Ready Or Not (2019)
Monday 20th January 2020
Fox Searchlight Pictures' Ready Or Not follows a young bride (Samara Weaving) as she joins her new husband's (Mark O'Brien) rich, eccentric family (Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell) in a time-honored tradition that turns into a lethal game with everyone fighting for their survival.
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin & Tyler Gillett, Ready Or Not is written by Guy Busick & R. Christopher Murphy, and stars Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Mark O'Brien, with Henry Czerny and Andie MacDowell.
Ready or Not is produced by Tripp Vinson, James Vanderbilt, William Sherak and Bradley J. Fischer, and executive produced by Chad Villella, Tara Farney, Tracey Nyberg and Daniel Bekerman. The filmmaking team includes director of photography Brett Jutkiewicz, film editor Terel Gibson, costume designer Avery Plewes, production designer Andrew M. Stearn and music by Brian Tyler.
You said your family was fucked up.You didn't say psycho killers...Grace
In Ready Or Not, the stakes are high as a newlywed literally fights for her life, trying to survive her in-laws in a deadly game of hide and seek on her wedding night. Samara Weaving (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Babysitter) plays Grace, a spirited young woman from modest beginnings who has been wooed by wealthy Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien, City on a Hill). Their 18-month courtship is culminating in a marriage ceremony at his family estate, where the mansion is imposing and so is the Le Domas clan, headed by Alex's parents Tony and Becky (Henry Czerny, Sharp Objects and Andie MacDowell, Four Weddings And A Funeral).
With a fortune built on board games, this eccentric family is bound by time-honored traditions. "The rich really are different," Alex's brother Daniel (Adam Brody, Shazam!) cautions Grace before she heads down the aisle. The wedding goes off without a hitch, but the carefully planned celebration has a detour mapped out for the bride. Grace - still in her wedding dress - unsuspectingly joins her new husband and in-laws for a midnight gathering to play what they describe as a traditional family game. As a new member of the family, she must draw a card from a deck to determine which game they will all play - as danger lingers in the air, Grace unsuspectingly chooses the rare "Hide and Seek" card. With only a few moments head start, Grace is to leave Alex behind and stay hidden and quiet somewhere on the premises. The others fan out to find her before sunrise...
Soon Grace makes the terrifying discovery that she is being hunted in lethal blood sport. Pushed to her limits physically and emotionally, Grace becomes hellbent on not only staying alive, but attempts to change the game forever by fighting back in any way she can.
The filmmaking trio collectively known as Radio Silence (Southbound, Devil's Due, V/H/S), comprised of directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillet, and executive producer Chad Villella, are known for their unique blending of comedy, adventure, and horror, with an eye for original screenplays that are comparably distinctive. For Ready Or Not, co-director Gillett talks about the idea of taking a conventional story to the extreme: "We loved the idea that you could take something that's as familiar and relatable as marrying into a family and give it a genre bend in a playful way - but also in a dangerous and extreme way."
The film's premise comes from the scriptwriting team Guy Busick and R. Christopher Murphy, who have been friends and writing partners for decades. Says Gillett, "It was refreshing to read a totally original idea." Adds Villella, "It really stood out to us." The screenwriters appreciated films like the classic Rosemary's Baby, in which Mia Farrow memorably starred as the rattled yet tenacious Rosemary. Busick recalls, "The stakes are deadly in Rosemary's Baby, and it's very character-driven. The movie is terrifying but there's also a hint of mischief in it and a hint of the absurd." He and Murphy reveled in the idea of a female-driven thriller - both contemporary and timeless - that would place a young woman into next-level conflict with her new in-laws, a nocturnal fight for survival.
The audience's entry into the family's bizarre backroom rituals comes through the story's fish out of water heroine, Grace, whose unfortunate destiny is to play the family "game" to determine her fate. Musing on the tantalizing nature of the game, executive producer Tara Farney says, "You pick the card and that is your fate, but the card also picks you. There's a little underlying message that the devil is seeking out people who are pure of heart, and Grace is just that. He can't wait to get rid of her." But the devil didn't count on Grace fighting back.
Ready with a confident first draft, the screenwriters took the script to friend James Vanderbilt (Murder Mystery, Zodiac). An accomplished writer and director, Vanderbilt committed his production company Mythology Entertainment to the project and then partnered with producer Tripp Vinson (Murder Mystery, San Andreas) and his Vinson Films production company. Development on the script continued quickly, with Vinson recognizing the story's appeal in the rich lineage of horror movies including The Most Dangerous Game, Cabin In The Woods and You're Next - where human beings are hunted for sport.
"Ready Or Not is a little bit outside the box," says Vinson. "I knew we were not going to get the big budget of a comic book movie. But that allowed us to take creative risks."
