Based on a true story, Father Stu is an unflinchingly honest, funny and ultimately uplifting drama about a lost soul who finds his purpose in a most unexpected place.
When an injury ends his amateur boxing career, Stuart Long (Mark Wahlberg) moves to L.A. dreaming of stardom. While scraping by as a supermarket clerk, he meets Carmen (Teresa Ruiz), a Catholic Sunday school teacher who seems immune to his bad-boy charm.
Determined to win her over, the longtime agnostic starts going to church to impress her. But surviving a terrible motorcycle accident leaves him wondering if he can use his second chance to help others find their way - and leads to the surprising realisation that he is meant to be a Catholic priest. Despite a devastating health crisis and the skepticism of Church officials and his estranged parents (Mel Gibson and Jacki Weaver), Stu pursues his vocation with courage and compassion, inspiring not only those closest to him but countless others along the way.
Written for the screen and directed by Rosalind Ross, Father Stu stars Academy Award® nominee Mark Wahlberg (Best Supporting Actor, The Departed, 2006), along with Academy Award Winner Mel Gibson (Best Director, Braveheart, 1995), Academy Award nominee Jacki Weaver (Best Supporting Actress, Silver Linings Playbook, 2012) and Teresa Ruiz (Narcos: Mexico). The film is produced by Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Jordon Foss and executive produced by Miky Lee, Colleen Camp, Rosalind Ross, Patrick Peach and Tony Grazia.
As an A-list actor and hugely successful film and television producer, Mark Wahlberg is used to being pitched ideas for films in unlikely places by surprising people. But the pitch for Father Stu caught even him off guard. "I was at dinner with two of the priests from my parish," he recalls. "And Father Ed keeps talking about this movie he wants to make with me. I'm thinking, you do your job and I'll do mine. I wasn't there to find the next script. I was looking for the things I needed to stay on a path in the direction of spiritual growth."
But something about the story of Stuart Long stuck with him. By all accounts the Montana-born-and-raised former boxer was abrasive, hot-tempered and rough around the edges. He was brutally honest with everyone, delivering good news and bad with the same dispassionate directness. In short, he seemed an unlikely candidate to provide the guidance and comfort of a priest under any circumstances.
"The more I heard about Stu, the more convinced I was that I had to get this movie made," Wahlberg says. "I asked Ed to tell me the story again from the beginning, and from that point on it was my mission to produce the film."
Part of the reason Long's story moved Wahlberg so intensely was that in some ways it paralleled his own life. "As an actor, I've always looked for roles that have a personal connection for me," he says. "I transitioned from running the streets as a teenager and young adult to finding my faith. I now realize that my purpose is to help others growing up in situations like mine."
Wahlberg, who made an astonishing rise from rapper to action star and Oscar®-winning producer, is the founder of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for inner-city youth. "I've been given gifts and opportunities that allow me to help others. I want to share Stu's courage and conviction, to encourage people never to give up trying to be the best versions of themselves."
Wahlberg's passion project wended its way through development for the next six years, but his commitment never wavered. Eventually, he decided to partially finance the film out of his own pocket to help get it off the ground. "I just kept meeting different obstacles and decided I was going to go on my own path to make the movie," he says. "Then my responsibility became to honor Stu's legacy, and that's a burden that I haven't taken lightly."
Long's path to the priesthood was full of difficulties, but none were as dramatic as his diagnosis with inclusion body myositis (or IBM), a rare disease that progressively weakens the muscles until they cease to function. Despite the physical deterioration caused by the incurable disease, he brought his warrior's edge to the fight and continued to minister to parishioners. In a time when many people are experiencing what Wahlberg calls "a deficit of hope," the actor and producer believes Long's story needs to be heard. "People in dire straits need a reason to believe. But how many times can you hear, 'Just wait. Things will get better.' Some things don't. Father Stu teaches us that your circumstances are all about your perception. When all the cards were stacked against him, he chose to see that stacked deck as a blessing. The grace with which he suffered gave comfort and inspiration to others in their own suffering."
