Film: 2009: February: "Pink Panther 2"

"Pink Panther 2" Movie Production Notes

Photo: Steve Martin stars in MGM Pictures and Columbia Pictures' comedy THE PINK PANTHER 2. Photo By: Peter Iovino © 2008 Columbia Tristar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Pink Panther 2, the sequel to the 2006 worldwide hit, stars Steve Martin as he reprises the role of intrepid-if-bumbling French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. 

When legendary treasures from around the world are stolen, including the priceless Pink Panther Diamond, Chief Inspector Dreyfus (John Cleese) is forced to assign Clouseau to a team of international detectives and experts charged with catching the thief and retrieving the stolen artifacts.  Martin is joined by his co-stars Jean Reno (as Ponton, his partner) and Emily Mortimer (as Nicole, the object of his awkward affections).  The investigative dream team is played by Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki (Letters from Iwo Jima) and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.  Lily Tomlin also stars.  The story is set in Paris and Rome.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures and Columbia Pictures present a Robert Simonds production, The Pink Panther 2.  The film stars Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Alfred Molina, Emily Mortimer, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Andy Garcia, with Lily Tomlin and John Cleese.  Directed by Harald Zwart.  Produced by Robert Simonds.  Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber and Steve Martin.  Story by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber.  Based on the Pink Panther films of Blake Edwards.  Based on characters created by Maurice Richlin & Blake Edwards.  Executive Producers are Ira Shuman and Shawn Levy.  Director of Photography is Denis Crossan, BSC.  Production Designer is Rusty Smith.  Editor is Julia Wong.  Costume Designer is Joseph G. Aulisi.  Music is by Christophe Beck.

The Pink Panther 2 is rated PG for some suggestive humor, brief mild language, and action.  The film will be released in theaters nationwide on February 6, 2009.

STEVE MARTIN IS BACK AS INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU

After Steve Martin successfully reinvigorated the legendary Pink Panther comedy franchise in the 2006 hit The Pink Panther, a sequel became a happy consequence for the actor. “I love playing Clouseau,” says Martin.  “I had to brush up on the accent a bit, but other than that, it was like a visit from a familiar friend.  This role gives me a chance to do broad physical comedy; Clouseau is truly an exaggerated character, innocent and childlike.  At the same time, he thinks he’s on top of every situation, which I think is always funny.  So when the opportunity for the sequel came along, naturally, the answer was yes.”

Producer Robert Simonds observes that Martin is the film’s not-so-secret weapon.  “Steve completely embodies this character, bringing so much more to it than is even on the page – and since he co-wrote the script, there’s a tremendous amount on the page as is,” he says.  “We would not have made a sequel if Steve weren’t driving it.  He understands Clouseau.  He writes for Clouseau.  He creates the world. Part of the burden of doing a sequel is that you must make it bigger, better, funnier, fresher than the first one.  We’ve worked really hard to make sure that we’ve taken the characters, the sense of fun and everything that we liked about the first movie to the next level.”

“Steve brings Clouseau a really interesting combination of vulnerability and self-assurance,” Simonds continues.  “He’s got a gift for physical comedy, but he is also incredibly erudite. He possesses an incredibly sophisticated sense of humor with an underbelly of big laughs. Just as importantly, his comedy is ironic and smart but never mean-spirited.  All the comedy in the Pink Panther films is at the expense of Clouseau, who is simply trying to maintain his dignity in all these situations.  Thanks to Steve’s performance, not only is the movie very funny, but audiences are emotionally invested in Clouseau.” 

Director Harald Zwart adds, “People love Clouseau.  He has a huge heart, and though he makes a lot of mistakes, it all comes from naïve clumsiness.  He’s always trying his best – it’s just that his best is never good.”

Emily Mortimer, who is back for seconds as Nicole – the object of Clouseau’s awkward affections – notes that the two films with Martin as Clouseau fit in perfectly with the rest of the franchise.  “This character that resonated in the 1960s still has an appeal now.  There’s something about this complete nincompoop who manages to save the day that people find appealing.”

“What Steve’s done, which is so brilliant, is not to do an homage to Peter Sellers but to retain the spirit of Clouseau and keep the very best of it – the essence of it,” says Alfred Molina, who joins the cast as Pepperidge, a member of the Dream Team of detectives that forms when the master thief, The Tornado, comes out of retirement to steal the world’s most famous treasures.  “He’s taken the character and our collective memory of the character and made it his own.”

Not everyone is as enamored with the qualities of the character. “I have met people like Clouseau in England,” says John Cleese.  “We call them ‘pronoid’ – the opposite of paranoid.  They think that everyone likes them and is on their side, when there is no evidence for this whatsoever.  And I think Clouseau is like that. Clouseau has no idea that people can’t stand him – he doesn’t realize he’s a pest.”

It’s hard to deny that the overzealous Clouseau can be a pest, but the actor playing him is altogether admired by his colleagues.   “I love working with Steve,” beams Simonds, with whom Martin also worked on Cheaper by the Dozen.  “He’s a brilliant man.  He’s smart, he’s honorable, he’s hardworking, and he’s ferociously committed to making every joke as fresh as it could possibly be.”

Jean Reno emphasizes, “It’s not only the character that made me want to return as Ponton, it’s the friendship between Steve Martin and myself.  I like him very much as an actor, a human being, and a philosopher, as an artist in fact. He’s somebody who knows completely the work of being an actor and making people laugh.  We made a great team in the first Pink Panther, so I was very happy to make this movie with him, to be part of the adventure, to be Ponton again.”

 

“Steve is just fabulous and I definitely have a Nicole-type crush on him in real life,” says Mortimer.  “He loves the experience of being Clouseau – it’s infectious.  It’s a real pleasure and an honor just to watch him do his stuff.  What’s interesting is that he’ll play Clouseau, then – after the director calls ‘cut,’ the real Steve is an incredibly sophisticated, serious person who knows everything about art and writes novels and for the New Yorker!  How much more grown-up can you get than that?”  

 

“I think Steve has the greatest comedy mind of anyone I’ve met,” says John Cleese.  “When I was editing A Fish Called Wanda, he came to one of the viewings and when we went out to dinner afterwards, gave me the best set of notes that anyone gave me in my life.  So this is a man with a great comedy mind. We are always saying how suddenly you see part of his genius--how he delivered the sentence and how he created a moment, a magical moment, and then you laugh and you don’t know why.”

 

Helming the production is Harald Zwart.  “The Pink Panther is a franchise that everyone is familiar with,” he says.  “The approach to this film, with the dream team of detectives sparring with Clouseau, was fantastic, and I know that Steve was even more familiar with the character this time around.  For all those reasons, it was an exciting project.”

 

 

THE ON-SCREEN DREAM TEAM

 

The filmmakers hit upon the idea of accentuating Clouseau’s bumbling by surrounding him with a dream team of detectives from around the world.  “I think Clouseau seems funniest when he’s surrounded by highly competent, really smart people,” observes Simonds. 

 

An esteemed international cast has been assembled for The Pink Panther 2.  In addition to Jean Reno and Emily Mortimer, who return to their roles as Ponton and Nicole, respectively, several highly respected and funny actors join the cast, including John Cleese, Lily Tomlin, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki, and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

 

“The entire cast is very generous,” says Jean Reno.  “We each felt we were lucky to be a part of the collaboration.  Everybody was in the same mood, everybody was on top of their game.”

 

Alfred Molina agrees; “It was a very collaborative atmosphere.  Somebody would come up with an idea and we’d say, ‘Oh yeah, let’s try that.’”

 

 

Ponton and Nicole

 

It was very important to the filmmakers that the actors playing Ponton and Nicole, Clouseau’s two closest associates, return for The Pink Panther 2.  Clouseau’s relationships with both, now clearly established, are developed in the sequel in funny and touching ways.  Steve Martin says, “Though Jean and Emily aren’t necessarily known for comedy, they both do it really well.” 

 

Reno says that the setup of The Pink Panther 2 kept Ponton’s relationship with Clouseau open for many comedic possibilities.  When his wife throws him out of the house for seeming to care more about work that his family life, Ponton moves into Clouseau’s bachelor pad (along with his two boys and dog).  “Suddenly,” notes Reno, “the two men are pushed into Odd Couple territory.  Somebody is coming to your house with the two kids, the dog, and completely making a revolution to your life.  But, I think, nobody can really enter into the interior life of the character of Jacques Clouseau.  Ponton knows that you must respect this or otherwise you break the dream, you break the fantasy of Jacques Clouseau, who is something untouchable.” 

 

Producer Robert Simonds observes, “Jean Reno is one of the most soulful people you’ll ever meet.  He’s able to convey so much with just a twinkle in his eye.” 

