Wednesday 2nd May 2012

Sir Ridley Scott, the renowned filmmaker who reinvented the science fiction film genre - having helmed Alien, a groundbreaking mix of science fiction and horror, followed by Blade Runner, one of the most revered and influential genre films of our time - offers his signature brand of action, thrills, scares and much, much more, in Prometheus.
Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Logan Marshall-Green, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Emun Elliott, Benedict Wong, Kate Dickie
Ridley Scott
Michael Costigan, Michael Ellenberg, David Giler, Walter Hill, Mark Huffam
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
2 hours 4 minutes
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Sir Ridley Scott, the renowned filmmaker who reinvented the science fiction film genre - having helmed Alien, a groundbreaking mix of science fiction and horror, followed by Blade Runner, one of the most revered and influential genre films of our time - offers his signature brand of action, thrills, scares and much, much more, in Prometheus.

With Prometheus, Scott has created a new mythology, in which a team of explorers discover a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey, aboard the spaceship Prometheus, to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

Although he has not helmed a science fiction picture in three decades, Ridley Scott's interest in the genre never abated. Having made two of the most revered genre films of all time, his return would only be triggered by a truly grand idea. "Over the past few decades, we've been 'action filmed-out' and 'monster filmed-out' and almost 'science fiction filmed-out", says Scott. "So the baseline question is: how original are you going to be?"

"The reason I haven't made another sci-fi film in so many years, apart from the fact I've been busy making other films and exploring different genres, is because frankly I haven't come across anything worthwhile for me to do with enough truth, originality and strength. Prometheus has all three".

The notion for Prometheus began with a figure glimpsed only briefly in Alien and which seemed to be forgotten once the titular xenomorph burst, literally, onto the scene. But that mysterious being - a giant fossilized creature with a burst-open chest, which came to be known as the Space Jockey - was well remembered by the man who brought it to life. "Something that had stayed with me ever since Alien, was the mystery behind it", says Scott. Who was he? Where was he from? What was his mission? What kind of technology would his kind possess? I thought those questions could provide a springboard for even larger ideas".

So, yes, Prometheus began life years ago as an Alien prequel before evolving, as Scott puts it, "into another universe". The film is engaged and defined by new ideas and questions that captured the filmmaker's formidable imagination. Notes Scott: "Out of the creative process in developing the picture emerged a new, grand mythology, in which this original story takes place. The keen fan will recognize strands of Alien's DNA, so to speak, but the ideas tackled in this film are unique, far-reaching and provocative. Prometheus is the singular genre tale I'd been searching for".

Adds co-screenwriter Jon Spaihts: "The most difficult thing about writing this story was that nothing was given. Everything had to be invented. In creating an entire world with Ridley Scott, I had an enormous canvas to paint on". And co-screenwriter/executive producer Damon Lindelof says that he was "incredibly struck by just how original Ridley's vision was for this movie. It's daring, visceral and hopefully, the last thing anyone expects".

As the script was developed, the story's big ideas emerged: During a journey to meet what some of the scientist crew believe to be their "makers" - beings who may have created life on our planet - the crew of the spaceship Prometheus and the mega-corporation funding its trillion-dollar mission, are in effect challenging the gods. And, as experienced by the Greek mythological figure from which the ship takes its name, challenging the gods can be a very, very bad idea.

"The film's central metaphor is about the Greek Titan Prometheus, who defies the gods by giving humans the gift of fire, for which he is horribly punished", Scott explains. "When you talk about the myth on which the title is based, you're dealing with humankind's relationship with the gods - the beings who created us - and what happens when we defy them". But ultimately, notes Lindelof, Prometheus is centered around... us. "It's about humanity in the future, challenging some of our most cherished scientific and philosophic ideas".

