The Hitman's Bodyguard
Friday 8th September 2017
Nearly everybody the notoriously lethal hitman Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson) has ever met across the globe want him dead - but that's only if Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds), the vigilant bodyguard recruited to protect him at all costs, doesn't shoot him out of sheer infuriation first. The hair-triggering rivalry and potential joining of forces between a high-flying, Triple-A rated hired gun and a protection specialist results in an outrageous, fast-paced action comedy that twists and twines the hitman thriller, the bodyguard romance and the odd-couple buddy comedy into one irreverently fun ride. Featuring a hilarious "bromance" between blockbuster stars Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, creatively choreographed fight scenes and exhilarating high-speed chases The Hitman's Bodyguard offers a non-stop mashup of laughs and outrageous action.
The wild chase begins when Interpol strikes a risky deal with a newly captured Kincaid: if he agrees to be a star witness against the bloodthirsty Belarusian tyrant Vladislav Dukhovich (Gary Oldman) in the International Criminal Court, they'll free Kincaid's cherished, and not-to-be-trifled with, wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) from jail. There's just one problem: Interpol has only 24 hours to transport Kincaid from the North of England to The Hague - knowing full well that cutthroats and assassins will be lying in wait to hit the hitman the entire way to Holland.
Things go wrong right off the bat, as Interpol Agent Amelia Roussel (Elodie Yung) leads the prison convoy transporting Kincaid into an ambush. Determined to get an unrattled Kincaid to his destination, she calls on the only guy she knows who can protect the unprotectable: her bitter, burnt-out ex-boyfriend and former hotshot bodyguard, Michael Bryce. Once Bryce was at the top of the executive protection game, but after a job gone sour he's lost his edge. He has everything to prove, but zero desire to prove it with Kincaid. The two are not strangers. In fact, after a long career dodging Kincaid's bullets, the hitman's life is the last one on earth Bryce has any inclination of saving, let alone risking his own for such a scoundrel.
As the highly skeptical hitman and his completely unenthusiastic bodyguard embark on a race against henchman coming at them from every angle, they unwittingly forge their own hilarious, awkward bond. They may not trust the other any further than their trigger fingers can aim, but their volatile mix of aggravation and admiration might just fuel them to band together long enough to reach the Hague, rekindle a romance, save Sonia and at long last restore the triple-A rating of The Hitman's Bodyguard.
Says Ryan Reynolds: "I love the bond between Bryce and Kincaid. These two guys couldn't be more polarised but as we move through the story they start to acquire begrudging love and respect for each other. There's a bromance and several love stories all wrapped up in this incredible, crazy action story."
Adds Samuel L. Jackson: "Ryan and I go on a crazy fun jaunt through the roads of Europe - and it's full of chaos and humour between two characters who have a very unusual chemistry."
Ryan Reynolds's Michael Bryce has hit rock bottom when he is called upon to take the most dangerous job of his life: to protect the very man he would like to see permanently out of action. A botched job and a broken heart have led the fastidious Bryce to a lonely existence that is a shadow of who he used to be, only now he is going to have to bring his best if he's going to get his worst rival to The Hague on time and preferably in one piece.
From the beginning, Reynolds played a big hand in carving out the character who disdains chaos but finds himself sucked into it. "Ryan worked very hard during pre-production, coming up with lots of creative concepts for Bryce and his whole philosophy of life," says Producer Les Weldon. "Then he tapped into an intuitive comedic timing that really brings the character to life. He compels you to root for this character who was once Mr. Efficient but has kind of broken down and lost his way. His performance has an emotional core but it's also very funny."
Reynolds describes Bryce as "a man who suffered from extraordinary hubris and took a fall from grace." He goes on: "Bryce lost a client which has sent him into a downward spiral of shame. We find him two years after the incident and though he's probably still the best in the business, he's basically at a loss. Then his ex-girlfriend asks him to do this job he really doesn't want but that he needs. In a nutshell, he has to protect a man who has spent the better part of a decade trying to kill him."
That's how Bryce comes to accompany his insufferable foe Kincaid through a maze of lethal obstacles, and ends up confronting himself in the process. "Bryce can be arrogant and prideful - and Kincaid pushes all those buttons," Reynolds explains. "He's got Bryce's number whether Bryce would like to admit that or not. Therein lies the connection that happens between these two guys. In a weird way Kincaid ends up making my character look at himself, and in the unsettling way only Sam Jackson can."
