“Unforgettable” is the first film in the director’s chair for veteran producer Denise Di Novi (“Crazy, Stupid, Love,” “Focus”). Rosario Dawson (the “Sin City” films), Katherine Heigl (“27 Dresses,” “Knocked Up”) and Geoff Stults (TV’s “The Odd Couple”) star in the dramatic thriller.
Tessa Connover (Heigl) is barely coping with the end of her marriage when her ex-husband, David (Stults), becomes happily engaged to Julia Banks (Dawson)—not only bringing Julia into the home they once shared but also into the life of their daughter, Lily. Trying to settle into her new life, Julia believes she has finally met the man of her dreams, the man who can help her put her own troubled past behind her. But Tessa’s jealousy soon takes a pathological turn until she will stop at nothing to turn Julia’s dream into her ultimate nightmare.
The main cast also includes film and television star Cheryl Ladd as Tessa’s mother, Helen; Sarah Burns (HBO’s “Big Little Lies”) as Sarah; Whitney Cummings (“The Wedding Ringer”) as Julia’s best friend, Ali; Simon Kassianides (TV’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) as Michael Vargas; Isabella Kai Rice (“True Blood”) as Lily, and Robert Ray Wisdom (HBO’s “Ballers”) as Detective Pope.
Di Novi directed “Unforgettable” from a screenplay by Christina Hodson. Di Novi, Alison Greenspan (“If I Stay”) and Ravi Mehta (“Get Hard”) produced the film, with Lynn Harris serving as executive producer.
The behind-the-scenes creative team included multiple Oscar-nominated director of photography Caleb Deschanel (“The Right Stuff,” “The Natural”), production designer Nelson Coates (“Flight”), editor Frédéric Thoraval (“Taken”), and costume designer Marian Toy (HBO’s “Ballers”). The music was composed by Toby Chu.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Di Novi Pictures Production, “Unforgettable.” The film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTON
When Love Ends
What lengths would you go to for love?
For director/producer Denise Di Novi, that is the question at the heart of her new suspense thriller “Unforgettable.” She offers, “The story intrigued me because it’s about two very different women thrown into a complicated blended family relationship. They each feel tremendous pressure—one to create the perfect life, the other to hold on to it. That pressure drives one to madness, while the other is forced to find the strength to fight for her life. I thought that would make for a very intense thriller.”
When they meet, the two women at the center of the story are at separate crossroads. Despite being divorced for years, Tessa has never accepted that her marriage is over, secretly believing that she and her ex-husband, David, were meant to someday reconcile. But that hope is dashed by the arrival of her ex’s new fiancée, Julia, who is leaving behind a traumatic past and embarking on a new life with David.
Producer Alison Greenspan relates, “Julia has emerged from a very dark period and is finally at a place where she feels like she’s found her fairytale prince—a guy who’s caring and treats her with kindness and respect. What she doesn’t know is that his ex-wife is going to be way more than she bargained for.”
“Julia soon finds out her dream guy does not have a dream ex-wife,” Di Novi affirms. “At first, Tessa appears to be making an effort, but as time goes on, their relationship gets more and more tense…and more and more scary.”
“On the one hand, the film is a thrill ride and we love watching the crazy unfurl,” says Greenspan. “On the other hand, it works on a deeper level wherein we question what happens when the way in which we define ourselves—as a spouse, a mother, a partner—is challenged. What happens when we lose the identity we so carefully crafted for ourselves and then are lost without it?”
Katherine Heigl, who stars as Tessa, reflects, “You can’t help but wonder, ‘What would I do if my husband and I got divorced and he moved on with someone else?’ ‘How would I behave in that circumstance?’ I hope I’d handle it with some dignity, but it would still be heartbreaking. It is the death of all the dreams you had for your family and your future together and, unfortunately, that sends Tessa right over the edge.”
Starring as Julia, Rosario Dawson says that, by contrast, the dream is just beginning for her character. “You’re catching Julia at that ‘pinch me’ moment when she’s happy and in love. She is excited about the steps she is taking to build a new life, but because of everything she’s gone through before, it’s hard for her to trust in it and not wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. I was rooting for her because I know how that feels, and I think anyone could understand what that might be like.”
Di Novi observes that both Julia and Tessa are “worried about the wrong things. Tessa’s entire life has been geared toward having the perfect life—the right marriage, the right husband, the right house… Julia escaped an abusive relationship and has worked hard to move past it, yet she is still hiding it from David. So it is kind of a cautionary tale for women about what can happen when your whole identity rests on your relationship with a man, good or bad.”
