Street Kings - Production Notes
For acclaimed novelist James Ellroy, the sunny exterior of Los Angeles will never shed enough light to illuminate the darkest parts of itself. In the City of Angels, moral codes designed to govern are difficult to uphold-especially by those determined to harm and protect us.
With STREET KINGS, David Ayer, one of LA’s native sons, wields his camera onto the streets that are not found on picture postcards but on a city of contradictions and often-tragic consequences.
Keanu Reeves stars as Tom Ludlow, a veteran LAPD cop who finds life difficult to navigate after the death of his wife. When evidence implicates him in the execution of a fellow officer, he is forced to go up against the cop culture he's been a part of his entire career, ultimately leading him to question the loyalties of everyone around him.
Academy Award® Winner Forest Whitaker plays Captain Jack Wander, Ludlow’s mentor and superior. The stellar cast also features Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Jay Mohr, John Corbett, Cedric the Entertainer, Amaury Nolasco, Terry Crews, Naomie Harris, Martha Higareda, Common and The Game.
The screenplay is based on an original story by James Ellroy and written by James Ellroy and Kurt Wimmer and Jamie Moss. Ayer, known for bringing gritty realism to films such as TRAINING DAY and HARSH TIMES, is directing. The film is produced by Lucas Foster, Alexandra Milchan and Erwin Stoff. Arnon Milchan, Michele Weisler and Bob Yari are executive producers.
Shot entirely in Los Angeles, the production team includes cinematographer Gabriel Beristain, ASC/BSC (THE RING 2, BLADE TRINITY), production designer Alec Hammond (DONNIE DARKO, THE CONTENDER), editor Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. (BREACH, SHATTERED GLASS, THE FAMILY STONE) and music by Graeme Revell (GRINDHOUSE, SIN CITY).
A Long Journey into the Darkness: The Story of STREET KINGS
A huge fan of award-winning crime-writer James Ellroy, producer Erwin Stoff came across the script for STREET KINGS as a potential project for Keanu Reeves. Stoff recognized the moral relevance of the story in today’s world and began searching for ways to get the movie made. “I’ve always been an admirer of James Ellroy’s work and became completely enamored with the script,” recalls Stoff. “It was the kind of movie that I love and thought it would make a phenomenal film.”
To help foster the development of the project, Stoff brought producer Lucas Foster on board, knowing his experience with numerous large-scale action movies and personal interest in the culture of law enforcement would benefit the project. Originally a period piece set in post-Rodney King Los Angeles, the producing team began to re-conceptualize the film in a contemporary setting while keeping the general thematics of the story in line with Ellroy’s original vision.
“Erwin and I decided to not make a period movie, which was a big decision that had various consequences both good and bad,” explains Lucas Foster. “We stuck to our guns and wanted to make a movie for adults so that we could have the freedom to be edgy and tell the truth, or at least our perception of the truth, about what it is like to be a cop in Los Angeles.”
The producing team approached accomplished screenwriter and director David Ayer for the project, who had to pass due to prior commitments. Eventually Ayer’s project fell through and he jumped at the chance to work on the project that seemed tailor-made for his sensibilities. He was interested in working with Keanu Reeves as well as material that encompassed his interests and inside knowledge of both the LAPD and Los Angeles.
As seen in his previous work on such films as TRAINING DAY, HARSH TIMES and SWAT, Ayer gravitates toward material addressing the complexities of law enforcement, power and corruption and STREET KINGS was a great opportunity to probe further. “I’m fascinated by corruption in law enforcement and what can happen psychologically to someone trusted to exercise deadly force on our behalf,” explains Ayer. “Giving someone the potential to take a human life is incredible power and I like to explore what change the perpetrators of violence, even if it’s on our behalf, undergo psychologically.”
Although Ayer and Ellroy come from different eras and viewpoints artistically, both share a great love for the city of Los Angeles and all its beauty and ugliness. Producer Erwin Stoff sensed that the pairing of Ellroy and Ayer would put a unique spin on the LA crime drama.
“In a lot of ways, I felt like they are an ideal pairing because David has the same level of fascination with Los Angeles and the tribal culture of the police as Ellroy,” comments Stoff. “David is a product of LA, he grew up on the streets and is able to preserve the incredibly complex characters that Ellroy created and fit them into an ethnically diverse Los Angeles of today. They are two very similar sensibilities separated by different eras.”
Ayer adds, “James Ellroy understands police psychology and law enforcement culture very well and what I bring to the table is my understanding of how law enforcement operates today. By combining Ellroy’s incredible novelistic story and grand canvas with my organic understanding of what’s happening on the streets of LA on any given day, you end up with an incredibly rich tapestry in a very realistic environment.”
The filmmakers set out to put their own unique spin on the police-thriller genre, which has become its own force within American fiction and film. Unlike most other urban thrillers, STREET KINGS would be steeped in realism and contemporary politics. “From the beginning we set out to make a movie that transcended the genre and not just hit the expected beats of the traditional police thriller,” explains Stoff. “We made it a point to have the world inside this film populated with real characters with real dilemmas without being white-washed.”
Ayer adds, “To me, this film is different than the others in this genre because of the meticulous attention to detail, the level of reality and hand-crafting that has gone into every aspect of the physical world and character design. It has an awareness of time in the present day while also having a timelessness associated with the genre, which has been a challenge to achieve.”
“Ludlow is given the responsibility to erase those people who the powers that be deem unfit,” explains David Ayer. “Ludlow is someone who started out with righteous intentions and wanted to save the world but found himself going in the wrong direction.”
The character of Tom Ludlow essentially represents all of the complex and contradicting ideals of the film’s title STREET KINGS; he is the king of the streets and society’s protector willing to deal with the most repugnant aspects within the community. He deals a swift and uncompromised justice without the limitations of red tape and standard protocols. While America prides itself on due process and constitutionally secured personal rights, the Ad Vice, a specialized unit of the LAPD, are a necessary evil that allows civilians and common people the freedoms and security they enjoy on a daily basis.
“Ludlow represents the men who stand guard in the night; he sees all the things we don’t want to see and guards us from the evils in the dark,” explains Erwin Stoff. “He does the things we aren’t capable of and may repudiate, but benefit from when we enjoy the safety that Ad Vice provides.”
“The Ad Vice are the guys who suffer so that we don’t have to,” agrees Lucas Foster. “I appreciate the nobility of the idea that there are people whose lives are dedicated to dealing with things to allow the rest of us to live our lives and enjoy our personal freedoms.”
Brotherhood and Betrayal
“If you and Wander keep tearing down the law to go after the devil, what protection will we have when the devil comes after us?”
When first introduced to Detective Tom Ludlow, he is still reeling from the death of his wife and finds solace in the bottle. He lives in the shadows of the streets and while he works alone, he serves under the protection of the brotherhood of Ad Vice and its leader, the enigmatic Captain Jack Wander.
“Ludlow started out with righteous intentions wanting to save the world but somehow finds himself going very wrong,” comments Ayer. “He’s a man with a moral compass, which is why he’s so troubled, and senses somehow that his life isn’t going the right way.”
STREET KINGS asks some provocative questions. What price should be paid for the greater good and at whose expense? Where does the responsibility lie for a broken system and how can we fault those who put themselves in harms way? Who protects those who protect us? Essentially it is a story of brotherhood, loyalty and survival and all the gray areas in between.
“What makes this story interesting to me is that there’s nuance to these characters and everyone has a shade of gray,” explains David Ayer. “It’s an urban thriller, so everyone’s a little bit corrupt, but I think the same is true in real life. Nobody wakes up and thinks they’re the bad guy. In their eyes they have found themselves in situations that grew beyond their control and are trying to survive.”
David Ayer continues that although the film deals with the darker aspects of who we are as people, it illustrates there is always the opportunity for redemption: “The film is structured like a tragedy and feels like a train wreck, but there is incredible redemption there. There is a message that no matter how far gone you are, there is always a way back.”
“Anytime you try to tell a story that’s populated by real people, there is going to be heroism, darkness, idealism, corruption, betrayal and love,” says Stoff. “Those are all the facets of life in every city and we weren’t interested in telling a story that was only dark and nihilistic that didn’t leave you without someone finding their higher purpose. While the story certainly takes a very dark and disturbing turn, it really is the story of a hero.”
The Noble Warrior
Digging deep: Keanu Reeves as Tom Ludlow
“You’re the tip of the spear, man. Who’ll hold back the animals?”
-Captain Jack Wander
With the success of such films as SPEED and THE MATRIX trilogy, Keanu Reeves has become one of the most beloved and iconic actors of his generation. His films have made an indelible mark on the landscape of filmmaking and he has one of the most recognizable faces in the world. In STREET KINGS, Reeves and his manager/producer Erwin Stoff saw an opportunity to tackle a complex role with a fully formed and personal performance.
“After initially reading the script I thought this role would be a singularly fantastic opportunity for Keanu as an actor,” recalls producer Erwin Stoff. “He is not the type of actor who wants an expectation placed on him of the kind of roles he should take and that’s been the hallmark of his career.”