The rapport with Jackson was immediate and led to both actors letting it fly, says Reynolds. "Sam and I have a lot of moments where we just get to play, and that was important to creating the unique bond between our characters. Sam is so good at improv, he can play ball with the best of them, and that is my background as well so we just got out there and had as much fun as we could. We had a good thing going."
Samuel L. Jackson admits it was Reynolds's involvement that spurred him to sign onto the role. "Ryan had been attached to the film and when my name popped up, it made sense. It felt like a fun idea. I've enjoyed watching Ryan, I've known him on a personal level and I like him, so I thought we'd have interesting chemistry on screen," Jackson says.
The other lure for Jackson was the chance to work with Salma Hayek as Kincaid's firecracker wife, Sonia. "Sonia and Kincaid are kindred spirits who connected viscerally before we connected spiritually and she is the type of person that Kincaid can actually talk to about what he does," observes Jackson. "Sonia loves Kincaid despite his many flaws - and because of her, Kincaid has learned a bit about romance, so he finds himself giving Bryce love advice, unlikely as that seems. Salma and I are friends so we had that and it was a great coup for everybody to bring her into this project."
No stranger to action, Jackson was all in, especially because Kincaid and Bryce are masters of their at-odds crafts. "There's a lot of hand-to-hand in the film and it makes us look heroic which is part of the joy and what people want to see," says Jackson. "It's a high-energy movie."
Although the focus was on anarchic fun, Reynolds also had to focus on some intense physical work, especially because he likes to do as many of his own stunts as possible - and there were plenty of them. He was thrilled to reunite here with legendary stunt coordinator Greg Powell, who had lots of wild ideas in store for the film.
"I've done a few films with either Greg Powell or his brother Gary before and with these two guys you always want to impress them and go as hard as you possibly can. The only problem is that sometimes I push myself a little too hard and forget that I am 39 years old and cement hurts," he quips.
It might take a lot of bruises, to the ego as well as to the body, to convince Bryce that he and Kincaid can find common ground, but he starts to come around. That is in large part due to Kincaid's enormously charismatic persona, which can even win over a van full of nuns. Like Bryce, however, Kincaid starts out the story in a pickle. He's been caught by the Feds and his lady is in jail, a situation that is unsustainable - which is why he agrees to testify against the heinous Belarusian despot everyone wants to see get his comeuppance for crimes against humanity.
Sums up director Patrick Hughes: "With a duo like this, I found the best idea was to just give Ryan and Sam the right environment and support . and then sit back and watch the magic show happen."
Surrounding Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in The Hitman's Bodyguard is an especially crack cast including Oscar® nominees Gary Oldman (Best Actor, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, 2011) and Salma Hayek (Best Actress, Frida, 2002), and rising French star Elodie Yung.
Funny as the story of The Hitman's Bodyguard is, it also feature a serious baddie, as Oldman sinks his teeth into another epic villain, the ruthless Dukhovich, who has evaded global calls for his downfall. "I had a lot of fun with this role," confesses Oldman. "The script had a fantastic marriage of action and dialogue and Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson are a great double act." Despite no prior knowledge of Russian, Oldman was required to speak it expertly in the film. "I probably could have learned Hamlet measure for measure in the time that I've spent on my lines" he laughs. Nevertheless, working with a Russian coach daily, Oldman did just that.
Adds Patrick Hughes: "The minute Gary arrived on set, I knew we had a movie because he brought something terrifying for Ryan and Sam to unite around."
Like Oldman, Salma Hayek had a blast going fully to town as Sonia, whose massive passion and personality cannot possibly be contained even in her jail cell. "Sonia is a fantastic character," says Hayek of what drew her to the unconventional role. "Her marriage is a little bit unusual because she's married to a hitman but she's really, really tough. If anyone can handle Darius it's definitely Sonia. With Sonia, you just never know what's going to come out of that mouth and that's what makes her so memorable. I have to say I just love her - yes, she's cuckoo and unpredictable but that is exciting to play."
As for what keeps Kincaid and Sonia together through ups and downs the life-threatening likes of which most couples will never face, Hayek says the bottom line is the same: "It's love. They have the most amazing, passionate, crazy, mad relationship that is full of fire in every way. The best part for me is that notorious as Kincaid is you definitely get the idea Sonia is his match, and he knows it."
Working with Samuel L. Jackson was a delight for Hayek. "He is a legend and I was so very excited to finally work with him. It's been so easy and fabulous to be his wife, even if she's his crazy wife, you can see why they are meant for each other."
Perhaps the biggest challenge for Hayek was Sonia's epic bar fight, which convinces Kincaid she's the one for him. "I was sore for a week after we shot that," she admits. "But I'm so happy that at 49 I am still kicking ass and able to do all my stunts."
