HOT PURSUIT movie starring Reese Witherspoon & Sofia Vergara is releasing across cinemas in India on May 8th, 2015.
From New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures comes the comedy “Hot Pursuit,” starring Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line,” “Wild”) and Sofía Vergara (“Chef,” TV’s “Modern Family”), under the direction of Anne Fletcher (“The Proposal”). John Carroll Lynch (“Crazy, Stupid, Love.”) and Robert Kazinsky (“Pacific Rim”) also star.
In “Hot Pursuit,” an uptight and by-the-book cop (Witherspoon) tries to protect the sexy and outgoing widow (Vergara) of a drug boss as they race through Texas, pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.
Fletcher directs from a screenplay written by David Feeney (TV’s “New Girl”) & John Quaintance (TV’s “Ben & Kate”). The film is produced by Bruna Papandrea (“Wild,” “Gone Girl”), Reese Witherspoon and Dana Fox, with Jeff Waxman, Sofía Vergara and Luis Balaguer serving as executive producers.
Fletcher’s behind-the-scenes creative team is comprised of several of her collaborators from “The Proposal,” including director of photography Oliver Stapleton, production designer Nelson Coates, editor Priscilla Nedd Friendly and costume designer Catherine Marie Thomas. The music is by Christophe Beck (“Frozen”).
New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures present, a Foxy/Pacific Standard production, an Anne Fletcher film, “Hot Pursuit.” The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Mrs. Riva, I’m Officer Cooper,
I’m here to escort you to Dallas.
Look at you, you’re teeny-tiny, you’re like
a little dog that I can put in my purse!
Super-straight arrow Officer Cooper is both honored and thrilled to be assigned the seemingly simple task of escorting mob wife Daniella Riva across Texas, where she and her husband will testify against a major drug lord. It’s a rare day out of the property room, and the intensely enthusiastic petite policewoman vows not to let her captain down. Having already earned the unfortunate distinction of prompting her own verb within the precinct, she is determined not to “Cooper it” this time.
However, upon meeting the dynamic Mrs. Riva—a curvaceous Colombian beauty with opinions as strong as her accent—it’s clear this will be no walk in the park. And before they can even agree on what high heels the statuesque Daniella can pack, the cops and Mr. Riva are ambushed, making his wife a widow and turning their anticipated easy drive from San Antonio to Dallas into a run-for-your-life race against time…and a lot of flying bullets!
Veteran comedy director Anne Fletcher offers, “It’s something of a modern-day female ‘Odd Couple’ sort of buddy comedy, with Reese Witherspoon playing the wild and crazy one and Sofía Vergara playing the straight man—or in this case, woman. But Reese’s cop is so normal she’s a little off, and Sofía’s trophy mob wife is a lot more resourceful than she seems.”
Both Witherspoon and Vergara not only star in the film but also served as a producer and executive producer, respectively.
“I was interested in directing this movie because I love Reese and Sofía,” Fletcher continues. “I instinctually understood the visual opportunity for comedy in their physical pairing and felt the brilliance of their chemistry, which I knew would be there. Putting those two together just seemed like a lot of fun to me.”
The story also appealed to both actresses, who saw the comic possibilities of working together, even though they’d never met.
Witherspoon states, “Sofía is so interesting to watch and has a great sense of comedic timing and relatability. We are a complete mismatch physically; it was clear to me the second we met that we would make a good pair because not only did we have a great rapport, but she’s so tall and composed, next to her I felt short and funny. I knew we could play with that.”
“I wanted to do this role because I wanted to work with Reese,” Vergara agrees. “I thought we’d make a good combination, the way that I am and the way that she is and what we could both bring to the movie. It was also the first time that I was going to be an executive producer on a film and Reese has experience doing that, so I thought it would be nice for me to work with her for that reason also.”
Two years prior to production, Witherspoon and Aussie producer Bruna Papandrea launched a production entity called Pacific Standard, with a simple mandate: to develop and produce movies with female characters—including comedies driven by women. “That’s an area that Reese had obviously worked in a lot, and I have as well,” Papandrea says, “And since the very beginning of our partnership, Reese had been saying, ‘Let’s develop a movie for me to do with Sofía Vergara.’ And we both loved the idea of these two completely different people coming together, and what that could look like on screen.”
Serendipitously, Witherspoon’s friend Dana Fox, a seasoned comedy writer/producer, knew of a burgeoning project that fit the bill. “I had just finished working with two very talented writers, David Feeney and John Quaintance, and we were looking to keep working together. The guys pitched me several ideas and this was the one we all fell in love with. A few days later, I was talking with Reese—who I’m always looking for excuses to work with because she’s so great—and she told me she and Sofía had been talking and she had pitched Sofía a few ideas, and one of them sounded amazingly similar to what John and David had just pitched me. We agreed it was meant to be and started working on the project together.”
“We had an idea for a female-driven take on a buddy action comedy,” Feeney conveys. “One of the hardest tricks with that genre is to create two distinct characters with sharply defined, comedic voices. When we found out that Reese Witherspoon wanted to work with Sofía Vergara, the stars seemed to be aligned. We were so lucky in this case to know from day one who we were writing for.”
“Reese and Sofia are such strong, funny people it made our job easy,” Quaintance adds. “When a movie is just words on a page, you have an idea in your head of how the characters might sound. When we finally got to see these actresses perform, the characters sprung to life in a way we never could have imagined. It was a treat to see Sofía in a part that showcases what she does so well, and to see Reese return to the type of quirky comic character that made her a star.”
Once the script was in shape, the producers reached out to Fletcher to direct. Papandrea conveys that she and Witherspoon “had been fans of Anne’s for a long time and talked about working with her. I’ve honestly loved all her movies and there are very few female directors out there; that was something we hoped to find in light of our company’s philosophy, which we extend beyond just the material whenever possible. We met Anne and we loved her get-up-and-go attitude. And the dynamic between her and Reese was so good, both as director/actor and as filmmakers. We knew this would be a really fun ride and that she would be a great collaborator for us.”
“Bruna and Reese came to me about the movie at a time when I was in the middle of a million things, but I’m so glad the timing worked out and that I was able to jump on board with them,” Fletcher states. “Every day was a joy to work with Reese, not only as an actor but as a fellow filmmaker. Showing up and participating is important to her. That helps the process, and I really enjoyed working with both her and Sofía in their on- and off-camera roles.”
Vergara, known for the liveliness she infuses into the parts she plays, admired Fletcher’s energy. “She has so much of it, it’s insane! It’s so great to be on set at four in the morning when everybody else is passing out and it’s like she’s just woken up!” the actress declares, adding that she “couldn’t have picked a better director for my first movie role where I’m in almost every scene. She was so patient and so empowering. It’s not that I don’t want to work with men, of course, but this was very refreshing. I was so proud to work with Anne.”
