Tuesday 24th March 2015
"You are the designated trigger". Soon the piercing sound of a bullet exits a sniper rifle. An SUV comes to a screeching halt and security guards rush out of their vehicles with weapons ready. In a nearby hotel, a man leaves his sniper rifle and walks out of the room. Shortly after, news reports flood the TV with images of the assassination of the minister of mining; genocide and civil war begins.
Jim Terrier rides a wave on a nearby beach of an African village. He runs towards the NGO office where he's assisting with providing clean water to the villagers. While he's digging a well, three armed men storm through the village, demanding to meet Jim. As Terrier approaches, it becomes obvious that the three men are there to kill him. Although, he's able to fight and escape them, Terrier discovers that a price has been put on his head. Terrier first travels to London to connect with an old comrade and close friend, Stanley - who reluctantly agrees to help him discover who hired the hit. Stanley informs Terrier of the whereabouts of his past associates.
Terrier is convinced that the attack on him is connected to his old firm. Eight years ago, Terrier and his associates, were paid to execute the Minister of Mining of the Democratic Republic of Congo. After the assassination, genocide and civil war plagued the area. As the sniper whose bullet hit the mark, Terrier was forced to leave the country immediately.
Now, with evidence in hand, Terrier heads to Barcelona to confront the one person he knows that's connected to his old firm, Felix. Not only was Felix the liaison between Terrier's old company and the client, but he also assigned Terrier as the designated trigger in the assassination. Felix is now a successful businessman, making a case at a seminar for business and NGOs to join forces in the Third World. Terrier decides to confront Felix and ask for help in finding out why there seems to be a price on his head. While in Barcelona, Terrier finds his ex-lover, Annie, who he left behind after the assassination. While surprised by Terrier's return, Annie is hesitant to be with him until he reveals the truth about his disappearance. To protect Annie, Terrier takes her to a safe house while he continues his pursuit of the person behind his attempted murder.
As Terrier begins to connect the dots as to who ordered the hit, he discovers that his old boss and former comrade, Cox, now works for the company that contracted them to complete the assassination eight years earlier. Cox heads a division of a company seeking to do business in Africa and Jim is the one remaining loose end who could connect them with the events in the DRC. While waiting to meet Cox, Terrier is approached by Agent Barnes, who suggests that he contacts him if he's ever in need of help. Terrier's meeting with Cox doesn't go as planned as he discovers that his old friend betrayed him. Soon Terrier and Cox's henchmen have a brief standoff which he narrowly escapes.
Cox discovers the safe house where Annie is hiding and decides to kidnap her to blackmail Terrier for evidence from the Congo events. Terrier agrees to give Cox the documents in exchange for Annie. They arrange to meet at the Barcelona bull ring, where the first event reinstating bullfighting in Catalonia will take place. Annie is able to escape Cox's grasp and runs to safety. Meanwhile, Terrier takes on Cox's henchmen, one-by-one, until he's able to reach Annie and ensure her safety. As soon as they think they are in the clear, Interpol's agents arrive to the scene. Soon, Terrier is faced to deal with his actions of the past and present.
International action thriller The Gunman stars Sean Penn and unites the two time Academy Award® winning actor with an extraordinary, unconventional ensemble cast including Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance and Jasmine Trinca. The Gunman is based on the novel The Prone Gunman by Jean-Patrick Manchette and is directed by acclaimed French helmer Pierre Morel. The compelling script is written by Peter Travis, Don McPherson and Sean Penn and produced by Silver Pictures, Andrew Rona and Sean Penn. The film is fully financed by Studiocanal who handled worldwide sales and will distribute it in its territories. Open Road will distribute the film in the US.
Sean Penn stars as Jim Terrier, an ex-special forces government contractor who is betrayed by the organization he once worked for and must go on the run in a relentless game of cat and mouse across Africa and Europe.
The cast also includes Javier Bardem, Academy Award® winner for No Country for Old Men and co-star of Bond's film Skyfall; Idris Elba, winner of the Golden Globe for his title role in television series Luther and most recently seen in Pacific Rim and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; Ray Winstone, a veteran of UK and international films, including Sexy Beast, The Sweeny and The Departed; Mark Rylance, twice winner of the Olivier and Tony Awards for Jerusalem and the Twelfth Night; and Italian actress Jasmine Trinca, who has won multiple awards for her film debut in Nanni Moretti's The Son's Room, a 2013 Globi d'Oro (Italian Golden Globes) and a 2013 Nastro d'Argento for her role in Valeria Golino's Miele.