“I was intrigued by the level of violence surrounding the character and the dramatic consequences of that,” explains Keanu Reeves. “He can be viewed as either someone who kills in the name of the law or someone who delivers justice. Dramatically, there’s a high price to pay and I was interested in how it would all play out.”
To help extract an honest and truthful performance from Reeves, David Ayer attempted to create a world steeped in truth and grit by surrounding the actor with plenty of physical realism to draw from. He was immersed in the culture of Los Angeles and some of the most challenged areas in the city.
“What was very exciting to me was the idea of Keanu Reeves going into the ghetto and playing a very realistic organic character with a nuanced intense performance,” explains David Ayer. “In this film he’s not fighting aliens or robots, he’s fighting gang bangers, cops and police corruption, so we wanted to help him get to the point where he felt a part of that world to get that very psychologically realistic performance. It was incredible.”
Tom Ludlow is man dealing with many demons, both in the real world and within himself. He is a dedicated police officer who touches the darkest elements of society while still reeling from the loss of his wife. The depth of the character gave Reeves the opportunity to live in the skin of someone who is very different from himself.
“The character of Tom Ludlow is an interesting head space for Keanu to get into,” explains Foster. “Keanu is very much a pacifist in real life and we’ve asked him to play a very dark human and it’s been amazing to watch him rise to the challenge.”
“I’m an actor and it’s all make believe, but in the imagining of this world steeped in violence it can be intoxicating,” remarks Reeves. “Violence is an elemental force and acting it out has a weird illusion of control. Ludlow is lashing out and using violence to get to the truth, but as someone says in the film, ‘Blood doesn’t wash away blood.’ In the end, violence doesn’t change anything.”
Forest Whitaker as Captain Wander
“Go huntin’. Have a good time. Do what you do. But you cannot bring them in.
Do it the old way and settle it out there. King’s X.”
-Captain Jack Wander
Captain Jack Wander is a larger-than-life figure who has gradually accumulated a great deal of power within the ranks of the LAPD. He is known as a man who gets results and his unit has the track record to show for it. He leads his men with fierce confidence and serves up an intense psychology to his followers.
A palpable brotherhood exists within his unit where his men find unwavering loyalty, protection and a sense of family. Although Ad Vice knowingly goes outside the limits of the law to get the job done, the men are unwavering in their dedication to their leader, who they lovingly refer to as “King Wander”.
“In developing these characters, I always saw Wander as the father of a dysfunctional family,” explains David Ayer. “In dysfunctional families you’re often handed your reality by Dad who tells you how ugly the world is outside the house but that inside the house there’s love. He makes them believe that what they’re doing is for their own good and uses that sort of abusive psychology.”
To bring the role of Jack Wander to life, the filmmakers would need a powerful actor to flesh out this intense and charismatic man who is capable of leading men into harm’s way with unflappable dedication. They got their wish in Academy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker, who was attracted to the character’s strength and unwavering confidence.
“To me, Wander is a guy whose trying to take care of what he considers his family,” explains Forest Whitaker. “He lives by a code and feels like he’s justified in acquiring power.”
In the film, Wander is an LAPD captain in a specialized unit on his way to becoming Commander. His career trajectory seems unstoppable and dreams of taking it all the way. When Captain Biggs from Internal Affairs starts sniffing around asking questions about protocol and the methods used within Wander’s department, Ludlow relents to protect his mentor and family against anyone who threatens it. While Wander and his men are working outside the confines of the law, they are looking into the face of darkness going head to head with society’s ugly truths.
When Ludlow begins investigating the murder his former partner, Detective Terrence Washington, he begins to discover corruption within the force and begins to view Wander and his brethren with new eyes. Whitaker argues “After looking into the face of darkness coupled with the death of his wife, I think Ludlow’s been numb for a while. When he is implicated in Washington’s murder, he really begins to investigate his own life which is intertwined with mine and I have to make sure he stands strong to keep my world in place.”
Wander’s methods of achieving his version of justice are unforgiving and Ludlow serves as his personal enforcer and favorite son. Whitaker notes, “Ludlow is the family member Wander is closest to and if he falls, the whole house of cards could come down.”
In his illustrious career, Forest Whitaker has played numerous cops on both the big and small screen and came into the project with an extensive amount of knowledge of the innerworkings of law enforcement. For this material, Whitaker also draws from his own experiences growing up on the streets of Los Angeles. “I played a cop on ‘The Shield’ for a year and have been on many drive-alongs and had extensive weapons training so I’ve done that research. In my personal experience, growing up in Los Angeles, I know about cops from the other side. I know how they throw people on the ground and shine lights on them because I’ve dealt with them. I know what they say to you when you’re arrested, so I feel I probably have more research than most.”
Forest Whitaker and Keanu Reeves worked with David Ayer before production to flesh out the dynamics between these two connected souls. “When we did rehearsals, I was privileged to see Forest and Keanu together for the first time and witness first hand the incredible chemistry. You never know when putting actors together how they are going to click because at the end of the day we’re all real people and we’re all complex. The second they sat down together and started riffing on the material, it was obvious that they would be a believable combination.”
“I think Keanu is great in the film and is an actor that people want to walk with,” comments Whitaker. “Audiences can journey through some really dark places with Keanu because he’s the kind of actor you can follow and trust.”
“To me, the movie is really about the relationship between these two characters and Forest and Keanu have been very compelling and amazing to watch,” says Lucas Foster. “They feed off each other and I think we captured a lot of surprising magic between these two actors who are very much their characters in the moment.”
The Watchful Eyes
Hugh Laurie as Captain Biggs
“I’ve watched you bully, intimidate and blackmail your way up the pay grades for twenty years.
I know exactly who you are.”
Internal Affairs Captain James Biggs exists between the worlds of the corporate arm of law enforcement and the cops who walk the beat patrolling the streets. When Biggs is first introduced in the film he comes off as illusive, deceitful and out to get the goods on Ludlow, Wander and Ad Vice. His character asks some probing questions of the various shades of grey in the moral landscape of these men. Through the numerous inquiries and relentless pressure, Biggs serves as a peripheral player in the awakening of Ludlow.
“Biggs was one of the most difficult characters to develop in the film,” recalls David Ayer. “He is a very self-aware character who understands the grey areas of this world, yet isn’t cynical and is ultimately very smart and pragmatic.”
To play the character of Captain Biggs, the filmmakers looked to the award winning and accomplished British actor Hugh Laurie to bring him to life. Laurie, who has found great success stateside as the starring role on the popular television series “House,” was interested in both the material and the idea of breaking outside his comfort zone.
“This film was a hard proposition to turn down,” he says. “I absolutely loved TRAINING DAY and David is a very bright and interesting writer and director and I’ve always loved James Ellroy. It was wonderful opportunity to work with this fabulous cast in a very different environment for me. After playing one character for the last three years it was rather wonderful to be able to do something a little different.”
Laurie was also intrigued by the questions that the film raised about the morality and ethics of these men who choose to deal with the darker sides of human nature. ”The story has a lot of shadows with a lot of shadowy characters and it’s not easy to place them in positions on a moral scale. It plays into the reality that Los Angeles lends itself a certain moral grayness.”
While Biggs is certainly out to advance his own career, he becomes an unlikely champion for the morality of Ludlow. “While Ludlow is useful to Biggs, Ludlow is the soul for whom these forces are battling,” argues Laurie. “In spite of the violence and sordid nature of how he earns his living, Ludlow is nonetheless an innocent and naïve character. He is the soul for which we are battling.”
David Ayer was impressed by Laurie’s performance and dedication to the complexities of the character. “Hugh did quite a bit of research and was able to understand the politics and psychology of the department. Here you have a British actor from the European school of acting who was able to really transform himself into a captain of the LAPD.”
Laurie was impressed by the performances of his co-stars Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker. “Although Forest is the kindest and most gentle person to work with, at the flip of a switch he’s able to summon up the most extraordinary reserves of physical menace and power. Keanu has often played characters who you root for and sympathize with and he’s able to draw on those reserves when delving into some very dark and frightening stuff.”
Inside the Mind of a Gunfighter
“Phonebook Tom, last of the ghetto gunfighters.
Heard you got your best confession with a ninety-one directory.”
To create the world of STREET KINGS, a great deal of emphasis was placed on the authenticity of everything that related to the specifics of law enforcement and the LAPD. To guarantee absolute accuracy of the aesthetics ranging from tactical techniques to the smallest details of the uniforms, the filmmakers enlisted the expertise of several seasoned ex-LAPD cops as technical advisors on the film.
Technical advisor Jaime Fitzsimons spent fifteen years in the LAPD and worked closely with David Ayer in hopes of bringing an unprecedented insight into the inner workings of the LAPD. “Cops have been portrayed inaccurately in movies for so long and David wanted to make this a real LAPD experience,” explains Fitzsimons. “When you’re an LAPD officer you’re specifically trained a certain way, from tactics to how you wear your uniform and carry your gun. In most movies you don’t see the specifics of an agency like LAPD, you see a mixed bag and we worked very hard to make sure that wouldn’t be the case with this film.”