The team of scientists and explorers aboard the Prometheus are on nothing less than a journey to discover answers to some of life's most profound questions. Two brilliant young scientists, Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) possessing contrasting motivations, lead the expedition. Shaw is a believer: she wants to meet these "gods" as a way of getting closer to her more traditional religious views, while Holloway is looking to debunk these kinds of spiritual notions. In their work as archeologists, they have discovered clues in cave pictograms from ancient civilizations across the world, all of which point to the same location in distant space and have persuaded a corporation, Weyland Industries, to fund the mission.

Neither scientist was prepared for the unimaginable terrors they would encounter. "When Shaw and Holloway conceived the mission, their expectation was they would discover a benevolent species that might provide answers to some of our greatest mysteries", says executive producer Michael Ellenberg. "In other words they were hoping to meet gods. But these beings prove to be anything but compassionate. They are a dangerous race of superbeings".

"The crew of the Prometheus thinks they're headed to paradise to discover answers to the ultimate questions. But what they find is a dark and twisted and frightening world - a way station for these beings", adds Jon Spaihts. "The cold and implacable environment is more like hell than heaven".

In Ridley Scott's films, including Prometheus, the protagonists' discoveries often defy expectations. "That's what makes good drama", states the filmmaker. "Our story circles the truth of what might be out there and therein lays its most frightening aspect. Feasibility always creates the finest and most dangerous drama and the opportunity for me to scare the hell out of everyone". On the planet, the team meets a survivor of a civilization in control of some very dangerous elements, including various forms of biology and biomechanics, which in a heartbeat can eviscerate its victim, or worse. "This brings us to the question", says Scott, "what are the consequences of meeting a superior being, whose capabilities are quantum leaps beyond one's own and are in effect god-like?"

Or put another way: Maybe there are some things best left unexplored.

Strong female leads are a Ridley Scott hallmark: Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in Alien, Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in Thelma and Louise, Demi Moore in GI Jane the list goes on. Prometheus features not one, but two formidable distaff protagonists who further Scott's impressive tradition. Noomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw is a scientist filled with faith and hope, but who transforms into a warrior when faced with the danger she encounters at her destination; Charlize Theron's Vickers is a "suit" representing the interests of the mega-corporation funding the journey to a distant, foreboding world.

Rapace's powerful and unsettling performance in the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first in the trilogy of films based on Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, had captured worldwide attention - including Scott's. "Noomi combines a rare intelligence and physicality", says the filmmaker. "She owned that part in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It was so powerful that when Noomi and I met, I expected a tough, hardened individual; instead, Noomi was lovely, kind and smart. It was a terrific mix that would serve her well playing Shaw".

A call from Ridley Scott is a career defining moment for any actor, including Rapace. "After the meeting with Ridley, I thought even if I don't end up working with him on Prometheus, I'm happy because I've had this hour with him". It turned out that Shaw would be spending much more time than that with Scott, who cast her after a screen test he shot with director of photography Dariusz Wolski, ASC. "We used a Panavision storage room which production designer Arthur Max had dressed to give it an industrial, creepy vibe and Noomi just killed it", says Ellenberg. "We were all blown away by her ferocity, power and screen presence".

A very different kind of power is demonstrated by Meredith Vickers, a Weyland Industries executive who is onboard the Prometheus to represent the corporation's mysterious interests. When Charlize Theron accepted the role, Vickers took on intriguing new dimensions. Says Lindelof: "Charlize and I worked together to create a more layered character. Vickers is someone the audience will love to hate, but there are moments when we see her vulnerability and begin to understand how and why she became so mercenary and hardened. This makes her a much more interesting counterpoint to Shaw".

Theron was drawn to the opportunity to explore the film's epic themes from a perspective at odds with the rest of the crew's. "For Vickers, this epic, two-year journey to another world has been boiled down to economics. She has a bottom-line kind of thinking", says the actress. But as with so much else about the mission, there are deeper layers and mysteries to Vickers' ultimate goals. "She's an enigma and the mystery surrounding her was something I really liked", says Theron. "Vickers is pragmatic and desperately wants to control the situation. She fights everything that everyone else is there to do and it becomes evident that she has either an alternative agenda or that she is hiding something".

