Angel Has Fallen
Monday 9th December 2019
When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Morgan Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Gerard Butler), is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping from capture, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his own agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the real threat to the President. Desperate to uncover the truth, Banning turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name, keep his family from harm and save the country from imminent danger.
Angel Has Fallen is directed by Ric Roman Waugh from a screenplay by Robert Mark Kamen and Matt Cook & Ric Roman Waugh, story by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt, and based on characters created by Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt. Lionsgate and Millennium Media present, a Millennium Films/G-Base production.
Gerard Butler reveals a whole new side to one of his signature roles -- Secret Service agent Mike Banning - in this explosive, rip-roaring thriller in which the fate of the nation rests on the very man accused of attempting to assassinate the President of the United States.
Banning has long been one of the stalwart heroes-in-the-shadows on whom national security depends on day in and day out, but is the always-ready warrior starting to lose it? Haunted by a lifetime soaked in adrenaline, danger and more than a few insane snafus, Mike feels his usually knifelike edge slipping. The uncertain becomes the unthinkable as he wakes up to his worst possible nightmare: the President has fallen and Banning stands accused of conspiring to kill his friend, mentor and the man he's sworn to protect. Now the expert hunter has become the hunted, spurring Butler's deepest, darkest take yet on the loosecannon action hero.
On the run and with no one but his family on his side, Banning may not be able to pull himself back from the brink. But he will put his patriotism above his own as he stops at absolutely nothing to save the country that he's alleged to have betrayed.
As Banning maneuvers to evade his savvy colleagues, every quality that made him the top agent on the presidential detail is put to the test: his high-level combat skills, his ability to out-think the most twisted minds and his willingness to put himself at extreme risk to pull others from harm - only that might just be the easy part, for Banning now faces a situation for which he has zero preparation. Forced into the cold, isolated from his family, in dire physical and mental peril, the only way he can go forward is to take an unwanted turn into his past.
The third installment in the Fallen series, Angel Has Fallen stands on its own as a psychologically tense, kinetic thriller that never lets off the accelerator from its opening killer-drone attack. It also adds a revealing new chapter to the legend of Mike Banning, as the hazards of his work collide into his private life, pushing him to explore how he became the man he is now.
"I was really excited to come back to the Fallen series," says Butler. "I was especially excited to do something fresh with the character and take things in a different direction. Mike Banning is known for his badassery, but also his humanity-and now we get to see a lot more of where he comes from. What's great is that while this movie gets much more personal, there's also more action than ever, so the ride is heightened on all levels. There's brutal, crazy, epic combat-but in the same breath, there's real drama and I think it's also the funniest of the films."
Adds director Ric Roman Waugh: "I never thought of Angel as a sequel. I see it as a fresh, cool installment of the franchise that can stand alone while bringing everything fans love about Mike Banning. What Gerry and I really wanted to do was to put you inside Banning's head as he goes from offense to defense, from proud warrior to fugitive, so that you get to see and feel everything he's going through. For fans, it's a chance to see what makes Banning tick, and for new audiences, I hope it's a discovery of a really relatable character surviving in an extraordinary situation. So, you still get a tremendous amount of action but with a whole new and fresh point of view."
Reteaming with Butler in Angel Has Fallen is Academy Award® winner Morgan Freeman, this time as President Trumbull (he's moved up, having been Speaker of the House and Vice President in the earlier films), whose life is on the line along with his trust in Banning. Joining the series is a roster including, Jada Pinkett Smith as FBI Agent Thompson, Lance Reddick as Secret Service Director Gentry, Tim Blake Nelson as Vice President Kirby, Piper Perabo as Banning's wife Leah and in a surprise turn, Oscar® winner Nick Nolte as Banning's estranged father, a reclusive Vietnam vet who becomes his unlikely partner on the lam.
Butler notes it has always been Banning's everyday authenticity and down-to-earth humor that stands out against today's line-up of fantastical superheroes, but in this film, he is stripped down to his most human yet.
"I think part of Banning's appeal has been that he's such a real-life guy. He's someone trying to be a family man while dealing with the heavy emotional toll his work takes on him. People can really relate to that, but on the other hand, he's one of the toughest dudes you could ever hope to meet. He will never quit. That's how he sees himself-but that image is put to the test in this film in ways he'd rather it wasn't."
With his grit and loyalty under fire, Banning also comes face-to-face with the costs of the warrior's life as he tries to evade mounting signs of PTSD.
"In this chapter, you realize that this man you've seen go through all these firefights, explosions and crashes has paid a price," Butler explains. "Banning has been silently struggling in his work and at home, but he's keeping it all secret because he doesn't want to let people down and he wants to keep doing the job he loves and believes in. It's not the greatest timing for the whole nation to think he's a terrorist at large, to say the least. He's also very clear on that fact that, whatever his fate, the President is in grave danger and he is the only person left who can figure out where the threat is coming from."
Producer Les Weldon, who has been with the Fallen series from the start, loves that as Banning is put under crushing pressure, it gives Butler more room to dive deep. Weldon united with fellow producers Butler, Alan Siegel, Matt O'Toole, John Thompson, and Yariv Lerner to oversee the technically-intricate production. All were excited to see Butler bring a darker, harder edge to the beloved character while showing a new vulnerability-and keeping all the fun intact.
"From the beginning, Mike Banning has been almost an extension of Gerry. They're both dedicated, demanding guys, yet both have a really personable, emotional core," observes Weldon. "That comes out even more in Angel Has Fallen and I think audiences will really connect with him. It's very revealing to watch an incredible hero you've always seen chasing others, become the chased and desperate man."
Secret Service agents live in a constant state of high alert. At any given second, they have to be ready to thwart a near-infinite number of potential threats that could come from any country, any group, or any person, without warning. Their sacrifices-the persistent danger, the merciless demands on body and soul, the stress on their relationships-are rarely recognized publicly, but they don't do it for the recognition. They do it because they are driven to serve the highest office of the land and the bedrock of democracy.
That kind of devotion has always defined Mike Banning, though, he is also a man of contrasts. On the job, he is a cunning, dogged, laser-focused patriot, but he is also a self-questioning and at times a selfdeprecating man who has his dark corners of jagged regrets and frustrations. He has done and seen it all. In Olympus Has Fallen, he rescued the First Family from a North Korean-led kidnapping inside the White House. In London Has Fallen, he kept President Asher from harm during a terrorist attack on world leaders attending the British Prime Minister's funeral.
