Film: "Charlie Wilson's War"

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Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson/Produced by) holds the distinction of being the first actor in 50 years to be awarded back-to-back Best Actor Academy Awards®: in 1994 as the AIDS-stricken lawyer in Philadelphia and the following year as Forrest Gump.

He also won Golden Globes for both of these performances, along with his work in Big and Cast Away.

Born and raised in Oakland, California, Hanks became interested in acting during high school. He attended Chabot College in Hayward, California, and the California State University in Sacramento. At the invitation of artistic director Vincent Dowling, he made his professional debut portraying Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. He performed in that company for three seasons.

Moving to New York City in 1978, Hanks performed with the Riverside Shakespeare Company until getting a big break when he was teamed with Peter Scolari in the ABC television comedy series Bosom Buddies. This led to starring roles in Ron Howard’s Splash, Bachelor Party, Volunteers, The Money Pit and Nothing in Common.

In 1988, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association recognized his performances in both Big and Punchline, bestowing on Hanks their Best Actor Award. Roles followed in films such as A League of Their Own and Sleepless in Seattle. In 1996, Hanks made his feature film writing and directing debutwith That Thing You Do!. The film’s title song not only reached the top 10 in many contemporary musiccharts but was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Original Song.

After reteaming with Ron Howard in Apollo 13, Hanks served as an executive producer, writer, director and actor for HBO’s From the Earth to the Moon—an Emmy- winning 12-hour dramatic film anthology that explored the entire Apollo space program.

In 1998, Hanks starred in Steven Spielberg’s war drama Saving Private Ryan, for which he received his fourth Oscar® nomination. The following year he starred in The Green Mile, which was written and directed by Frank Darabont and is based on the six- part serialized novel by Stephen King.

In 2000, Hanks reunited with director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter William Broyles, Jr. in Cast Away, for which he received yet another Oscar® nomination.

In 2000, he served again with Steven Spielberg, as executive producer, writer and director for another epic HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers, based on Stephen Ambrose’s book. The miniseries aired in the fall of 2001 to wide-scale critical acclaim, leading to an Emmy Award and Golden Globe for the Best Miniseries in 2002.

In 2002, Hanks starred in Road to Perdition, opposite Paul Newman and Jude Law under Sam Mendes’ direction. It was followed by Spielberg’s stylish caper, Catch Me If You Can, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio, which was based on the true-life exploits of international confidence man Frank Abagnale, Jr.

Hanks teamed for a third time with Spielberg in The Terminal, opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and followed it with the Coen brothers’ dark comedy, The Ladykillers. In November 2004, Hanks starred in the film adaptation of the Caldecott Medal-winning children’s book “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg, which reunited him once again with director Robert Zemeckis.

In 2006, Tom was seen playing Robert Langdon in the film adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel “The Da Vinci Code,” helmed by Ron Howard and also starring Audrey Tautou, Paul Bettany, Ian McKellen and Jean Reno.


JULIA ROBERTS as Houston socialite Joanne Herring in the film that tells the raucous true story of the largest covert operation in history: "Charlie Wilson's War". Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel Copyright: © 2007 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Julia Roberts (Joanne Herring) recently made her Broadway debut in Richard Greenberg’s Three Days of Rain. She was the voice of Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web. She first worked with Mike Nichols in his film Closer and starred in Ocean’s Eleven and Twelve, directed by Steven Soderbergh, with the notorious ensemble cast of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Andy Garcia, et al. Previously, she appeared in Revolution Studios’ Mona Lisa Smile, George Clooney’s directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Full Frontal, her third role in a Steven Soderbergh film. She received an Academy Award® and a Golden Globe Award for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich, directed by Soderbergh.

Erin Brockovich followed the success of two box-office smashes: Notting Hill, directed by Roger Michell, in which she co-starred with Hugh Grant; and Runaway Bride, in which she was reunited with Richard Gere, her Pretty Woman co-star and their director, Garry Marshall.

Roberts starred in The Mexican, with her Ocean’s Eleven co-star Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini, and America’s Sweethearts, in which she starred alongside Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cusack and Hank Azaria.

Roberts has starred in many of Hollywood’s most successful films.

She first came to the attention of audiences with her critically acclaimed role in Mystic Pizza, then in Steel Magnolias, which led to her first Academy Award® nomination. Her next film, Pretty Woman, was the top-grossing film of 1990 and brought Roberts her second Academy Award® nomination. Her memorable performance in that film was followed by a series of notable films including Flatliners, Sleeping with the Enemy, Dying Young, The Pelican Brief and Something to Talk About.

Roberts also starred with Liam Neeson in Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins, and in Woody Allen’s romantic musical comedy Everyone Says I Love You. In 1997, she starred in the box-office smash My Best Friend’s Wedding, directed by P.J. Hogan and the Richard Donner-directed thriller Conspiracy Theory, co-starring Mel Gibson.

Following, Roberts starred opposite Susan Sarandon and Ed Harris in the Chris Columbus film Stepmom. Collectively, her films have grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide.


PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN as CIA agent Gust Avrakotos in the film that tells the raucous true story of the largest covert operation in history: "Charlie Wilson's War". Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel Copyright: © 2007 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

(Gust Avrakotos) recently completed filming on Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York, and can next be seen in Sidney Lumet’s Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead as well as the independent feature The Savages, with Laura Linney. He will also appear opposite Meryl Streep in the movie version of John Patrick Shanley’s play Doubt. He last appeared opposite Tom Cruise in the summer’s first big action thriller Mission: Impossible III.

Prior to that, Hoffman starred in the feature film Capote, which he executive-produced through his company, Cooper’s Town Productions. In addition to winning an Academy Award® for Best Actor, Hoffman earned a Golden Globe and SAG Award for his performance and was also honored by 18 critics’ groups. Additionally, he earned an Emmy nomination for his work in the HBO film Empire Falls, starring alongside Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward and Robin Wright Penn, among others.

Previous film credits include Cold Mountain, Along Came Polly, The Party’s Over, Owning Mahowny (which had its world premiere at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival), Red Dragon, Punch-Drunk Love, 25th Hour, Love Liza (which was written by his brother, Gordy Hoffman, who won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance, where the film premiered), Almost Famous, State and Main, Flawless (London Film Critics and SAG nomination for Best Actor), Magnolia (National Board of Review’s Best Supporting Actor Award and Ensemble SAG Award nomination), The Talented Mr. Ripley (National Board of Review’s Best Supporting Actor Award), Boogie Nights, Happiness (Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Male), Patch Adams, The Big Lebowski, Twister, Scent of a Woman and Nobody’s Fool. Hoffman is a member and co-artistic director of LAByrinth Theater Company.

His stage credits include: the recent off-Broadway run of Jack Goes Boating, Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations), The Seagull (The New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theater), True West (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations, Outer Critics Circle Award), Defying Gravity (The American Place Theatre), The Merchant of Venice (directed by Peter Sellars), Shopping and Fucking (New York Theatre Workshop) and The Author’s Voice (Drama Department, Drama Desk nominations).

His theatrical directorial credits include The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, In Arabia, We’d All Be Kings and Jesus Hopped The A Train, all written by Stephen Adly Guirgis for LAB. His production of A Train was produced to great acclaim off- Broadway, at the Edinburgh International Festival (Fringe First Award), at London’s Donmar Warehouse and then at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End. In addition, he directed LAB’s off-Broadway commercial production of Guirgis’ Our Lady of 121st Street at the Union Square Theatre (Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk nominations) and Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living at MCC Theater.


AMY ADAMS as Congressman Charlie Wilson's executive assistant, Bonnie Bach, in the film that tells the raucous true story of the largest covert operation in history: "Charlie Wilson's War". Photo Credit: Francois Duhamel Copyright: © 2007 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Academy Award®-nominated actress AMY ADAMS (Bonnie Bach), has built an impressive list of credits in a remarkably short period of time, challenging herself with each new role.

Adams most recently starred in Phil Morrison’s Junebug. This role earned her nominations for an Academy Award® and a SAG Award. She also won an Independent Spirit Award, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, a San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award, as well as the Breakthrough Gotham Award. Adams also won the Special Jury Prize for Acting at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival for her role as the pregnant, childlike Ashley, who is awestruck by the arrival of her glamorous sister-in-law.

Adams lent her voice to the live-action/CGI film Underdog, opposite Jason Lee and Peter Dinklage and directed by Frederik Du Chau, and starred with Will Ferrell in Columbia Pictures’ Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This comedy about the NASCAR world, directed by Adam McKay and co-written by Ferrell and McKay, was a box-office hit and critical favorite.

Adams will next be seen in Kevin Lima’s upcoming Enchanted, starring opposite

James Marsden, Idina Menzel, Patrick Dempsey and Susan Sarandon. Enchanted is a romantic fable that will mix live action with CG animation for Disney. She will also star with her Charlie Wilson’s War fellow actor, Emily Blunt, in the comedy Sunshine Cleaning.

Adam’s other film credits include Clare Kilner’s The Wedding Date, with Debra Messing and Dermot Mulroney; Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can; Reginald Hudlin’s Serving Sara; Anthony Abrams’ Pumpkin; Drop Dead Gorgeous; and Psycho Beach Party.

Adams recently guest-starred on several television series, including The Office and The West Wing. Once hailed by Daily Variety as the “busiest actor in Hollywood,” NED BEATTY (Doc Long) grew up in Kentucky, fishing and working on farms. St. Matthews, Kentucky is hardly the environment to encourage a career in the entertainment industry.

Accomplished in film, stage and television, Beatty has garnered praise from both critics and peers as a dedicated actor’s actor. He started as a professional performer at age 10 when he earned pocket money singing in gospel quartets and a barbershop. The big city and bright lights did not come easy, though. The first 10 years of Beatty’s career were spent at the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. He then moved on to the Erie Playhouse in Pennsylvania, the Playhouse Theater in Houston, Texas and the prestigious Arena Stage Company in Washington, D.C. He was also a member of Shakespeare in Central Park, Louisville, Kentucky. Later the actor appeared in the Broadway production of The Great White Hope. At the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, he won rave reviews when he starred in The Accidental Death of an Anarchist.

