Film Entertainment Magazine

"Night at the Museum"

(Photo: left) Director Shawn Levy and star Ben Stiller confer on the set of NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. Photo credit: Doane Gregory

SHAWN LEVY (Director/Producer) is one of the most commercially successful film directors of the past decade. Levy has honed his craft, seamlessly weaving comedy and heart into captivating stories that resonate with audiences. His youthfully enthusiastic approach to filmmaking is evident in the storylines and characters he creates – reflecting his joyful intensity for each project at hand.

Levy is currently developing several films to produce through his production company, 21 Laps Entertainment, which is housed at Fox. These projects include The Rocker, Father Figure, and Back Magick for Fox; Me, Me, Me at New Line; and The Talent Thief for Universal.

Levy directed the 2006 hit comedy The Pink Panther, starring Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Beyoncé Knowles, and Jean Reno. He also produced Cheaper By The Dozen 2, the sequel to his blockbuster comedy, Cheaper By The Dozen, which he directed. Starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Ashton Kutcher and Hilary Duff, the film was released Christmas Day 2003 and went on to gross more than $138m domestically.

Levy directed the hit romantic comedy Just Married, starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy. The surprise-hit film grossed over $100m worldwide. In 2002, Levy directed the family comedy Big Fat Liar, for Universal Pictures with Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes. 

On the television front, in 2006 Levy launched the series “Pepper Dennis,” starring Rebecca Romijn. Levy served as executive producer of the series, which aired on The WB. He also directed the pilot episode. He currently has an overall television deal with Twentieth Television, through which he is developing the pilots, “The Institution” and “Swim Team.”

Levy graduated at the age of 20 from the Drama Department of Yale University.  He later studied film in the Masters Film Production Program at USC where he produced and directed the short film Broken Record.  This film won the Gold Plaque at the Chicago Film Festival, in addition to being selected to screen at the Director’s Guild of America.

Following his well-received student film, Levy spent several years directing, writing and executive producing for television.  His pilots for “The Famous Jett Jackson,” “So Weird,” “In A Heartbeat” (all for The Disney Channel) and “Caitlin’s Way” (Nickelodeon) were all picked up for series. Shawn spent two seasons as the executive producer of the hit Disney Channel series “The Famous Jett Jackson.” The series, for which Levy also wrote and directed several episodes, culminated in the award winning telefilm “Jett Jackson: The Movie,” which Levy produced and directed.

CHRIS COLUMBUS (Producer) is a major force in contemporary Hollywood filmmaking. From his anarchic, genre-bending 1980s classics Gremlins and The Goonies to the recent blockbuster Harry Potter films — which are among the most successful book-to-screen adaptations of all time.

Columbus was born in Spangler, Pennsylvania and grew up outside of Youngstown, Ohio. As a youngster, he aspired to draw cartoons for Marvel Comics and eventually made the connection between comic books and movie storyboards. In high school, he began making his own homegrown 8mm films and drawing his own storyboards (which he continues to this day). After high school, he enrolled in the Directors Program at New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts.

Columbus first attained success as a screenwriter. While still in college, he sold his first script Jocks, a semi-autobiographical comedy about a Catholic schoolboy who tries out for a football team. After graduating from NYU, Columbus wrote a small town drama entitled Reckless (1984), based on his experiences as a factory worker in Ohio. The film was directed by James Foley and starred Aidan Quinn and Daryl Hannah.

Columbus gained prominence in Hollywood writing several original scripts produced by Steven Spielberg. The back-to-back hits of the Joe Dante-directed Gremlins (1984) and The Goonies (1985), helmed by Richard Donner, were decade-defining films that intertwined high notes of offbeat, edgy, often outrageous humor against more classic adventure-thriller backdrops. He next wrote the fantasy adventure Young Sherlock Holmes, which was directed by Barry Levinson.

