Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly – the legendary duo from Step Brothers and Talladega Nights – reunite in Holmes & Watson, a unique and comic take on the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes, and his faithful companion, Dr. John Watson. The game is afoot, or “a going,” as Holmes proclaims, when a dead body is discovered in Holmes’ birthday cake at Buckingham Palace. It seems the perpetrator is their longtime nemesis, criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), but the famed sleuth has doubts. As their investigation uncovers one twist after another, Holmes and Watson face the greatest threat of their partnership. The master sleuth and his dependable partner must remain united to find the killer, save the Queen, and restore the reputation of the world’s greatest crime-solving duo – if the case doesn’t tear them apart first.
Columbia Pictures presents, in association with Mimran Schur Pictures, a Gary Sanchez / Mosaic production, a film by Etan Cohen, starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Rebecca Hall, Rob Brydon, Kelly Macdonald, and Ralph Fiennes in Holmes & Watson. Written and directed by Etan Cohen. Produced by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Jimmy Miller, Clayton Townsend. Executive producers are Chris Henchy, Jessica Elbaum, M. Riley, David Mimran, and Jordan Schur. The director of photography is Oliver Wood. The production designer is James Hambidge. The editors are Dean Zimmerman, ACE and J. Erik Jessen. The costume designer is Beatrix Aruna Pasztor. Music by Mark Mothersbaugh.
Holmes & Watson is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for crude sexual material, some violence, language and drug references. The film will be released in theaters nationwide on December 25, 2018.
“OH HEAVY IS THE HEAD THAT CARRIES THE GIANT BRAIN!”
That self-described, super-sized cranium belongs to one Sherlock Holmes. Over 125 years after his creation by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes remains the most popular fictional detective in history and continues to intrigue and delight fans around the world. Conan Doyle wrote 60 stories featuring Holmes and his friend and biographer John Watson, which in turn inspired countless films, television series, and Holmes stories penned by others.
Conan Doyle was first and foremost a storyteller and while his Holmes tales were not overt comedies, they were always entertaining and fun. So, it’s not too much of a stretch to see the characters and their world reimagined, through the reteaming of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, and the unique voice of writer-director Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder, Get Hard), as a raucous comedy rife with physical and verbal humor and comic twists and turns, along with murder, mystery, absurdity, pageantry, and a storied partnership that may be on the rocks.
The Ferrell-Reilly reunion, following their team-ups as NASCAR-driving buddies in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and as aimless middle-aged losers in Step Brothers, reaches new heights of mayhem, madness and mirth in Holmes & Watson. Says the film’s writer-director Etan Cohen: “Will and John’s superpower is that they can play these man-children who, played by anyone else, might appear to be jerks, but they make them lovable.”
According to Ferrell, who also serves as a producer, Holmes’ position in our zeitgeist gave the filmmakers license “to go where no Sherlock has ever gone before.” Ferrell’s choice of words, which recalls the opening narration for the original Star Trek television series, isn’t accidental because, as he explains, “We wanted Sherlock to be a comedic version of a supremely logical character, like Mr. Spock. Holmes is all about logic. He’s so incredibly smart but at the same time he lacks the interactions and feelings that most normal humans possess.”
Ferrell also pays tribute to – or, as he jokes, “steals a page from” – the quintessential Victorian-era Holmes, played by Jeremy Brett in a series of British television films produced in the 1980s and ‘90s. Brett’s portrayal of the detective was acclaimed around the globe but wasn’t widely recognized as being humorous. Ferrell says otherwise: “Jeremy’s brilliant work sometimes made us laugh so hard,” he recalls. “If you watch his performances through a comedic lens, Jeremy’s Holmes would be dissecting a piece of information and then would suddenly start yelling at the top of his lungs.”
Facilitating the Holmes-Watson friendship was the comfort level between Ferrell and Reilly born from their previous on-screen pairings. Says Ferrell: “John and I just hit the ground running in terms of sharing the same comic sensibility. Oddly enough, we never tried to be overtly funny; we would stay true to Holmes and Watson within the context of the scene and trust that it would turn out comical. Knowing each other so well and sharing the same ‘brain,’ in terms of playing off each other, helped everything fall into place.”
Reilly notes that his on-screen chemistry with Ferrell was apparent from their first meeting. “Will and I looked at each other and had this moment,” he remembers. “I understand the way his mind works. There was an immediate, strange and off-kilter familiarity.” That familiarity facilitates a Holmes-Watson interaction that’s both familiar and unexpected. Watson wants to be thought of as Sherlock’s best friend, sidekick and even … wait for it… “co-detective.” “These aspirations are based on his love of Sherlock,” says Reilly, “but it’s a struggle for Sherlock to allow anyone, even Watson, into his life. Sherlock is a little – okay, very – conceited and it takes a while before he understands Watson’s value. In fact, sometimes they resemble a screaming married couple during a bitter divorce.”
Etan Cohen, who shares Ferrell’s love of the source material and characters, also notes that the Ferrell-Reilly interplay was always in view, even when the cameras weren’t rolling. “The amazing thing about Will and John is that they’re the same on and off the set. Audiences are lucky enough to experience that for a few hours on-screen but it happens all the time in real life.”
Cohen adds that Reilly’s Watson is true to the spirit of the character in the Conan Doyle stories, but with an intriguing divergence. “Watson has so much faith in Sherlock, and there’s so much affection between them, as there is in the stories,” he explains. “A big part of our movie, though, is exploring something that never happened in the stories: what if Watson wants more? What if he wants to be part of the team, and not just a second banana? That was exciting and a lot of fun to dive into.”