“I think that taps into something innate in all of us,” screenwriter Christina Hodson suggests. “Our sense of identity is so primal, so crucial to our fundamental psychology. If another person jeopardizes that, just how far would you go to reclaim it? That can be a slippery slope.”
Thanks in no small part to the pervasiveness—and invasiveness—of today’s social media, our identity has never been more vulnerable. “It’s all too easy these days to be deceived or manipulated without even realizing it’s happening,” Di Novi says, “a fact that plays right into Tessa’s plans.”
Di Novi, who had developed “Unforgettable” with executive producer Lynn Harris, was already set to produce the project when the opportunity arose to take the director’s chair for the first time. She remarks, “As a producer, I have made movies of virtually every genre but never a thriller, and that’s funny because they are among my favorite films. So I was excited to direct this film, especially because it was a female-driven story.”
Producer Ravi Mehta says, “She knew the project inside and out, so when she jumped in to direct, she was a natural. It felt as if she’d been directing her entire life.”
Greenspan notes, “Denise and I have been producing partners for many years and have always been very supportive of our directors, so it was a real pleasure for me to support her and help her achieve her vision for this film. Everyone on set worshipped her, not only for the product but for the process. She always knew how to bring the best out of the team to get what she wanted.”
The film’s leading ladies both agree. “Denise was fantastic,” states Dawson, who was working with Di Novi for the first time. “The breadth of her filmmaking experience was evident in the storytelling and every little detail of the shoot. She did a great job, and I was stoked to be a part of the first of what I hope will be many films that she directs.”
Heigl, who had collaborated with Di Novi on the romantic comedy “Life as We Know It,” says, “I’ve always loved and admired Denise, and it was incredibly rewarding to get to work with her as a director. She set the tone from day one, and I felt completely safe putting myself in her hands.”
Their co-star Geoff Stults says he appreciated having a woman at the helm. “It would have been so different if it had been directed from a man’s point of view. Denise gave me a perspective that I never would have had. I was really grateful to her and felt so lucky to be doing this.”
The main cast of “Unforgettable” also included veteran television and film star Cheryl Ladd, Whitney Cummings, Simon Kassianides, Isabella Kai Rice and Robert Ray Wisdom.
Di Novi reflects, “The great thing about our entire cast—in addition to them all being so talented—was that, even though the story involved very difficult, challenging relationships, the actors and I formed a very supportive family unit. We built up a trust, which created an environment that allowed them to take their characters through everything they experience.”
I know exactly what it is that
you are trying to do…
Are you threatening me?
Yes, I am threatening you.
And if you keep this up, you
will regret it.
“Unforgettable” opens as Julia Banks is being questioned by the police. A man has been murdered…a man from her own past. And Julia, appearing beaten and bloodied, seems the likely suspect…in fact the only suspect.
Flashback to several months earlier: a much happier Julia has just bid farewell to her life in San Francisco and relocated to the Southern California home she will now share with her husband-to-be, David, and his daughter, Lily.
“She’s definitely stepping into this new experience with excitement,” Dawson relates, “but also some trepidation because she didn’t have the kind of upbringing that makes her feel secure about being a parent. That puts her at an obvious disadvantage when she meets Lily’s mother, Tessa. At first, Tessa appears to be doing her best to make the transition as smooth as possible, but you see pretty early on that she’s actually not as welcoming as she pretends to be and is trying to gaslight Julia.”
Heigl notes, “Tessa doesn’t understand how David could choose a girl so utterly different from her. Julia seems effortless in her beauty and charm, whereas Tessa is far more rigid and controlled and practiced. She sees Julia as an obvious threat so, in her mind, she’s just trying to hold on to what she believes is hers. And it’s not just David and Lily—although they are the most important—it is also the lifestyle and the town she believes she’s come to be the epicenter of.”
Conversely, Dawson observes, “Julia is on completely new turf and that automatically makes her vulnerable. So from the beginning she’s kind of in a position to be unnerved. Someone as manipulative as Tessa is going to pick up on that and exploit it. She is going to figure out a way to get under Julia’s skin.”
Heigl asserts that Tessa perceives Julia’s vulnerability as an intolerable character flaw. “Tessa won’t allow that kind of weakness in herself, so she can’t stand it others. If she were a stable, grounded human being, she would find a way to be gracious, but instead, she is succumbing to all her basest instincts and emotions and amplifying that with crazy.”
Di Novi adds, “Losing her husband was the worst thing that ever happened to Tessa. And then when she sees that David is truly in love with Julia, who is also winning over her daughter, she snaps. Even though she goes way too far, it was important to me that you have an understanding of why she goes off the deep end. When she sees Julia with her ex-husband and child looking like a happy, new family unit, you can imagine the pain of that.”