A thirty-five year veteran of the LAPD, Technical Advisor Brian Davis spent the last twenty years on the force in a very specialized tactical unit that did a lot of undercover work that included extensive surveillance with career criminals, kidnapper and murderers. His unit trained with the Navy Seals, Marine Force Recon and SWAT teams and worked with some of the best shooting instructors in the United States. “My unit got in a lot of shootings and we arrested a lot of bad people. I think the filmmakers wanted me to put my experience into Ludlow as far as the darker side of police work,” says Davis.
Before the onset of production, Keanu Reeves and various other members of the cast were put through extensive training on all the facets of law enforcement. They received firearms training, were taken on ride-alongs through various Los Angeles neighborhoods and instructed on the day-to-day operations of the LAPD.
“We spent a lot of time with the actors preparing for their roles and getting them in the LAPD frame of mind,” recalls Fitzsimons. “We took them on ride-alongs and shared our old war stories and taught them how to properly wear the uniform. Once they put on that uniform and got that feeling of what’s it’s like to wear those blues, they understood.”
To become a true gunfighter, Reeves worked closely with the technical advisors and dedicated a great deal of time and effort towards the training. “Keanu took it very seriously and gave one hundred twenty percent of himself to discover what it’s like to be an LAPD cop,” explains Fitzsimons. “I think any LA cop will watch his performance and think that he is one of them.”
“I taught Keanu how to handle a gun; how it felt, how to shoot it, to the reaction from the recoil, how to walk with it,” explains Davis. “We worked on how to present yourself to suspects and how to approach a scene. He has worked very hard and it shows.”
“I received a lot of training that included simulation, basic timing techniques, double-tap citing, movement, entering rooms, etc.,” recalls Reeves. “We did something called a ‘shoot or don’t shoot’ simulator and it was interesting because when we first started out I was a long-haired hippy who didn’t want to shoot anything while my director David Ayer was killing everything that moved. If I was to do it now, I think I’d be closer to the other guy.”
In addition to the physical training administered for the role, it was important to Ayer that the technical advisors also share the psychological aspects of life as a cop. “In addition to the ride-alongs and tactical training, the experts and advisors were very open about the emotional side and how it affects you, your family and your soul. What happens when you hang up the badge and go home? What is your life like when you’re alone and when it’s quiet?” asks Ayer.
“The advisors were very generous with me in sharing their experiences in balancing the job and life outside of that. They spoke about what it took to have a marriage or kids and deal with all that entails while simultaneously dealing with rapists and killers and how your eyes change. I was able to internalize these deeply affecting and moving stories and imagine the intensity of what they survived all the while trying to have a somewhat normal life,” notes Reeves.
For Ludlow, his alcoholism was a way of escaping the demons that stayed with him at the end of day. “I’m sure Ludlow drinks because of what he’s seen or because of who he is,” explains Davis. “The horrific things you see change you and he’s doing what he has to do and doing it very well. I saw a lot horrible things in the tenure of my career and they stick with you for the rest of your life. People say you learn to live with it, but you don’t.”
“I’ve seen a lot of heinous things, but I believe that for some people it is a calling,” explains Fitzsimons. “You get up and do it again no matter how bad the day before. If you’re not out there doing it, then who is?”
The filmmakers worked closely with the technical advisors when approaching the specifics of Washington’s LAPD funeral. There was a meticulous attention to detail from instructing the hundreds of extras in their dress blue uniforms, the numerous props down to proper placement of the police cars and fire trucks within the scene. Both the LAPD honor guard and LAPD Emerald Society were on set to salute and play the bagpipes for the ceremony.
“Being on set on the day of Washington’s funeral made me feel very emotional,” recalls Fitzsimons. “I knew we had all the details right when the motor cops doing security and traffic control for the film said that it made them feel eerie. We worked very hard to make sure that what you see is a real LAPD funeral.”
To raise the bar even further, the filmmakers were able to secure ex-LAPD police chief Daryl Gates to appear in the film as the police chief who speaks at Washington’s funeral. A highly decorated and publicized public figurehead for the LAPD, Gates was attracted to the film’s message of redemption.
“The film doesn’t put the LAPD in the best light, but there is a strong message of redemption and I responded to that,” explains Daryl Gates. “That meant something to me because in my eyes the LAPD is extraordinarily special.”
“We tried to give the film authenticity in every regard and it was David’s idea to ask Daryl Gates to appear as the chief of police,” recalls Lucas Foster. “When we called him he asked if the film was pro police and we told him that it was for certain types of police. We sent him the script and he thought it was excellent. We were so shocked and are so grateful that he was willing to do it.”
“Having Daryl Gates in the film was awesome,” says Reeves. “He is a very nice man and was very cool to everyone. I read his book before meeting him and having him speak at Washington’s funeral brought it to a deeper level for me.”
Inside the Look of STREET KINGS
“At the end of the day it’s order that counts. Why sweat the details?
Gotta break some eggs to make an omelet.”
Growing up in Los Angeles left an indelible mark on director David Ayer. To Ayer, who grew up on the streets of South Central, his Los Angeles is not one generally seen on the silver screen. More often than not, the under-privileged areas of LA are depicted as gang-infested streets teeming with drugs and drive-bys.
“My Los Angeles is a living world composed of vibrant neighborhoods full of life,” explains David Ayer. “It’s not just gang bangers flexing, it’s families and kids and moms. It’s a very rich world and I think it’s something I’ll always want to revisit. It’s my city.”
“We worked very hard to honor David’s view that Los Angeles is a colorful place with life teeming all around it,” says Production Designer Alec Hammond. “Horrible things don’t happen in isolated areas, there are horrible things that happen right next to families with kids and ice cream trucks. We were very aware of the notion that evil things come to us during everyday life in everyday places.”
Filming took place over forty-one days, many of which took place at night on practical locations. The filmmakers were dedicated to honoring the locations as they are written in the script, which meant shooting in some of the grittier neighborhoods in and around Downtown Los Angeles that are not usually used.
“We really tried to give the film authenticity in every regard and it’s been quite a challenge,” explains Foster. “All the various elements like the types of vehicles, props, wardrobe, set dressing, locations and how we enter a neighborhood and conduct ourselves, all contribute to make the film feel more real.”
While not necessarily the best financial option for the production, shooting in the practical locations within Los Angeles was paramount to director David Ayer, who felt it was worth the extra expenditure. “I feel blessed to shoot in LA. So many productions leave the state and country in the name of the dollar because there’s a premium you pay, but in my mind, the money you spend is just like the premium you pay a good actor. We are essentially paying the city to be a character in the film.”
“Truth of the matter is that we’ve shot this movie in some of the most desperately poor and under-privileged areas of Los Angeles and the graciousness with which we were welcomed was just astounding,” remarks Erwin Stoff. “The people couldn’t have been more welcoming and wherever we were it became a block party. It was one of the great surprises shooting this movie.”
Ayer and Production Designer Alec Hammond worked diligently to research every aspect of the locations down to the cop issued staplers to create the world of STREET KINGS. Hammond went to great pains to differentiate the looks of the different hierarchies within the LAPD. The smallest of details went into distinguishing the differences of the various factions like the Police Commissioner offices that houses the elite faction of robbery homicide and those who cover narcotics, gang work and special affairs to the offices of Internal Affairs. Captains versus the rank and file offices of Ad Vice.
“The Police Commission headquarters is public view bureaucracy where all the desks are the same because it’s a room for public consumption. The other rooms and areas are defined by the characters who inhabit them and what happens to them,” explains Hammond.
“Active duty LAPD cops have come through the sets and they are absolutely blown away. It’s everything from the evidence tags to the core value posters that really sell the reality of the police environment.”
A true reflection of the city of Los Angeles, the set was bi-lingual with many key members of the crew using both English and Spanish. Fluent in Spanish from growing up surrounded by Spanish-speaking people, Ayer unmistakably creates an environment on the set that mirrors the cultural landscape of Los Angeles.
“I’ve never been on a set that’s been truly and genuinely bilingual,” argues Stoff. “Spanish is spoken as much as English is and in that sense it truly feels like a reflection of the city we are shooting in. I’m glad I paid attention to high school and college Spanish.”
Those involved in the film knew they were in good hands under the direction of Ayer. Hugh Laurie comments that, “Every actor places himself in the hands of a director and hopes for the best and in this case, David is an endlessly fascinating, intelligent and thoughtful person. It’s a great privilege to be steered by him because he has a very clear idea of how this world he’s created really operates.”
“When I first came on board this project I was very intimidated to be entrusted with the time and careers of so many wonderful actors who have put their absolute trust in me,” says Ayer. “It’s been a great challenge but everyone has pulled their weight and beyond and I feel honored to have godfathered this process through. I feel a great sense of pride.”