Aspiring to be Sherlock’s equal is going to be anything but … elementary … for Watson because, says Ferrell, “Sherlock appreciates Watson’s allegiance on some level, but at the same time he believes that Watson should be that way.” Adds Reilly: “Holmes’ attitude toward Watson is, “Look, I’m smarter than you, that’s the way it is. Just accept it.”
HOLMES & WATSON & THE ULTIMATE MYSTERIES OF ROMANCE
Throughout his illustrious career, Sherlock Holmes, aided by Dr. Watson, has solved mysteries of unimaginable complexities and intricacies. No subject is beyond his understanding; no conundrum transcends a solution. With one exception: they’re clueless about love and romance, both of which turn Holmes’ razor-sharp intellect into a shapeless pile of goo.
Enter Dr. Grace Hart (Rebecca Hall), an accomplished physician, and her mute companion, known only as Millicent (Lauren Lapkus). The good doctor draws the attention of fellow physician Watson, and Holmes finds himself falling for the silent looker, Millicent. Cohen reveals the burgeoning romances lead to unexpected character nuances and humor. “We wondered how those relationships could impact the Holmes-Watson friendship,” says Cohen. “In the original stories, there are few mentions of Sherlock being interested in romance. It could even be argued that he doesn’t trust women. So we thought it would be fun to watch them begin to see what it’s like to fall in love.”
For Watson and Grace, it’s love at first … autopsy … as the two characters find themselves growing increasingly hot for one another as they dissect a corpse in a morgue. “Grace is an especially strange character,” says Hall. “She doesn’t see blood and gore as anything but wonderful. She revels in the glory of the human body, which is romantic fodder for her and Watson.
“And it was a little surreal because John and I spent the entire day mopping down a really dedicated extra who was pretending to be a cadaver,” she adds. Not to mention that the actress, who is half-British, was playing an American, opposite two Americans playing Brits.
Grace is an independent woman and an accomplished doctor, two descriptions that don’t compute for Holmes and Watson. “Allow me to introduce you to a real doctor,” says Holmes, gesturing to Watson, after Grace identifies herself as a physician. “Much of the humor is mined from those stereotypes in Victorian England, and the fact that everyone around Grace won’t accept that’s she’s a legitimate doctor,” notes Cohen.
While Watson is pitching woo with Grace, Holmes is falling under the spell of her travel companion and “research project,” Millicent. “She’s a little bit weird,” understates Lauren Lapkus of her character, who was raised by feral cats, eats paper, and follows absolutely no rules. “It was really easy to become Millicent – I just tapped into my inner-self and was as absurd as possible,” she adds with a laugh.
And of course, Holmes, a master of language and intellect, falls for someone who doesn’t speak. But there is an odd kind of logic to it: Holmes is enamored of Millicent because she’s like a blank canvas for him to work on. “Sherlock is so egotistical that he can put all of his thoughts and desires onto her and then imagine all the wonderful things she must be thinking about him,” Lapkus explains.
SHERLOCK’S IRREGULAR REGULARS
Welsh actor Rob Brydon portrays much put-upon Scotland Yard Inspector Lestrade, who often finds himself the target of Sherlock’s disdain. In this depiction of the Holmes-Lestrade dynamic, the peerless detective’s contempt for Lestrade’s crime-solving skills is on full display. “Lestrade is constantly turning up at crime scenes trying to exert some authority. But everyone treats him as a bumbling idiot who can’t get anything right and treat Sherlock as a genius folk hero who’s never wrong and never fails,” says Brydon. “As an actor, that’s incredibly fun to play. Will and John play idiots with total confidence, so I can then be exasperated and at my wits’ end, convinced in my head that I’m right and Sherlock is wrong – and alone in that conviction.”
Another character known from Holmes lore is the consulting detective’s landlady and housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson, at the flat he shares with Watson at 221b Baker Street. In the Conan Doyle stories and many of the subsequent adaptations, Mrs. Hudson is a staid, maternal figure, but Cohen again shakes things up here, giving us a Mrs. Hudson who is young, saucy and hot-to-trot. “She’s also a terrible housekeeper,” says Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, who takes on the role, which is a 180-degree turn from the quiet, introspective characterizations for which she’s been acclaimed – some of which have been housekeepers. “I come from a long line of cleaners,” she says with a laugh. Moreover, Mrs. Hudson’s taste in men is … well, “Let’s just say she keeps interesting company,” Macdonald teases.
THE WORLD OF HOLMES & WATSON
A key element of Cohen’s vision for Holmes & Watson was creating a lush and colorful period piece that was true to the characters’ Victorian roots. “I wanted to avoid filming this like a traditional comedy,” he explains. “The Victorian era was our center of gravity. It provides a reality and counterpoint to the comedy that Will and John could really bounce off of.”
To that end, Holmes & Watson was filmed entirely in the United Kingdom. The production captured some of the country’s most spectacular and historical locations, including: The Historic Dockyard in Chatham; the Tower of London; Hampton Court Palace; Kempton Steam Museum, on London’s outskirts; and Laredo Ranch, a replica western town set in the heart of the Kent countryside. “You can’t fake the richness of these locations,” says Ferrell.
Shepperton Studios in West London was the film’s production base and home to many of the interior sets, including Holmes and Watson’s flat at 221b Baker Street – an address as renowned as any in the real and reel world. The look of the set was a highlight for Cohen, director of photography Oliver Wood (The Bourne Ultimatum) and production designer James Hambidge (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). “We put a huge amount of effort into that set because it is so iconic,” says Hambidge, “and we wanted everyone – cast, crew, and audiences – to get something out of it, both visually and narratively.”