When the call went out for directors, Radio Silence answered. Vinson admits, "I was a little apprehensive when I heard that three people were going to be coming in and talking to us about READY OR NOT." But since the filmmaking collective - consisting of directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and executive producer Chad Villella - had begun working together in 2009, their reputation had grown by way of their short films and feature work.
Gillett explains, "It's like being in a band. The three of us have all worked together to create a very specific sound. We know how everyone has tuned instruments, and we're all good at different things."
Bettinelli-Olpin adds, "There were great character elements, and that excited us. The journey that Grace goes on pulls you in." The screenwriters were thrilled with the director team choice. Busick notes, "We knew that Matt, Tyler and Chad would not only do the script justice but also elevate it with their particular style - fitting perfectly with our vision for the story." Murphy adds, "From the moment they showed us concept art of what they were going for it was, 'You get it'. There was never any doubt." Executive producer Tara Farney adds, "They understood the tone of this movie completely and know how to balance the irony and comedy with horror."
"Crafting a good scare is actually similar to crafting a good joke. You set it up and there is a punchline," said Gillett.
The actors on set appreciated the team's "go for it" approach to their work on the film. "They would come prepared, but they all worked with us very constructively on set. As directors, Tyler Gillett is a craftsman with the camera and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin will talk to the actors first, but they switch off; it's kind of symbiotic," adds cast member Mark O'Brien. Gillett sums it up, "The three of us - Matt, Chad, and myself - wouldn't be doing this if we weren't friends and we didn't love working together. This wouldn't be as much fun if it was just one person!"
Once Fox Searchlight Pictures gave the green light for filming Ready Or Not in 2018, the filmmakers began looking for actors to embody the dysfunctional and deadly - Le Domas family.
Producer Tripp Vinson comments, "Casting Ready Or Not was a great opportunity because it was an ensemble centered on a family with a strange shared history. The trick was finding actors who have chemistry together." Co-director Tyler Gillett confides, "That was our big fear going into the shoot; corralling that number of people - and hoping and praying they all get along!"
He continues, "With our tight filming schedule, all it would have taken was friction between just two actors for things to get catastrophic." Instead, "we hit the lottery with this group," says Bettinelli-Olpin.
Cast member Adam Brody sums up the ensemble experience, "Being in close quarters with the other actors for the entirety of this shoot got us familiar and friendly - and into family dynamics. I spent a lot of time with everyone in a confined space - and I only like everyone all the more for it!"
"What's a great way to bond with your movie family?" says Samara Weaving. "On day one, with a bow-and-arrow being pointed at you, followed by a face being bashed in. Nice to meet you!"
Samara Weaving as "Grace"Weapon of Choice: Whatever Can Help Her Stay Alive
The crucial role to cast was the lead of Grace, the bride whose shocking discoveries about her new in-laws galvanise her into action. Gillett reports, "We had seen Samara Weaving's previous work-there's a fearlessness to the way that she approaches all of her performances, and this movie was going to live or die by how well Grace was portrayed."
Bending the rules for the long line of female protagonists in genre fare before her, screenwriter R. Christopher Murphy muses that "with Grace we are turning on its head the horror genre trope of the 'final girl;' where in many horror films, you have a cast of innocents stalked by one psycho and one final girl remaining to challenge the killer. But in Ready Or Not, Grace is the only intended victim, one whom several people are hunting."
"Firstly," Weaving boldly corrects, "it should be 'final woman'. I hadn't heard that term, but in a lot of horror films women in danger are crying or screaming. In READY OR NOT we turn that on its head and make Grace a bad-ass."
"I wanted to bring out her anger at this family. What drives her to fight back to survive until the sun rises isn't fear, although that definitely enters into it. Her fighting back had to be part of her personality as well as her actions; she's had a hard life."
Co-director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin remarks, "Sam made it important to herself, and to all of us, that the movie not get repetitive and that there be an arc for Grace. We were so grateful for her attention to detail from moment to moment." Says Gillett: "Even when Grace is in her most vulnerable and scared moments, there's a confidence in the way that Sam approaches it which maintains believability."
"She has a choice to make. Is she going to be able to rise to the occasion? Is she going to be able to survive? It makes me want to root for her," says producer Tripp Vinson. Weaving's new onscreen husband O'Brien adds, "You meet Sam and she's so sweet but she's also a strong person - and on film she's even stronger."
Executive producer Tara Farney unequivocally adds, "She's stronger than all of them."
Andie MacDowell as "Becky"Weapon of Choice: Bow & Arrow
Filthy rich and fully loaded, the matriarch of the Le Domas clan needed to be confident, dominant and willing to pack a punch. Andie MacDowell stepped up to the challenge. In signing on to portray Becky, MacDowell would be taking on a role in a genre she hadn't delved into before - despite having starred in a host of iconic films.