ABOUT THE CAST
KEANU REEVES (Detective Tom Ludlow)
Keanu Reeves is one of Hollywood’s most sought after leading men. He recently wrapped production on THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, a remake of the 1951 sci-fi film, starring opposite Jennifer Connelly. Prior to that, Reeves was seen starring opposite Sandra Bullock in the romantic drama THE LAKE HOUSE and in A SCANNER DARKLY, a highly stylized blend of live-action and animation. Reeves also starred in the comic book adaptation CONSTANTINE opposite Rachel Weisz, the independent film THUMBSUCKER, SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE, a romantic comedy in which he starred opposite Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton as well as the highly anticipated THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, the final chapter in the blockbuster THE MATRIX trilogy and the follow-up to THE MATRIX RELOADED.
His long list of credits include HARDBALL, THE GIFT opposite Cate Blanchett for which he received critical acclaim, SWEET NOVEMBER, THE REPLACEMENTS, A WALK IN THE CLOUDS; the hit thriller, DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, opposite Al Pacino and Charlize Theron; LITTLE BUDDHA, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, opposite Denzel Washington, Emma Thompson and Michael Keaton. Reeves was also seen in BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA, MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, POINT BREAK; the very popular BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE and its sequel, BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY.
Raised in Toronto, Reeves performed in various local theater productions and on television before relocating to Los Angeles. His first widely acclaimed role was in Tim Hunter's RIVER'S EDGE. He then starred in Marisa Silver's PERMANENT RECORD, and with Amy Madigan and Fred Ward in THE PRINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA. Yet another turn came when the actor was cast as the innocent Danceny in Stephen Frears' highly praised DANGEROUS LIAISONS, alongside Glenn Close, John Malkovich and Michelle Pfeiffer. He joined other outstanding casts that year in Ron Howard's comedy, PARENTHOOD, and Lawrence Kasdan's I LOVE YOU TO DEATH. Audiences saw Reeves for the first time as the romantic lead opposite Barbara Hershey in Jon Amiel's TUNE IN TOMORROW, also starring Peter Falk. His additional credits include Tri-Star’s sci-fi thriller, JOHNNY MNEMONIC; Andrew Davis’ action film, CHAIN REACTION; and the dark comedy FEELING MINNESOTA, directed by Steven Baigelman for New Line Cinema.
FOREST WHITAKER (Captain Jack Wander)
Forest Whitaker had an exceptional year in 2007. He amazed audiences with his portrayal of Idi Amin in THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, for which he earned an Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, SAG Award™ and BAFTA Award, all in the leading actor category, and critics awards across the board. On the small screen, Whitaker earned an Emmy® nomination for his role on last season’s “ER.”
This year, Whitaker has appeared in the already released THE AIR I BREATHE and VANTAGE POINT and has wrapped filming on WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, WINGED CREATURES, POWDER BLUE and REPOSESSION MAMBO.
Forest’s other credits include, AMERICAN GUN, which received an Independent Spirit Award nomination, Clint Eastwood’s BIRD, for which he was named Best Actor at The Cannes Film Festival as well as a Golden Globe Nomination, THE CRYING GAME, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI, FOURTH ANGEL, PANIC ROOM and PHONE BOOTH, among many others. Whitaker has also made his mark behind the camera, beginning with his first directing endeavor of WAITING TO EXHALE. Since then, he has worked as the executive producer of GREEN DRAGON, producer of CHASING PAPI, director of FIRST DAUGHTER and HOPE FLOATS.
Whitaker lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.
HUGH LAURIE (Captain James Biggs)
Known for possessing a keen eye for the complex characters he creates as an actor and a writer, Hugh Laurie currently brings that talent to his work on the critically acclaimed series, "House" for which he has won two Golden Globe Awards, a SAG Award, and has been nominated for two Emmy awards. The innovative and uncompromising series features Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, an antisocial and brutally honest doctor who combines an unconventional approach to his cases with flawless instincts. The remaining episodes of the third season will begin airing on April 28, 2008.
Laurie previously starred in a number of groundbreaking British television comedy series, including four seasons of "A Bit of Fry and Laurie," which he co-wrote for the BBC with Stephen Fry; three seasons of "Blackadder," written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton; and three seasons of "Saturday Live." In addition, four seasons of "Jeeves and Wooster," based on the novels of P.G. Wodehouse, aired on PBS's "Masterpiece Theatre" from 1990-1995.
On the big screen, Laurie was last seen in the 20th Century Fox release FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX opposite Dennis Quaid. Other film credits include PETER'S FRIENDS directed and co-starring Kenneth Branagh, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, COUSIN BETTE with Jessica Lange, THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK, 101 DALMATIONS, STUART LITTLE and STUART LITTLE 2 with Geena Davis.
On American television, Laurie portrayed Vincente Minnelli opposite Judy Davis in the network telefilm "Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows." He also appeared in "Tracy Takes On" and "Friends."
In addition to acting, Laurie has directed television programs and commercials, composed and recorded numerous original songs and written articles for London's The Daily Telegraph. Four volumes of "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" scripts have been published by Mandarin and his first novel, "The Gun Seller," was published in both the UK and the US to critical acclaim and has been adapted into a screenplay for MGM.
Laurie was educated at Eton and Cambridge University, where he took a degree in Anthropology. He also rowed in the University Boat Race of 1980. He was elected president of the venerable Footlights Revue, where he produced The Cellar Tapes along with Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson. The show won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival of 1981.
CHRIS EVANS (Detective Paul Diskant)
Evans recently wrapped production on Paul McGuigan's PUSH, opposite Dakota Fanning and Djimon Hounsou. The action packed sci-fi thriller involves a group of young Americans with telekinetic and clairvoyant abilities, hiding from a clandestine U.S. government agency.
Evans will also star in Jodie Markell's THE LOSS OF A TEARDROP DIAMOND opposite Bryce Dallas Howard. The dramatic film, written by Tennessee Williams, centers on class tensions in 1920s Memphis and in particular on a romance between a society woman (Howard) and a plantation worker (Evans).
Evans recently starred Danny Boyle's critically acclaimed sci-fi thriller SUNSHINE opposite Cillian Murphy and Michelle Yeoh.
In 2005, Evans starred in the summer action hit FANTASTIC FOUR, in which he joined Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis and Ioan Gruffudd as a group of astronauts who gain individual super powers after they are exposed to cosmic radiation. Evans reprised the role of Johnny Storm a.k.a. The Human Torch in FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER in July 2007. The film grossed 300 million worldwide.
Evans made a few guest appearances on television series before landing his first feature film starring role in Joel Gallen's comedy spoof NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE. His next film was Brian Robbin's crime comedy THE PERFECT SCORE, in which he starred with Scarlett Johansson and Erika Christensen. Switching gears, he starred with Kim Basinger, William H. Macy and Jessica Biel in David Ellis' thriller CELLULAR, playing a young man who is drawn into a kidnapping plot. Evan's other film credits include Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's THE NANNY DIARIES opposite Scarlett Johansson, Laura Linney and Paul Giamatti, Griffin Dunne's FIERCE PEOPLE opposite Diane Lane and Donald Sutherland, Hunter Richards' romantic drama LONDON opposite Jessical Biel and Andrew Wilder's THE ORPHAN KING.
Raised in Massachusetts, Evans began acting in regional theatre before moving to New York, where he studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute. Evans currently resides in Los Angeles.
MARTHA HIGAREDA (Grace Garcia)
Martha Higareda has turned into one of the most promising young actresses thanks to her talent, commitment and love for her work. She studied at the CEA Televisa, in the Art Center Gonzalo Correa and also in Argos Blue House with Benjamín Cann.
Her career includes successful soap operas, theater, short films and feature films that have given her a strong professional experience hence garnering her tons of buzz as 'one to watch.'
Born in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, the young actress has participated in the assemblies DON JUAN TENORIO Gonzalo Correa, LITTLE WOMEN under the direction of Gabriela Cardenas, THE TIE, DEATH DEATH THAT I LOVE YOU and BANG, to name a few.
Additional film credits include AMAR TE DUELE, directed Fernando Sariñana, THE DREAM OF ELIAS, directed John Paul Cortés, LA CASA DE LOS BABYS, directed by John Sales, SEVEN DAYS, directed by Fernando Kalife, OUT OF HEAVEN, directed by Javier Patron Fox, AL OTRO LADO, directed by Gustavo Loza, ASÍ DEL PRECIPICIO directed by premium opera director Teresa Suarez, BORDERLAND directed by Zev Berman, CHARM SCHOOL directed by Fernando Sariñana.
Martha has received accolades such as the MTV Movie Awards™ en Espanol as Best Actress, a Diosa de Plata as Revelation Film Actress and Las Palmas de Oro by the National Circle of Journalists for Best Actress and Revelation Film.
Higareda divides her time between Los Angels and Mexico.