Director Pierre Morel launched the successful and highly-acclaimed Taken franchise, which established Liam Neeson as one of the most sought after action stars. Executive producers include Olivier Courson and Ron Halpern for Studiocanal, Andrew Rona, Silver Pictures, Peter McAleese, Sean Penn and Adrian Guerra for Nostromo Pictures.
"You have Silver Pictures, actor Sean Penn and Pierre Morel, director of Taken, making a movie together; what comes out of that has got to be really dynamic and smart and exciting". says producer Andrew Rona.
Production company, Silver Pictures reinvented the Hollywood blockbuster action movie with Lethal Weapon and Die Hard franchises and then pushed the genre further with the Matrix franchise. Says Rona, "Two things you look for in an action thriller - interesting characters and interesting locations. The Gunman has a really compelling main character in Jim Terrier and really dynamic beautiful locations which hadn't been seen in this way before".
Over the years, Silver Pictures had come close to working with Penn several times. Says Rona, "When the opportunity came up, we sent him the script and he responded to it. We had sent him many scripts before, but for some reason this one spoke to him. I think that Sean really reacted strongly to the main character. He knows real people like Jim Terrier and he's met them in all aspects of his life, in his humanitarian work and in his film work. I think he really wanted to bring a character like this to the screen".
Sean Penn contributes, "We always felt there was a chemistry to be explored. Based on the choices I've made and the material they have gone after, there had probably been a missing link that we've been looking for to make a movie together. Silver Pictures is notorious as a bulldog who gets things done. In everything we do, we are trying to make it the best we can and with Silver Pictures it goes even beyond that, starting when the material is being developed".
Rona describes what attracted Sean Penn to the script. "Jim Terrier is a guy who has a questionable past. You don't really know where he comes from. You know that he's a former military guy. He's had special training and he's operated in some very dark places. When we pick up Jim, he is trying to make a better life for himself and he's trying to redeem himself. He's working as a humanitarian with an NGO and he's trying to escape his ghosts by doing good but, of course, you can't escape your past and it comes back to haunt him. People are trying to kill him and he's called into action. He has to use the skills that he has trained in to survive and prove his innocence".
The script is based on the French novel, The Prone Gunman (La Position du Tireur Couche) written in the eighties by Jean-Patrick Manchette. The producers were attracted by the aura of action-focused film noir, harking back to the films of Jean Melville, which starred actors Alain Delon and Jean Paul Belmondo as stylish but gritty bad guys. Pierre Morel was an immediate top choice for the director. Andrew Rona says of Morel, "Pierre's an amazing filmmaker. He came up working with Luc Besson. He worked on the Transporter films among others. The first film he directed, District B13, was an exciting action movie that incorporates parkour stunt sequences. His follow-up movie, Taken, spawned a franchise with Liam Neeson and has sort of started the whole idea of the older action man/leading man. He's a really energetic guy. He really looks at a scene. He really knows how to break it down and bring a level of excitement to it and he just amps it up every time".
Sean Penn adds, "Pierre honed his craft in that French tradition of Luc Besson's generation - visionary, visceral, commercial film-making. I knew he could shoot all the superficial demands of an action story, but when we met I realized we were in sync on the layering of the character and the story. Although he had great success with Taken, he is still a new film-maker, with the hunger to make a great movie".
"I've always looked at movies as individual movies, rather than genre. What we have here is by definition territory that is going to involve a lot of dynamic cinema; we are dealing with a high octane environment, but there is a lot of the real world". says Penn.
Pierre Morel had long admired the work of Silver Pictures and Sean Penn. "I'm a fan of action movies and Silver Pictures are great producers working in that genre. Getting a chance to work with them meant going big in terms of action and international locations. It's a big international film, starting in Africa, moving to England, then big action in Barcelona and Gibraltar. Men like Terrier exist; they've been in Special Forces and then worked as what we call mercenaries and they call contractors, traveling around the world. The book had the basics of a classic thriller and although the script brings the action up to date, there is grounding in reality". The director continues, "I'm not interested in Superman. I like to work with human beings, with their flaws. Terrier is real and he has limitations".