For the first time in Angel Has Fallen, Banning is no longer sure if he can trust his own agency. He can't sleep, he can't get through the day without pain killers and even his doctor can see that he's heading at 100 mph for a brick wall. Then, the bottom drops out.
For Gerard Butler, this was exactly the way he wanted to see Banning-not idealized but rather as a portrait of a more life-sized man, a hardboiled warrior facing down his own doubts. It's also exactly where he wanted to see the franchise go next - inviting audiences into a ride as psychologically volatile as it is filled with wall-to-wall stunts and battles.
"I felt like it was really time for people to get to know more of Banning and who he is," Butler says. "He might be a trained killer, but there's always been an "everyman" aspect to Mike. So, in this film, even though there's a huge external struggle, we get to know a lot more about his internal struggles with his father, his wife and his own future - struggles we all have. It makes the stakes of the action that much higher because we're so inside his world."
It all starts with Banning being offered the prized job of Director of the Secret Service by President Trumbull. It's an incredible opportunity... but it's also just the kind of indoor job that makes Banning chafe. He's not at all sure he's ready to be a desk jockey. "Mike's wife Leah loves the idea of the director job," notes Butler. "She knows he'll be safer, but Mike still loves being on the frontlines. In a way it's heartbreaking because his dedication and courage are what motivated President Trumbull to offer him this really great, prominent job; yet to Mike, it feels a little like the end of who he is."
Knowing he wanted both more grit and more emotional depth, Butler searched for a director who could thread that needle. He found what he was searching for in Ric Roman Waugh, a former stunt performer seen in a long roster of 80s action classics, who came to the fore as a director with his taut, tense trilogy of prison thrillers: Felon, Snitch and Shot-Caller, Waugh had also directed That Which I Love Destroys Me, a documentary about Iraq war veterans dealing with traumatic stress disorders and the psychic wounds of war, which sealed the deal.
The first time Butler met with Waugh, the ideas started flowing freely and that process did not stop until the final print was locked. "Ric's intelligence and psychological approach to the story were phenomenal," Butler says. "Also, moviemaking is in his DNA. He's been a stunt man and a cameraman, but he also knows special effects and design, and he brings high enthusiasm for it all. The best part about Ric is that he pushes everyone around him, in part because he never stops being excited about what he's doing. We made an interesting team for Angel Has Fal len because he brought so much fresh perspective to the series from his experiences while I was always thinking about those elements of the franchise that I know fans really love. I think we found a great balance."
Waugh jumped right away at the idea of exploring Mike Banning not just in jeopardy but in a chaotic state of mind. He knew from making That Which I Love Destroys Me that a man like Banning would, like so many real-life warriors in the military and law enforcement worlds, have to pay the piper for the mental, physical and spiritual toll of his work.
"What I learned making the doc is that there are a lot of modern-day warriors who have a different kind of PTSD," explains the director. "It's not the classic shellshock where they are running away from war. Instead, they've become addicted to war, to the intensity of it, and that makes it harder for them to return to society and everyday life. We made the documentary about members of the military, but after it premiered, I started hearing from all kinds of other people, from first responders and law enforcement and more, talking about how they were going through the same thing. So, I felt from the beginning that this would be a very authentic and interesting journey to take with Mike Banning. He is, as he's told in the film, a lion, but there are consequences to always being a lion."
Early on, Waugh met with a man who is in many ways the real-life version of Mike Banning: the film's security advisor, Mickey Nelson, a 28-year veteran of the Secret Service who served under four presidents, most recently President Obama. Nelson confirmed that Secret Service agents wrestle the intoxicating effects of adrenaline. "Mickey talked openly about the rush you get from protecting the most important person in the country-and he also talked about getting to a point where you crave that intense vigilance all the time," says Waugh. "That's exactly what Mike is thinking about as he faces a desk job. It brings up this huge question for him: do I keep trying to be the person I was in my youth or do I find a way to embrace who I've become? It's something a lot of people go through in all walks of life."
While Waugh did not want to skirt the complexities Banning faces, he also brought deeply-felt respect for the job. "One of the things that was also important to me coming into this was really trying to show what it's like to be part of the Secret Service. So, that informed a lot of the filmmaking because I wanted to be in Mike's head the whole way, the way he is always trailing the president, always watching for that threat in the hidden corner and always feeling that sense of duty and honor."
He and Butler inspired each other. "There was instant chemistry with us," says Waugh. "Our collaboration just seemed to catch fire early on and we had such absolute trust in each other that it made things exciting every day." (The bond was so tight that Waugh and Butler are currently shooting the disaster epic Greenland together.)
Waugh continues: "What makes Gerry so perfect for Banning is that while he brings all the off-the-charts charisma and muscularity you want in an action hero, he is also a very gifted actor who's not afraid to examine the complexities of life and the human condition and bring those traits, even flaws, into his characters to make them feel grounded and real. That allows you to get close to him in a way that's different in this film, while you're still getting that action rush."
Butler loved Waugh's approach to the action. "Ric's style is all about putting you smack in the middle of the chaos," Butler explains. "He sucks you in with a gritty realism-so that even in the most insane scenarios, you feel you are right there in the moment with Banning."
Adds Les Weldon: "Ric is really great at building emotional terror at close quarters and he combines that with big-scale, beautifully directed set pieces that don't let up."
He was Speaker of the House in Olympus Has Fallen and Vice President in London Has Fallen, but now, Morgan Freeman's President Trumbull has taken on the mantle-and all the hazards - of being Commanderin-Chief. Nearly assassinated and told his most trusted Secret Service agent is the prime suspect in the deadly attack, Trumbull faces a dilemma that could endanger not only his cherished friendship with Mike Banning but the future of the world.
Notes Butler: "In the earlier films, Trumbull already proved that he trusted Banning, and Banning has always felt a bond with Trumbull, beyond his duty to protect him. In this film, you see how much of a mentor Trumbull has become to Banning. They each look at the other as one of the few people they can talk to honestly. They can joke together, and they even rip on each other a little, respectfully, which is rare in Trumbull's life, and to me, Trumbull becomes the center of the movie because in a way, they are each other's lifeline if either one is going to survive."
"I love the relationship between Gerry and Morgan in this film," adds Waugh. "Morgan's President Trumbull is such a father-figure to Mike Banning and that is really put on the line. It brings out a lot of humanity in both their characters."
For Freeman, it was fun to climb the ladder to the presidency. "In this one, I'm elevated again. I'm the president, but that means I am now directly in harm's way," he muses.
