House with a Clock in Its Walls The: Making of

In the tradition of Amblin classics where fantastical events occur in the most unexpected places, JACK BLACK (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Goosebumps) and two-time Oscar winner CATE BLANCHETT (Blue Jasmine, Thor: Ragnarok) star in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, from Amblin Entertainment, Reliance Entertainment and Mythology Entertainment.

The magical adventure tells the spine-tingling tale of 10-year-old Lewis Barnavelt (OWEN VACCARO of Daddy’s Home, Mother’s Day) who goes to live with his eccentric uncle in a creaky old house with a mysterious tick-tocking heart.  But his new town’s sleepy façade jolts to life with a secret world of warlocks and witches when Lewis accidentally awakens the dead.

Ten-year-old Lewis, recently orphaned and sent to stay with his Uncle Jonathan (Black) has discovered a hidden world of magic, mystery and supernatural menace—and it’s all in his sleepy little town.  When Lewis moves in with Uncle Jonathan, he discovers that the curious mansion he now calls home is full of secrets—chief among them an incessant tick-tocking coming from somewhere in the house…

He’s not sure which is more astonishing: the wondrous, sprawling house…or his oddball Uncle Johnathan and Jonathan’s best friend, verbal sparring partner and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Blanchett).

If adjusting to a new school and new friends weren’t enough to deal with in this unexpected suburban life, Lewis’ entire world turns upside down when he discovers Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman are both powerful practitioners of the magic arts.

Lewis is now caught up in something equally wild with a warlock and a witch—who are on a secret mission to discover the source and the meaning of a foreboding ticking doomsday clock…hidden away somewhere within the house’s walls.

All of this, plus deadly curses, attacking jack-o’-lanterns, endless hours of homework, and an evil wizard who has returned from the grave?  Lewis’ new life is more than enough for any clever and cunning 10-year-old to juggle.

As a lost orphan transforms into one of the world’s most powerful young wizards, he won’t only have the adventure of a lifetime…he’ll help heal two very broken people and allow them to rediscover their magic.

Based on the first volume in the beloved children’s series of books written by JOHN BELLAIRS and illustrated by EDWARD GOREY, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is directed by master frightener ELI ROTH and written by ERIC KRIPKE (creator of TV’s Supernatural).

The thrilling adventure co-stars KYLE MACLACHLAN (Twin Peaks) as the legendary evil wizard Isaac Izard; COLLEEN CAMP (Joy) as nosy neighbor Mrs. Hanchett; Tony and Grammy Award winner RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY (Broadway’s Hamilton, TV’s The Good Wife) as Selena Izard, Isaac’s equally wicked, bewitching wife; VANESSA ANNE WILLIAMS (Joy) as Rose, the one brilliant classmate Lewis can turn to in his time of need; LORENZA IZZO (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) as Lewis’ dearly departed mother; and SUNNY SULJIC (The Killing of Sacred Deer) as Tarby, Lewis’ friend at school who is equal parts fascinated and suspicious of their town and its weird occupants.

The film is produced by Mythology Entertainment’s BRADLEY J. FISCHER (Shutter Island, Zodiac, Suspiria) and JAMES VANDERBILT (Zodiac), as well as Kripke.  It is executive produced by WILLIAM SHERAK (Role Models), TRACEY NYBERG (Safe Haven), LAETA KALOGRIDIS (Avatar) and MARK MCNAIR (Journey to the Center of the Earth).

Joining Roth behind the camera is a talented crew of artisans, led by department heads including director of photography ROGIER STOFFERS (Death Wish, School of Rock), production designer JON HUTMAN (Unbroken, It’s Complicated), visual effects supervisor LOUIS MORIN (Beauty and the Beast, Arrival), editor FRED RASKIN (Guardians of the Galaxy series, Fast Five), costume designer MARLENE STEWART (Night at the Museum series, The Fate of the Furious).

The House with a Clock in Its Walls also marks the continuing partnership of Roth and composer NATHAN BARR, with whom the director has collaborated on Cabin Fever, Hostel and Hostel: Part II, The Last Exorcism and Netflix’s Hemlock Grove.  The restorer of the FOX Wurlitzer Organ—long considered the world’s greatest silent-movie-theater organ, as well as the instrument used to record classic scores from Journey to the Center of the Earth and Patton to The Sound of Music—Barr employs the instrument for the score of The House with a Clock in Its Walls…marking this as the first film in 25 years to utilize the legendary piece.

Amblin Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment present a Mythology Entertainment production: The House with a Clock in Its Walls, which is released by Universal Pictures.

 

It Began with Fan Letter

Producers Bradley J. Fischer and James Vanderbilt of Mythology Entertainment had wanted to work with screenwriter and producer Eric Kripke.  The filmmaker, had created the long-running fan favorite TV series Supernatural, a tale of two brothers who grapple with unexpected superpowers…and the gifts and curses that accompany them.  In turn, the Mythology producers were eager to partner with the writer on one of the projects about which he was most passionate.  To do so, they’d head to the source material that inspired a young Kripke as a boy—the inaugural book from John Bellairs’ timeless 12-book series: “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.”

In the first novel in Bellairs’ canon, we meet Lewis Barnavelt, a precocious young orphan living in the 1950s who initially doesn’t fit in with his peers or his adoptive family.  Mourning the loss of parents who suddenly die, the introverted, delightfully nerdy boy is whisked into a world of witches and wizards just as suddenly as his parents were taken from him.  Now residing with his Uncle Jonathan, a mystic of dubiously helpful and/or bizarre gifts, he finds himself an apprentice to the world of the mystical arts.

Executive producer Tracey Nyberg walks us through the project’s background: “The first story was published in the early ’70s, and there’s 12 in all.  The last book was published about 10 years ago.  What we love about ‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’ is that it’s a classic story.  There’s a young orphan sent to live in an unfamiliar place, and he feels like an outsider.  Over the course of the series, he finds himself and discovers what makes him unique.”

Like many children of the ’70s—and those who continue to devour Bellairs’ books today—Kripke was fascinated by the manner in which the author spoke to kids, as well as the page-turning, Gothic drawings of Edward Gorey—equal parts droll and spooky.  “We’ve been longtime fans of Eric, and this all started with his love of the book,” reflects Nyberg.

“Brad and Jamie asked: ‘if I could make any movie I wanted, what would I pick?’” explains Kripke.  “For me, it was no question—this book.  It’s been my lifelong obsession to bring this book to the screen.  It was my all-time favorite book as a kid.  I devoured everything John Bellairs wrote; he inspired my career in a large part.  I wrote a letter to him, the only fan letter I ever wrote.  He wrote me back, and to this day, I keep that letter in my desk.”

What spoke to producer Fischer about Lewis’ arc was the relatability of a boy who finds himself a stranger in a strange land.  The filmmaker has long found that the most interesting stories are the ones in which the protagonist is suddenly dropped into a new world and must grapple with some very grown-up decisions.  Sums Fischer: “Owen ends up finding a family where he least expected them.”

Similarly, what pulled readers into Bellairs’ stories of owning your truth was the manner in which he so passionately wrote about celebrating where you’re from…and where your destiny is taking you.  The story’s setting is the fictional city of New Zebedee—based on Marshall, Michigan—a quaint city replete with tree-lined streets and a wondrous collection of mysterious-looking houses.  It appears to be the idyllic world in which to grow up, but the town’s secrets and mysteries hidden just behind a simple façade reveal themselves in a shocking manner.

As a young writer, Bellairs would walk past the large, looming houses, and there his inspiration for the books began.  “John cherished his memories of his hometown,” offers BRAD STRICKLAND, who has written the Bellairs books since “The Ghost in the Mirror.”

While the setting is 1950s America, the characters in The House with a Clock in Its Walls reside and embody a time all to themselves.  Jonathan is obsessed with his magic, and his house is a shrine to an era gone by.  Dressed in clothing that is more-than-slightly anachronistic—donning his festive fez and magician robes—he relishes being the oddest duck in the neighborhood.

His neighbor and closest friend, Florence Zimmerman, also remains trapped in a time when she was happiest—an idyllic life before she suffers a terrible tragedy that left her heartbroken and her magic scattershot.  To assuage the pain, she surrounds herself in a world of color…complete with purple décor and aubergine clothing; everything is thematic.

For Fischer, it was important to assemble production partners and a director who could do justice to the delightfully weird—but oh-so-accessible—stories of Bellairs.  They would be none other than legendary Amblin Entertainment and director Eli Roth, who knows a thing or two about scaring audiences.  “Amblin brings this story to life in a way no one else could, by branding it under the same banner as those classic Amblin films like The Goonies, Gremlins, and E.T., which—as a kid growing up in suburban New Jersey in the 1980s—is what inspired me to make movies.  And Eli was a natural choice to direct,” Fischer gives.  “I always wanted to reach back into the Amblin canon and find a way to tell that kind of story again on the big screen.  Eli had exactly the same impulse and childhood references, and from the second he came aboard, we quickly found that we were finishing each other’s sentences.”

Roth, who has built a career based on much darker scares, was drawn to this PG story for myriad reasons.  It wasn’t just a chance to make the type of movie he had always dreamed of making, it was the shot to partner with Amblin, whose films had arguably some of the biggest influence on him as a child and burgeoning filmmaker.

The director walks us through an introduction to this world: “There are certain things that give this story an Amblin feel, and I wanted to come out and make the next great Amblin movie.  I want The House with a Clock in Its Walls to be side-by-side with Gremlins and Back to the Future.”  He’s not worried about making younger audiences nervous about the things that go bump in the night.  “I wanted this movie to be very scary, and I think that you can have funny and scary at the same time.  Gremlins showed that, and E.T. did as well.”

The Mythology team was interested in bringing on a director who wasn’t a safe, workman choice, but a risk-taker.  “Eli is well known for his horror background, and the majority of his movies have been solidly in that genre,” notes Nyberg.  “His love for the genre is clear.  What a lot of people don’t know is that he is bringing to Clock his love of cinema—top to bottom.  He knows all of the classics and movie references, obscure and popular.”