 

Though he cuts an imposing figure, Reno is regarded by his castmates as one of the kindest and funniest people on set.  “Jean Reno and I remained good friends after the first movie.  I love him,” says Martin.  “He’s a delightful guy who is always joking and kidding around.”

 

“Every day, he said ‘good morning’ to me in Japanese – he speaks a lot of Japanese,” notes Matsuzaki. “Jean is well known in Japan as a very cool, very serious action-hero type, but actually, he is a nice, funny man.  Up until the moment Harald calls for ‘Action’, Jean tries to entertain us, to make us relax.”

 

Emily Mortimer also returns to play Nicole in the sequel.  The Nicole-Clouseau relationships heats up in 2, flamed on one side by the jealousy fueled by Vicenzo’s attentions and on the other by the betrayal Nicole feels when she walks into her own office and finds Sonia in Clouseau’s arms (even if he was only comforting her!).

 

Mortimer says that stepping into the role of Nicole doesn’t require quite as much acting as she lets on.  “It is worryingly easy to access my inner Nicole,” she says.  “There’s definitely a side to me that’s Nicole-esque.  Although I pretend not to be, I’m slightly hapless myself.  On the set, one of the actors would say to me, ‘Oh, I loved what you did in that scene – it was so funny,’ and I’ll have this moment where I realize that whatever it was, I hadn’t done it on purpose.”

 

Of course, by identifying with her character, Mortimer raises the comic potential in every scene.  “Everything in the movie is slightly ridiculous, but if you can relate to what Nicole is going through on a real level, it heightens the scene.  Nicole is in love with Clouseau and isn’t sure if he loves her back.  They’re both protecting themselves from their real feelings.  Steve and I play the scenes between them with both feet off the ground – when you understand that Nicole is just a girl in love, it’s easy to tap into her emotions.”

 

Producer Simonds says that though Mortimer sees herself as part of the antics, she actually provides an in-road for the audience.  “Emily is so bewitching and charming.  Her character is so grounded, she becomes Clouseau’s emotional tether in the film.  She does such an unbelievable job of being in love with this out-of-control character that she becomes the access for the audience.” 

 

Dreyfus

 

Taking on the role of the Clouseau-hater Chief Inspector Dreyfus is comedy legend John Cleese.  “I think there’s something funny about a man who is quite clearly and genuinely bright and competent and in charge of his life, who, through terribly bad luck, is constantly bested by someone who is a bumbling incompetent.  When they came and asked me to play Dreyfus, I thought, how do I do this?  And then I thought of my predecessors, Herbert Lom and Kevin Kline, and, well, they were both dreadful, so I’ll just try and do it reasonably well.  And people have noticed the difference!”

 

Kidding aside, Cleese says it was a pleasure to be a part of a Pink Panther movie.  “I’m old enough to remember going to a cinema in Leicester Square to see the first Pink Panther – and thinking it was just so sophisticated.  Claudia Cardinale, Cappucine, David Niven, and of course, Sellers, who’s a comedy genius.  The English have always found the French accent very funny – I don’t know why.”

 

“I had Steve Martin and John Cleese – two of the biggest comedic geniuses – together on the monitor on the set of a film I was directing.  I had to pinch myself,” says Zwart.  “But you’ve got to watch out for John Cleese  There were practical jokes all the time on the set.”

 

“It is personally an unbelievable experience to get to work with John,” says Simonds. “He plays pompous funnier and better than anybody – as Dreyfus, he couldn’t be more perfect.  Watching him and Steve, two comedy legends playing off each other, was a complete blast.”

 

The Detectives

 

Joining the cast to play the dream team of detectives are Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Yuki Matsuzaki, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

 

Garcia plays Vicenzo, an Italian detective who joins the team after the Shroud of Turin falls into the hands of The Tornado, the master thief stealing the world’s most famous artifacts.

 

“I love doing comedy,” says Garcia.  “My early training and experiences on stage in Los Angeles were in improvisational comedy groups and troupes – it’s something I enjoy very much.  So when this opportunity came up – knowing that I would be involved not only with Steve and Jean and Emily, but Alfred and Lily and John Cleese – it was something I wanted to do.”

 

“Andy is a blast,” praises Simonds.  “His character, Vicenzo, is a formidable playboy; when Andy walks onto the set, he’s got such a sense of power and control that without him having to even open his mouth he exudes his character.”

 

His co-stars praise his dedication and wit. When I first met Andy I thought he’d be a really serious guy,” says Matsuzaki, “but when I have scene with him, or even when he’s off camera, he takes care to help his fellow actors be good on film.” 

 

Alfred Molina plays Pepperidge, “a very British, stiff character,” he says.  “His expertise is in forensic science and deduction.

 

“I really wanted him to wear heavy tweeds,” says Molina, hinting that the clothes would make the man.  “Joe Aulisi, our costume designer, wanted to be sure I was OK with wearing such heavy clothes in Boston in the summertime.  As it turned out, we were there in late September and when those fall breezes started shooting up the river, I was fine.”

 

Alfred is wicked and wonderful and just so amiable—he’s a special person,” says Rai Bachchan.  “He’s a great, wonderful actor, which is obvious from the varied performances he has given, and then again, he’s just spontaneously funny.”

 

Rai Bachchan plays Sonia, the surprise addition to the dream team as an  intriguing expert on the life of The Tornado.  Rai Bachchan, one of the biggest stars in India and often considered one of the most beautiful women in the world, is set to breakthrough as a huge star in America and around the world. 

 

“Aishwarya,” smiles Jean Reno, “the green eyes, the beauty!  Wow.  The surprise it is that she has a big sense of humor, always laughing, which is fantastic for a beautiful woman.  And she is always ready to act.”

 

Rai Bachchan points out that Sonia, a writer and authority on the Tornado, is a valuable asset.  “Since Clouseau and his dream team are on the lookout for the Tornado, they perceive her as someone who would have valuable knowledge.  She thereby slides in and becomes one of them – a welcome member of the team.  It’s neat and smooth.”

 

“You’ll see her in person, and you say, ‘Wow, that’s a really beautiful girl,” observes Simonds, “and then you look at the monitor and she’s translucent. I can’t imagine anybody who we would have had play Sonia other than her.  She is so charming, intelligent, funny and powerful – she lights up the whole frame.”

 

Reinforcing that the Clouseau series of films are an international phenomenon, Rai Bachchan emphasizes that this film “is familiar terrain; people know The Pink Panther in India.  In fact, when I was cast, there was a spontaneous reaction from people where they were just happy for me be a part of this film.” 

 

Did the Indian movie star find shooting an American film in Paris and Boston very different from moviemaking at home in India?  “No, I have never looked at it as different.  I think each experience remains individual depending on the director and the core team members that make the movie—irrespective of the language it’s being made in.” 

 

Yuki Matsuzaki rounds out the team as Kenji, who he describes as “a Japanese detective who’s a specialist in computer programming and computer security systems. Sure, he is a computer geek (in Japanese we say ‘otaku’), but he doesn’t think of himself that way.  It’s just a usual thing for him and he tends to think that other people can understand everything he understands.  He gets so excited when he’s found some facts and wants to share the joy of it, but other people can’t understand at all.”

 

“Yuki is very sweet, genuine, respectful and enthusiastic,” praises Rai Bachchan.  “It’s so nice to see someone who is this excited about his work, so willing to contribute and be a team member.  That kind of spontaneity and innocence is special and it would be wonderful to see him be able to retain it.”

 

Matsuzaki performed some behind-the-scenes roles in the film, crafting the front page of the Japanese newspaper used to announce the great thefts as well as helping the actors playing Japanese news reporters perfect the dialogue spoken in his native language.

 

 

Martin and Tomlin

 

The Pink Panther 2 marks the reunion of Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin, two great American comic actors.  Simonds recalls, “I was unaware that Steve and Lily hadn’t actually been together on screen in twenty years, since All of Me.  To watch the two of them riff on each other was so much fun.  A ten-second scene could go on for three or four minutes and just get funnier and funnier and funnier.  Their chemistry is phenomenal.”

 

The duo was thrilled to be reunited. “We have the same sense of humor,” says Martin.  “When we did our scenes it was very natural and very improvised.   We had the script, but we also went off and went kind of crazy.  Lily and I don’t pal around, but whenever we see each other it’s like old times.  It’s a funny thing about the movie business, you meet people and then you don’t see them for three or four years and then you just pick up where you left off.”

 

Tomlin says that her character provides a natural foil for Clouseau.  “Mrs. Berenger has been hired to instruct all the employees at the Palais de Justice in political and social correctness,” she says.  “And of course, Clouseau is a prime student, because he’s so gauche, bless his heart, he just doesn’t get it.  He doesn’t get that you don’t comment on a woman’s body, or you don’t refer to certain races and ethnicities in some kind of degrading vernacular.  It’s very easy to reprimand Clouseau, because in so many ways he’s a dolt.   In other ways he’s so charming.  And it’s frustrating, I must say, because he doesn’t really get it no matter what we do with him, because he has a kind of innocent charm – it’s almost like he just never was socialized in the right way.” 