NAOMIE HARRIS (Linda Washington)
One of London’s most promising imports, Naomie Harris takes on Hollywood with an innate acting ability, strength, and beauty. She achieved leading lady status in the critically acclaimed thriller 28 DAYS LATER, and has continued to grow with numerous blockbuster projects.
Harris recently received a 2007 BAFTA Award nomination for the Orange Rising Star Award for her performance in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST.
Harris is currently in production on the Original Media film, AUGUST, from director Austin Chick. Harris stars as the female lead, spunky no-nonsense Sarah, opposite Josh Hartnett. AUGUST centers on two brothers fighting to keep their start-up company afloat on Wall Street during August 2001, a month before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Other film credits include the critically acclaimed TRISTRAM SHANDY: A COCK AND BULL STORY, Brett Ratner’s, AFTER THE SUNSET, MIAMI VICE, opposite Jaime Foxx and Colin Farrell, and a reprisal of her role in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END.
Brought up in North London, Harris has studied acting since she was nine years old. She graduated from Cambridge University (Pembroke College) and went on to train at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (Alumni include Daniel Day-Lewis, Brian Blessed, Miranda Richardson, and Jeremy Irons).
Complementing her training in 2000, Harris spent her first year out of drama school doing theatre before auditioning for Danny Boyle (TRAINSPOTTING, THE BEACH, SHALLOW GRAVE) in 2001 and securing the co-lead (Selena) in 28 DAYS LATER. A machete-wielding urban survivor role that required a month’s personal training to prepare for the stunt work that she performed.
Harris then went on to play Clara in the Channel 4 adaptation of Zadie Smith’s Whitbread winning novel “White Teeth,” and then starred with Matthew Macfayden (Spooks) as Maggie in Peter Kosminsky’s (White Oleander) two-part political docudrama ‘The Project” for the BBC.
Since then Harris has starred opposite Colin Firth and Mena Suvari in Marc Evan’s (My Little Eye) film TRAUMA.
In addition, she was just cast in Twist Films' upcoming movie, MORRIS; A LIFE WITH BELLS ON. Written by Charles Thomas Oldman and directed by Lucy Ackhurst this comedy drama follows the fortunes of an avant garde Morris team in their struggle to evolve Morris Dancing. Harris will play as character "Sonja" opposite Sir Derek Jacobi.
Harris currently resides in London.
JAY MOHR (Sgt. Mike Clady)
Jay Mohr was first introduced to the public as a feature player on the 1993 season of “Saturday Night Live.” Though his time on the sketch comedy show was brief, it launched Mohr’s career onto the big screen. In his first major film role, Mohr played opposite Tom Cruise in the classic JERRY MAGUIRE. The following year, he was cast as the starring role in PICTURE PERFECT, alongside Jennifer Aniston. Mohr also appeared in films such as ARE WE THERE YET?, SMALL SOLIDERS, GO, and PAY IT FORWARD.
In 2003 and 2004 Mohr created, hosted, and served as executive producer on the Emmy Award nominated series “Last Comic Standing” reality TV show. He also frequently contributes to radio shows such as Opie and Anthony, The Jim Rome Show, and The Ron and Fez Show. Additionally, Mohr authored the best selling book Gasping for Airtime: Two Years in the Trenches at Saturday Night Live. He also penned a column for cnnsi.com and Sports Illustrated.
Currently, Mohr has a reoccurring role on the popular show “The Ghost Whisperer,” and writes a regular column for Foxsports.com.
JOHN CORBETT (Detective Dante Demille)
Coming off a successful tour around the country with his band, John Corbett was most recently seen in the Sony film THE MESSENGERS, directed by Danny and Oxide Pang. He also starred as Ian Miller in MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, one of the highest grossing independent films of all time. He is also known as the sexy “Aidan Shaw” playing opposite Sarah Jessica Parker in HBO’s “Sex & the City,” where he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2002. John also starred on the critically acclaimed F/X series “Lucky.” Other credits include Garry Marshall’s RAISING HELEN opposite Kate Hudson, and RAISE YOUR VOICE with Hilary Duff.
John Corbett will always be remembered as the disk jockey "Chris Stevens" on the CBS series “Northern Exposure," where he received both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Over the last ten years, John has worked consistently in all mediums.
Born and raised in West Virginia, Corbett moved out to California to find work in a steel factory. He worked there for six years until an injury forced him to stop. Concurrently, John was attending the local city college and decided to sit in on a friend's drama class. While watching class, he was invited on stage for an exercise and became captivated with the craft. He acted in several college theater productions in which his drama teacher recognized his talent and encouraged him to pursue Hollywood.
Corbett recently wrapped Guillermo Arriaga’s THE BURNING PLAIN, with Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.
AMAURY NOLASCO (Detective Cosmo Santos)
Amaury Nolasco, a native of Puerto Rico, studied biology as a full-time student at the University of Puerto Rico. He intended to enroll in medical school and become a doctor, but was approached by a director and immediately cast in his first television commercial. After several acting gigs Nolasco moved to New York and trained at the American British Dramatic Arts School.
Shortly thereafter, Nolasco began guest-starring on television shows such as “Arli$$,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “ER.” Other television credits include “George Lopez,” “Eve” and “CSI: NY.”
In 2003, Nolasco played Paul Walker’s rival in the hit sequel 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS, marking his first role in a studio film. He went on to co-star with Bernie Mac in MR. 3000 and then THE BENCHWARMERS opposite Rob Schneider and David Spade.
Recently, Nolasco starred in last summers blockbuster TRANSFORMERS, directed by Michael Bay. He can next be seen in ARMORED alongside Matt Dillon and Laurence Fishburne.
TERRY CREWS (Detective Terrence Washington)
A former pro football player for the L.A. Rams, San Diego Chargers, and the Washington Redskins, this athlete-turned-actor is living proof that dreams do come true. One of the most versatile actors to make this transition, he has quickly amassed an impressive resume in both film and television.
Crews recently wrapped the Lionsgate feature GAME where he stars opposite Gerard Butler. This thriller is set in a future world where humans can control other humans in massscale, multi player online gaming environments; a star player from a game called ‘Slayers’ looks to regain his independence while taking down the games mastermind.
This Spring, Crews can be seen on the big screen in GET SMART where he costars with Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway in the long awaited movie adaptation of the classic TV show. Crews was most recently seen alongside Eddie Murphy and Katt Williams in the Paramount/Dreamworks comedy NORBIT. Before that, he starred in the acclaimed Mike Judge comedy, IDIOCRACY, alongside Luke Wilson and Dax Shepard. Crews also had a notable cameo role in the David Ayer film HARSH TIMES which came out November 2007 and starred Christian Bale.
This fall, Crews returned to the small screen where he continues his critically acclaimed role as “Julius” in the CW series “Everybody Hates Chris.” Inspired by the childhood experiences of comedian Chris Rock (who narrates the series), the show explicates in the most comedic fashion the touching story of a teenager growing up as the eldest of three children in Brooklyn, New York during the early 1980s.
Crews has also appeared in BALLS OF FURY, THE LONGEST YARD, WHITE CHICKS, BAADASSSSS!, MALIBU’S MOST WANTED and FRIDAY AFTER NEXT.
Born and raised in Flint, Michigan, Crews was a teenager when he witnessed the downward spiral of the city and the collapse of the auto industry. To escape the hardships around him, Crews turned to the world of art. In high school, he won an art scholarship to attend the Interlochen Art Academy; he then was awarded the Art Excellence Scholarship to attend Western Michigan University. His plan was to become a special effects artist in Hollywood right after college. He went on to play All Mid-American Conference defensive end, highlighted by winning the Mid-American Conference championship in 1988.
Terry currently resides in California with his wife of 18 years, their four daughters and one son.
CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER (Scribble)
Cedric The Entertainer is best known for his crowd-pleasing roles in such hit films as BARBERSHOP, BE COOL with John Travolta, MADAGASCAR, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY with George Clooney and THE ORIGINAL KINGS OF COMEDY, MTV’S documentary feature directed by Spike Lee. Additionally, in April 2004, Cedric was star and producer of the boxoffice hit, JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION which was the #1 comedy in America for two consecutive weeks.
On the big screen, Cedric has also been seen in TALK TO ME starring Don Cheadle, CODENAME: THE CLEANER opposite Lucy Liu, THE HONEYMOONERS (in which he starred as Jackie Gleason’s famed character “Ralph Cramden,” with thumbs up from Roger Ebert), LEMONY SNICKET with Jim Carrey, MAN OF THE HOUSE with Tommy Lee Jones, BARBERSHOP 2, BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE with Martin Lawrence, KINGDOM COME with Whoopi Goldberg and SERVING SARA with Matthew Perry, as well as displaying tremendous vocal talent in the family features CHARLOTTE’S WEB, DR. DOLITTLE 2 and ICE AGE.
Additionally, in July 2006, Cedric debuted his first-ever HBO Comedy Special. It ranked as the highest rated special of that year for HBO.