“Eli and I have known each other for many years,” explains Fischer.  “And I knew it would raise eyebrows to hire someone to direct a family film whose body of work is filled with such terrifying genre fare.  But I also knew that Eli grew up on and was inspired by the Amblin movies of the ’80’s like E.T., The Goonies and Gremlins.  And recapturing classic Amblin for a new generation is something that we have both strived our whole careers to find a way to achieve.

“For me, there were two primary qualities that defined classic Amblin: The first was how scary they were—not in a jump-scare kind of way, but in a way that stays with you because of the jeopardy and stakes that these kids you could really relate to ended up facing when they stepped outside of their otherwise normal, everyday lives to answer a call to adventure,” Fischer continues.  “And the second was that they unfolded squarely from the point of view of regular kids who discovered something about their world that would take them on an extraordinary journey and change their lives forever.   There was no doubt in my mind that Eli could tap into both of those elements in a profoundly personal way.  In a way, House with a Clock is the kind of movie he was destined to make.”

For the director, his lifelong interest is in exploring the best and the worst of humanity…as well as the manner in which we handle crisis.  Do we rise to the occasion, or do we crumble?  For him, Lewis’ story of heartbreak and healing allows that.  “How do you deal with and process tragedy?” Roth asks.  “This is a story about terrible things happening, and some want to deal with it by moving forward while others want to turn back time so it never can happen.”

Roth shares that his affinity toward the series, and ultimately the film he’d direct, began with Bellairs’ cover art.  “I have a strange connection to the books in that I collect Edward Gorey artwork.  I had an original cover for a John Bellairs’ story written by Brad Strickland: ‘The Hand of the Necromancer.’  I read this script and couldn’t believe there was a book that I had missed with Gorey art in it”

The filmmaker has long had a desire to shoot “a scary kids movie.”  He reflects: “I wanted to do something that felt like Gremlins, E.T. or Time Bandits—something fantastic and Halloween-themed.  This story had pumpkins; it had automatons.  There were so many ingredients and elements in the book and script that I connected to.  Especially Lewis, this misfit kid.  I did not grow up an orphan, but I certainly grew up an outcast and an outsider.”

Roth shares that perhaps some of the best direction he’s ever received was from the head of Amblin himself, a man who knows a thing or two about genre blending.  “I told Spielberg what a seminal experience Poltergeist was for me as a kid, and I wanted to give a new generation of kids those same thrills.  “He gave me amazing advice.  He said: ‘Don’t design it so much that people can’t get into the story.  And most important, make it scary.  Kids love to be scared.’”

 

Choose Your Magic:

Cast of the Adventure

 

For the role of Jonathan Barnavelt, it was important to Roth and his producers to find someone who would serve as the initially frightening relative to live with…then the really fun uncle to join you on an adventure.  “Jack just encapsulates all of it,” says Roth.  “It’s hard for me to think of anyone else in the role other than him.  I’d seen him perform live in Tenacious D; I’ve seen all of his movies.  You think of Jack, and you just laugh; he has so much personality, so much charm, and he’s so funny.  But he also has such heart.  In his films like School of Rock or Bernie, he’s an incredible dramatic actor.  He has such humor, life, and such a soulful quality to him.  It’s a dream come true to watch him create this role.”

Black has long thought of himself as a kid at heart, and like his collaborators, he appreciated the fact that Kripke’s script brought the spirit of Bellairs.  Despite its dark themes of loss and tragedy, the story offers lessons, excitement and pure joy.  “This is a movie that kids of all ages can enjoy,” reflects Black, “but we want to give them a thrill.  Sometimes you have to go dark to give them that.”  He particularly appreciates the secret at the story’s core: “They’re living in a house that has a living clock of doom, and they have to disengage the clock to save the world.”

One of the core themes to The House with a Clock in Its Walls is honoring one’s individuality.  In the film, Jonathan plays certain notes on his saxophone, and it will open up his magic…unique to him.  Likewise, Florence Zimmerman’s broken magic is uniquely her, while Lewis learns the hidden power of words.  Black reveals that element is one of his favorites about the story: “Tapping into our unique weirdness is the key to a person’s individual magic.  Let the individuality out.”

Casting two-time Academy Award® winner Cate Blanchett in the role of Florence Zimmerman, one of the most powerful witches on Earth, was a major coup for the filmmakers.  Known for a body of dramatic work, Blanchett has also stunned audiences with her darkly comedic chops in films such as Thor: Ragnarok.  Shares Roth: “When you ask, ‘Who’s the greatest actress in the world?  People say, ‘Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Judi Dench.’  That’s it.  I’m so excited because I haven’t seen Cate do a role like this.  I feel like she’s had fun in classic roles like the wicked stepmother in Cinderella.  She’s so thoughtful, careful and meticulous, and she was excited to create this incredible role.”

The performer appreciates Roth’s eclectic aesthetic, and offers that the director was one of the primary reasons she decided to join the production.  “What I love about Eli is that he didn’t just come at the story from one perspective,” says Blanchett.  “He has incredibly electric tastes, and I felt like he didn’t shy away from the danger and excitement.  But he was also able to bring such heart to the film.”

Blanchett agrees with her collaborators when she discusses her appreciation of the themes and humor in Clock, ones that speak to the entire family.  “In the best possible way, it’s a family film,” she gives.  “It is genuinely scary.  It’s a privilege to sit there as a parent and hold your child’s hand and say, ‘We’re going on this rollercoaster together.’  I’m always disappointed when I go and see a children’s film and feel the jokes are for me.  This film is a sophisticated, dark, heart-rending, hilarious, surprising journey, and that goes back to the heart of the novel.”

While the audience grows to learn more about the reasons for Mrs. Zimmerman’s “stuck magic,” when Lewis meets the character, all he understands is that she has somehow broken her magical abilities.  Blanchett comments on where we find her: “She’s encouraging Lewis and Jonathan to step up to the plate, to embrace who they really are.  Still, she needs their encouragement to do that herself.  The beautiful thing about this film is that not one of these characters can tackle this problem by themselves.  They need each other to do it.”

Black was duly excited about Blanchett’s casting, and he remains appreciative of their time on set together.  “The idea of working with Cate was exciting and daunting,” he states.  “I told everyone I knew I was working on a Cate Blanchett movie; I think she’s the best actor in the world.  Blue Jasmine is one of the best performances of all time.”

The chemistry between Black and Blanchett is unexpectedly whimsical, and Blanchett and Black had a ball delivering Kripke’s zingers at one another.  The director reflects that watching them reminded him of scenes from his favorite classic comedies: “When I saw them, I thought, ‘This is Tracy and Hepburn.  It’s like we’re making a Howard Hawks-screwball comedy.  This is his Girl Friday.’  There are moments where Jack and Cate are sniping at each other where I thought, ‘We are making a Preston Sturges/Howard Hawks film.’”

“Jonathan and Florence have been long connected through their love of magic,” adds Blanchett, “but also a mutual respect.  They bicker and fight like George and Martha from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.  But they have a deep love of one another, and they understand each other’s foibles—as well as the pain that they’ve both experienced.  There’s a great love between them, as much as they tussle with one another.”

To play the irrepressible Lewis Barnavelt, the production would search high and low for a boy capable of mixing humor and pathos.  For Roth, one of the inspirations for this character was from one of his Amblin favorite films: E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.  “I heard an interview where Steven Spielberg talks about Henry Thomas when he walked in the room and he had him in tears,” the director recalls.

Roth knew he wouldn’t settle on Lewis until he had that experience with a young performer.  “Spielberg knew that was Elliott, and we wanted to find a kid like that for Lewis.   We wanted to find someone who had the sensitivity, who was vulnerable, fun, and an outcast you could root for and love.”  They discovered that in young actor Owen Vaccaro, who had made a name for himself in both Daddy’s Home and Mother’s Day.  “Owen walked in the room, and he was the kid.  He is Lewis, and his performance is so strong dramatically.  He is so funny, and he has such great natural timing.”

Blanchett was equally as impressed with Owen’s abilities and demeanor.  “He is so down to Earth and practical,” she commends.  “I’ve never met a child, or another actor, with such an extraordinary work ethic.”

Black agrees with his leading lady.  The actor has worked with child performers in many of his films, and he was admittedly blown away by the depth of Vaccaro’s performance.  “It seemed like an awful lot for a 10-year-old to take on, but Eli was insistent on Owen,” notes Black.  “I realized that he was right.  These scenes came alive because of his innocence and youthful magic.  The story is really his story.”

Vaccaro remembers one day in particular that struck a chord about how to play the brilliant Lewis, and that was the day of his audition.  He tells: “One of Lewis’ lines is ‘I like new words.  I think they’re pulchritudinous.’  I didn’t know what that word meant, and so at the screen test, Eli gave me a list of words to look at and memorize.  They never ended up asking me but they were words like cosmological, meteorological and pulchritudinous.”  He pauses: “Yeah, I forgot them.”

One of his favorite scenes during production was when Lewis meets Uncle Jonathan.  The performer shares: “I think my favorite part about that scene was, first of all, there were eggplants everywhere.  I like eggplants because they’re squishy, but they set-dressed all the fronts of the stores so everything was back to the 1950s, which was so cool and the bus was super fun.  When Lewis arrives in New Zebedee, he is very confused about everything.  I remember when we walked into the house, I play being confused about all the clocks.  He thinks Uncle Jonathan’s pretty weird, so he’s weird with him.”

Vaccaro admits to being blown away during his time on set, especially by the amount of clocks.  “There were a bunch of cuckoo clocks everywhere, which were always my favorite,” he says.  “I think a lot of the clocks were given to us by Cham’s Clock Shop, and they were great.  It’s a strange, magical house.  The La-Z-Boy chair moves!  If you’ve ever seen Beauty and the Beast, it’s just like that.”