He brought his own interpretation of what a great leader should be to the role. "I see Trumbull as an honorable, courageous man and a very good politician," Freeman describes. "But he's not really based on any historical president because the situation is so unique and the decisions he has to make haven't really had to be made by any President that we know of."
Freeman looked forward to finally having one-on-one scenes with Butler. "This is actually the first time Gerry and I have really worked together like this," Freeman notes. "In the other films, I've been in a safe bunker somewhere, or in DC while he was in London. Finally, we were able to work mano a mano, which was a true pleasure for me. What I love about his portrait of Banning is that he is clearly tough and ruthless but, at the same time, he brings a deep humanity to the role, which is a combination we seek in our heroes."
Butler, too, relished the collaboration. "It was one of my favorite things about the movie," he says. "Morgan brings an electric atmosphere when he's on set, and he gets total respect, even though he doesn't demand it. He's just easygoing and wants to joke with everybody. I loved working with him. And then he brings so much to President Trumbull. He has that mix of pathos, gravitas, and warmth, yet with a dash of roguishness that makes him a great leader and the kind of person to whom Mike can relate."
Butler notes that age was never a factor in Freeman's action scenes. "I don't think in Morgan's whole career he's ever done as much action," Butler muses. "I mean, we have him diving off boats, swimming in pools and running with bullets flying after him. Yet, he seemed to absolutely love it and was up to any challenge. He's 81 and there were times I thought, he's running faster than I am!"
Angel Has Fallen takes Mike Banning into his darkest hour - but also his hidden past. Things take a wild switchback into turbulent father-son territory when Banning looks for refuge in the last place on earth he ever thought he'd go: his long-estranged father's off-the-grid cabin. Here he has to confront a man he has never understood or had the chance to question: the Vietnam vet who walked out on him as a boy and retreated from his PTSD and paranoia into life as a lone survivalist in the woods.
Creating a sometimes comical, but always compelling, contrast with Butler's Mike Banning is the casting of Nick Nolte, known for his portraits of characters with tough hides but convoluted innards. Here, he brings a sense of frayed dignity to a man not quite sure if he's ready for redemption.
"There's a fascinating contrast between Mike and his dad because Mike is driven to keep running into war and his dad is still trying to run from it," notes Waugh. "What Nick brings is so much more than comic relief. His dynamic with Gerry is very tense and funny, but also very moving. There was a kind of magic that happened between them, and Nick is such a giving person that his passion inspired the entire crew, and me."
Butler greatly enjoyed the raw and original relationship that erupts between the two characters-both fiercely stubborn, uncompromising men who push all of each other's buttons. "All along, it's been a deep regret in Mike's life that he never really had a father, but now that he needs his father that means he also has to put up with him," laughs Butler. "He and Clay think they are cut from different cloth, but now that they're forced together, it allows them to see their connection. And Nick was so brilliantly weird and charismatic as Clay, he gave the relationship just the spark of intensity it needed."
Nolte came aboard because he loved the idea of putting such a damaged, complicated, razor-tongued character-one who reflects a reality for some veterans-in the middle of the hardcore action. "I was interested in the challenge of this role," Nolte explains, "and I was also drawn to working with Gerard. That turned out to be a bigger treat than I even imagined it would be because he really is at the top of his game right now."
To begin, Nolte thought a lot about why Clay, still shaken from Vietnam, walked out of society and away from his only son. "Like Mike, Clay came from a proud tradition of military discipline, but it left him in distress. After two tours in Vietnam, when he came home to his wife and child, he couldn't make it. It happened to a lot of good soldiers," Nolte points out. "You can't go easily from the extreme survival of war back to a normal life. Your brain gets rewired and that's what happened to Clay. He came back and felt he couldn't be a good father, so he cleared out. The way he sees it, his disappearing was the best thing that ever happened to Mike because Clay felt he had nothing to teach but violence and anger."
Once he saw the cabin set where Clay makes his home, Nolte got the internal picture of how Clay has penalized himself. "I think Clay wants to allow himself no creature comforts," he describes. "He wants the barest minimum he can possibly live with-one cup, one fork, one plate, one bed. Really there is no reason to even have a chair because he doesn't have any visitors, not until Mike shows up."
When Mike does show up, the mix of anger and affection, skepticism and understanding, defiance and need is incendiary. That first scene between Nolte and Butler had everyone on set mesmerized. "You could just feel the tension and that first spark of connection; it was very moving," recalls Weldon.
For Butler, Nolte's commitment to a man who has never learned to trust was a thing of beauty. "For someone to have been in the business this long and still bring that gorgeous, childlike energy where he's always excited about the scene and gives all he can is amazing. In that first scene at the cabin, you can feel so much going on inside Nick all at once: he's broken, grief-stricken, excited, questioning, wondering, fearful, judging, hoping and more. You can see Clay's whole life and struggles coming through in just the way Nick moves his face. As our characters grew closer, we also bonded in a big way."
Another character who comes to the fore in Angel Has Fallen is Banning's wife, Leah. She has always been one of Mike's biggest supporters and joys, but now as a new mother, she worries that Mike is retreating into private darkness that could lock her out. Stepping into the role of Leah is Golden Globe®-nominee, Piper Perabo. "Piper brings such a fresh spin to Leah," says Waugh. "Now that they have a daughter, there is a whole new dynamic between Leah and Mike - she has a vision of them moving forward in a way that will make them both happy."
What drew Perabo immediately to the project was Waugh's involvement. "I'd seen the documentary Ric made about servicemen trying to reintegrate back into civilian life," Perabo notes, "so, I knew he would bring that vital empathy and understanding to the heart of this movie."
Much as she understands what drives her husband, Leah can't hide her desire for Mike to take the director job that will see him still doing his patriotic duty-but safely seated within four walls."I think most of all Leah just wants Mike to be home more," explains Perabo. "Their relationship is really healthy and they trust each other, but she just wants more time to have fun with him."
Though she was new to the role, Perabo found that a close-knit, playful rapport with Butler came organically. "I don't know if it's the Scottish in him, but Gerry has such an inviting rough and tumble charm," she describes. "He's very good at playing a man who tinges everything with humor, but when things aren't light with Mike, Leah knows something is about to explode. The relationship felt very real and that made the danger also feel very real."
Butler has long been a fan of Perabo. "I love how Piper so deeply respected and brought out the sacrifices the spouse of an agent has to go through. She encapsulated the strength, the humor, and the support but also the worry and the tensions. She's a great addition to the franchise."