About his lead actor Pierre says, "Often, action films lack deep thoughtful characters but Sean's body of work is so interesting that casting him immediately makes the story more dense. Once actors of his stature decide to engage in this genre, like Liam Neeson in Taken, they want to do things for themselves, for real. They want to go all the way for the character and I encourage this. I don't think an audience can be fooled any more. Sean trained for hours every day, from preproduction throughout the shoot and that adds another layer of intensity to the role".
When Penn boarded the project, he immediately sat down with the scriptwriters to update and expand the character of Jim Terrier, an ex-special forces military man, who then took on jobs as a mercenary contractor. The story begins as Terrier is working for an NGO in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on humanitarian projects. Says Andrew Rona, "I think a lot of Sean's feeding of the development of the script comes from his experiences through his humanitarian work in Haiti. He spends a lot of time in Haiti. He's been all over the world and has gone into some real crisis zones and in those places, there's often guys who are former military, or current military, who have incredible stories and are incredible people. They're heroic and they can be completely altruistic.I think that's really the kind of thing that latched on to him for this".
Rona is quick to praise Sean Penn's action performance. "Sean did an immense amount of training. He is very physical. He likes to really get his hands dirty when it comes to the action scenes. He is in great shape and with stunt coordinator Markus Rothko created choreography for the fights and gun battles that I think people are going to be excited to watch. "
Sean Penn is credited by the producer for assembling a stellar international cast. Rona describes assembling the cast, "Almost every actor, I believe, wants to work with Sean and he has the connections to them. He has the relationships with them and he can be involved very quickly in getting people to read a script, getting involved even before the characters are made on a page, he has a level of trust with these actors where he can convince them that it's gonna be what he thinks it's gonna be. They can work together to develop the parts for themselves and with Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance -- those are all personal connections for Sean. Sean is not only an actor in this movie but he's a producer. So he took it upon himself to really reach out to these guys and get them to commit to this movie".
Penn hesitates to describe the film as an action movie. "I don't separate this in my mind from anything else I've done. It's a very human story that deals with the same things exploited in action films, like warfare. The territory that the story we are telling inhabits is a pretty high octane environment. You are taking someone coming out of the elite forces, basically a high performing athlete who has had a career full of hits and putting him into another league to do it all again as a contractor, or mercenary, when he retires from the forces. What happens next is inherently interesting and can be very moving". Says Penn, "I've met people like Terrier, conflicted characters on the front line and that informs the dialogue and the action. We have a whole new breed of war heroes who go on to continue in the same line of work, outside the forces. I'm interested in anyone who is taking on the big picture, including politicians. We need them to give us the luxury of not doing the job ourselves". Penn has devoted time to humanitarian works, especially in Haiti where, following the hurricane which devastated the island in 2010, setting up an NGO - J/P Haitian Relief Organization, dedicated to saving lives and bringing sustainable programs to the Haitian people quickly and effectively. J/PHRO began working immediately to make a meaningful and lasting impact.
Italian actress Jasmine Trinca plays Annie, the woman Terrier loves and thinks he has lost. Sean Penn introduced her work to the producers, saying he had seen an Italian film, Miele and that Jasmine was to be the star of The Gunman. Says Andrew Rona, "Jasmine Trinca's sort of our Italian discovery. Sean said, "I've seen this movie Miele and this woman, Jasmine Trinca, is the star of our movie. I've seen it and I know it". We all watched Miele and it was breath-taking. She is riveting. She has this ability to tell a story with her eyes like no one I've seen. She's got an old fashion movie star quality about her. I think people are gonna be really excited when they discover Jasmine Trinca".
Jasmine was attracted by the idea of working with international actors of the calibre of Sean Penn and Javier Bardem and also enjoyed the films of Pierre Morel. She says, "To me, it is not only an action movie, it is a love story, but there is also the chance to show a different side of the woman, to show her courage. I've had to do a lot of action, but the strength of will is most important". Working with her two co-stars met her expectations. "What is different about working with good actors is that they understand that they are there, not only for themselves, but also for you. It's not selfish, it's an exchange. Sean is never over-acting; he is very simple and very true. Javier has a different kind of energy. He has the courage to put everything into the scene. They are so different and I love working with them both".