No good Amblin film would be complete without a most wicked villain, and lauded actor Kyle MacLachlan stepped up to play the recently-back-from-the-grave wizard Isaac Izard.  Blanchett was amazed at MacLachlan’s transformation.  “He was totally unrecognizable…so sinister and creepy.  She laughs: “Deliciously so.”

Roth gives respect to a legendary filmmaker who first brought MacLachlan into our homes during the era of Twin Peaks.  “David Lynch understood the incredible range that Kyle has, and he’s so smart,” he commends.  “You believe this is an evil genius who holed up in a house and built a doomsday clock.  I wanted someone who was going to have humor and heart, but who can also be very scary.  After Twin Peaks, he said, ‘I’ve been reading scripts, but nothing has grabbed me except this one.’  I said, ‘Let’s create this iconic role for you.’”

Black agrees with Blanchett and Roth, adding that it was MacLachlan appearing to so effortlessly slip into the role that made him all the more terrifying: “I’ve never seen him like this before as the main villain.  His performance comes from a stillness and relaxation; it’s chilling.”

In the role of Isaac’s equally evil wife, Selena Izard, is the multitalented Renée Elise Goldsberry—the Tony and Grammy Award-winning performer who now brings a deliciously wicked sensibility to the big screen.  “I am so excited to have Renée from Hamilton and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks playing Selena Izard,” commends Roth.

The only thing that can stop the Izards’ return is a group of three misfits…who must use their combined magic to save the world.  Goldsberry walks us through her character’s part of the story: “Everything is set into motion by the arrival of this special young boy.  He shows up just in time to tip the balance in this epic battle of good versus evil.”

The actress appreciated getting to play such a complex character…a witch who will do anything for love.  “The 1950s were a charming time for great music and fashion…but a challenging time for women of color.  I think that’s why Selena has chosen shape-shifting as her form of magic.  It gives her access that black women didn’t have.  Selena can become whoever she needs to be to get what she wants.”

A longtime fan, Black sums the feelings of his fellow cast when he discusses just how enchanting Goldsberry is in her performances: “I went to Broadway with my son to see School of Rock and Hamilton.  Renée in particular was spellbinding; she blew my socks off.  She sings like an angel and is a powerhouse.  When I found out she was going to be in the movie, I was so excited.”  He also loves the duality she provides with character choice.  “In Hamilton, she is a brilliant gorgeous force of nature…but in this movie she is pure evil.”

Rounding out the cast are actress Lorenza Izzo, who portrays Lewis’ mother in flashback sequences, as well as two school friends of Lewis who are as opposite as can be.  Vanessa Anne Williams portrays as Rose, Lewis’ fellow nerdy friend—who accepts him just as he is—while Sunny Suljic was brought on to play Tarby, the cool kid in school whom Lewis wants to impress so desperately…that’s he’s willing to accidentally wake the dead to do so.

Discussing the power of this story, Izzo reflects: “There are three big themes in the material that make it very rich and relatable.  Family is a huge theme in the book and in this movie.  There is the big theme of loss, and sadly but truthfully, it’s more common than we’d like to know.  Third, there is the power of magic.  There’s a reason why these tales include these elements.  When you mix family and loss and magic, those are three beautiful themes that make a story very rich and interesting to watch.  It certainly makes me want to see that.”

 

Secret Chambers and Velour Walls:

Design and Camerawork

 

The centerpiece of The House with a Clock in Its Walls is most certainly a mansion with a deep, dark, world-stopping secret.  But the 1950s town of New Zebedee itself had to be created in Newnan, Georgia.  From the sweet shop to Mrs. Zimmerman’s purple house, the filmmakers were delighted to find the look they sought in this small southern town.

Roth’s inspiration for creating this universe alongside production designer Jon Hutman is an interesting one: a Quentin Tarantino film in which he acted.  The director explains: “Acting in Inglorious Basterds was one of the most fun experiences in my life.  I got to live in the world of the 1940s and be in Europe.”

Not just that decade…but the one just right after.  As a massive fan of Amblin’s Back to the Future movies and of the ’50s in general, Roth was particularly keen to dig into the design of New Zebedee.  “I loved that town square from the films; I loved ‘Save the Clock Tower.’  When we got to Newnan, we all thought, “Oh my God, this is like the town square in Back to the Future.

Roth and Hutman have long been intrigued by the post-World War II era.  Drawn to not just the lull when the nation was catching its collective breath and healing from the war, they love the boon in music, culture, technology, monster movies and Technicolor.

Of course, a film titled The House with a Clock in Its Walls had to have a star, well, house.  “We wanted it to look lush and beautiful, but the house is the character,” sums the director.  “At the same time, we have to open up to the whole world in the town of New Zebedee.”  Filmed in downtown Newnan, about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, the small town had the look designer Hutman was seeking, including turn-of-the-century homes similar to those found in Michigan.

Roth and Hutman had actually collaborated before The House with a Clock in Its Walls, albeit in a much different capacity.  “It turns out that I had worked with Eli 20-plus years ago on a movie called Quiz Show, where I was the production designer,” shares the production designer.  Eli was the assistant to one of the producers.”  He laughs: “So one of us has had a meteoric career trajectory since then!”

In Roth, Hutman found a thoughtful partner who approached film design in the manner that he did.  “What I like about Eli is that he’s this hybrid guy who’s director, producer, writer, and actor.  I found him to be hooked into what the movie should feel like,” says Hutman.  “I always believe, on any movie, my job is to make the world of the movie look the way it feels to the characters.”  He pauses: “I’m a house guy.  So the opportunity to design any house, but particularly a haunted house is a bucket-list item.  I love the opportunity to do it from a kid’s point of view.”

For the visual look of The House with a Clock in Its Walls, Roth’s decisions with Dutch cinematographer Rogier Stoffers—whose fascinating career spans work from Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan to a previous partnership with Black on School of Rock—dovetailed perfectly with Hutman’s design.  “Rogier and I collaborated on Death Wish and had such a great experience that we wanted to work together again,” shares Roth.  “This film gave us a chance to express ourselves in a visual language not possible in a revenge thriller.  We wanted to something wild, creative and beautiful.”

Their cast felt the attention to detail the filmmakers gave in making Newnan their mystical new location.  “What I loved about the book,” reflects Blanchett, “but also the way the film is realized, is that you feel like it could happen, right here, right now, but yet, it’s happening in this little town of New Zebedee.  It’s a town that time has forgotten, a throwback.  You see all of these fantastic things, but they’re seen through a magical prism.  Newnan is this fantastic town with these incredible houses where we shot the exteriors.  To be in that town at night, it felt that we were close to the experience of being in the film.”

Blanchett discusses the house that was created on set, offering that it definitely brought out the kid inside her: “It was this terrifying, wonderful, but also very human house that needed a lot of help.  The wallpaper, the staircase, the stained glass window that moved.  Every single weird and kooky clock and all of the taxidermy animals.  You were able to play with everything, and the set decoration was creepy but super magical.”  Her favorite element?  “The pooping griffin!  Every time we stepped onto a new part of the set, I was like a child in Disneyland.”

Hutman and Roth felt that tone was a very important decision…not just in design, but also in scariness.  Since Lewis is moving into this new home after his parents died, it couldn’t be just spooky, but elements had to be warm and inviting about the house.  There’s something unusual and off-putting at first…but it turns out to be warm, loving and inviting.

However, Roth didn’t need the movie to feel that it’s entirely set in a house itself.  “We want this movie to have secret chambers, mystery, clocks and weirdness.  That you always feel like there’s something moving and something looking at you,” he says.  “There’s a magical-labyrinth feeling.  The heavy drapes, velour wallpaper, chandeliers—the fact that it’s lit by candlelight.  I want to feel like you entered into another world.”

For the director, it starts and ends with his brilliant production designer and his crack team.  “Jon is such a genius.  He worked on Nancy Meyers’ films, and I wanted to bring that level of detail to this film.  We wanted it to be the lushest, visually and stylistically, but everything is about the characters.  If the design puts a wall between you and the characters, you’ve overdesigned it.  You look at E.T., Gremlins, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, and everything draws you into the movie.”

Just next door to Lewis and Jonathan, Florence inhabits a whimsical house of her own.  Hutman explains that world: “She lives next door to Jonathan in a purple house, and she only wears purple.  She’s stuck in the 1920s before World War II, so it’s this time-capsule place where she keeps her memories.  The purple-on-purple-on-purple is a challenging thing.  It turns out that there’s a lot of like different shades of purple…from the red or pinker end to the bluer end.  It’s a delicious set!”

Another key location in The House with a Clock in Its Walls was the Candler Mansion, owned by the prominent Candler family in Atlanta.  It provided the set for Jonathan’s solarium.  “This was the mansion owned by the Coca-Cola family,” explains Roth.  “It was built in the 1920s, and it’s been in disrepair.  It’s been closed for a long time, and not a lot of movies have been in there.  We tricked out this solarium with these automatons, and it is so creepy.”

The youngest member of the principal cast had quite an experience at the Candler Mansion, completely befitting the spirit and theme of the shoot.  “We walked in, and we just had a phone flashlight,” recounts Vaccaro.  “We looked into one of the rooms and right there, written in yellow spray paint, it said, ‘Where are the ashes?’  I swear this happened.  I’m getting shivers right now, and I’m terrified thinking of it.  I screamed as loud as I could and ran away!”

 


 

Automatons and Sleight of Hand:

Magic of the Shoot

 

From vomiting pumpkins and an animated recliner seat to creepy automatons and musical instruments that play themselves, the magic in The House with a Clock in Its Walls is spontaneous, delightful and scary.  All under the supervision of VFX supervisor Louis Morin, who brought Beauty and the Beast to glorious life just a few years ago.

Roth recalls one of his favorite scenes: “Watching Jack Black take a face full of pumpkin was one of the highlights of my career.  I’ve never been so happy.”

Blanchett remembers that day of shooting quite well: “Probably one of the more disgusting, fabulous experiences I’ve had as an actor was the spewing pumpkins.”