Vickers' cold efficiency might be characterized as machine-like, but another crewmember, David, portrayed by Michael Fassbender, is, literally, a machine - an android creation of the corporation. While David possesses extraordinary intelligence and other capabilities, his principal tasks on the Prometheus, says Scott, are servile. "He's basically the ship's housekeeper, keeping an eye on everything while the human crew is in suspended animation [necessitated by the two-year journey]".

David is however far more "human" than one might expect of a synthetic person. Lindelof explains: "David is programmed to help the human crewmembers, but he thinks the mission, in and of itself, is ridiculous because he's in the company of his creators - humans - and he's completely and totally unimpressed with them. I was driven by the idea of having him articulate his disdain in ways that his programming would allow".

The combination of David's intellect and menial directives makes for some of the film's most unexpected moments of humor. When we meet David, he's like a child in a playground - but his playground is the Prometheus. "While the rest of the crew is suspended animation, David is enjoying himself, tinkering with the ship's many technical wonders", says Fassbender. And like a child, David enjoys watching the same movie over and over again. His cinema touchstone is David Lean's epic masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia; David, like Peter O'Toole's T.E. Lawrence, is in many ways an idealized construct of a man. Further, says Lindelof, "Lawrence was a stranger in a strange land. He fancied himself a liberator - and all these things are a part of David".

Additionally, David's views on the human crew are somewhat child-like. "He is jealous and arrogant because he realizes that his knowledge is all-encompassing and therefore he is superior to the humans", says Fassbender. "David wants to be acknowledged and praised for his brilliance, yet nobody gives him the time of day. They don't accept David and that upsets him. And like a child, David can be very bold in the decisions he makes".

Janek, the captain of the Prometheus, is described by Scott as an "old sea dog" - an officer in the classic tradition and an alpha male whose primary mission is to protect the ship and its crew. His ambitions and vocation provide a sharp contrast to the heady goals of Shaw and Holloway and the venal corporate interests of Vickers. British actor Idris Elba, who portrays Janek, reunites with Scott, with whom he collaborated on the director's award-winning American Gangster. Elba's formidable presence and performance in that film left a strong impression on Scott, as did the actor's searing work as drug overlord Stringer Bell in the series The Wire and as a complicated police officer in Luther. Elba describes Janek as "a longshoreman and a sailor. It's his life and the crew is his responsibility. Ultimately, he makes a huge decision that sums him up as a man".

Logan Marshall-Green takes on the role of Holloway, who is Shaw's partner, both personally and professionally, in a quest for answers to some of humanity's most important questions. Like Shaw, Holloway has a thirst for answers, but he thinks the end of their search will yield very different results from those Shaw expects. "Shaw is the heart of the search; Holloway is the guts", adds Marshall-Green. "I think Holloway is searching for answers to these huge questions because he's always pushing the envelope. He goes to the extreme in everything he does, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse of the team. I think what drives him is the thrill of the search".

Although Ridley Scott has long embraced cinema's "new tricks and toys", including computer-generated imagery, he is also known for his belief in filming what he calls "the real thing", i.e. practical sets. Indeed, with so many of today's epic genre films relying heavily on CGI, Prometheus is a rarity: it presents a massive sci-fi world where most of the sets, props and stunts are real. This provides an impressive tactile reality, with one set being more stunning than the next. As one production crew member puts it: "Ridley built the greatest alien playground in the world".

The cast and crew were in awe of the efforts of production designer Arthur Max and his team of artisans. "It is hard to overstate the impact of walking on those sets", says Ellenberg. "It was inspiring on so many levels. There are so many understated, instinctual things that happen when you are filming on real sets. Everyone behaves in a more natural, organic fashion because it feels like a piece of reality. Every design detail was based on real world reference points, real world ideas and real world notions. Some of these are fairly lofty notions, but they're from our world. And if you are looking to scare people and engage with them, viscerally and emotionally, practical sets are the only way to go".

