JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE
(Release Date: July 11, 2008)
|An exciting adventure based on the classic
Jules Verne novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” Journey to the
Center of the Earth stars Brendan Fraser (Crash, The Mummy) as a science
professor whose untraditional hypotheses have made him the laughing stock of
the academic community. But on an expedition in Iceland, he and his nephew
stumble upon a major discovery that launches them on a thrilling journey
deep beneath the Earth’s surface, where they travel through
never-before-seen worlds and encounter a variety of unusual creatures.
Journey to the Center of the Earth is directed by Academy Award-winning
visual effects veteran Eric Brevig (Total Recall, Pearl Harbor) from a
screenplay by Michael Weiss and Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin. The film is
a co-venture between New Line Cinema and Walden Media. Journey to the Center
of the Earth is scheduled for a July 11, 2008 release.
In the family adventure “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” three explorers plunge deep into a strange new realm beneath the Earth’s surface where they embark on an amazing voyage and find awe-inspiring sites amidst grave danger.
During a scientific expedition in Iceland, visionary scientist Trevor Anderson (Brendan Fraser), his nephew Sean (Josh Hutcherson) and their beautiful local guide, Hannah (Anita Briem), are unexpectedly trapped in a cave from which their only escape is to go deeper and deeper into the depths of the Earth. Traveling through never-before-seen worlds, the trio comes face-to-face with surreal and unimaginable creatures—including man-eating plants, giant flying piranha, glow birds and terrifying dinosaurs from days past. The adventurers soon realize that as volcanic activity increases around them, they must find a way back to the Earth’s surface before it is too late.
With spectacular photo-real environments and revolutionary new filmmaking techniques, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is an epic adventure that takes audiences directly into the heart of our heroes’ voyage, bringing them along for a wild, visceral ride.
New Line Cinema and Walden Media present “Journey to the Center of the Earth” starring Brendan Fraser (“Crash,” “The Mummy” films), Josh Hutcherson (“Bridge to Terabithia”) and Anita Briem (“The Tudors”). The film marks the big screen directorial debut of Academy Award-winning visual effects veteran Eric Brevig (“Total Recall,” “Pearl Harbor”).
A kinetic thrill ride that puts a contemporary twist on Jules Verne’s original novel, “Journey to the Center of the Earth” is the first live-action, narrative motion picture to be shot in digital 3D.
Brevig directed the film from a screenplay by Michael Weiss and Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin. Charlotte Huggins and Beau Flynn are the producers, with Toby Emmerich, Brendan Fraser, Mark McNair and Tripp Vinson serving as executive producers.
The behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Chuck Schuman; production designer David Sandefur; editors Paul Martin Smith, Dirk Westervelt and Steven Rosenblum; and visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend. The music is composed by Andrew Lockington.
“Journey to the Center of the Earth” will be released in theatres nationwide and in RealD 3D where available. This film has been rated PG by the MPAA for “intense adventure action and some scary moments.”
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
MAKING THE JOURNEY
“Taking Jules Verne’s well-known novel and developing it into an updated story with new characters, using modern technology, was a tremendously exciting opportunity,” says Eric Brevig, who makes his feature directorial debut with “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” “My goal with this film was to capture the spirit of adventure, discovery and the belief that anything is possible.”
“I think certain stories are timeless, and the tale of three unlikely explorers helping each other along this seemingly impossible voyage is a great example,” says producer Charlotte Huggins. “The idea that you can do what others only dream of doing is a concept people have not only written about, but also attempted since the beginning of human civilization.”
Producer Beau Flynn remarks, “Our job as filmmakers is to transport audiences to another world. We want moviegoers to lose themselves in the adventure. It was also important to us that we capture a certain tone for the film where the characters are very real and accessible, but the story never takes itself too seriously.”
The appeal of refreshing a classic Jules Verne tale with cutting-edge filmmaking drew Brendan Fraser to the project in the leading role and as an executive producer. “When I go to the movies, I want to be taken away,” says Fraser. “The story’s premise combined with an original script that is full of action, comedy and adventure from start to finish got my attention right away.”
The screenplay for “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” written by Michael Weiss and Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin, revolves around scientist Trevor Anderson, his nephew Sean and their Icelandic mountain guide Hannah; together, the trio stumble upon a volcanic passage that sends them plummeting to the center of the Earth. Landing in a deep crystal blue lagoon thousands of miles beneath the Earth’s surface, they discover an extraordinary world of lush jungles and prehistoric creatures as described in Jules Verne’s novel. Taking in the staggering sights and sounds of this unchartered land, they soon learn that it is fraught with peril and must rely on each other to find a way home.
Brendan Fraser plays Trevor Anderson, an American college professor and scientist in the field of plate tectonics, a study of geology that links movements of the Earth’s crust with earthquakes, volcanoes and weather. Together with his brother Max, Trevor was on the path to a geological research breakthrough. But then Max disappeared on a field expedition in Iceland. “Since then, Trevor has had little luck advancing his research on his own, and now the lab is on the verge of being shut down by the university,” says Fraser.
As if he doesn’t have enough problems, Trevor gets a surprise visit from Max’s teenage son, Sean, who is reluctantly spending a week with his uncle.
“With Sean’s sudden arrival, Trevor is suddenly thrust into a dynamic where he feels the pressure to assume a paternal role, but Trevor doesn’t really understand how to deal with kids, even though he is a college professor,” Fraser notes. “He can deal with college kids because they don’t listen to him in his lectures anyway.”
Josh Hutcherson, who steps into the role of Sean, adds, “Our characters butt heads at first, but each proves useful to the other as the story progresses. They soon realize they need each other more than they ever imagined.”