The rising tension between their respective roles notwithstanding, Heigl and Dawson have nothing but admiration for each other. Dawson attests, “Katherine did such an amazing job of giving you a window into Tessa, and we had a great time creating the dynamic between our characters. She was wonderful and I loved working with her.”
“Rosario is a dream,” Heigl states. “She is just the most effervescent, lovely woman. She was incredibly supportive, which made it so fun and easy to play opposite her, especially in our big fight scene.”
Offering her own praise for her two stars, their director says, “I had worked with Katherine on another film and think she is a terrific actress who is capable of anything, so I wanted her to play Tessa from the start. This role is different from any she’s ever played before—the character is very extreme and does some very hateful things—and Katherine had the courage to go out on a limb, so I’m grateful to her.
“The thing that got me about Rosario when I met her,” Di Novi continues, “is that she has an inherent goodness about her and a huge heart and I knew that would work for the role. Julia also has a kind of joie de vivre and Rosario nailed that part of the character. You see why David fell in love with Julia: she’s funny, sexy and spontaneous and doesn’t care about being a little messy, and that’s a breath of fresh air to him after being married to someone like Tessa, who is very good at keeping that perfect veneer.”
I’m not choosing sides.
I don’t know what to believe…
I have given up so much for us and
this life. Why does that mean nothing
to you? Why would you believe
the woman who gave up on you?
Despite his love for Julia, David was once married to Tessa and they have a daughter together, so he is slow to grasp fully the gravity of the situation. Geoff Stults explains, “David has to believe that the mother of his child is not as vindictive as she actually turns out to be. For much of the film he takes the stance that Julia and Tessa are just not getting along. He couldn’t imagine a scenario where Tessa would be that manipulative, but Julia doesn’t understand how he could not see what’s happening. And that begins to drive a wedge between Julia and David, just as Tessa wanted.”
Stults adds that playing the man caught between Tessa and Julia “was a lot of fun,” but the actor jokingly confesses, “I was terrified of both women. I pretended not to be afraid of them, but they both scared the s**t out of me,” he grins.
“David has to walk a fine line between Tessa and Julia,” Greenspan says, “and Geoff did a remarkable job with the role. He’s tall, handsome, strong and very charming, so it’s easy to believe these two formidable women would be fighting over him.”
Played by young actress Isabella Kai Rice, Tessa and David’s six-year-old daughter, Lily, becomes an unwitting pawn in her mother’s schemes to get Julia out of the picture. “Lily doesn’t see that her mom is being mean to Julia and doesn’t really know what’s going on, but she feels something is wrong,” Rice says.
“It just breaks your heart to see what Lily goes through with her mother,” Di Novi attests. “I felt so lucky to have found Isabella for the part. She’s a beautiful little girl and so smart and has so much heart and such depth for someone so young. She was a delight.”
Tessa’s own perfectionist mother, Helen, provides some insight as to how Tessa became who she is. In casting the role, Di Novi admits, “We had a difficult time finding an actress to play Katherine Heigl’s mother because we wanted someone of equal beauty who could appear as flawlessly put together as Tessa. When Cheryl Ladd came in, she was exactly what we were looking for, but she’s so sweet and gracious I wondered if she could be this cold, uptight mother. But she just clicked into the character and is absolutely chilling in the role. Without her, I don’t think you would understand Tessa in the same way. She added another dimension to Tessa’s character by creating a nightmare version of an ultra-demanding mother, who imprinted in her the notion that your greatest value is in your beauty and having a great husband.”
Describing her role, Ladd relates, “I think Helen approached her life through this very narrow window of what is acceptable behavior, including how you deal with great challenges in your life. She is quite disappointed in Tessa because she thought she’d raised her better than that and equipped her to handle anything that could come her way. It is difficult for Helen to hide her displeasure that Tessa lost her husband and even more difficult for Tessa to feel it.”
Ladd was first drawn to the project by the script, which she calls “a real page-turner.” Once on the set, the actress loved having a woman in the director’s chair. “Denise was great,” she recalls. “You know, we women have an interesting shorthand. Denise would be halfway through a sentence and I immediately understood the beat she was looking for. I really enjoyed the whole process.”