He will next appear in WELCOME HOME, ROSCOE JENKINS with Martin Lawrence, MADAGASCAR 2, and FLASH co-starring Nelly. Also, Cedric returns to television starring in a new sitcom on the ABC network.
Cedric has celebrated many career successes spanning television, live performances and film. Some notable accolades include nabbing THE AFTRA AWARD OF EXCELLENCE IN TELEVISION PROGRAMMING for his Fox Television series “CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER PRESENTS…”; a record-breaking (four) consecutive NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for his portrayal of the lovable “Coach Cedric Robinson” on the WB’s #1-rated “The Steve Harvey Show,” which ran for six seasons. His first comedy book, Grown-Ass Man, was released in January of 2002 and sold out across the country. In 2001, a viewing audience of over 144 million saw Cedric star in the Bud Light commercial that landed in the #1 spot during the Super Bowl broadcast (subsequently, USA Today dubbed him “Madison Avenue’s Most Valuable Player”). In 1994, Cedric received THE RICHARD PRYOR COMIC OF THE YEAR AWARD from Black Entertainment Television for his ground-breaking work as host of Def Comedy Jam and BET’s Comic View (1994-95 season).
Now helming his own production company, A BIRD AND A BEAR ENTERTAINMENT, Cedric will develop and produce feature films. JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION was the first feature under the new company.
As a philanthropist, Cedric founded THE CEDRIC ‘THE ENTERTAINER’ CHARITABLE FOUNDATION which provides scholarships and outreach programs to enhance the lives of inner-city youth and their families in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. He plans to extend the foundation nationally.
In 2006, the Grammy® Award winning artist made his big screen debut as a musical performer in DAVE CHAPPELLE’S BLOCK PARTY. In January 2007, he made his acting debut co-starring opposite Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys, and Ryan Reynolds in SMOKIN’ ACES for Universal Pictures and writer/director Joe Carnahan. In November 2007, he co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in AMERICAN GANGSTER, directed by Ridley Scott. In 2008 he’ll be seen in WANTED with co-stars Morgan Freeman and Angelina Jolie.
Prior to acting, Common rose to prominence as one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists, having recorded over six albums: Can I Borrow a Dollar?, Resurrection, One Day It’ll All Make Sense, Like Water For Chocolate, and Electric Circus. In 2004, he partnered with Chicago native and rap music mega-star Kanye West to produce BE, which went on to garner four Grammy Award nominations. In July 2006, his video for the single “Testify” was nominated for two MTV Video Awards™ including Best Hip Hop Video. On July 31, 2007 Common released his critically acclaimed seventh album Finding Forever where it debuted at #1 on Billboard 200 Album Chart and went on to earn a Grammy award.
Additionally, Common has written children’s books. The first one, entitled The Mirror and Me, teaches lessons of life, the human spirit, and human nature. His follow-up book I Like You But I Love Me was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and his third book, M.E. (Mixed Emotions), will be out later this year. He also started The Common Ground Foundation, an organization dedicated to utilizing the cultural relevance of Hip-Hop to serve as an advocate for justice, education, to fight poverty, and to increase health awareness among youth in underserved communities throughout the United States.
THE GAME (Grill)
Straight out of Compton, Jayceon Taylor aka “The Game” was born into a life of hardship. His parents were involved with the violent gang The Crips and by 7 years old he was moved into foster care where he spent 8 years. The Game excelled in athletics and academics in high school earning him scholarships from many different universities; he chose Washington State University for basketball but his scholarship was revoked after he was caught with narcotics. It was then that he moved into his brothers’ apartment on the outskirts of Compton. After The Game survived being shot five times, his brother bought him some classic hip-hop albums. While recovering, he studied the music almost scientifically and developed his own hip hop style. After recuperating from his injuries, The Game and his brother put together a mix-tape which would eventually fall into the hands of Dr. Dre, who signed him to his label, Aftermath, in 2002.
In 2005, The Game released his highly anticipated album, “The Documentary” which sold almost 600,000 copies in its first week, debuting at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 200. “The Documentary” went on to sell 2.3 million copies domestically and 3.2 million worldwide. The success of The Game’s album led to the launch of his movie career. His first screen role came with the self-financed MILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB which co-stars Michael “Omar” Williams from “The Wire.” Next up, he starred in Vondie Curtis-Hall’s WAIST DEEP which featured Larenz Tate and Tyrese.
In addition to developing a solid acting career and dominating the music scene, The Game also came out with his own unisex shoe line, Hurricane, which sold out immediately at major retail shoe outlets.
Recently, The Game developed his own record label, Black Wall Street, with producers Nu Jersey Devil and Technique, which he believes will become a major industry force.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
DAVID AYER (Director)
Acclaimed screenwriter and director David Ayer moved to the mean streets of L.A. as a teenager. The experiences of his youth helped shape his artistic vision, and his inside knowledge and affection for the culture of Los Angeles can be seen throughout his work.
At 18, David joined the United States Navy, where he served as sonar man aboard a nuclear attack submarine during the Cold War. After an honorable discharge, David began writing. He wrote and was a co-producer on his "calling card" spec script TRAINING DAY which became a hit film and garnered Denzel Washington an Academy Award for Best Actor.
Ayer co-wrote the submarine thriller U-571, starring Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton and Harvey Keitel. Other writing credits include, THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, starring Paul Walker and Vin Deisel, S.W.A.T., starring Samuel L. Jackson and Colin Farrell, and DARK BLUE, starring Kurt Russell. Ayer made his directorial debut with his original screenplay HARSH TIMES. The gritty drama, starring Christian Bale and Freddy Rodriguez, was released in the fall of 2006. David is currently working on various projects in development at Warner Brothers, Paramount and Universal.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and children.
James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His mother was a nurse and his father, when he did work, was an accountant, among other things.
When his parents divorced in 1954, his mother got custody and moved to El Monte. Sadly, she was murdered there in 1958. Ellroy's attempt to solve this still unsolved murder was the subject of his 1996 nonfiction work My Dark Places. After his mother's death, he moved in with his father.
Ellroy claims to have been turned on to crime fiction by the Hardy Boys. At the age of ten, his father bought him Jack Webb's The Badge, a history of the LAPD. He became obsessed with the book and studied it repeatedly. In this book, he discovered the story of the Black Dahlia, as well as the cops and crime figures he would later write about in the L.A. Quartet.
After being expelled from high school, Ellroy joined the army. Concerned for his father, who just had a stroke, and unhappy in the army, Ellroy faked a stutter and convinced the army psychiatrist that he was not mentally fit for combat. After three months, he received a dishonorable discharge.
He returned home to L.A. just in time for his fathers’ death and by 18 years old he was living in parks and Goodwill bins. He drank, experimented with drugs, and read hundreds of crime novels. He discovered Benzedrex, a sinus inhaler. Instead of inhaling it, he would swallow it to get a speed high. The Benzedex drove him to near schizophrenia and the alcohol was destroying his health. He suffered from pneumonia twice and developed what his doctor called "post-alcohol brain syndrome." Fearing for his sanity, he joined AA and got sober. He earned steady money as a golf caddy and began to mentally formulate a mystery plot, which would become Brown's Requiem. He writes longhand on legal pads, rather than on a computer, and prepares elaborate outlines for his books that are several hundred pages long. Other Ellroy credits include Clandestine, Killer on the Road, the Lloyd Hopkins Trilogy, and American Underworld Trilogy.
In 1987 Ellroy became involved in film when his novel Cop was adapted into a screenplay. Several others of his novels would also be adapted for the big screen including L.A. Confidential, starring Kim Basinger, Kevin Spacey, and Russell Crowe and The Black Dahlia which featured Aaron Eckhart, Scarlett Johansson, and Hilary Swank.
Next, Ellroy is set to pen the screenplay for Nicci French’s novel Land of the Living with Alessandro Camon to direct.
KURT WIMMER (Screenplay)
Kurt Wimmer is an American screenwriter and film director. Wimmer attended the University of South Florida and graduated with a BFA degree in Art History. He moved to Los Angeles where he worked for 12 years as a screenwriter adapting works such as SPHERE, starring Dustin Hoffman, and THE THOMAS CROWNE AFFAIR, starring Pierce Brosnan.
In 2002, Wimmer made his directorial debut, EQUILIBRIUM, starring Christian Bale and Emily Watson. More recently, he penned and directed the sci-fi thriller ULTRAVIOLET, featuring Milla Jovich.
Wimmer’s next project, LAW ABIDING CITIZEN, goes into production this summer and will be produced by Gerard Butler’s production company Evil Twins.
JAMIE MOSS (Screenplay)
Jamie Moss's screenplay LAST MAN HOME is in development at Universal with Imagine Entertainment producing. He is currently scripting a mob-origins story set in 19thcentury Italy for Warner Brothers, which Martin Scorsese is attached to direct. Upon completion, he is slated to begin work on the first live-action feature of the widely-acclaimed Japanese manga GHOST IN THE SHELL for Dreamworks with Avi & Ari Arad producing.