Trying to break the ice, Trevor and Sean dig through an old box of Max’s belongings and discover a copy of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Flipping through its pages, Trevor finds Max’s handwritten notes in the margin with clues to Max’s final expedition to Iceland 10 years ago. Excited that he may finally discover what happened to his brother, Trevor rushes off to the Land of Fire and Ice, taking Sean along for the ride.
Trevor and Sean get hopelessly lost and stumble upon an isolated mountain cabin inhabited by a young mountain guide named Hannah, played by Anita Briem. An Icelandic native, Briem notes, “Hannah lives by herself in the remote cabin that once served as a field laboratory for her father—a ‘Vernian’—someone who believed the writings of Jules Verne were actual fact rather than science fiction. Sadly, because of his beliefs, Hannah’s father became ostracized in the scientific community and died years ago as an embarrassment to her family. On the surface, Hannah is tough and independent, but underneath she’s still angry at her father, who put his research ahead of his family.”
With one look at Max’s copy of Verne’s novel, Hannah points out to Trevor that, like her father, Max too was a Vernian. Not wanting to get caught up in chasing unrealistic Vernian fantasies, Hannah names an exorbitant price for helping Trevor. Undeterred, Trevor calls her bluff and agrees to pay her to guide them up to the remote peak of Mount Snaeffels, where he believes the last seismic sensor was placed by Max.
As Trevor, Sean and Hannah ascend the rocky terrain, they find themselves caught in the middle of a lightning storm. Taking refuge in a cave nearby, they enjoy a split second of safety before a bolt of lightning strikes the side of the mountain, creating an avalanche that collapses the cave’s entrance and seals them in. Unable to get out the way they came in, the three explorers end up plunging towards the depths of the Earth, where their fantastical journey truly begins.
“Together, they set off on this wild ride,” says Fraser. “Of course, as circumstances have it, forces of nature conspire against them and nothing goes as planned. There’s a mythical quality about this whole adventure because anything could be at the bottom of this ‘rabbit hole.’”
“We were fortunate to have such a great cast with amazing chemistry,” offers Huggins. “After all, it is just the three of them on screen for most of the film.”
“Brendan was definitely my first choice for the role from day one,” states Brevig. “We hit it off right from the start. We shared similar ideas for making the film fun for the audience, and Brendan has a deep appreciation for and understanding of working with visual effects.”
Flynn adds, “Brendan’s got a sense of integrity and a genuine quality that comes through in his performances, which make him very watchable. He’s really a unique actor who is very engaging both on screen and in person.”
For the role of Hannah, Brevig recalls, “We wanted the relationship between Hannah and the boys to be fun, so we looked for someone who could take charge of the situation but not initially appear that way.”
“Anita has a certain authenticity to her, not only because she’s Icelandic, but also because she has fabulous training, and was physically up to the challenge. She also has a great sense of humor,” remarks Huggins. “The camaraderie that developed among her and Brendan and Josh was so much fun to watch throughout the production.”
The filmmakers were equally impressed with the young Josh Hutcherson, who was just 13 years old at the time of production. “Josh is wise beyond his years,” notes Flynn. “He also has a quality about him that is very natural. He is very easygoing in between takes, but as soon as he’s in front of the camera, he’s instantly in character.”
“Josh was very proactive about asking the right questions,” says Brevig. “He was so committed and enthusiastic, and always arrived prepared. He brought fresh ideas and suggestions to scenes the way an actor maybe 10 or 20 years his senior would. Also, I think it’s tough when you’re the only kid on set because you’re surrounded by adults,” the director continues. “But because Brendan is such a big kid at heart and Josh is such a grown-up at heart, they got along really well.”
Spending so much time together on set as a trio gave the three actors a chance to form very close bonds.
“Brendan’s comedy is non-stop. I learned so much from working with him. Anita was really great with the action scenes...and she’s very pretty, which is always a bonus,” laughs Hutcherson.
“It was such a delight working with the boys,” Briem states. “We were like a little family on set, so I think that definitely contributed to the story and the onscreen chemistry.”
Fraser agrees, “The three of us formed a triangle, which is a very strong structure in nature and, in this case, dramatically speaking.”
DESIGNING THE WORLD BELOW
To capture the scale of sweeping panoramas ranging from the glacial peaks of Iceland to the vast sea at the center of the Earth, and the intricate detail of petrified mushroom forests and calcified rock formations, Brevig called on the expertise of an array of talented artists, including concept lead artist Erik Tiemens, production designer David Sandefur, director of photography Chuck Schuman and visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend.
“When creating a fantasy story, you’re taking the truth and stretching it,” offers Brevig. “We began with the concept art, which was the touchstone for production design, visual effects and cinematography. The final look in the film is the product of tremendous collaboration by nearly 200 artists.”
In referencing the concept art, Sandefur remarks that one of the greatest challenges was balancing the real and surreal. “There had to be some level of the fantasy, but at the same time, I wanted to try and maintain a level of realism,” he notes. “The texture and color needed to look and feel very real and very rich. And although the audience knows we’re in this fictitious world, I’d like them to think that we went to a location and shot underground or in a jungle.”
“We approached the look of the film using what we called a ‘color script,’ which was a plan for the use of color throughout the movie,” notes Brevig. “At the beginning of the movie, we start in a muted color range, then we take the audience into a heightened color reality once we get to the center and by the end of the film, they return to a more vivid environment to imply that Trevor’s life is brighter and more hopeful.”