The production filmed on five stages at Pinewood Studios in the U.K., including the famed "007 Stage" (one of the biggest stages in Europe, at about 59,000 square feet). With studio space at a minimum, the filmmakers had to make five stages work for more than 16 sets, as well as increasing the size of the 007 Stage by at least a third. Principal photography commenced in August 2010, although preliminary work had begun much earlier.

Arthur Max designed not only the spaceships and vehicles but also the landscape of the planet to which the expedition travels and the structures and spaceship they discover there. For the ship Prometheus, Max says he wanted "to do something that was state-of-the-art, which would represent a flagship spacecraft with every technology required to probe into the deepest corners of the galaxy. We looked at a lot of NASA and European Space Agency designs and played around with those ideas in the context of what space travel would be like a generation from now". Max then worked out the ship's interior architecture and how it would play to the exterior form.

The bridge of the Prometheus is a two tiered set marked by extraordinary attention to detail and dazzling technology, including a gigantic wraparound jewel-like and faceted windscreen fronting the structure. Perhaps the most elaborate set on the Prometheus is Vickers' quarters, which are more akin to a plush Fifth Avenue apartment than a cabin on an interstellar vehicle. The space is resplendent with designer furnishings both old and new, including a Fazoili piano, Swarovski chandeliers - and a high-tech medical facility featuring a robotic medical pod (Med-pod) that can treat any medical need or surgical emergency. The translucent casket-like pod figures in one of the film's defining sequences, which mixes action, terror and horror in a way never before experienced on film. "What goes on there is simply the worst thing you can (or probably cannot) imagine", says Rapace.

Other interior sets on the Prometheus include a laboratory, where the crew bring their findings for inspection; the ready room, where the crew get suited up in preparation for their mission; the hyper-sleep barracks, where David monitors the crew during their two year journey to the planet; the mess room, with an amazing array of high-tech equipment; and the space crew's quarters. Max's epic sets that bring to life the alien planet include a Pyramid, which contains the Juggernaut, a ship similar to the crashed crescent shaped ship seen in Alien. Using a series of chambers, corridors and tunnels connecting the larger spaces to each other and after post-production enhancement, the space is as enormous as the Empire State building. It was so cavernous that some crew lost their bearings.

Outside, on Pinewood's backlot, Max and his team built the Prometheus Garage, one of three sets that sit beneath the main body of the ship. The enormous set houses the crew's vehicles, which the production built from scratch. "We had to create vehicles that could actually be driven on a hostile surface, which is undulating and rocky", says Max. "We needed transportation that would be industrial enough to deal with these environments but at the same time give us a futuristic characteristic". It took eleven weeks to create these robust vehicles, complete with state-of-the-art technology, LED lighting and padded seats, all presented in a dazzling metallic finish. After 15 weeks at Pinewood, cast and crew relocated to Iceland to shoot the climactic sequences as well as the prologue. In the town of Hekla, the production captured epic action and thrills - while one of Iceland's most active volcanoes threatened to erupt. Additional scenes were shot at a spectacular waterfall in Dettifoss.

Facing challenges every bit as demanding as those confronting Max was another of Scott's frequent collaborators, Academy Award®-winning costume designer Janty Yates. "Ridley was adamant about avoiding the puffy, NASA-style spacesuit audiences know so well", says Yates. "He loved the linear look so we went with a novel approach to spacesuit design that uses biomedical breakthroughs in skin replacement and materials to create a suit that could believably provide lightweight flexibility and comfort in any extraterrestrial environment. Each costume consisted of the outer spacesuit and a Neoprene under suit, a yoke to which a helmet was attached and a backpack. Scott mandated a globe-shaped helmet with no blind spots. Each helmet had nine working video screens, lighting, an oxygen supply run on two fans with battery packs within the backpack. The exterior of the helmet features a fully functioning torch and HD cameras with a transmitter and recorder.

