Sunday 28th April 2013
The Croods is a 3D comedy adventure that follows the world's first modern family through the journey of a lifetime. When the cave that has always been their home is destroyed - with the rest of their world not far behind it - The Croods are forced to set off on the first family road (or path) trip. Rocked by generational clashes and seismic shifts, The Croods discover an incredible new world filled with fantastic creatures and a future beyond any they imagined.
The Crood family dynamics, though unfolding a few million years ago, feel like they could come from your own household. Like most fathers, family patriarch Grug (Nicolas Cage) is fiercely protective of his wife and three kids. His hyper-vigilance has kept his cave-bound family safe, secure and....super- bored. Grug's strong and dutiful better half, Ugga (Catherine Keener), accepts her husband's "fear is good; change is bad" mentality, as does their son Thunk (Clark Duke), who's content with the static status quo. Feisty mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman) never tires of needling (or sometimes assaulting) Grug; and stone-tough toddler Sandy might be the fiercest Crood yet.
But leave it to a rebellious teenager (is there any other kind?) to stand up to parental authority. Grug's sole focus is survival, but Eep (Emma Stone) wants to actually live and her curiosity about the world outside their cave collides with her dad's primitive rules. (Ever the defiant outsider, Eep gets her own ledge to sleep on while the rest of the Croods pile on top of one another for some family shut-eye.)
A cataclysmic event forces the Croods to venture into parts unknown and rethink their way of living. En route, they encounter Guy (Ryan Reynolds), whose dazzling new discoveries - like fire...and shoes - shake up the Croods in unexpected ways. Most of the family (especially Eep) is open to Guy's vision of a new place called "tomorrow", but Grug sees the biggest calamity yet: a charming teenage boy from which he must "protect" Eep.
The Croods soon realize that if they don't evolve -they're history.
DreamWorks Animation SKG presents The Croods. The film is directed by Chris Sanders & Kirk DeMicco and produced by Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell. The screenplay is by Kirk DeMicco & Chris Sanders, with a story by John Cleese, Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders. The music is by Alan Silvestri. The film stars Nicolas Cage as Grug, Ryan Reynolds as Guy, Emma Stone as Eep, Catherine Keener as Ugga, Clark Duke as Thunk and Cloris Leachman as Gran.
The Croods presents an age known as the Croodaceous Period, which, says DeMicco, "fell between the Jurassic Age and the 'Katzenzoic Era'- at least according to DreamWorks archaeologists". It is a world of visual splendor and grandeur that holds innumerable challenges for the beleaguered clan.
With any journey comes discovery - and The Croods's trek provides many "firsts", including: the aforementioned family, road trip, fire and shoes, as well as the first pet, the first cell phone (OK, it's a shell, but still) - plus: the first joke, the first pair of sunglasses and even the first mid-life crisis.
Most of all, The Croods is about family. "The physical comedy was always there in the film's development", says writer-director Chris Sanders. "But we came to realize that once you strip away all the stuff in our modern lives - jobs, cars, responsibilities - you drill down to what really matters and that's family and friends".
The themes of family ties, as well as shared conflicts and discovery, resonated with everyone connected with The Croods - from the filmmakers and the cast, to the studio executives. "This film is DreamWorks Animation's first feature about a human family", Sanders points out. "And during production, the project triggered so many great memories about family from members of our cast and crew - like, 'there was this time my brother did this to me,' or 'my dad was a lot like Grug' - things like that".
Adds writer-director Kirk DeMicco: "Everyone can find an access point into the movie and relate to one or more of the characters and say, 'Oh, I know those people, even though they're not really like my family.' - But we all know they really are", he admits with a smile.
Producer Kristine Belson expands upon the idea that the Croods, despite having lived a long, long, long time ago, are not dissimilar to families today. "Family is a universal thing. As much as technology and other things change, what was true about families, hundreds of years ago - thousands of years ago - a million years ago - is true today and will be in the future. There are many of the same struggles, triumphs and dynamics".
Another key theme in The Croods is change and the inherent humor of trying to do things for the first time. "That's another thing we can all relate to", says producer Jane Hartwell. "Really, at any age, during any era, change is very, very difficult, but it's something we must embrace to grow and move on. Grug personifies that fear. He's terrified that his family is going to change in ways he can't control and which could affect his ability to keep them safe".