Production took place in Montreal, which was hardly jungle-like, but surprisingly, the northern city proved invaluable when it came to set designs, particularly its natural surroundings. “One of the things we found helpful was the access just outside of the city to a phenomenal, organic terrain, which we used to come up with the texture and configurations of our sets,” explains the production designer. “We took molds off of real surfaces in a lot of different areas and made plaster skins out of those and attached them to the walls.”
For the Mushroom House that Trevor, Sean and Hannah find at the center of the Earth, Sandefur remarks, “My team and I spent weeks experimenting with materials to get the surfaces to look just right. After all, what does the inside of a mushroom look like? Can someone get me a few books on interiors of mushroom homes...anyone?”
Sandefur finally decided to use industrial-sized sponges, slicing them into thin slivers and painstakingly lacing them on top of each other to give the surface a porous, organic-looking texture. Once the slivers were bonded together, “we cast surfaces with translucent latex, and then painted and backlit them for a bioluminescent effect,” continues Sandefur. “It’s like being inside a giant Jack-o-lantern.”
While Sandefur’s team built a rock wall that measured roughly 40-feet high by 30-feet wide, the visual effects team, led by visual effects supervisor Christopher Townsend, extended the wall hundreds of feet down with CGI. To create the visual effects (VFX) shots in “Journey to the Center of the Earth” in 3D, Townsend’s VFX team performed double duty, rendering twice the amount of shots for each of the film’s 726 visual effects shots, resulting in a total of more than 1,400 visual effects shots created.
Townsend explains, “In 3D, what we have to do is recreate the world behind the actor and convey that volume and that space. We have to render a piece of geometry in computer graphics that disappears back just as far as it would disappear back in the real world. So if it’s six miles to the horizon, then within the computer, you have to build a computer model that actually disappears back six miles. You can’t just fake it with a flat painting. You actually have to put it in its correct dimension.”
Making a live-action 3D action adventure film with extensive visual effects that will be added in postproduction requires actors to have active imaginations during principal photography. “They have to be ready to interact with fantastical objects and creatures—glow birds and giant flying piranhas—that obviously aren’t really there,” states Brevig.
The filmmakers tried to make the experience as natural for the actors as possible. “You really hope that the technology is as invisible to the actors as it is to the audience,” notes Huggins. “The cast needs to be focused on their characters and in the story.”
PREPARING FOR THE PLUNGE
For the three leads, working on an action adventure film also meant many intense physical challenges. Hutcherson states, “During the weeks of pre-production, we went to a really awesome rock-climbing gym to prepare for the scene where we repel down the big volcanic tube.”
“There was a lot of climbing and falling, running and harnessing, which is all great fun,” say Fraser.
Hutcherson picked up a few tricks of the trade from Fraser. “There’s so much big action in this film that, day after day, climbing walls, getting thrown around on ropes and jumping from rock to rock, the physical demands do take their toll. On the first day of filming, I was like, ‘I don’t need knee and elbow pads,’ but after a short while, I learned I was very wrong.”
“After doing three ‘Mummy’ pictures, I’ve gained a full appreciation for the makers of athletic padding,” smiles Fraser. “There’s a reason why my shirt sleeve is rolled up at three-quarter lengths in many scenes and not all the way up. I mean, it’s nice to show off your muscles, but if you’re jumping and diving around on set, you’re going to get a couple of knocks and the padding comes in handy.”
Briem adds, “It was hard, but I got a real kick out of all the rigorous training we did. It’s a real treat as an actor to get to learn all of those different skills. I had a couple of days where I was absolutely convinced that I could be a super hero. It was fantastic!”
Sometimes the demanding physical stunts made it difficult for the actors to get through their lines. “One of the most challenging scenes for me was the one where we fall towards the center of the Earth,” recalls Briem. “We had these huge fans blowing on us to simulate the fall, and they were so loud it was physically very difficult to just get our lines out.”
“The sequence was called ‘The Big Drop,’” notes Brevig, referring to the scene where Trevor, Sean and Hannah plummet down thousands of miles toward the center of the Earth. “They’re falling for so long that they actually have time to talk about their situation,” he smiles.
“My initial vision for the shot was to see them travel from way up above us to way down below us, falling maybe 200 feet in one shot. Unfortunately, due to physical limitations of our soundstage, it was impossible to capture this continuously,” notes the director. “We thought about raising them up really high outdoors, but that required a huge blue screen behind them, making it impractical. So I came up with the idea to put the actors on their sides, turn the camera sideways and dolly past them, so it would be the camera moving and not the actors. This way, we were able to run two to three hundred feet across our soundstage floor and capture the feeling that they’re falling a great distance. We found a hot-rodded golf cart that could go like 60 miles an hour and shot the scene. The only challenge left was stopping the golf cart in time before slamming into the stage wall at the other end.”
At the end of “The Big Drop” in the film, the three explorers are met with giant gravity-defying water globules until they finally reach a tunnel that acts like a waterslide funneling them into a crystal blue lagoon, the watery paradise at the Earth’s center. This underwater set was built in Montreal’s 1976 Olympic stadium diving tank, one of the largest in North America.
In addition to “The Big Drop,” another action-packed thrill ride that Trevor, Sean and Hannah experience was the mine shaft “rollercoaster” ride. “We had a lot of fun playing with the volumes and spaces and the lighting to make the mine car ride dramatic, fast and fun,” Christopher Townsend says.