LUCAS FOSTER (Producer)
Lucas Foster has produced over two dozen feature films, including BAD BOYS, CRIMSON TIDE, DANGEROUS MINDS, THE MASK OF ZORRO, ENEMY OF THE STATE, MAN ON FIRE and MR. AND MRS. SMITH. All together, his movies have grossed more than two billion dollars in worldwide box office.
After attending Princeton University to study applied physics and UCLA for fine arts, Mr. Foster began his film career working on low-budget films for legendary cult producers such as Roger Corman and Charlie Band. He then transitioned to the studio side of the industry, becoming Executive Assistant to Frank Yablans of MGM/UA, and later to Alan Ladd Jr., the Chairman of MGM/UA.
Mr. Foster then moved full-force into motion picture development and production working for various producers, including Frank Yablans, Scott Rudin and Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. During this period, Mr. Foster helped find, acquire and develop the suspense thrillers FLATLINERS for Columbia Pictures, and the Tom Cruise/Sydney Pollack film THE FIRM, the latter while it was still an unpublished John Grisham manuscript.
At Simpson/Bruckheimer, Mr. Foster helped develop and produce THE REF, starring Denis Leary and Kevin Spacey, DANGEROUS MINDS, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, CRIMSON TIDE, starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman, and BAD BOYS, a film which kicked off the feature film careers of Will Smith, Martin Lawrence and director Michael Bay. In addition, Mr. Foster was involved in the development of THE ROCK, starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage, and ENEMY OF THE STATE, starring Will Smith and Gene Hackman.
After Simpson/Bruckheimer, Mr. Foster joined Ted Turner’s company, Turner Pictures, as Executive Vice-President of Production where he helped acquire and oversaw production of MICHAEL, starring John Travolta, and FALLEN, starring Denzel Washington.
In May of 1996 Mr. Foster started his own company, Warp Films, with an exclusive production deal at Columbia Pictures. Mr. Foster was heavily involved in the pre-production process of the Mandalay feature WILD THINGS before serving as a consultant and producer on the Amblin/Tri-Star adventure THE MASK OF ZORRO, starring Antonio Banderas, Anthony Hopkins and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Subsequently, Mr. Foster produced EQUILIBRIUM, directed by Kurt Wimmer and starring Christian Bale, MAN ON FIRE, directed by Tony Scott and starring Denzel Washington and Christopher Walken, the remake of WALKING TALL, starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson for MGM/UA, and ULTRAVIOLET, starring Milla Jovovich.
Mr. Foster’s most recent major release was MR. AND MRS. SMITH, which starred Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Vince Vaughn. Released by 20th Century Fox on June 10th 2005, the film grossed $478 million in theaters worldwide.
Besides STREET KINGS, Mr. Foster’s other 2008 release is JUMPER, which opened #1 at the Box Office around the world on February 14th. Starring Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson, JUMPER also re-teamed Mr. Foster with MR & MRS. SMITH director Doug Liman. Like STREET KINGS, JUMPER was produced for 20th Century Fox/New Regency.
In 2008, Mr. Foster will be producing two feature films: LAW ABIDING CITIZEN is from an original script from Kurt Wimmer and stars Gerard Butler (300, PS I LOVE YOU, NIM’S ISLAND) as a hotshot DA who confronts a shocking case from his past. The actiondrama TAXI WARS is set to shoot in South Africa with Djimon Hounsou (BLOOD DIAMOND, GLADIATOR) starring, and award winning commercial director Antony Hoffman at the helm.
ALEXANDRA MILCHAN (Producer)
After starting her career assisting Michael Mann and Oliver Stone, Alexandra worked as an executive at New Regency for 13 years, 10 of them in the film division. During her time there, she was involved with numerous film projects including COPYCAT, HEAT, A TIME TO KILL, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, DON’T SAY A WORD and RUNAWAY JURY.
Alexandra went on to serve as New Regency’s executive to Puma, supervising marketing, promotions, publicity, and product placement. She was also responsible for maintaining relationships with athletes, like Serena and Venus Williams.
Now a producer, Alexandra has projects all over town and keeps great relationships with all the major studios and agencies, as well as independent financiers like Overture, Miramax, Relativity and Lionsgate. Her first film was GOODBYE LOVER, directed by Roland Joffe and starring Patricia Arquette, Dermot Mulroney, Ellen DeGeneres, Mary-Louise Parker and Don Johnson.
Her current projects include RIGHTEOUS KILL, starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, CHAPTER 27, starring Lindsay Lohan and Jared Leto, THE LAST WORD, starring Winona Ryder, Wes Bentley and Ray Romano, MIRRORS, with Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton and Amy Smart, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS with Scarlett Johansson, and THE WOLF OF WALL STREET starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.
Alexandra is also developing many great projects, including MAN UNDER, which she is producing with Scott Rudin and Miramax is financing, and the prestigious THE CROWDED ROOM, a true story of Billy Milligan and his multiple personalities, which has drawn interest from top young actors. Variety recognized Alexandra’s achievements by naming her one of the “10 Producers to Watch” in 2007.
ERWIN STOFF (Producer)
Erwin Stoff has earned a reputation as a producer that rivals his existing three decade -long career as a personal manager. He been responsible for executive producing and producing numerous motion pictures including three - THE MATRIX, AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME and I AM LEGEND - which by themselves grossed $1.3 Billion worldwide. His experience as a producer has been a catalyst in the growth of 3 Arts as a hybrid management and production entity, which is distinguished for the artists it represents and its ability to continually be associated with commercially successful and artistically bold movies and television.
With a high-powered roster of talent including Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Ethan Hawke, Debra Messing and Francis Lawrence, among others. Stoff has been able to consistently match clients with projects, guiding the success of each. During his tenure at 3 Arts, he has produced or executive produced such movies as A SCANNER DARKLY, CONSTANTINE, GUESS WHO, PICTURE PERTFECT and DEVIL'S ADVOCATE. Stoff is currently working on THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.
ARNON MILCHAN (Executive Producer)
Arnon Milchan is widely renowned as one of the most prolific and successful independent film producers of the past 25 years, with over 100 feature films to his credit. Born in Israel, Milchan was educated at the University of Geneva. His first business venture was transforming his father’s modest business into one of his country’s largest agro-chemical companies. This early achievement was a harbinger of Milchan’s now-legendary reputation in the international marketplace as a keen businessman.
Soon, Milchan began to underwrite projects in areas that had always held a special interest for him – film, television and theater. Early projects include Roman Polanski’s theater production of Amadeus, Dizengoff 99, La Menace, The Medusa Touch and the mini-series “Masada.” By the end of the 1980s, Milchan had produced such films as Martin Scorsese’s THE KING OF COMEDY, Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON AT TIME IN AMERICA and Terry Gilliam’s BRAZIL.
After the huge successes of PRETTY WOMAN and THE WAR OF THE ROSES, Milchan founded New Regency Productions and went on to produce a string of successful films including J.F.K, SOMMERSBY, A TIME TO KILL, FREE WILLY, THE CLIENT, TIN CUP, UNDER SIEGE, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, THE DEVIL’S ADVOCATE, THE NEGOTIATOR, CITY OF ANGELS, ENTRAPMENT, FIGHT CLUB, BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE, DON’T SAY A WORD, DAREDEVIL, MAN ON FIRE, GUESS WHO, MR. AND MRS. SMITH, BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE 2, THE FOUNTAIN, ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS and JUMPER. Upcoming projects include: MIRRORS, starring Kiefer Sutherland and, WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher.
Along the way, Milchan brought on board two powerful investors and partners who share his vision: Nine Network and Twentieth Century Fox. Fox distributes Regency movies in all media worldwide, excluding US pay television and international pay and free television. Milchan also successfully diversified his company’s activities within the sphere of entertainment, most specifically in the realm of television through Regency Television (“Malcolm In The Middle,” “The Bernie Mac Show” and “Windfall”) and sports, where the company was at one time the largest shareholder of PUMA, the worldwide athletic apparel and shoe conglomerate based in Germany, which was later sold after a successful re-branding in 2003. In addition, Regency has acquired the worldwide television rights to Women's Tennis Association Tournaments from 1999 through 2011 and has licensed these rights to Pan European Broadcaster Eurosport S.A. Regency owns a large stake in the Israeli Network, a television station brought to the United States via a satellite distribution agreement with Echostar. Recently, Regency also acquired a large stake in Channel 10, one of only two commercial broadcast stations in Israel.
MICHELE WEISLER (Executive Producer)
Michele Weisler graduated with a degree in film from the University of Wisconsin, and quickly began her career as an intern working on Roger Corman’s horror movie THE NEST. Rising through the ranks of Corman’s Concorde Pictures, she co-produced over 20 feature films, including Jeff Porter’s THE LIAR’S CLUB.