As Tessa’s machinations take a dangerous turn, Julia grows increasingly anxious. Her only support is her best friend, Ali, who saw her through the abuse she suffered at the hands of her previous boyfriend. Actress/comedienne Whitney Cummings, who plays Julia’s closest confidante, offers, “When Julia tells her what’s going on, Ali trusts her and wants to believe her, but she also knows she does have some post-traumatic stress from everything she went through and might be imagining things. She tries to assure Julia she’s fine and maybe overreacting, but at the same time, she’s becoming concerned for Julia’s safety. It’s a very hard position for a friend to be in—to watch someone you love go through something like this and not be able to do anything.”
Di Novi says that Cummings had all the qualities she wanted for the role of Ali. “Whitney is one of the most brilliant, funny, openhearted people I have ever met. She exudes the warmth you want from a best friend. You believe you could call her in the middle of the night and she’d be there for you. And I love that she’s funny because she brings a bit of an edge to her role and a light humor to the movie.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Ali in Julia’s life is Michael Vargas. Simon Kassianides plays the man from whom Julia escaped an abusive relationship—something she has kept hidden from David. Dawson explains, “She wants David to think of her as vivacious and strong and not weak or a victim. That’s something many people do: they feel so much guilt and shame, as if it reflects poorly on them. But that’s not real life, and we have to stop perpetrating the idea, even to ourselves, that being vulnerable is something to be ashamed of.”
Unfortunately for Julia, Tessa uncovers her secret, which she diabolically turns into a weapon against her, opening the door for Michael to reenter Julia’s world.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Why are you here? Why are you
always here? At our house?
Not everything is about you, Julia.
If you’re going to be a parent,
especially to my daughter, I’d like
you to learn that lesson. Fast.
In shooting her first feature film, Di Novi teamed with venerated director of photography Caleb Deschanel. “Caleb is one of the top DPs of all time, and I am so grateful to have had a master behind the camera with me,” she states. “Having him as my partner was invaluable. His ingenious camerawork and use of light and shadow helped me create the mood and environment.”
Deschanel offers, “The film tells a story of good and evil, light and dark, so it was interesting to play with the mood of each scene to convey a sense of mystery and discovery. We used atmosphere, weather, and shadows to heighten the tension and evoke the conflict between the main characters.”
Filming on “Unforgettable” was accomplished entirely in Los Angeles County, California, with principal photography taking place at various sites in Sierra Madre, Pasadena, Encino and downtown L.A.
The picturesque city of Sierra Madre provided locations for Lily’s elementary school; the Farmer’s Market, where Julia loses sight of Lily; and the dress shop, where Julia picks out a simple, white sheath dress for her wedding…only to have it usurped by Tessa.
Tessa demonstrates her considerable equestrian skills at South Pasadena’s San Pascual Stables, where she also tries to force her scared daughter to ride a large horse she’s not used to.
David had given up a successful career on Wall Street to open his own brewery, which production designer Nelson Coates and his team created in a brick warehouse in the Arts District of downtown Los Angeles. An old printing press structure, also in the Arts District, was converted into the police headquarters, where Julia is being questioned for murder.
The home belonging to David, which he now shares with Julia, and Tessa’s house were two key locations for the film. The Spanish-style residence that became David and Julia’s home was found in the neighborhood of Encino.
Coates says, “David and Julia’s home has a relaxed Southern California feel, with lots of lush and wild landscaping. The actual house was built in the 1920s in a small gated community and interestingly started its existence as a nun’s retreat. The layout was great start for the look Denise and I wanted to achieve. Once we decided which rooms would be used for what purpose, we completely redressed and painted the entire house, and replaced the front door with a new Spanish door with sidelights and obscured glass that allowed you to see just the shapes of people outside. Inside, the house was decorated with an eclectic mix of antiques and found furniture along with artwork from local artists, adding to its authentic SoCal Spanish vibe. We added loose, billowing window treatments to add to the feeling of unease when Julia is alone.”
Tessa still lives in the house she and David shared when they were married. “Showing the contrast between the two main characters’ homes was very important,” Coates states. “The house we used for Tessa, which was located in South Pasadena, was redressed to reflect her very ordered and extremely structured lifestyle. Much of the artwork we used related to her horseback riding, and we formally arranged the furniture to give the sense that Tessa required perfection in her space.”
However, that perfect order is utterly destroyed when the growing hostility between her and Julia erupts into a violent altercation. Di Novi relates, “I wanted their fight to be as emotional as it is physical. It’s not just about strength; it’s about all the feelings that come pouring out of these two women. And the dialogue in the scene is very meaningful. They’re at a point where there is no pretense anymore and all the pain that each of them has carried is expressed in the raw words they say to each other.”
The disparity between Julia’s and Tessa’s individual personalities is also evident in their costumes. Costume designer Marian Toy affirms, “Tessa’s clothes are very fitted and precise, mirroring her personality. Everything has to be just so. She has a very specific palette, all in lighter tones and solid colors.”