“The set is so incredible you feel like you’re stepping into the [popular London tourist attraction] Sherlock Holmes Museum, which is actually at the real 221b Baker Street,” adds Cohen.
“We started with the color palette, which is all about red and teal,” Hambidge continues. “They go very well together, and worked with the notion of the flat on Baker Street being quite an eclectic environment. We wanted to avoid patterned wallpaper, which would distract from that, so we went with red, which is very strong and pushes everything into silhouette and lets the details stand out. Sherlock is a collector of many and varied exotic objects, and I wanted to create a backdrop that would highlight them.”
Those items include a large peacock statuette, which Hambidge placed in the flat because, he notes, “Sherlock is a bit of a peacock himself.” Then, there’s a massive cast-iron fireplace – “the biggest I’ve ever designed; it’s absolutely enormous and dominates the room. It’s like a building within a building.” Within the fireplace rests a terrarium with large glass domes that house hundreds of killer bees – and the buzz is that Holmes and Watson will have an uncomfortably close encounter with their lethal tenants.
In addition to Shepperton, the production utilized another storied facility, Pinewood Studios, on which it built an opulent ballroom on the Titanic, which in the film is setting sail on its maiden – and final – voyage.
Costume designer Beatrix Aruna Pasztor contributed some period magic to the wardrobe. “It’s like it’s another character in the movie,” marvels executive producer Chris Henchy. “You feel like you’re stepping back in time 125 years – and wondering how uncomfortable people must have been in those days. How were they wearing these things – and why were they wearing them?”
In keeping with the film’s comical zig-zagging between period and contemporary references, Pasztor adds a modern twist to some of the custom-made, classically-tailored outfits. Sherlock’s garb is especially colorful, suggesting a strutting dandy, while Watson’s sartorial splendor includes layered tweeds and plaids from Reilly’s favorite independent London tailor. “No one looks better in tweed than John,” deadpans Ferrell.
Rebecca Hall, Kelly Macdonald and Lauren Lapkus don period-appropriate corsets, which couldn’t have been pleasant. “They’re all amazing actors,” Ferrell says, adding with a smile, “Trying to be funny in a corset is a real challenge.”
With these lavish locations and sets, and a beloved comedy duo having crazy fun with characters they love, it’s no mystery what Holmes & Watson will bring to audiences this holiday season. “Along with the jokes and the insanity, there’s a sincerity to the film that’s even, at times, a little emotional,” says Ferrell. “I hope audiences will appreciate the story, laugh with and at the characters, and enjoy the spectacle of Victorian London.”
ABOUT THE CAST
WILL FERRELL (Sherlock Holmes)
Academy Award® nominee JOHN C. REILLY (Dr. Watson) is one of the most diverse actors working today, with an impressive range of roles in dramas, comedies, musicals and foreign films. He has been acknowledged by the Academy Awards®, the Golden Globe Awards, the Tony Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards as well as the Grammys, among others.
This year, Reilly starred in three very diverse films: Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, as Oliver Hardy in Stan and Ollie, opposite Steve Coogan’s Stan Laurel, and in Jacques Audiard’s The Sisters Brothers, alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Joaquin Phoenix.
Reilly’s performance as Oliver Hardy in Stan and Ollie was recognized by both the HFPA & Broadcast Film Critics for best performance by an actor in a motion picture musical or comedy. Reilly’s animated film, Ralph Breaks the Internet was also given a Golden Globe & Critics Choice nomination for Best Motion Picture Animated film.
Other recent films include Kong: Skull Island, along with Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the French award-winning film Les Cowboys, directed by Thomas Bidegain and the Italian film The Tale of Tales for director Matteo Garrone, all of which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
He has worked with top directors such as Martin Scorsese in both Gangs of New York and The Aviator; Brian DePalma in Casualties of War; Robert Altman in A Prairie Home Companion; Terrence Malick in The Thin Red Line; Rob Marshall in Chicago; Roman Polanski in Carnage; Wolfgang Petersen in The Perfect Storm; Lynne Ramsay in We Need to Talk About Kevin and Paul Thomas Anderson in Hard Eight, Boogie Nights and Magnolia.
He has starred in the hit comedies Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Stepbrothers, Cyrus and Guardians of the Galaxy. He voiced the title character in the Academy Award nominated animated feature Wreck-It Ralph, and he is currently the voice of Eddie in Sing.
His work in the world of independent films include The Little Hours, The Good Girl, Cedar Rapids, The Promotion, Terri, Year of the Dog, Criminal and The Anniversary Party.
On television, Reilly is a frequent collaborator with comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim for the shows “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job!” and “Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule”, among others.
His many theater credits include “True West”, in which he received a Tony Award nomination, and “A Streetcar Named Desire” on Broadway, as well as Steppenwolf productions of “The Grapes of Wrath” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”.
REBECCA HALL (Grace Hart) is an acclaimed British-American actress whose career encompasses the multiplex, the art house cinema and the world’s most respected theaters. She has worked with many of the industry’s greatest artists, establishing herself as a leading talent as she challenges herself with each new role.
Currently, Hall lends her voice in director Mamoru Hosoda’s amination adventure drama Mirai. Hall can be heard as the voice for Mirai’s mother opposite John Cho, Daniel Dae Kim and Victoria Grace. Mirai is the story of a young boy who encounters a magical garden which enables him to travel through time and meet his relative from different eras with the guidance of his younger sister from the future.
Hall is currently completing production on Warner Bros.’ Godzilla Vs Kong, directed by Adam Wingard and opposite Alexander Skarsgard, Millie Bobby Brown, and Brian Tyree Henry in the timeless story of King Kong meeting the Godzilla and how the world watches to see who will become the king of all monsters.