Other executive producer credits include NOVOCAINE, starring Steve Martin, Laura Dern and Helena Bonham Carter, which opened the 2001 Toronto Film Festival; SOUL SURVIVORS starring Wes Bentley and Casey Affleck; STIR OF ECHOES starring Kevin Bacon; and as a co-producer on the DreamWorks family film PAULIE. Weisler also served as an associate producer on David Koepp’s directorial debut feature THE TRIGGER EFFECT starring Kyle MacLachlan, Elisabeth Shue and Dermot Mulrooney.
Her first major hit as Executive Producer came in 2002 on the twisted thriller THE RING directed by Gore Verbinski, where she was responsible for all the creative and financial matters of the film. Weisler repeated that success in 2005 as Executive Producer on THE RING 2 again for Dreamworks.
Currently, Weisler is in development on several projects including MOOCH, adapted from the gritty novel by Dan Fante and THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE adapted by Danny DeVito from the Newberry Award winning novel by Avi. Danny DeVito is attached to direct and Morgan Freeman, Pierce Brosnan and Dakota Fanning are attached to star. Also in development are, THINGS FALL APART, by Chinua Achebe, which will be directed by Academy Award nominee Deepa Mehta. Also in development is A LITTLE ORIGINAL SIN about the revered and illusive writer, Jane Bowles.
Weisler recently formed her own production company, White Iron Entertainment, alongside Julia Eisenman. They have partnered with Lori McCreary and Morgan Freeman of Revelations Entertainment on the project, YOU CAN’T WIN, the autobiography about the traveling renegade Jack Black. Additionally, Weisler set up the television series, “Minors,” about life in the minor leagues set in Nashville Tennessee with Ron Shelton attached to write and direct. Also in development, specifically for the White Iron slate are numerous projects that range in budget from $2 million to $6 million and cover genres from horror to comedy to drama.
BOB YARI (Executive Producer)
Bob Yari is the founder of Yari Film Group, one of Hollywood’s fastest growing independent studios with an annual production and release budget of over $300 million and a yearly slate of 10-15 films. In addition to his work with YFG, Bob also produces films as an individual producer.
Yari began his career in Hollywood after receiving a degree in Motion Picture Cinematography. After working for several years as a producer and director, Bob concentrated his efforts in the real estate industry.
His real estate ventures have included syndication, construction, and development of office towers, malls and residential complexes. Bob also is an owner and board member of the Mexmil Companies, an aerospace manufacturing group with over 1,000 employees worldwide.
Yari has produced over 35 features including CRASH, which won the Oscar for Best Picture. He also produced THE ILLUSIONIST, which was one of the top grossing independent films of 2006.
Yari Film Group’s upcoming titles include: THE ACCIDENTAL HUSBAND with Uma Thurman. KILLING PABLO, the story of the life and death of Cocaine Kingpin Pablo Escobar and ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT, a film-noir with Bruce Willis.
GABRIEL BERISTAIN, ASC/BSC (Director of Photography)
Gabriel Beristain was born in Mexico into a theatrical dynasty. His father, Luis Beristain, was a renowned lead actor of stage and screen whose last film was Luis Bunuel’s EXTERMINATING ANGEL. His interest in filmmaking began with his involvement in Mexico’s independent film scene in the seventies.
He worked as a documentary and newsreel cameraman throughout Europe, covering political, social and ecological issues. Accepted by the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, England, one of the top film schools in the world, he shot Jenny Wilkes’ Academy Award Winner for Best Foreign Student Film for MOTHER’S WEDDING.
The Berlin Film Festival honored him in 1987 with a Special Silver Bear for Outstanding Single Achievement in cinematography for Derek Jarman’s CARAVAGGIO.
Subsequent work in films like the multi-part ARIA, as the sole cinematographer of two segments, one of them for legendary director Ken Russell, earned him an invitation into the British Society of Cinematographers in 1990; a decade later he was invited into the prestigious American Society of Cinematographers, where’s he’s actively involved.
In 1991, after shooting K-2 in the Karakoram, he moved to the U.S. to work in cult classics like BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT and DOLORES CLAIBORNE. His cinematographer credits amount to over two dozen motion pictures and countless commercials and music videos. His was the look that launched Liv Tyler in her father’s videos, re-energized the filmography of David Mamet in THE SPANISH PRISONER and Guillermo Del Toro in BLADE 2 and broke new ground in films like S.W.A.T., THE RING 2, BLADE TRINITY and THE INVINSIBLE.
Gabriel Beristain is a member of AMPAS and BAFTA LA, and lives in Los Angeles with his photographer wife and their children.
ALEC HAMMOND (Production Designer)
Hammond designed the film FLIGHTPLAN, starring Jodie Foster and directed by Robert Schwentke, creating a next-generation Jumbo Jet from nose to tail.
His production design can also be seen the in the independent films SOUTHLAND TALES and DONNIE DARKO, both written and directed by Richard Kelly. He is currently production designer for Kelly’s third feature film THE BOX, starring Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella. Other credits include THE CONTENDER for director Rod Lurie, as well as Lurie’s first Television Pilot “Capital City.” He also designed the studio films FIRST DAUGHTER for director Forest Whitaker and the live action/animated feature, GARFIELD.
His television design credits include the series pilot “12 Miles of Bad Road” for HBO, with Lily Tomlin and Mary Kay Place and the “Wedding Chapel” pilot for Fox. His motion picture credits as an art director include THE CAT IN THE HAT, MEN IN BLACK II, K-PAX, AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME, LOST & FOUND and TINSELTOWN.
Prior to embarking on a film design career, Hammond was a theater set and costume designer, most recently designing To Kill a Mockingbird for the Intiman Theater. Previously he designed Scenery and Costumes for the stage directors Bartlett Sher, Joanne Akaliatis, James Bundy, Tazwell Thompson, and many others. He designs have been seen at Julliard, Yale Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, Williamstown Theater Festival, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Great Lakes Theater Festival and Off-Broadway.
He was awarded the inaugural Princess Grace Faberge Award in 1994, is a Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Amherst College and received his MFA at the Yale School of Drama where he was the Oneslagger Prize winner.
JEFFREY FORD, A.C.E. (Editor)
Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. was born in Novato, California. He attended the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.
He began his professional editing career in 1994 working as a dailies assistant on James Gray’s debut feature LITTLE ODESSA. In the years that followed he worked as Assistant Editor on several films including the Academy Award nominated AS GOOD AS IT GETS.
His first feature, THE YARDS, for director James Gray, premiered in competition at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. He went on to edit TEDDY BEARS’ PICNIC for director Harry Shearer, ONE HOUR PHOTO for director Mark Romanek, SHATTERED GLASS, for director Billy Ray, HIDE AND SEEK for director John Polson, and THE FAMILY STONE for director Thomas Bezucha. Most recently he re-teamed with writer-director Billy Ray to edit BREACH.
GRAEME REVELL (Music)
Since Graeme Revell first appeared on the film scoring scene with his chilling score to the Australian thriller DEAD CALM, he has become one of the most sought-after and innovative film composers in the world.
A keen observer of both traditional ethnic music and natural sound, Revell started his career after picking up on rhythms in patient vocalizations at an Australian mental hospital where he was working as an orderly. He incorporated recordings of the patients into his music. His experiments with recordings of insects and industrial machinery led him to create the early industrial rock band SPK.
He has collaborated with a wide range of filmmakers including George Miller, John Woo, Michael Mann, Ted Demme, Philip Noyce and Robert Rodriguez. Revell's film scoring career has covered a wide range of styles and genres for such films as THE CROW, CHINESE BOX (Winner-Best Score at the Venice Film Festival), THE NEGOTIATOR, DAREDEVIL, and SIN CITY.
Currently, Revell is in post-production on DAYS OF WRATH starring Laurence Fishburne and Taye Diggs.
JOHN HOULIHAN (Music Supervisor)
Houlihan is a veteran Music Supervisor who has helped shape the music of more than 45 feature films and dozens of popular soundtrack albums. Highlights include all three AUSTIN POWERS films, both CHARLIE’S ANGELS films, and TRAINING DAY. Houlihan has built a diverse set of credits with projects as varied as NACHO LIBRE, GET RICH OR DIE TRYIN’, 13 GOING ON 30, THE LAKE HOUSE, CHARLOTTE’S WEB, ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 and WAIST DEEP.
Houlihan’s work can next be seen in the Mike Myers project, THE LOVE GURU, due out this June.
SEASON KENT (Music Supervisor)
Kent just finished HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY due out this April. Others released this year include BONNEVILLE, starring Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates, and THE STRANGERS featuring Liv Tyler.
Kent began her career working alongside veteran Music Supervisor John Houlihan as Music Coordinator for over five years on many high profile films. Some highlights include THE LAKE HOUSE, 13 GOING ON 30, MISS CONGENIALITY 2: ARMED AND FABULOUS, CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE and AUSTIN POWERS: GOLDMEMBER.