Witherspoon felt the same, stating, “Anne has this incredible personality that’s funny and engaging, and she loves her work. She also has a terrific sense of physical comedy and was so helpful just coaching me through the very physical moments in the movie.”
Like climbing—or more precisely, being shoved—out of a window, being dragged by her co-star, and even (sort of) impersonating a world-famous male pop star.
“I love physical comedy,” Fletcher says. “As a dancer and choreographer, that was my go-to, that’s heaven to me. And what these women brought to the table, how silly and crazy they were willing to be…I loved it. It’s rare to get to do physical comedy with people who are truly capable of it, so when I get that little gift, I take it and run.”
“She always finds a funnier way to do it,” Witherspoon observes, “while clearly understanding the emotional journey of the characters. As she puts it, ‘If you strip all the comedy away you still have to have a great friendship at the center of the film.’”
In addition to her esteem for her leading ladies, Fletcher also loved the characters at the core of that relationship. “One has one way of doing things and the other has another, very different way. But they have to work together and figure out how to get where they need to go—without getting killed along the way!”
You do not know anything about me.
I have kissed you. I have seen your underwear.
I know everything I need to know.
Before they even get the key in the ignition of their commandeered-cum-stolen Cadillac convertible, before they run their first red light, Officer Cooper and Daniella Riva are completely at odds with one another. Despite Cooper’s best intentions to carry out orders, the ranting and raving Mrs. Riva wants no assistance from the policewoman whom she deems too “teeny-tiny” to serve and protect her—at least from the kind of criminals that she and her husband are set to snitch on. Her lack of cooperation throws Cooper for a loop and forces her to assert herself even more than is already natural to her.
“Cooper tries really, really hard, but she keeps making a mess of her life, so when she meets Mrs. Riva, who is confident and composed and commanding, Cooper is a little intimidated,” Witherspoon reveals. “But she’s kind of like a Yorkie—small but able to access her aggressive side whenever she feels threatened. I think that’s her spirit animal, the Yorkie.”
Fletcher, smiling, loves that the actress finds fun and unique ways to “delve into a role that make her character so genuine you can’t help but find the humor in it, because she’s found the humor in it. You fall for Reese’s characters because she’s made them quirky or interesting or whatever she’s decided to do with the role. You love them for their authenticity and sincerity.”
As the film opens, we are introduced to Cooper as a very young girl being raised by a policeman father whom she idolizes as a role model, both personally and professionally. While most kids were playing telephone, Cooper was listening to a scanner. Now a cop herself, she knows her Texas law enforcement handbook like a good preacher knows his Bible: chapter and verse.
When we first see her all grown up, Cooper is out of uniform, though by her behavior she appears to be undercover, chasing a perp through the streets of San Antonio. Not so, Witherspoon explains. “She’s looking for love, but clearly doesn’t know how to behave on a date! She’s awkward and aggressive when she doesn’t mean to be. Then you learn she doesn’t get along with the other police officers in her unit, either. Due to a prior incident in which she accidentally lit a teenager on fire, they’ve stuck her in the evidence room. And despite all the ribbing she gets, she even takes that job a little too seriously.”
Imagine, then, her determination to succeed when given a serious assignment. Intent on obeying the rules and following protocol, Cooper rigidly tries to steer her charge, Mrs. Riva, out the door and on the road to Dallas. But Daniella is used to doing things her own way and in her own time. That is, until everything goes completely awry and Cooper is her only chance at survival.
Vergara allows that “because Daniella is the wife of a drug dealer, she has this very wealthy, very comfortable life. But all of that comes with the drama of being married to a dealer. I’m sure she has a lot of fun, but she has a lot of problems, too.”
And those problems seem to have hit an all-time high when Cooper arrives—early—to pick her up. “Certain events go very differently from how they were supposed to,” Vergara continues. “Daniella and her husband are supposed to testify and then they are to be quartered in a witness protection program. But things happened that they couldn’t control and now my character is on the run with Officer Cooper, so the whole plan completely changes.”
“Sofía has such a brilliant understanding of comedy on the finest of levels, down to the smallest words that come out of her mouth,” Fletcher says. “She plays this strong, dominant female so well that she doesn’t even need to swear to get her point across; she can put out a perfect put-down in just two words—in English or Spanish. Sometimes we also shot what was written in English in Spanish just because it was even funnier, thanks to her ability to be so wonderfully hilarious in both languages.”
The director admired Vergara’s ability to amp up her performance on a dime, too. “She’s funny, and then you get into the next take or the next one, and you can’t believe the layers upon layers of comedic finesse she’s adding. She is such a dichotomy, such a natural-born comedienne in that beauty queen body. If anyone still thinks a woman can’t look that beautiful while being that funny, Sofía proves them wrong.”
If the idea of using her physical assets to get what she wants is a no-brainer to Daniella, it’s never even occurred to Cooper. “Daniella uses what she has to get what she needs. She probably looked around her and thought, ‘This is what I look like, so I’m going to use this,’” Fletcher expounds. “On the other hand, Cooper completely suppresses her womanhood. I don’t think she does it consciously, but she would never think to actively utilize her feminine wiles to her advantage.”
In fact, Cooper’s not exactly in touch with her feminine side. While largely a result of her upbringing, having spent her formative years in the back seat of a police cruiser, it’s also a hazard of the job, as many female cops would no doubt attest about working in a male-dominated field. “I loved the comparison of these two women, both living and working in testosterone-filled environments—the legal world and the world of the cartel,” the director observes.
One of the film’s running jokes is that Daniella’s suitcase, which she insists on dragging behind her no matter how fast they need to run, is filled with high-heeled shoes. Cooper, clad in a sensible pair of police-issue lace-ups, can’t understand the attraction, especially when the ladies are constantly either under fire or trying to lay low. But it’s their characters’ extreme personality differences that provided the actresses with the most laughs during production, intentional or not.
As producer Dana Fox remembers, “The most fun thing about working on this movie was watching these two women try not to laugh during scenes. Their characters hate each other for a lot of the movie, but they were clearly cracking each other up, so it was really funny to watch them break and laugh at each other. They were really professional and tried not to do it too often, but sometimes they just couldn’t help it—and neither could we.”
Three felony assaults plus a history of
established behavior definitely could end you
up in more than an ankle monitor. More like
a jumpsuit. An orange one. In prison…
Why are you smiling at me?
You’re kind of intense… I dig it.
While Cooper and Daniella are at each other’s throats, several of the men in the film are hot on their trail. Initiating the transport that brings the two ladies together, John Carroll Lynch plays Captain Emmett, Cooper’s boss, who hands her the plum assignment of escorting Mrs. Riva, and Richard T. Jones plays Detective Jackson, in charge of Mr. Riva and, for a time, Officer Cooper.
Once things blow up at the Riva mansion, however, the ladies wind up running from not one but two pairs of pursuers, from both sides of the law: detectives Dixon and Hauser, played by Michael Mosley and Matthew Del Negro, are detectives who work with Cooper; Benny Nieves and Michael Ray Escamilla are Jesus and Angel, ironically monikered cartel thugs who chase the girls across the state of Texas.