David's onboard costume conforms to the human apparel, but with fine lines to provide a more linear look. Theron wears a beautiful silk mohair suit in ice silver. "Vickers is the ice queen. It was always our vision to make her look as sculptural as possible", explains Yates. Keeping the naval simile in mind for Janek, Janty gave Elba a canvas-greased jacket giving the appearance that he's been at the helm of a ship for many years. Marshall-Green as Holloway exudes a casual comfortable timeless look, in his hoodies, Thai fisherman pants and flip-flops.

The film's new creatures are the work of Creative Supervisor for Creature Effects and Special Make-Up Effects Neal Scanlan and Prosthetic Supervisor Conor O'Sullivan. "We present the evolution of these nasty bits and pieces of creature evolution in a logical and biological fashion", says Scott. Adds Scanlan: "Each stage of a creature's life cycle has a distinctive purpose. For our xenobiology, we brought in new elements that are not necessarily backward from those in Alien, but are of a similar DNA. Many of Ridley's references are derived from nature - plants, vegetables, sea creatures and other animals. Nothing is invented".

Prometheus marks Scott's first film shot digitally and in 3D, a format whose technical challenges and aesthetic opportunities were embraced by the filmmaker. Scott and Wolski used the technology to enhance the action and thrills in small confined spaces, as well within epic vistas. In returning to the genre he helped define, Ridley Scott continues to push the boundaries of storytelling, both visually and thematically. As he notes, he's all about the "everything" - from story structure to casting, from sets and costumes to new ways of telling a story. And while the renowned filmmaker is scaring the shit out of you, he never loses sight of the big picture. "After you've seen Prometheus", Scott concludes, "you will have experienced something completely unexpected".

Noomi Rapace (Elizabeth Shaw) captured the eyes of the international entertainment community with her commanding, unnerving and critically acclaimed portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the film adaptations of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. Rapace was recently seen opposite Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in Guy Ritchie's sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, portraying gypsy fortuneteller, Sim, who sees more than she is telling.

Currently, Rapace is in production on director Brian de Palma's Passion, opposite Rachel McAdams. She plays the role of Isabelle, an ambitious advertising executive who plots revenge after her boss and mentor steal her idea. Following this, Rapace is slated to begin the action thriller Dead Man Down, in which she reunites with director Niels Arden Oplev and stars opposite Colin Farrell. Rapace will portray Beatrice, a crime victim seeking retribution.

Rapace began her acting career at the age of seven, in Iceland's In the Shadow of the Raven. She has since gone to appear in over twenty films and television shows. In 2007, she made her mark on the big screen with a breakthrough performance in the 2007 Danish film, Daisy Diamond. In the film, Rapace portrays a troubled teen-mother who leaves her home to pursue a dream, ultimately failing and having a breakdown with fatal consequences. For her performance, she was honored with the Bodil Award (Danish Critics Award) and a Robert Award (Denmark's Academy Award) for Best Actress.

Rapace garnered high praise for her breakthrough performance in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the first installment of the Millennium Trilogy which opened in February 2009 in Sweden. She won the Best Actress Guldbagge Award (Swedish Academy Award) and the Best Actress International Jupiter Award (Germany), in addition to being nominated for an Orange British Academy Film Award for Lead Actress and a Best Actress European Film Award for her role. Rapace garnered subsequent praise for her performances in the second and third installments, The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest.

Additional credits include Pernilla August's directorial debut, Beyond (Svinalägorna), in Sweden. The film screened at the 2010 Venice Film Festival and won the Venice Critic's Week prize. Based on the best-selling novel, the film is a poignant story about a young girl's dramatic childhood growing up in a home plagued by abuse and alcoholism. Following Beyond, Rapace was seen in Pål Sletaune's Norwegian thriller Babycall, about a young mother who believes she overhears a murder. For her performance, Rapace received the Best Actress honor at the 2011 Rome Film Festival.