Hughes adored how completely Hayek threw herself into the role. "Salma is electrifying as Sonia. From the start, I could see that Salma and Sam were going to be an exciting pair. You might think that since he's this crazy hitman Salma would want to contrast that, but instead the fun is that she actually makes Sam's character look downright easygoing. They're two extremes who have fallen in love, but the way Salma plays it, you also realize their love is genuine."
For Elodie Yung, who plays Bryce's ex, part of the fun was getting to break up what might otherwise be purely a boy's club between Kincaid and Bryce. "I thought it would be great to be the girl in this boy's world," she muses. "I found the script very funny to begin with, and once I was on set and began to improvise with Ryan and Sam it got even better. I was laughing all the time and I know people are going to have a great time watching these guys. They really love what they do and it's infectious."
"Ryan brings his natural humour to this," she observes. "But whether he's the Bryce who is at the top of his career or the Bryce who has become kind of a loser, he manages to make him feel real."
Yung has her own major fight sequence in The Hitman's Bodyguard and loved training for it. "I'm an Interpol agent, so Amelia has to be efficient. In this kind of role, you get dirty and bruised but it's part of the fun!"
Tom O'Connor's screenplay for The Hitman's Bodyguard took some of the most popular tropes of hit action thrillers - including the freewheeling hitman who can't miss and the dreamy bodyguard whose protection never fails - and irreverently crashed them right into one another. "Balancing the comedy and the action was really tricky, and that was something I played with a lot in the very beginning of the script because I knew I wanted it to be funny without being goofy or wacky," O'Connor recalls.
Two of Hollywood's most sought-after stars signed up to take the lead roles, hurtling the production forward. The uniting of two of audiences' favourite and most unpredictable stars would next require a director capable of propelling the story's perpetual series of wild-eyed action sequences and comic scenarios. In the action-comedy tradition, the script offered a story of escalating stakes - but where one extreme situation after the next somehow brings the hitman and his bodyguard closer to the International Criminal Court . and each other. That's where Patrick Hughes came in; having worked with an all-star cast and plenty of action in Expendables 3, he had the high-adrenaline chops and was ready to try something different. "Patrick was able to take the reins, be the field general with the actors and bring it all to life," notes screenwriter Tom O'Connor.
Hughes saw the potential for a chemical reaction between Reynolds as the tightly-laced, by-the-book perfectionist Bryce and Jackson as the madcap, no-holds-barred Kincaid. He was equally drawn by the fun of revisiting that staple of 80s and 90s blockbusters - the mismatched buddy comedy - in a fresh but cheeky way, replete with fast, frenetically calibrated action that could only be created in the 21st Century.
"The story of The Hitman's Bodyguard appealed to me in part because it's got that old-school, classic buddy-comedy flavor to it - with two contrasting characters with completely clashing life attitudes -- and that's something I wanted to maintain, but in a modernised way," Hughes explains.
Early meetings with Ryan Reynolds helped to cement the dynamic between two men who believe - with good reason -- they are mortal enemies, yet end up having each other's backs in spite of themselves.
"Ryan and I both felt pretty adamant that at heart this is a redemption story for his character, Michael Bryce, facilitated by his job protecting Kincaid," Hughes elaborates. "Bryce's problem is that he's way over-analytical about everything. He's been trying to control all the elements in his life, from his job to his love life. Kincaid is the flip side of that - he's loose and rock and roll and he always goes with his gut. Kincaid becomes a kind of unwilling mentor to Bryce on this crazy journey, as they go from absolutely intending to murder each other to actually understanding one another and begrudgingly even learning something about relationships."
The producers were thrilled by Hughes' winking but fun-loving approach. "Patrick brought such a great sense of humour but also a sensibility for big entertainment," says Weldon. "He helped to guide Ryan and Sam into the kind of timing that allows them to play off each other with verve and gusto. Not only does Patrick understand comedy, he was able to deliver some epically fun action at the same time."
Samuel L. Jackson says of what Hughes brought: "It's always good to have a director who brings this much enthusiasm and energy to the set. Patrick kept us on our toes, yet gave us the freedom to just let go and do the things we needed to do to make this story work."
Adds Reynolds: "Patrick's wisdom and style made him perfect for a movie like this, with its slightly heightened reality and playful tone. Patrick put that tone front and center and was the guy pushing us forward every day. He helped us to create incredible action sequences that are suspenseful but also uplifting and fun rather than dark. Each set piece is unique and it will be a real adventure for audiences."