Another key player in the film is Wade Jennings, a long-time buddy and military compatriot of Banning's, who in a time of peace has turned to the growing world of private military contractors. Played by Danny Huston, it is Wade who spurs doubts in Banning's mind after a training session that leaves him battered. Huston and Butler are good friends off-screen which helped seal their rapport as former brothers-inarms. "I loved getting to work with Gerry," says Huston. "And also, I found Wade a very interesting character. Wade has taken a different path from Mike. He sees himself as a ferocious lion who has been put in a cage and he doesn't really know how to interact with the world in a state of peace. He is a fish out of water who wants conflict, but with Mike, I think he finds the human contact he needs to feel alive. They both understand that power of adrenaline, even if they make different choices." Once the chase begins, the cat to Banning's mouse is FBI Agent Thompson, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, the multi-talent recently seen in the hit comedy Girls Trip . "We didn't want another male agent," says Weldon. "We loved bringing in a strong actress to create a character who is really smart and tough as nails. She is the one leading the case and we needed someone who could capture that kind of determination. Jada is a great actress and she makes you root for her character."
Smith enjoyed that she is the one in pursuit. "Agent Thompson a great character; she's intense, serious and a straight-shooter, but she's also wily enough to keep up with Banning," she muses. "Of course, she's under the biggest pressure of her life to bring in the suspect wanted for trying to assassinate the President of the United States."
Although Agent Thompson is frequently exasperated by Banning, Smith loved having the chance to watch Butler at work. "It was a joy to watch him tackle this role with so much depth and then there is that great chemistry between Gerry and Morgan, which was the most beautiful thing," she says.
As President Trumbull fights for his life, it is Vice President Kirby who steps into a delicate leadership situation just as the country is on the brink of war. Playing Kirby is Tim Blake Nelson, best known for his comic work with the Coen Brothers, most recently as the Singing Cowboy in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. Everyone loved watching Nelson embrace a whole different kind of role. "Tim was just amazing," says Butler. "He's so smart and funny, but he also has this sincerity that was perfect for Kirby."
"I was surprised that I was even offered this role, as I usually play characters who are, shall we say, a bit more extreme, but I love the Fallen movies and I really appreciated the challenge of portraying a VP under pressure, so, there was no way I was going to turn it down."
Nelson also had a blast in his first outing with Morgan Freeman. "In many respects, Morgan is himself like a president," Nelson observes. "He just exudes wisdom, intelligence, and warmth and you want to follow wherever he's headed."
To lock Mike Banning into a chaotic world of ceaseless jeopardy, Waugh turned to a crack behind-thescenes team. The bottom line for all could be summed up in one word: groundedness, "I like to capture how people really move in a fight or a chase, what it really sounds like and the visceral feel of it," explains Waugh. "The idea was to immerse people completely into Banning's POV of every moment."
The team included director of photography, Jules O'Loughlin, production designer, Russell De Rozario, costume designer, Stephanie Collie, editor, Gabriel Fleming and composer, David Buckley, who created a score that swerves from propulsive to intimate.
Overseeing the scorching action were prolific stunt coordinator, Greg Powell, and legendary action unit director, Vic Armstrong, who previously worked with Waugh as a stuntman. "Greg and Vic have done nearly every big movie known to man," muses Butler, "and we needed that kind of experience because we wanted to put in as many epic sequences as we could possibly fit. That's exactly what they accomplished. Olympus and London each had about 13 action sequences. Here we've upped that to 23 sequences, which is a lot. It never stops. And they worked to make sure the audience feels every bump and explosion."
Says Armstrong: "On Angel Has Fallen, we took everything bigger and faster in every moment: we have fast boats, fast trucks, fast drones, and huge explosions. The audience is going to love it."
The film kicks off with one of its most heart-pounding sequences as a swarm of AI-driven drones turns President Trumbull's contemplative fishing retreat into all-out war. Shooting the scene at England's Virginia Water, a man-made lake and favorite vacation spot of British Royals since the 18th Century, the team took things as far as they could go. "I've done a few water sequences in the past, including a James Bond chase down the River Thames. They are always challenging, and this was especially challenging because we were working on a lake the Queen owns," laughs Armstrong. "But our aim was to overcome all the logistics to create a scene that keeps you on edge every second."
Waugh looked to leading-edge technology to forge the autonomous, pneumatically-launched drones that can track their targets like sentient creatures. "I knew from my Special Ops friends that there is new drone technology a lot like this," Waugh says. "It's just incredible. These drones can work as a swarm to find and target an enemy. Of course, it's all military secrets, so we designed our own, but everything you see in the film is based on real tech."
Adds production designer De Rozario: "We did a lot of research into how robotic drones with AI capabilities work. Our drones are bat-like structures that have a lot of agility and also have face recognition built into them. The way they fly and swoop, they have a deadly beauty to them."
In one of the film's most harrowing chases, Banning finds himself in a speeding semi on a dark mountain road pursued by police and helicopters, with no obvious escape route. It's one of Waugh's favorite scenes. "I wanted something that would feel super grounded and real but also put you inside Banning's head as he's trying to escape while inflicting as little damage as he can. We put in almost documentarylike details to create what's an incredible gauntlet run."
Adds Armstrong: "That was a really crazy chase because we were filming in a dark forest with no external lights, apart from the vehicles headlights and the helicopter searchlight, but it was great fun and I love what we captured."
While everyone was bringing their most ambitious ideas, Armstrong says the action works mainly because Butler brings so much veracity to everything Banning does, from dodging bullets to hand-to-hand combat to commandeering President Trumbull through explosions. That's what brings the believability. "Gerry is a different kind of action hero," Armstrong observes. "He's not Dwayne Johnson or Schwarzenegger. He is more an ordinary guy who finds extraordinary toughness in these very real situations. He's driven by grit and determination as much as anything-and no matter how big the sequence, that idea was always the core of the action."
Powell notes that no move happens on-screen without Butler weighing in. "Gerry is extremely involved all the way through and in every aspect," Powell explains. "He loves the action and he brings a lot of creative ideas. It was great for me and Vic because the input just increases our ability to create fun scenes that audiences aren't expecting."
As Mike Banning becomes a fugitive on the run, the production needed sets that could flow seamlessly through a real-time chase that never lets up. To undertake the design, the team turned to production designer De Rozario, who has shown his flair on such films as The Hitman's Bodyguard and the Kick - Ass series.