Toy wanted it to be clear that Tessa’s prim and proper style had been instilled in her by her mother, Helen, who also is always impeccably attired. “We tried to convey a distinct generational thread from the way Helen is dressed, to the way Tessa is dressed, to the way she dresses her daughter, Lily,” she details.
By contrast, the designer continues, “Julia’s style is a little more Bohemian, but still somewhat sophisticated and urbane, based on her having been a career woman in a big city. Her wardrobe consists of more fluid fabrics and multicolored patterns, reflecting her more creative, carefree nature.”
But as Julia’s anxiety and paranoia grows in the face of Tessa’s plans, “her clothing gets darker in tone and she covers herself up more as a form of protection,” Toy reveals.
The final creative element in the making of “Unforgettable” was the score by Toby Chu, which, according to the director, captured all the facets of the thriller and the people at its core. “Toby is so brilliantly inventive. He composed haunting, emotional themes in a soundscape of music that helps illuminate what’s going on in Tessa’s and Julia’s heads as they both spiral out of control.”
Di Novi concludes, “The twists and turns get scarier with each step Tessa takes. We’ve all had moments of being really jealous and feeling vengeful, but even in our darkest hour, we would never do anything like what Tessa does to Julia. But,” she smiles, “to watch her do it is really kind of fun.”
ABOUT THE CAST
ROSARIO DAWSON (Julia) has garnered praise for her numerous collaborations with top actors and directors, making her one of Hollywood’s most sought-after leading ladies. In addition to her work as a successful film and television actress, Dawson is an activist, lending her time to a range of influential organizations, most notably Voto Latino, which she co-founded in 2004 to help empower Latino millennials to vote and influence change in government. She also recently co-founded, alongside Abrima Erwiah, Studio One Eighty Nine, a social enterprise composed of creatives seeking to provide a platform to help promote and curate African and African-inspired content through an e-commerce shopping site, a supporting agency and an artisan-produced fashion collection called Fashion Rising Collection.
Dawson most recently starred in the animated worldwide box office hit “The LEGO® Batman Movie,” as the voice of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, with Will Arnett, Zach Galifiankis, Michael Cera and Ralph Fiennes.
In 2015, Dawson starred as Claire Temple in the Netflix adaptation of the Marvel comic book series “Daredevil,” which premiered to critical and fan acclaim. She has since reprised her role in the follow up Marvel/Netflix series “Luke Cage,” as well as season 2 of “Daredevil.” Most recently, she once again returned as Claire Temple in “Iron Fist,” which was released on Netflix on March 17, 2017. She is also currently in production on Marvel’s “The Defenders,” which is set to stream later this year.
Dawson was seen in the Scott Rudin-produced “Top Five,” directed by Chris Rock. The film premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews and was subsequently purchased by Paramount in what became the largest sale of the festival. The film was released theatrically in 2014 to critical acclaim, with Dawson earning a Critics’ Choice Award nomination in the category of Best Actress in a Comedy. Earlier that year, Dawson reprised her “Sin City” role in the sequel, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” alongside Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, and also starred alongside Michael Peña and America Ferrera in Diego Luna’s “Cesar Chavez,” a biopic about the civil rights activist and labor organizer.
Her other film credits include “Zookeeper,” opposite Kevin James; Danny Boyle’s thriller “Trance,” opposite James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel; Tony Scott’s “Unstoppable,” alongside Denzel Washington and Chris Pine; “Eagle Eye,” opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Shia LaBeouf; “Explicit Ills,” which premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival, where it won an Audience Award; Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse,” with Kurt Russell; “Descent,” her first self-produced feature film under the production banner Trybe Films; “Clerks 2,” opposite Kevin Smith; Dito Montiel’s “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” opposite Robert Downey Jr., Dianne Wiest and Channing Tatum; Oliver Stone’s “Alexander,” with Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie; “The Rundown,” alongside Dwayne Johnson and Christopher Walken; “Josie and the Pussycats,” with Rachel Leigh Cook and Tara Reid; and the Spike Lee films “He Got Game,” with Denzel Washington, and “The 25th Hour,” opposite Edward Norton.
Dawson’s film career began at age 15 when she filmed the critically acclaimed indie drama “Kids,” directed by Larry Clark. She later went on to star in “Men in Black II,” opposite Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in 2002. Three years later, she gained critical acclaim and won the ShoWest Award for Supporting Actress of the Year for her performance as Mimi Marquez in the big-screen adaptation of the award-winning Broadway musical “Rent,” in which she starred with original cast members Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Jesse Martin and Taye Diggs. For her performance in Gabriele Muccino’s “Seven Pounds,” opposite Will Smith, Dawson won the 2009 NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture.