Vergara relates, “Jesus and Angel are part of the cartel that Daniella’s husband belongs to, so she and Officer Cooper run from them because as everyone knows, if you witness a killing in the mob, they have to have your head, too. So we run, but then we realize they are not the only ones following us.”
Popular stand-ups Jim Gaffigan and Mike Birbiglia take comedic turns in the film as well. Birbiglia appears in an early sequence as Steve, a man on the run from Officer Cooper, despite having broken no laws, while Gaffigan plays Red, a farmer who unwittingly provides a convenient place for Cooper and Daniella to stow away—that is, until he busts them and they are forced to perform some fast improv in order to distract him from turning them in.
“Red is quite shocked to see Mrs. Riva and Officer Cooper making out, which was pretty shocking to Mrs. Riva and Officer Cooper, too,” Witherspoon laughs, recalling that, upon returning to set the day after shooting that scene, “I said to Jim, ‘Gosh, I have to make out with Sofía again today,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, you need to stop complaining.’”
One character who is not averse to aiding and abetting the female fugitives is Randy. Played by Robert Kazinsky, Randy is not exactly on the right side of the law himself and is, in fact, sporting an ankle monitor.
“The women discover Randy when they steal his truck…without realizing he’s passed out in the back,” Fletcher grins. “So now he’s seen them, he knows who they are, and they’re in another predicament because that monitor allows the authorities to track him down once he’s outside of the jurisdiction. But Cooper may know a way around that, if Randy’s willing to help.”
Kazinsky offers, “Randy decides to help them because, first of all, he finds Cooper exceptionally attractive and appealing, and second, they’re wanted, he’s a criminal himself and, well, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?”
The Englishman says he was eager to play the role because “I wanted to work with Reese; that was the key thing. I’ve been an admirer of hers for a long time so this was an opportunity to get to do that. And Anne is a great comedic director and this part was unlike anything I’ve done before.”
While Kazinsky acknowledges it’s a small, though critical, role, he confesses, “In my entire career I’ve never played a nice guy, or a ‘good guy,’ or somebody who doesn’t die! It was a chance to play something funny and light, and a character who’s not a total douchebag, and it was not something I get offered very often,” he laughs.
“We did a far-reaching search for Randy,” producer Bruna Papandrea notes. “We joked that we went all the way to England to cast our real American man. But Rob is just so charismatic and dynamic and has all the qualities we wanted Randy to have. Cooper has to be kind of swept away by what is really the opposite of what she might expect to find.”
“Rob was just fantastic,” Witherspoon agrees. “He brought such great energy to Randy and played him as this sort of loveable, noble guy who likes to take care of women and protect them from the bad guys, even though, you know, he’s a convicted felon. A felon and a gentleman.”
We have been set up, shot at and hunted down…
We are nowhere near Dallas and the police are gonna
come and arrest us any minute. Now move your ass!
Though “Hot Pursuit” takes place in San Antonio and Dallas and along the road in between, filming was accomplished entirely in New Orleans. As a producer, the appeal of the Big Easy made shooting there an easy choice for Witherspoon. “I love New Orleans,” she affirms. “The food is so good—if anything, it’s too good. And the crews are great, the people are so friendly. Being a Southern girl, it’s always nice to be back in the South.”
Nevertheless, production designer Nelson Coates knew the differences in terrain between Texas and Louisiana would be a challenge. “It all takes place in Texas and I lived a good portion of my childhood there, so I was immediately drawn to elements of the script,” he says. “But I was concerned about the vast amount of water that’s around New Orleans. We found several incredible places on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, with horse country and wide open spaces that actually looked like East Texas to me.”
Coates has worked with Anne Fletcher twice before and enjoyed an effortless understanding of what the director was hoping for regarding the look of the film. “We had a lot of Texans on our crew, and thank goodness Nelson was one of them,” the director states. “Everything he did was to ensure our road movie, which we shot on the road, looked like it was shot on a road in Texas, which enables the action and the comedy to be grounded in reality.”
To map out the look of each stop along the way, Coates actually pinpointed the journey on a map of Texas. “I determined that if the characters would be taking a particular road, they’d get to a certain intersection, and here’s what signs would be there, and so forth, so we’d have a sense of the real places they’d be going. At one spot, we were even able to recreate a billboard from an old amusement park located in central Texas that closed down years ago.”
The park owners granted Coates use of the logo and the production the ability to make its own version, which they aged to appear as if it had been there for years. “There are lots of little nods to old Texas; things you’d see along the back roads that I felt were fun and that Texans will remember when they see them,” he says. He also added visual winks throughout the film, such as the name Llano on the side of the dairy truck that collides with the Rivas’ Caddy, and calling the convenience store where the ladies stop for a change of clothes Saddlebags.
Coates also transformed an existing concrete block building into the fictional Bucking Bar, one of the first stops as the women make their way out of San Antonio. Coates’ team wrapped the building with a façade and added a porch, redid the interior and devised a logo.
If shooting a road movie on the road adds authenticity, it also brings specific challenges to the design team. Coates illustrates, “When you move from place to place, you still want to connect disparate elements to provide a thematic continuity throughout the story. So we used color and design to help tie things together. That way, the journey has a visual arc in the same way that the characters have an arc. In the beginning, for example, we see Officer Cooper in the San Antonio police station. I wanted it to look new, to give the city a modern feel and show that she is just a small cog in this big machine.”
When Cooper gets her first real assignment and has her initial encounter with mobster Riva and his wife at their compound, Coates describes, “I wanted a big contrast, with a strong flavor of Texas, and we were lucky enough to find a location and work with the owners, who graciously allowed us to paint inside and outside and redecorate and re-landscape to achieve the look and feel of a true Texas hacienda, cactus and all.”
Once Cooper and Daniella hit the road, Coates devised a color palette that would evolve along with the characters, changing from an arid, desert feel to more rolling hills as they get closer to their destination in Dallas, culminating at the peacock-themed quinceañera that hosts the film’s climactic sequence. “We sprinkled pops of reds and blues throughout, and then let them explode when we got to that party,” he says. “It’s a 15-year-old’s birthday but she is the daughter of a major drug lord, so it’s extravagant. We incorporated a lot of beautiful feathers and peacock-shaped cutouts throughout, and a gilded cage-type backdrop to indicate a young woman stepping out into a more adult world.”
Costume designer Catherine Marie Thomas was also tasked with creating several transformations, most notably for the film’s two stars as their characters take on different personas throughout the story. Thomas’s favorite piece was the dress worn by Vergara’s Daniella Riva when she’s first seen on screen.
Thomas says that “without even talking about it, Anne and I both had this vision of Sofía in white. It was a very clean, modern and unexpected silhouette that created a nice counterbalance to Reese’s tomboy police officer. That was really our departure point, and a nice way to establish their characters so that when they change clothes later, they sort of switch positions.”