She is currently in pre-production on Passing, an adaptation based on Nella Larsen’s 1920s Harlem Renaissance novel that explores the practice of racial passing, a term used for a person classified as a member of one racial group who seeks to be accepted by a different racial group. Hall has penned the script and will direct in her feature helming debut, with Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga attached. First published in 1929, Passing follows the unexpected reunion of two high school friends, Clare Kendry (Negga) and Irene Redfield (Thompson), whose renewed acquaintance ignites a mutual obsession that threatens both of their carefully constructed realities.
Notably, Hall’s work includes Antonio Campos’ Christine, with Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Maria Dizzia, in a portrayal that garnered critical acclaim. Based on true events, the film captures the young and troubled newscaster, Christine Chubbuck, during her time at a small-town television station in the 1970s. Additionally, her work in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona alongside Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem; garnered Hall Golden Globe, BAFTA Orange Rising Star, London Critics Circle and Gotham Award nominations in the performance and breakthrough categories.
Other film credits include Angela Robinson’s Professor Marston & the Wonder Women opposite Luke Evans and Bella Heathcote; Brian Crano’s Permission alongside Dan Stevens; Oren Moverman’s The Dinner, co-starring alongside Richard Gere, Laura Linney and Steve Coogan; Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, with Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill; Joel Edgerton’s The Gift opposite himself and Jason Bateman; Sean Mewshaw’s Tumbledown opposite Jason Sudeikis; Wally Pfister’s Transcendence, opposite Johnny Depp and Paul Bettany; Patrice Leconte’s A Promise, starring alongside Alan Rickman; John Crowley’s Closed Circuit; Shane Black’s Iron Man 3; Stephen Frears’ Lay the Favorite; Nick Murphy’s The Awakening, for which she earned a British Independent Film Award Nomination and Gotham Independent Film Award nomination for Best Actress; Ben Affleck’s The Town, which received the 2010 National Board of Review Award for Best Ensemble; Dan Rush’s Everything Must Go; Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give, for which the cast and filmmakers were honored with the Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award and a Gotham Independent Film Award nomination for Best Ensemble Performance; Oliver Parker’s Dorian Gray; Ron Howard’s Frost/Nixon; for which she shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Cast Performance; Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige, for which she received UK Empire Award and London Critics Circle Award nominations for Best Newcomer; and Tom Vaughan’s Starter for 10, her feature film debut.
Furthermore, Hall starred in Susanna White’s acclaimed miniseries “Parade’s End” for HBO and BBC, which was adapted by Tom Stoppard from Ford Madox Ford’s tetralogy of novels. For her role, Hall received a Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress, a BAFTA TV Award nomination for Leading Actress, and a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Actress in a Movie or Miniseries. Her other television credits include Julian Jarrold’s “Red Riding: 1974,” for which she won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress; Philip Martin’s “Einstein and Eddington”; Stephen Poliakoff’s “Joe’s Palace;” Brendan Maher’s “Wide Sargasso Sea”; Stuart Orme’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way”; and Peter Hall’s “The Camomile Lawn.”
On stage, Hall received an Ian Charleson Award for her West End portrayal of Vivie in “Mrs. Warren’s Profession,” and the following year she was recognized with an Ian Charleson Award for her portrayal of Rosalind in “As You Like It,” which opened at the Theatre Royal Bath and later toured in both the UK and U.S. Building on this success, Hall received the same commendation for her portrayal of Hermione in The Bridge Project’s production of “A Winter’s Tale.” The actress made her Broadway debut in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s “Machinal,” written by Sophie Treadwell and directed by Olivier-winner Lyndsey Turner. Recently, Hall was seen in The Atlantic Theater Company’s production of “Animal,” directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch.
ROB BRYDON MBE (Inspector Lestrade) is the award-winning actor, writer and producer who is arguably best known for The Trip (2010), A Cock and Bull Story (2005), and “Marion and Geoff” (2000), for which he was awarded Network Newcomer at the Royal Television Society award and Best Comedy Newcomer at The Comedy Awards. He also went onto win Best TV Comedy Actor for his performance in “Human Remains.” Brydon has received a further four BAFTA TV Award nominations, most recently for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme for The Trip to Spain.
Brydon studied at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama before joining BBC Wales as a radio and television presenter. He first came to the public’s attention in 2000 with television shows “Marion and Geoff” and “Human Remains.” Since then his extensive credits have included “I’m Alan Partridge,” “Little Britain,” “Live at the Apollo,” “Rob Brydon’s Identity Crisis,” “Would I Lie to You?,” “The Trip,” and BAFTA award winning BBC series “Gavin and Stacey” where he played the lead role of Stacey’s Uncle Bryn. In 2009, Brydon completed an 87-date tour of the UK with his stand up show, “Rob Brydon Live,” including a run in London’s West End. In 2012, Brydon returned to the stage with “A Chorus of Disapproval,” at the Harold Pinter Theatre, directed by Olivier and Tony award-winner Trevor Nunn.
Brydon went on to star in the bracingly topical and boisterously funny “Future Conditional” at The Old Vic, directed by Matthew Warchus, he also appeared as Martin in HBO’s comedy series “The Brink” alongside Jack Black and Tim Robbins. In 2016 Rob starred in The Huntsman: Winter’s War opposite Chris Hemsworth, Jessica Chastain and Emily Blunt and also returned to the stage in “The Painkiller” at the Garrick Theatre, alongside Kenneth Branagh.