Change, like everything else, doesn't come easily to Grug, whose stubbornness is matched only by his love for his clan and by his heroic work ethic. For Grug, there are no weekends, holidays or sick days; he's on watch, 24/7, 365 days a year.
He lives by many credos, including the aforementioned "fear is good; change is bad", as well as other Grug-isms, such as: "Anything fun is bad" and "Never not be afraid". (The latter declaration actually began life as a Kirk-ism (as in DeMicco) that eventually became part of Grug's lexicon. "And, yes, I still am afraid", the filmmaker jokes.)
In order to keep his family truly safe, Grug must learn the difference between surviving and living. "Grug wants to keep his family safe and that's not unexpected", adds Sanders. "But like all dads, he must learn to deal with the massive challenge of figuring out how to maintain control of his increasingly adventurous clan".
"Grug's heart is always in the right place", says DeMicco. "He's a great father who's trying his best, but he's just in over his head when the Croods embark on their journey. If things weren't bad enough, Grug goes through the first-ever mid-life crisis when he realizes that his daughter's boyfriend, Guy, has a lot more going for him than Grug ever did".
Academy Award® winner Nicolas Cage says he empathizes with his on-screen alter ego, because "it's impossible to be a father and avoid thinking about your child's first crush, or about keeping up with your kids' new ways of thinking".
"We, as parents, go too far sometimes, but that's where Grug is at", Cage continues. "He does experience a transformation, which we all must do at some point in our lives".
One of the catalysts for this change is Guy, who sparks in Grug feelings of wariness (over the young man's burgeoning romance with Eep) and jealousy (of Guy's intellect).
Says Cage: "Grug wonders, 'how can I compete with Guy's brains and new ideas?' Grug is big and lumbering; Guy is athletic, smart and charming - and he's got his eye on Eep, which understandably makes Grug uncomfortable. But by journey's end, Grug will accept a new way of living. He comes to admire and even emulate Guy".
Before the Croods have their fateful encounter with Guy, Grug must deal with Eep, who is trying to drag her family, kicking and screaming, out of the cave and into the light. Her nagging feeling that there is adventure and discovery to experience outside the family cave is confirmed when the Croods embark on their adventure.
Eep may be a teen character we've never before seen in an animated feature, yet she is relatable in every way, including physically. With her strong, densely muscled frame, Eep is an empowering and aspirational figure, whose defining characteristics are strength, curiosity and tenacity.
"Eep has many of the qualities of today's teenaged girls, like being incredibly annoyed with her family", notes Emma Stone. "She wants to spread her wings and explore the world outside her home, so it's difficult to abide by Grug's rules and actions, like the way he rolls a giant rock against the opening of the cave every night, blocking the family from everything outside, physically and emotionally. When we meet Eep, she's never seen the light of a star before!"
That all begins to change after a cataclysm hurtles the Croods on an unforgettable road trip. During that epic journey, Eep makes many discoveries, chief among them the first teen romance. At last, she has the chance to find the right "Guy", so to speak.
"She likes that Guy is a free spirit, because she has that feeling within her as well", says Stone. He admires her spirit too, although at first she's a bit overwhelming -- for example when the supremely able-bodied young woman slings Guy over her shoulder. "Yes, she literally picks him up!" Stone exclaims. "So it's understandable that Guy is terrified of Eep, at least initially, because she's so aggressive and tough".
Theirs is a combustible relationship and sparks fly, literally, as Guy teaches Eep and her clan the wonders of fire and "ideas". And her sense of awe doesn't end with that momentous discovery, because shortly thereafter she experiences the infinite delights of shoes, a fateful moment that perhaps launched our everlasting fascination with footwear. "Eep thinks her feet have disappeared in the shoes, which is awesome to her", Stone says with a laugh.
Guy's inventive ideas ultimately expose all of the Croods to new possibilities and to a new world - a place, he says, that "has more suns in the sky than you can count and where things are better".
But even with his superior know-how, Guy is not without his own challenges. "He's been living on his own for a long time", says Ryan Reynolds, who makes his animated feature film debut with The Croods. "Unlike the Croods, he doesn't have a family, so Guy's life is full of variables, whereas their lives have been pretty static. And Guy has been exposed to new things every day because he's constantly on the move. He's been forced to evolve".