Still, her favorite day on set—and one of the truly scary moments in the film—is, as Blanchett puts it: “the attack of the automatons.”  The performer shares what happened that day: “Spielberg unleashed the clown onto my childish subconscious, from which I don’t think I’ve ever recovered.  The automatons really brought back that whole, amazing, terrifying moment of dolls that look both sweet and sinister.  It was scary to film.  With Eli behind the lens, I think it was exhilaratingly scary to watch.”

About the mechanical oddities, EP Nyberg says: “The automaton sequence is inspired by the history of old-school magicians.  There are a couple of very famous ones: the note writer, the orange tree.   We thought it was a great opportunity to take something that is real and then add our bit of genre magic to it, and have them come to life.  Ultimately, once Isaac is back and the house starts to turn evil, what exists in this house, and how it makes it evil, is fun.”

Some of the automatons were borrowed from the personal collection of Spielberg.  Black gives a bit of insight: “We had some amazing artistry that went into the automatons.  Some of them are actual antiques.  Spielberg loaned some from his private collection, and they are super creepy.  He had them in storage but loaned them to us for the movie.”

The automatons weren’t the only ones delivering sleight-of-hand.  Black plays a magician, so it was important to him to learn some of that dexterity for his role.  “It comes down to finger and hand dexterity.  I learned from a master, DAVID KWONG,” the performer states.

 

Lovecraft Meets Newhart:

Costumes of Clock

 

Legendary costume designer Marlene Stewart took the helm to create the dressed world of the characters of The House with a Clock in Its Walls.  From Jonathan’s robes and fez to Florence’s strictly purple wardrobe, this is a world of magic, drama and whimsy.  For Stewart, it wasn’t mandatory that the time period match the dress.  “Although the story is set in the 1950s, the costumes of the characters don’t necessarily represent that era,” she explains.  “All of our characters live in their own private realities; it’s magical realism.”

Much like Hutman with Mrs. Zimmerman’s domicile, Stewart found that her biggest challenge creatively with Florence’s costumes was to be able to use different shades of purple.  Pulling in different fabrics and textures, she created a wardrobe that reflected someone who was sophisticated and worldly.

That said, it was important to both designer and actress that the character not devolve into caricature.  “Cate wanted to be grounded in reality,” says Stewart.  “It was a study in trying to find different colors and fabrics—these tweeds, silks and prints.  Another challenge was to take into account the background: Jon’s amazing production design.  We had to make sure that it was a good partnership with the background so that purples he used in the design were not clashing with the purples in our clothing.”

Stewart collaborated at length with Blanchett on her costume and accessories.  “We don’t know exactly where Florence was born,” the designer reflects.  “We know that she lived in Paris, but she had an Eastern European influence.  So we used some Czechoslovakian crystal, and a lot of her jewelry has gold or silver with Czechoslovakian crystal gems in it.  It also helped to match her umbrella.  When we first started doing the illustrations I had these amethyst stones and worked with BRAD EINHORN, the prop master, on a look that came together.”

Transforming into Florence had Blanchett with a gray wig, head-to-toe purple costumes and a stiff demeanor.  Roth marvels at her chameleon ability: “I don’t think there’s been an actor like Cate since Peter Sellers, who completely transforms into another person—unrecognizable.  She just changes her voice and her physicality.”

To transmogrify Black into Jonathan, Stewart started with design reference that could marry the actor’s magician and musician backgrounds.  She says: “For Jonathan’s look, I referenced Modigliani for visuals to show Eli.  He wears a vest and high-wasted trousers.  This is a look that would have been common at the turn of the century or in the late 1890s.  There’s also reference to Mrs. Zimmerman being very tall and structured, and Jonathan being a more tussled, unkempt and round.”

In Stewart’s conversations with Black, they discussed his outfit not feeling like a costume, but something that a real person would wear.  She emphasizes one piece in particular: “A jacket that he wears is a railroad engineer’s jacket from the 1920s.  Today, any artist or musician might wear a vintage piece and have it be mixed up; they’re not looking like the fashion of the day, but they’re very much more of an individual.”

Stewart labored to craft a “buttoned-up” look for Vaccaro’s character of Lewis.  She remembers: “In my research, I found an image that looked a bit like a young Truman Capote—with glasses, pocket square and a buttoned-down shirt with bowtie.  I remember the script saying that he was reminiscent of Bob Newhart!  He is a bit precocious.”

“When you hear him speak you realize that he’s a little man.  He has an advanced vocabulary and seemingly an unending ability to learn magic very quickly.  He’s smart and curious, very adult in this juxtaposition to Jonathan.  He cares about his appearance, and he does find a way to express his own magic.  In the film, he wears a 1940s vintage sweater which became his magic sweater and then he wears a toaster cozy which is his magic hat.”

Vaccaro appreciated that he got to put input into the design: “Lewis in every single scene except for the bedtime scenes wears the bowtie, a button down, a blazer and a sweater,” he states.  “He has really cool shoes and corduroy pants.  He also buttons up his sleeves, which I don’t normally do.  I usually fold them back, but I guess this is 1954 and it’s 2018 right now; it’s a big-time difference.”

In searching for a backstory for Isaac, which would help inform MacLachlan’s costumes, Marlene was inspired by another beloved author.  She explains: “I found a reference for HP Lovecraft, and I showed Eli the look for him.  He was a famous writer of horror stories who was at the height of his career in the 1920s.  I pitched a look for him in which he’s wearing a severe, three-button suit—with a high collar and dark tie—that would have been appropriate for that period.”

It’s a very severe, slightly sinister look and at the same time it’s a different silhouette than any of the other characters.  Taking into account the audience’s interaction with the character, the designer says: “When we see this character we’re a little confused perhaps. We know something is a little mysterious and dark about him already.  As we go through the story and it unfolds, we find out that he has had a troubled past.  In fact, he was quite a humanitarian in World War II.”

For the evil Selena, Stewart wanted a unique palette to set the villainess off.  “Because Mrs. Zimmerman lives in this very purple, violet, lavender mystical world, I wanted Selena to be the opposite.  I thought, ‘Let’s go to the opposite of the color wheel; we’ll go to the deep green.”

****

Production wrapped, Roth reflects that he has accomplished the mission to make a “proper” Amblin movie.  “This is a true scary horror film and for younger kids and families,” he concludes.  “They get the scares, thrills and laughs, but something in them makes them say, ‘I can’t wait to see the next one.’  He is excited for fans to see this magical, fun adventure of this labor of love: “A haunted house, a psycho with an axe chopping at the walls, a little kid looking around with a flashlight, and creepy automatons.  I never wanted it to end.”

****

Amblin Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment present a Mythology Entertainment production: Jack Black, Cate Blanchett in The House with a Clock in Its Walls, starring Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic and Kyle MacLachlan.  The haunting adventure’s visual effects supervisor is Louis Morin, and its music is by Nathan Barr.  The costume designer is Marlene Stewart, and it is edited by Fred Raskin, ACE.  The film’s production designer is Jon Hutman, and its director of photography is Rogier Stoffers, ASC, NSC.  The executive producers are William Sherak, Tracey Nyberg, Laeta Kalogridis, Mark McNair, and it is produced by Bradley J. Fischer, p.g.a., James Vanderbilt, p.g.a., Eric Kripke, p.g.a.  The House with a Clock in Its Walls is based on the novel by John Bellairs, from a screenplay by Eric Kripke.  The film is directed by Eli Roth.  © 2018 Universal Studios and Storyteller Distribution Co., LLC.  www.housewithaclock.com

 

ABOUT THE CAST

 

JACK BLACK (Jonathan Barnavelt) has cemented himself as one of the most versatile and sought-after talents in entertainment—with multiple high-profile projects in the works.  Most recently, he can most recently be seen alongside Joaquin Phoenix, Jonah Hill and Rooney Mara in the Gus Van Sant drama Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, which debuted at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was released in July 2018.

In 2017, Black starred opposite Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart in the blockbuster film Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.  He was also producer and star of The Polka King, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was released on Netflix last September.

Previously, he could be heard reprising the role of Po for the third installment of DreamWorks Animation’s smash franchise Kung Fu Panda, and he starred as R.L. Stine in Sony Pictures’ hit movie Goosebumps, the film adaptation based on the popular children’s books.  He also produced and starred (opposite James Marsden) in The D Train, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was later released in theaters.  Black garnered praise for his portrayal of Dan Landsman in the film, which was regarded as “what may be the performance of his career” by The Wrap.

Black starred alongside Tim Robbins in HBO’s dark comedy series The Brink and starred in the critically acclaimed independent film Bernie, a role for which he earned a 2013 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, and a 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Male Lead.  Black also topped the box office with Tropic Thunder; School of Rock, which earned Black his first Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical; and the Academy Award®-winning blockbuster film King Kong.  Black’s additional film credits include Gulliver’s Travels, The Big Year, The Muppets, Nacho Libre, Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda 2, Bob Roberts, High Fidelity, Saving Silverman, Year One, Shallow Hal, Ice Age, Orange County, Envy, Shark Tale and The Holiday.

Off screen, Black formed his own successful production company Electric Dynamite under which a number of new projects are currently in development including Madame X, Belles & Whistles and Wizard’s Way.  Electric Dynamite’s additional credits include The D Train and the digital series Ghost Ghirls.

A true multi-hyphenate, Black continues to tour both domestically and internationally as the lead singer of the rock-folk comedy group Tenacious D, which he created with longtime friend and collaborator Kyle Gass.  The duo released their self-titled album with Epic Records in fall 2001, and was quickly certified at gold-selling status.  Their first feature film, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, was released in November 2006 and led to two follow-up documentaries: The Making of ‘The Pick of Destiny’, which was produced by Black, and D Tour: A Tenacious Documentary, which focused on the band’s world tour in support of their film and soundtrack.

In 2013, Black and Gass founded Festival Supreme, an annual music and comedy festival that returned for its fourth year in October 2016.