With Banning back in Washington D.C., De Rozario enjoyed the chanced to bring his own once over to the familiar environs of the Oval Office. "Our security advisor, Mickey Nelson, was a massive mine of information on the White House," notes De Rozario. "Our Oval Office colours are quite different to the ones you've seen before-but we learned that each president gets to pick the colours they want, so we figured President Trumbull would have really great taste and made the Oval more dynamic than you've seen it."
With the shoot taking place largely in the UK and Bulgaria, De Rozario got creative for many of his sets. For example, he used bunkers at the former U.S. Air Force base at Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire to create Salient Security's training facility where Banning goes through a terrifying simulation in the opening moments of the film.
At Bulgaria's Nu-Boyana studios, De Rozario created from scratch one of his favorite sets: Clay Banning's self-sustaining cabin. "For the cabin, we wanted to reflect Clay's state of mind," explains the designer. "He's a bit chipped and bruised as a Vietnam vet who feels let down by the establishment. Yet, he still cares very much about his country and he still has the clarity and focus of a soldier. So, his place is not what you might expect. It's quite well thought out, while very cleverly remaining off the grid."
Other keys locations include the vast Vertigo Business Tower in Sofia, Bulgaria-a stunning work of modern architecture, which resembles a giant polished diamond-and Guy's Hospital in London which stands in for the D.C. hospital where President Trumbull and Banning are airlifted after the drone attack. "Guy's has a layout that really flows," notes De Rozario, "and that was really important to how Ric wanted to shoot it. We loved that Guy's has this really fluid, beautiful banking that is a bit reminiscent of the motion of the drones that try to kill Trumbull so, we emphasized that. We just wanted to make this mad roller-coaster ride as visceral as possible at every turn."
As visceral as the action and design are, Waugh and Butler, hope it all serves to open up a window into Banning's soul that resonates beyond the thrills.
Sums up Waugh: "I'm a big fan of what this franchise has already done so it's been a huge honor to be part of taking it somewhere new, to give it a new depth for the fans and a new spin so that folks coming to the franchise for the first time can jump right into it. We put in all the fun and thrills you'd expect from a Mike Banning story, but I hope you also take away something more."
A gifted actor with unparalleled charm, Gerard Butler (Mike Banning/Producer) has inspired audiences across the globe with dynamic and fan favorite roles that span a multitude of genres.
In 2019, Butler received rave reviews for his performance in The Vanishing, a psychological thriller based on a real-life unsolved mystery about a trio of lighthouse keepers pitted against each other on a remote Scottish island which released on January 4, 2019. Butler also reprised his role voicing the character 'Stoick' in the third installment of DreamWorks Animation's film, How to Train Your Dragon with Cate Blanchett, Jonah Hill, Craig Ferguson, and Kristen Wiig which released February 22, 2019 and accumulated $519.6 Million at the box office. Butler also will make a cameo in Jamie Foxx's feature film directorial debut, All Star Weekend, starring Jeremy Piven, Robert Downey Jr., Benicio Del Toro, and Foxx himself. The story revolves around two buddy tow-truck drivers, played by Piven and Foxx, who are hardcore basketball fans that get to attend the NBA All-Star Game. Butler is currently in production for Greenland which will reunite him with the director of Angel Has Fallen, Ric Roman Waugh. The disaster thriller is about one family's fight for survival in the face of a cataclysmic natural disaster and will also star Deadpool's Morena Baccarin.
Next, Butler will be seen in the sequel to STX Entertainment's hit Den of Thieves, which he starred in and produced. The first film's story follows the intersecting lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles' most successful bank robbery as they plan a heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles. 50 Cent and O'Shea Jackson Jr will also reprise their original roles in the next chapter. Butler solidified himself as a leading man when he starred as the bold and heroic King Leonidas in Zack Snyder's blockbuster film, 300. The film broke box office records in its opening weekend and went on to earn more than $450 million worldwide. Butler's other $100 million plus films include Olympus Has Fallen; London Has Fallen; F. Gary Gary's Law Abiding Citizen opposite Jamie Foxx; How to Train Your Dragon 1 & 2; P.S, I Love You opposite Hilary Swank; Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera opposite Emmy Rossum; and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life opposite Angelina Jolie; Dean Devlin's Geostorm; Gods of Egypt with Chadwick Boseman and Rufus Sewll; The Bounty Hunter opposite Jennifer Aniston; Robert Luketic's The Ugly Truth opposite Katherine Heigl; and Nim's Island with Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin. In 2008, Butler and his manager, Alan Siegel, formed their production company, G-BASE, which has produced nine feature films including Them That Follow, Law Abiding Citizen, Olympus Has Fallen, the sequel London Has Fallen, Septembers Of Shiraz, which was selected into the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, The Headhunter's Calling, which premiered at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival. In addition to film, the company continues to produce and develop a diverse slate of projects including television series, documentaries, and interactive media projects. Them That Follow premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and sold to The Orchard. The film is set to release August 2, 2019 nationwide.
His other film credits include: the independent feature Dear Frankie opposite Emily Mortimer; John Madden's award-winning drama Her Majesty, and Mrs Brown, starring Judi Dench; Coriolanus opposite Ralph Fiennes; Gamer; Guy Ritchie's Rocknrolla; Beouwulf & Grendel; Hunter Killer; The Game Of Their Lives; Timeline; Chasing Mavericks; Marc Forster's Machine Gun Preacher; Reign Of Fire. His early work in film includes roles in Harrison's Flowers, One More Kiss, Fast Food, and the screen adaption of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard.
Butler is dedicated to charitable efforts around the world including Mary's Meals, an organisation founded with the simple mission to serve one meal a day to a child in school, as well as Artists for Peace and Justice, where he is a board member. APJ was established in 2009 and is a fundraising mission founded by Paul Haggis that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty and enfranchisement in communities around the world. Born in Scotland, Butler made his stage debut at the age of twelve in the musical, Oliver, at Glasgow's famous Kings Theatre. As a young man, his dreams of acting were temporarily deterred and he went on to study law for seven years before returning to the London stage in the acclaimed production of Trainspotting, and later in Snatch and the Donmar Warehouse production of Tennessee Williams' Suddenly Last Summer opposite Rachel Weisz.
Academy Award®-winning actor Morgan Freeman (President Allan Trumbull) is one of the most recognisable figures in American cinema. His works are among the most critically and commercially successful films of all time. Freeman ranks second among worldwide top-grossing actors of all time, with his films having earned over $4 billion in cumulative ticket sales. Whether a role requires an air of gravitas, a playful smile, twinkle of the eye, or a world-weary, yet insightful soul, Freeman's ability to delve into the core of a character and infuse it with a quiet dignity has resulted in some of the most memorable cinematic characters committed to film.