"Guy is also forced to rely on his imagination, so he lives inside his head a lot", Reynolds continues. "And that's a great thing to play because he can be as over the top as you want him to be. Guy has no limits because he's constantly thinking". Even with his superior mind, Guy needs the Croods' companionship and to feel like he's part of a family.
Prior to Guy's fateful encounter with Eep, the closest thing he has to family is his only companion and friend, a sloth named Belt. As his name suggests, Belt holds Guy's pants up. "So he's functional and fashionable", says Reynolds. Belt is the first pet, which means "he's an animal you don't eat", Guy tells the Croods, whose sole experience with creatures up to that point has been to consume them, or flee from them.
Belt can't talk but his signature sing-song expression of doom - "Da-da-daaaaaaaa!" - speaks volumes and is given voice by none other than Chris Sanders.
Sloths also played key roles behind-the-scenes, notes Kirk DeMicco. "Through the years we were in production, we'd do special presentations that would update DreamWorks staff at a company-wide event. We like to spice each presentation up with something special and for the final one Chris and I made a short film featuring a real sloth. Even though it sounded like a crazy idea, we asked our faithful assistant Daniel Chun to track down a sloth. Without batting an eye, he said he'd get right on it. Lo and behold, a day later, Daniel had not only tracked down a sloth with a thorough acting resume, but also wanted to know if there was anything special we needed the sloth to do. It's days like that when you realize you work in Hollywood".
As the Croods experience the eventful changes that accompany Guy's new ideas, Grug's wife, Ugga, scrambles to hold the group together. "In a family that sometimes acts a little nutty, she probably has her head screwed on a little tighter than the rest", says Catherine Keener. "Ugga is loving, caring and a great mom, but at the same time she's every bit as physically solid and tough as Grug".
Still, during their many years together raising their family, Ugga has always deferred to her husband's authority. But a change in their housing situation triggers big changes in their relationship. "By the end of the story she's the one who tells Grug he must change his thinking", says Sanders.
"Their marriage and family life is not unlike those of today", adds Keener. "We understand the Croods. The family discovers the universal truth that it's difficult to change and to let go of things. But when they approach the new world, it's stunning. And they literally have to jump off a cliff to get there. Life for everyone is very much like that. You need to take risks".
Ugga's feisty mother Gran poses risks of her own, especially to her son-in-law, whom she delights in tormenting. The fact that Gran is ancient, some say, at age 45 (remember, this was a while ago), hasn't diminished her irascibility or her instincts for survival. The single-toothed dynamo remains an active member of the human race - all five or six members of it.
"Gran is not some isolated old lady", says Cloris Leachman. "She's as rarin' to go as much as any other member of the family".
"Gran is so old she lived through the ice age, mostly by devouring her ex-husbands one-by-one", jokes DeMicco about the character's background. "She has nothing nice to say about anyone - especially Grug - but at the end of the film, Gran will surprise everyone because she has wisdom beyond even her advanced years".
A kinder, gentler member of the family is Croods scion Thunk, who is 6-feet, 3-inches tall, 280 pounds - and nine years old. "He's a big tree trunk of a kid", says Clark Duke. "Thunk wants to be a great hunter like his dad, but Thunk can't hit the broad side of a mammoth".
"Thunk is always trying to impress Grug; he wants to be a carbon copy of his dad", says DeMicco. "He has explosive energy and enthusiasm, but he's probably the most vulnerable figure in the family".
Even more explosive is youngest sibling Sandy, who's like a baby wildcat. In a dangerous world full of creatures trying to take a bite out of her, Sandy is not afraid to bite back. "She's a wild beast of a child but a dutiful daughter", says Sanders. "Grug probably wishes Eep were more like Sandy".
The film's artists, designers and animators played critical roles in bringing these characters to life, but DeMicco, Sanders and producers Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell credit the actors with not only providing wonderful performances, but helping shape the characters, as well.
"Each of our actors brought a huge contribution to the party", says DeMicco. "Following each voice recording session, we'd say, 'This is amazing and we've got to put it in the film,' be it a performance bit or a new line of dialogue".
For example, "There were moments when Nicolas Cage surprised me with how 'out there' he would go", Belson recalls. "And then you'd return to Editorial and Animation and realize that, yes, this is going to work so much better than we ever imagined".