During the development process, Wahlberg frequently consulted friend and fellow Catholic filmmaker Mel Gibson. "I wanted to talk to him about getting his film The Passion of the Christ made, which had really inspired me," says Wahlberg. "I met Rosalind Ross through Mel when he and I were both in Daddy's Home 2. She shared a screenplay she had written at the time and I loved her writing." Ross asked if she could take a stab at penning the script for Father Stu.
Ross is a former championship equestrian who left competition to become a screenwriter. Her script, Barbarian, made the 2016 Hollywood Black List of the year's best unproduced screenplays and is currently in pre-production. "It was a huge honor when Mark chose me to write this," she says. "I initially hesitated because I wasn't raised Catholic. But after further deliberation I realised that Stu's story is really universal."
The first obstacle Ross faced in writing the screenplay was finding reliable sources of firsthand testimony about Long's life. "I'm used to writing scripts about historical figures whose stories have been well documented in books I could read for research," she says. "There are no books about Stu. We were able to speak with his father Bill, from whom Stu was estranged until his final illness was diagnosed, as well as his best friend from the seminary."
Ross says her understanding of Long's personality and his life's journey is largely based on those two personal interviews as well as a pamphlet that was given out at his memorial service. "It was filled with anecdotes from people whose lives Stu touched," she says. "They were quite funny and charming, and really gave me a sense of his humor and his irreverence."
Long's dreams are often unrealistic, says the writer, but that's part of his charm. "I actually admire people like that," she says. "He doesn't see the limitations other people do. There's something very refreshing about that. There's also a guilelessness about him. He can be childlike and innocent, in a quixotic way, which I find endearing. And his troublemaking, his womanizing, his drinking and his anger ironically make him the perfect candidate for change."
Three months after she began working on it, Ross handed Wahlberg a script. The actor was bowled over by the compassionate portrait of a difficult and determined man who had survived a tough childhood, a broken family, multiple professional disappointments and a disastrous motorcycle accident, only to emerge with a renewed sense of faith and purpose.
"Her voice was present throughout," recalls Wahlberg. "There was lots of humor and lots of heart. So the question became, who's going to direct? Me? Mel? But if Rosie could bring it to the page so beautifully, I knew she could put it on the screen."
The offer to direct took Ross by surprise. "The responsibility of telling a real person's story is immense," she says. "I didn't want my lack of theological knowledge to be a barrier, so I tried to go on that journey along with Stu as best I could. We don't shy away from the things that made him authentic: his reckless lifestyle, his many shortcomings, certainly not any of his colorful language."
Although creative liberties had to be taken to condense the story into two hours, Wahlberg believes the film captures Long's essence as a man, a son and a confidant to so many people. "The film is as real and emotional as possible, which is what I always wanted," he says. "Faith-based movies are often just preaching to the choir. You're not reaching anybody new. This reaches out to all kinds of people."
An Imperfect Inspiration
As the film begins, Stu is a middle-aged man whose shot at the boxing career he had dreamed of has been permanently derailed, leaving him at loose ends. Still plagued by survivor's guilt over the death of his younger brother many years before, he's on a quest for a purpose in life. He makes an impulsive decision to move to Los Angeles and try his luck at acting. Wahlberg was the ideal actor for the role, says Ross. "Nobody could've been better. The charm, the biting humor, the roguishness - he can channel all that in his sleep. But he also shows a depth and vulnerability I don't think I've seen from him on screen before."
To play a boxer in his prime, Wahlberg started shooting the film in peak physical condition. But in order to honestly depict the toll Long's advancing IBM took, he committed to gaining a significant amount of weight. Under the watchful eye of nutritionists and doctors, Wahlberg started a 7,000-calorie-a-day diet. "After the first two weeks, we went to 11,000 calories for the final four weeks of the shoot," he says. "I gained 30 pounds in just a few weeks. But eating every three hours took a toll on me. I don't know if I'd be willing to do it again."
When a devout young parishioner comes into the grocery store where he works, Stu goes to her church in hopes of meeting her. In an effort to charm his way into her life, he signs up for Catechism class, attends Mass and is eventually baptised. "He was looking for the path to pleasure with this very attractive young lady," says Wahlberg. "At first, he is just telling her whatever she wants to hear, but God puts people in your life for a reason."