Comments Salma Hayek: "Patrick's been a fantastic discovery for me. He set out to make a film that would be at once funny, electrifying, romantic and just a little naughty."
As The Hitman's Bodyguard careens in near-constant motion from England to The Hague, erupting into outlandish chases by car, motorbike and boat, the production spanned iconic European locations. The breathless road trip nature of the film gave director Patrick Hughes what he calls "an incredibly textured canvas to work with." In conjunction with cinematographer Jules O'Laughlin, production designer Russell De Rozario and Oscar®-nominated editor Jake Roberts (Best Film Editing, Hell or High Water, 2016), Hughes set out to capture the raw energy of live-wire performances set against an array of exhilarating stunts.
Much of the filming was shot in Bulgaria, which offered the production a wide span of landscapes able to double for the UK and Europe. Says Les Weldon, "With the resources available in Bulgaria, we were able to transform sets more quickly than almost anywhere else in the world. We had so many complex action sequences and the technical crews in Bulgaria were phenomenal in pulling them off."
More filming took place in and around the iconic Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, one of the globe's most breathtaking art and history museums, housed in a lavish 19th Century Gothic building. It is here that Kincaid leaves flowers so that Sonia can see them from her prison cell window. The art department even constructed a nearby flower stall where Kincaid stops to purchase the pink tulips. In Amsterdam's adjacent Museum Square, the production shot the scene in which Bryce drowns his sorrows in an open-air bar, whilst Kincaid fights off mercenaries, mixing furious action with a photogenic setting.
A favourite scene for production designer De Rozario is the bar fight that sparks the romance for Kincaid and Sonia, for which he created the fictional Cucaracha Bar from scratch. "It's a fantastic scene with Salma and Sam, and we built this amazing place out of neon signs and old American cars and it turned out quite painterly. When they shot it with all the stunts, it looked spectacular," he muses.
De Rozario filled his sets with all manner of quirky details, ranging from a colossal Caravaggio reproduction for the office of Richard E Grant's dodgy businessman, to latex mannequins for the Amsterdam sex dungeon, to a sickly green wallpaper for the safehouse where Bryce takes Kincaid, echoing Oscar Wilde's deathbed retort, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has to go." The funky van of nuns in which Bryce and Kincaid unexpectedly find refuge was another fun design for De Rozario - and as the cherry on top, De Rozario himself took the role of driving the van.
While chaos prevails on the trip, and the design reflects some of the madcap places Bryce and Kincaid wind up, De Rozario notes the entire production had to be designed like clockwork to come off without a hitch. "Designing this film was kind of like designing a 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle," he summarizes.
Once the supercharged action of The Hitman's Bodyguard hits the open road, the film breaks out into a riotous array of sliding and colliding cars, as well as cleverly choreographed battles and set pieces. Says Weldon: "On top of the film's comedy, there are great car chases, stunts and practical effects. Patrick is a director who likes to shoot in camera rather than green screen, as he really likes to let the audience feel part of the action. Our stunt team pulled that off heroically."
To create action that would meet a high bar - yet could be shot in-the-moment the way Hughes envisioned -- the filmmakers recruited one of the greatest stunt minds in Hollywood: British-born Greg Powell, who hails from a whole family of stunt experts and whose long list of credits ranges from the Bond action of Skyfall to the Harry Potter series to the superhero feats of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Powell has been performing stunts since the age of 14 and he has a love for coming up with inventive ideas in a field where surprise is everything -- while also maintaining scrupulous safety.
Powell knew immediately that The Hitman's Bodyguard was going to be an exhilarating challenge. "The script was truly action-packed and the sheer number of different stunts was quite exciting for me," he recalls. "The biggest challenge was that with so many fights throughout the story, we had to find a way to keep each one fresh, different and fun." The stunt supervisor began by working with Reynolds and Jackson to match their character's fighting styles up with their divergent personalities - with Bryce dealing blows with clean precision while Jackson is more gut-driven in his reactions. "They each see their characters in very specific ways so we really worked to design the stunts to match how Ryan and Sam see Bryce and Kincaid," he explains. Powell was particularly fired-up by the chance to push the pedal to the floor with all the vehicular exploits in the film. "We've got cars, motorbikes, SUVs, police cars and even speedboats racing through the canals of Amsterdam - which is something you've probably never seen on film," he muses.