"We were all a little starstruck," admits Bettinelli-Olpin. "And I think we still are," adds Gillett. "As it turned out, Andie is such a trouper and was game for this project's weirdness and the physicality it required of her."
Producer Tripp Vinson adds about the character of Becky, "She has a cool head and is able to keep things on track as things horribly spiral out of control. She's very determined to see this through and also try to reestablish a relationship with her son, Alex."
Of her character, MacDowell states, "I don't think Becky is evil. I think she's devoted to her family 100 percent, and they are who they are. She's very protective of her family and wants things to work out; there is a deep love that she has for her son Alex, which I think grounds the story." She continues, "Becky has a dark wit, but she is also the responsible one; I enjoyed playing her impatience and sharpness."
The crew's favourite part of having Andie MacDowell on set? Villella reveals that as part of her genre debut, "Andie got to do something else she's never done before in her career: throw a punch!"
Henry Czerny as "Tony"Weapon of Choice: Winchester Rifle
No one plays dirtier than the ridiculously rich, and Tony Le Domas is no exception. As the patriarch of the Le Domas family, the filmmakers had thought of Henry Czerny because the actor is equally accomplished at playing flustered characters and authority figures; those qualities would be essential for this role. As a bonus, Czerny's distinctive countenance was ideal for being depicted in ancestral portraits and paintings dotting the large mansion.
Czerny reveals, "My approach to Tony began with one of the script descriptions. The family's butler, Stevens, phones him and you see written onto the phone's caller ID 'petulant child'. That became my base note for the character, and as the story progresses it comes out more and more."
Vinson says, "Tony and Becky's relationship is, he's a little bit of a hothead and she's constantly trying to keep him on track. There are things he will not let go..." Gillett adds, "The camera might not be on Henry, and we might not have had conversations with him, but he would bring things to Tony in the background of a scene; it was so clear to him what the character called for."
Adam Brody as "Daniel"Weapon of Choice: Whiskey and a Rifle
While the Le Domas parents are reasonably secure in their perches, the next generation had to be a more conflicted group. Gillett notes that for the role of dark and twisted son Daniel, who still carries with him childhood traumas from a previous family game gathering, "We were drawn to cast Adam Brody, in part to see him do something a little outside of what we all know and love him for."
Bettinelli-Olpin confirms, "Adam brought a sense of humor to the role, so it wasn't just darkness; he was very aware of Daniel not being one-note."
Brody laughs, "I got to work with a lot of blood, and it was a thrill. I also work well with corpses." He says, "The question within Daniel is there a good person in there? In Ready Or Not, there's a nice blend of what's said and what's not said."
Mark O'Brien as "Alex"Weapon of Choice: His Love for Grace
To play Grace's newly minted husband Alex the team brought on actor Mark O'Brien to tackle the role. "So Alex Le Domas is a prodigal son," says producer Tripp Vinson. "He's torn between his love for his family, his love for Grace and this horrible deal with the devil his family has made."
"To us, Alex is the most complicated character in the story," comments Gillett. "He's a man who thinks he can have everything without sacrificing anything." "Alex definitely has his own moral compass," Bettinelli-Olpin adds. Mark O'Brien observes about his character, "Alex is already conflicted when we meet him because he doesn't really know how to broach the subject of his family's traditions to Grace. Also, he's used to the lifestyle that his family has provided for him even though at the same time he shuns it." He continues, "There are moments where you see him fighting what's underneath what he's presenting, which is what attracted me to the role."
Melanie Scrofano as "Emilie"Weapon of Choice: Pistol
Actress Melanie Scrofano ("Wynonna Earp") channels the over-energetic and deadly sister Emilie and describes her character as "a combination of clenched jaw and wide-eyed drug-fueled hyperactivity who has the heart of a sparrow."
Scrofano says, "She is sort of the black sheep of the family. She tries her best and fails spectacularly. I like to think that's why she's turned to drugs. She's married to Fitch Bradley and they have two children who are little brats. But she still wants to do right by her family."
Kristian Bruun as "Fitch"Weapon of Choice: Crossbow
"Orphan Black" alumni Kristian Bruun was asked to audition for the part of Emilie's husband Fitch and was intrigued "as soon as I found out I'd be wearing a tuxedo. Fitch is a former frat boy, a little bit past his prime, who is very happy to be part of a very, very rich family.
But he's not necessarily willing to make sacrifices." Bruun, who provides many of the overtly comedic moments in the film, adds, "When he's assigned an old-fashioned crossbow as his weapon, it's: 'Who's supposed to be able to do anything with this?'"
Elyse Levesque as "Charity"Weapon of Choice: Spear Gun
In this family game, tradition calls the shots, and cast in the deadly Le Domas-bymarriage role, as Daniel's wife Charity, is Elyse Levesque (Cedar Cove), who "sped through the script so quickly that I went back and read it again; it doesn't fit into any one genre."