Stopping at Saddlebags—in no way, shape or form a typical clothier for Mrs. Riva—the two change out of their regular garb and into what amounts to a “costume” of sorts for each. Thomas clarifies, “Daniella becomes a little tougher looking in jeans and a fringed t-shirt. She’s less feminine, less polished, and edgier perhaps, but she still retains her high heels and becomes a different kind of gorgeous woman. Cooper ends up out of uniform and in a very girly, flirty and impractical red dress, her worst nightmare.”
“Cat is fantastic,” Fletcher raves. “This is our third project together and she is always so great at identifying visually iconic pieces. She just knows what the right thing will be.”
Rather than shooting digitally, Fletcher and her director of photography, Oliver Stapleton, shot on film. “Film makes everything look elegant, in my opinion,” Fletcher says. “You feel like you’re having an experience, and Oliver created really beautiful shots. Having worked together before, we also have a shorthand, so we can just go at lightning speed. He has a great understanding of what is funny, and within the context of this film—which is largely an action movie—his ability to capture a lot of movement without it being distracting was critical. I felt very fortunate to have him on this project with me.”
To help choreograph the stunts, both traditional and comedic, the director turned to second unit director/stunt coordinator EJ Foerster. “This was my first real action movie and the first one with a lot of gunplay,” Fletcher acknowledges, “so I was thrilled to have EJ along for the ride.”
Foerster adds that, because all of the action is comedy- and character-based, “one of the things we wanted to do was allow Reese and Sofía to bring what they wanted to the pieces. So our rehearsal involved creating a shell of the choreography, getting them in the moment and in the environment for the scene, and then letting them play off of it, creating it as we went and tweaking it with them to make it funnier.”
The most elaborate stunt sequence involved a tour bus full of senior citizens careening down a road, hijacked by Cooper and Daniella—handcuffed together—as they attempt to escape the villains chasing after them amidst heavy gunfire.
“EJ and stunt coordinator Charlie Croughwell just jumped on it, composing the action very quickly. I saw what they’d devised and I just said to them, ‘Well, my work here is done!’” she jokes.
To take the stars and seniors on the ride of their life, Foerster says that father-and-son special effects team Peter and Pete Chesney built the “blind drive” bus. “Basically, that means the whole bus is controlled from underneath,” Foerster details. “They built the steering, the accelerator, braking system and emergency brake in the baggage compartment, and it was driven like a video game on a screen, with Charlie at the wheel putting the bus through a series of intense testing to ensure its safety for the stunt drivers and passengers.” During filming, it was stunt drivers Donna Evans Merlo and Tracy Keehn Dashnaw teeter-tottering the vehicle so the passengers inside bounce up and down in their seats.
The sequence, filmed in a construction site, required three different buses, including a stunt bus for the exterior work involving crashing into other police cruisers. Camera tricks allowed the bus to look like it was traveling at 60 miles per hour when in fact it was going no more than half that speed. And to help ensure the safety of the actors and extras inside, the filmmakers sprinkled several stunt professionals in with them.
“We brought in five legendary stunt people who’ve been in virtually everything you’ve ever seen,” Foerster quips. “Terry Leonard, who’s been working since the `60s; Jeannie Epper, who doubled for Wonder Woman and the Bionic Woman; Monty Cox from ‘Lethal Weapon’; Tommy Rosales from several of the ‘Planet of the Apes’ movies; and Bob Minor, who’s been in everything from ‘Bond’ to ‘Rocky.’ Five legends in the business rode the bus and had a great time, and we got to hear scores of stories going all the way back to training the horses for ‘Ben Hur,’” he beams.
The story is complemented by composer Christophe Beck’s score, and by one song in particular, written for the film by Grammy Award-winning country singer Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby and Nicolle Anne Galyon. Performed by Lambert, “Two of a Crime” is about more than friendship; it’s about having each others’ backs in times of trouble.
Witherspoon’s character, in particular, spoke to Lambert, who shares, “I grew up in Texas with a dad who was a police officer, so it was easy for me to laugh at some of the things that happen in the movie, because I’d seen it in my life.”
The singer also connected with the banter between Cooper and Daniella. “I have a lot of great friends and some are just like me and some of them are complete opposites,” she says. “The ones who are so different from me are the ones who usually call me on the carpet first. They’re the kind of women who say what they really think about what you’re doing—good or bad—and they’re the ones who’ll jump in front of a train for you, they love you that much.”
In addition to their polar opposite personalities, the main characters in “Hot Pursuit” bring such cultural differences to the story that it made sense to infuse the song with both a country sensibility and a Latin vibe as well. “I was really inspired to go in that direction, to have a little Latin influence in the song since the movie is set in San Antonio. It’s something that I’ve never done before as an artist so it was really fun for me to do something different,” Lambert concludes.
Bruna Papandrea loves the way the differences in Witherspoon and Vergara inspired the filmmakers to develop a story and characters that both explore and celebrate—and laugh at—those qualities. “One of the things we really strived to do was not to make a male action comedy and just insert women into that genre, but to create an action comedy that was its own, organic experience, with female leads and a story and structure that came out of who these characters are as people and who they are as women.”
Dana Fox wholeheartedly concurs. “Reese has one of the most enviable qualities you can find in a comedienne: she loves to make fun of herself! She and Sofía are classic opposites, both physically and in their personas, so watching them drive each other crazy on screen is inherently funny. Seeing them together, both on-screen and off, you get the feeling that they love each other underneath all the wacky banter. It’s good-hearted bickering, like an old married couple. I loved how they pushed each other’s buttons and I think audiences will, too.”
“I’ve always loved buddy comedies, especially when they have texture and grit and heart and humor all mixed together,” Fletcher states. “But the topper for me, what makes me go back to them over and over, is the chemistry between the two people, and I think we have that tenfold here with Reese and Sofía.”
# # #
ABOUT THE CAST
REESE WITHERSPOON (Cooper / Producer) is an Academy Award winner who has created the kind of unforgettable characters that connect with critics and audiences alike, making her one of Hollywood’s most sought after actresses.
Witherspoon most recently starred in the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild, which was also produced under the Pacific Standard banner. Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, Witherspoon portrays Cheryl Strayed on her 1000-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail to help cope with her mother’s death, a failed relationship, and a drug addiction. For her portrayal, Witherspoon received Academy Award, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Critics’ Choice, and BAFTA Award nominations.
In 2014, Witherspoon also starred in the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed “Inherent Vice,” alongside Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Joaquin Phoenix and Maya Rudolph, and “The Good Lie,” directed by Academy Award-nominated director Philippe Falardeau. She also served as a producer of the critically and commercially successful film “Gone Girl.”