"Ryan Reynolds has a quicksilver mind that produced some great ad-libs and he gave Guy a mix of aloofness and frenetic charm", adds Sanders. DeMicco notes that Emma Stone's expressiveness and broadness were equally unexpected - and more than welcome. "We would take those physical 'Emma' moments from the recording sessions and put them into the film".
Cage confirms the recording sessions often went in unexpected directions, to the benefit of the actors and the story. "Kirk and Chris were willing to let us experiment and to really go for it. They allowed us to reach for something in the abstract and they knew what would work when they heard it. They're not what I call 'precious' with the dialogue, which works very well for me because then I can riff with them".
The actors' performances complement the filmmakers' vision of the Croods being more than physically capable of handling the challenges presented by a journey that harbors surprises at every turn. "We wanted the Croods to be faster and stronger than any characters we've seen before in films set in prehistoric times", says DeMicco. "We wanted to make the characters feel like they were part of this physically challenging world we invented. We didn't want it to feel like they were just dropped into a movie set. So the Croods still have the 'beginner's minds' of cavemen, but their physical prowess is quite advanced".
One of the film's early sequences, involving a hunt for what the Croods hope will be a much-needed meal, highlights their agility, strength and speed. "It is a purely physical sequence to really set the dials for the audience as to how tough the Croods are and to establish the rules of the world we're exploring", says Sanders. "The scene has a kind of Looney Tunes quality to it".
Enhancing the scene's runaway action and controlled chaos is the music by Academy Award-nominated film composer Alan Silvestri, performed by the celebrated University of Southern California Marching Band, which has entertained generations of football fans at USG games. Its distinctive sound propels the set piece's hard-charging style. "We talked to Alan about the vibe we were looking for", says DeMicco - "like, it's 'game time; or, 'we're gonna get out there and hunt!' The music and action shows that the hunt is kind of like a game to the Croods, but the 'opposing team,' which is the family's prey and hoped-for main course, is just as tough as the Croods".
Working with Silverstri on the end credit song, "Shine Your Way" [performed by Adam Young and Yuna] was an eye-opening experience for the directors: "In writing [the screenplay for] The Croods for eight years, there were many highlights and a few low lights, but there's one particular bit of writing that I will never forget", DeMicco remembers. "We had been talking for quite some time about an end credit song, but for many reasons that never seemed to get traction. I suggested to Chris that we should try to write it with Alan Silvestri's help. Chris and I traveled to Alan's home in Carmel and began working on the song with him and his collaborator Glen Ballard. It was such an exciting process to be part of. The confines of writing within a song are so different than in screenplays; we would be mentally drained from the sessions with Alan and Glen. And to hear such talented singers like Adam and Yuna sing our song has been one to the greatest rewards of working on the movie".
While the characters, family dynamics and action take center stage, the filmmakers envelop the Croods in a landscape that however wondrous and exotic, is always relatable. Pre-production excursions to Zion National Park in Utah inspired the creation of environments (especially in the film's first act) that are very much of our planet, but at the same time intriguingly unexpected.
"The Croods is accessible because it takes place in a world not unlike the one we inhabit now", says Ryan Reynolds. "But at the same time the film takes us on a journey that's vibrant and often breathtaking. It offers so much for the eyes to process. And that's why The Croods can be experienced again and again; you discover something new with each viewing".
The Croods' universe includes a menagerie of creatures that pose additional challenges to the family during their trek. When we meet the Croods, they're barely getting by, but at least they understand their current life-or-death challenges. As they journey to this new land, almost nothing is familiar to them, including the strange beasts, some of which present unexpected if sometimes comical dangers:
- The Bear Owl, a mix of bear and owl, sleeps during the day and prowls the canyon at night - terrorizing Grug and family during their epic journey
- The Macawnivore has the body of a small tiger, an over-sized head and the colorization of a Macaw Parrot. It's an imposing creature who towers over the Croods
- As their name suggest, the Punch Monkeys pack quite a wallop. They're fun and charming, until they feel threatened, at which point they become, in effect, one big punching machine. (A scene in which Grug serves as punching bag to the giant-pawed monkeys is an audience favorite, though it was a very late addition to the film. "From the earliest days of development, Chris Sanders was determined to have a scene where characters are punched by monkeys", says Belson. "For years, we just couldn't find a place for that in the movie, but Chris's enthusiasm eventually prevailed and we created the moment you see on screen".)