To round up the team's menagerie of cars, the stunt-driving team coordinated with Car Casting Holland (Oceans Twelve), which purchased, transported and prepared each vehicle for their big moments. With so much complex choreography, the crew actually needed to double the already considerable number of stunt cars the script called for and had as many as 15 cars at one time speeding around Holland's old razor-narrow roads. Cars seen in the film range from luxury speedsters to commuter classics, with the list including the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 V8, Audi A6 3.2, BMW 530, Cadillac Escalade, Volkswagen Touran police cruiser, Jeep Cherokee, the electric Smart car, as well as a Triumph motorbike.
For Patrick Hughes, having so many talented stunt people working coupled with the fact that he could utilize numerous types of land and sea vehicles was like being a kid in the world's greatest toy shop. "It was crazy fun," he admits. "You really can't be unhappy when you're shooting in the middle of Amsterdam and doing boat, car and motorbike chases and shootouts. That's every kid's childhood dream. I've fantasised about this since I was in film school."
Yet for all the careful coordination of the action that hurtles the film forward at every turn, everyone agrees that the biggest focus of the production was on the fun and friction between Bryce and Kincaid. Concludes Weldon: "You can have all the fireworks, water action and car flipping in the world but at the end of the day, if you don't have these very human relationships, the story wouldn't work. We wanted to thrill audiences with original stunts, while being focused on drilling down into the essence of these two characters, so that it's not only a wild spectacle but an emotionally satisfying story about two people who think they hate each other but discover there might just be more that unites than divides them."
Ryan Reynolds [Michael Bryce] is one of Hollywood's most diverse leading men seamlessly transitioning through varied genres of drama, action and comedy in his rich and ever evolving career.
Reynolds is the star of the 20th Century Fox record-breaking film Deadpool. The movie opened in February 2016 and shattered expectations, opening to $152.2 million over the four-day Presidents' Day weekend making it the biggest R-rated opening of all time and the biggest February opening in box office history. The superhero juggernaut also replaced "Matrix Reloaded" as the highest-grossing R-rated film in history with more than $750 million globally. Reynolds, who also produced the film, is currently shooting Deadpool 2 which will be released in June 2018.
Reynolds' body of work is extremely diverse. In 2015, he starred in a variety of feature roles including Mississippi Grind, Woman in Gold, The Voices and Selfless. Mississippi Grind, directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, premiered at Sundance to rave reviews. In The Weinstein Company's Woman in Gold, Reynolds starred alongside Helen Mirren to tell the story of Maria Altmann (Mirren), a Jewish refugee who is forced to flee Vienna during World War II and her personal mission to reclaim a painting the Nazis stole from her family: the famous Lady in Gold. In Lionsgate's serial killer comedy The Voices by famed French director Marjane Satrapi, Reynolds stars as a troubled, med-addicted factory worker driven to murder by his talking pets, a psychopathic cat called Mr. Whiskers and Bosco, his peace-loving dog. Reynolds also voices both of the animals. He also starred opposite Sir Ben Kingsley in the independent feature Selfless, directed by Tarsem Singh.
Reynolds voiced two DreamWorks Animation films in 2013. Turbo, in which Reynolds voices a snail named 'Turbo' who has dreams of winning the Indy 500. The movie also features the voices of Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Rudolph, Snoop Dogg and Michelle Rodriguez. Prior to that, Reynolds had his animated film debut as the voice of 'Guy' in DreamWorks Animation's, The Croods. The movie also featured the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone and Catherine Keener and earned over $508 million worldwide. Reynolds has signed onto the sequel, which is already in development.
His other film credits include: the Universal action thriller, Safe House opposite Denzel Washington. The film opened to $40 million domestically in its first weekend and went onto earn $208 million worldwide. The Universal comedy, The Change Up, opposite Jason Bateman; the Warner Brothers adaptation of the popular DC Comic, Green Lantern and the mystery/thriller Buried. In the acclaimed and cinematically challenging film, Reynolds is the only actor to appear on camera for the duration of the piece.
In 2009, Reynolds served as Disney's romantic comedy lead in The Proposal, opposite Sandra Bullock. The film opened at #1 at the box office and grossed $315 million worldwide. Reynolds was also seen as 'Deadpool' in the X-MEN spin-off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. He starred opposite an all-star cast including Hugh Jackman and the film grossed $365 million worldwide. Additionally that year, Reynolds starred in Adventureland opposite Kristen Stewart which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated in the "Ensemble Performance" category at the 2009 Gotham Awards.
Some of Reynolds other film credits include: Paperman and the Working Title film Definitely, Maybe for Universal Pictures, writer/director John August's The Nines, director Joe Carnahan's Smokin' Aces for Working Title and Universal Pictures and The Amityville Horror, a remake of the classic cult film which opened #1 at the box office and made $107 million worldwide. As well as cult favourites Waiting and Van Wilder.