She adds "I've done a lot of dramatic, serious films and I was excited by this challenge. The way that Pierre works with the camera, I felt he was always with me. Silver Pictures as a production company, are so clear and passionate. They were always there, at the monitor. They know cinema and they care about their movies".
Actor Ray Winstone, who plays Terrier's close friend Stanley, is much admired by the producers and Sean Penn. "We've all seen Ray in so many great parts, like Sexy Beast and The Departed. He brings a level of grittiness and reality to the movie and was Sean's first choice to play the role of Stanley. Stanley is a broken, grizzly, paranoid, living alone, pulled in by Terrier to help him. The warrior bond and friendship between these guys who have been part of a brotherhood really drives the movie". says Rona.
Winstone himself sums up Sean Penn's career simply. "He's a clever boy. I've never seen him in a bad film and I can't remember seeing him bad in any film, so that's a good place to start from. I'm lucky enough to have worked with some great actors over the years, but I'm still excited to work with someone like Sean. It keeps you on the ball; you don't want to let yourself down and you don't want to let him down".
Winstone compares Stanley's aging to that of an actor in the film business. "You can be young and be the flavour of the month, then age catches up with you, younger people move in and they are good, so you have to reinvent yourself. From being on the front line, in very dangerous situations, Stanley is not getting the work he used to and is now alone and a scrapper. Stanley has resigned himself and refused to get bitter. He and Terrier go way back to when they were kids in the game; their word is still their bond, there is respect, old school ethics".
Winstone explains the difference between American and British actors. "British actors of my generation want to give a performance on the first take, where American actors understand the process of filming much better and can give lots of options by playing the same lines in different ways. It's not true that the camera never lies. I've done work I felt was fantastic and when I watched it back on the monitor, it was not".
Commenting on his co-star, Winstone says, "Sean is in fantastic shape. My generation don't care; we grow into the bloke next door. Sean is only a few years younger than me, but where he has an eight-pack, I've got a party pack! I was happy to sit in a scene in a pub and watch Terrier bash up a couple of guys in the pub. All that is in the past for Stanley".
About the film he says", I like a good thriller. I don't need to watch a comedy, I can make myself laugh. I want something to make me think, a bit of action and I want to see performances. Here we've got it all - script and performances".
Actor Mark Rylance is so busy and so sought after in theatre that he rarely commits to film, but a call from Sean Penn made him reconsider. He accepted the role of Cox, a professional soldier who was once a colleague and close friend of Terrier, but has become his nemesis. Says Rylance",My motivation to accept the role was simple - my admiration for Sean Penn. As an actor, he is one of my favorites. He is obviously technically proficient and passionate about the job. Whenever I have seen him in a film I feel he has put his heart into it. As a producer and a director in his own right, he and Pierre complement each other. It's something I have seen in theatre, where the lead actor and director work hand in hand to great advantage". More accustomed to working as an actor and director on stage, Rylance declares he has learned a lot from working with Sean. "He has given me wonderful notes on the scenes we share. On set, you must understand what the priority is at any given moment. The camera brings the audience closer, so you don't have to reveal so much for the camera to pick it up". About his character, Cox, Rylance says, "Their relationship is about the betrayal between friends. For myself, I've had some new moments on film - running around and pointing guns at people".
Idris Elba takes the role of Barnes, an enigmatic Interpol agent, following Terrier. Terrier is suspicious of him, but they end up helping each other. "We are all big fans of Idris and have done a few movies with him and wanted him from day one to be part of The Gunman". says Andrew Rona. .
Rona introduces the film. "We first meet Terrier in Africa, working for an NGO, drilling wells to give a water supply to an African village. When he is attacked, we don't expect him to respond, but immediately his old training kicks in and the innocuous NGO worker becomes lethal and we have a big opening action sequence".
"The Gunman is full of things you've never seen before. I always like to do things that are fresh and original". says Rona, "This has romance and an action character pulled back into a world he has left. It is full of twists and turns. In Unknown, we created a valentine to the city of Berlin; we've been able to do the same for Barcelona, especially with DP Flavio Labiano who is shooting in his native Spain. "
Asked to sum up the film in a sentence, producer Andrew Rona doesn't hesitate, "A good story, good characters, a strong movie star surrounded by an interesting cast, a good director, a talented crew and a great city".