In 2017, Brydon returned to our screens with The Trip to Spain, the third brilliant series, which saw Brydon and Steve Coogan playing fictionalized versions of themselves as they tour restaurants in various locations. The Trip to Spain followed on from The Trip, which launched in 2010 to critical acclaim, and The Trip to Italy, which aired in 2014.
On Christmas day last year, Brydon narrated the BBC animation of The Highway Rat. He then went onto star as the Message Bird in Early Man the newest animation from Aardman.
He is at present touring the UK with his highly reviewed stand up show, “I Am Standing Up.”
Brydon has most recently been cast in Days of Bagnold Summer, the feature directorial debut from The Inbetweeners star, Simon Bird. He will also star alongside Sally Phillips and Hayley Atwell in Gurinder Chadha’s comedy-drama Blinded by the Light.
KELLY MACDONALD (Mrs. Martha Hudson)
RALPH FIENNES (Professor James Moriarty) made his feature film debut as Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Steven Spielberg was so impressed by Fiennes’ performance in this film that he cast him as the sinister Nazi Aman Goeth in Schlinder’s List. His role earned him an Academy Award® nomination, as well as the Best Supporting Actor award from BAFTA.
Since then Fiennes has starred in notable films, such as The Constant Gardner, The English Patient, In Bruges, The Reader, Skyfall, and played the dreaded Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter franchise and the Harry Potter short films, which were released in 2014.
Most recently, Fiennes voiced the character of Moon King in Focus Features’ Kubo and the Two Strings, which was released in August 2016. The film also features voices from Charlize Theron, Rooney Mara, Matthew McConaughey and Art Parkinson and tells the story of a young boy named Kubo who must locate a magical suit of armor in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.
Currently, Fiennes can be seen onstage playing Shakespeare’s most notorious villain in “Richard III” at the Almeida Theatre in London. The production, directed by Rupert Goold, also stars Vanessa Redgrave.
Also in 2016, Fiennes was seen starring in Luca Guadagnino’s Italian drama A Bigger Splash, which premiered at the 2015 Venice International Film Festival and the 2015 BFI London Film Festival. The film, also starring Tilda Swinton, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson, follows a famous rock star (Swinton) and her filmmaker boyfriend (Schoenaerts) as they are vacationing on the remote Italian island of Pantelleria, when they are quickly disrupted by the visit of an old friend Harry (Fiennes) and his daughter Penelope (Johnson).
Earlier this year, Fiennes co-starred in the Coen Brothers’ comedy Hail Caesar! opposite George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Alden Ehrenreich and Jonah Hill. The film, which follows a ‘Hollwood fixer’ in the 1950’s, was released in February 2016 and opened the 2016 Berlin Film Festival.
Fiennes was also recently seen onstage in Henrik Ibsen’s “The Master Builder” at the Old Vic Theatre in London. The story follows a titular builder (Fiennes) who rises through the ranks to become the most renowned and respected builder in town, only to constantly worry about his impending demise. Fiennes made his return to the stage in February 2015 as Jack Tanner in the revival of George Bernard Shaw’s “Man and Superman” at the National’s Lyttelton Theatre in London. The production, which had its final performance last spring, received universal acclaim.
In 2015, Fiennes reprised his role as M in Sam Mendes’ installment of the James Bond franchise, Spectre, which also stars Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Monica Bellucci and Christoph Waltz. The film was released globally by Sony Pictures Entertainment on November 6, 2015, and was largely successful among box offices around the world.
In 2014, Fiennes starred as Mr. Gustave in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, appearing alongside Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Owen Wilson, Jude Law, Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray, among others. Released by Fox Searchlight, the film grossed over $172 million worldwide and earned him critical acclaim. Fiennes earned 2015 Golden Globe and BAFTA award nominations for his performance.
Fiennes made his feature film directorial debut in 2011 with Coriolanus and in 2013 he directed and starred in the critically acclaimed film The Invisible Woman, in which he played the role of Charles Dickens, starring opposite Felicity Jones as his mistress Nelly Ternan. The film is an adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s book accounting the love affair between Dickens and Ternan, which lasted thirteen years. It was announced that Fiennes will next direct a drama based on the life of legendary Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev.
Other notable acting performances include The Duchess, Chromophobia, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Bernard and Doris, Great Expectations, Robert Redford’s acclaimed Quiz Show, Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days, Gillian Armstrong’s Oscar and Lucinda, Martha Fiennes’ Onegin (which he also executive produced), Neil Jordan’s The End of the Affair, David Cronenberg’s Spider, Red Dragon, The Good Thief, The Avengers, Maid in Manhattan, The White Countess, Cemetary Junction, Nanny McPhee Returns, The Chumscrubber, and Istvan Szabo’s Sunshine.
Fiennes’ theatre career is equally as extensive. His classical work includes roles as varied as Berowne in “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing,” Richard II in “Richard II,” Caesar in “Julius Caesar,” Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet,” the Dauphin in “King John,” Troilus in “Troilus and Cressida” and Edmund in “King Lear.” In 1995, Fiennes opened as Hamlet in a sold-out production of “Hamlet” by Jonathan Kent for the Almeida Theatre Company at the Hackney Empire. The production moved to Broadway, and Fiennes won the Tony Award for his performance.
Fiennes has also worked with Jonathan Kent in the acclaimed production of “Ivanov” at the Almeida Theatre. In April 2006, Fiennes reunited with director Jonathan Kent to star in Brian Friel’s “Faith Healer” on Broadway for which he earned a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play. In October 2008, Fiennes worked with Jonathan Kent to star opposite Clare Higgins as the title role in “Oedipus Rex,” at the National Theatre in London. That same year, Fiennes starred in a production of Yasmina Reza’s “God of Carnage” at London’s Gielgud Theatre and in Samuel Beckett’s one-man show “First Love,” which premiered at New York’s Lincoln Center Festival, presented by the Gate Theatre in Dublin and directed by Michael Colgan.