These screenwriting achievements led Columbus to directing his first feature, Adventures in Babysitting (1987) starring Elisabeth Shue. A meeting with John Hughes brought Columbus to the helm of Home Alone (1990), the first of three collaborations. Home Alone and its hugely successful follow-up, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, were universal in appeal and launched the career of Macaulay Culkin. Only the Lonely (1991), a bittersweet comedy-drama directed by Columbus from his own screenplay, was praised for featuring one of the late John Candy’s best performances, and for the return of legendary star Maureen O’Hara to the screen.

Columbus’ smash hit comedy Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) starring Robin Williams and Sally Field, bent genders as well as genres, to great critical and public success. Columbus directed another comedy Nine Months (1995), with Hugh Grant and Julianne Moore, before turning to drama with Stepmom (1998) starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon.

Columbus faced a daunting task when he was called upon to direct Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001), the first film based on J.K. Rowling’s monumentally successful series of books. With millions of avid and sometimes fanatical readers — both young and old — in a high state of expectation and anticipation, Columbus cast completely inexperienced youngsters Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint in the leading roles as Harry Potter and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Once again, he demonstrated his facility for nurturing and cultivating young talent and turning them into natural screen performers.

The success of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was followed by Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), which once again met with huge box office success. He served as producer on the recent Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and directed last year’s film version of the Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical RENT.

MICHAEL BARNATHAN (Producer) is President of 1492 Pictures, in which he is a producing partner with Chris Columbus and Mark Radcliffe. The company was formed in May 1994 and has a first look deal with Warner Bros. Barnathan has served as producer on Nine Months, Jingle All the Way, Stepmom, Cheaper by the Dozen, Christmas with the Kranks, Fantastic Four and most recently RENT. He also served as executive producer for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Prior to joining 1492 Pictures, Barnathan was Senior Vice President of Production at Largo Entertainment for four years. His responsibilities included supervision of both development and production of Largo’s films. Barnathan served as executive producer on Used People and supervised such productions as Point Break, Dr. Giggles, Judgment Night and The Getaway.

Before joining Largo, Barnathan spent seven years working for Edgar J. Scherick Associates. For his last two years with Scherick he served as Executive Vice President of Production. During his tenure, he produced and executive produced numerous cable movies, movies of the week and mini-series, including “The Kennedys of Massachusetts,” which received nine Emmy nominations.

ROBERT BEN GARANT (Screenplay) with his partner, Thomas Lennon, has written the comedies Herbie: Fully Loaded, The Pacifier starring Vin Diesel, Taxi starring Queen Latifah – and the upcoming feature comedy Reno 911!: Miami, based on the hit Comedy Central series on which her serves as co-creator, executive producer and star.

Garant is currently making his directorial debut with his screenplay Balls of Fury for New Line.

Garant is an executive producer, writer and star of the Comedy Central show “RENO: 911!” He performed with the comedy sketch troupe The State in the early nineties in New York City. The group went on to critical success with their self-titled hit series on MTV. “The State” was nominated for a 1995 CableACE award for Best Comedy Series and ran for three seasons. With Lennon, Garant then created, produced, wrote and occasionally starred in Comedy Central’s “Viva Variety,” which was an instant critical smash for the new network, and received a CableACE nomination for Best Comedy Series in 1997 and enjoyed three successful seasons.

THOMAS LENNON (Screenplay), with his partner, Ben Garant, has written the comedies Herbie: Fully Loaded, The Pacifier starring Vin Diesel,Taxi starring Queen Latifah – and the upcoming feature comedy Reno 911!: Miami, based on the hit Comedy Central series on which her serves as co-creator, executive producer and star.

Lennon began his career as a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts’ experimental theater wing, where he co-founded the sketch comedy troupe “The State.” The group went on to critical success with their self-titled hit series on MTV, with Lennon one of its stars, producers and writers. “The State” was nominated for a 1995 CableACE award for Best Comedy Series and ran for three seasons. Lennon then created, produced and starred in Comedy Central’s “Viva Variety,” which was an instant critical smash for the new network, and received a CableACE nomination for Best Comedy Series in 1997 and enjoyed three successful seasons.