In 2004 Freeman won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award® for his role in Million Dollar Baby. Freeman also received an Academy Award® nomination in 1987 for Best Supporting Actor for Street Smart, in 1994 for Best Actor for The Shawshank Redemption, and in 2010 for Best Actor for Invictus. He also won the Golden Globe® for Best Actor for his performance in Driving Miss Daisy in 1990.
Freeman was honored with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2018, recognising his career achievement and humanitarian accomplishments. Freeman was also honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2011 Golden Globe® Awards. That same year, Freeman received the 39th AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, Freeman received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor for his distinguished acting, and was honored with the Hollywood Actor Award from the Hollywood Film Festival.
In 2010, Freeman won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor for his performance as Nelson Mandela in Invictus. In addition to his Academy Award® nomination for Best Actor, he also received a Golden Globe® nomination and a Broadcast Critics Association nomination. The picture was produced by Revelations Entertainment, the company he co-founded in 1996 with Lori McCreary with a mission to produce films that reveal truth. Since its inception, Revelations has continued to be the frontrunner in the field of digital technology.
Revelations' features include 5 Flights Up, starring Freeman, Invictus, The Code, The Magic of Belle Isle, Levity, Under Suspicion, Mutiny, Bopha!, Along Came a Spider, Feast of Love, 10 Items or Less, Maiden Heist and the Peabody Award-winning ESPN 30 For 30 documentary, The 16th Man. Freeman is an executive producer with McCreary on the Revelations Entertainment series Madam Secretary for CBS, starring Téa Leoni, which is ready to go into its sixth and final season. Freeman hosted and was an executive producer for the Revelations Entertainment, three-time Emmy® nominated series Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman for Science Channel. Also through Revelations, he hosts the Emmy®-nominated event series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman on the National Geographic Channel, which just completed its third season. Through Revelations, he also hosts The Story of Us with Morgan Freeman, on the National Geographic Channel.
Freeman will be seen next in The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard.
Most recently, Freeman starred Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, Broad Green Pictures' Just Getting Started, Warner Bros.' Going In Style, Paramount Pictures' Ben-Hur, Summit Entertainment's Now You See Me 2 Focus Features' London Has Fallen, Universal's Ted 2, Last Knights, Lucy, Dolphin Tale 2, Transcendence, The Lego Movie, Last Vegas, Now You See Me, Oblivion, Olympus Has Fallen and The Dark Knight Rises.
Freeman recently narrated the documentary March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step, for which he received an Emmy® nomination for Outstanding Narrator. He also narrated The C - Word, IMAX documentary Island of Lemurs: Madagascar, Science Channel's Stem Cel l Universe with Stephen Hawking and history documentary We the People. Past narrations include two Academy Award®-winning documentaries, The Long Way Home and The March of The Penguins.
Other credits include Dolphin's Tale, Born to be Wild 3D, The Dark Knight, The Bucket List, Glory, Clean and Sober, Lean on Me, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Unforgiven, Se7en, Kiss the Girls, Amistad, Deep Impact, Nurse Betty, The Sum of All Fears, Bruce Almighty, Coriolanus, Attica, Brubaker, Eyewitness, Death of a Prophet, and Along Came a Spider.
After beginning his acting career on the off-Broadway stage productions of The Niggerlovers and the all African-American production of Hello Dolly, Freeman segued into television. Many people grew up watching him on the long-running Children's Television Workshop classic The Electric Company, where he played the ironic Easy Reader among several recurring characters. Looking for his next challenge, he set his sights on both Broadway and the silver screen simultaneously and quickly began to fill his resume with memorable performances.
In 1978 Freeman won a Drama Desk Award for his role as Zeke in The Mighty Gents. He also received a Tony Nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actor.
His stage work continued to earn him accolades and awards, including Obie Awards in 1980, 1984 and 1987 and a second Drama Desk Nomination in 1987 for the role of Hoke Colburn, which he created for the Alfred Uhry play Driving Miss Daisy and reprised in the 1989 movie of the same name.
In his spare time, Freeman loves the freedom of both sea and sky; he is a long-time sailor and has earned a private pilot's license. He also has a love for the blues and seeks to keep it in the forefront through his Ground Zero club in Clarksville, Mississippi, the birthplace of the blues. In 1973 he co-founded the Frank Silvera Writers' Workshop, now in its 37th season. The workshop seeks to serve successful playwrights of the new millennium. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Earth Biofuels, a company whose mission is to promote the use of clean-burning fuels. He also supports Artists for a New South Africa and the Campaign for Female Education.
Freeman has been named on the Forbes "Most Trustworthy Celebrities" list each of the five times it has been published since 2006.
Hollywood trailblazer Jada Pinkett Smith (FBI Agent Helen Thompson) proves that in her vast thirty year career there is nothing she can't do. Her natural poise, undeniable confidence, and unshakable drive have paved the way for her longtime success as an actress, producer, director, activist, and humanitarian. Choosing to use her celebrity stature for good, she spreads a positive message of strength and resilience that inspires audiences worldwide.
Raised in Baltimore by her mother and grandmother, Pinkett Smith attended the Baltimore School for the Arts and majored in dance and theatre. She continued her studies at the North Carolina School of the Arts before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. In Los Angeles she landed a role in the sitcom True Colours and held many other TV Guest Star roles before a breaking role in Bill Cosby's sitcom A Different World. In 1993, she starred in her first feature film, Menace II Society, opposite Samuel L. Jackson. Over the next three years her career skyrocketed, garnering roles in the films The Nutty Professor and Set It Off.
Pinkett Smith has since acted in a plethora of films including Scream 2, Ali, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. She has held starring television and film roles including the character Fish Mooney, a gangster nightclub owner in the FOX Television Series Gotham, as well as the role of Rome, a strip club owner in the film Magic Mike XXL, opposite Channing Tatum. In 2016, she starred in the comedy Bad Moms and in 2017 she appeared in the comedic hit Girls Trip, opposite Queen Latifah.
She has also produced many projects such as The Secret Life of Bees starring Queen Latifah and Dakota Fanning for Fox Searchlight Pictures, the Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical Fela, and the film remake of the 1982 musical Annie. Her executive producing credits include the 2010 film The Karate Kid, the 2014 documentary Free Angela and All Political Prisoners. She is currently a co-producer of the critically acclaimed Broadway production of American Son, starring Kerry Washington and also Hala, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance film festival.