The mine car sequence took equal parts visual effects and acting. “While the visual effects may look convincing, the actors are the ones who really sell any visual effects shot,” states Brevig. “It’s the acting that’s going to convey the sense of danger and excitement. If the acting is good, the audience will trust the situation their characters find themselves in. Brendan, Josh and Anita were great at that.”
storytelling in digital 3d
What puts “Journey to the Center of the Earth” on a new cinematic plateau for feature-length narrative films is the process in which it was photographed. During the initial phases of development, the decision to shoot “Journey to the Center of the Earth” entirely in high definition 3D was based on the filmmakers’ desire to give audiences the most compelling visual experience, at once taking a classic tale to a new level and staying true to the heart and soul of the source material.
“The environments detailed in Jules Verne’s novel lend themselves to an inherently immersive experience,” says Huggins. “Shooting this film in 3D was a perfect match for bringing the wonder and adventure to life.”
“Having a long history of working on 3D films for theme parks and an even longer history in the visual effects world, I felt very comfortable shooting this film completely in 3D,” says Brevig. “At the same time, I was careful to avoid overusing 3D effects because effects that come across as too gimmicky can take you out of the story.”
“Journey to the Center of the Earth” was the first narrative motion pictureto use the Fusion System, a state-of-the-art camera rig developed by award-winning filmmaker James Cameron and cinematographer Vince Pace. Unlike many specialty format camera setups, the Fusion is lightweight and portable, and features dual ultra high-resolution 3D video cameras mounted side-by-side to simulate the viewer’s right and left eyes. Its compact size, mobility and adjustability offer unprecedented freedom, control and flexibility for the filmmakers.
“In the past, 3D cameras were so bulky and heavy that freedom of camera movement was very limited and this decreased the director’s options in staging a dynamic scene,” says Brevig. “The Fusion camera rigs are so well designed and so small that we can move the camera like a 2D camera. This advancement is enormous. We were able to shoot handheld and underwater, as well as mount the rig on steadicam and for aerial photography.”
Director of photography Chuck Schuman adds, “The idea behind the ‘Fusion’ setup is to imitate the human vision system. This gives the audience a new relationship to what they’re seeing in the theatre, so what you see on screen is exactly what you would see if you were actually there.”
Another new development was the use of something called “active convergence,” in which the filmmakers were able to change the focal point in 3D. “Much like a traditional filmmaker changes focus, we put the point of convergence where the action is,” explains Brevig, “so that as people are watching and experiencing the 3D movie, it makes it much easier to watch.”
“By selectively changing the lenses’ angles we can adjust the apparent screen depth during a shot to follow the action,” elaborates Schuman. “For scenes in which the camera needed to be placed closer to the actors than the Fusion’s side-by-side setup would allow, we used Pace’s compact ‘Beam Splitter’ camera rig that allowed for closer spacing between the lenses. To the audience, this means less eye-crossing and more comfortable viewing.”
Christopher Townsend adds that shooting “Journey to the Center of the Earth” in digital high definition gave the filmmakers greater latitude to create striking imagery, coming closer to replicating human vision than any previous 3D film. “We have a much greater depth of field in a high definition image than we traditionally would have in a film image, so you’re getting many more things in focus in terms of the distance between the camera and subject. In film, if you’ve got an actor who’s lying on a rock reaching his hand out to the camera, you can either have his fingers in focus or you can have his eyes in focus. But you can’t have them both in focus. With high-def 3D video, because of the greater depth of field, you can now have both in focus. So the effect looks hyper-real.”
“When you have an adventure of this scope, capturing the images with cutting-edge digital technology simply gives the audience a more visceral experience,” says Huggins.
“Our number-one goal with this film is to entertain,” remarks Flynn. “This state-of-the-art cinematic approach now allows us to revisit Verne’s material, which has stood the test of time, in a whole new way.”
“Without doubt, new technology adds tremendous value to the filmmaking and theatre-going experience,” offers Brevig. “At the end of the day, the biggest reward for me was getting the chance to work with such an amazing team of dedicated professionals to do something we’ve never done before.
“Our goal was to fully immerse the audience in the adventure, so you actually forget you’re watching a movie and believe that you are right there at the center of the Earth with Trevor, Hannah and Sean.” The director concludes, “Whether you see ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ in 3D or in conventional theatres, it will be an incredibly fun adventure, a nonstop ride.”
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ABOUT THE CAST
BRENDAN FRASER(Trevor Anderson / Executive Producer) next stars in the third installment of “The Mummy” franchise, “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” which is set for release in August 2008. In 1999, Fraser starred with Rachel Weisz in the blockbuster action/horror adventure “The Mummy,” Stephen Sommers’ ambitious retooling of the 1932 horror classic. In 2001, Fraser re-teamed with Sommers and Weisz for the film’s hit sequel, “The Mummy Returns.” The first two films have, to date, grossed more than $800 million worldwide.
Fraser also stars in two more upcoming projects: the family adventure/fantasy film “Inkheart,” opposite Helen Mirren, Paul Bettany, Jim Broadbent and Andy Serkis, which is slated for release in January 2009; and the actioner “G.I. Joe,” which reunited him with director Stephen Sommers and opens in Summer 2009.
In addition, Fraser has starred in some of the most successful independent films of the past decade, including Paul Haggis’ Academy Award-winning Best Picture “Crash,” for which he shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award as part of the ensemble cast; Phillip Noyce’s “The Quiet American,” with Michael Caine, based on Graham Greene’s 1955 bestselling thriller; and Bill Condon’s award-winning drama “Gods and Monsters,” opposite Sir Ian McKellen and Lynn Redgrave. Fraser more recently starred in “The Air I Breathe,” which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and also stars Forest Whitaker, Andy Garcia, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Julie Delpy, Emile Hirsch and Kevin Bacon.