Ross believes that some men of Long's background find that deep religious commitment contradicts the image of masculinity they've been taught. "Our construct of maleness shames the idea of surrender," she explains. "And religion requires surrender. It's an exercise in humility, an acknowledgment that we serve a bigger plan. My hope with Father Stu is to give men a hero whose greatest strength is his humility, hard-earned as it was. Staying in the fight on your feet isn't always as effective as getting on your knees and admitting you can't win alone."
After his motorcycle accident, Stu Long becomes convinced he is meant for the priesthood, but Church officials aren't so sure. Unlike the other seminarians, many of them groomed their whole lives for the priesthood, Stu's Long's strength is his wide range of real-life experience, which some see as a disqualifier. "But some of the most remarkable figures in the history of the Church are reformed men," points out Wahlberg. "Still, so many expect a priest to fit a certain mold."
As Long's physical state started to deteriorate, his spirituality began to soar. "He embraced his sickness as a blessing that brought him closer to Christ," as Wahlberg sees it. "All the other distractions had gone away and his dedication to serving God was his sole purpose. I find it so inspiring."
Academy Award winner Mel Gibson plays Bill Long, Stu's long-estranged father. A tough-talking truck driver who fled to Los Angeles after Stu's younger brother died, Bill is not impressed with what he sees when Stu arrives in California with a hankering for stardom. Father Stu reunites Wahlberg with Gibson as father and son, roles they played previously in Daddy's Home 2.
"I just started dropping hints that Mel had inspired me to make this film, with what I call his love letter to God, The Passion of the Christ," says Wahlberg. "Then when I told him that there was an amazing role in the script for him, he said yes right away. He was thrilled for the opportunity to play the part, and I was looking forward to exploring the father-son dynamic in a very different way from what we were able to do in Daddy's Home 2."
According to Ross, Gibson showcases a new side of his talent in the film. "There's a subtlety that is so beautiful and so moving," she observes. "I had really high expectations for him and he was more than game to put that out there. It's funny, when I met Mark during Daddy's Home 2, I never in my wildest dreams imagined myself directing the two of them together, and it was wonderful."
Wahlberg had consulted with Bill Long early in the development process and found him enthusiastic about the prospect of his son's story being brought to life on screen. "Bill was always really excited about Mel's potential involvement," he says. "He appreciated what Mel had done by making The Passion of the Christ and he was always eager to share information with me."
Although Gibson and Bill Long were not able to meet in person, a series of phone calls provided the actor a sense of the real-life character and his relationship with his son. "The dynamic with Stu was antagonistic on both sides at the beginning of the story," says Gibson. "But he really came through for his son later in life. I spoke with a fellow who was ordained at the same time as Stu and he said Bill knew he hadn't been there for Stu early on, but he found his time eventually. In the film, father and son are both richly drawn characters who look for and find redemption. It's a very special gift they give one another, even if it doesn't start out that way."
Gibson is aware that when some people hear the words "faith-based film," they have a specific expectation. "This is not that," he says. "This is not sanctimonious in any way. I've known priests in my life who swear like troopers, but that doesn't mean they're not good men. We are all imperfect, even priests. They're human, they have problems. They can overcome them, but not through any ability of their own. Something much bigger than any of us moves them."
Ross's script, he says, is an emotional portrait of a man making weighty changes, written in a compelling and cinematic way. "There wasn't a great deal of information available, but Rosie dug into it and wrote something with great depth. This screenplay is rich with her observations about life and behaviour, and her intelligence, which is immense. It's inspiring and it's funny. And, yes, it can be sad, but at the same time it made me feel fulfilled."
Australian actress Jacki Weaver, who plays Stu's mother Kathleen, has known Gibson for about 40 years. She first became aware of him when her ex-husband was Gibson's acting teacher at the National Institute of Dramatic Art near Sydney. "He was cast as Romeo in a production of 'Romeo and Juliet' at the school," she recalls. "I've always known he is a brilliant actor and now a brilliant filmmaker, but Father Stu shows a new side to his work."
Portraying Kathleen appealed to the actress for several reasons. "She's a very down-to-earth, authentic character, and her dialogue is razor-sharp," Weaver says. "I wish I'd met her, but she died about six months after Stu. Kathleen can be skeptical and even cynical. It has never occurred to her that this rough-hewn son of hers would want to become a Catholic priest, so some of her reactions are quite comical."