DarkFire, Reynolds' TV production company, recently sold its first two projects, the live action comedy Guidance and the animated comedy, And Then There Was Gordon to 20th Century Fox TV. Reynolds will executive produce alongside Allan Loeb, Jonathon Komack Martin, Tim Dowling and Steven Pearl.
In addition to his numerous leading roles, Reynolds also serves on the board of directors for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. In November of 2007, Reynolds ran the New York City Marathon in honor of his father - who has long suffered from ravages of Parkinson's disease. Reynolds marathon run raised over $100,000 for the Michael J Fox Foundation.
Appearing in well over 100 films, Samuel L. Jackson [Darius Kincaid] is one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. Jackson's portrayal of 'Jules', the philosopher hitman, in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction made an indelible mark on American cinema. In addition to unanimous critical acclaim, he has received Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominations as well as a Best Supporting Actor Award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
Jackson recently appeared in Quentin Tarantino's highly anticipated Western The Hateful Eight. He starred as 'Major Marquis Warren,' alongside Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Channing Tatum and Kurt Russell. In addition, Jackson recently appeared in Spike Lee's newest film Chi-Raq. Jackson also appeared in David Yates' Tarzan, starring alongside Alexander Skarsgård, Margot Robbie and Christoph Waltz last July, as well as Tim Burton's Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children, which released last September. Most recently, he completed production on the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures film Kong: Skull Island.
In 2012, he co-starred in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained as 'Stephen,' with Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio. He also starred in The Avengers, which is part of his 9-picture deal with Marvel Studios. The highly anticipated film opened on May 4, 2012 to a record shattering $200 million opening weekend.
Jackson reprised his role as 'Nick Fury' in both Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was released in April 2014, and the 2015 Avengers sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Jackson portrayed 'Pat Novak' in Jose Padilha remake of the 1987 classic Robocop, and 'Chaney' in Spike Lee's American remake of the 2003 Korean cult classic, Oldboy. In February 2015, he starred alongside Colin Firth and Taron Egerton in Matthew Vaughn's Kingsman: The Secret Service.
Jackson made his Broadway debut in 2011 at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater in The Mountaintop, where he portrayed Martin Luther King Jr. The play also starred Angela Bassett and was directed by Kenny Leon.
Jackson's career began onstage upon his graduation from Morehouse College in Atlanta with a degree in dramatic arts. He appeared in many plays during his time there, including, Home, A Soldier's Play, Sally/Prince and The District Line. He also originated roles in two of August Wilson's plays at Yale Repertory Theatre. For the New York Shakespeare Festival, Jackson appeared in Mother Courage and Her Children, Spell #7, and The Mighty Gents.
Past film credits also include: Mother and Child, Iron Man 2, HBO'S The Sunset Limited, Lakeview Terrace, Soul Men, The Spirit, Jumper, Resurrecting the Champ, 1408, Black Snake Moan, Snakes On a Plane, Freedomland, Coach Carter, Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith, The Incredibles, S.W.A.T, Changing Lanes, Formula 51, Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, Caveman's Valentine, Eve's Bayou, Unbreakable, Rules of Engagement, Shaft, Deep Blue Sea, Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, The Negotiator, The Red Violin, Jackie Brown, 187, A Time To Kill, Die Hard With a Vengeance, Jungle Fever, Sphere, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Ragtime, Sea of Love, Coming to America, Do the Right Thing, School Daze, Mo' Better Blues, Goodfellas, Patriot Games, and True Romance.
On the small screen, Jackson served as Executive Producer for the animated series for Spike TV, Afro Samurai, which premiered in 2007 and returned for a third season in January 2009. The series received an Emmy® Award nomination for Outstanding Animated Program from the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences. The first edition of the Afro Samurai video game launched in February 2009.
On television, in addition to The Sunset Limited, Jackson starred in John Frankenheimer's Emmy® Award-winning Against the Wall for HBO. His performance earned him a Cable Ace nomination as Best Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries, as well as a Golden Globe® nomination.
With over 25 years as a worldwide presence in major motion pictures, Gary Oldman [Vladislav Dukhovich] is also known to millions as Sirius Black (Harry Potter's Godfather), Commissioner Jim Gordon (Batman's crime-fighting partner), Dracula, Beethoven, Lee Harvey Oswald, Joe Orton, Sid Vicious, and the terrorist who hijacked Harrison Ford's Air Force One. He also starred in Luc Besson's The Professional and The Fifth Element and also as Dr. Zachary Smith in Lost in Space.