In 2000, Fiennes appeared in the title roles of “Richard II” and “Coriolanus” for the Almeida Theatre, and he triumphed in a guest cameo role in Kenneth Branagh’s West End production of “The Play I Wrote.” Fiennes also played Prospero in “The Tempest” at the Theater Royal Haymarket in London, directed by Trevor Nunn.
Fiennes was introduced to UNICEF in 1999 and became an avid supporter of the organization for many years before becoming an ambassador in 2001. He has travelled to multiple countries on their behalf. UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
Director and screenwriter ETAN COHEN (Writer / Director) is known for penning such films as Idiocracy, Tropic Thunder, and Men in Black 3. His directorial debut, Get Hard, which he wrote with Jay Martel and Ian Roberts, starred Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. Cohen graduated from Harvard and received the Comedy Writer of the Year Award at the 2009 Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.
Academy Award® winning writer/director/producer ADAM MCKAY’s (Producer) most recent project sees Christian Bale embody Dick Cheney in a feature film about the most powerful Vice President in American history. Other former McKay collaborators, Steve Carrell and Amy Adams, co-star as Donald Rumsfeld and Lynne Cheney in the film with an original script by McKay.
In 2017, McKay executive produced and directed HBO pilot “Succession.” Written by Jesse Armstrong, the critically-acclaimed 10-epidose series (renewed for a second season) follows the saga of the Roy’s, a fictional American global-media family that is not only rich and powerful but powerfully dysfunctional. Through Funny or Die, which McKay co-founded in 2007, he serves as executive producer on the Hulu series “I Love You, America,” hosted by Sarah Silverman. Upcoming feature film projects include Bad Blood with Jennifer Lawrence starring as Elizabeth Holmes, founder of the controversial blood-test company Theranos as well as Irredeemable, a Boom! Comics comic book adaptation.
In 2015, McKay and Charles Randolph adapted Michael Lewis’s New York Times best-selling book, The Big Short, about the financial crisis of 2007/2008. Starring Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt, The Big Short went on to receive much critical acclaim as well as Academy Award®, BAFTA, Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture and won the 2016 PGA for Best Picture. McKay earned Academy Award®, BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Director, and he and Randolph won Best Adapted Screenplay at the Academy Awards®, BAFTA, WGA and USC Scripter Awards.
Initially, McKay made his name in the comedy world as a founding member of the Upright Citizens Brigade. In 1995, McKay and Will Ferrell happened to start on the same day at “Saturday Night Live,” where McKay remained for six years and became Head Writer. McKay and Ferrell’s time at “SNL” led to successful collaborations that established their unique absurdist style on the now classic Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) followed by the hit Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). Since forming their company Gary Sanchez Productions in 2006, McKay has consistently entertained audiences worldwide with a string of movies he has written (often with Ferrell) and directed including Step Brothers (2008), The Other Guys (2010) and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013). He has also produced numerous others including hits Get Hard (2015) and Daddy’s Home (2015) and Daddy’s Home 2 (2017), and independent titles such as Welcome to Me (2015).
McKay has been a contributor on Huffington Post, has written for TV projects such as Michael Moore’s The Awful Truth, directed and produced on HBO’s “Eastbound and Down,” and produced the Emmy-nominated “Drunk History.” On Broadway, he directed the Tony-nominated “You’re Welcome America.”
McKay is a long-time supporter of numerous charitable organizations including Amnesty International. In 2016, he joined the board of Represent.Us, the largest grassroots anti-corruption campaign in the US to pass laws that stop political bribery, end secret money and give voters a stronger voice. McKay also supports The Brady Center, Homeless Healthcare LA and Jail Guitar Doors.
JIMMY MILLER (Producer) has established Mosaic as one of the most respected talent management companies in Los Angeles. Mosaic also includes very successful film and TV divisions. Miller manages actors such as Will Ferrell and Tessa Thompson as well as writer/directors Judd Apatow, Jay Roach, and Etan Cohen. A passionate advocate of comedy, Miller’s film producing credits include the worldwide blockbusters Elf, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and Bad Teacher. He was also recently an executive producer of ABC’s critically acclaimed comedy series “Downward Dog.”
Longtime collaborations with high-profile directors have made CLAYTON TOWNSEND (Producer) a much-in-demand producer. He remains one of the film industry’s most respected hands-on and creative producers, shepherding motion pictures across all genres.
Townsend is currently in preproduction on the ninth film in the record-breaking
Fast & Furious franchise. The untitled installment marks Townsend’s third contribution to the phenomenal series, having previously teamed up with director Justin Lin and producer Neal H. Mortiz on Fast & Furious 6 and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
Townsend also recently produced Bird Box, a thriller starring Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, Jacki Weaver, Danielle Macdonald and John Malkovich.
In an enduring relationship with celebrated writer/director/producer Judd Apatow, Townsend produced This Is 40, Bridesmaids, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Year One and Funny People. Townsend’s twelve-year tenure with director Oliver Stone generated some of the Academy Award®-winning director’s most highly-regarded films, including Any Given Sunday, U Turn, Nixon, Natural Born Killers, JFK, Heaven & Earth, The Doors, Born on the Fourth of July and Talk Radio.
In 2014, Townsend produced Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book. The film garnered three Academy Award nominations and a place on AFI’s Top Ten Films of the Year.