Born in Germany and raised in Killarney, Ireland, Michael Fassbender (David) enjoyed a phenomenal run of critically acclaimed performances in 2011 and 2012, garnering numerous accolades and awards, including the Best Actor award at the 2011 Venice Film Festival and Irish Film and Television Award (IFTAs), as well as a Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination for Best Actor for Steve McQueen's Shame. The National Board of Review awarded Fassbender the Spotlight Award and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association named him Best Actor for his performances in Shame and Davide Cronenberg's drama A Dangerous Method, in which Fassbender plays Carl Jung opposite Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen. Fassbender was also recently seen in Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class, as Erik Lehnsherr, better known as super-villain Magneto; as Rochester in Cary Joji Fukunaga's Jane Eyre; and as an assassin opposite Ewan McGregor and Gina Carano in Steven Soderbergh's Haywire. Fassbender co-starred in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 blockbuster Inglourious Basterds, sharing with his fellow actors the Screen Actors Guild Award® for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, as well as the Critics' Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble.

Fassbender starred as the late hunger striker Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen's true-life drama Hunger. The performance earned him the British Independent Film Award (BIFA) and IFTA for Best Actor, a London Film Critics Award and Best Actor honors from the 2008 Stockholm and Chicago International Film Festivals. The following year, he was honored at the latter festival, as Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank. This performance brought him BIFA and IFTA nominations, as well as his second London Film Critics Circle Award. Fassbender was an IFTA nominee for his performance in Marc Munden's miniseries The Devil's Whore.

Born in Germany and raised in Ireland, Fassbender is a graduate of London's prestigious Drama Centre. His breakthrough role came as Sgt. Burton "Pat" Christenson in HBO's epic, award-winning miniseries Band of Brothers. After making his feature film debut in Zack Snyder's blockbuster 300, Fassbender appeared in Joel Schumacher's Blood Creek, James Watkins' Eden Lake, Jimmy Hayward's Jonah Hex, Francois Ozon's Angel and Neil Marshall's Centurion.

Guy Pearce (Weyland) was born in England and raised in Australia from the age of three. Always interested in performing, with a particular talent for mimicking accents, he starred in several plays when he was young and graduated to television when he was cast in the Australian soap opera Neighbours in 1985, playing the role of Mike Young for several years. Pearce also found roles in other television series such as Home and Away (1988) and Snowy River: The McGregor Saga (1993). Pearce's breakthrough into film came with his role as a drag queen in Stefan Elliott's Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in 1994. Since then, he has appeared in many American productions including L.A. Confidential, Rules Of Engagement, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Time Machine and notably in Christopher Nolan's Momento. More recently, Pearce starred in the critically lauded The Proposition (2005), directed by John Hillcoat, with whom he worked again on The Road. Pearce gained critical acclaim for his portrayal of pop artist Andy Warhol in Factory Girl, played Harry Houdini in Gillian Armstrong's Death Defying Acts and had a cameo appearance in Kathryn Bigelow's Academy Award winning The Hurt Locker.

He was seen as Edward VIII in Tom Hooper's multi-Academy Award winning The King's Speech. Pearce's recent film credits include the acclaimed crime-drama Animal Kingdom; the thriller Seeking Justice, alongside Nicolas Cage; the horror-thriller Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, produced and written by Guillermo del Toro; the drama 33 Postcards; and the sci-fi action-adventure Lockout, written by Luc Besson. Upcoming is Lawless, also starring Tom Hardy. Pearce won an Emmy® Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, for HBO's Mildred Pierce, for which he also received Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination. The mini-series starred Kate Winslet and was directed by Todd Haynes.