 

Her character, she continues, is “rather upper-class American, cultured, well-spoken, educated, a little pretentious.  There is a sense of power in being able to speak very, very appropriately and very perfectly. 

 

 

The Pink Panther World

 

The Panther filmmakers chose to create a timeless, classic, romanticized, tourist, picture-postcard world—a Paris of sidewalk cafes, flower vendors, street artists and strange-looking cars, influenced by such sources as Madeleine, The Red Balloon, the films of director Jacques Tati, and Ratatouille.  While the film is surely set in modern Paris, its anachronistic elements, including the many classic, colorful cars that now only zoom around the Arc de Triomphe in movies, are decidedly intentional.

 

“Clouseau is a French icon,” observes executive producer Ira Shuman, “so we wanted him to live in that storybook French world – not the new, high-rise, metal and glass Paris, but the city we all know and love.” 

 

Director of photography Denis Crossan, BSC, who collaborated with director Harald Zwart on Agent Cody Banks, adds, “Clouseau’s world is contemporary, but he’s kind of in his own universe; as soon as you take him into a real-life situation where it’s slightly gritty or real, it doesn’t seem to work.  So my starting point was to give it the feel of a Hollywood world and the décor and the costumes have added to that.”

 

Creating that Hollywood world through the costumes, according to costume designer Joseph G. Aulisi, meant working with “real clothes, but off-kilter due to a change in proportions,” he says.  Now in his sixth collaboration with Steve Martin, Aulisi says that the actor has a very clear idea of what he wanted to express through Clouseau’s clothes.  “We did a four-button jacket with a very small lapel, tiny collars, narrow ties, long, exaggerated shoes, pants and sleeves that are too short, hats with small brims and strange colors.  All of this adds to the humor, because of what Steve could do with it with his body language.”

 

Production designer Rusty Smith, who also worked with Zwart on Cody Banks, says, “Harald was really interested in paying homage to Jacques Tati, the French comic and director, and tried to give the film a retro or nostalgic feel. Even though we have modern microphones and DNA analyses, it takes place in its own time.  For the design, we wanted to maintain the beautiful, idealized flavor that Lily Kilvert brought to the first film.”  Smith also integrated such classic elements as the curved art nouveau lines of Clouseau’s home and the entrance to his apartment building (added to an already existing façade in Paris) and the iconic artwork hanging on the walls, the Monet cathedrals at the party, Jean-Louis David’s “Death of Marat” in Avellaneda’s den and paintings and his “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” along with busts of the Emperor that help define the décor of Dreyfus’s office.  Smith gives credit for finding the “film’s many fabulous antiques to my brilliant set decorator, Carla Curry, with whom I’ve worked for several years.” 

 

“This is a world seen through Clouseau’s eyes,” says costume designer Joseph Aulisi, “so it’s a fairytale environment that’s slightly heightened, slightly more amusing than things normally are. I came up with some things that I think are rather timeless and classic but are grounded in the wonderfully defined characters.”

 

The film’s audiences are dazzled by the array of classic vehicles that grace Pink Panther 2’s Parisian streets, most notably the blue 1968 Citroen DS 19 driven at the beginning of the film by the angry motorist who rejects Clouseau’s parking ticket and drives off with the Inspector attached to his car.  Propmaster Jennifer Gerbino recalls, “Harald showed me a picture of that car and said he’d had one as a young man. As luck would have it, I found it in less than an hour on line and bought it a few hours later in Massachusetts, where most of the film was shot.  The prop department in Paris was forced to match my car—since it would easier to find a match in France than vice versa.”

 

The filmmakers also populated their streets with such vehicles as a 1957 Glas Goggomobil, a 1972 Fiat Polsky, a 1962 Renault Dauphine, a 1952 Austin A30, a Vespa Ape P501 "Floriste" truck, and a 1972 Citroen 2CV.  The fire trucks that are called to put out a blaze are Unimogs and Pinzgauers, traditional Swiss and EU emergency vehicles.  The US-based crew found these vehicles in Cumberland, Rhode Island, where a company imports them, converts them to American standards, and sells them to Americans as recreational vehicles.

 

 

A Symphony of Accents

 

Since the characters in the film speak a great assortment of accents, “we had to make sure that everybody kept their accent in a fairly tight box,” emphasizes Simonds.  “The most outrageous accent would always belong to Clouseau.  Our phenomenal dialect coach from the first film, Jessica Drake, returned for another tour of duty, and she really helped provide an anchor.” 

 

It was fun to get back into the accent,” notes Martin. “I love to have a coach.   I think I have my own sound to the accent, but I have to say that Jessica is really good.”

 

“The challenge of learning a dialect will vary from person to person and really depends on their background,” notes Drake, who started out as an actor and formally studied speech and dialects at the Juilliard School and other institutions.  “In the first film, we had only variations of French.  In The Pink Panther 2, we have Steve, who is very American, doing a wonderful French accent with its unique Clouseauesque twist.  His Clouseau French is heightened; it’s its own animal and unique to Steve.  He can get a joke out of taking a sound, twisting it around and making it hysterically funny all by itself.   Emily, who is British, is doing a fluffy French accent as a complement to Clouseau.  Andy, who is Cuban-American, is doing an Italian accent, and Yuki is doing Japanese.  Alfred, who is English, is doing a very proper, nose in the air, upper-class Queen’s English, and Aishwarya is speaking her own beautiful Indian-British sound.”

 

“The English have always found the French accent funny,” observes John Cleese.  “I don’t know why we find it so funny.  We recognize the others, the Russian and the German, but we just laugh at the French accent.  Steve and I discussed whether I should use an accent.   I’d assumed that I would do a French accent, because I’ve done so many, especially by the French Taunter in Spamalot, but I suddenly thought, no, it may be better if Steve is the one with the French accent.  I suggested that to him on the day we first shot and I think a look of relief flickered across his face.  It’s better to create these little contrasts.”

 

“I’ve been living in the States now for fifteen years,” says Molina, “so I think a little bit of the British is gone, but what I’m trying to do is take the a British accent and heighten it and make it a bit more exaggerated to give it some comic value.”

 

“I studied English and spent years trying to get rid of my accent,” says Matsuzaki, who was born in Japan and now lives in Los Angeles.  “But in this movie, my task was to put back the broken Japanese as much as I could. This influences my performances – since Kenji’s English ability isn’t that great, he tends to think before he comes to that precise word he would like to say.”

 

Garcia says, “Accents are always challenging, because first you have to understand them and get comfortable with them to the point where you don’t have to think about them anymore. You want to be free of the consciousness of having to do the accent.  It should just come out of you naturally like in your own voice.” 

 

Jean Reno’s goal was “to be clear in front of the American audience. Even if I already have the accent,” he laughs, “I have to be clear.  My wife, Zofia Moreno (who plays a reporter in the film), is English, so she helps me a lot.” 

 

“Considering the fact that today’s audience is really multinational,” notes Rai Bachchan, “I think the accents work very well.  The world is only getting smaller, so I think it makes a lot of sense.  It’s a clever idea.”

 

Mortimer notes the underlying giddy absurdity of the accents.  “Under the creative circumstances,” notes Mortimer, “one doesn’t feel quite so responsible for producing the perfect French accent, for it would, in fact, be a bit wrong in the context of this movie to be doing a brilliant French accent, because, after all, we’re French people talking to each other in English with bad French accents--that’s part of the joke!”

 

 

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION

 

The first week of shooting The Pink Panther 2 took place in Paris.  The cast and crew traveled to the Eiffel Tower (for the scene re-introducing Clouseau), the Pont de l'Archevéché behind Notre Dame Cathedral (the press conference during which all of the detectives but Clouseau announce the identity of the Tornado), an old street in the Marais district (Clouseau’s apartment building), the Chateau Ferriere outside of Paris (the Avellaneda estate), Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Arts et Métiers (exteriors for the Palais de Justice and the Vatican) and notably Le Petit Palais (the exterior for the climactic party scene) and Le Grand Palais—the huge, recently renovated exposition center built more than 100 years ago in which the cinematic Pink Panther Diamond is on display. 

 

From Paris, the production moved to Boston, which production designer Rusty Smith calls “A quintessentially European-American city with a heavy Parisian influence.”

 

It’s movie magic when you enter a door in one country and exit in another country,” says Smith.  “My favorite example from this film is after the car that Clouseau’s been trying to ticket drives off beneath the Eiffel Tower, we immediately cut to it driving down a street in Boston, dressed like Paris. I’d found the location one late night in Boston when I’d stumbled across this square [Winthrop Sq.]. It was totally deserted and I felt like I was in Paris. It was just magical.  After you dress it, bringing in flower stalls, cafe tables and other Parisian elements, even the locals were walking up to the set going, Wow. 