In 2012, Witherspoon partnered with producer Bruna Papandrea to launch her production company, Pacific Standard Films. The new production banner hit the ground running, setting up adaptations of bestsellers Wild and Gone Girl, as well as a range of comedies and dramas. Their current development slate includes several adaptations: Mitch Larson’s fantasy book series Pennyroyal’s Princess Boot Camp; J. Courtney Sullivan’s The Engagements; and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, in which Witherspoon will star opposite Nicole Kidman, who is also a producer on the project.
That same year, Witherspoon also starred in Jeff Nichols’s coming-of-age drama “Mud,” alongside Matthew McConaughey. The film premiered to rave reviews in competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and its domestic debut at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
Previously, Witherspoon was seen in the romantic comedy “This Means War.” Directed by McG, she starred alongside Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, who play two CIA agents and best friends that discover that they are dating the same woman. Witherspoon was also seen in the period love story “Water for Elephants,” with Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz.
In 2009, Witherspoon was heard as the voice of Susan Murphy/Ginormica in the animated film “Monsters vs. Aliens,” and in 2008 starred opposite Vince Vaughn in the hit comedy “Four Christmases.” In 2010, she received her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Witherspoon strongly supports the passage of the International Violence Against Women’s act, which creates a comprehensive approach to combat violence. Witherspoon has been active on behalf of the Rape Treatment Center at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Save the Children. She currently serves on the board of the Children’s Defense Fund, with whom she has been involved for many years, raising money and awareness for their many programs. Since 2010, Witherspoon has been actively involved in Stand Up to Cancer and recently hosted their annual benefit.
In 2006, her extraordinary performance as June Carter Cash in the biopic WALK THE LINE, earned her the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, as well as the BAFTA, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, New York Film Critics Award, Broadcast Film Critics Award, People’s Choice Award and 11 other awards.
She is also known for her indelible performance as Tracy Flick in Alexander Payne’s “Election,” and the loveable Elle Woods in the breakout hit “Legally Blonde” and “Legally Blonde 2.”
Other notable films include “Sweet Home Alabama,” which had the largest opening at the time for a female-driven romantic comedy, Mira Nair’s “Vanity Fair,” Gary Ross’s “Pleasantville,” and the teen cult classic “Cruel Intentions.”
SOFÍA VERGARA (Daniella Riva / Executive Producer) is world renowned as one of the funniest and sexiest stars today. Vergara is an Emmy-, Golden Globe- and Screen Actors Guild (SAG)-nominated actress. She can currently be seen as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett in one of America’s number one comedies, “Modern Family,” which airs Wednesdays at 9 PM on ABC.
Vergara’s recent film appearances include starring opposite Woody Allen and Sharon Stone in John Turturro’s “Fading Gigolo,” as well as co-starring in “Chef,” with Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr., and Simon West’s “Wild Card,” with Jason Statham. Both “Fading Gigolo” and “Chef” posted among the year’s best specialty box-office openings.
Vergara got her break in the comedy “Big Trouble,” and since then has starred in films such as “The Smurfs,” “Happy Feet Two,” “New Year’s Eve,” “Four Brothers” and Tyler Perry’s box office sensations “Meet the Browns” and “Madea Goes to Jail.”
On stage in 2009, Vergara earned rave reviews when she debuted in the Broadway production of “Chicago” as Mama Morton.
In the Hispanic market, some of her past TV credits include “Fuera de Serie” as well as her special guest appearance on 2008’s highest rated Spanish language soap opera, “Fuego en la Sangre” on Univision (#1 U.S. Hispanic network). Additionally, she executive produced the Spanish version of “Desperate Housewives.” The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard have also named her one of the most talented and powerful women in Hispanic entertainment.
Along with the recognition she has earned for her acting career, Vergara is also considered a successful entrepreneur with an especially strong celebrity brand. Being able to successfully cross over from her original audience of Hispanic consumers and spread her influence across all demographics is something Vergara does on a daily basis with her retail lines, which range from clothing and furniture to hair care and fragrance. Currently, Vergara serves as the Brand Ambassador for COVERGIRL. This will mark her fifth year working with the brand. She is also the global ambassador for Head & Shoulders, one of the top shampoo brands in the world. She is currently entering her second year with Rooms2Go, designing a furniture collection. She has a collection for Kay Jewelers called So Sofía and her fragrance, Sofía by Sofía Vergara, launched last May; her second fragrance will be launched globally later this summer.
In 1994, Vergara founded Latin World Entertainment with business partner Luis Balaguer. Latin World Entertainment has grown from a management agency for top Hispanic talent to a multi-service company offering a 360 degree approach, and today is the premier Hispanic talent management and entertainment marketing firm in the United States. The company represents the biggest stars, opinion makers and trendsetters in the Spanish-speaking entertainment world and leverages that star power to take brands and products directly into the burgeoning Hispanic market.
In addition to her success as an actress and entrepreneur, Vergara is also committed to being active through various philanthropic endeavors. Vergara works closely with St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Additionally, in 2001 Vergara created Peace and Hope for the Children of Colombia, a charity foundation that has helped thousands of children in her country. She has also donated a pediatric cancer pavilion in her native Barranquilla, and currently dedicates her time giving back to this charity in her home of Colombia.
JOHN CARROLL LYNCH (Captain Emmett) was born in Boulder, Colorado, and spent the first eight years of his professional career as a member of Minneapolis’s Guthrie Theater Company, with roles in over 30 productions. His talent and his Midwestern sensibility helped him land his first major film role as Norm, Francis McDormand’s duck-obsessed husband in the Coen brothers’ Academy Award-winning “Fargo.”
Since then, Lynch has worked steadily in film, television and theater, playing characters ranging from small town sheriffs—both lovable and evil—doctors, killers, perplexed fathers, aggravated brothers, frustrated husbands, a big city banker, a wealthy suburban real estate developer, southerners, northerners, westerners and easterners. He’s even played an old-fashioned, conservative, small-town, heterosexual cross-dresser from Cleveland who, by the way, got the girl. If there’s one thing consistent about Lynch’s career, it’s the extreme diversity of the characters he plays and wide range he covers—from dry wit to broad comedy, and from thriller and mystery to melodrama.
On the small screen, Lynch has appeared in many series regular and recurring roles and in miniseries, including “American Horror Story,” “The Americans,” “Manhattan,” “Carnivale,” “Body of Proof,” “K-Ville,” “Big Love,” “How to Make it in America,” “From the Earth to the Moon” and David E. Kelley’s “Brotherhood of Poland, NH.” For six seasons he played Drew’s cross-dressing brother on ABC’s “The Drew Carey Show.”
But Lynch’s first love remains the theater. Most recently, he returned to the Guthrie Theater, where he had the lead role of Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge.” His other recent stage appearances include the original production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Dinner with Friends” at South Coast Rep, “Under the Blue Sky” at the Geffen, and Beth Henley’s world premiere, “Ridiculous Fraud,” at New Jersey’s McCarter Theater.