Known for her keen observation, authentic voice, and esteemed taste, it is no surprise that this year she was also a Sundance Film Festival judge. Her grace is contagious, having the rare gift of being able to empower and educate seemingly effortlessly. She is passionate on a variety of issues, most notably Race and Class Discrimination, Unequal Pay, and Human Trafficking. Pinkett Smith was one of the original pioneers to bring to light the issue of Unequal Pay in the entertainment industry, and now after the surge of the Times Up movement, the rest of Hollywood is following suit.
As a longtime advocate to stop human trafficking, she has spearheaded these efforts to raise greater awareness and educate the public on the worldwide issue. Her work led her to be featured on the special CNN Report Children for Sale: The Fight to End Human Trafficking in 2015 in which she traveled to the highly trafficked zone of Atlanta to film the program. The hour long special documented Pinkett Smith working with local aid workers and officials to investigate, uncover, and rescue real-life victims of the crime. This cause is deeply important to her and she continues to be an advocate for Don't Sell Bodies, an organisation that focuses on educating and preventing the spread of Child Sex Slavery in America. Don't Sell Bodies supports and partners with organisations such as GEMS, Girls Educational & Mentoring Services, a New York State non-profit serving girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking, and CAST, the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, the largest direct service provider to survivors of human trafficking in the United States.
Currently, Pinkett Smith brings her knowledge and voice to a new platform: Facebook Watch, where she host and executive produce an Emmy® nominated talk show titled, Red Table Talk alongside her daughter, Willow Smith and mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris. The multi-generational triad discusses a range of social and cultural issues to encourage an open discussion and dialogue between women of all ages. Topics such as sex, relationships, parenting, blended families, and body image are discussed among others. Red Table Talk is filmed in the Smith family home.
It is clear from her impressive resume that there is more to come from Pinkett Smith. She and husband Will Smith continue to dedicate their efforts to the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on the arts, education, sustainability, and social empowerment. Careers in Entertainment (CIE), a Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation program, provides access and opportunities to high school students and college students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in pursuing careers in the entertainment industry and Jada specifically focusing on the female voice and gender equality. Students are introduced to a network of industry professionals and mentor and can take part in a professional development program during their participation in CIE.
Partners of the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation are Discovery Communications, My Brothers Keeper Alliance, The Rockefeller Foundation, NYC Media & Entertainment, and Just Water. In 2017 the Foundation began an alliance with The Sundance Institute, providing a two-year commitment to support the Screenwriters Intensive, a two-day workshop on the creative process for ten emerging screenwriters from underrepresented communities, as well as support for the Institute's year-round work with diverse independent filmmakers and artists. The Foundation is also a backer of the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women and the Tisch Fusion Film Festival for up and coming female filmmakers.
Lance Reddick (David Gentry) currently stars on the Amazon series Bosch, based on Michael Connelly's internationally recognised series of novels, and Comedy Central's critically acclaimed series Corporate. Previously, he starred as Special Agent Phillip Broyles on the hit Fox series Fringe and appeared as Matthew Abaddon on ABC's Lost, garnering him a large international following among sci-fi fans. He came to prominence in the memorable role of Lt. Cedric Daniels on HBO's critically acclaimed series The Wire and as John Basil (aka "Mobay") on HBO's seminal drama Oz. In the feature world Reddick is well known as Charon in the John Wick films, with John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum. Also this past year he was seen opposite Tessa Thompson in Little Woods, in the thrillers Monster Party and The Domestics and in the drama Canal Street. Other features include White House Down, with Channing Tatum, Won't Back Down opposite Viola Davis, Adam Wingard's cult hit The Guest with Dan Stevens; Ed Zwick's The Siege, alongside Denzel Washington. In 2020 will be seen in Godzilla & Kong opposite Kyle Chandler and Sylvie which re-teams him with Tessa Thompson.
After a well-received guest-star turn on the FX comedy "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", comedy offers started rolling in. Reddick then starred in a highly successful viral video entitled "Toys R Me", for Funny or Die, appeared in a spot for College Humor, booked an episode of "Wilfred" on FX and was seen in sketches for "Comedy Bang! Bang!" on IFC and "NTSF:SD:SUV" on Adult Swim.
As a producer, Reddick's first completed feature was St. Sebastian, in which Reddick stars for director Danny DeVito. Reddick also co-produced and starred in the well-received web series "Dr0ne," for Justin Lin's YOMYOMF network on YouTube.
Tim Blake Nelson (Vice President Kirby) is an actor, writer, director, and producer with a distinctive voice in an array of dramatic and comic work on both screen and stage.
As an actor, Nelson has appeared in over eighty feature films, including Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, Ang Lee's Billy Lynne's Long Halftime Walk, Louis Letterier's The Incredible Hulk, Jay Roach's Meet the Fockers, Steven Gaghan's Syriana, Miguel Arteta's The Good Girl, Steven Spielberg's Minority Report, Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line, Nacho Vigalondo's Colossal, the Coen Brothers' O Brother Where Art Thou?, and the Emmy®-winning HBO movie Warm Springs, directed by Joe Sergeant.
Most recently, Nelson starred as the title character in Netflix's The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, written and directed by the Coen Brothers. The critically acclaimed anthology film was awarded Best Screenplay at the Venice International Film Festival and earned three Academy Awards® nominations. In the film, Nelson performs three songs, including "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings," which was nominated for Best Original Song. Nelson also won a GRAMMY® Award for his performance of "In the Jailhouse Now" on the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack album, which was awarded Album of the Year.
Nelson has been extremely busy in 2019, working on multiple projects across film, television, and theater. He completed production on HBO's Watchmen, while simultaneously prepping his newest play Socrates, Watchmen, created by Damon Lindelof, is based on the iconic graphic novel by Alan Moore. The series, also starring Regina King and Jeremy Irons, will air this October. In April, Socrates premiered to much acclaim at The Public Theater in New York City. The drama about the rise and fall of the celebrated philosopher was directed by Doug Hughes and starred Michael Stuhlbarg in the title role. In June he completed principal photography on Naked Singularity opposite John Boyega, directed by Chase Palmer, and produced by Ridley Scott. In September, Nelson will appear in Amazon's The Report, an independent film directed by Scott Z. Burns which also stars Adam Driver, Michael C. Hall, Jon Hamm, and Annette Benning. The film, produced by VICE Media, depicts a group of CIA agents using extreme interrogation tactics on suspects in the aftermath of 9/11. Later in the year, Warner Bros. will release Destin Daniel Cretton's Just Mercy, based on the successful memoir by civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson. The film stars Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, and Jamie Foxx.