Black lives in Los Angeles with his wife Tanya and their two sons.

 

CATE BLANCHETT (Florence Zimmerman) served as the co-artistic director and co-CEO of Sydney Theatre Company (STC), alongside Andrew Upton from 2008-2013.  She is a graduate of the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art and holds honorary doctorates of letters from the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney and Macquarie University.  In 2014, Blanchett starred as Jasmine in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, for which she won Best Actress at the Academy Awards®.  Her portrayal of Jasmine also earned her the Best Actress award at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, Golden Globe Awards, British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, Film Independent Spirit Awards, and numerous critics’ group awards.  This year, Blanchett served as jury president of the 71st Cannes Film Festival in France.  Her jury included Ava DuVernay, Kristen Stewart, Denis Villeneuve, Chang Chen, Robert Guédiguian, Khadja Nin, Léa Seydoux and Andrey Zvyagintsev.

In 2015, Blanchett starred alongside Rooney Mara in Carol, directed by Todd Haynes and based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel “The Price of Salt.”  She received Oscar®, BAFTA, Golden Globe, Film Independent Spirit and SAG award nominations for her title role in the film.   Blanchett served as an executive producer on the project, which was produced in association with Dirty Films, the company that Blanchett founded with Upton.  That same year, Blanchett also appeared in Truth, which also starred Robert Redford, as Mary Mapes, whose memoir “Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power” was adapted into the feature film.  Dirty Films also received a producing credit in association with the film.

In 2017, Blanchett was seen in Thor: Ragnarok, the third installment of the Marvel franchise, as well as Julian Rosefeldt’s Manifesto.  This year, she starred in Ocean’s Eight, the first all-female installment in the Ocean’s franchise.  Next year, she will star in Where’d You Go, Bernadette, the film adaptation of Maria Semple’s The New York Times bestselling novel of the same name, and Netflix’s Mowgli.

In 2004, Blanchett won an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese’s Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, for which she also received BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards and a Golden Globe Award nomination.  In 2008, Blanchett was nominated for two Oscars®: Best Actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and Best Supporting Actress for I’m Not There, making her only the fifth actor in Academy® history to be nominated in both acting categories in the same year.  Additionally, she received dual SAG and BAFTA award nominations, for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and I’m Not There, respectively.  For the latter, she also won a Golden Globe Award, a Film Independent Spirit Award, several critics groups awards and the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 2007 Venice Film Festival.

She earned her first Oscar® nomination and won her first BAFTA, Golden Globe and London Film Critics Circle Awards for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth.   She also received Oscar®, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her performance in Notes on a Scandal.  Additionally, Blanchett has earned Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress for the title role in Joel Schumacher’s Veronica Guerin and for her work in Barry Levinson’s Bandits; and earlier, she earned another BAFTA Award nomination for her performance in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Blanchett originated the role of Galadriel in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and reprised her role in The Hobbit trilogy.  Additional film credits include George Clooney’s The Monuments Men; Joe Wright’s Hanna; Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood; David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Steven Soderbergh’s The Good German; Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel; and Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

Among her other film credits are Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes, for which she earned a Film Independent Spirit Award nomination; Ron Howard’s The Missing; Gillian Armstrong’s Charlotte Gray; Lasse Hallström’s The Shipping News; Rowan Woods’ Little Fish; Mike Newell’s Pushing Tin; Oliver Parker’s An Ideal Husband; Sam Raimi’s The Gift; Sally Potter’s The Man Who Cried; Bruce Beresford’s Paradise Road; Thank God He Met Lizzie, for which she won both the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) and the Film Critics Circle of Australia Award for Best Supporting Actress; and Gillian Armstrong’s Oscar and Lucinda, for which she also earned an Australian Film Institute nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role.

Blanchett made her Broadway debut last year in the Sydney Theatre Company and Stuart Thompson production of The Present, based on Anton Chekhov’s Platonov.  Blanchett first starred in the production, which was written by Andrew Upton and directed by John Crowley, when it premiered in Sydney in August 2015.  In 2019, she will star in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other at the National Theatre in London.  Blanchett’s previous roles on stage include the titular role in Hedda Gabler for which she won the Ibsen Centennial Award, Helpmann Award and the Mo Award for Best Actress; Richard II in the celebrated STC production of The War of The Roses; Blanche Du Bois in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, which traveled to much acclaim from Sydney to Washington, D.C. and New York (her performance was considered the “performance of the year” by The New York Times) and for which she received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress, Non-Resident Production. She starred as Yelena in Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya, in a new adaptation by Upton, that toured to Washington, D.C. in 2011 and New York in 2012 to great critical acclaim and for which she received the Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Play and the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress, Non-Resident Production.  She also starred as Lotte in Botho Strauss’ Gross und Klein, which toured extensively throughout Europe, in 2012, was part of the London Cultural Olympiad and for which she received her third Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Play.  Blanchett performed opposite Isabelle Huppert in STC’s production of Jean Genet’s The Maids, directed by Benedict Andrews and co-adapted by Upton and Andrews, for which Blanchett was honored with her fourth Helpmann Award.

In 2017, Blanchett was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia in the General Division for her eminent service to the performing arts as an international stage and screen actor, through seminal contributions as director of artistic organizations, as a role model for women and young performers, and as a supporter of humanitarian and environmental causes.  Blanchett has been awarded the Centenary Medal for Service to Australian Society through Acting, and, in 2007, she was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.  In 2012, she was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture, in recognition of her significant contributions to the arts.  She has also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 2008, Blanchett co-chaired the creative stream of the Prime Minister of Australia’s National 2020 Summit.  She is a patron of the Sydney Film Festival and an ambassador for the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Film Institute.

Blanchett is a supporter of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency and was named the UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in May 2016.  She has undertaken fact-finding missions to Lebanon and Jordan to meet refugees and stateless people who have been displaced by the Syrian conflict.  Blanchett is committed to raising awareness on issues of forced displacement, and, in particular, on the scourge of statelessness that affects millions of people worldwide, denying them basic rights including access to education and healthcare, and the ability to work and travel.

Blanchett resides in London with her husband and their four children.

 

Bright, inquisitive and an undeniable talent, OWEN VACCARO (Lewis Barnavelt) is a star on the rise.  At only 12 years old, Vaccaro has a growing resume composed of high-profile film projects that actors twice his age are still working to build, and he is not showing any signs of slowing down.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Vaccaro began acting in small productions when he was four but really developed a passion for theater and then film acting at the age of seven.  His parents searched high and low for something that would satisfy his creative side and finally signed him up for musical theater at MZ Stageworks in Atlanta.  Vaccaro loved being on stage and bringing stories to life.  He was cast in a commercial for Ford Motor Company and did some local indie films where his talent grew and he learned all about making movies.  Since then, Vaccaro booked his first franchise where he starred as Dylan, the son of Mark Wahlberg and stepson of Will Ferrell, in both Daddy’s Home and Daddy’s Home 2.  He also worked with Garry Marshall on Mother’s Day and Fun Mom Dinner with Molly Shannon and Toni Collette.  Vaccaro just wrapped filming the independent film Team Marco in which he stars as the title character, Marco, a young boy whose grandfather moves in with his family and encourages him to disconnect from his iPad and start a bocce ball team with the neighborhood kids.

When he’s not on a movie set, Vaccaro and his family live in Atlanta.  He is the middle child with an older sister (Tatum) and a younger brother (Reid).  Vaccaro’s family keeps him grounded with carpools, soccer games, practices and spending time with friends.  He continues to take classes, workshops, musical theater class and singing lessons, and summer camps at the Alliance Theater in Atlanta.

 

RENÉE ELISE GOLDSBERRY (Selena) received the Tony Award, Grammy Award, Drama Desk Award and Lucille Lortel Award for her performance both on Broadway and Off-Broadway in the musical phenomenon Hamilton.

Since winning the Tony Award, she has appeared in the title role of HBO’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks opposite Oprah Winfrey and in Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down for Netflix.

Currently she is starring in the hit series Altered Carbon streaming now on Netflix. In 2019, Goldsberry will appear in Trey Shults’ Waves opposite Lucas Hedges and Sterling K. Brown.

Prior to Hamilton, Goldsberry’s appearances on stage included her Outer Critics Circle Award-nominated performance opposite Frances McDormand in the play Good People, as well as the original Broadway version of The Color Purple. She made her Broadway debut in The Lion King, and her performance as Mimi in Broadway’s closing cast of Rent was immortalized on film.  Off-Broadway, Goldsberry’s performance as Sylvia in the Public Theater’s production of Two Gentlemen of Verona for their Shakespeare in the Park series garnered her across-the-board rave reviews.

Highlights from her television and film credits include her work on The Good Wife; The Following; the animated series The Lion Guard; the Universal Pictures hit Sisters; the independent film All About You; and her creation of the beloved character Evangeline Williamson on ABC’s One Life to Live, for which she received two Daytime Emmy Award nominations and two NAACP Image Award nominations.  She will also lend her voice to the DreamWorks animated series Fast & Furious as Ms. Nowhere.

Goldsberry has a bachelor of fine arts from Carnegie Mellon University and a master of fine arts from the University of Southern California.  She is a mother of two and a happy wife!  For every blessing, personal and professional, Goldsberry gives all glory to God!

 

SUNNY SULJIC (Tarby) recently starred in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer opposite Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell.  The feature was a spotlight in the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.  Suljic was also recently seen in Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, which starred Jack Black and Joaquin Phoenix.  Suljic’s other film credits include the horror/thriller The Unspoken (2015) directed and written by Sheldon Wilson, as well as the drama 1915 (2015), which starred Angela Sarafyan.

Suljic’s television career includes a guest star role as Young Joe Bachner in the CBS crime series Criminal Minds.

 

LORENZA IZZO (Lewis’ Mother) arrived in Los Angeles from her native city of Santiago, Chile, and has quickly captured the attention of Hollywood.