 

Other Boston locations include the Boston Public Library (the Pope’s Bedroom—for which Smith notes “we had to have scale.  The balcony from off this room is sixty feet in the air and it’s huge--the window is eighteen to twenty feet tall.  So finding a room that would be ornate enough was a major challenge. The Boston Public Library is just an amazing piece of Italianate architecture!”);

the Massachusetts State House (the three rooms from which the great treasures are found stolen in the opening sequence were created in the MA capitol building’s Nurses Hall--the British Library, Memorial Hall--the Shroud’s display in Turin, and the quotidian-sounding Massachusetts Hearing Room, for the more exotic museum in Kyoto); the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA (Avellaneda’s estate) and, most notably, the Wang Center in the Citi Performing Arts Center—a 1920s- era theatre whose lobby was used for a full week to film the climactic party sequence—“We needed scale, marble and gold,” notes Smith, “and the Wang Center just had everything!” 

 

 

ABOUT THE CAST

 

Steve Martin (Clouseau / Screenwriter), one of the most diversified performers in the motion picture industry today—actor, comedian, author, playwright, producer – has been successful as a writer of and performer in some of the most popular movies of recent film history.

 

Last year, Martin appeared in the hit comedy Baby Mama.  He also executive produced and wrote the story for the dramatic film Traitor.

 

In 2007, Martin published two books: Our Alphabet Book, a children’s book co-written with fellow The New Yorker illustrator Roz Chast, and his autobiography, Born Standing Up.

 

In February 2006, Martin starred in The Pink Panther playing the role of Inspector Clouseau, originally made famous by Peter Sellers.  The film, which reunited Martin with director Shawn Levy and costarred Beyonce Knowles and Kevin Kline.

 

In 2005, Martin received critical praise for the film Shopgirl, costarring Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman.  The screenplay was written by Martin and adapted from his best-selling novella of the same name. 

 

At Christmas 2003, Martin starred in the highest grossing film of his career, Cheaper by the Dozen, directed by Shawn Levy for 20th Century Fox.  The family comedy, co-starring Bonnie Hunt and Hillary Duff, has grossed over $135 million domestically.  Christmas 2005 saw the much anticipated sequel Cheaper by the Dozen 2 staring the original cast and adding in a rival family, headed by Eugene Levy.  In February of 2003, Martin starred with Queen Latifah in the blockbuster comedy, Bringing Down the House for Touchstone Pictures, which grossed $132.7 million. 

 

Martin hosted the 75th Annual Academy Awards® in 2003, his second time handling those duties, the first being the 73rd Oscars.  The 75th Annual Academy Awards® was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, including a nomination for Outstanding Individual Performance In a Variety or Music Program.

 

Born in Waco, Texas and raised in Southern California, Mr. Martin became a television writer in the late 1960s, winning an Emmy Award for his work on the hit series “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”  By the end of the decade he was performing his own material in clubs and on television.

 

Launched by frequent appearances on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show,” Mr. Martin went on to host several shows in the innovative “Saturday Night Live” series and to star in and co-write four highly rated television specials.  When performing on national concert tours, he drew standing-room-only audiences in some of the largest venues in the country.  He won Grammy Awards for his two comedy albums, “Let’s Get Small” and “A Wild and Crazy Guy,” and had a gold record with his single “King Tut.” In 2003, Martin also won a Grammy® Award for Best Country Instrumentalist for his playing on Earl Scruggs 75th Anniversary album.

 

Martin’s first film project, The Absent-Minded Waiter, a short he wrote and starred in, was nominated for a 1977 Academy Award®.  In 1979, he moved into feature films, co-writing and starring in The Jerk, directed by Carl Reiner.   In 1981, he starred opposite Bernadette Peters in Herbert Ross’ bittersweet musical comedy, Pennies From Heaven.

 

The actor then co-wrote and starred in the 1982 send-up of detective thrillers Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and the science fiction comedy The Man With Two Brains, both directed by Carl Reiner.  In 1984, Martin received a Best Actor Award from both the New York Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review for his performance opposite Lily Tomlin in All of Me, his forth collaboration with writer/director Carl Reiner.

 

In 1987, his motion picture hit, Roxanne, a modern adaptation of the Cyrano de Bergerac legend, garnered Martin not only warm audience response, but also a Best Actor Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and Best Screenplay Award from the Writer Guild of America.  Martin was also the executive producer on the film.

 

In 1988, he costarred with Michael Caine in the hit comedy film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, his second feature collaboration with director Frank Oz (the first being Little Shop of Horrors).  In 1989, he starred with Mary Steenburgen and Diane Wiest in Ron Howard’s affectionate family comedy Parenthood for Universal Pictures.

 

In 1991, Martin wrote, starred in and co-executive produced the critically acclaimed comedy L.A. Story, a motion picture about a love story set in Los Angeles.  That same year he made a cameo appearance in Lawrence Kasdan’s critically lauded Grand Canyon and starred with Diane Keaton in the hit Disney film Father of the Bride, receiving the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Comedy Motion Picture for the latter.  In 1992, he starred in the Universal comedy feature Housesitter, opposite Goldie Hawn, winning the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Actor in a Comedy, for the second year in a row.

 

In 1996, he starred again with Diane Keaton in the hit sequel to Father of the Bride, and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.  In 1997, he received universal critical acclaim for his riveting performance in director David Mamet’s thriller, The Spanish Prisoner.

 

Martin wrote and starred in the hilarious 1999 feature comedy Bowfinger, opposite Eddie Murphy for Director Frank Oz.  The film was showcased at the Deauville International Film Festival.

 

Martin’s other films include John Hughes’ Planes, Trains and Automobiles, co-starring John Candy, and the comic Western send-up ¡Three Amigos! co-staring Marin Short and Chevy Chase.

 

In the fall of 1993, Martin’s first original play, the comedy-drama “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” was presented by Chicago’s prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre.  Following rave reviews and an extended run in Chicago, the play was presented successfully in Boston and Los Angeles, and then Off-Broadway in New York at the Promenade Theatre, to nationwide critical and audience acclaim.  It has since been, and continues to be, mounted in productions worldwide.  “WASP” a one act play that Martin wrote, was first performed at the Public Theatre in NY in 1995.   “The Underpants,” a dark comedy Martin adapted from the 1911 play by Carl Sterneim, premiered Off-Broadway at the Classic Stage Company on April 4, 2002.

 

In 1996, Martin was honored with a retrospective of his work, by the American Film Institute’s Third Decade Council at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.  He was also presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the ceremony.  In 2004 Martin was honored for his film work by the American Cinematheque. 

 

A selection of paintings from his extensive, private, modern art collection was given a special exhibition at the Bellagio Hotel gallery in Las Vegas in 2000, with catalog notes written for the show by him.

 

After the success of his first novella Shopgirl, Martin’s second novella, The Pleasure of My Company, published by Hyperion, once again was ranked on bestseller lists around the country, including the New York Times.  He has written a bestselling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, and his work frequently appears in The New Yorker and the New York Times.

 

He lives in New York City and Los Angeles. 

 

 

Jean Reno (Ponton) is the renowned French actor who rapidly gained recognition among American audiences with pivotal roles in box-office blockbusters such as Brian DePalma's Mission: Impossible opposite Tom Cruise, Roland Emmerich's Godzilla, Luc Besson's The Professional with Natalie Portman and John Frankenheimer's Ronin opposite Robert DeNiro.   Reno recently starred opposite Steve Martin in The Pink Panther and opposite Tom Hanks in Sony Pictures’ The DaVinci Code, directed by Ron Howard. Both films opened number one at the box office and were huge international successes. Reno is currently in production on Couples Retreat in Bora Bora with Vince Vaughn and John Favreau. Reno will next be seen in Armored opposite Laurence Fishburne to be released by Screen Gems in September, 2009.

 

Reno is one of France's most revered and respected actors, having starred opposite Gerard Depardieu in the blockbuster comedy Tais Toi and Les Visiteurs, which became the highest grossing film in French box office history when it was released.  Its sequel, Les Visiteurs II, also broke box office records. More recently, Reno touched American audiences with his romantic portrayal of a love-struck gourmet chef who sweeps Juliette Binoche off her feet in Jet Lag.  He also starred in L'Empire de Loups (Empire of the Wolves), based on a best-selling French novel by Jean-Christophe Grange who also wrote Crimson Rivers, a novel which was also made into a blockbuster feature film starring Reno. He was also featured in Roberto Benigni's The Tiger and the Snow.  