Ross has imbued the script with humor as well as a sense of Long's spirituality, she says. "Rosie did such a beautiful job," she adds. "She must come from a family that has a great sense of humor because she's got it in spades. She was top-notch as a director as well, calm and unflappable. And she is a bit of an actor whisperer."
For Weaver, Stu's lack of pretense makes the story uplifting and spiritual without proselytizing. "He's not incredibly virtuous," she says. "He's an ordinary man who has an epiphany. It can happen to anyone, however irreligious, wayward and aggressive they are. I think the most important parts of faith are giving comfort to others and trying to be as kind and unselfish as possible."
Stu's love interest, Carmen, is played by Teresa Ruiz, a Mexican actress with an international following. As Stu tries to role-play his way into her heart, he begins to fall in love with her. By bringing him to church, she introduces him to God. "After the accident and the visitation, he is torn," Wahlberg says. "He loves her for all the right reasons that would allow them to have a real meaningful relationship."
But their love affair ends abruptly when Stu declares his intention to become a priest. "Of course she's shocked, even angry," says Ross. "But Carmen is a devout Catholic who understands what it's like to have a love for God that transcends a love you could have for any human being. When Stu tells her he's going to become a priest, she sees his conviction. She was deeply in love with him and this is a sacrifice she makes in the service of God."
Ruiz was right for this role in so many ways, according to Wahlberg. "She comes from a family of devout Catholics," he explains. "It was her intention to allow God to shine through her in everything she did. Rosie was very particular about the performance and the relationship. I was shocked at how easily Teresa was able to tap into the emotion in take after take. Every single time she just blew me away."
"Teresa is a phenomenal talent, so humble and so open," adds Ross. "We also have Aaron Moten, Cody Fern and Malcolm McDowell. It was such a privilege to work with all of them and to have their trust in me as a director. I still have to pinch myself when I think that I got to work with all these legendary actors and emerging talents. That they would give their time was really just a gift to me. Each one of them brought something so special."
A Legacy of Hope
To Wahlberg, Father Stu is the story of an apparently ordinary man who, through his faith, was able to touch a multitude of people in danger of losing their way. At a moment in the world when, he believes, people are starving for something to reignite their faith, Wahlberg hopes the movie will resonate not only in the Roman Catholic community, but for every denomination and even for nonreligious people.
"I've prayed for Stu's intercession every step of the way," Wahlberg says. "I asked, is this what I'm supposed to be doing? Is this what he would want? It's been a massive undertaking, but I feel inspired and encouraged by doing it, and perhaps I can inspire somebody else to continue to pay it forward. I know that God uses us all in His big plan."
Wahlberg is eager for audiences to see the film in the format in which it was intended to be seen: on a big screen with a full house. "If I have to, I will walk from city to city, state to state, country to country encouraging people to go and see this movie wherever they can," he declares. "But you need to see it in a theater for the same reason you need to go to a church: to really feel the Holy Spirit. It must be shared. People's laughter, people's emotional response, their tears are infectious. Having that human experience is very, very important."
Ross agrees, adding that she set out to make a film that celebrates the virtues shared by most faiths: love, forgiveness and gratitude. "Stu, before he became a priest, was a very troubled young man who without knowing it was on a quest for purpose and personal salvation. An incredible life-changing accident initiated profound change in him. Ultimately, he found his purpose in serving others and in serving God."
The film celebrates one man's extraordinary capacity for change, she says. "It's change that doesn't ask for acknowledgment. Change that is quiet, unglamorous and imperfect. Change that doesn't ask for approval but is brought to bear in a person's heart. I strove to make a film that felt real - coarse language, shameful behavior, messy relationships and all - and yet also slightly elevated, taking its cue from Stu's nature."
Father Stu is an unusual love story in Ross's eyes, one of trust and devotion, through good and bad. "Stu has found a relationship that constantly challenges him to be a better version of himself," says the writer and director. "Most personally for me, Stu's story is about overcoming the darkest parts of a person's self to find the light of personal salvation. My own is still a work-in-progress, but I draw strength from Stu to continue - as I hope others will after experiencing his story. I tried to make a film that inspires, provokes and entertains, but above all, I hope we honored the spirit and legacy of a man who touched many hearts and lives, all of whom remember him as one of a kind."
