Gorillas in the Mist." His association with United Artists on "Rain Man" led to his appointment as president of worldwide production for that studio.
He later became president of worldwide production and executive vice president of Twentieth Century Fox, where he worked closely with Joe Roth, developing such films as "Edward Scissorhands," "Hot Shots!" "My Cousin Vinny," "Sleeping With the Enemy," "Home Alone," "The Last of the Mohicans," "Die Hard 2," "The Crucible" and "Mrs. Doubtfire," among others.
Born in Teaneck, New Jersey and educated at the University of Denver, Birnbaum built a successful career as a vice president of both A&M Records and Arista Records before entering the film business to produce motion pictures.
STEVE PINK (Co-Producer/Screenplay by) and D.V. DeVINCENTIS (Screenplay by) mark their feature film writing debut with "Grosse Pointe Blank," which they co-wrote with John Cusack and Tom Jankiewicz. Friends since high school, the three founded the New Crime Theatre in Chicago in 1988, a company they describe as "a commedia dell'arte troupe that specializes in absurdist and expressionist theatre."
Pink utilizes his acting background in "Grosse Pointe Blank," playing the part of "Terry," the security guard and former classmate of Cusack's character, "Martin." Pink co-produces the film with Cusack, and is his partner in their Los Angeles-based New Crime Productions.
DeVincentis for his acting turn portrays the computer nerd- turned billionaire attending the class reunion. An associate in New Crime Productions, deVincentis starred in the comedic love story, "Twilight Highway," which has received praise on the film festival circuit. He also co-starred in the independent feature drama, "Alchemy." His television credits including "The Larry Sanders Show" and the series, "Moon Over Miami."
JONATHAN GLICKMAN (Executive Producer) joined Caravan Pictures in 1993 and has since helped to bring in such projects as "The Jerky Boys," "While You Were Sleeping" and "Before and After" with Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson, all of which he associate produced. Glickman executive produced "Celtic Pride" as well as "Rocket Man" which will be released by Walt Disney Pictures this summer.
LATA RYAN (Executive Producer) marked her first film as a producer with last year's canine comedy, "Fluke," for MGM/United Artists. She previously served as the associate producer on Steven Spielberg's boxoffice megahit, "Jurassic Park," on which she was instrumental in supervising several key areas of production, including the design team. Ryan first worked with Spielberg as the production coordinator on the comedy "1941."
While at Lucasfilm Ltd., she worked on the blockbusters "Return of the Jedi" and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom." She later was production coordinator on "The Color Purple," Barry Levinson's "Rain Man" and the second and third installments of Robert Zemeckis' enormously successful "Back to the Future" series.
TOM JANKIEWICZ (Story by/Screenplay by) was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. A former English teacher, he worked his way through grad school at Cal Poly writing copy for magazine ads and television commercials. Among his most prominent assignments was a series of promos for David Lynch's "Twin Peaks" drama series. As a screenwriter, Jankiewicz's upcoming projects include "Black Armor," a SWAT team thriller.
JAMIE ANDERSON (Director of Photography) adds "Grosse Pointe Blank" to an impressive list of credits, including "The Juror," "Man of the House," "What's Love Got to Do With It," "Man of the House," and "Unlawful Entry." He was promoted to director of photograph for the 2nd unit on "Dick Tracy." His work as camera operator includes "Dick Tracy," "Tequila Sunrise," "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," "Harry and the Hendersons," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Down and Out in Beverly Hills," "Swing Shift" and "Heart Like a Wheel."
STEPHEN ALTMAN (Production Designer) comes to "Grosse Pointe Blank" fresh from his work on "Kansas City," directed by Robert Altman. Other production design credits include Altman's "Ready to Wear," "Short Cuts," "The Player," "Vincent & Theo" and "Fool for Love," as well as "Near Dark" and "What's Love Got to Do With It."
BRIAN BERDAN (Editor) most recently edited "Nixon" for Oliver Stone. Other editing credits include "The Net," "Sadness of Sex" and "Natural Born Killers." As additional editor, his credits include "Basketball Diaries" and "Homeward Bound." As associate editor, Berdan worked on "Heaven and Earth," "Night and the City" and "Noises Off."
EUGENIE BAFALOUKOS (Costume Designer) reunites with director George Armitage, following "Miami Blues." Her design work includes "Feeling Minnesota," "Mad Love," "Reality Bites," "Household Saints," "My New Gun," "The Dark Wind," "Dogfight," "Me and Him," "Satisfaction" and costume supervision on "Something Wild." For television, she designed "Acts of Contrition" (starring Mark Harmon) and "Dottie Gets Spanked." Music video work includes Rozalla's "I Love Music," R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" (nominated for a 1994 Grammy Award for Best Breakthrough Video), Talking Heads' "Stay Up Late," Fine Young Cannibals' "Ever Fallen in Love," Robert Palmer's "Discipline of Love" in addition to the Barbara Allen Barbie Doll video, "Doll Day Afternoon."
JOE STRUMMER (Original Score Composed by) previously composed music for such feature films as "Walker," "Sid & Nancy," "Permanent Record," "Rude Boy" and "When Pigs Fly." A respected musician, he first became internationally renowned as a member of the punk band The Clash, and wrote the hits "Rock the Casbah" and "London Calling."
As an actor, Strummer has appeared in numerous films including "Docteur Chance," "I Hired a Contract Killer," "Mystery Train," "Candy Mountain," "Straight to Hell," "The King of Comedy" and "Rude Boy."
|Article Courtesy of Movieweb.com|