 

He has also enjoyed a tremendously successful collaboration with the acclaimed French director Luc Besson. In addition to The Professional, he has co starred in Besson's Le Dernier Combat, Subway opposite Christopher Lambert and Isabelle Adjani, The Big Blue opposite Roseanna Arquette and the acclaimed thriller La Femme Nikita opposite Anne Parillaud. The duo also collaborated on the making of Wasabi, in which Reno also starred.  

 

Born in Casablanca to Spanish parents, Reno pursued his dream of acting in France after serving his military service in Germany. Settling in Paris, Reno joined stage director Didier Flamand in a traveling theater company that took him around the country.  His screen debut was in the French film Claire de Femme director by Costa Gavras. Other international film credits include Francis Verber's Le Jaguar, Christian Le Jale's Loulou Graffiti, Jean-Marie Poire's L'Operaton Corned Beef, Eric Duret's L'Homme Au Masque D'Or, Marco Ferreri's I Love You, Betrand Blier's Notre Histoire, and Jaques Monnet's Signes Exterieurs de Richesse.

 

Other American film credits include Paul Weiland's For Roseanna in which he co-starred opposite Mercedes Ruehl, Lawrence Kasdan's French Kiss with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan, John McTiernan's Rollerball, Flyboys with James Franco for producer Dean Devlin and Dreamworks’ animated feature Flushed Away as the voice of Le Frog alongside Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman.  He also directed his first opera, a production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut for the Teatro Regio Torino.

 

Reno, who spoke only his native Spanish, for the first eleven years of his life, speaks fluent French, Italian, English and Japanese.  He splits his time between the Paris and New York.

 

 

ALFRED MOLINA (Pepperidge) is an accomplished and versatile actor with over seventy film, television, and theater productions to his credit.

 

Molina recently finished filming Mike Newell’s Disney feature The Prince of Persia with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ben Kingsley, and Julie Taymor’s version of The Tempest with Helen Mirren, Chris Cooper & Djimon Hounsou. Additionally, he has recently been seen in the independent feature Nothing Like the Holidays with John Leguizamo and Debra Messing as well as The Little Traitor, directed by Lynn Roth and produced by Marilyn Hall. He will next been seen in An Education with Emma Thompson and Peter Sarsgaard, which will premiere at the upcoming Sundance film festival. 

 

In 2007 Molina finished an on stage performance of the Off-Broadway play “Howard Katz”by Patrick Mawber at the Roundabout Theatre. He was also seen in the Miramax film Hoax opposite Richard Gere for director Lasse Hallstrom who also directed Molina’s performance in Chocolat in 2000. In addition, he starred in the TNT mini-series “The Company” with Michael Keaton and Chris O’Donnell, which was produced by Sir. Ridley Scott and John Calley, and was also seen in the HBO film “As You Like It” opposite Bryce Dallas Howard for director Kenneth Branagh.

 

In 2006, Molina starred in The Da Vinci Code for director Ron Howard and Sony Pictures.  At that studio, he had previously created the groundbreaking role of Doc Ock for that studio in 2004 in Spider-Man 2, directed by Sam Raimi. He also completed a run at the Mark Taper Forum of “The Cherry Orchard” opposite Annette Bening. His history in the theatre has been highly recognized with two Tony nominations for “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Art,” as well as a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Circle Critics Award for “Art.”

 

Some of his other films include Frida, opposite Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Geoffrey Rush and Ashley Judd, earning him Best Supporting Actor nominations from BAFTA, the Screen Actors Guild, the Chicago Film Critics Association, and the Broadcast Critics Association.  Molina also appeared in the Columbia Pictures thriller Identity, opposite John Cusack, Ray Liotta and Amanda Peet, the Jim Jarmusch film Coffee and Cigarettes, and the Miramax release Undertaking Betty, a comedy with Brenda Blethyn, Naomi Watts and Christopher Walken.

 

Molina made his movie debut with a small role in Raiders of the Lost Ark and had a notable role as a Soviet sailor in Letter to Brezhnev.  His breakthrough role came in 1987 when he portrayed Kenneth Halliwell, the tragic lover of Joe Orton in Prick Up Your Ears.  In 1998, Molina earned accolades for his powerful performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Boogie Nights, which won the Screen Actors Guild Award for outstanding performance by a cast in a theatrical motion picture.  His other films include The Imposters, Anna Karenina, Species, The Perez Family, Maverick, Enchanted April, Pete’s Meteor, Not Without My Daughter, Dudley Do-Right and Texas Rangers. For television, Molina served as a producer and actor for the CBS situation comedy “Ladies Man,” co-starring Sharon Lawrence and Betty White.

 

Molina made his Broadway debut in 1998 in the Tony winning play “Art” with Alan Alda and Victor Garber.  In addition to his own Best Actor Tony nomination, he received a Drama Desk Award for his performance, and the production was honored with an Outer Circle Critics Award for best ensemble.  He starred in the off-Broadway production of “Molly Sweeney,” for which he was honored with a Theatre World Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination for Most Outstanding Debut Performance.  His other theatre credits include roles in two Royal National Theatre productions, “Night of the Iguana” and David Mamet’s “Speed-the-Plow,” for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance; as well as “Serious Money” for the Royal Court Theatre and The West End.  Molina also received an Olivier Award nomination for his performance in “Oklahoma!” at the Palace Theatre.

 

 

Emily Mortimer’s (Nicole) many film credits include her break-out role in the critically-acclaimed Lovely & Amazing, a comical, bittersweet tale of four hapless, but resilient, women and the lessons they learn in keeping up with the hectic demands of their individual neuroses.  The film brought Mortimer great critical acclaim and a 2003 Independent Spirit Award for her role in the film.

 

Mortimer was most recently seen in a series of successful and critically acclaimed films, including David Mamet’s Redbelt, Brad Anderson’s thriller Transsiberian, the touching comedy Lars and the Real Girl, the romantic comedy Chaos Theory, and Woody Allen’s Match Point all following her work in the first Pink Panther.

 

Mortimer’s other diverse film credits include starring in Shona Auerbach’s Dear Frankie, as an impoverished single mother who has moved to a seaside Scottish town with her deaf child; Young Adam, an independent production by first time writer/director David Mackenzie, starring Ewan McGregor, which Mortimer was nominated in the Best British Actress category at the 2004 Empire Awards and in the Best British Actress in a Supporting Role category at the 2004 London Film Critics Circle Awards; leading the ensemble cast in Stephen Fry’s directorial debut, Bright Young Things; Notting Hill; Kenneth Branagh’s Love’s Labour’s Lost; Shekhar Kapur’s award-winning Elizabeth; The Saint; The Ghost and the Darkness; Formula 51 with Robert Carlyle and Samuel L. Jackson; Wes Craven’s Scream 3; The Kid opposite Bruce Willis; and Helmut Schleppi’s independent feature A Foreign Affair

 

In addition to her several film projects, Mortimer played the recurring role of Phoebe (as Alec Baldwin’s Jack Donaghy’s love interest) on this season’s acclaimed “30 Rock,” and provided the voice for the character of young Sophie in Walt Disney Studios’ English language version of Howl’s Moving Castle, directed by the renowned Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (released in 2004).  Mortimer has also starred in a range of television projects for the BBC.

 

Mortimer’s theatre credits include the productions of “The Merchant of Venice” for the Lyceum Theatre and “The Lights” for the Royal Court.  While studying English at Oxford University, Mortimer had starring roles in numerous stage productions including:  Ophelia in “Hamlet” at Oxford Shakespeare Festival, Gertrude in “Hamlet” and Lady Nijo/Winn in “Top Girls” at the Edinburgh festival 1992, Miss Burstner/Leni in “The Trial” at the Oxford Playhouse, and Helena in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Old Fire Station, Oxford.  She also devised, directed and acted in a production of “Don Juan,” which was a Drama Cupper’s Winner in 1990.

 

Mortimer was born in London, England.  She is the daughter of famed writer John Mortimer and Penelope Glossop.  Mortimer attended the highly respected St. Paul’s Girls School in Barnes, London.  She then studied English and Russian at Oxford University from 1990 - 1994.  She married actor Alessandro Nivola in 2002, and their first child was born in 2003.

 

 

AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN (Sonia) is one of Bollywood's pre-eminent leading ladies. This Indian darling burst upon the world stage when her striking beauty, poise and commanding intelligence won her the Miss World crown in 1994. At 5’7” this former architecture major soon became one of India's most famous models landing a prestigious Pepsi campaign and appearing in Vogue Magazine. India's top Bollywood directors were soon lining up to work with Ash. Her film debut in Mani Rathnam's Iruvar (1997) received critical acclaim and her performance in Rahul Rawail's …Aur Paar Ho Gaya (1997) garnered her the Best Female Debutante Award. In 2000, she was awarded Best Actress by FilmFare and Zee Cine for her work in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, in that same year, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her special appearance in Aditya Chopra's Mohabbatein. In 2001 Ash was nominated for FilmFare's Best Actress Award for Satish Kaushik's Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai.