Nicky Guadagni as "Aunt Helene"Weapon of Choice: Battle Axe
Proving that some family traditions are deadlier than others, Nicky Guadagni (Silent Hill, Lars And The Real Girl) got to sink her teeth into the bloodthirsty and vengeful Aunt Helene.
Guadagni describes her character as "a very bitter older woman; Aunt Helene is frustrated because she feels she could have been head honcho of the family. But when she was a young woman, she was led by her heart instead of by loyalty to her family."
Producer Tripp Vinson laughs about Aunt Helene's stunningly blunt weapon of choice, "It's not every movie you get to have a battle axe on set."
John Ralston as "Stevens"Weapon of Choice: Car
John Ralston (On The Basis Of Sex, Living in Your Car) reveals that his sinister "head butler is an expert cleaner - in more ways than one. Stevens runs the show and is well aware of the Le Domas family's idiosyncrasies. Once the wedding night doesn't go as planned, he will go to any length to protect the household."
Adds Ralston, "What was wonderful was finding a camaraderie among the cast members; the energy was exciting."
Grounding this fantastical story of a devil-worshipping family could only be done with perfectly ominous and creepy locations. Producer Tripp Vinson comments on the early decision to use practical locations and physical effects to cement an authenticity to the film, "There's a creative advantage to shooting in practical locations." By not relying on typical visual effects, he adds, "A lot of what you'll see in the movie was done practically, which was fun to kind of roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, literally, on this movie."
The requirements of the action-packed and highly physicalised script necessitated that not one, but three locations be pressed into service to embody the Le Domas estate. Oshawa, Ontario's Parkwood Estates is one of Canada's last remaining grand estates and was once the private residence of General Motors of Canada founder R.S. McLaughlin. Cast and crew used Parkwood's surrounding lands for the wedding ceremony sequences, and a number of its 55 rooms were given over for filming Ready Or Not interior scenes. Also in Oshawa, the production utilised the local YWCA to film all of the family's dining room scenes.
Two weeks after cameras rolled at Parkwood in October 2018, the production decamped to Toronto and its historic Casa Loma; the only full-sized castle within range of North America, it was built in 1911 at a cost of some $3.5 million and remains a top destination for visitors to the city. Casa Loma afforded the Ready Or Not troupe winding and ornate interiors for deadly pursuits; and the family's board games ethos can be seen as further manifesting in the form of the CLUE-style trappings.
Filming in the two houses offered a key creative advantage: the camera would be able to move around and follow characters - fast! - through hallways and into rooms. So even though you don't have the comfort and the control of being on a soundstage, there's a lot of creativity that results.
Adding to the advantages of filming practically was the authentic creativity oozing from the production design team. Producer Tripp Vinson was impressed by production designer Andrew Stern's commitment to the look and feel of the family's classic board games, and the sinister backstory of the Le Domas dynasty which was the extra touch the film needed, "He met with Radio Silence, he got started immediately on images and artwork. We all responded to the direction he was headed in of the classic games feel dating back to carnivals, with a sense of history."
When first walking into these locations co-screenwriter Guy Busick felt like he was actually stepping into his movie, the very one that he and R. Christopher Murphy had scripted. He offers, "Being on the sets was surreal. Everyone seemed to have been on the same wavelength. It was like walking through your own dream," marvels Murphy.
"You won't know what's around the corner, and I mean that figuratively and literally," exclaimed cast member Mark O'Brien. Actor Kristian Bruun adds, "There are secret passageways. The rumor is that there's a ghost. It's beyond opulent!"
The filmmakers also opted for practical physical props and stunts to go with the practical locations in the film. This too had been a mandate early on in the pre-production phase so that the cast could get more into character. Producer Tripp Vinson states, "I credit Radio Silence for making that choice and seeing it through. It can be frustrating waiting around to get practical effects just right, but once you do it's worth it."
While this proved especially challenging given the trying stunts and graphically detailed demises, cast and crew weathered rigged exploding blood bags with aplomb while hitting their respective marks. Vinson adds, "One of the really fun things we did on this movie was blow a bunch of people up. And, we did it practically. We had many, many body bags and blood bags that exploded on set."
O'Brien feels that keeping the physical element of props and stunts "raises the stakes a bit more, when you actually have the blood there. It puts you more into the world you're playing." Director Bettinelli-Olpin agreed and added, "This movie is such a mix of gags, and great character stuff - and for us, that's what makes the movie so exciting." Actress Nicky Guadagni reveals, "I'd never held a battle-axe before. It felt great running around the house with it. There was a light version made of rubber, and a much heavier version made out of metal."