With over 40 film credits, Lynch has been directed by Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, Miguel Arteta, Mick Jackson and Albert Brooks, among others. His recent films include Stephen Frear’s “Lay the Favorite,” with Bruce Willis and Rebecca Hall, and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” with Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling.
Lynch lives in New York with his wife, actress Brenda Wehle.
ROBERT KAZINSKY (Randy) made his feature film debut in the World War II drama “Red Tails,” about the Tuskegee Airmen, and starred in Guillermo del Toro’s hit sci-fi actioner “Pacific Rim.” He will next be seen on the big screen in the action adventure fantasy “Warcraft,” directed by Duncan Jones and based on the video game of the same name.
On television, he has appeared on the hugely popular HBO series “True Blood,” playing Ben, the love interest of Anna Paquin’s character, Sookie, and recently wrapped filming on the FOX pilot “Frankenstein.”
Raised in Brighton, England, Kazinsky trained at the Guildford School of Acting from 2002 to 2005, graduating with full honors. He made his professional acting debut in the classic children’s show “The Basil Brush Show,” playing a maniacal music producer named Sven Garley. Shortly after, he was cast as the enigmatic footballer Casper Rose in Sky One’s soccer drama “Dream Team.”
Kazinsky was best known to British television audiences for his work on the popular BBC soap opera “EastEnders,” playing the dangerous ex-military man Sean Slater. Cast on the show in 2006, Kazinsky became an instant fan favorite. During his 254-episode run, ending in 2009, he was nominated for a number of awards, including eight British Soap Awards, winning for Best Actor in 2009. He more recently had guest spots on “Law & Order: Los Angeles” and “Brothers & Sisters.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
ANNE FLETCHER (Director) has proven herself a master of comedy, adept at comedic timing and capturing high energy performances. Fletcher was one of the film industry’s most sought after choreographers when she was tapped to direct 2006’s “Step Up.” She approaches filmmaking with the mindset of a true multi-hyphenate, utilizing her extensive history as a dancer, actor and choreographer to make her films truly unique. Since her debut, her films have grossed nearly $700 million worldwide, establishing Fletcher as one of the most in-demand directors working today.
Fletcher’s last theatrical release, in December 2012, was the sweet story of mother and son, “The Guilt Trip,” starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand. The touching film, written by Dan Fogelman, follows an inventor who invites his overbearing mother on a cross-country trip as he tries to sell his new product while also reuniting her with a lost love.
In June 2009 came Fletcher’s third directorial effort, “The Proposal,” which starred Sandra Bullock as a powerful Canadian executive working in New York City who forces her timid assistant, played by Ryan Reynolds, to marry her to avoid deportation. The film earned over $317 million worldwide.
After directing the first “Step Up,” Fletcher served as executive producer on both “Step Up 2: The Streets” and “Step Up 3D.” The series, now including “Step Up 4” and “Step Up 5,” is among the most successful dance film franchises to date. In January 2008, Fletcher released “27 Dresses,” starring Katherine Heigl, Ed Burns and James Marsden. She also served as associate producer on “The Wedding Planner,” directed by Adam Shankman.
Born in Detroit, Fletcher began dancing at age 12, teaching at 13, and dancing professionally at 15. She moved to Los Angeles at 18 to pursue a career in dance after graduating from high school. She subsequently traveled all over the world, working in dance fashion shows and staring in music videos and commercials as well as television shows such as “The Tracey Ullman Show,” “The Smothers Brothers,” “The Tonight Show,” and the 1990 Academy Awards. She made her film debut in “The Mask,” which was followed by “The Flintstones,” marking the first two features of many as a dancer before becoming assistant choreographer to Adam Shankman.
In addition to “Step Up,” Fletcher has choreographed such numerous successful films as “Not Another Teen Movie” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” She continues to choreograph, and her work can be seen in “Hairspray,” “Real Steel,” “Along Came Polly,” “The Longest Yard,” “Down with Love,” “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” “Boogie Nights” and “Bring it On.” Among her television credits are “Six Feet Under,” “Judging Amy” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
BRUNA PAPANDREA (Producer) recently launched production banner Pacific Standard with Reese Witherspoon.
Since its launch, Pacific Standard has acquired and produced the bestselling books Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, starring Witherspoon and directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, directed by David Fincher. “Wild” garnered two Oscar nominations, and “Gone Girl” has made over 300 million worldwide.
Papandrea also produced the box office hit “Warm Bodies,” written and directed by Jonathan Levine, starring Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.
Her development slate includes Mitch Larson’s fantasy book series Pennyroyal’s Boot Camp and J. Courtney Sullivan’s novel The Engagements.
Prior to making movies, Papandrea was President of Michael London’s Groundswell Productions. She also served as a producer at Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack’s Mirage Enterprises for many years.
Papandrea’s producing credits also include Andrew Jarecki’s “All Good Things,” Noam Murro’s “Smart People,” and Jonathan Teplitzky’s “Better Than Sex.”
She also executive produced the highly acclaimed “Milk,” from Gus Van Sant.
REESE WITHERSPOON (Cooper / Producer) see ABOUT THE CAST
DANA FOX (Producer) is a writer and producer known for writing comedies like “Couples Retreat,” “What Happens in Vegas” and “The Wedding Date.” Fox was also the creator, writer and executive producer of the critical darling “Ben and Kate” on FOX.
Fox is a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where she received her MFA from the Peter Stark Producing Program.
One of Hollywood’s most sought-after screenwriters, Fox is currently heading into production on the upcoming ensemble comedy “How to Be Single,” which reunites her with “Ben and Kate” star Dakota Johnson.
DAVID FEENEY (Screenwriter) is from North Kingstown, Rhode Island, son to the two most loving parents who’ve ever lived, Priscilla and David Sr. After graduating from Syracuse University, Feeney moved to Los Angeles where, for the past 18 years, he’s written for network situation comedies. His recent television credits include “Ben and Kate,” where he worked as an executive producer/show runner with Dana Fox and John Quaintance, and “New Girl,” where he currently serves as a co-executive producer. “Hot Pursuit” is his first feature film.
Feeney lives in Los Angeles with his brilliant, beautiful wife Jennifer and their newborn daughter who, so far, is very unimpressed with him.
JOHN QUAINTANCE (Screenwriter) was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After graduating from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois with a degree in theater, he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as an actor in commercials and in many local stage productions, including “King Lear” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Quaintance was also a successful stand-up comedian for many years, and performed across the country as a corporate entertainer. In 2000, he sold his first pilot to FOX, a sketch comedy show he was attached to write and star in. After co-writing the feature films “Aquamarine” and “Material Girls,” Quaintance went on to work in network television, writing pilots for NBC, FOX, USA and TBS, and working on the writing staffs of many shows. He served as an executive producer and showrunner for Fox’s “Ben and Kate” and NBC’s “Undateable.” “Hot Pursuit” is his first feature collaboration with David Feeney.
Quaintance lives in Los Angeles with his wife Rachel, his children Harper and Ford and the world’s fattest dog, Waldo.