 

Her star continued to rise in 2002 working again with Sajay Leela Bhansali in Devdas. Devdas is the most ambitious and most successful film in Bollywood history. It became the first Bollywood picture to ever receive a special screening at this year's Cannes Film Festival and broke box-office records in India and the United States.

 

2003 brought even more exciting opportunities.  Rai Bachchan became the first Indian actor to be a member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival.  She is also the latest member of the elite L'Oreal Dream Team, joining beauties Catherine Deneuve & Beyonce as their international ambassador. She graced the covers of India Today and the prestigious TIME Magazine. Time Magazine has also listed her on their list of the “100 Most Influential People in the World Today”. She has graced numerous covers worldwide including USA, UK, China, Russia, Israel, UAE, Italy, Spain, Mexico, and France.  She was also listed on Rolling Stone Magazine's annual "Hot List", Hello Magazine’s Most Attractive Women in the World”, Stuff Magazine, FHM magazine, V-Life from Variety Magazine, GQ Magazine, New York Times Magazine, Harper’s & Queen and countless others.

 

2004 saw Rai Bachchan take on the leading role in her first English language film Bride & Prejudice. She also became the first Indian female to be immortalized in wax at the world famous Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in London.

 

2005 started with appearances on “60 Minutes,” “The Late Show with David Letterman” and the most watched television program in the world, “The Oprah Winfrey Show”. Her recent appearance on the top rated BBC show “HardTalk Extra” was seen in 200 countries.

 

She currently graces the covers of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Emirates Woman, Paris Match, Cine Blitz, America Way Magazine and America Magazine.

 

Rai Bachchan’s career continues to grow even stronger. In 2006 she was seen in Mistress of Spices for director Paul Berges, Jag Mundhra’s Provoked, J. P. Dutta’s Umrao Jaan, Sanjay Gadhvi’s Dhoom 2 and Mani Ratnam's Guru.

 

2007 brought the release of legendary film producer Dino De Laurentiis’s The Last Legion opposite Colin Firth and Sir Ben Kingsley. In April, Aishwarya married actor Abhishek Bachchan. She appears in the long-awaited epic by famed director Ashutosh Gowariker Jodhaa Akbar.

 

The Queen of Bollywood is currently in negotiations on two major motion pictures and has film commitments well into 2010.

 

 

ANDY GARCIA (Vicenzo) has been honored for his work not only as an actor, but also as a producer, director and composer/musician.

 

In 2006, he made his feature film directorial debut with The Lost City, a project he had been developing for 17 years. It was produced in association with Garcia’s production company, CineSon Productions. Garcia composed the original score for the film and also produced the soundtrack, which features several legends from the Cuban music world. 

 

The Lost City earned Garcia Best Director and Best Film Awards at the 2006 Imagen Awards.  He also just received a Best Director Award nomination at the 2007 Alma Awards.

 

Garcia recently completed filming City Island, which he produced under his CineSon Productions shingle and stars alongside Julianna Margulies, Emily Mortimer, Steven Strait, Alan Arkin and his daughter Dominik Garcia-Lorido. The film is written and directed by Raymond De Felitta.  He will also be seen in New York, I Love You for director Wen Jiang, set for release this year, and in James Cotton’s La Linea, co-starring Ray Liotta..  He recently starred in the independent crime drama The Air I Breathe, which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival and opened on January 25, 2008, and voiced of a German Shepherd in the Walt Disney live action film Beverly Hills Chihuahua co-starring with Drew Barrymore, Salma Hayek and George Lopez which opened in October, 2008. 

 

He also starred in Joe Carnahan’s Smokin’ Aces. His recent film credits also include the title role in the biographical drama Modigliani, of which he was also executive producer; and Philip Kaufman’s thriller Twisted, with Ashley Judd and Samuel L. Jackson.  In addition, Garcia joined the all-star ensemble cast of Steven Soderbergh’s hit remake of Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen.

 

Garcia earlier garnered Academy Award® and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part III in 1990.  He later received an Emmy Award nomination and his second Golden Globe Award nomination for his portrayal of legendary Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval in HBO’s 2000 biopic “For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story.”  As the executive producer of the telefilm, Garcia also earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Made for Television Movie.  The film was Golden Globe-nominated for Best Miniseries or Made for Television Movie.  In addition, Garcia produced the movie’s soundtrack and the Emmy-winning score, featuring the music of Arturo Sandoval.  The film won two ALMA Awards as Best Made For TV Movie or Miniseries and as Outstanding Latin Cast in a Made for TV Movie or Miniseries.

 

Garcia formed the production company CineSon Productions in 1991.  Under the CineSon banner, he made his directorial debut with the documentary concert film Cachao…ComoSu Ritmo No Hay Dos (Like His Rhythm There Is No Other), about the legendary co-creator of the Mambo, Israel López “Cachao.”

 

On the music side, Garcia produced and performed on Volumes I and II of “Cachao –- Master Sessions (Crescent Moon/Sony), the first a 1994 Grammy Award winner, and the latter a 1995 Grammy Award nominee.  The CD “Cachao – Cuba Linda” (EMI Latin), produced by Garcia’s CineSon record label, was nominated for a 2001 Grammy and a 2000 Latin Grammy Award.  Garcia won both Grammy and Latin Grammy awards for his latest collaboration with Israel Lopez “Cachao,” “¡Ahora Sí!” (Univision), their fourth record on the CineSon label, released in 2004.  Additionally, Garcia composed four songs for the soundtrack of the film Steal Big, Steal Little, in which he also starred. He produced and performed several songs for the soundtrack of Just The Ticket, a film he starred in and produced.

 

 Born in Havana, Garcia was only five when his family fled to Florida after Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba.  He began acting in regional theatre before moving to Los Angeles to pursue a film career.  He first gained attention in Hal Ashby’s 8 Million Ways to Die and later appeared in such films as Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, Ridley Scott’s Black Rain, Mike Figgis’ Internal Affairs, Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again, Stephen Frears’ Hero, Luis Mandoki’s When A Man Loves A Woman, Gary Fleder’s Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, Sidney Lumet’s Night Falls on Manhattan and Barbet Schroeder’s Desperate Measures.

 

Garcia has been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Star of the Year Award from the National Association of Theater Owners, a PRISM Award, a Harvard University Foundation Award and Hispanic Heritage Award for the Arts.  He is also the recipient of an Oscar de la Hoya Foundation Champion Award, Father’s Day Council Father of the Year Award and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree from St. John’s University.  In 2005, the UCLA Johnson Cancer Center Foundation honored Garcia with the Gil Nickel Humanitarian Award. Garcia also received the Indie Producer’s highest honor for Outstanding Contribution to Film, and the ALMA Awards honored him with the Anthony Quinn Award for Excellence in Motion Pictures.  In June 2006, the Karlovy Vary Film Festival honored Garcia with the Crystal Globe award for artistic contribution.  Garcia received the Moet-Hennessey Privilege Award at the Imagen Awards in Beverly Hills.  The Covenant House honored him with the prestigious Dove Award which recognizes role models who have found the time to give back to their communities and to at-risk youth. In June 2007, Garcia was honored as Entertainer of the Year at the Vision Awards, and served as an honorary co-chair and host opening night at the Los Angeles Film Festival.  This year Andy was recognized as an Outstanding American by Choice, an award that is presented by the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

 

 

Lily Tomlin (Mrs. Berenger), one of America's foremost comediennes, continues to venture across an ever-widening range of media, starring in television, theater, motion pictures, animation, and video.  Throughout her extraordinary entertainment career, Tomlin has received numerous awards, including: six Emmys; a Tony for her one woman Broadway show, “Appearing Nitely”; a second Tony as Best Actress, Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics’ Circle Award for her one-woman performance in Jane Wagner’s “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”; a CableAce Award for Executive Producing the film adaptation of “The Search…”; a Grammy for her comedy album, “This is a Recording” as well as nominations for her subsequent albums “Modern Scream,” “And That's the Truth,” and “On Stage”; and two Peabody Awards – the first for the ABC television special, “Edith Ann’s Christmas: Just Say Noël” and the second for narrating and executive producing the HBO film, “The Celluloid Closet.”

 

Tomlin was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of one of the city's most affluent areas.  Although she claims she wasn't funny as a child, Tomlin admits she "knew who was and lifted all their material right off the TV screen."  Her favorites included Lucille Ball, Bea Lillie, Imogene Coca, and Jean Carroll, one of the first female stand-ups on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”  After high school, Tomlin enrolled at Wayne State University to study medicine, but her elective courses in theater arts compelled her to leave college to become a performer in local coffeehouses.  She moved to New York in 1965, where she soon built a strong following with her appearances at landmark clubs such as The Improvisation, Cafe Au Go Go, and the Upstairs at the Downstairs, where she later opened for the legendary Mabel Mercer in the Downstairs Room.