Mark Wahlberg (Stuart Long, Producer) earned both Academy Award and Golden Globe® nominations for his standout work in the family boxing film The Fighter and Martin Scorsese's acclaimed crime drama The Departed. Wahlberg has played diverse characters for visionary filmmakers such as David O. Russell, Tim Burton and Paul Thomas Anderson. His breakout role in Boogie Nights established the actor as one of Hollywood's most sought-after talents.
Wahlberg's remarkable film career began with Renaissance Man, directed by Penny Marshall, and The Basketball Diaries, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, followed by a star turn opposite Reese Witherspoon in the thriller Fear. He later headlined Three Kings and The Perfect Storm, both alongside George Clooney, as well as The Italian Job with Charlize Theron. Wahlberg then starred in the football biopic Invincible and actioner Shooter, based on Stephen Hunter's bestselling novel Point of Impact. Wahlberg worked with director James Gray and co-star Joaquin Phoenix on both The Yards and We Own the Night, which he also produced.
In 2013 Wahlberg teamed with director Peter Berg on Lone Survivor and worked with Baltasar Kormákur on 2 Guns, co-starring Denzel Washington. The following year he starred in Ted 2, with Seth MacFarlane, and Daddy's Home, opposite Will Ferrell.
Wahlberg's additional film credits include The Gambler, The Lovely Bones, The Other Guys, Pain & Gain, Contraband, Ted, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Deepwater Horizon, Patriots Day, Transformers: The Last Knight, Daddy's Home 2, All the Money in the World, Mile 22, Instant Family, Spenser Confidential, the animated film Scooby-Doo: A New Universe, Joe Bell and Infinite.
An accomplished film and television producer, Wahlberg has produced such films as Infinite, Joe Bell, Spenser Confidential, Instant Family, Mile 22, Daddy's Home 2, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, Entourage, The Gambler, Lone Survivor, Broken City, Contraband and The Fighter (for which Wahlberg was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture). For television, Wahlberg was executive producer on the Emmy Award®-nominated A&E series Wahlburgers and a pair of HBO projects, the docuseries McMillions and hit comedy Ballers. He executive produced Entourage through its impressive eight-season run as well as In Treatment, Boardwalk Empire, and How to Make It in America (all for HBO). He also executive produced three seasons of Shooter for USA Network. For his work in television, Wahlberg has received a BAFTA, a Peabody, seven Emmy nominations, six Golden Globe nominations and a Golden Globe win for Boardwalk Empire in 2011.
A committed philanthropist, Wahlberg founded the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation in 2001 to benefit inner-city children and teens.
Mel Gibson (Bill Long) was born in upstate New York but moved to Australia with his family at age 12. After high school Gibson attended the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art, where he was trained in the classical British theater tradition and appeared in a number of plays, including Death of a Salesman and Waiting for Godot.
In 1979 Gibson caught the attention of director George Miller and was cast in Mad Max, the first film to bring him worldwide recognition. He then appeared in the title role in Tim, for which Gibson's portrayal of a handicapped young man earned him an Australian Film Institute (AFI) Best Actor Award. The actor's international fame grew with the two hit sequels to Mad Max: Mad Max - The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, as well as with Peter Weir's Gallipoli, which brought Gibson a second AFI Best Actor Award. In 1982 Weir and Gibson collaborated again on The Year of Living Dangerously.
In 1984 Gibson made his American film debut in The River, opposite Sissy Spacek. He followed this with The Bounty, where he starred alongside Anthony Hopkins and Laurence Olivier. Gibson appeared in other films such as Mrs. Soffel, Tequila Sunrise, Bird on a Wire and Air America, but it was the record-breaking and genre-defining four-film Lethal Weapon franchise that would cement his status in Hollywood. Following this success Gibson founded Icon Productions, whose first film was Hamlet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The titular role brought Gibson the William Shakespeare Award from the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. Gibson made his directorial debut in 1993 in The Man Without a Face, another Icon production in which he also starred. The company has also produced Immortal Beloved and Airborne, among other notable features.