Sean Penn (Jim Terrier). Two-time Academy Award® winner Sean Penn has become an American film icon in a career spanning over three decades. Penn has been nominated five times for the Academy Award® as Best Actor for Dead Man Walking, Sweet and Lowdown, I Am Sam and won his first Oscar® in 2003 for his searing performance in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River and his second Oscar® as Best Actor in 2009 for Gus Van Sant's Milk. The performance as gay rights icon Harvey Milk also garnered Penn "Best Actor" awards from The Screen Actors Guild, New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Penn has also received Best Actor awards at the Cannes (She's So Lovely) and Berlin (Dead Man Walking) Film Festivals, as well as being a two-time winner of Best Actor honors at the Venice Film Festival (Hurlyburly, 21 Grams).
Penn is currently in production on his directorial effort The Last Face starring Charlize Theron, Javier Bardem and Adèle Exarchopoulos. The film centers on the director of an international aid organization (Theron) working in Liberia who embarks on a love affair with a stubborn and impulsive relief-aid doctor (Bardem). However, their mutual passion for the value of life is matched by the intensity of their opposing opinions on how best to solve the conflict that surrounds them, creating a seemingly insurmountable rift.
Penn's feature film directorial debut came with 1991's The Indian Runner, which he also wrote and produced. In 1995, he directed The Crossing Guard, which he also wrote and produced. His third film as director/producer was 2001's The Pledge starring Jack Nicholson and was named in the Top Ten Films of 2001 by The National Board of Review. Since then, Penn wrote and directed the United States contribution to the compilation film 11'09'01. This important project gathered 11 acclaimed directors from around the world to create short films in response to the horrific events of September 11, 2001. In 2003 the film was nominated for a French Cesar in the best European Union Film category and received a special recognition award from the National Board of Review. As writer, producer and director, Into the Wild marked Penn's fourth feature film, which opened to rave reviews in September 2007. The film, based on Jon Krakauer's best-selling non-fiction book, premiered at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals and appeared on many lists of the top ten films of 2007.
Penn has appeared on stage in productions including Alfred Hayes' Girl on the Via Flaminia and Albert Innaurato's Earthworms In Los Angeles. On Broadway, Penn performed in Kevin Heelan's Heartland and John Byrne's Slab Boys. He appeared in David Rabe's Hurlyburly, at the Westwood Playhouse and Goose and Tom Tom, at Lincoln Center, both productions directed by the author. Additionally, Penn starred opposite Nick Nolte and Woody Harrelson in The Late Henry Moss, written and directed by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Sam Shepard.
In 2002, Sean Penn was presented with the Modern Master Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and in 2003, became the youngest recipient to ever receive the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Sebastian Film Festival. In 2004, he was honoured with the John Steinbeck Award for outspoken torch-bearers in the creative arts. In 2008, Penn received the Desert Palm Achievement Award for Acting, after being presented in 2007 with the Director of the Year Award for Into the Wild from the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Penn served as President of the jury for the 2008 Cannes International Film Festival and later that year was named a Knight in the French Legion of Honor.
As a journalist, Penn has written for Time, Interview, Rolling Stone and The Nation magazines. In 2004, Penn wrote a two-part feature in The San Francisco Chronicle after a second visit to the war-torn Iraq. In 2005, he wrote a five-part feature in the same paper reporting from Iran during the election which led to the Ahmadinejad regime. Penn's landmark interviews with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuba's President Raul Castro, were published in The Nation and The Huffington Post. Penn's interview with President Castro was the first-ever interview with an international journalist.
Penn's humanitarian work found him in New Orleans in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and more recently in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. In January 2010, Penn established the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO). Today Penn directs a predominantly Haitian staff of over 350 development professionals to support families in areas affected by the earthquake transition to resilient, sustainable and prosperous communities. This is done through J/P HRO's four integrated programs: 1) Medical, 2) Camp & Relocations Management, 3) Engineering & Construction and 4) Community Development. J/P HRO is dedicated to saving lives and building sustainable programs with the Haitian people quickly and effectively.