Cast member Elyse Levesque reports, "My character Charity's weapon of choice is a spear gun. It was awesome running around with it, though I wouldn't know if I was using it right; to me, it doesn't seem like the most efficient weapon." Weaving notes that "the weapon of choice for Grace in this scenario is, whatever she can get her hands on" - yielding some nasty and funny surprises.
Day after day - or, night after night - on the demanding four-week shoot, everyone making Ready Or Not noticed how Weaving would always have a smile at the ready. "Horror films are really so much fun to do. I cover my eyes during scary movies, but here I knew what was going to happen [in my scenes] so it was sometimes hard to keep a straight face. Also, the 'blood' tastes like caramel; it's delicious as well as terrifying!" Producer Tripp Vinson sheepishly adds, "I don't know that we could throw more blood and guts on her."
Even though shooting on set might not be as scary as what ends up on screen, codirector Gillett hails the team behind the scenes that pulls everything together for the perfect fright, "Nothing is really scary when you're shooting it. You have to trust that in the edit and when all of these performances come together, and you've got great music and great sound design, that's when something goes from fun on set to something that's truly thrilling or terrifying for an audience."
With each gory scene the filmmakers were keen on startling the audience - whether with shrieks or giggles - but no one had more fun with character deaths than the cast themselves. Executive producer Tara Farney remembers, "Every character has a very fun death. So I think our cast had a lot of fun with that." She continues, "In the days we shot those scenes, everyone's getting bloody and there's blood everywhere. It's absolutely disgusting, but our actors were crowding around video village and they wanted playback to see themselves die. Everyone was having a lot of fun with it."
"All the deaths are devilishly put together," states Bruun. "Pun intended." Murphy remarks, "The kills encapsulate the tone of Ready Or Not. They're brutal and violent - yet at the same time you can't help but giggle a little bit."
Samara Weaving was not only in close creative collaboration with her fellow actors and directors but also with another iconic character: her wedding dress. More than any other costume in the film, Grace's wedding dress externalizes and expresses all that she fights through on this night of fright.
Co-director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin says, "The dress represents the course of the movie as a whole; we'd always discussed how Ready Or Not starts grand and classical before it degrades and degrades. The camera moves get quicker and the music gets crazier. The dress is gorgeous at the start, but by the end..."
In watching the dress devolve and break down with Grace in Ready Or Not, audiences will see the garment mimic other memorable - and malleable - costumes for genre movie heroines such as Carrie White's (Sissy Spacek) prom dress in Carrie; Tree Gelbman's (Jessica Rothe) long-sleeved T-shirt in Happy Death Day; and The Bride/Beatrix Kiddo's (Uma Thurman) track suit and violently disrupted wedding dress in Kill Bill.
"It had to be just right from the start. When you see Grace for the first time, you see the dress - and in it she ends up going to extremes," co-director Tyler Gillett adds. Weaving's onscreen groom, actor Mark O'Brien, remembers "thinking when I first read the script how the role of Grace was going to be so physical for whomever is playing her, and melding with the costume - cut, ripped, blood-spattered, but tough and overcoming in a bride's dress the whole time."
Producer Tripp Vinson reports, "In the movie, there are 15-17 different looks all with the same dress in various stages of disrepair for Grace. The script was gone through with Avery scene by scene and notations were made about what and where the alterations would be." Since Grace is, as she readily admits, a woman from humble beginnings marrying into a wealthy family, Plewes reveals that "we decided that she would have grown up idolizing someone like Kate Middleton, and now dresses as who she thinks the family would want to see.
I specifically picked a very basic lace." The Ready Or Not colour palette, as overseen by cinematographer Brett Jutkiewicz, was also a consideration; Plewes notes that "we went with a warm cream colour, almost yellow. Based on the way Brett would be shooting, I knew that the dress needed to have a rich undertone and not be the classic off-white 'movie white.'" Plewes prepared "hundreds of bridal images" and sat with Weaving and the directors to finalize the look. She remembers, "We collectively settled on something modest and coveredup; from there I began sketching and we then landed on the look you see in Ready Or Not."
She adds that since "Radio Silence and I decided that the dress would be a road map of what transpires with Grace, we realised the more we gave ourselves to work with the more could be played with over the course of the shoot. By creating something that had a lot of coverage, texture, and length there could be different stages; each instance where anything happened to it was numbered by us.
Plewes remarks, "I chose to use the different textures of satin, and tulle because they each would absorb blood differently, and also tear in different ways - creating even more variation in texture. Tyler, from Radio Silence, liked the idea of lace because it would photograph nicely and pick up blood beautifully." Plewes engineered how the wear-and-tear - literally - would progress. She reveals, "A complete dress would have proved too expensive, which is why I built the dress in five parts. It's built in such a way that it could be taken apart, including by Grace herself in some scenes that we pre-rigged. This way I could maximize multiples for our stains and tears. So the corset, skirt, skirt lining, sash, and lace top were all made separately, built by my tailor."