- An unexpected blending of canine and crocodile, the Crocopup's menacing looks and razor sharp teeth mask a friendly demeanor. Thunk makes him his pet and names him Douglas. (The incongruous moniker was Clark Duke's idea; Douglas is his agent's first name.)
- The Piranhakeet are a cross between a fully featured parakeet and a fine-toothed piranha. The ferocious, flocking predators quickly devour any creature in their path
- Being part coyote and part lizard, the Liyote enjoy sunning themselves outside the Croods' cave, but they are also easily frightened
- The tiny elephant known as the Mousephant has the ears and tail of a mouse and is one of the first creatures the Croods encounter on their journey. The Mousephant appears harmless, but just wait until its massive trumpet roars
- The Ramu are an intriguing hybrid of ram and emu and possess the strength and rushing power of a linebacker
- Connected by their trip hazard-like tails, the Trip Gerbils are rodents that are never without each other - as predators or prey.
"The idea behind the creatures was that the Croods live in what we call 'Mother Nature's R&D period,' which means Earth is basically experimenting with various life forms", says Belson. "Some will evolve into creatures we recognize today; others won't. And, as we show, that was probably for the best!"
"While we broke some rules of nature in creating these beasts, we always tried to retain their believability in the context of this environment", adds Hartwell. "We had to imagine that if you came across a given creature, no matter how ridiculous, it had to look like it could really co-exist with the Croods".
During their recording sessions, the actors saw tantalizing early looks of these creatures and the Croods' brave new world, but it wasn't until they screened a near-finished version of the film, that a true appreciation of the work of hundreds of artists, designers, animators and technicians kicked in for them (All told, 385 people have worked on the film.) Says Ryan Reynolds: "What's amazing to me is that you experience things with an animated movie that you can only wish you could do with a live action film. The film is so textured and looks so real you forget you're watching an animated film".
DeMicco and Sanders immerse us in this adventure, along with the Croods. "We wanted to shoot the film through the Croods' eyes, like you're part of their experience", Sanders explains. "The Croods are seeing everything for the first time and we wanted audiences to share in their discoveries".
To that end, the filmmakers employed a handheld camera style, in the opening chase sequence, for example, which lends an anything-can-happen-at-any-moment feel.
"A character will suddenly make a move and go in a certain direction and the camera lags behind as though the 'cameraman' didn't really know where the character was going", Sanders explains. "We tried not to anticipate too many things. We didn't want the action to look choreographed".
Every family has a genealogy, as does every motion picture project. The Croods traces its "family tree" to the year 2005 and to an original screen story DeMicco penned with legendary actor, writer and Monty Python icon John Cleese. The two share story credit with Sanders, who joined the project a few years later. Over the years, The Croods transitioned from a buddy comedy, featuring the characters of Grug and Guy, to a family-themed tale with a host of major characters.
"The project was initially conceived as a generational comedy about a caveman and his new friend who has all these new ideas that terrify the older guy", explains Belson. "It was Kirk DeMicco who had the inspiration to make the story about a family and we began to add the other characters and character traits that we all recognize: the mother-in-law, the over-protective dad and the rebellious teenage daughter. And the project really took off and coalesced in a new way".
Throughout the eight-year period of development, production and post-production, The Croods's home has been at DreamWorks Animation, which has nurtured the project from its inception to its delivery to theaters around the world. DreamWorks's first family" provides an unforgettable a journey for audiences, says Nicolas Cage. "Moviegoers are going to take a trip with the Croods and get their minds blown at how beautiful and imaginative it is. Most of all, they're going to care about this family and its adventure, because there is genuine emotion and feelings with all the laughs".
Academy Award-winner Nicolas Cage (Grug) is one of the most versatile actors of all time, equally known for his poignant portrayals in both drama and comedy. Recently he starred in Stolen, which reunited him with Con Air director Simon West, the 1997 blockbuster action thriller. Upcoming, Cage stars in Marble City with Mickey Rourke and will next be seen in The Frozen Ground with Vanessa Hudgens and John Cusack.
Last year, Cage was seen in the comic book sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, as well as Drive Angry with Amber Heard, Seeking Justice with January Jones, Trespass with Nicole Kidman and the Charles Roven produced epic, Season of the Witch, which filmed on location in Budapest.
In 2010, he starred in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Cage's seventh collaboration with Jerry Bruckheimer. In addition, Cage starred in the action comedy, Kick-Ass produced by Matthew Vaughn.