Audiences can next see Izzo in the multigenerational Amazon drama Life Itself, written and directed by Dan Fogelman and released on September 21.  She also starred in the fourth and final season of Hulu’s hit series Casual, which premiered this past summer.

In addition, Izzo was recently cast in Quentin Tarantino’s film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which will be released in 2019.

She starred in Lionsgate’s psychological thriller Knock Knock, opposite Keanu Reeves and Ana de Armas, which premiered at Sundance in 2015.  Other film credits include the Eli Roth-directed cannibal thriller The Green Inferno and Izzo’s English-language debut, the Dimension thriller Aftershock, directed by Nicolas Lopez.  She also starred in the horror film The Stranger, which was written and directed by Guillermo Amoedo and the romantic comedy Sex Ed, opposite Haley Joel Osment.

On the small screen, Izzo starred in the AMC series Feed the Beast, alongside David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess.  She was also the female lead in the NBC pilot I am Victor, opposite John Stamos and Matthew Lillard.  As well, she recurred on the Gaumont/Netflix series Hemlock Grove.

In Chile, Izzo is well known for starring in the comedies Que Pena Tu Boda (F*ck My Wedding) and Que Pena Tu Familia (F*ck my Family), both directed by Nicolas Lopez.

Izzo was featured in Variety Latino’s “10 to Watch” as well as in photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank’s book Young Hollywood as a new young face of Hollywood.

She currently resides in Los Angeles.

 


 

KYLE MACLACHLAN (Isaac) is an actor who has brought indelible charm and a quirky sophistication to some of film and television’s most memorable roles.

MacLachlan is best known for his performance as FBI Agent Dale Cooper in David Lynch’s groundbreaking series Twin Peaks, for which he received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations and a Golden Globe Award.  The series revival premiered on Showtime on May 21, 2017.

He recently reprised his role as the gregarious and enthusiastic Mayor of Portland, alongside Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, in the eighth and final season of the cult-hit-comedy Portlandia.

In 2015, MacLachlan voiced the role of Dad in Disney-Pixar’s award-winning film, Inside Out.  The film was released on June 19, 2015, and made record-setting box-office numbers for an original film.  The animated film received an Oscar®, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award and the International Press Academy Satellite Award, among others.

MacLachlan had regular appearances on ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., CBS’ The Good Wife and NBC’s Believe, which was produced by J.J. Abrams.  He also had a recurring guest role as The Captain on How I Met Your Mother.  The role was loosely based on some of MacLachlan’s early sitcom heroes, such as Thurston Howell III and Jethro Bodine.

MacLachlan reprised his role as Dr. Orson Hodge on the eighth and final season of ABC’s highly rated Primetime Emmy Award-nominated television series Desperate Housewives.  MacLachlan joined the cast in 2006 and appeared regularly on the show until 2011.

In 2012, MacLachlan appeared in IFC Films’ Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, directed by Bruce Beresford and which starred Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Olsen and Catherine Keener.

In 2010, MacLachlan appeared in Mao’s Last Dancer, a film he shot in Australia in 2009 that was based on the true story of ballet dancer Li Cunxin. MacLachlan played Charles Foster, the immigration attorney responsible for keeping Li from being forcibly removed from the U.S. by the Chinese government while helping him gain his citizenship.  The film was directed by Beresford and was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and ATO Pictures.

MacLachlan also starred in two seasons of HBO’s highly successful comedy series Sex and the City as Charlotte’s husband, Dr. Trey MacDougal.  He also guest starred in a recurring role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

MacLachlan’s other television credits include In Justice for ABC (2006); TNT’s The Librarian: Quest for the Spear (2004); HBO’s award-winning film Against the Wall, the story of the 1971 Attica prison riots (1994); and Showtime’s original film Roswell, based on the infamous story of an alleged UFO sighting in 1947 Roswell, New Mexico (1994).

MacLachlan made his feature film debut in 1984 in the futuristic drama Dune, directed by David Lynch.  This was followed by his second collaboration with Lynch in 1986 in the uniquely disturbing film Blue Velvet, opposite Isabella Rossellini and Dennis Hopper.

Other film credits include The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008); Touch of Pink (2004); Miramax’s Hamlet (2000); Timecode (2000); One Night Stand (1997); The Trigger Effect (1996); Paul Verhoeven’s cult classic Showgirls (1995); The Flintstones, produced by Steven Spielberg (1994); The Trial (1993); Rich in Love (1992); and Oliver Stone’s 1991 film The Doors, where he portrayed legendary keyboardist Ray Manzarek.

MacLachlan made his directorial debut in 1993 with an episode of the darkly comic HBO hit series Tales from the Crypt.

In fall 2003, MacLachlan made his Broadway debut as Aston in Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker, which also starred Patrick Stewart and Aidan Gillen.  The play, which tells the story of two brothers and an elderly derelict in close quarters, was directed by David Jones for the Roundabout Theatre Company and was nominated for Outstanding Rival of a Play by the Outer Critics Circle that 2003/2004 season.  In 2002, MacLachlan made his London stage debut in the West End production of On an Average Day, opposite Woody Harrelson.  The two-character piece by John Kolvenbach revolves around two troubled brothers who reunite with explosive consequences.  Directed by John Crowley, the play returned MacLachlan to his theater roots after a 14-year absence.

MacLachlan is the ambassador of Callaway Golf Foundation and is a supporter of many charities including God’s Love We Deliver, American Foundation for AIDS Research, Elton John AIDS Foundation, The Humane Society and UNICEF.

MacLachlan has a passion for winemaking and created his own wine, Pursued by a Bear, a Cabernet blend crafted from grapes sourced in and around Washington, MacLachlan’s home state.  He added a second wine to his arsenal called Baby Bear, a Syrah named in honor of his son Callum who was born in 2008, the year of the first harvest.  In 2015, he released his rosé called Blushing Bear.

MacLachlan currently divides his time between Los Angeles and New York with his wife Desiree and their son Callum.

 

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

 

ELI ROTH (Directed by) burst onto the film scene at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival with his directorial debut Cabin Fever.  The film was made independently for a budget of $1.5 million dollars, sparked a frenzied seven-studio bidding war and went on to be Lionsgate’s highest-grossing film that year.  Roth’s follow-up film Hostel, which he wrote, produced and directed, earned him critical praise and was a massive worldwide hit, spawning a successful sequel, Hostel: Part II, also written and directed by Roth.

Most recently, Roth directed Death Wish, which starred Bruce Willis.  In 2015, Lionsgate released Roth’s Sundance hit Knock Knock, which starred Keanu Reeves as a happily married man whose life is quickly turned upside down by two nubile, stranded women with a sinister agenda.  Additionally, Roth co-wrote, produced and directed The Green Inferno, which was shot on location in the Amazon, filming deeper into the jungle than any previous film.  Also in 2015 and 2016, Roth hosted Discovery Channel’s hugely popular Shark Week and its late-night talk show Shark After Dark, both of which hit new network high ratings with Roth hosting.

As an actor, Roth has appeared in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof segment of Grindhouse (in which he also wrote and directed the popular faux trailer Thanksgiving that played between the features in the film) and Inglourious Basterds (in which he portrayed Sgt. Donny Donowitz and directed the propaganda film-within-the-film Nation’s Pride).  Roth and his cast members received the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble, as well as the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and the People’s Choice Award.  Roth also appeared in Nicolás López’s Aftershock, an earthquake thriller that he also wrote with López and produced, which was released by Dimension Films.  The film marks the start of Roth and López’s Chilewood partnership (including the films The Green Inferno and Knock Knock).

Roth produced the films The Last Exorcism, The Man with the Iron Fists, The Last Exorcism Part II and was an executive producer on the hit Primetime Emmy Award-nominated Netflix series Hemlock Grove, which aired its final season in 2015.  Additionally, Roth was executive producer on South of Hell with Jason Blum that aired on WE TV.

Roth has been honored with the Visionary Award at the inaugural Stanley Film Festival for his contributions to independent horror cinema as well as the Visionary Filmmaker Award at the San Diego Film Festival.  In 2014, Roth and Aftershock director López received the La De Dios Award at Austin’s Fantastic Fest for their work filming and production work in Chile.  Also in 2014, Roth co-founded The Crypt, a multi-platform digital channel for dark and edgy content.  The Crypt’s series to date have over 100 million views.

Roth currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

 

ERIC KRIPKE, p.g.a. (Screenplay by/Produced by) is a prolific television writer and producer.  He co-created NBC’s action-adventure time-travel series Timeless, on which he currently serves as an executive producer and co-showrunner.  Kripke is also the creator, producer and showrunner of the new Amazon series The Boys, based on The New York Times best-selling comic books by Garth Ennis.  The series is set to debut in 2019, and is directed by Dan Trachtenberg and produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.

Previously, Kripke served as creator, executive producer and showrunner of NBC’s hit drama Revolution, and the long-running CW series Supernatural, now in its 13th season, which makes it the longest-running genre show in American history.  Prior to that, Kripke wrote and executive produced The WB series Tarzan.

Kripke also wrote and co-produced Screen Gems’ Boogeyman.  Produced by Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, Boogeyman was No. 1 at the box office its opening weekend.

Kripke hails from Toledo, Ohio, and is a graduate of the USC School of Cinema-Television.

 

JOHN BELLAIRS (Based on the Novel by) (January 17, 1938-March 8, 1991) was an American author, best known for his fantasy novel “The Face in the Frost” and many Gothic mystery novels for young adults featuring the characters Lewis Barnavelt, Rose Rita Pottinger, Anthony Monday and Johnny Dixon.

 

BRADLEY J. FISCHER, p.g.a. (Produced by) is a prominent motion picture and television producer whose near-20-year Hollywood career has resulted in collaborations with filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Darren Aronofsky, Luca Guadagnino, Antoine Fuqua, Roland Emmerich, Eli Roth and many others.  To date, his films have grossed over $1 billion at the global box office.