The lone accessory, at least at first, is the yellow Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker shoes that Plewes wanted Grace to be wearing "sort of as a reference to her past life, and to show how down-to-earth and casual she is. It is also the colour of optimism, which Grace must keep within her, and it is a colour that would track during Brett's night shooting.
"What I hadn't realised was that those had been discontinued. So we bought light grey Converse Chuck Taylors and had them custom-painted for Ready Or Not; I mixed the colour myself because I was so hellbent on it."
As the night darkens and Grace is plunged into kill-or-be-killed violence, the dress itself takes on darker hues. Plewes reminds that "she's got the same thing on, but it's gotten tattered and bloody- and so has the corset she wears underneath."
Weaving praises Plewes and her team for their "amazing work. She adds, "Every day seemed to bring me a different dress with different layers of goo on it." Choosing her words carefully, Weaving dubs the wardrobe unit "bloody geniuses!"
When asked for trade secrets of keeping costuming clean and intact, Plewes says, "You can use mop oil, shaving cream, your own saliva; that's the magic trifecta." But she cautions that when making a genre movie, "Don't send things to dry cleaners. It never goes over well; they will get freaked out, no matter how well you know them."
Samara Weaving (Grace), with her fellow actors from the ensemble of Fox Searchlight Pictures' Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, shared the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. Writer/director Martin McDonagh's film won two Academy Awards, among many other honors around the world. Ms. Weaving next portrayed the title character in one of Netflix's most-streamed movies, The Babysitter, written by Brian Duffield and directed by McG; and starred alongside Natalie Dormer in Amazon's miniseries Picnic at Hanging Rock.
Among her upcoming independent features are Colin & James Krisel's Last Moment Of Clarity; and Jason Lei Howden's Guns Akimbo, with Daniel Radcliffe. A native of Australia, Ms. Weaving is also known for her portrayal of Nelson on the Golden Globe Award-nominated Showtime television series Smilf.
She is currently at work on the highly anticipated and long-awaited comedy adventure Bill & Ted Face The Music, directed by Dean Parisot, in which Ms. Weaving portrays Thea Preston, daughter of Bill S. Preston, Esquire (played anew by Alex Winter).
Adam Brody (Daniel Le Domas) was most recently seen in the blockbuster Shazam!, directed by David Sandberg. Mr. Brody's many other films include, also for Fox Searchlight Pictures, Jason Reitman's Thank You For Smoking and David Talbert's Baggage Claim; Doug Liman's smash Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Julian Farino's The Oranges; Michael Wilson's Showing Roots; Susanna Fogel's Life Partners; Leslye Headland's Sleeping With Other People; Lorene Scafaria's Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World; Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman's Lovelace; and, upcoming, writer/director Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman, opposite Carey Mulligan.
He starred in the lead role of Neil LaBute's film version of Some Girl(s), directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer, reuniting with Mr. LaBute for the latter's streaming series Billy & Billie; and starred in Whit Stillman's Damsels In Distress and The Cosmopolitans.
He memorably portrayed Seth Cohen on the popular television series The O.C. and has made guest appearances on The League, New Girl, and Single Parents. Mr. Brody starred for three seasons on the Sony/Crackle streaming series StartUp, on which he was also producer; and in the summer 2019 limited series Curfew.
Mark O'Brien (Alex Le Domas) most recently starred on the Showtime television series City on a Hill, with Kevin Bacon, Aldis Hodge, and Jonathan Tucker; the drama premiered in the summer of 2019. An actor and filmmaker, he is known to audiences in his native Canada for starring in the long-running and award-winning CBC television series Republic of Doyle, on which he directed several episodes; he earned Canadian Comedy Award nominations for both his acting and his directing on the show.
Mr. O'Brien's other series work has included a regular role on the acclaimed Halt and Catch Fire and a guest-starring arc on the cult favorite Hannibal. His feature film credits include Jason Reitman's The Front Runner, opposite Hugh Jackman; Drew Goddard's Bad Times At The El Royale, with Jeff Bridges; David Rosenthal's How It Ends; Jennifer Yuh Nelson's The Darkest Minds; Andrew Niccol's Anon; and, alongside Amy Adams, the Best Picture Oscar-nominated Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve. He next appears in Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach; and recently starred as hockey great Terry Sawchuk in Adriana and Jane Maggs' Goalie.
He has directed nine short films, including Better People and Sweetieface; the latter two won multiple awards, including for Mr. O'Brien as Best Emerging Filmmaker at the 2013 Lakeshorts International Film Festival. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Memorial University of Newfoundland, which in 2015 awarded him a Horizon Alumni Award.
Henry Czerny (Tony Le Domas) has starred in memorable movies and television programs ranging from blockbuster successes to award winners, always evincing versatility and garnering praise.