Nelson plays the deeply troubled "Ralph Myers", a prison inmate whose testimony condemns Foxx's character to death row. Other films to be released this Fall in which Nelson appears will be All Rise, directed by Anthony Mandler, Don Quixote, in which he plays the title role, directed by Chris Poche, and Arara, directed by Sabrina McCormick and Soopum Sohn, Nelson has acted extensively in New York theatre. Most recently, he appeared in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park with Martha Plimpton and Jay O. Sanders under the direction of Dan Sullivan. Before that he played William Shakespeare in the critically acclaimed play Beard of Avon directed by Doug Hughes at the New York Theatre Workshop.
Nelson's other credits include Oedipus, with Frances McDormand and Billy Crudup, Troilus and Cressida, Les Bourgeois Avant - Garde, Mac Well man's Dracula, The Amazon's Voice, An Imaginary Life, The Baltimore Waltz, Mad Forest, The Innocents Crusade, Richard III and Twelfth Night. As a playwright, his produced plays include the award-winning The Grey Zone, Eye of God and Anadarko.
In 1997, Nelson wrote and directed the film, Eye of God, which appeared in competition at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival, and won the Tokyo Bronze Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival before being released theatrically in 1998. Since then, Nelson directed O, released in 2001 by Lionsgate, a contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello, for which he won the award for Best Director at the 2001 Seattle Film Festival. He also wrote and directed The Grey Zone, based on his award winning play, which was released by Lionsgate in 2003, and Leaves of Grass, a dark comedy starring Edward Norton, Keri Russell, Susan Sarandon, Richard Dreyfus, and Nelson himself, released by Millenium in 2009. In 2016, Nelson wrote, directed, and produced the IFC-released Anesthesia, a drama based in New York City with Sam Waterston, Glenn Close, Kristen Stewart, Gretchen Mol and himself. That same year Nelson also directed the pilot episode for the Amazon Series Z, starring Christina Ricci about the life of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, which streamed on Amazon in Fall of 2016.
Nelson was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Brown University, where he was Senior Orator for his class of 1986, and the recipient of the John Rowe Workman Award for Excellence in Classical Studies. After Brown he attended and the Julliard Theater Center's four year actor training program. In 2011 he was admitted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He resides in New York City with his wife and three sons.
A three-time Academy Award® nominee, Nick Nolte (Clay Banning) has sustained a discernible level of integrity throughout his career, leading him to the biggest role of his life -- international super-stardom.
With the ability to masterfully portray a wide range of roles, Nolte was most recently seen in the drama Head Full of Honey, opposite his daughter Sophie Nolte in her debut screen role. He also starred in the EPIX Network comedy series Graves, for which he received a Golden Globe® nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy Series, A Walk In The Woods, co-starring Robert Redford; and in Lionsgate Films' coming-ofage mixed-martial arts drama Warrior, for which he received Academy Award®, Screen Actors Guild Award® and Broadcast Film Critics nominations for Best Supporting Actor; as well as the Ben Stiller directed Hollywood spoof Tropic Thunder, Paramount Pictures' Spiderwick Chronicles, Sony Pictures Classics' The Beautiful Country, directed by Hans Peter Moland and executive produced by Terrence Malick; the Olivier Assayas directed Clean, co-starring Maggie Cheung; The Peaceful Warrior, adapted from the Dan Millman novel Way of the Peaceful Warrior and directed by Victor Salva; and Neverwas, directed by Joshua Michael Stern and co-starring Ian McKellen, Jessica Lange and William Hurt. He also voiced the character of Vincent the Bear, in DreamWorks' animated feature Over the Hedge.
Nolte's additional film credits included playing the United Nations commander in the critically acclaimed feature Hotel Rwanda, starring Don Cheadle, as well as director Neil Jordan's crime caper The Good Thief, Ang Lee's The Hulk for Universal Pictures and the Polish Brothers' Northfork for Paramount Classics. Nolte also re-teamed with director Alan Rudolph to film Investigating Sex, in which he starred opposite Neve Campbell and Robin Tunney.
Nolte returned to his acting roots when he starred along with Sean Penn and Woody Harrelson, in the stage production of Sam Shepherd's play The Late Henry Moss.
Nolte's additional film credits include director Paul Schrader's Affliction, in which he received Academy Award®, Golden Globe® and Independent Film nominations for Best Actor, Oliver Stone's U - Turn, costarring Sean Penn and Jennifer Lopez; Afterglow, produced by Robert Altman; Jefferson In Paris, where he portrayed Thomas Jefferson, Martin Scorsese's thriller remake, Cape Fear, and The Prince of Tides, in which he starred opposite Barbra Streisand, and received an Oscar® nomination for Best Actor and won the Golden Globe® as Best Actor from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. He starred opposite Julia Roberts in I Love Trouble, and as a basketball coach in Blue Chips, for director William Friedkin. Additionally, Nolte starred in I'll Do Anything for writer/director James L. Brooks, and in the critically acclaimed Lorenzo's Oil, co-starring Susan Sarandon.
Nolte, an Omaha, Nebraska native, played college football before he discovered theatre, and began his acting career at the Pasadena Playhouse. He then studied briefly with Bryan O'Byrne at Stella Adler's Academy in Los Angeles. Soon following, he traveled for several years performing in regional theatres.
Landing a breakthrough role in the legendary television series, Rich Man, Poor Man, marked only the beginning for Nolte, launching him into international fame and garnering him Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award nominations for his performance. Following its success, he made his feature film starring debut in The Deep, opposite Jacqueline Bisset. Nolte has since never looked back.
Diversity of character became Nolte's signature in his early film career, with roles as a drug-smuggling Vietnam veteran in Who'll Stop The Rain, a disillusioned football star in North Dallas Forty, which he developed with author Peter Gent, as free-spirited beat-era writer Neal Casady in Heart Beat, and as a reclusive marine biologist in Cannery Row.
Nolte continued to challenge himself with such character roles as the philosophical vagrant in Down and Out in Beverly Hills, a tough cop in 48 Hours, an American photojournalist in Under Fire, and a determined lawman in Extreme Prejudice. He created another unique character in Weeds as an ex-con turned playwright.
Other Nolte film credits have included Three Fugitives, Farewell to the King, Scorsese's segment of New York Stories, Karel Reisz' Everybody Wins, and Sidney Lumet's Q&A.