Fraser previously starred in the title role of the smash hit action comedy “George of the Jungle.” His additional film credits include Joe Dante’s “Looney Tunes: Back in Action,” blending live action and animation; Harold Ramis’ “Bedazzled”; the title role in the live-action “Dudley Do-Right,” opposite Sarah Jessica Parker; Hugh Wilson’s “Blast From the Past, with Alicia Silverstone, Christopher Walken, and Sissy Spacek; Showtime’s “The Twilight of the Golds”; Richard Benjamin’s “Mrs. Winterbourne,” with Shirley MacLaine; “With Honors”; “Airheads,” directed by Michael Lehmann; Michael Ritchie’s “The Scout”; Robert Mandel’s “School Ties,” with Matt Damon and Chris O’Donnell; and the hit comedy “Encino Man,” in his first feature film starring role.
On the stage, Fraser’s theatre repertoire includes his appearance in the 2001 West End production of Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” directed by Tony Award winner Anthony Page. Playing the lead role of Brick, opposite Frances O’Connor as Maggie, Fraser earned acclaim from the London critics. He had earlier received praise for his performance as the anxious writer in John Patrick Shanley’s “Four Dogs and a Bone” at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, co-starring with Martin Short, Parker Posey and Elizabeth Perkins under the direction of Lawrence Kasdan.
Born in Indianapolis and raised in Europe and Canada, Fraser received a BFA in acting from the Actors Conservatory, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.
JOSH HUTCHERSON (Sean Anderson) has, at the age of 15, worked with many of Hollywood’s finest actors and directors in his young career. He will next be seen in Paul Weitz’s action adventure “Cirque du Freak,” with John C. Reilly, Salma Hayek and Ken Watanabe, and in the ensemble drama “Winged Creatures,” opposite Dakota Fanning and Jackie Earle Haley, with Guy Pearce, Kate Beckinsale and Forest Whitaker.
In the comedy “RV,” Hutcherson co-starred as Robin Williams’ son for director Barry Sonnenfeld. He starred in director Todd Holland’s action comedy “Firehouse Dog,” and opposite AnnaSophia Robb in the coming-of-age drama “Bridge to Terabithia,” for which he won his second Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actor and shared a Young Artist Award for Best Young Ensemble Cast.
Hutcherson won his first Young Artist Award for Leading Young Actor for his work in Jon Favreau’s adventure film “Zathura: A Space Adventure,” with Tim Robbins and Kristen Stewart. He also starred in the critically acclaimed first-love romantic comedy “Little Manhattan,” from filmmakers Mark Levin & Jennifer Flackett, along with Bradley Whitford and Cynthia Nixon.
His other film credits include the comedy “Kicking & Screaming,” opposite Will Ferrell and Robert Duvall, and Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-nominated anime adventure “Howl’s Moving Castle,” for which he voiced the lead character. He shared the role of Hero Boy with Tom Hanks in the groundbreaking holiday hit “The Polar Express.”
Hutcherson’s television credits include the TNT telepic “Wilder Days,” with Peter Falk, and the Animal Planet feature “Miracle Dogs.”
Anita Briem (Hannah ¡sgeirsson) most recently starred in the second season of Showtime’s smash hit series “The Tudors,” portraying Jane Seymour, the young woman who was destined to become the third wife of King Henry VIII. Briem will continue in the role of the ill-fated Queen Jane in the much-anticipated third season of “The Tudors,” which will air on Showtime in 2009. On the big screen, she is next set to star in the independent film “The Storyteller.”
Born and raised in Iceland, Briem began her acting career at age nine at the National Theatre of Iceland. As a child actor, she performed in several stage productions, television shows and radio programs in her native country. At the age of 16, Briem moved to London, where she appeared in a stage production of “Lenin in Love” at the New End Theatre.
When she was 19, Briem was accepted to the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), where she studied for the next three years, earning a degree in dramatic arts and winning the John Barton Award for Stage Fighting. While at RADA, she performed in a wide range of plays, including Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” and Lorca’s “The House of Bernarda Alba.” Following her graduation, Briem continued to work on the London stage, appearing in such plays as “Catalogue of Misunderstanding,” directed by Mike Figgis at the National Theatre Studio, as well as in a successful five-month West End run of “Losing Louis.”
Briem made her feature film debut in the independent horror film “La Monja” (“The Nun”), and then starred in an independent film in Iceland entitled “Kold Slod” (“Cold Trail”). On television, she had a starring role on the series “The Evidence,” with Orlando Jones and Martin Landau. Briem also had guest roles on the BBC series “Doctor Who” and “Doctors.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
ERIC BREVIG (Director) makes his directorial debut with “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” He has also been honored for his groundbreaking efforts as a visual effects supervisor.
Brevig received an Academy Award for Special Achievement in Visual Effects for Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 hit “Total Recall,” for which he also received a Saturn Award nomination from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films. He subsequently earned Oscar nominations for Best Visual Effects for Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” and Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor.” For his special effects work in Barry Sonnenfeld’s smash hit sci-fi comedy “Men in Black” Brevig received nominations for a BAFTA Award and a Saturn Award. He also received Saturn Award nominations for “Scrooged” and “The Indian in the Cupboard.”
His many feature credits as visual effects supervisor also include Michael Bay’s “The Island”; Roland Emmerich’s blockbuster “The Day After Tomorrow”; Jim Cameron’s “The Abyss”; “Peter Pan,” directed by P.J. Hogan; “Wild Wild West,” directed by Barry Sonnenfeld; Brian De Palma’s “Snake Eyes”; “Disclosure,” directed by Barry Levinson; the sci-fi comedy “Earth Girls are Easy”; and the hit comedy “Big Business,” which featured Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin as mismatched sets of identical twins.