JEFF WAXMAN (Executive Producer) was born in Queens, New York and graduated from Oswego State. He has produced, in one capacity or another, more than 20 feature films during his 20-plus-year career. He’s made films starring Julia Roberts, Anthony Hopkins, Jamie Foxx, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Casey Affleck, Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg and Gerard Butler. Waxman has worked alongside filmmakers such as Michael Mann, Sydney Lumet, David O. Russell, Tony Kaye, Taylor Hackford, Scott Cooper and Tarsem Singh to name a few.
In 2008, Waxman began producing, executive producing and co-producing films for Relativity Media. These films included “The Fighter,” “Immortals,” “Mirror, Mirror” and “Out of the Furnace.” Working with Relativity, he is currently in pre-production on “The Crow” and developing “The Lost Wife,” based on the bestselling book by Alyson Richman.
Before his tenure at Relativity, he produced, in one capacity or another, such studio films as 2009’s “Law Abiding Citizen”; 2007’s “Reign Over Me,” starring Adam Sandler; and 2006’s “Miami Vice.”
Waxman built his foundation while working with various film companies. As Head of Production for Capitol Films, Waxman oversaw films like “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”; “Five Dollars a Day,” starring Christopher Walken; “Black Water Transit,” starring Laurence Fishburne; and Taylor Hackford’s “Love Ranch,” starring Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci. Prior to his move to Capitol, Waxman was Senior Vice President of Production for Cutting Edge Entertainment, presiding over the highly acclaimed “Narc” in 2002, starring Ray Liotta and Jason Patric. Waxman also line produced “Shortcut to Happiness” for Cutting Edge, which starred Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins and which marked Baldwin’s directorial debut.
In 1996, Waxman directed and produced the concert film “Freebird,” which documented the legendary band Lynyrd Skynyrd. The film covered the original members’ heyday and continued through the events leading up to the tragic plane crash in 1977.
The further story of Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of several properties Waxman is currently developing, which includes two baseball stories, a boxing project and an ensemble piece about the characters in the building he grew up in. He remains on the hunt for great creative material, and lives in Long Island with his wife Lauren and their two children.
SOFÍA VERGARA (Daniella Riva / Executive Producer) see ABOUT THE CAST
LUIS BALAGUER (Executive Producer) is the founder and CEO of Latin World Entertainment (LatinWE), a premier Hispanic talent management company in the United States that evolved into a leading entertainment platform, which successfully produces programming with its talent, as well as offering branding, and marketing services to its talent and to corporate America. Balaguer has been working in the entertainment industry for 25 years and has been recognized by the New York Times and Forbes as an evangelist of Hispanic talent; he was voted by Hispanic Magazine as one of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Hispanics in the U.S.
Having established himself as the dominant manager of Hispanic talent in Spanish-language TV, Balaguer set out to take his talent into the corporate arena by establishing LatinWE’s brand extension division in 1995. LatinWE started to represent the biggest stars, opinion makers, and trendsetters in the Spanish-speaking entertainment world, and today it leverages that star power to take brands into the burgeoning U.S. Hispanic market. Recent LatinWE talent endorsements include campaigns for P&G (Head & Shoulders, COVERGIRL and Ace, amongst others), Pepsi, Coca Cola, Ford, AT&T, Comcast, Maybelline, Garnier, Colgate, Burger King, and other top brands. This division has also successfully marketed over 1,000 major Hollywood studio films to U.S. Hispanics and promoted top Spanish-language music tours for the largest live entertainment companies.
The LatinWE licensing division started in 2010 in partnership with Regatta USA, a division of the iconic Li & Fung, to develop Sofía Vergara’s clothing line for Kmart. The line achieved unprecedented success, expanding from one to 32 categories, including accessories and home. In 2013, Balaguer successfully negotiated and launched home furnishings with added Rooms to Go. In 2014, Balaguer rolled-out, amongst other products, a fragrance line for Vergara with Maesa and a bedding and jewelry line, Gi by Giselle Blondet, at Wal-Mart.
The production division of LatinWE has ramped up with shows for VH1, TVE, Univision, Telemundo, ABC, and YouTube. Balaguer formed successful partnerships with Disney’s Buena Vista to adapt “The Golden Girls” for Spain, and “Desperate Housewives” for Latin America. In 2014, Balaguer executive produced his first television show for the U.S. general market, “Killer Women” on ABC, and his first feature film is “Hot Pursuit.” He also continues to develop shows through his new overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV.
An early user of social media, Balaguer saw the potential to use social media to reach fans directly, and to use these digital platforms to create new revenue sources for all his clients. To date, Balaguer has successfully launched several digital ventures reaching out to more than 272 million subscribers worldwide through CNET en Español and, in partnership with Electus, the Spanish-language channel NuevOn on YouTube, and Social Media Influencers.
Hailing from an old Spanish family, Balaguer was born in Havana, lived in Moscow and Madrid, and now calls Miami and Los Angeles home. He has been married for 19 years and is the father of three children.
OLIVER STAPLETON (Director of Photography) has worked with a wide array of critically acclaimed filmmakers to make some of Hollywood’s best stories. His career spans decades, with a diverse slate of films from “Pay It Forward” in 2000, to Anne Fletcher’s “The Proposal” in 2009, and “Hot Pursuit” marks his third collaboration with Fletcher.
Stapleton’s collaborations with directors like Lasse Hallström and Stephen Frears prove him a cinematic force to be reckoned with. “The Cider House Rules,” from 1999, marked his first collaboration with Hallström and they have since made a total of five films together. He has worked with Frears on seven films, beginning with “My Beautiful Laundrette.” He’s also worked with Michael Hoffman five times, including on the two-time Academy Award-winning epic Restoration in 1995.
Stapleton has a way of touching every genre in the industry, with films like the musical “Absolute Beginners” of 1986, the Nicholas Sparks drama “The Best of Me” from 2014, and the 1988 sci-fi comedy “Earth Girls Are Easy,” earning an Independent Spirit Award nomination for the latter. He began his career shooting documentaries and music videos, and won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Cinematography for his work with the band, A-ha, for “Take On Me.” He has worked with great musicians, such as David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Eddie Grant and The Human League, to name a few.
NELSON COATES (Production Designer) is a three-time feature collaborator with director Anne Fletcher, having also designed her films “The Proposal,” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, and “The Guilt Trip,” with Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen. He and Fletcher have also collaborated on several commercials.
Coates is known for designing “Flight,” starring Denzel Washington, which marked Robert Zemeckis’s return to live action feature directing, and for which Coates was honored with an Art Director’s Guild Nomination for best contemporary feature design. His other recent release, “Big Miracle,” with Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski, was based on actual events in 1988 in Barrow, and was the first full-length studio feature to film entirely in Alaska.