British actor Idris Elba (Janek) captivated American audiences as the infamous Stringer Bell in HBO's critically acclaimed series, The Wire. He continues to make his mark as one to watch in Hollywood, with a string of well-received performances in high-profile films and multiple television series. Idris started his career in his native city of London, where he had a mainstay role on British television by his mid-twenties. He starred in some of the 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. After moving to New York, Idris received rave reviews for his portrayal of Achilles in Sir Peter Hall's off-Broadway production of one of Shakespeare's more complicated plays, Troilus and Cressida. Shortly thereafter he landed a part on the acclaimed television series Law & Order.

Around the same time, David Simon, creator of HBO's award winning series Oz, cast Idris in the role of Stringer Bell, the lieutenant of a Baltimore drug empire on The Wire. Idris's portrayal of the complex but deadly Bell is arguably one of the most compelling in TV history. As the show flourished throughout the world, critics and audience members began to appreciate Idris' talent. In 2005, he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his work on The Wire.

Idris landed his first leading role in the HBO Original Film, Sometimes in April, for which he received his second Image Award nomination, this time for Outstanding Actor in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. A prolific run of leading roles followed -- in Tyler Perry's dramatic feature Daddy's Little Girls, for which Idris received a BET nomination for Best Actor; the thriller The Reaping, also starring 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, Russell Crowe, Ruby Dee and Josh Brolin. The ensemble went on to receive a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. That same year, Idris returned to London to film Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla alongside Gerard Butler, Thandie Newton and Tom Wilkinson. The film went straight to #1 in the UK box office in its first week of release. Idris next starred opposite Beyonce Knowles in the crime thriller Obsessed, directed by Steve Shill. Idris received a BET Best Actor nomination, as well as a NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. The movie took in $28.5 million on its opening weekend, storming to # 1 in the box office and became the highest-grossing opening on record for the stalker-thriller genre movie.

In 2009, Idris showed off his comedic chops on NBC's hit television show The Office, as Michael Scott's less than amused boss Charles Minor. He later appeared as Laura Linney's love interest in the Showtime comedy The Big C. His next projects were The Losers, in which he shared the screen with Zoe Saldana, Chris Evans and Jeffrey Dean Morgan; and box office hit Takers, alongside Matt Dillon, T.I. and Hayden Christensen, for which Idris received a 2011 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. In May 2009, Idris moved to Glasgow to film Legacy. Along with playing the part of a Black Operations operative, Idris was an Executive Producer on the film, which was chosen to close The Glasgow Film Festival in February 2010. The Tribeca Film Festival in April 2010 commended Legacy with great critical acclaim.

Idris was next seen in the BBC crime drama series Luther, playing the title role of John Luther, a complex detective struggling with his own demons. The six episodes were shown on BBC 1 in April 2010 and audiences and critics alike responded to Idris' portrayal of the tormented detective. The series was picked up by BBC America and was broadcast in October 2010, earning Idris rave reviews once again. For his work on Luther, Idris received a Best Actor nomination at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards and won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. In 2012, he took home the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

Idris starred in the highly anticipated Marvel comic book adaptation, Thor, directed by Kenneth Branagh, alongside Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Samuel L Jackson. He can be currently seen in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, with Nicolas Cage. In addition to Luther returning to the small screen for its third season, Idris will next hit the big screen in Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim and will take on the role of Nelson Mandela this summer when he begins production on the autobiographical film, Long Walk to Freedom.

Logan Marshall-green (Holloway) appeared on the big screen in Devil, produced by M. Night Shyamalan. He is best-known to film audiences for playing radical activist Paco in Julie Taymor's Across the Universe. He has also co-starred in the films Brooklyn's Finest, The Kindness of Strangers and The Great Raid. Marshall-Green appeared in the television series Dark Blue. His other television work includes roles on Traveler, 24, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and The OC.