In the 2009 critically acclaimed film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Cage plays a drug and gambling addicted detective in post-Katrina New Orleans. Prior to this film, Cage lent his voice to two animated features: the Jerry Bruckheimer produced family adventure G-Force and the Summit Entertainment family adventure, Astro Boy. Cage also starred in Summit Entertainment's sci-fi thriller Knowing and the Pang Brothers directed Bangkok Dangerous, an action thriller.
In 2007, Cage starred in the worldwide box office success National Treasure: Book of Secrets. It marked Cage's fifth collaboration with producer Jerry Bruckheimer following The Rock, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds and National Treasure. His memorable performance as an alcoholic drinking himself to death in the drama, Leaving Las Vegas, directed by Mike Figgis, earned him an Academy Award® as well as Golden Globe® and Best Actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics and the National Board of Review. Cage further solidified his leading man status when he received Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) nominations for his dual role as twin brothers 'Charlie' and 'Donald Kaufman' in Spike Jonze's quirky comedy, Adaptation, which also co-starred Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper.
In addition, Cage portrayed 'Johnny Blaze' in Ghost Rider, based on the Marvel Comic book character, directed and written by Mark Steven Johnson. The film immediately set a new record as the highest-grossing opening film for the President's Day weekend in 2007. Cage's other starring roles include that of Neil LaBute's The Wicker Man and Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, both released in 2006 and Gore Verbinski's The Weather Man and Andrew Niccol's Lord of War, released in 2005. He was also heard as the voice of 'Zoc' in the animated film The Ant Bully.
In fall of 2002, Cage made his film directorial debut with Sonny, where he cast an impressive group of actors, including Golden Globe winner James Franco, Mena Suvari, Brenda Blethyn and Harry Dean Stanton. The film was accepted at the 2002 Deauville Film Festival.
Cage's many other films include Next, Matchstick Men, Windtalkers, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The Family Man, Bringing Out the Dead, Eight Millimeter, Snake Eyes, City of Angels, Face Off, Kiss of Death, Guarding Tess, It Could Happen to You, Red Rock West, Honeymoon in Vegas, Joel and Ethan Coen's Raising Arizona, Vampire's Kiss, Peggy Sue Got Married, Valley Girl, Racing with the Moon, The Cotton Club and Rumble Fish.
It was Cage's portrayal of a tormented Vietnam vet in Birdy that first established him as a serious actor. Directed by Alan Parker, Birdy won the jury prize at Cannes. Cage then received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Actor for his role as Cher's lover in Moonstruck. David Lynch's Wild at Heart, starring Cage and Laura Dern, won the Palme d'Or at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival.
Some of Cage's other honors include a 1993 Golden Globe nomination for his role in Honeymoon in Vegas, the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montreal World Film Festival in 1996, the first ever Distinguished Decade in Film Award at ShoWest in 2001 and the prestigious American Cinematheque honored him in 2001.
In 2009, Cage was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for Global Justice for the United Nations. Last fall he traveled to Africa to undertake a mission with the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime in Gulu, Uganda, Mombasa, Kenya and Nairobi, Kenya. Here he met with child soldiers, gang members, inmates, Kenyan judges and magistrates to help stop human trafficking, child slavery and kidnapping. Cage is also a Luminary for Amnesty International and helps with their focus on human rights.
With her striking beauty and sincere talent, Golden Globe nominated actress Emma Stone (Eep), is claiming her role as one of Hollywood's most sought out actresses. Stone can currently be seen opposite Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn in Warner Bros., Gangster Squad. The film, set in 1949, portrays the take down of LA gangster Mickey Cohen.
Last year, Stone appeared in Columbia Pictures' smash hit, The Amazing Spider-Man. The Amazing Spider-Man was a huge success this past summer and generated over $700 million worldwide at the box office. Emma will soon reprise her role as Gwen Stacy in the second installment of the franchise feature. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is slated for release in May 2014. Stone recently signed on to exec-produce and star in GK Films', Little White Corvette. This marks Stone's first role as a producer. Stone is also attached to the untitled Cameron Crowe project which should begin production sometime in fall 2013.