Among the films Fischer has produced are Scorsese’s Shutter Island, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo; Fincher’s Zodiac, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr.; and he executive produced Aronofsky’s Black Swan, which starred Natalie Portman.

Shutter Island had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival and was released by Paramount Pictures on February 19, 2010.  It opened to more than $41 million, which remains the highest-opening weekend for any Scorsese-DiCaprio collaboration, and the highest for Scorsese.

In 2007, Zodiac was the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival, and was released by Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures to massive worldwide critical acclaim, becoming one of the best-reviewed films of 2007.  Three years later, Zodiac was named one of the 10 best films of the decade by Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, the Chicago Tribune and the New York Post, among many other critics and journalists around the world.

In December 2010, Black Swan was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures and also opened to strong critical praise, going on to gross approximately $330 million worldwide and receive five Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture and winning Best Actress for star Portman.

Fischer has three films set for release in 2018 including The House with a Clock in Its Walls; Guadagnino’s Suspiria, starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton and Chloë Grace Moretz; and the recently released Slender Man, based on the iconic horror character and directed by Sylvain White.

Fischer’s upcoming slate includes The Long Walk at New Line, based on the book by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King); The Brigands of Rattleborge, with Park-Chan Wook; The Overlook Hotel (the prequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining) with Warner Bros. and the Kubrick estate; as well as other projects with filmmakers and writers, including Francis Lawrence, Dennis Lehane and Alex Proyas.

Fischer started his career at Phoenix Pictures under Mike Medavoy, where he worked for 13 years before forming Mythology Entertainment in 2011 with James Vanderbilt and Laeta Kalogridis.

Fischer was selected by The Hollywood Reporter for their 13th annual “Next Generation” special issue as one of Hollywood’s top 35 executives under 35 years of age.  And in the spring 2008 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine, Fischer was profiled as a “Power Producer” and recognized as “one of Hollywood’s most promising producers of sophisticated, challenging films.”

Fischer serves on the board of directors of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in Los Angeles and is a member of the Producers Guild of America.  He graduated from Columbia University in 1998 with a BA in film studies and psychology and is a native of New York.  He resides in Los Angeles with his wife Karen, daughter Olivia and son Leo, as well as their four dogs, Bentley, Zoe, Sadie and Elvis Presley, who don’t know how good they have it.

 

JAMES VANDERBILT, p.g.a. (Produced by) has been pushing words around a page professionally ever since he graduated from the University of Southern California’s filmic writing program.  A talented writer, director and producer whose diverse catalogue of films ranges from heavy-hitting blockbusters to edge-of-your-seat thrillers, Vanderbilt sold his first screenplay 48 hours before graduating.  It was promptly not made.

His directorial debut Truth, which starred Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford, was the Opening Night Film at the Rome Film Festival and was named one of the Top 10 Films of 2015 by The New York Times.  In addition, Vanderbilt has written and produced numerous films, including David Fincher’s Zodiac, for which he was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and a USC Scripter Award, and Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, for which he was not.

His writing credits also include The Amazing Spider-Man films; Basic; The Rundown; The Losers; and the upcoming Murder Mystery, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, which he also produced.  He is also a producer on the film Suspiria, directed by Luca Guadagnino, as well as the Netflix series Altered Carbon.

He lives in Malibu, California, with his wife, children and dogs.

 

WILLIAM SHERAK (Executive Producer) joined Mythology as a partner in May 2014.  He served as producer along with James Vanderbilt and Bradley J. Fischer on the 2015 Mythology film Truth, which starred Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett.  Sherak is also President of Stereo D, a 2D to 3D conversion company owned by Deluxe Entertainment Services, Inc.  Sherak founded Stereo D in 2009 and in 2011 Deluxe, the world’s largest post-production services provider, bought the company.  As part of financier Ronald O. Perelman’s MacAndrews and Forbes, Stereo D under Sherak’s leadership has seen impressive growth through the ability to create new technologies and build the business to meet the demands of an ever-changing 3D marketplace.  Sherak quickly established Stereo D as the industry leader in high-quality conversion and augmentation visual effects with their work on such films as Avatar, Thor, Titanic in 3D, The Avengers, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Jurassic Park 3D, Pacific Rim and, more recently Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, among others.

With facilities in Burbank, Toronto and India, Sherak oversees the development and production of all conversion services worldwide.  He has guided the visual effects company from a mere 15 employees to an international staff of more than 1,500.  Stereo D was one of the 10 entertainment/media firms named on Fast Company magazine’s list of Most Innovative Companies of 2013, and in 2014 it was nominated by London’s Financial Times for their prestigious Boldness in Business Award.  While Sherak has become a prominent figure in the world of post services, his background lies in feature development and production.  He began his career in 1997 at Davis Entertainment where he quickly rose in ranks to director of development.  Soon thereafter, he cofounded his own production company called Blue Star Entertainment.  In 2000, Blue Star signed an overall production deal with Revolution Studios.  At the time, Sherak was only 25.  While at Revolution, he produced such features as Little Black Book, Darkness Falls and Daddy Day Camp.  Sherak later mined the television and film when he packaged the hit FX series Anger Management, which starred Charlie Sheen, and produced Are We There Yet?, which starred Terry Crews and Ice Cube.  Both series received 100-episode orders.

Additionally, Sherak found scripts dormant in the Revolution Studios library and went on to produce the features I Hate Valentine’s Day and Bangkok Dangerous.  Sherak continued his career in features with studio deals at Sony and Paramount Studios where he produced films such as Role Models and Middle Men.

Sherak is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the International 3D Society and the Fulfillment Fund Leadership Council.

 

Always a fan of movies, it wasn’t until the summer after her junior year at Stanford University that TRACEY NYBERG (Executive Producer) took an internship that showed her the possibilities of a career in film.  Finishing her degree in history, she moved to Los Angeles after graduation and began working as an assistant at Endeavor.

A couple years later, she was named an executive at Overbrook Entertainment and worked with Will Smith on his movies I Am Legend, Hancock and Seven Pounds.  She then transitioned to Temple Hill Entertainment, where she oversaw development of the pilot for ABC’s Revenge as well as executive produced several films, including Lasse Hallström’s Safe Haven and George Tillman, Jr.’s The Longest Ride.

Currently she is the executive vice president of development at Mythology Entertainment, which has the remake of Suspiria releasing this fall and the recently released horror movie Slender Man.

 

A visionary and unparalleled talent, LAETA KALOGRIDIS (Executive Producer) has worked as a creator, has worked with some of the best actors, filmmakers, producers, actors and writers in our business, and she is a strong and fearless voice of a generation of writers, both male and female.

She was an executive producer of the 2009 blockbuster Avatar directed by James Cameron.  She was executive producer and screenwriter of the 2010 film Shutter Island directed by Martin Scorsese which starred Leonardo DiCaprio.  In 2013, she produced White House Down, and she was a co-writer and executive producer of the fifth film in the Terminator series, Terminator Genisys for Paramount Pictures.

Kalogridis is currently the creator, screenwriter and executive producer of the most expensive show ever to be run by a woman, the hugely successful and visionary Netflix series Altered Carbon. The show premiered in February 2018 and has the largest international viewership of any original Netflix series to date.

She continues to work on the film adaptation of the manga Alita: Battle Angel as a co-writer along with James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez.

Additionally, Kalogridis has written scripts for Oliver Stone’s Alexander, Marcus Nispel’s Pathfinder and was an executive producer on the television series Bionic Woman and Birds of Prey.

Along with her extensive creative accomplishments, she is also the founder of the pro-union website United Hollywood and was involved as a peacemaker in the 2007-2008 WGA strike.

She is a graduate of Davidson College, University of Texas and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television with a master of fine arts in screenwriting.

 

MARK MCNAIR (Executive Producer) is currently the executive producer for the AMC hit series Preacher, written by Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.  This exciting series is based on the graphic novels written by Garth Ennis and stars Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga and Joe Gilgun.

Recent television credits include the critically acclaimed Sony/WGN series Underground, a daring action-drama about a group of escaped slaves on the Underground Railroad, set in 1857.  Other television work includes producing duties on the second and third seasons of the hit HBO series True Blood, for which he received nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award (Outstanding Drama Series), a Producers Guild of America Award (Norton Felton Producer of the Year Award in Episodic Television – Drama) and an AFI (Television Program of the Year).

McNair’s feature film work includes serving as the executive producer on the Warner Bros./New Line disaster thrill ride Into the Storm and co-producer on the Walt Disney Pictures blockbuster family adventure Oz the Great and Powerful, directed by Sam Raimi and which starred James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams.

He was also executive producer on the first completely live-action digital 3D film Journey to the Center of the Earth, which starred Brendan Fraser and Josh Hutcherson for Walden/New Line.  He was co-producer on Malcolm D. Lee’s music-themed comedy Soul Men, which starred Samuel L. Jackson and the late Bernie Mac for The Weinstein Company.

 

ROGIER STOFFERS, ASC, NSC (Director of Photography) was born in the Netherlands in 1961.  After graduating high school he studied French language and literature and later theater and film at the Utrecht University.  In 1985 he was admitted to the cinematography program of The Netherlands Film Academy.  He graduated in 1989 and was the cinematographer on Alaska for director Mike van Diem.  This short went on to win the Netherlands Film Festival’s Golden Calf for Best Short Film and a Student Academy Award® for Best Foreign Student Film.

After six years of working on episodic television in the Netherlands, he teamed up again with van Diem for Character, their first feature film.  Character won the Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film in 1997 and a Golden Frog for Best Cinematography at the Camerimage Festival in Poland that same year.

In 1999, the Netherlands Film Festival’s jury awarded Stoffers the Golden Calf Award for Cinematography for his work from 1994-1999.

After a couple of smaller films in the Netherlands, Stoffers shot his first international feature, Quills, for director Philip Kaufman in 1999.  After finishing John Q for director Nick Cassavetes in Toronto, Michael Apted asked him to collaborate on Enough in the U.S., where he has lived and worked since 2001.