 

Tomlin made her television debut in 1966 on “The Garry Moore Show” and then made several memorable appearances on “The Merv Griffin Show,” which led to a move to California where she appeared as a regular on “Music Scene.”  In December 1969, Tomlin joined the cast of the top-rated “Laugh-In” and immediately rose to national prominence with her characterizations of Ernestine, the irascible telephone operator, and Edith Ann, the devilish six-year-old.  When “Laugh-In” left the air, Tomlin went on to co-write, with Jane Wagner, and star in six comedy television specials: “The Lily Tomlin Show” (1973), Lily (1973), “Lily” (1974), “Lily Tomlin” (1975), “Lily: Sold Out” (1981), and “Lily for President?” (1982), for which she won three Emmy Awards and a Writers Guild of America Award.   Tomlin also starred in the HBO special about the AIDS epidemic, “And the Band Played On” (1993).  She has guest starred on numerous television shows, such as “Homicide,” “X-Files,” and “Will and Grace,” and played the boss for two years on the popular CBS series, “Murphy Brown.”  She is also heard as the voice of the science teacher Ms. Frizzle on the popular children’s animated series, “The Magic School Bus,” for which she was awarded an Emmy. 

 

On film, Tomlin made her debut as Linnea, a gospel singer and mother of two deaf children in Robert Altman's Nashville (1975); her memorable performance was nominated for an Academy Award, and both the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics voted Lily Best Supporting Actress.  She next starred opposite Art Carney as a would-be actress living on the fringes of Hollywood in Robert Benton's The Late Show (1977).  She went on to star with John Travolta as a lonely housewife in Jane Wagner’s Moment By Moment (1978), and then teamed with Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton in the late Colin Higgins' comedy, 9 to 5 (1980).  She starred as the happy homemaker who became The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981), written by Jane Wagner, and the eccentric rich woman whose soul invades Steve Martin's body in Carl Reiner's popular All of Me (1984).  She then teamed with Bette Midler for Big Business (1988). 

 

In the 90s, Tomlin starred in the film adaptation of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life In the Universe (1991); appeared as part of an ensemble cast in Woody Allen's Shadows and Fog (1992); starred opposite Tom Waits in Robert Altman's Short Cuts (1993); and portrayed Miss Jane Hathaway in the screen adaptation of the popular television series The Beverly Hillbillies (1993).  Tomlin also played a cameo role in The Player (1992) and Blue in the Face (1995), starred in the Miramax film Flirting With Disaster (1996) and joined Jack Lemmon, Dan Akroyd and Bonnie Hunt in Getting Away with Murder (1996).  Tomlin starred opposite Richard Dreyfuss and Jenna Elfman in Buena Vista’s Krippendorf’s Tribe (1998) and co-starred with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Cher in the Franco Zeffirelli film Tea With Mussolini (1999).   She then starred with Bruce Willis in Disney’s The Kid (2000) and appeared in a quirky cameo role in Orange County (2002).  Tomlin co-starred with Dustin Hoffman in I ♥ Huckabees, a David O. Russell comedy that explores the emotional idiosyncrasies of life (2004).   She was seen most recently in A Prairie Home Companion (2006), written by Garrison Keillor and directed by Robert Altman, in which she and Meryl Streep appear as a sister singing act.  Tomlin will next appear in Paul Schrader's film, The Walker (2007), co-starring with Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott-Thomas and Lauren Bacall.  For her extensive work in film, Tomlin has received the Crystal Award from Women in Film.

 

In 2002, Tomlin joined the cast of the hit NBC series, “The West Wing,” playing President Bartlett’s assistant, Debbie Fiderer – a role for which she received a 2003 Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Actress in a Drama Series.  Tomlin continued in the role of Debbie through 2006, the final season of “West Wing.”  In the fall of 2003, she was honored as the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in Washington DC.  Tomlin continues to make appearances around the nation and, in 2006, took her classic characters to Australia for shows in Sydney and Melbourne.  This season, she can also be seen on the hit series “Desperate Housewives.”

 

Tomlin has recently joined the newly-launched website for women, www.WOWOWOW.com, and participates with other celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg, Candice Bergen, Liz Smith, Jane Wagner, Peggy Noonan, Marlo Thomas and Leslie Stahl to create an on-line community which is owned and run by women for women of all ages and origins.  

 

Tomlin’s own website--a collaboration between Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner, Allee Willis, and the zany and creative BUBBLES the artist, has produced the magical Lily Tomlin website.  Lily’s entire career in art, text, photos and videos can be found at www.lilytomlin.com.

 

 

JOHN CLEESE (Chief Inspector Dreyfus) has long been one of the industry’s most innovative and influential comedic talents.  Today’s audiences know him for his appearances on the big screen as the new Q in the James Bond movie Die Another Day – having been promoted from R in The World is Not Enough – and as Nearly Headless Nick in the Harry Potter series.  He voiced the role of King Harold in Shrek 2 and Shrek the Third.  His recent role as Lyle Finster on the NBC television sitcom “Will & Grace” earned him his third Emmy nomination (having already won an Emmy for his guest role on “Cheers,” and having been nominated for guest appearance on “3rd Rock from the Sun”).  He most recently appeared in The Day the Earth Stood Still.

 

Cleese was born in England and first found fame in the groundbreaking comedy classic “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” in which starred and co-wrote.  The series first aired on the BBC in 1969, became a cult hit in Europe and gained an equally loyal following when it landed on American shores in 1972.  The show also spawned the feature film comedies Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.  There have also been subsequent Monty Python videos, CDs and specials.

 

In 1988, Cleese co-wrote, executive produced and starred in the comedy hit A Fish Called Wanda, for which he earned Oscar® and BAFTA nominations for Best Original Screenplay, and won a BAFTA Award and received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.  He also co-wrote, produced and starred in the sequel Fierce Creatures.  His additional film acting credits include Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, The Out-of-Towners, Rat Race, The Jungle Book, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Silverado, Clockwise, Time Bandits and The Great Muppet Caper.

 

Cleese co-wrote, and starred in “Fawlty Towers,” the television comedy set in a seaside resort in England (where he played the eponymous hotelier, Basil Fawlty), for which he won a BAFTA Award.  “Fawlty Towers” regularly appears on the list of top ten comedy shows of all time.  In his spare time John raises chickens, and is trying to save the planet.

 

 

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

 

With a knack for weaving visual magic and telling stories that are funny and accessible, Harald Zwart is one of the leading lights of a new generation of internationally trained feature filmmakers. Fluent in three languages, the Dutch-born filmmaker has a unique gift for reaching across cultural boundaries to touch the minds and hearts of audiences of all backgrounds and ages.

 

Zwart was born in Holland and grew up in Fredrikstad, Norway, where he began making films when he was eight. He received his formal training at the prestigious Dutch Film Academy in Amsterdam. After his student film Gabriel’s Surprise was shown on Scandinavian television, he began receiving offers to direct television commercials and he went onto become one of Europe’s most successful directors of advertising and music videos. He won numerous awards for his commercial work including Director-of-the-Year honors (1998) at London’s Midsummer Awards.

 

His commercial credits include spots for BMW Mini, ING, Sky Television and Nokia.   Due to Zwart’s feature background he is often called upon for celebrity testimonials, these have included spots with Jose Mourinho, Michael Douglas, John Travolta and Richard Gere for Lancia. 

 

In 1997, Zwart made his debut as a dramatic filmmaker with Commander Hamilton, a 4-part mini-series for Scandinavian television. Starring Academy Award®-winner Lena Olin (The Unbearable Lightness of Being), Mark Hamill (Star Wars trilogy) and Peter Stormare (Bad Boys II, Minority Report), the series achieved unabated popular and critical acclaim. A feature-length version was subsequently released theatrically and became the region’s top-grossing film of the year.

 

Based on that success, Zwart began to receive offers from Hollywood. He became the first Norwegian director to be accepted as a member of the Director’s Guild of America and was named by Variety to its list of 10 Directors to Watch.  Zwart’s feature film debut followed in 2001 with One Night at McCool’s starring Liv Tyler, Michael Douglas, Matt Dillon and Paul Reiser. A black comedy about three men who fall in love with the same woman on the same night, the film showcased Zwart’s talent for complex narrative, edgy humor and inspired casting.

 

Zwart went on to shoot Agent Cody Banks.  The action/adventure film starred Frankie Muniz and Hilary Duff in the story of a teen secret agent.  Such was his involvement in the project that he went on to create the story for Cody Banks II

 

Zwart is currently in pre-production on the remake of The Karate Kid which will shoot in China with Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.

 

Zwart, who divides his time between Los Angeles and Oslo, continues to direct commercials and develop Feature projects through Zwart Arbeid, the company he founded with Veslemoey Ruud Zwart.