Lennon is the co-creator, executive producer and star of the Comedy Central show “RENO 911!” Lennon has had guest roles on NBC’s “Friends,” “Jesse” and “MDs,” and he also co-created and starred in the pilot “Hey Neighbor!” for Fox Television. Lennon has appeared in the films “Memento,” “Out Cold,” “A Guy Thing,” “How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days” and “Le Divorce.”

MARK RADCLIFFE (Producer), who served as producer on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and executive producer on both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, continued his long-term collaboration with Chris Columbus as producer on RENT. He previously served as producer on the box office hits Mrs. Doubtfire, Stepmom, Fantastic Four, Nine Months, Christmas with the Kranks and Jingle All the Way, having also been executive producer on Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, co-producer of Only the Lonely and associate producer and assistant director on Home Alone. He and Columbus first worked together on Heartbreak Hotel.

A native of Oklahoma, Radcliffe began his film career as assistant director on the Francis Ford Coppola production The Escape Artist. He later worked for Coppola on Rumblefish and Peggy Sue Got Married. Other credits include assistant director on John Hughes’ She’s Having a Baby and Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Jerry Zucker’s Ghost, Donald Petrie’s Mystic Pizza and Paul Schrader’s Light of Day.

GUILLERMO NAVARRO, ASC (Director of Photography) was born and raised in Mexico City. He moved to France to work as an apprentice and assistant to director of photography Ricardo Aronovich, AFC. Upon his return to Mexico, Navarro shot the critically acclaimed film Cabeza de Vaca, for director Nicolas Echeverria, earning a Best Cinematography award from the Mexican Academy. The movie was also Mexico’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards. Navarro moved to Los Angeles and has frequently collaborated with directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino on such films as Desperado, Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn and Jackie Brown.

Navarro credits also include a number of action and effects movies including The Long Kiss Goodnight, Zathura, Spawn and Stuart Little. He has enjoyed a long-time collaboration with Guillermo Del Toro and served as cinematographer on Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy.

CLAUDE PARÉ (Production Designer) was honored with an Academy Award, BAFTA and LAFCA (Los Angeles Film Critics Association) Awards for Best Art Direction for The Aviator, on which he served as supervising art director. Prior to The Aviator, he served as supervising art director on Roland Emmerich’s blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow.

In 2002, Paré art directed Beyond Borders starring Angelina Jolie and Clive Owen. He served as supervising art director on Frank Oz’s The Score, starring Robert De Niro, Marlon Brando and Edward Norton; The Sum Of All Fears, starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman; Battlefield Earth starring John Travolta and Forest Whittaker; The Bone Collector starring Denzel Washington; and 7 Years In Tibet, starring Brad Pitt.

Paré, a native of Montreal, served as production designer on the Canadian features This Is My Father, Les Boys, La Comtesse De Baton Rouge and Rainbow; and as supervising art director on Grey Owl, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Piece Brosnan.

DON ZIMMERMAN, A.C.E.’s (Editor) recent feature film editing credits include Fun With Dick And Jane, Flight Of The Phoenix, The Cat In The Hat and Just Married. Zimmerman also cut the Fox feature A Walk In The Clouds (shared credit) and served as editor on Nutty Professor, Liar, Liar, Half Baked, Patch Adams and Dragonfly.

His early work as a film editor includes two of Hal Ashby’s classic films: Being There starring Peter Sellers and Coming Home starring Jon Voigt and Jane Fonda. He went on to cut Sylvester Stallone’s starring vehicles Rocky III and Rocky IV (shared credit).