For his efforts, Penn has received numerous honors and awards, among them: The Commander's Award for Service (US Army 82nd Airborne Division); 82nd Airborne Award for Meritorious Service; the Operation Unified Response JTF Haiti Certificate from Lieutenant General, US Army Commander P.K. Keen; the 1st Recon 73rd Division Coin of Excellence; 2nd Brigade Combat Team Coin of Excellence; Commendation of Excellence United States Southern Command; Award of Excellence by the Deputy Commander US Southern Command; the 2010 Hollywood Humanitarian Award from the Hollywood Film Festival; the 2011 Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America; and the Children's and Families Global Development Fund Humanitarian Award, presented by the Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti. In July 2010, Penn was knighted by Haitian President Rene Preval in a ceremony in Port-Au-Prince.
In 2012, Penn was named Ambassador at Large for Haiti and was presented with this honor by President Michel Martelly at a ceremony in Port-Au-Prince in 2012. More recently, Penn was presented with the 2012 Peace Summit Award at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, a tribute for extraordinary solidarity by the Haitian Parliament in a combined meeting of the National Assembly and the International Humanitarian Service Award from the American Red Cross. In December 2012, he was also named Special Advisor to Haiti's Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
Jasmine Trinca (Annie) - Born in Italy, Jasmine studied archaeology and history of art before turning her hand to acting. Her first appearance on film was in 2001 in highly acclaimed director Nanni Moretti's The Son's Room, for which she won the Italian Golden Globe for Best Female Newcomer.
Jasmine recently starred in Valeria Golino's Miele, winning Best Actress at the Italian Golden Globes and the Argento dudah and opposite Virginie Ledoyen in the forthcoming Une Autre Vie directed by Emmanuel Mouret.
Her other film credits include Nanni Moretti's Caimano opposite Silvio Orlando, Marco Tullio Giordana's critically acclaimed Best of Youth and Michele Placido's The Big Dream, which won the Marcello Mastroianni Award at Venice Film Festival.
Television credit includes Cefalonia, directed by Riccardo Milani and Hidden Children, directed by Leone Pompucci.
Javier Bardem (Felix) - As Spain's most internationally acclaimed actor, Javier Bardem has captivated audiences worldwide with his diverse performances. In 2008, Bardem received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his chilling portrayal of sociopath killer, Anton Chigurh, in Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country for Old Men. The performance garnered a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BAFTA and countless film critic awards and nominations.
Bardem starred in the James Bond instalment, Skyfall, as the villain opposite Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Albert Finney, directed by Sam Mendes. For his work in the film, Bardem was nominated for the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role and the London Critics Circle Film Award for Supporting Actor of the Year.
Bardem starred in Terrence Malick's film, To the Wonder, featuring an all-star ensemble that includes Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen and Rachel Weisz. The film follows the story of a romantic drama centered on a man who reconnects with a woman from his hometown after his marriage to a European woman falls apart.
Bardem co-produced and starred in Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony, a film documenting how the colonization of the Western Sahara has left nearly 200,000 people living in refugee camps. In October 2011, Bardem and his co-producer Alvaro Longoria, the film's director, addressed the United Nations General Assembly's decolonization committee, urging the delegates to end human rights abuses in the region. The film premiered at the 62nd annual Berlin International Film Festival in January and has since been acquired by Canal Plus in Bardem's native Spain.
Bardem was awarded the Best Actor prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival for his performance in Alejandro Innaritu's Biutiful. This performance also earned him his third Academy Award nomination. Bardem received his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the Cuban poet and dissident Reinaldo Arenas, in Julian Schnabel's Before Night Falls. He was named Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival, received Best Actor honors from the National Society of Film Critics, the Independent Spirit Awards, the National Board of Review and received a Golden Globe nomination for this role.
Bardem won the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival for his performance in Alejandro Amenábar's film The Sea Inside, making him only the second actor to win the award twice. He also won a Goya Award and received a Golden Globe nomination for this role. Bardem has won The Goya Award, Spain's equivalent of the Oscar, five times and has received a total of eight nominations.
Other notable film credits include Sony's Eat, Pray, Love, opposite Julia Roberts; Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona where he was once again nominated for a Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award; John Malkovich's directorial debut The Dancer Upstairs; Fernando León de Aranoa's Mondays In The Sun, which was named best film at the San Sebastian film festival; Michael Mann's Collateral; Mike Newell's Love In The Time of Cholera; and Milos Forman's film Goya's Ghosts opposite Natalie Portman. Bardem is currently starring in the drama, The Last Face, directed by Sean Penn.