Stone's additional film credits include Easy A, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination and an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance, the award winning drama The Help, the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love, Screen Gems' Friends with Benefits, the independent drama Paper Man, the Twentieth Century Fox comedy Marmaduke, Columbia Picture's hit comedy Zombieland, the Warner Bros. romantic comedy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, the Columbia Pictures/Happy Madison hit comedy, The House Bunny, Twentieth Century Fox's The Rocker and the Judd Apatow comedy Superbad.
When she's not filming, Stone, is an advocate for Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. Laura Ziskin, the late producer of The Amazing Spider-Man, started the organization and got Stone involved. In addition to SU2C, Stone recently became an ambassador for Gilda's Club New York City. Named for the late comedian and original cast member of SNL, Gilda Radner, Gila's Club offers a place where people dealing with cancer can join together to build social and emotional support. Stone has become an active member in the Gilda's Club community and continues to do so by engaging with their younger departments for children and teens.
Ryan Reynolds (Guy) has two very distinctive hit projects that surpassed the $300 million mark at the global box office: the romantic comedy The Proposal, opposite Sandra Bullock (in which he played a guy forced to marry his boss to curtail her deportation) and the fantasy-adventure X-Men Origins: Wolverine, in the role of Deadpool.
In 2011, Reynolds was seen starring in the Universal Pictures comedy The Change-Up and in the title role of Dc Comics' Green Lantern. He also starred in the mystery thriller Buried, a 2010 Sundance favorite in which his character, Paul Conroy, a contractor working in Iraq, wakes up in a coffin, buried alive after an attack by a group of dissidents. In the cinematically challenging film, Reynolds is the only actor to appear on camera for the duration of the 95-minute run time.
Last year, Reynolds starred alongside Denzel Washington in the hit thriller Safe House. Upcoming is DreamWorks Animation's Turbo, as well as R.I.P.D., which he is starring in and producing and Queen of the Night, a thriller directed by Atom Egoyan.
Reynolds starred in two other Sundance entries: Greg Mottola's Adventureland, the amusement park-set comedy with Kristen Stewart, which premiered at the 2009 festival and was also nominated for Best Ensemble Cast at the 2009 Gotham Awards and The Nines, in the triple role of a troubled actor, a television showrunner and an acclaimed video-game designer whose lives are intertwined in unsettling ways.
His other films include the comedy Paper Man, in which he starred as an imaginary superhero friend of a struggling novelist; Definitely, Maybe, in which he played a political consultant with a questionable past; the complex drama Chaos Theory, in which he played a man experiencing a crisis after he finds out he is sterile and his child is not his own; Joe Carnahan's crime thriller Smokin' Aces, in which he starred as a morally centered FBI agent out to prevent a gangland hit; and a remake of the classic cult horror film The Amityville Horror.
Reynolds hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, where he harbored affection for acting at a young age. After establishing himself on television in the sitcom Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place and in a variety of guest spots and telefilms such as In Cold Blood, he caught moviegoers' attention with his lead role in Walt Becker's irreverent 2002 comedy National Lampoon's Van Wilder, which led to larger roles in such films as Blade: Trinity and the romantic comedy Just Friends.
Reynolds recently entered the production side of things, partnering with Allan Loeb in the production company DarkFire. They have two pilot deals in place: a comedy series titled Guidance and an animated series titled And Then There Was Gordon, both slated for Fox
In addition to landing numerous leading roles, Reynolds also serves on the board of directors for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. In November 2007, Reynolds ran the New York City Marathon in honor of his father, who has long suffered from the ravages of Parkinson's disease. Reynolds' marathon run raised more than $100,000 for Fox's foundation.
An accomplished actress at once vibrantly potent and firmly grounded in her roles, Catherine Keener (Ugga) continues to be a dominant force on screen. Most recently, she completed the Untitled Nicole Holofcener Project alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini. This past summer, she filmed Can a Song Save Your Life, produced by Judd Apatow and she starred alongside Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley. Keener recently completed work on Captain Phillips for Sony, directed by Paul Greengrass and co-starring Tom Hanks, A Late Quartet with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken and Maladies with James Franco.
Other recent credits include such varied films as Peace, Love and Misunderstanding, directed by Bruce Beresford and co-starring Jane Fonda, the dramedy The Oranges, co-starring Hugh Laurie, Oliver Platt and Allison Janney, the thriller Trust alongside Clive Owen and Viola Davis, the family film Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief and the dark comedy Cyrus with John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill. She has also worked several times with acclaimed independent director Nicole Holofcener, most recently in Please Give with Oliver Platt and Rebecca Hall and previously in Friends with Money, Lovely and Amazing and Walking and Talking.