Zimmerman also served as editor on the feature films Friends for Norman Jewison; Roxanne for Fred Schepisi; Prince Of Tides, directed by Barbra Streisand; Everyone is All-American, Fatal Beauty, Navy Seals, Diggstown, Indecent Proposal, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Scout.

JIM RYGIEL (VFX Director/Additional Second Unit Director) collaborated with Peter Jackson, as VFX Supervisor on all three installments of the Academy Award and BAFTA winning The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. He also served as 2nd Unit Director (uncredited) on The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, the final installment of J.R. Tolkien’s epic fable. Rygiel was honored with the AFI Digital Effects Artist award for the first episode in the trilogy and the two latter episodes received Visual Effect Society Awards for Best Visual Effects in an Effects Driven Movie.

Rygiel previously designed the visual effects for the feature Click starring Adam Sandler. He served as visual effects supervisor on Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers, Jonathan Frakes’ Star Trek: Insurrection, Species starring Ben Kingsley and Wolfgang Peterson’s Outbreak, starring Dustin Hoffman, Renee Russo, Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman.

Earlier in his career, Rygiel served as digital supervisor on the VFX-laden action adventures, Batman Returns, Last Action Hero, Cliffhanger and Last Of The Mohicans.

RENEE APRIL (Costume Designer) most recently designed costumes for Marcus Nispel’s fantasy epic about Vikings and American Indians, Pathfinder, and for Darren Aranofsky’s time-traveling story The Fountain. She previously worked with director Roland Emmerich on the Fox blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal. She also designed the costumes for the award winning drama Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, starring George Clooney, Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore; and in a lighter vein April worked with director Bill Paxton on the sports drama The Greatest Game Every Played.

April earlier collaborated with director Alan Rudolph on the acclaimed period dramas The Moderns and Mrs. Parker And The Vicious Circle, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Matthew Broderick. Her other film credits include, Children Of A Lesser God, starring William Hurt and Marlee Matlin; Agnes Of God, directed by Norman Jewison and starring Jane Fonda and Meg Tilly; Black Robe, directed by Bruce Beresford and the critically acclaimed independent from Working Title Films Map Of The Human Heart.

April is a native of Montreal whose Canadian film credits include the critically acclaimed Red Violin, starring Samuel Jackson and Greta Scacchi; and Grey Owl, starring Pierce Brosnan, which garnered April the Genie Award (Canadian Oscar) for Achievement In Costume Design. April also received a Genie for her work on The Bay Boy, starring Liv Ullman and Kiefer Sutherland, and was nominated for a Genie on Pen Densham’s The Kiss, starring Joanna Pacula.

ALAN SILVESTRI (Music) recently received an Oscar® nomination and won a Grammy for the song “Believe” written for Robert Zemickis’ Polar Express. He formerly earned nominations from both the Academy and the Golden Globes for Best Score for Zemeckis' Forrest Gump. In addition to Polar Express and Forrest Gump, he has scored many other motion pictures for director Zemeckis including Cast Away, What Lies Beneath, Contact, Romancing the Stone, all three Back to the Future films, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Death Becomes Her.

Silvestri's other recent credits include The Wild, Van Helsing, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Identity, Maid in Manhattan, The Mummy Returns, The Mexican, Stuart Little and Stuart Little 2, Lilo and Stitch and Serendipity. Among his additional film credits are What Women Want, Reindeer Games, Star Trek: Insurrection, Practical Magic, The Parént Trap, Mousehunt, Volcano, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Eraser, Sgt. Bilko, Grumpier Old Men, Father of the Bride Part II, Judge Dredd, The Perez Family, The Quick and the Dead, Richie Rich, Blown Away, The Bodyguard, Grumpy Old Men, Judgment Night, Super Mario Brothers, FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Father of the Bride, Shattered, Ricochet, Soapdish, Predator 2, Young Guns II, The Abyss, Overboard, Predator, Outrageous Fortune, Flight of the Navigator, Clan of the Cave Bear, American Anthem and Fandango.

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