Additional film credits include Luna's Golden Balls, Dias Contados, for which he won Best Actor at the San Sebastian Film Festival, Mouth to Mouth, Ecstasy, Dance with the Devil, Washington Wolves, Second Skin, High Heels, Live Flesh and Jamon Jamon.
Ray Winstone (Stanley) - This year British actor Ray Winstone celebrates forty years in the industry, marking him as one of the UKs most prolific actors.
Upcoming films include American film Zipper, directed by Mora Stephens and co-starring Patrick Wilson, Lena Headey and Richard Dreyfuss which will premiere at Sundance and Robert Carlyle's directorial debut film The Legend of Barney Thomson, with Emma Thompson and Carlyle. Also for release is the remake of 1991 cult classic Point Break with director Ericson Core at the helm, taking the role of FBI agent Angelo Pappas.
Ray will return to our TV screens this year in the UK with ITV three-part drama The Trials of Jimmy Ros' about the notorious armed robber. The project reunites Ray with British actress Amanda Redman, who starred alongside him in acclaimed crime film Sexy Beast in 2000.
Last year Ray starred in Darren Aronofsky's epic box office hit film Noah. Ray stars as Noah's nemesis Tubal Cain, opposite Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly and Douglas Booth. The film is based on the story of Noah's Ark, where the biblical Noah (Crowe) suffers visions of an apocalyptic deluge and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood.
Ray Winstone was born in Hackney in the East End of London. He started boxing at the age of twelve, was three times London Schoolboy champion and fought twice for England. He studied acting at the Corona School before being cast by director Alan Clarke as Carlin ('the Daddy') in Scum. This BBC Play production made Winstone's name and since then he has appeared in numerous TV series and movies.
After playing a starring role in Franc Roddam's Quadrophenia and being cast by Ken Loach in Ladybird, Ladybird, Gary Oldman gave Winstone the lead role in his gritty biographical drama, Nil By Mouth, for which he won a British Independent Film Award for Best Actor and earned a BAFTA Award nomination. His mesmerising performance lead to a succession of challenging roles including Dave in the gangster movie Face and Dad in Tim Roth's disturbing drama, The War Zone. He also played in the comedy drama The Mammy and Fanny & Elvis before delivering one of the finest performances of his career opposite Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast.
Other film credits include Cold Mountain, King Arthur, The Proposition, Oscar winner The Departed directed by Martin Scorsese, Anthony Minghella's Breaking and Entering, the title role in the Robert Zemeckis film Beowulf and Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Most recent projects include 44 Inch Chest for director Malcolm Venville, London Boulevard and Edge of Darkness both for GK Films, the newly released Snow White and The Huntsman opposite Charlize Theron and The Sweeney for Vertigo Films.
TV credits include Henry VIII (which went on to win Best Mini Series/TV Movie at the International Emmy Awards), 'Sweeney Todd and Compulsion both films for television for his company Size 9 Productions and Vincent for which Ray won an International Emmy Award for Best Actor for his eponymous role. Ray's most recent television credit was playing Magwitch in BBC's Great Expectations.
Mark Rylance (Cox) - Mark was born in England in 1960 and emigrated, obviously with his family, to America in 1962. He lived in Connecticut until 1969 and then moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he lived until returning to London in 1978.
Mark trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (1978-1980) under Hugh Cruttwell and The Glasgow Citizens Theatre gave him his first job in 1980, a year in repertoire, a trip to the carnival in Venice with Goldoni and an Equity card.
He is currently preparing to return to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, playing at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse as King Philippe V in Farinelli and the King by Claire van Kampen, before joining Steven Spielberg's new production, BFG, as the lead actor. Wolf Hall directed by Peter Kosminsky, is being aired at the moment on BBC 2 in the UK and will broadcast in spring 2015 in America on PBS.
Recent theatre includes: Ron in Nice Fish at the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis co-written with Louis Jenkins, co-directed by Mark and Claire van Kampen; Countess Olivia in Twelfth Night and Richard III at Shakespeare's Globe, Apollo Theatre, West End and Belasco Theatre on Broadway in 2013; Johnny "Rooster" Byron in Jerusalem directed by Ian Rickson (Royal Court, The Apollo, West End and The Music Box, Broadway). Other West End/Broadway performances have been Valere in La Bete and Robert in Boeing Boeing. In 2007, he wrote his first play, I Am Shakespeare, which premiered at the Chichester Festival Theatre, directed by Matthew Warchus, published in 2012 by Nick Hern Books.