He was most recently seen in HBO's riveting limited series Sharp Objects, with all episodes directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, starring opposite Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson. This followed his run on all four seasons of the hit television series Revenge, with Emily VanCamp and Madeleine Stowe; guest arcs on such shows as The Tudors and Quantico; starring with Sigourney Weaver in the true-life telefilm Prayers for Bobby, directed by Russell Mulcahy; and portraying real-life activist lawyer David Boies in the ABC miniseries When We Rise.
A classically trained actor, his stage work includes performing at the Toronto Free Theatre. The Toronto native came to industry attention with his Gemini Award-winning performance in the searing fact-based miniseries The Boys of St. Vincent, directed by John Smith, which was released theatrically in the U.S. to further acclaim. He was again a Gemini Award winner for his guest appearance on The Eleventh Hour.
Mr. Czerny's numerous films include the first Mission: Impossible, directed by Brian De Palma and starring with Tom Cruise; Phillip Noyce's Clear And Present Danger, opposite Harrison Ford; Ang Lee's The Ice Storm; Joe Carnahan's The A-Team; Andrew Currie's Fido; Scott Derrickson's The Exorcism Of Emily Rose; Atom Egoyan's Remember, alongside Christopher Plummer; and Stephen Simon's Conversations With God, portraying author Neale Donald Walsch (as well as the voice of God).
Andie MacDowell (Becky Le Domas) is an accomplished actress who has attained global recognition for characterizations romantic, comedic and dramatic. She received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance in the beloved classic Four Weddings And A Funeral, directed by Mike Newell and written by Richard Curtis; she recently reprised her iconic role of Carrie for the short film reunion benefiting the Red Nose Day charities. During the hit run of the original movie, Ms. MacDowell also topped the box office charts with her starring role in the Western Bad Girls, directed by Jonathan Kaplan.
She had previously starred in the classic comedy Groundhog Day opposite Bill Murray for director Harold Ramis; the film has since been inducted into the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. She was again a Golden Globe Award nominee for Green Card, starring with Gérard Depardieu for director Peter Weir.
Her first accolades came for Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies And Videotape, which was one of the most acclaimed independent features of the 1980s. The film won the top prize, the Palme d'Or, at the Cannes International Film Festival; and Ms MacDowell won the Independent Spirit and Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards for Best Actress as well as earned her first Golden Globe Award nomination, among other honours.
Among her many other films have been the ever-popular St. Elmo's Fire, directed by Joel Schumacher; Multiplicity, reuniting her with director Harold Ramis; Nora Ephron's Michael; Diane Keaton's Unstrung Heroes; Wim Wenders' The End Of Violence; Debbie Goodstein's Mighty Fine, in which she costarred with her real-life daughter Rainey Qualley; Joseph Kosinski's firefighters tribute Only The Brave; Gregory Jacobs' Magic Mike XXL; Russell Harbaugh's Love After Love; and Robert Altman's The Player and Short Cuts. The latter film brought Ms. MacDowell and her fellow actors special ensemble prizes at the Golden Globe Awards and the Venice International Film Festival.
Her television work includes starring for three seasons alongside her Ready Or Not onscreen daughter-in-law, Elyse Levesque, in the series Cedar Cove; and the acclaimed telefilms Dinner with Friends and Riding the Bus with My Sister, directed respectively by Norman Jewison and Anjelica Huston.
Ms. MacDowell began her career as a model. Since 1986, she has been the worldwide spokesperson for L'Oreal Paris cosmetics and hair products; this is the longest such relationship in the history of beauty brands. She currently sits on the board of the National Forest Foundation. Her conservation, preservation, education, and philanthropic work has also encompassed her being the national spokesperson for both the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and the American Heart Association.
Melanie Scrofano (Emilie Le Domas) took an interest in acting as a young teenager raised in Ottawa, Ontario. Since then, she taken on roles that showcase her talents both comedic and dramatic.
She plays the lead role on the hit Syfy television series Wynonna Earp, which will soon begin production on its fourth season. Riding herd over the blend of Western action and supernatural horror, Ms. Scrofano stars as Wynonna, great-great-granddaughter of lawman Wyatt Earp; she and the show have earned the following of devoted fans known as Earpers. She has played recurring roles on several television series, including Designated Survivor, LetterKenny, Damien, Degrassi: The Next Generation, and Bad Blood. Ms. Scrofano's feature film credits include Kevin Greutert's Saw VI, acknowledged as one of the best in the franchise; Robocop, directed by José Padilha; and Robin Pront's upcoming The Silencing, with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.