On television, she starred in the Lifetime original movie “Five,” which sewed together five personal narratives depicting the effects of breast cancer through survivor stories. Under Alicia Keys’ direction, Dawson was nominated for a 2012 NAACP Image Award for her performance.
Dawson is also an active member of V-Day, an organization founded by Eve Ensler to help stop violence against women, and the Environmental Media Association, amongst others. She was also honored with the President’s Volunteer Service Award for her valuable contributions to the community. She resides in both Los Angeles and New York.
KATHERINE HEIGL (Tessa) is an Emmy Award winner and two-time Golden Globe-nominated actress, as well as a producer. She is best known for her starring roles in the feature films “The Ugly Truth,” “27 Dresses” and “Knocked Up,” as well as her work on ABC’s critically acclaimed drama “Grey’s Anatomy.” For her performance as Dr. Isobel “Izzie” Stevens on the series, she won an Emmy and earned two Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series. She also shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Drama Series Ensemble.
On the big screen, Heigl starred in Judd Apatow’s smash hit comedy “Knocked Up,” opposite Seth Rogen. She followed with another star turn in the romantic comedy “27 Dresses,” with Edward Burns and James Marsden. She then starred opposite Gerard Butler in the romantic comedy “The Ugly Truth,” and opposite Josh Duhamel in the comedy “Life as We Know It,” serving as executive producer on both films. In 2010, she was honored with the ShoWest Award for Female Star of the Year.
Heigl’s additional film credits include “The Big Wedding,” “New Year’s Eve,” “Killers,” “The Ringer” and Steven Soderbergh’s critically acclaimed depression-era drama “King of the Hill.” Her first feature film leading role was in “My Father the Hero,” starring opposite Gerard Depardieu.
In addition, she was part of an all-star cast, including Will Arnett, Liam Neeson and Brendan Fraser, lending their voices to the hit animated comedy feature “The Nut Job.” She will also be heard in the upcoming sequel, “The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature,” due out this summer.
Prior to “Grey’s Anatomy,” Heigl had a co-starring role on the WB sci-fi drama series “Roswell.”
Outside of film and television, Heigl is very involved in several charitable causes. In 2008, she, together with her mother, Nancy, co-founded the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending animal cruelty and abuse and promoting animal welfare. The foundation is in honor of her older brother, who died much too young in an automobile accident and whose strong, compassionate nature and great love of animals was the cornerstone of their endeavors. The Heigls are using their resources to work directly to address the pet population crises in Los Angeles and across the country. Toward that goal, the foundation launched the “Compassion Revolution” in 2010, pledging over one million dollars to a variety of low-cost and free spay/neuter programs in Los Angeles and surrounding counties as a key component to reducing the number of animals in shelters. Heigl also actively supports Donate Life, the organ donation foundation.
Heigl is married to singer-songwriter Josh Kelley and the couple have three children: daughters Nancy Leigh Mi-Eun and Adalaide Marie Hope; and their youngest, a son, Joshua Bishop Kelley Jr. Heigl lives in Utah, with her family, also including nine dogs and four cats. Her ranch in Utah is also home to a host of other animals, including nine horses, two donkeys, two pygmy goats, nine chickens and two miniature horses.
GEOFF STULTS (David) has established his presence in a host of film and television projects. Coming up, Stults will be seen in the drama “Granite Mountain,” due out in September 2017. The film is based on the real events of the elite crew of men who battled a wildfire in Prescott, Arizona in 2013, which claimed the lives of 19 of their members. It also stars Miles Teller, Taylor Kitsch, Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin. Stults recently completed production on an action drama based on the book Horse Soldiers, in which he co-stars with Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon and Michael Peña. Set in Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11, the film was directed by Nicolai Fuglsig and is slated for release in January 2018.
Stults’ past film credits include Clint Eastwood’s biopic “J. Edgar,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio; Jim Field Smith’s romantic comedy “She’s Out of My League,” alongside Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve; Peyton Reed’s “The Break-Up,” with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston; David Dobkin’s “Wedding Crashers,” with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson; Gary Fleder’s “The Express,” opposite Dennis Quaid; and Bob Gosse’s adaptation of the best-selling collegiate memoir of Tucker Max, “I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell.”