School of Rock, Disturbia, Lakeview Terrace, The Secret Life of Bees and The Vow are among the films he has worked on in the U.S.

Abroad, Stoffers shot part of Sergey Bodrov’s Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (shared credit with Sergey Trofimov).  Mongol was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film in 2008, and Stoffers and Trofimov won a Nika Award in Russia for Best Cinematographer and were nominated at the European Film Awards for Best Cinematography (Carlo di Palma Award).

In 2012, Stoffers shot Philip Kaufman’s HBO movie Hemingway & Gellhorn for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie and an ASC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Television Movie/Miniseries.

In 2015, Stoffers was reunited with van Diem for The Surprise, and the next year he went back to Europe for Brimstone, a western directed by Martin Koolhoven, which screened in competition at the 2016 Venice Film Festival and won the Netherland Film Festival’s Golden Calf Award for Best Cinematography in 2017.  Brimstone was also in competition at the 2017 Camerimage Festival in Poland.

Stoffers has been a member of the Netherlands Society of Cinematographers since 1994, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences® member since 2001 and the American Society of Cinematographers since 2009.

 


 

JON HUTMAN (Production Designer) collaborated with director Angelina Jolie on her first feature film, In the Land of Blood and Honey.  He received an Art Directors Guild Award nomination for his work on Unbroken, before designing By the Sea and The Mummy.

Hutman first worked with Jolie on The Tourist, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.  His other recent credits include Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed and Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages.

Hutman has collaborated four times with Nancy Meyers, who directed the film What Women Want, and was writer/director on Something’s Gotta GiveThe Holiday and It’s Complicated.  For television, he was honored with both a Primetime Emmy Award and an Art Directors Guild Award for his design on the pilot episode of Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing.  Additionally, Hutman produced and directed the series Gideon’s Crossing.

Hutman has worked on several of Lawrence Kasdan’s films, serving as production designer and co-producer on Dreamcatcher and Mumford, production designer on French Kiss and art director on I Love You to Death.

Hutman served as production designer on Robert Redford’s The Horse WhispererQuiz Show and A River Runs Through It and on Sydney Pollack’s The Interpreter.  His other feature-film credits include David McNally’s Coyote Ugly, Adrian Lyne’s Lolita, Michael Apted’s Nell, Steve Kloves’ Flesh and Bone, Arthur Hiller’s Taking Care of Business, Walter Hill’s Trespass, Michael Lehmann’s Meet the Applegates and Jodie Foster’s film directorial debut, Little Man Tate.  He earned his first credit as a feature-film production designer on Lehmann’s cult favorite Heathers.

Hutman earned a degree in architecture from Yale University, where he also studied scenic design, painting and lighting at the university’s School of Drama.  He returned to his native Los Angeles and entered the film industry as an assistant in the art department on The Hotel New Hampshire and then as a set dresser on To Live and Die in L.A.  Hutman earned art director credits on Wanted: Dead or AliveShag and Worth Winning before moving up to design films on his own.

 

FRED RASKIN, ACE (Edited by), a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, began his career in the cutting room working as an assistant editor to Dylan Tichenor (Boogie Nights) and Sally Menke (Kill Bill), before taking on the duties of additional editor on Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 romantic comedy Punch-Drunk Love for Revolution Studios.  He then served as additional editor on Justin Lin’s 2003 breakout indie Better Luck Tomorrow for MTV Films, and went on to edit four more of Lin’s films: Annapolis, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious and Fast Five.  More recently, he edited Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Django Unchained, for which he received a British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award nomination; S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk; and James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 for Marvel Studios.

 

MARLENE STEWART (Costume Designer) is an award-winning and groundbreaking designer who has built a long and illustrious career working with some of cinema’s most prominent filmmakers.

Stewart’s early collaborations began with Academy Award® winner Oliver Stone on the biopics The Doors and JFK.  She then went on to work with James Cameron on the iconic Terminator 2: Judgment Day and True Lies.

She continued her period work on Ali with the accomplished director Michael Mann and then moved to more contemporary drama with award-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu on 21 Grams.

Stewart has designed costumes for many other noted directors and producers on contemporary films, including Jerry Bruckheimer’s Gone in 60 Seconds and Coyote Ugly, Joel Schumacher’s Falling Down with Michael Douglas, David Dobkin’s The Judge with Robert Downey, Jr., Curtis Hanson’s The River Wild with Meryl Streep, Nancy Meyers’ The Holiday, Phillip Noyce’s The Saint and Kimberly Peirce’s Stop-Loss.

She has collaborated with Ben Stiller on three projects: Tropic Thunder, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian and Night at the Museum 3.  Her work with Will Smith also spans three films: Ali, Hitch and Tony Scott’s Enemy of the State.

In addition to the two films from the Night at the Museum franchise, Stewart has worked with director Shawn Levy on Real Steel and Date Night.

Her repertoire also includes Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion, which starred Tom Cruise; the period fantasy Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, which starred Jeremy Renner; the 1930s period film The Phantom, which starred Billy Zane; and the flamboyant To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, which starred the late Patrick Swayze.

Other early films include Siesta, which starred Ellen Barkin and Jodie Foster; the Pet Sematary series; James L. Brooks’ I’ll Do Anything; and Abel Ferrara’s Dangerous Game, which starred Madonna and Harvey Keitel.

Stewart has also designed for television and commercials, but she was a pioneer in the world of music videos and MTV, where she collaborated with Madonna on such well-known videos as “Material Girl,” “Vogue,” “Express Yourself,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Like a Prayer,” and several of Madonna’s world tours.  During this seminal time, she also created looks for other well-known artists, including The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Janet Jackson, Eurythmics, Smashing Pumpkins, Cher, Bette Midler, and Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine.

Stewart won the very first MTV Video Music Award for Best Costumes as well as the Bob Mackie Design Award and, in 2012, Stewart was presented with a Disaronna Career Achievement in Film Award from the Costume Designers Guild.

Prior to work in the music world, Stewart designed a contemporary line of clothing called Covers, which was sold in all major department stores in the U.S.  She was known as one of the top California designers, but she also worked extensively in England and Europe.

Hailing from Boston, Stewart received her masters in European history from University of California, Berkeley, and has a degree in design from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in New York.

Her most recent projects include Allegiant, the third film in The Divergent series; The Fate of the Furious; and the upcoming Triple Frontier.

 

Two-time Emmy-nominated composer NATHAN BARR (Music by) has received critical acclaim for his unmatched versatility, incorporating eclectic instruments from musical cultures across the world.  Barr recently completed construction on his new 8,000-square-foot personal studio in Tarzana, California.  The studio, named Bandrika, houses the original Wurlitzer pipe organ that was installed at Fox Studios in 1928.  With 1,500 pipes, its music can be heard in iconic films including Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Sound of Music and PattonThe House with a Clock in Its Walls’ release on September 21 will mark the Wurlitzer’s 21st century debut for movie audiences.

Additionally, Barr recently completed the score for the gritty dystopian action-thriller The Domestics, which starred Kate Bosworth and Tyler Hoechlin.  He is currently scoring season two of AMC’s multi-generational western epic The Son, starring Pierce Brosnan.  Later in 2018, Barr will score Amazon’s upcoming fantasy period drama Carnival Row, starring Orlando Bloom and produced by Guillermo del Toro.  He also scored Columbia Pictures’ sci-fi drama Flatliners, which starred Kiefer Sutherland, Ellen Page and Nina Dobrev, and both seasons of Amazon’s acclaimed con-man drama Sneaky Pete, which starred Giovanni Ribisi.

Barr’s hallmark adaptability has led him to scoring an eclectic roster of some of television’s biggest shows.  He scored all six seasons of FX’s The Americans, which starred Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, which earned him a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music in 2013.  Barr’s music can also be heard on all seven seasons of HBO’s Primetime Emmy Award-winning and fan-favorite series True Blood and Netflix’s Hemlock Grove, for which he earned his second Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

With two Emmy nominations for both The Americans and Hemlock Grove, Barr has the distinction of being the first composer to have two nominations in the Original Main Title Theme Music category in the same year.

Alongside his extensive career in television, Barr has a long record of scoring successful films as he approaches his 40th feature.  A frequent collaborator with gore-horror master Eli Roth, Barr scored Roth’s early cult classics Cabin Fever and Hostel.  Some of Barr’s other feature scores include Rob Cohen’s box-office hit thriller The Boy Next Door, which starred Jennifer Lopez; Warner Bros.’ The Dukes of Hazzard; Lionsgate’s The Last Exorcism; and Stephen Moyer’s The Parting Glass, which starred Anna Paquin.

Barr began studying music in Tokyo, Japan, at four years old.   He grew up surrounded by music ranging from Kabuki theater to the sounds of his mother performing on the koto and piano, and his father playing the banjo, guitar and shakuhachi.

In addition to writing scores, he performs many of the instruments heard in his compositions, and he is skilled in many styles and genres ranging from orchestral to rock.  Barr is also known for his collection and inclusion of rare and unusual instruments from around the world, such as a human bone trumpet from Tibet, dismantled pianos, a rare glass armonica, gourd cellos and many others.

Barr currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

 


 

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  1. Karen Dean Monk says:

    THANK YOU, Professor Levy, for your wonderful article! I am not only a Marshall, Michigan resident but also a relative (through marriage) to John Bellairs. This weekend is so bittersweet for the family. We are excited to FINALLY see John’s book come to life on the big screen – but the sadness of him not being with us to celebrate is present. Our small town is rolling out the red carpet – as much as a small town can, as well. While we all secretly wish that some of the actors would secretly show up unexpectedly to make the premier (here) that much more memorable, the little town of historical homes, underground railroad sites, and ‘magical-mystical’ powers is counting down the days! If you are ever in the area, please never hesitate to come to the REAL New Zebedee – Marshall, Michigan welcomes you with open arms!! (&PS….. if you have any contacts – direct or otherwise – that can get any cast or crew here on premier week — we would be forever grateful!!)

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