In addition to his visual effects work, Brevig has served as second unit director on several of his films, including “The Island,” “Pearl Harbor,” “Wild Wild West,” “Men in Black” and “The Indian in the Cupboard.”
MICHAEL WEISS (Screenwriter) is a former film executive whose last desk job was as Vice President of Production for Miramax Films. †His previous writing credits include “I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer” and “The Butterfly Effect 2.” He is currently writing a soon-to-be classic for Cartoon Network called “The Thing That Came from Jason’s Nose.”
JENNIFER FLACKETT & MARK LEVIN (Screenwriters) have been working as a creative team for over twelve years. “Nim’s Island,” their second directorial collaboration, was released in April 2008. Based on Wendy Orr’s beloved novel, the comedy adventure film stars Abigail Breslin, Gerard Butler and Jodie Foster, and to date has grossed over $75 million at the worldwide box office.
Flackett & Levin first collaborated as directors on “Little Manhattan,” a first-love romantic comedy based on their original screenplay and starring Josh Hutcherson, Cynthia Nixon and Bradley Whitford.
Their joint feature film careers began when they sold their first screenplay, “Drive,” to producer Scott Rudin. They subsequently adapted the classic children’s book Madeline to the big screen, which was released in 1998 starring Frances McDormand. They also co-wrote the romantic comedy “Wimbledon,” starring Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany.
Flackett & Levin’s feature film credits follow accomplished careers in television. They have written and produced pilots for all the major broadcast networks, including ABC’s “Roadie” and “Born in Brooklyn,” CBS’s “The Mysteries of 71st Street” and FOX’s “The Third Degree.”
Before getting married and beginning their exclusive collaboration, Flackett & Levin wrote separately. Flackett, a graduate of Wesleyan University, began her career as a writer on Steven Bochco’s series “Civil Wars” and “L.A. Law,” among others. Levin attended Yale School of Drama as a playwright, then went on to write and produce the much-loved series “The Wonder Years” for over fifty episodes. He also created and executive produced the NBC series “Earth 2.”
CHARLOTTE HUGGINS (Producer) was recently named one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Digital 50,” a group comprised of producers and innovators who have distinguished themselves in the realm of new media storytelling in 2007.
In addition to “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” Huggins also recently produced “Fly Me to the Moon,” a 3D digitally animated film featuring the voice talents of Tim Curry, Nicollette Sheridan, Kelly Ripa, Christopher Lloyd and Trevor Gagnon, with a cameo performance from famed astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The film is set for release on August 8.
Huggins began her career writing-producing the docu-drama “Interview 15,” which won several awards, including Best Educational Film at the New York and Berlin Film Festivals. She went on to serve as story editor and writer for television legend Roy Huggins on the hit NBC TV series “Hunter.”
Huggins later served as a producer at Boss Film Studios, where she produced national Clio Award-winning commercial for such clients as Magnavox and United Airlines. At Boss, she also produced the main ride simulation film at the World Expo ‘93 in South Korea, “Journey to Technopia.” She went on to work on a number of highly successful large format films, including Disney’s 3D theme park attraction “Honey, I Shrunk the Audience,” the 3D film “Wings of Courage,” LG Group’s 35mm 3D attraction “Ahead of Time,” and the “King Kong” sequence in WGBH/NOVA’s “Special Effects: Anything Can Happen.”
As one of the founders of nWave Pictures, a Brussels-based digital studio, Huggins held the position of President and Head of Production for 10 years, serving as producer of all of nWave’s special venue and giant screen productions, including “Thrill Ride: The Science of Fun,” “3D Mania: Encounter in the Third Dimension,” “Alien Adventure (3D),” “Haunted Castle (3D),” SOS Planet (3D),” “Misadventures in 3D” and “Wild Safari 3D.”
Huggins has held positions on the Boards of Directors of nWave Pictures, the Visual Effects Society and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. She is currently a member of the Producers Guild of America, where she serves on the New Media Council Board, and an emeritus member of the Writer’s Guild of America West.
BEAU FLYNN (Producer) & TRIPP VINSON (Executive Producer) launched their production company, Contrafilm, in March 2004. Since Contrafilm’s inception, Flynn & Vinson have earned over $500 million in worldwide box office gross.
The first film released under their banner was “After the Sunset,” helmed by Brett Ratner. It was followed by “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” produced in conjunction with Lakeshore and directed by Scott Derrickson, which grossed in excess of $130 million worldwide and was one of the most profitable and successful films of 2005.†
As partners in Contrafilm, Flynn and Vinson went on to produce the 3D CG film “The Wild,” featuring the voice talents of Kiefer Sutherland, Janeane Garofalo and Jim Belushi; “The Guardian,” directed by Andrew Davis and starring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher; and Joel Schumacher’s thriller “The Number 23,” starring Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen.
Flynn & Vinson’s next producer credit is Contrafilm’s upcoming comedy-drama “Choke,” from writer-director Clark Gregg, based on the acclaimed Chuck Palahniuk novel and starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston. The film world premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and is slated for release this fall. Additionally, Flynn & Vinson are in production on the upcoming action-thriller “Conrail” and the comedy “The King of Kong,” among other projects.