Highly regarded as one of the foremost actors of his generation, and as an internationally known, iconic figure, he has the distinction of appearing in more successful films than any other artist spanning the past twenty years, and additionally has appeared in more than one of the top ten highest grossing films in history including, not one, but BOTH of the most successful film franchises in history!
Mr. Oldman is the recipient of the 2011 Empire Icon Award, awarded for a lifetime of outstanding achievement.
He has appeared in the following Harry Potter films: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II; and also appeared in the following Batman films: Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. He stars in The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
In 2011, Oldman created yet another iconic character as master spy George Smiley in the acclaimed film version of John le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Tinker brought Oldman an Academy Award® nomination and also a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor.
Starring alongside Denzel Washington in the hit film The Book of Eli, his acting career began in 1979 where he worked exclusively in the theatre; in 1985 through 1989 he worked at London's Royal Court. His early BBC films were Mike Leigh's Meantime and The Firm by the late Alan Clarke. Feature films-with his historically iconic portrayals-immediately followed: Sid and Nancy, Prick Up Your Ears directed by Stephen Frears, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern Are Dead directed by Tom Stoppard, State of Grace; JFK directed by Oliver Stone, Bram Stoker's Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Romeo Is Bleeding, True Romance directed by Tony Scott, The Professional directed by Luc Besson, Murder in the First, Immortal Beloved, and The Scarlet Letter directed by Roland Joffe.
In 1995 Oldman and manager/producing partner Douglas Urbanski formed a production company, which produced Mr. Oldman's directorial debut, the highly acclaimed Nil by Mouth. The film won nine of seventeen major awards for which it was nominated and was selected to open the main competition for the 1997 50th Anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival, for which Kathy Burke won Best Actress. The same year Oldman won the prestigious Channel Four Director's Prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival in addition to winning the British Academy Award (shared with Douglas Urbanski) for Best Film and also the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, written by Gary Oldman.
In 2000, Mr. Oldman, and Douglas Urbanski also produced the original film The Contender, which also starred Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, Christian Slater and Sam Elliott; the film received several Academy Award® nominations.
During the past twenty years Mr. Oldman has appeared in a staggering fourteen films that have opened in the number one box office position in the US and worldwide; the films in which he has appeared have a cumulative gross in the billions and billions of dollars, remarkably, making him, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the highest grossing film actor in the history of motion pictures.
Academy Award® nominee Salma Hayek [Sonia Kincaid] has proven herself as a prolific actress, producer and director, in both film and television. She was nominated for an Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, Screen Actors Guild Award® and a BAFTA Award for her leading role in Julie Taymor's Frida.
Hayek can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed, Beatriz at Dinner, in which she stars as the title character for director Miguel Arteta and writer Mike White. Other notable projects include the recent Lionsgate/Pantelion comedy How to Be A Latin Lover, alongside Eugenio Derbez, Rob Lowe and Kristen Bell, and the upcoming action comedy The Hitman's Bodyguard with Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds opening in August, and Drunk Parents with Alec Baldwin.
Hayek devoted herself to another recent passion project as a producer and actor for Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, an animated feature inspired by the book of the same name by the beloved Lebanese artist and poet. She voices a character in the film alongside other talent such as Liam Neeson, John Krasinski, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Alfred Molina. The animated film debuted at Toronto International Film Festival in September 2014 and released domestically on August 7th, 2015.
That same year, she could also be seen starring in Tale of Tales by acclaimed Italian director Matteo Garrone, which premiered at the 2015 Festival de Cannes to the longest standing ovation in the festival's history, as well as in the romantic comedy, Some Kind of Beautiful, alongside Pierce Brosnan and Jessica Alba. Last year, she voiced the part of "Teresa Taco" in Seth Rogen's animated comedy feature Sausage Party about a sausage's journey through the grocery store.
In 2013 Hayek reprised her role as Adam Sandler's wife in Grown-Ups 2, alongside Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and Maya Rudolph. It was the sequel to the successful 2010 film, Grown-Ups. Hayek also starred in Oliver Stone's Savages, opposite Blake Lively, John Travolta and Benicio del Toro. She also appeared in Here Comes the Boom opposite Kevin James.
On television, she was last seen guest starring on NBC's critically acclaimed show 30 Rock. Hayek won an Emmy® for her directorial debut, The Maldonado Miracle, which she also produced. The film, which starred Peter Fonda, Mare Winningham, and Ruben Blades, premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and later aired on Showtime. She has also directed music videos for both Prince and Jada Pinkett.