On television, Stults can currently be seen in CBS’s “The Odd Couple.” His other recent TV credits include CBS’s “Zoo,” Netflix’s “Grace & Frankie,” FOX’s “Enlisted” and “The Finder.” He is also known for roles on ABC’s “Happy Town,” and “October Road” and the long-running series “7th Heaven.” Stults produced the 2006 television movie “Deceit,” starring Emmanuelle Chriqui and Joe Pantoliano.
An avid sports fan from Colorado, Stults developed a gift for athletics during high school, where he played four sports, excelling most of all in football. His abilities were good enough to land him a college football scholarship where he developed his skill as a wide receiver. While in school, Stults also began to take an interest in acting, but his future career took a backseat to football. He was recruited to play semi-professional football in Europe, but eventually returned to the United States to pursue acting and has never looked back.
WHITNEY CUMMINGS (Ali) is a Los Angeles-based comedian, actor, writer, producer and director.
Best known for creating and starring in the NBC series “Whitney,” she also co-created and co-wrote the Emmy-nominated CBS comedy series “2 Broke Girls,” along with Michael Patrick King. This past summer, Cummings wrapped her half-hour pilot titled “A Lot,” which is based on the book Are Men Necessary? When Sexes Collide, by Maureen Dowd. Cummings wrote, produced and starred in this comedic portrait of modern relationships and human nature.
Appearances in such series as “Undateable,” “Workaholics,” “Maron” and Netflix’s “The Ridiculous Six,” have solidified Cummings’ presence in comedy television. She has also appeared regularly on E!’s “Chelsea Lately,” as well as Comedy Central’s “Roast” series.
On the big screen, her feature film credits include “The Wedding Ringer,” “3,2,1…Frankie Go Boom,” “Made of Honor” and “Strike,” as well as the documentary “Just Like Us.”
Her first one-hour stand up special, “Money Shot,” premiered on Comedy Central in August 2010 and was nominated for an American Comedy Award. Her second one-hour stand-up special, “Whitney Cummings: I Love You,” debuted on Comedy Central in June 2014. Her most recent stand-up special, “I’m Your Girlfriend,” aired on HBO last year.
Cummings recently wrapped her directorial debut, a feature adaptation she co-wrote of Louann Brizendine’s bestseller The Female Brain. In addition to directing, she stars alongside Sofia Vergara, Kat Dennings, Cecily Strong, James Marsden and Blake Griffin. “The Female Brain” explores differences in the male and female brain as demonstrated through couples.
CHERYL LADD (Helen) has, since her big break as one of the beloved “Charlie’s Angels,” enjoyed a career that has traversed television, film, Broadway and beyond.
Last year saw Ladd starring in FX’s “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” playing Linell Shapiro, the wife of Simpson’s defense attorney Robert Shapiro, portrayed by John Travolta. She next stars in the indie feature “Camera Store,” opposite John Larroquette and John Rhys-Davies.
In 2015, Ladd guest starred on Showtime’s hit drama “Ray Donovan.” She also starred in the Hallmark Channel movie “Garage Sale Mystery: The Wedding Dress” and the faith-based feature film “The Perfect Wave,” opposite Scott Eastwood. Her other recent credits include singing and dancing as Mrs. Claus in the musical “Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups,” as well as guest starring as an unhinged love interest to medical examiner Ducky (David McCallum) on television’s top-rated drama, “NCIS.”
Moving effortlessly between mediums has always been second nature for Ladd, and the seasoned performer again demonstrated her versatility when she starred as Annie Oakley in the Broadway revival of “Annie Get Your Gun!,” realizing a lifelong dream.
Born and raised in Huron, South Dakota, Ladd moved to L.A. intent on pursuing her dream of becoming an actress. In just a short time, she got her first professional break as the singing voice of Melody on the cartoon series “Josie and the Pussycats.” Ladd quickly added a string of significant credits to her resume, including the comedy/variety series “The Ken Berry WOW Show,” with Steve Martin and Teri Garr. Ladd was then cast in the role of Kris Munroe on “Charlie’s Angels” and was instantly catapulted into stardom during her four years on the hit series.
While still on the show, she developed and starred in the ABC telefilm, “When She Was Bad,” which dealt with the harsh realities of child abuse. Ladd’s numerous other credits include guest star roles on the sitcoms “Anger Management,” as the love interest to Martin Sheen; “Hope and Faith”; and “Jesse”; as well as a recurring role on “Two Guys and a Girl.” Her feature film credits include “Baggage,” with Barry Bostwick; “A Dog of Flanders,” opposite Jon Voight; “Permanent Midnight,” with Ben Stiller; and “Poison Ivy,” with Tom Skerritt and Drew Barrymore.