In 1995 Gibson produced, directed and starred in the critical and box-office success Braveheart, which was the recipient of five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, after receiving a leading 10 nominations. The movie also garnered Gibson a Golden Globe Award for Best Director, Special Achievement in Filmmaking honors from the National Board of Review, the 1996 NATO/ShoWest Director of the Year and the Broadcast Film Critics Association's award for Best Director.
In 1996 Gibson starred in Ransom, directed by Ron Howard. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama, and won the People's Choice Award for Favorite Motion Picture Actor. In 1997 Gibson starred in the romantic thriller Conspiracy Theory, co-starring Julia Roberts and directed by Richard Donner. Next Gibson starred in Lethal Weapon 4, which grossed close to $300 million worldwide, and then in 1999 he produced and starred in the hard-edged thriller Payback.
In 2000 Gibson became the first actor in history to star in three $100 million films (domestic gross) during the same year. In the summer he starred in the emotionally charged adventure The Patriot, a film written by Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) and directed by Roland Emmerich. In the fall Gibson lent his voice to the critically acclaimed animated film Chicken Run, and lastly he starred in the smash-hit romantic comedy What Women Want. For his role in the latter film, directed by Nancy Meyers and co-starring Helen Hunt, Gibson was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.
In 2002 Gibson starred in We Were Soldiers, a film based on the book We Were Soldiers Once... And Young, telling the story of the first battle between U.S. and Viet Cong troops, where 400 American soldiers were surrounded by 2,000 enemy troops. Later that year he starred in M. Night Shyamalan's thriller Signs, setting Gibson's opening weekend box-office record of $60 million before grossing an all-time individual record of over $400 million.
In 2004 Gibson produced, co-wrote and directed The Passion of the Christ, starring Jim Caviezel, Maia Morgenstern and Monica Bellucci. The Ash Wednesday release on February 25 had the best five-day opening ever (at that time) for a film with a Wednesday opening. The Passion of the Christ had a worldwide box-office gross of $610 million, making it the highest-grossing R-rated film and highest-grossing independent film in history. It was nominated for three Academy Awards.
In 2006 Gibson brought to life his latest epic, the visceral action thriller Apocalypto. Gibson produced, co-wrote and directed the film, which follows one man's heart-pounding race through primeval jungles to rescue his family. Apocalypto opened at No. 1 in its first weekend, grossing $15.2 million, and later garnered three Academy Award nominations. Gibson returned to acting in 2009 with Edge of Darkness and The Beaver, directed by Jodie Foster. In 2012 Gibson produced, co-wrote and starred in Get the Gringo before starring in Machete Kills and The Expendables 3. In 2016 he starred in Blood Father, directed by Jean-François Richet and co-starring William H. Macy.
Gibson's most recent directorial endeavor was Hacksaw Ridge, which premiered in 2016 and starred Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss, the conscientious objector who won the Medal of Honor for his actions in WWII. The movie won two Academy Awards (for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing) and was nominated for a total of six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gibson.
Gibson was last seen in the features Dragged Across Concrete, Force of Nature, Fatman, Boss Level and Last Looks. He recently wrapped production on the action thriller On the Line and he will also star in the upcoming John Wick origin series The Continental, for Starz. Additionally, it was recently announced that Gibson will direct the remake of the classic 1969 film The Wild Bunch.
Jacki Weaver (Kathleen Long) is an Australian theater, film and television actress well known in her home country for more than 50 years. She is best known outside Australia for her performance in David Michôd's Animal Kingdom (2010), for which she was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She also received a National Board of Review Award, her third Australian Film Institute Award and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama.
Subsequently, Weaver received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in David O. Russell's The Silver Linings Playbook, co-starring alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. It was the first film since 1981's Reds to score Oscar nominations in all four acting categories.