Amongst many companies, he has worked for the RSC, RNT, the Bush, The Tricycle, Shared Experience, TFANA (New York) and for his own companies, The London Theatre of Imagination (LTI) and Phoebus Cart. He was the Artistic Director of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (1996-2006) and during his career has acted in over 50 productions of plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
Film and television work includes: Days and Nights (Palm Springs International Film Festival 2014) directed by Christian Camargo, produced by Juliet Rylance, Anonymous, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Government Inspector; The Grass Arena; Love Lies Bleeding; Intimacy; Angels and Insects, Nocturne and Institute Benjamenta by the Brothers Quay.
Mark is an honorary bencher of the Middle Temple Hall in London; trustee of The Shakespearean Authorship Trust; an ambassador of Survival the movement for tribal peoples; and a patron of Peace Direct, working for non-violent resolution of conflict.
Idris Elba (Barnes) - Golden Globe winning actor Idris Elba showcases his creative versatility both on-screen in television and film as well as behind the camera as a producer and director. He continues to captivate audiences and secure his position as the one to watch in Hollywood, with a string of well-received performances in high-profile films as well as and multiple critically acclaimed television series.
Idris was most recently seen starring as Nelson Mandela in The Weinstein Company biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. His performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination and an NAACP Image Award nomination. In September 2014, he both starred in and executive produce No Good Deed, a thriller also starring Taraji Henson. He will next be seen in Beasts of No Nation with director Cary Fukunaga. He recently completed production for A Hundred Streets, which he is also producing and is currently in production on James Watkin's Bastille Day as well as Jon Favreau's The Jungle Book.
Elba began his film career in roles in such projects as HBO's Sometimes in April (NAACP Image Award nomination), Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls (BET Award nomination), The Reaping alongside Hilary Swank and the horror thriller 28 Weeks Later.
In 2007, Idris starred in Ridley Scott's Golden Globe nominated American Gangster with Denzel Washington, Russel Crowe, Ruby Dee and Josh Brolin. The cast went on to receive a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. Following, he starred in Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla with Tom Hardy, opposite Beyonce Knowles in Obsessed (NAACP Image Award Nomination), The Losers (NAACP Image Award nomination), Legacy (which he also executive produced), Ghost Rider with Nicolas Cage, Ridley Scott's Prometheus with Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron, Thor with Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth and Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim alongside Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day and Rinko Kikuchi.
Prior to his big screen debut, Elba's career skyrocketed on the small screen in some of UK's top rated shows including Dangerfield, Bramwell and Ultraviolet. In 2000, Ultraviolet was purchased by Fox in the United States, offering Idris a break into the American marketplace. He soon moved to New York and earned rave reviews for his portrayal of Achilles in Sir Peter Hall's off-Broadway production of Troilus and Cressida. Shortly thereafter he landed a part on the acclaimed television series Law & Order.
Soon after his move to the states, Idris landed the role of Stringer Bell, the lieutenant of a Baltimore drug empire on HBO's critically acclaimed series The Wire. Elba's portrayal of the complex but deadly Bell is arguably one of the most compelling performances in TV history. In 2005, his performance earned him an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Idris returned to television in 2009 when he joined the cast of NBC's hit television show The Office as Michael Scott's less than amused boss Charles Minor. In 2010, Idris landed the title role of John Luther in the BBC crime drama mini-series Luther. Following the first season, Elba was nominated for an Emmy for his performance in Luther as well as for his guest appearance on Showtime's The Big C. His performance in the first season of Luther earned him a NAACP Image Award, a BET Award and a Golden Globe. In 2012, Elba earned an Emmy nomination for the second season of Luther. The third instalment of the BBC mini-series aired in September 2013. His performance earned him an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination as well as a NAACP Image Award. Additionally, Elba was most recently seen in a two-part documentary titled King of Speed for BBC Two and BBC America.
In 2013, Elba made his directorial debut with SKYTV's Pavement Psychologist and the music video for Mumford & Sons "Lover of the Light".