 

 

SCOTT NEUSTADTER & MICHAEL H. WEBER (Screenwriter / Story by) met in 1999 when Weber applied for an internship and Neustadter hired him for the job. Since selling their first pitch in 2005, they have written projects for Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, and Fox Searchlight, including the semi-autobiographical (500) Days of Summer.

 

Neustadter hails from Margate, NJ and currently lives in Los Angeles. He loves sad British pop music and the movie The Graduate. Weber was born in Manhattan and refuses to leave. Ever. They were recently named among 10 Writers to Watch in Variety.

 

 

ROBERT SIMONDS (Producer) has become one of Hollywood’s most prolific producers of motion picture comedies.

 

At the onset of his career, Simonds became one of the youngest film executives in Hollywood when, immediately after graduation, he served as a production trainee at MGM. Soon after, Simonds developed and produced his first theatrical film Problem Child, which became the most profitable studio feature of the year and put the 26-year-old Simonds into the enviable position of being a successful producer.  He continued to build and expand upon the niche he created with his first film, pioneering a sub-genre of comedies that ruled the teen male market for a decade, including such hits as Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Half Baked, Just Married and The Wedding Singer.

 

Recently, Simonds has focused on broad appeal, all audience films such as The Waterboy, Big Daddy, Herbie: Fully Loaded and Yours, Mine & Ours.

 

He also produced Cheaper by the Dozen and The Pink Panther, both starring Steve Martin.

 

Simonds’ more than 30 features have generated over $3 billion in revenue.

 

 

IRA SHUMAN (Executive Producer) has worked with Robert Simonds on several occasions. He served as co-producer on the comedy Just Married starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy and on Cheaper by the Dozen starring Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. Shuman co-produced Taxi starring Queen Latifah and Jimmy Fallon, as well as the recently released Yours, Mine and Ours starring Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid, Joe Dirt and four Adam Sandler films: The Waterboy, The Wedding Singer, Bulletproof and Airheads.

 

Shuman attended the School of Visual Arts in New York. He went on to work as a commercial producer before serving as executive production manager for Walt Disney Television. Other film credits include See Spot Run starring David Arquette, Head Over Heels, Screwed, Half-Baked, Mr. Wrong, Strange Days and Newsies.

 

 

SHAWN LEVY (Executive Producer) directed and executive produced the network television pilot “Pepper Dennis” starring Rebecca Romijn, for the WB network as part of his overall television producing deal with 20th Century Fox Television.

 

Levy previously directed Steve Martin in The Pink Panther and the blockbuster Christmas release Cheaper by the Dozen. His hit romantic comedy Just Married, starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy, grossed over $100 million worldwide.

 

In 2002, Levy directed the successful family comedy Big Fat Liar with Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes. 

 

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 Directors Guild of America. Following his well-received student film, Shawn spent several years directing, writing and executive producing 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.

 

Levy spent two seasons as the executive producer of “The Famous Jett Jackson,” writing and directing several episodes. He ultimately produced and directed the award-winning telefilm “Jett Jackson: The Movie.”

 

 

DENIS CROSSAN (Director of Photography) first worked with director Harald Zwart on the successful Agent Cody Banks (starring Frankie Muniz, Hillary Duff, Angie Harmon), but they’ve collaborated on a series of inventive and award-winning international commercials.

 

Crossan’s other feature credits include Me Without You (directed by Sandra Goldbacher; starring Anna Friel and Michelle Williams; BAFTA nomination for Best British Film), The Hole (directed by Nick Hamm, starring Thora Birch, Embeth Davidtz), Clandestine Marriage (directed by Christopher Miles, starring Joan Collins and Nigel Hawthorne; awarded Best Cinematography--Newport Beach Film Festival), I Know What You Did Last Summer (directed by Jim Gillespie, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sara Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jnr.), Incognito (directed by John Badham, starring Jason Patric, Irene Jacob and Ian Holm), Nostradamus (directed by Roger Christian, starring Tcheky Karyo, F. Murray Abraham, Julia Ormand and Amanda Plummer), The Real McCoy (directed by Russell Mulcahy, starring Kim Basinger, Val Kilmer, Terrence Stamp), Silent Scream (directed by David Hayman, starring Iain Glen; awarded Best Film—Scottish BAFTA and Best British Film—Edinburgh Festival). 

 

 

RUSTY SMITH (Production Designer) is a 1986 graduate of the Yale School of Drama. After a brief Broadway and Off-Broadway career (Athol Fugard's “Blood Knot” and Lynda Barry's The Good Times are Killing Me”) he made the move west to LA. He was fortunate to meet director Jay Roach, and  served as his production designer on the films Mystery Alaska, Austin Powers in The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Meet the Parents, and Meet the Fockers. He received an Emmy nomination for Billy Crystal's acclaimed HBO film “*61.” He is also proud of his work with Harald Zwart on Agent Cody Banks and with Jon Favreau on Elf. Most recently he designed the Sony Classics adaptation of The Jane Austen Book Club with writer/director Robin Swicord. Smith lives in Encino with his wife, singer/actress Connie Smith, and their children Jackson (12) and Emily (10).

 

Julia Wong (Editor) was born and raised in Philadelphia.  While attending film school at Temple University, she was nationally recognized by the American Cinema Editors (A.C.E.) with an Eddy Award for Best Student Editor.  After being an additional editor on Brett Ratner’s After the Sunset, Ratner recruited Wong to edit a few low-budget films he was producing as well as his television pilot, “Prison Break.”  Shortly after, she edited Ratner’s blockbuster, X-Men The Last Stand along with Mark Helfrich and Mark Goldblatt, for which the trio won a Golden Satellite Award for Best Film Editing.  Her next project was Good Luck Chuck, a romantic comedy starring Jessica Alba and Dane Cook.

 

 

JOSEPH G. AULISI (Costume Designer), who recently designed the costumes for Charlie’s Angels® and Charlie’s Angels®: Full Throttle, as well as Duplex, has been designing costumes for feature films for over 25 years. In addition to his film career, he designed numerous noteworthy musicals and plays on Broadway.

 

Aulisi’s other film credits include his work with director Chris Columbus on Stepmom and Bicentennial Man, as well as Frank Oz’s Bowfinger with Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy. He has designed three films directed by Robert Benton: Twilight with Paul Newman and Susan Sarandon, Nobody’s Fool also with Newman and Billy Bathgate with Nicole Kidman and Dustin Hoffman. 

 

Earlier credits include Sidney Lumet’s Night Falls on Manhattan, Die Hard With a Vengeance starring Bruce Willis, On Deadly Ground with Steven Seagal, Shaft, The Pope of Greenwich Village and Three Days of the Condor starring Robert Redford and directed by Sydney Pollack.  In addition, Herbert Ross’ My Blue Heaven and The Secret of My Success were both designed by Aulisi.

 

Other period films include Ironweed starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson and Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs. Aulisi also designed Private Parts starring Howard Stern and directed by Betty Thomas.

 

On Broadway, Aulisi designed the costumes for “Jerome Robbins Broadway,” Gower Champion’s “Rockabye Hamlet,” Kenny Ortega’s “Marilyn: A Musical,” “Barbara Cook in Concert,” as well as four plays by Neil Simon:  “Broadway Bound,” “Rumors,” “God’s Favorite” and the San Diego staging of “Jake’s Women.” 

 

 

CHRISTOPHE BECK (Music) has scored numerous films in almost every genre, from the teen comedy Bring It On to the adaptation of the bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun.  His recent credits include Shawn Levy’s Cheaper by the Dozen and Just Married, Yours Mine and Ours, Taxi, A Cinderella Story, Garfield, Without a Paddle, Elektra, Little Black Book, American Wedding, Guinevere, The Alarmist, The Tuxedo and Dickie Roberts. He has written the score for the upcoming Michael Douglas drama The Sentinel. He also scored groundbreaking TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” for which he received the Emmy for Outstanding Music Composition.

 

The Montreal native’s interest in music began in childhood when, at the age of five, he began piano lessons.  By the time he was 11, he was writing music for his band, Chris and the Cupcakes. During high school, he studied flute, saxophone, trombone and drums and performed in rock bands.

 

He continued his musical studies at Yale and while there, he had an epiphany: “I discovered my talent for composing was greater than my talent for performing.”  He wrote two musicals with his brother Jason (a.k.a. Chilly Gonzales, the Berlin-based hip-hop recording artist) as well as an opera, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” based on the Edgar Allen Poe short story.

Upon graduation from Yale in 1992, he moved to Los Angeles to attend USC’s prestigious film scoring program, where he studied with Jerry Goldsmith. A personal recommendation from Buddy Baker, the head of USC Music Department, led to his first assignment for the Canadian TV series “White Fang.”  Soon after, he received an invitation to score “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

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