Coates just wrapped the drama “Secret in Their Eyes,” starring Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor, slated for an October 2015 release. He designed “The Last Song,” starring Miley Cyrus, as well as her music video, “When I Look at You.” He had to create New York City for “The Code,” a heist film with Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas filmed in Sofia, Bulgaria, with Mimi Leder at the helm. Coates worked in Chicago designing the period drama “The Express,” with Dennis Quaid, which marked Coates’ sixth feature collaboration with director Gary Fleder. Their previous collaborations include “Runaway Jury,” “Don’t Say a Word,” “Kiss the Girls,” “Imposter,” and Fleder’s feature directing debut, “Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead.” Prior to their work on “The Express,” they created the pilot and first season of “October Road,” a one-hour drama series for ABC Television. Coates also designed Fleder’s ABC television movie “Boston’s Finest.”
Equally adept at comedy and drama, Nelson has designed such films as “School for Scoundrels,” and the live-action mermaid movie “Aquamarine,” filmed on Australia’s Gold Coast. Some of his other feature design credits include “Man of the House,” starring Tommy Lee Jones, and Denzel Washington’s directing debut, “Antwone Fisher,” named one of American Film Institute’s (AFI) Top 10 movies of 2002.
Coates has designed a wide variety of films, from “Living Out Loud,” starring Holly Hunter and Danny DeVito, to “Murder at 1600,” featuring Wesley Snipes, for which Coates designed and constructed 35,000 square feet of White House interior. He designed Kevin Spacey’s directorial debut, “Albino Alligator”; “Frailty,” for Bill Paxton; as well as “Bastard Out of Carolina,” directed by Anjelica Huston. His additional credits include “Stir of Echoes,” “Disturbing Behavior,” “Blank Check,” “CB4,” “Three of Hearts” and “Universal Soldier.”
Coates’ additional television designs include the pilot/permanent sets of “Jonny Zero,” “John Doe,” and the miniseries “Stephen King’s The Stand,” which earned him an Emmy Award nomination in recognition of the 220 sets and locations he designed. His design work has been featured in publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Design Magazine. His work has also been featured at the Biennale Milano in Italy. Between movie projects, Coates is an architect/interior designer on unique residential and commercial projects.
An actor, singer, and dancer with stage, TV and film credits, Coates has composed and choreographed more than a dozen opening and closing numbers for the Albert Schweitzer Awards in New York, including the year the Gorbachevs were honored. He has also earned the distinction of performing for presidents Bush, Reagan, Ford and Carter.
A magna cum laude communications graduate of Abilene Christian University in Texas, Coates was named Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year in 1996. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Television Academy, and Cambridge Who’s Who in America, and serves on the Board of Trustees of Laguna College of Art and Design.
PRISCILLA NEDD FRIENDLY (Editor) studied film editing at the American Film Institute, and began her career as an assistant editor in television before moving to feature films. Her break came when she moved up from assistant to associate editor on the successful film “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
The road from that assignment led to a career with over 30 films. Among those movies is “The Flamingo Kid,” with director Garry Marshall, who later would ask her to join him on “Pretty Woman.” She also edited for director Francis Ford Coppola on “Tucker, The Man and His Dream,” Peter Weir on “Dead Poets’ Society,” and with the Weitz brothers on “American Pie.” “We are Marshall” and “Guilty by Suspicion” are among her additional credits.
In 2007, Nedd Friendly joined up with director Anne Fletcher for the film “27 Dresses,” followed by “The Proposal” and “Guilt Trip,” and she continues that relationship on the film “Hot Pursuit.”
CATHERINE MARIE THOMAS (Costume Designer) began her film work in 1994, and her influential designs have defined some of the most memorable film characters of the past two decades. Among her most notable achievements have been the cutting-edge bright yellow fight suit designed for Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill,” the folksy attire donned by Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin in Robert Altman’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and her Costume Design Guild Award-winning and Emmy nominated designs worn by Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange in Michael Sucsy’s “Grey Gardens” for HBO.
Thomas has designed over two dozen feature films, most recently collaborating with Juame Collet-Serra on the action films “Run All Night” and “Non-Stop,” and with Rupert Goold on “True Story.” Among her other films are the hit comedies “The Heat,” directed by Paul Feig, and Anne Fletcher’s “27 Dresses,” and “The Proposal”; “Hot Pursuit” marks her third collaboration with Fletcher. Her filmography also includes Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, “Whip It,” Neil Jordan’s “The Brave One,” Richard Shepard’s “The Matador,” Ethan Hawke’s “The Hottest State” and “Chelsea Walls.” She has also collaborated with writer/director Edward Burns four times, on “Purple Violets,” “The Groomsmen,” “Ash Wednesday,” and “Sidewalks Of New York.”
In October 2012, Thomas’ work was featured in a 100 year retrospective of Hollywood costume designers at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK.
In addition to the recognition of her work in “Grey Gardens,” Thomas earned Costume Designers Guild Award nominations for “Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2” and was profiled in Deborah Nadoolman Landis’ Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costumes, published by Harper Collins in 2007. She received a career achievement award from New York Women in Film & Television and Variety Magazine and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Her media appearances have included NBC’s “The Talk,” “Access Hollywood,” NPR’s “Eight Forty-‐Eight,” TBS’s “Dinner and a Movie” and she has been featured in Interview, Vogue (US, UK, Japan), W, Harpers Bazaar, WWD, The New York Times, USA Today, Variety, Clothes on Film, and The Hollywood Reporter.
A Brooklyn resident and Chicago native, Thomas studied at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and the Kansas City Art Institute before starting her career as a designer in New York City in the costume shop at Julliard.
CHRISTOPHE BECK (Composer) is behind the score to the Golden Globe- and Oscar-winning film “Frozen.” The “Frozen” soundtrack, certified platinum 11 weeks after its release, has sold more than one million copies, and spent five non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Beck returned to the Muppets in “Muppets Most Wanted” after scoring “The Muppets” in 2011. He’s also scored the blockbuster “Hangover” trilogy, “Tower Heist,” “Due Date,” “Date Night,” “Pitch Perfect” and, most recently, “Get Hard.” He staged the drama for such films as “We Are Marshall,” “Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” “Elektra,” “The Sentinel,” “Under the Tuscan Sun,” and indie films “Year of the Dog,” “Phoebe in Wonderland,” “Saved!” and the award-winning documentary “Waiting for Superman.”
In addition to “Frozen”—which earned Beck an Annie Award for best score—his recent work includes music for “The Internship,” directed by Shawn Levy and starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson; “Runner Runner,” directed by Brad Furman and starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake; Shana Feste’s romantic drama “Endless Love”; Doug Liman’s sci-fi actioner “Edge of Tomorrow,” starring Tom Cruise; the comedy “Let’s Be Cops”; and the family comedy “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
The Canadian composer began playing piano at the age of five, studied music at Yale University and attended the USC film scoring program under the tutelage of composers like Jerry Goldsmith. He started composing in television at the personal recommendation of Disney music legend Buddy Baker, and was soon writing music for the hit series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” earning an Emmy Award.