Prior to forming Contrafilm, Flynn was a partner at The Firm, where he ran the motion picture and television production divisions.† He also produced the critically acclaimed films “Tigerland,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “The House of Yes,” “The Alarmist,” “Guinevere” and “Johns.” After his graduation from NYU, Flynn began his career in the film industry as producer Scott Rudin’s first assistant.†
Vinson first worked with Flynn in 2000 at Bandeira Entertainment, then went on to head up Firm Films. He started in Hollywood at Jerry Bruckheimer Films following his graduation from USC.
TOBY EMMERICH (Executive Producer) is President and COO for New Line Cinema. In January 2001, he was named President of Production and oversaw the most successful period in the company’s history.
Since Emmerich took the production helm, New Line has released such hits as the Academy Award-winning blockbuster “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”; 2005’s highest-grossing comedy, “Wedding Crashers”; “Monster-in-Law”; “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”; “Elf”; “The Notebook”; “Hairspray”; and “Sex and the City.”
A long-time studio veteran, Emmerich previously served not only as President of New Line Music, but also as an accomplished screenwriter and producer who wrote and produced New Line’s sleeper hit “Frequency,” starring Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel.
Emmerich joined the company in 1992 as a dual development and music executive. In his position as President of Music, he oversaw the development of Platinum or Gold-selling soundtracks such as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Elf,” “Freddy vs. Jason,” “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” “Next Friday,” “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” “Love Jones,” “Who’s the Man?,” “Menace II Society,” “Above the Rim,” “The Mask,” “Don Juan DeMarco,” “My Family,” “Friday,” “Dumb and Dumber,” “Now and Then,” “Mortal Kombat” and “Seven,” among others.
Prior to his posts at New Line, Emmerich was an A&R representative at Atlantic Records from 1987 to 1992. He attended the Calhoun School and Wesleyan University, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1985 with honors in English and concentrations in Classics and Film.
Emmerich lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Julie, and their two daughters. An avid motorcycle enthusiast and art collector, he also enjoys long-distance running. He serves on the board of directors for both the Neil Bogart Foundation and the American Cinematheque, and is on the board of trustees for The Calhoun School in New York City.
MARK McNAIR (Executive Producer) recently wrapped work as executive producer on “Soul Men,” directed by Malcolm D. Lee and starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac. The music-themed comedy is due in theaters this November.
Previously, McNair served as co-producer on the hit comedy “Meet the Spartans,” directed by Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg, which opened number one at the domestic box office in January 2008.
His credits as associate producer include the Los Angeles unit of the action film “The Marine,” starring John Cena; “Joy Ride,” directed by John Dahl, with Paul Walker, Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski; Neil LaBute’s “Nurse Betty,” starring Renee Zellweger, Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock; and the comedy “The Big Tease,” directed by Kevin Allen, starring Craig Ferguson.
McNair’s credits as line producer include the independent features “Thursday,” directed by Skip Woods, with Thomas Jane and Aaron Eckhart; Jill Sprecher’s cult favorite “Clockwatchers,” starring Toni Collette, Lisa Kudrow and Parker Posey; the Western “Los Locos,” with Mario Van Peebles; and “My Generation.”
He also served as Head of Physical Production at Intermedia Films, working on such projects as Oliver Stone’s “Alexander,” starring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie; “Basic Instinct 2,” directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring Sharon Stone; and Billy Ray’s espionage thriller “Breach,” starring Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe.
For television, McNair produced the first season of the CBS drama series “That’s Life,” starring Paul Sorvino, Ellen Burstyn, Kevin Dillon, Debbie Mazar and Heather Paige Kent.
CHUCK SCHUMAN (Director of Photography) is a trailblazer in the field of visual effects cinematography. He served as a director of photography for the miniatures unit of Peter Jackson’s blockbuster “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. His work on the lava sequences in the trilogy’s third film, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” earned him a Visual Effects Society Award nomination for Outstanding Special Effects in Service to Visual Effects.
Additionally, Schuman has worked on many films that employ state-of-the-art special effects as a crucial storytelling element, including “The Indian in the Cupboard,” and James Cameron’s critically acclaimed smash hits “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” and “The Abyss.”
Schuman’s feature credits also include “Wild Wild West,” “Con Air,” “The Ghost and the Darkness,” “Terminal Velocity,” Steven Spielberg’s “Hook” and “Total Recall.”
DAVID SANDEFUR (Production Designer) has served as art director on several features, with credits including the thriller “The Number 23,” directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Jim Carrey; “The Break-Up,” with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston; Richard Donner’s sci-fi adventure “Timeline”; F. Gary Gray’s hit crime thriller “The Italian Job,” starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron; and the Robert De Niro-Eddie Murphy action comedy “Showtime.”
Sandefur’s credits as supervising art director include “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and Michael Bay’s “The Island.” As assistant art director, he contributed to such varied films as the 1960s-set romantic comedy “Down With Love,” Steven Spielberg’s ultra-futuristic “Minority Report,” the crime thriller “Swordfish” and Renny Harlin’s nautical thriller “Deep Blue Sea.”
For his work on Wolfgang Petersen’s “The Perfect Storm,” Sandefur was nominated by the Art Directors Guild for an Excellence in Production Design Award, an honor he shared with the art direction team.
Sandefur is currently at work as production designer of the sci-fi film “Repossession Mambo,” starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, which is set for a 2009 release.
PAUL MARTIN SMITH (Editor) is known for his work with George Lucas, having worked for five years with Lucas Film Ltd.
His many film credits include “Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace”; Renny Harlin’s “Mindhunter,” starring Val Kilmer; the war drama “Behind Enemy Lines,” starring Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson; the romantic comedy “The Matchmaker,” starring Janeane Garofalo; and the thriller “Venom.”