In 1971, Beatty was chosen by director John Boorman to play one of the intrepid river explorers in the hit film Deliverance. This marked the beginning of his prolific movie career, with films including Silver Streak; W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings, Network, for which he received an Academy Award® nomination as Best Supporting Actor; Nashville; Superman I and II; The Toy; All The President’s Men; Wise Blood; Restless Native; The Big Easy; The Passage; Switching Channels; Midnight Crossing; Purple People Eater; Time Trackers; Physical Evidence; Hear My Song, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor; Prelude to a Kiss; Just Cause; He Got Game; and Cookie’s Fortune. Most recently, Beatty completed The Walker, a Paul Schrader film also starring Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Willem Dafoe and Lily Tomlin, and appeared in Shooter, an Antoine Fuqua film starring Mark Wahlberg.

Beatty’s numerous television credits include three years on the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street; the miniseries Gulliver’s Travels; Streets of Laredo; The Boys; Trial: The Price of Passion; and The Last Days of Pompeii, with Laurence Olivier.

He received a Best Actor Emmy Award nomination for his performance in Friendly Fire, opposite Carol Burnett, and a Best Supporting Actor nomination for The Family Channel’s Last Train Home. Other notable credits include The Execution of Private Slovik, A Woman Called Golda, Pray TV, Robert Kennedy & His Times, Lockerbie and T Bone N Weasel. He also had a recurring role on Roseanne and performed musically on television specials for Dolly Parton and the Smothers Brothers.

In 2001, Beatty returned to his theatrical roots starring in London’s West End revival production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Brendan Fraser and Francis O’Connor. He also appeared in the production on Broadway from 2003 to 2004 with Jason Patric and Ashley Judd.

In 2006 Beatty garnered two Career Achievement in Acting Awards for his work in the indie film Sweet Land. He also received a Master of American Cinema at the RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C. Blessed with eight children, Beatty enjoys golf and playing the bass guitar. He gives himself until the age of 70 to become proficient at both.

OM PURI (President Zia) is one of India’s most respected and prolific screen personalities, having appeared in over 140 films throughout his career, and garnering many awards. In 1981, Puri won the National Film Award for Best Actor for the film Arohan, and in 1983, won Best Supporting Actor at the Filmfare Awards for his role in Aakrosh. Those awards were followed by Best Actor awards at National Film Awards and the Czechoslovakia International Film Festival for Ardh Satya.

Puri’s international film credits include Gandhi; City of Joy, opposite Patrick Swayze; Wolf, directed by Mike Nichols; The Ghost and the Darkness, starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer; My Son the Fanatic, opposite Rachel Griffiths; and East is East, for which he received nominations for Best Actor by the London Film Critics and the BAFTA Awards.

Puri recently finished work on the film Shoot on Sight, opposite Brian Cox and Sadie Frost, and is currently filming Wanted Dead and Alive for S.K. Films Enterprises and Sridevi Productions.

"Charlie Wilson's War" Index

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2007 Film Entertainment Magazine / All rights reserved.

Film Entertainment Magazine

Charlie Wilson's War:

The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times

by George Crile (Author)

From Publishers Weekly: Put the Tom Clancy clones back on the shelf; this covert-ops chronicle is practically impossible to put down. No thriller writer would dare invent Wilson, a six-feet-four-inch Texas congressman,liberal on social issues but rabidly anti-Communist, a boozer, engaged in serial affairs and wheeler-dealer of consummate skill. Only slightly less improbable is Gust Avrakotos, a blue-collar Greek immigrant who joined the CIA when it was an Ivy League preserve and fought his elitist colleagues almost as ruthlessly as he fought the Soviet Union in the Cold War's waning years. In conjunction with President Zia of Pakistan in the 1980s, Wilson and Arvakotos circumvented most of the barriers to arming the Afghan mujahideen-distance, money, law and internal CIA politics, to name a few. Their coups included getting Israeli-modified Chinese weapons smuggled into Afghanistan, with the Pakistanis turning a blind eye,and the cultivation of a genius-level weapons designer and strategist named Michael Vickers, a key architect of the guerrilla campaign that left the Soviet army stymied. The ultimate weapon in Afghanistan was the portable Stinger anti-aircraft missile, which eliminated the Soviet's Mi-24 helicopter gunships and began the train of events leading to the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and its satellites. A triumph of ruthless ability over scruples, this story has dominated recent history in the form of blowback: many of the men armed by the CIA became the Taliban's murderous enforcers and Osama bin Laden's protectors. Yet superb writing from Crile, a 60 Minutes producer, will keep even the most vigorous critics of this Contra-like affair reading to the end.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal
A longtime Sixty Minutes producer investigates the expenditure of what eventually amounted to $1 billion a year to support Afghanistan's Mujahideen in their battle against the Soviets.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

• Paperback: 560 pages
• Publisher: Grove Press (April 22, 2004)
• Language: English

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