Additional projects include The Soloist with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx; Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are and Showtime's An American Crime opposite Ellen Page, for which Keener earned both a Golden Globe and Emmy® nomination.
Previous roles include her Oscar®-nominated roles in Charlie Kaufman's Being John Malkovich and Bennett Miller's Capote (as novelist Harper Lee); Barry Levinson's What Just Happened; Andrew Fleming's Hamlet 2, Sean Penn's Into the Wild, Judd Apatow's The 40 Year Old Virgin, Sydney Pollack's The Interpreter with Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman; Rebecca Miller's The Ballad of Jack and Rose, opposite Daniel Day-Lewis; Spike Jonze's Adaptation; Andrew Niccol's S1m0ne; Steven Soderbergh's Full Frontal and Out of Sight; Danny DeVito's Death to Smoochy; Neil LaBute's Your Friends and Neighbors; and the screen adaptation of Sam Shepard's Simpatico. She also appeared in four films by Tom DiCillo: Box of Moonlight, Johnny Suede, Living in Oblivion and The Real Blonde.
Keener's television work also include HBO's critically acclaimed anthology, If These Walls Could Talk, directed by Nancy Savoca and a notable guest appearance on Seinfeld. On stage, she starred opposite Edward Norton in the Signature Theater Company's critically acclaimed off-Broadway revival of Langford Wilson's Burn This.
Cloris Leachman (Gran) is a true Hollywood icon and one of the most accomplished and beloved American actresses of stage, film and television. She has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards - more than any other performer-and one Daytime Emmy Award. She also won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the film, The Last Picture Show, for which she also garnered a BAFTA Award. Her long career covers television dramas and comedies from television's Golden Age in the 1950s until today. Recently the TV Guide Network ranked her as one of the Funniest Women on TV.
Currently one of the stars of Fox's Raising Hope, Leachman's many television credits include Lassie, The Twilight Zone, Facts of Life and Malcolm in the Middle. She won an Emmy Award for her portrayal of Phyllis Lindstrom in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a character so beloved that she was spun off into her own series, Phyllis.
Equally at home on the big screen, Leachman's feature credits include Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, History of the World: Part 1 and Spanglish. This year will see her in the release of Gambit with Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz and Adult World, in which she stars with Emma Roberts and John Cusack.
The irrepressible Leachman's performance on Dancing with the Stars was one of the most talked about in the series' history.
Leachman was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2011 and has her own star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She resides in Los Angeles and spends much of her time with her children and her five grandchildren.
Clark Duke (Thunk) stars as the new customer service representative, Clark, on NBC's hit comedy The Office. A native of Hot Springs, Arkansas, Duke is the co-creator of the web comedy series, Clark and Michael, which he wrote, directed, produced and starred in alongside his friend and comedy partner, Michael Cera. This landmark series, which lampooned their characters' efforts to write and sell a television show, was named to many Best Of lists in 2007, including Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and many others. The series, which continues to enjoy massive popularity, established Duke as a multi-talented creative force.
A talented musician who has launched a Los Angeles-based band, Duke also continues his work on a diverse slate of projects as a writer, actor, director and producer. His work has taken him from film to TV to new media to publishing, with multiple projects in development and production. In 1992, he was nominated for a Young Artist Award as an Outstanding Actor under Ten in a Television Series for his work on Hearts Afire.
The year 2008 gave Duke his first starring role in the teen comedy Sex Drive, directed by Sean Anders for Summit Entertainment. 2010 was a busy year for Duke who followed up his starring role in Hot Tub Time Machine with the role of Marty in Matthew Vaughn's action-comedy Kick-Ass. Duke also starred in the ABC Family series Greek. He has been featured as multiple voices on Seth Green's animated series, Robot Chicken. Recently Duke was seen in Paramount Pictures' A Thousand Words, in which he co-starred with Eddie Murphy. He also made a well-received, hilarious guest appearance in the hit new comedy New Girl. Duke will shoot the highly anticipated Kick-Ass 2 later in 2012. He recently wrapped production on Identity Thief, which also stars Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, as well as Adult Children of Divorce, which features an all-star comedy cast including Jane Lynch, Amy Poehler and Adam Scott.