Additional producing credits include Zoolander 2, People Like Us, The Skeleton Key, Bad Company, The Blackout, Where’s Marlowe? and Heartbreakers. Townsend acquired his knowledge of filmmaking while working in a variety of capacities from an entry level, including location manager on 9 ½ Weeks, Alan Parker’s Angel Heart, A Chorus Line and production manager on The Money Pit, Three Men and a Baby and Jacob’s Ladder.
CHRIS HENCHY (Executive Producer) runs Gary Sanchez Productions (GSP), co-founded by comedians Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, which partnered with Sequoia Capital to launch www.funnyordie.com. Henchy was involved in the creation of the website and is integral in its ongoing commitment to showcase the best comedy on the web.
Henchy has been a writer and producer on such shows as “Entourage,” “Spin City,” and “I’m With Her” and GSP’s HBO comedy series “Eastbound and Down”. Henchy wrote the feature films Land of the Lost for Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures’ The Other Guys starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, and The Campaign for Warner Bros., staring Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis. Henchy produced the feature films Tammy, Get Hard, Daddy’s Home, and Daddy’s Home 2.
Born in New York City, Henchy resides in Los Angeles with his wife, actress Brooke Shields, and their two daughters.
JESSICA ELBAUM (Executive Producer) started with Gary Sanchez Productions ten years ago. She recently produced The House with Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler. She has executive produced numerous titles, including Daddy’s Home, Get Hard, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and was co-producer on The Other Guys. Elbaum’s producer credits include Sleeping with Other People, Welcome to Me, and Bachelorette. She is set to produce Eurovision for Netflix written by and starring Will Ferrell.
Elbaum founded Gloria Sanchez Productions as a sister label of Gary Sanchez Productions in early 2014, with a focus on female voices in comedy. She was named one of Variety’s 10 Producers to Watch shortly thereafter. The first Gloria production was Sleeping with Other People, starring Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis, written and directed by Leslye Headland. Under the Gloria banner, Elbaum is producing Booksmart, Olivia Wilde’s feature directorial debut, and Hustlers based on the New York Magazine article “The Hustlers at Scores” by Jessica Pressler, which will star Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. She is also developing a number of projects including Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo’s Unt. Project in which the two will also star, Women in Business with Chernin Entertainment, and First Ladies written by Tig Notaro and Stephanie Allynne with Notaro and Jennifer Anniston set to star. Elbaum is also making multiple forays into television, including the limited series “Dead to Me” for Netflix, starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, “I’m Sorry” for TruTV alongside the Lonely Island’s company Party Over Here, and several projects with CBS.
Elbaum also produced the independent feature Oh Lucy! written and directed by Atsuko Hirayanagi, starring Shinobu Terajima and Josh Hartnett, which premiered at Cannes in May.
M. RILEY (Executive Producer) is a producer. He produces stuff. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s a little of both. He occasionally has good ideas, but not all the time. When he has bad ideas, they are really bad. He does seem to get along with others though, so that’s something.
DAVID MIMRAN (Executive Producer) is the CEO of GMA and GMD (respectively Grands Moulins d’Abidjan and Grands Moulins de Dakar) together with Miminvest S.A and MNR (Mimran Natural Resources S.A.) all part of the Mimran Group of which he serves as a director. Mimran is the Co-Chairman of Mimran Schur Pictures, an independent motion picture production company focusing on the production of exceptional films spanning all genres that he started in 2009 with Jordan Schur, former President of Geffen Records.
Mimran is a board member of Teranga Gold Corp (TSX:TGZ).
Prior to founding Mimran Schur Pictures, Mimran was the vice chairman and founding partner of Breeden Partners, L.P., an actively managed investment fund focused on creating value in U.S. public companies. In 2003, he served as a board member and was the largest investors in Blackstreet Capital Management (formerly Milestone Capital Management), a private equity fund focused on control buyouts of underperforming corporate orphans. From 2003-2005, Mimran was the vice chairman and largest shareholder of Milestone Merchant Partners, an investment-banking firm based in Washington, D.C.
Prior to moving to the United States in 2003, Mimran served as the President of Eurafrique, Sometra and Cavpa, all part of an international food processing, grain trading and shipping conglomerate owned by the Mimran Group and headquartered in Monaco with operations in Europe and West Africa. Currently, Mimran still serves as a member of the board of directors of the above-mentioned companies. Mimran served as the president and CEO of Arrigoni Group, the well-known Italian food manufacturer from 1994-1996. Mimran was a principal and board member of Compagnie Bancaire de l’Afrique Occidentale (CBAO), one of the largest banking groups in West Africa. The Mimran Group has extensive holdings throughout Europe and Africa. Most notably in Europe, the Mimran Group owned Autombili Lamborghini Holding Spa from 1981 to 1987 when it was acquired by Chrysler Motor Corporation. In France in 1983, the Group acquired the well-known French food processing giant Olida-Caby whose operations centered on the production frozen foods, sausage, poultry, fish, dairy, vegetable and biscuits. Its most famous brand, Les Plats Marie, was sold to Sara Lee.
Mr. Mimran was a member of the Board of Directors of the Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) where he also served as Chairman of the Audit Committee and was a member of the Executive Committee. During that period, Mr. Mimran was the largest outside individual shareholder of ADM. Mr. Mimran is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
In addition to the above, Mr. Mimran currently acts as Special Advisor to the government of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire in which capacity he has led negotiations with the IMF, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank), the European Union, and the Government of the Republic of France. Mr. Mimran has been a strong advocate for the promotion of peace in the Middle East and is a governor of the Peres Center for Peace.