Kristian Bruun (Fitch Bradley) starred as Donnie Hendrix, alongside leading lady Tatiana Maslany, through all five seasons of the celebrated television series Orphan Black. The Toronto-born actor - who divides his time among Canada, the U.S., and Finland - also recurred for five seasons on the hit Murdoch Mysteries, playing Constable Jackson. More recently, he starred opposite Jerry O'Connell in Carter. After guest-starring on the first two seasons of The Handmaid's Tale, Mr. Bruun's next major television project is the limited series Departure, with Christopher Plummer and Archie Panjabi.
His feature films have included Anton Corbijn's Life; Alejandro Amenábar's Regression; Jeremy LaLonde's How To Plan An Orgy In A Small Town and upcoming The Go-Getters; Dan Slater's Ashes; Molly McGlynn's Mary Goes Round; and Amy Jo Johnson's The Space Between.
Mr. Bruun is a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy, Queen's University at Kingston, and the theatre school at George Brown College.
Elyse Levesque (Charity Le Domas) starred for three seasons alongside her Ready Or Not onscreen mother-in-law, Andie MacDowell, in the television series Cedar Cove. The Saskatchewan's breakout role was as Chloe Armstrong on the sci-fi adventure series Stargate Universe, appearing on every episode of the popular show. She started on television at age 11, on Incredible Story Studio, before graduating to a starring role on the futuristic 2030 CE.
Among Ms. Levesque's other notable television work has been the Stuart Gordondirected episode of Masters of Horror, starring as Virginia Poe opposite Jeffrey Combs as Edgar Allan Poe; a season-long guest arc on the long-running The Originals; and a role in the final season of the acclaimed Orphan Black. Most recently she guest-starred on The Good Doctor.
Ms. Levesque was named Best Supporting Actress at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival for her performance in the movie Spare Change; she starred with Lissa Lauria in the feature directed by Arturo Guzman and Jonathan Talbert. Among her other feature credits are Carl Bessai's Normal, with Carrie-Anne Moss; and, upcoming, The Big Ugly. The latter, written and directed by Scott Wiper, teams her with Malcolm McDowell and Ron Perlman. She starred in, with Erin Boyes, and produced the short film Fruitcake, directed by Sarah Baker Grillo and Seth Sherwood.
Nicky Guadagni (Helene Le Domas) is originally from Montreal. She majored in drama at Dawson College before training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her first role after graduation was in The Tempest, starring on London's West End opposite legendary actor Paul Scofield.
She has since performed Shakespeare all across Canada, and has starred in many other works at venues including but not limited to Stratford Third Stage; Factory Theatre; the National Arts Centre; Tarragon Theatre; Canadian Stage Dream in High Park; and Theatre Passe Muraille. At the latter, she both starred in and adapted In the Wings; and performed her own one-woman show Hooked, winning the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts' Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Actress. She has also performed the latter in both non-theatrical and theatrical venues, additionally taking the stage version to the Edinburgh Festival and the Seattle Fringe Festival; and has produced a short film version.
Ms. Guadagni's notable films have included Vincenzo Natali's award-winning Cube; David Cronenberg's cult favourite Crash; Christophe Gans' hit Silent Hill; and Craig Gillespie's Lars And The Real Girl, which was Oscar-nominated for Best Original Screenplay (by Nancy Oliver). She has been nominated for four Gemini Awards, winning for her performances on television in Major Crime and Blue Murder. She guest-starred in the second season of The Handmaid's Tale; and played 13 different roles across the series A Nero Wolfe Mystery.
Ms. Guadagni's voiceover work has encompassed CBC radio dramas, audiobooks, documentary narration, and radio and television commercials. She has taught acting and/or directed at George Brown College, the University of Toronto, and The National Theatre School.
John Ralston (Stevens) is known for starring in HBO Canada's subversive show Living in Your Car; for several Degrassi series; for his fresh take on iconic villain Ming the Merciless in the Flash Gordon revival; and as the title character's father on the long-running sitcom Life with Derek.
Initially a teacher, he pursued music interests and soon segued to the stage, gaining invaluable experience in repertory and regional theatre throughout Canada. He starred in The Plough and the Stars and The School for Scandal, both directed by Joe Dowling; in George Walker's award-winning Suburban Motel plays; and in Twelfth Night, staged by Canadian theatre legend William Hutt.
Mr. Ralston's film work has included roles in Ernie Barbarash's Pound Of Flesh, starring alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme; Mimi Leder's On The Basis Of Sex, with Felicity Jones; Robert Budreau's Stockholm; Kim Nguyen's Two Lovers And A Bear, opposite Tatiana Maslany; and Jason Stone's The Calling, with Susan Sarandon. His many television credits also include key roles on the series Good God and Bomb Girls; and guest roles on Reign, Street Legal, and Queer as Folk, among other shows.
Mr. Ralston works extensively in voiceover, including in the documentary field; he narrated the controversial Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong, directed by Peter Rowe.