Hayek's other film credits include: Alex de la Iglesia's La Chispa de La Vida; Mathieu Demy's Americano; the Academy Award®-nominated Puss In Boots with Antonio Banderas; Paul Weitz's The Vampire's Assistant, released by Universal; Todd Robinson's Lonely Hearts, opposite John Travolta and James Gandolfini; Robert Towne's Ask the Dust, alongside Colin Farrell and Idina Menzel; Luc Besson's Bandidas, opposite Penelope Cruz; Brett Ratner's After the Sunset; Robert Rodriguez's Once Upon A Time in Mexico; Mike Figgis' Hotel and Timecode; Kevin Smith's Dogma; From Dusk Till Dawn, directed by Robert Rodriquez and written by Quentin Tarantino; and Robert Rodriguez's Desperado.
Hayek served as the Executive Producer on ABC's award-winning program Ugly Betty, starring America Ferrera, and based on the enormously successful Colombian series Yo Soy Betty, La Fea. In 2001, she starred in and co-produced Showtime's In the Time of the Butterflies, for which she was nominated a Broadcast Film Critics Association's Award. Also, produced by Hayek's Ventanarosa Productions was the Mexican feature No One Writes to the Colonel, directed by Arturo Ripstein, and based on the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. No One Writes to the Colonel was selected for official competition at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.
Born and raised in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, Hayek studied International Relations in college in Mexico. Her additional Mexican credits include, Midaq Alley, based on a novel by Nobel Prize recipient Naguib Mafouz.
Noted for her acting career, Hayek has also dedicated much of her time to social activism. Hayek served as spokesperson for the Pampers/UNICEF partnership worldwide, to help stop the spread of life-threatening maternal and neonatal tetanus. She also served as the spokesperson for the Avon Foundation's Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, which focuses on domestic violence education, awareness and prevention, as well as support for victims. In 2005, she spoke in front the US Senate, encouraging its members to extend the Violence Against Women Act. In January 2006, the legislation was passed, ensuring that 3.9 billion dollars will be allocated to thousands of domestic violence crises and intervention agencies throughout the US. In April of 2005, Hayek visited the Arctic Circle for the celebration of Earth Day, in an effort to bring attention to the dangers that global warming is putting on the lives of the Inuit people and the rest of the world. In November 2005, she served as co-host, alongside Julianne Moore, at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, which honoured Nobel laureate Mohamed el-Baradei and the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency. She was also part of the One campaign that singer and activist Bono created, as well as a member of Global Green, and Youth Aids.
Hayek has been on the board of the Kering Foundation since 2009. The foundation aims to combat violence against women, focusing specifically on sexual violence in America, harmful traditional practices in Western Europe and domestic violence in Asia. The foundation also pays specific attention to refugee and migrant women worldwide. In 2013, Hayek, alongside Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Frida Giannini, the then creative director of Gucci, co-founded Chime For Change, an organization dedicated to improving the education, help and welfare of women and girls around the world.
Elodie Yung [Amelia Roussel] can next be seen in the Netflix series The Defenders, playing superhero Elektra Natchios alongside Finn Jones, Mike Colter, Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter and Sigourney Weaver. The series will be released on August 18th.
Yung most recently starred as the female lead in Lionsgate's 2016 film Gods Of Egypt, directed by Alex Proyas. An adventure fantasy film, it followed the story of a common thief who joins a mythical god on a quest through Egypt. Elodie starred as 'Hathor,' alongside Gerard Butler as 'Set' and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as 'Bek.'
She also starred in the second season of the Netflix series Daredevil, playing Elektra Natchios, that premiered in 2016. Daredevil, created by Drew Goddard, is an Emmy nominated Action/Crime Drama starring Rosario Dawson, Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Wool.
After first earning a law degree in France where she was born and raised, Yung realised that she wanted to follow her lifelong passion of acting instead, which lead her to enroll and later graduate from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
She immediately booked work out of school, first as a recurring character in the serial drama La Vie Devant Nous and then in the very well regarded drama Fragile(s), which premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival.
Those experiences led to what would be her breakout roles in France. First, she booked the role of 'Laura Maurier' in the French series Les Bleus, and then she booked the female lead in District 13 Ultimatum, the follow up to the hit Pierre Morel film (District 13) and an international hit itself. It was in this film that she was able to also feature her extensive martial arts skills, something that had been a passion since she was a child.
It was those jobs that led to Elodie getting attention in the US, ultimately booking her David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in the role of 'Miriam Wu'. She followed that up by booking the lead role of 'Jinx' in GI Joe 2: Retaliation opposite Dwayne Johnson and directed by Jon Chu.