A veteran of the music and film industries, JORDAN SCHUR (Executive Producer) has garnered a reputation for creating and overseeing innovative and highly profitable ventures. Schur’s first major success was Flip Records, a music label he created in 1994 that launched the careers of world-renowned artists such as Limp Bizkit and Staind. Under Schur’s guidance, Flip Records went on to sell over 70M records, as the company became a legendary brand in music.
In 1999, Schur began his successful tenure as President of Geffen Records at Universal Music Group where he merged the original Geffen Records with MCA Records and DreamWorks Records. The newly expanded company went on to become the market share leader in the industry generating over 2B dollars in sales. Schur has worked with some of the world’s most successful chart-topping artists ranging from Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Snoop Dogg, Mary J Blige, Rob Zombie, Ashlee Simpson, Sigur Ros, Common, The Roots, Sonic Youth, Blink 182, Enrique Iglesias, Beck, Nelly Furtado, and Counting Crows to name a few.
Schur left Geffen in 2006, and founded Suretone Records where artists such as The Cure, Weezer, Chris Cornell, Angels & Airwaves, and Shwayze all found great success. Schur drove several of his artists to #1 chart positions on iTunes and Soundscan, in the US and around the world.
In 2008, Schur founded Mimran Schur Pictures with David Mimran, a film production company. Their success includes the highly regarded Stone, starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, and Milla Jovovich, and the much-heralded Warrior co-financed with Lionsgate, starring Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, and Nick Nolte who earned an Academy Award® nomination for his role. They also financed and produced the critically acclaimed Henry’s Crime, starring Keanu Reeves, James Caan, and Vera Farmiga, as well as produced and financed with Lionsgate, the youth-based comedy Rapture-Palooza starring Craig Robinson and Anna Kendrick. Mimran Schur Pictures continued to release notable films including Pawn Shop Chronicles, starring Paul Walker in one of his last films, Elijah Wood, Vincent D’Onofrio, Brendan Fraser, Matt Dillon and Norman Reedus. Jordan and David will produce Mimran Schur Pictures’ current slate of films including the upcoming Five Against A Bullet, a co-production with Columbia Pictures starring Jackie Chan, which will be produced with Lorenzo di Bonaventura; The Kid, Vincent D’Onofrio’s directorial debut starring Ethan Hawke, Dane DeHaan, Jake Schur, and Chris Pratt, which is currently in post-production; Creepers, written by Stephen Susco, based on the novel by David Morrell, Maybe Someday, helmed by Dean Sams of the band Lonestar, and Scott Thompson; and Sci-Fi thriller Nightmare 19.
Most recently, Mimran Schur Pictures announced a co-financing deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment on Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel and produced by Toby Jaffe and Neal H. Moritz.
In January of 2013, Schur merged with Carl Stubner, former CEO of Sanctuary Artist Management, to create Suretone Entertainment, an artist management company and record label.
Most recently, Suretone Records relaunched with new distribution partner, Warner Music Group’s A.D.A. The labels first releases will include ZZ Top, young and highly sought after urban artist Sayyi, and DED, the labels most recent signing whose first single is already in the top 10 sales in the USA.
OLIVER WOOD (Director of Photography)
JAMES HAMBIDGE (Production Designer) received his first Art Director credit on Anna Campion’s Bloody Weekend. Since then, he has worked as Art Director on such films as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight and Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy, as Supervising Art Director on Justin Lin’s Fast & Furious 6 and Guy Ritchie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and as Co-Production Designer on David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
His other credits include David Yates’ The Legend of Tarzan, Andrew Stanton’s John Carter, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and Batman Begins, Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class, Marc Forby’s Princess Kaiulani, and Lee Tamahori’s Die Another Day.
DEAN ZIMMERMAN ACE (Editor), born in the city of angels, not only lived in the entertainment capital of the world but grew up among the stars being the son of legendary Academy Award® Nominee Film Editor Don Zimmerman. As a young child, Zimmerman travelled with his family to visit his father on location, truly experiencing the ‘entertainment industry life,’ not knowing that one day he would be living the same life with his wife and two daughters. Zimmerman has made his own mark working for over 25 years in the industry, editing many top feature films including all the Night at the Museum films, Date Night, Real Steel, The Internship and Jumper.” Zimmerman also worked on the 1st season of the mega hit Sci-Fi Netflix series “Stranger Things” which won him an Emmy for Outstanding Editing for a Non-Commercial Drama Series. He also was nominated for an Eddie award and won the HPA award for the same show. Zimmerman is currently editing the Netflix series “Stranger Things” for season 3. Zimmerman was asked to become a member of American Cinema Editors after his nomination and is a member of the Television Academy. He is represented by Wayne Fitterman of WME.
BEATRIX ARUNA PASZTOR (Costume Designer)
MARK MOTHERSBAUGH’s (Music) love of art started early in his childhood, just after it was discovered that he was extremely nearsighted and legally blind. Correctional eyeglasses offered Mark a new view of the world, inspiring his obsession with imagery and illustrations. His first works, which he began creating in the late 60’s and into the 70’s, led to the formation of his band DEVO. DEVO became his best-known art project, within which he created music, costumes and videos. The success of the band lead to a career as a film and television composer. Through the years he scored films like The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, The Lego Movie, the Hotel Transylvania franchise and Thor Ragnarok. He also worked on memorable television series on both sides of the camera. He earned new generations of fans with his scores for “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” and “Rugrats,” and starred in “Mark’s Magic Pictures,” the art segment of the hit show “Yo Gabba Gabba.” Today he continues expanding his audio and visual work, scoring films like The Lego Movie 2 and television series like “Dirty John” and “Disenchantment.”