Smith designed (in collaboration with David Dozoretz) and edited three key sequences for the animated feature “Titan A.E.” He served as the consulting editor on Ernest Dickerson’s crime drama “Never Die Alone,” and edited four films in the video feature franchise “The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.” Additionally, he has edited over 30 documentaries, including “Gunfight U.S.A.” and “Cold Spring New Dawn.”
For television, Smith edited the telefilms “Young Indiana Jones: Travels with Father” and “Young Indiana Jones and the Hollywood Follies,” as well as episodes of the acclaimed ABC series “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.” His other television credits include the telefilms “Country Justice,” starring George C. Scott; “Unforgiveable,” with John Ritter; and “The Canterville Ghost,” starring Patrick Stewart, as well as the NBC sci-fi series “Earth 2.”
Smith is a member of the Guild of British Film Editors (GBFE), English cousin to American Cinema Editors (ACE). He has also worked on several award-winning television programs in Great Britain, including “The Driving Force,” for which he won the British Industrial and Scientific Film Association (BISFA) Best Editor Award.
DIRK WESTERVELT (Editor) has enjoyed repeat collaborations with several filmmakers throughout his career.
He edited George Tillman Jr.’s acclaimed biographical drama “Men of Honor,” starring Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Charlize Theron, and was associate editor on the director’s hit comedy-drama “Soul Food,” which featured an ensemble led by Vanessa L. Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Nia Long. He is currently at work as editor of Tillman’s widely anticipated drama “Notorious,” which explores the life of the late rap star Notorious B.I.G. and stars Angela Bassett and Derek Luke, due in theaters January 16, 2009.
Westervelt served as visual effects editor of Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi adventure “Hellboy” and his action-thriller “Blade II.”
For writer-director Rick Famuyiwa, Westervelt edited the romantic comedy “Brown Sugar,” starring Taye Diggs and Queen Latifah, and served as additional editor on the coming-of-age tale “The Wood.”
He has twice collaborated with F. Gary Gray, as associate editor on the filmmaker’s acclaimed drama “Set It Off” and as first assistant editor of his hit comedy “Friday,” starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker.
Additionally, Westervelt served as director of photography on director Kate Haug’s lauded short film “PASS,” which screened in the New Directors/New Films festival at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
He splits his time between New York, Los Angeles and Prague.
STEVEN ROSENBLUM (Editor) has had a long and fruitful association with director Edward Zwick, dating back to the television series “thirtysomething,” for which Rosenblum won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Editing for a Series. Their first feature film collaboration was the Civil War drama “Glory,” which brought Rosenblum his first Academy Award nomination for Best Editing. Rosenblum earned his second Oscar nomination for his work on the Academy Award-winning Best Picture “Braveheart,” directed by and starring Mel Gibson, and a third nomination for Zwick’s “Blood Diamond.”
Rosenblum has also edited the Zwick-directed features “Legends of the Fall,” “Courage Under Fire,” “The Siege” and “The Last Samurai.” In addition, he worked on Marshall Herskovitz’s directorial debut feature, “Jack the Bear.”
His collaborations with other directors include Bryan Singer’s “X-Men,” Shekhar Kapur’s “The Four Feathers,” Michael Bay’s “Pearl Harbor,” Tom Dey’s “Failure to Launch” and Lee Tamahori’s “xXx 2: The Next Level.”
Rosenblum is currently at work on Zwick’s WWII drama “Defiance,” starring Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell, due in theatres this December.
ANDREW LOCKINGTON (Composer) began his career in film music working with fellow Canadian composer Mychael Danna, and his subsequent work as an orchestrator/conductor or composer’s assistant led to collaborations with such acclaimed directors as Joel Schumacher, Denzel Washington, James Mangold, Mira Nair, Ang Lee and Atom Egoyan, with feature credits including “8MM,” “Antwone Fisher,” “Girl, Interrupted” and “Monsoon Wedding.”
In recent years, Lockington has segued from orchestration to composing for feature films, and he has received accolades for his work on “Skinwalkers,” “Cake,” “Saint Ralph,” “Touch of Pink” and “Xchange,” as well as the HBO feature “Stranger Inside.” As a songwriter, Lockington often contributes at least one song to the soundtrack of his films.
His most recent credits as a composer include the Sundance Film Festival hit “How She Move” and the upcoming independent feature “One Week,” directed by Michael McGowan.
Lockington was born and raised in Toronto, and began playing music when he was only three years old. He studied composition and orchestration in the prestigious music program at Wilfrid Laurier University, and released his debut solo CD, “Dream,” in 1994. He currently divides his time between Los Angeles and Toronto, where he resides with his wife and 3 children.
CHRISTOPHER TOWNSEND (Visual Effects Supervisor) has worked as a visual effects artist and supervisor on some of the most influential visual effects movies of our time, including the re-release of the original “Star Wars” and the most recent trilogy in the “Star Wars” franchise. His additional credits include “Mission: Impossible”; “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”; “AI: Artificial Intelligence”; “Hulk”; “The Day After Tomorrow” and “The Island,” on which he collaborated with Eric Brevig in the visual effects department; “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”; and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”
Townsend graduated with a Graphic Design Bachelor of Arts Honors Degree in England in 1988. He spent the next six years traveling and working in various countries, including China, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, specializing in broadcasting and television advertising. He then moved to the United States to work on feature films at George Lucas’ esteemed Industrial Light and Magic.
Townsend most recently served as the on-set visual effects supervisor for “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” directed by Gavin Hood and slated for release on May 1, 2009.
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(C) MBN 2008