Currently Jacki is wrapping a starring role on the new Apple TV series, Hello Tomorrow! opposite Billy Crudup. Also, on the television side, Jacki recently wrapped a large recurring arc in Taylor Sheridan's hit show, Yellowstone. Jacki also heads the cast of Bloom; a sci-fi series for Australian streaming platform Stan and produced by Sony Pictures Television's Playmaker. Weaver recently starred in the Epix's noir drama series, Perpetual Grace, Ltd opposite Ben Kingsley, as well as the raucous television comedy Blunt Talk opposite Sir Patrick Stewart. On the film side, Jacki can next be seen in Father Stu opposite Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson, for Sony Pictures that will be released later this year.
Previously, Jacki stared in the film Poms with Diane Keaton, Birdbox with Sandra Bullock, the Steve McQueen directed film Widows with Viola Davis, and The Disaster Artist with James Franco and Seth Rogan. Jacki can also be seen in The Grudge opposite Andrea Riseborough and Demián Bichir, and she recently headed the cast of Poms, a comedy about a group of women forming a cheerleading squad at their retirement community, alongside Diane Keaton. Jacki stars in Bird Box alongside Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich and can also be seen in the New Regency thriller Widows opposite Viola Davis, Liam Neeson and Colin Farrell, directed by Steve McQueen; The Polka King opposite Jack Black; the neo-noir feature Out of Blue from Carol Morley; the romantic drama Irreplaceable You, as well as in the New Line Cinema Feature Life of the Party playing Melissa McCarthy's mother. Additionally, Jacki recently wrapped the independent feature Elsewhere alongside Parker Posey and Beau Bridges. Lastly, she stars in the independent feature Stage Mother, opposite Lucy Liu as well as the adaptation of the best-seller Penguin Bloom, alongside Naomi Watts and Andrew Lincoln. Jacki will soon be seen in the in faith-based drama Stu opposite Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson, as well the independent film American Murderer opposite Tom Pelphrey, Idina Menzel, and Ryan Phillippe.
Also, on the film horizon, Jacki recently starred in Small Crimes directed by E.L. Katz; the futuristic love story Equals, opposite Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult, the crime-drama The Voices, co-starring Anna Kendrick and Ryan Reynolds; the drama Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, co-starring Gena Rowlands and Julian Sands; and Haunt, an indie horror film. Jacki's extensive film credits also include James Franco's comedy The Disaster Artist and Zeroville, based on Steve Erickson's 2007 novel. Jacki plays Franco's mentor, rounding out the cast of Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Danny McBride, Dave Franco, and Craig Robinson. She has also starred in Woody Allen's film Magic in the Moonlight with Colin Firth and Emma Stone in French Riviera.
Weaver made her Hollywood debut with the comedy The Five-Year Engagement, alongside Emily Blunt and Jason Segel. She then went on to co-star in Park Chan-Wook's English language debut Stoker, alongside fellow Australian actors Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska. Weaver's film debut came with 1971's Stork, for which she won her first Australian Film Institute Award. In the 1970s, Weaver gained a sex symbol reputation thanks to her sizzling performances in the likes of Alvin Purple (1973). Other notable films during this time include Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), often seen as one of Australia's greatest films, and Caddie (1976), for which she won her second Australian Film Institute Award.
Weaver's extensive television experience includes two situation comedy series written especially for her, Trial by Marriage and House Rules. She has starred in more than 100 plays in Australian theatre. She starred in iconic plays A Streetcar Named Desire, Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Death of a Salesman and most recently, a Sydney stage production of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, alongside Cate Blanchett. The production received so much praise that the cast reprised their roles for a run at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and then again for the 2012 Lincoln Center Festival in New York City.
Weaver resides in Los Angeles, California and Sydney, Australia.
Teresa Ruiz (Carmen) starred in The Marksman, alongside Liam Neeson, and in the hit Netflix series Narcos: Mexico as Isabella, aka The Queen, opposite Diego Luna. She can also be seen in seasons two and three of Netflix's international sensation Luis Miguel.
Ruiz recently wrapped Wrong Reasons, produced by Kevin Smith, and is also starring in Ruido, the third film by award-winning director Natalia Beristáin. Both films will tour festivals in 2022. Previously she starred opposite Gael García Bernal in Aqui en la Tierra and opposite Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas in Bordertown. Ruiz has won best actress awards in several film festivals and was nominated for an Ariel, the Mexican version of the Oscar.