A graduate of New York University's Tisch Graduate Acting Program and a prolific stage actor, Marshall-Green earned a Drama League nomination for his work in King Lear with Kevin Klein at the Public Theatre and Greg Kotis' Pig Farm at the Roundabout Theatre off-Broadway. He earned Lortel Award nominations for his performances in Dog Sees God and Neil LaBute's The Distance from Here, the latter also earning him a Drama Desk Ensemble Award. Marshall-Green's other off-Broadway productions include Beast, Swimming in the Shallows, U.S. Drag and Turn of the Screw. He is a regular at the Williamstown Theatre, appearing in such shows as Bus Stop, Street Scene, Skin of Our Teeth, The Blue Bird, Light Up the Sky, Tonight at 8:30, The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Servant of Two Masters and Xanadu.

Oscar®-winning actress Charlize Theron (Vickers) is one of the great actresses of our time. With her ability to capture a plethora of characters, she relentlessly demands the audience's full attention as soon as she appears on screen. This South African native is continuously being praised and admired for her inspiring and powerful performances. Theron captivated audiences as female serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the independent gem Monster. Theron received the Independent Spirit Award & the National Broadcast Film Critics Association as well as winning the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, San Francisco Film Critics Circle, New York Film Critics Online and Southeastern Film Critics' awards, the Breakthrough Performance Award from the National Board of Review and the Academy Award, all for her emotionally devastating performance in Monster. Recently, Charlize starred in Jason Reitman's dark comedy, Young Adult, earning her a 2012 Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Drama. She stars in Snow White and the Huntsman alongside Kristen Stewart. This summer, she will begin shooting Warner Bros.'s Mad Max: Fury Road, directed by George Miller.

In November 2008, she starred in Guillermo Arriaga's directorial debut The Burning Plain, in which she plays Sylvia, a woman who is forced to take an emotional journey to rid herself of a sin from her past. Theron starred alongside Kim Basinger in this drama, which Theron produced. In 2008, Theron starred in Hancock starring alongside Will Smith and Jason Bateman, which was the third highest grossing film of the year.

Charlize was in the drama North Country opposite Frances McDormand and Sissy Spacek for director Niki Caro. Based on the real life story of a group of women coal miners and the hostile work environment they faced on a daily basis, North Country received much praise. Her incredible performance as Josey Aimes garnered her Golden Globe, SAG Awards™, Critics Choice and Oscar nominations. Theron captivated audiences in HBO's The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers opposite Geoffery Rush, for which she received a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Emmys. In addition to producing the Burning Plain through her production company Denver and Delilah, Charlize is developing and executive producing an HBO series called Mind Hunter, with director David Lynch.

Charlize's feature film debut was MGM's 2 Days in the Valley, with James Spader, Eric Stoltz and Jeff Daniels. She's also been seen starring alongside Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves in The Devil's Advocate; with Tom Hanks in That Thing You Do!; and in Jonathan Lynn's Trial and Error. Theron starred in Woody Allen's Celebrity, which she followed with Mighty Joe Young with Bill Paxton. In 1999 Theron starred in the Oscar nominated The Cider House Rules and in New Line Cinema's The Astronaut's Wife with Johnny Depp. In 2000, Theron tackled roles in Robert Redford's The Legend of Bagger Vance with Will Smith and Matt Damon, Fox 2000's Men of Honor with Robert DeNiro and Cuba Gooding, Jr., John Frankenheimer's Reindeer Games with Ben Affleck and Miramax's The Yards co-starring Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, James Caan and Faye Dunaway.

In 2001, Theron starred in the Warner Bros. tearjerker Sweet November alongside Keanu Reeves, as well as in Woody Allen's Curse of the Jade Scorpion, also starring Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd and David Ogden Stiers. In 2002 Theron starred opposite Patrick Swayze, Natasha Richardson and Billy Bob Thornton in Waking Up in Reno and opposite Kevin Bacon, Courtney Love, Stuart Townsend, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Dakota Fanning in the feature film Trapped, directed by Luis Mandoki.

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