In addition to her acting, Cheryl is an ambassador for Childhelp – one of the largest national non-profit organizations dedicated to the research, prevention and treatment of child abuse. Every January, Ladd teams with actor John O’Hurley to host a celebrity golf tournament to raise funds and awareness for Childhelp.
An avid golfer with a respectable index of 14, she authored Token Chick: A Woman’s Guide to Golfing with the Boys in 2006, an autobiographical book recounting her experiences in the sport of golf.
ISABELLA KAI RICE (Lily) made her feature film debut in the musical adventure “Jem and the Holograms.”
On television, Rice had a recurring role on HBO’s hit series “True Blood.” She has also had guest roles on “Glee,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Dr. Ken” and “Castle.”
Rice began modeling as a baby and has since shot many international campaigns, including Abercrombie & Fitch, Forever 21, and Guess.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
DENISE DI NOVI (Director/Producer) has long been regarded as one of Hollywood’s top producers. “Unforgettable” marks her feature film directorial debut.
She has been responsible for more than 40 feature films, working with such actors as Johnny Depp, Colin Firth, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Will Smith and Ryan Gosling, to name only a few. She has also been instrumental in bringing the work of many of today’s most imaginative filmmakers to the screen in a wide range of feature films.
Her recent producing credits include “If I Stay,” starring Chloë Grace Moretz; “Focus,” teaming Will Smith and Margot Robbie; and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.,” starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore and Emma Stone.
Di Novi began her producing career with the cult favorite “Heathers,” starring Winona Ryder. She then headed Tim Burton Productions, where she was responsible for producing several of Burton’s most successful films, including “Edward Scissorhands,” “Batman Returns,” “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Ed Wood,” as well as “James and the Giant Peach.”
In 1993, she set up her own production company, Di Novi Pictures, at Columbia Pictures, where she produced Gillian Armstrong’s remake of “Little Women,” starring Winona Ryder, Claire Danes, Christian Bale and Susan Sarandon. Her subsequent credits include “Practical Magic,” starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman; “What a Girl Wants”; “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and its sequel; “Ramona and Beezus”; and “Life as We Know It.”
Di Novi has also collaborated with best-selling author Nicholas Sparks, producing five films based on his books, including “Message in a Bottle,” starring Kevin Costner and Robin Wright; “Nights in Rodanthe,” starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane; and “The Lucky One,” starring Zac Efron.
Venturing into television production, Di Novi served as an executive producer on the longform projects “Eloise at the Plaza,” as well as the critically acclaimed series “The District,” starring Craig T. Nelson.
Di Novi has had a production deal at Warner Bros. Pictures for two decades. She has a number of projects in development with the studio.
ALISON GREENSPAN (Producer) is President of Di Novi Pictures, where she has worked with Denise Di Novi for the past 18 years.
Greenspan recently produced “If I Stay,” based on Gayle Forman’s beloved YA novel and starring Chloë Grace Moretz. Prior to that, she produced Michael Hoffman’s “The Best of Me,” an adaptation of the best-selling Nicholas Sparks novel, and the emotional drama “You’re Not You,” in which Hilary Swank stars as a woman battling ALS.
She previously produced “Monte Carlo,” directed by Tom Bezucha, and the critically acclaimed “Ramona and Beezus,” based on the beloved series of children’s books by Newbury Award-winning author Beverly Cleary.
In addition, Greenspan served as an executive producer on “The Lucky One,” starring Zac Efron; “Nights in Rodanthe,” starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane; “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” and its sequel, “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2”; “New York Minute”; and “What a Girl Wants”; and as a co-producer on “Catwoman.” She also helped develop “A Walk to Remember,” starring Shane West and Mandy Moore.
For television, she most recently executive produced the small screen remake of the movie “Beaches,” starring Idina Menzel and Nia Long. Her other television credits include ABC’s “Eloise at the Plaza” and “Eloise at Christmastime.”
Greenspan began her career with a two-year stint at Creative Artists Agency and then spent three years as a creative executive at ImageMovers, Robert Zemeckis and Jack Rapke’s production company. In 2001, Greenspan joined Di Novi Pictures as Vice President of Development.
She graduated Suma Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania, where she enjoyed a four-year stint as performer, writer and director in the nation’s only all-female collegiate comedy troupe, Bloomers.
RAVI MEHTA (Producer) is an Executive Vice President of Physical Production for Warner Bros. Pictures. He has been the executive in charge of such films as “American Sniper,” “Live by Night,” “The Assassination of Jesse James” and “The Accountant.” He is currently producing “A Star Is Born,” being directed by Bradley Cooper, who is also starring opposite Lady Gaga.
Mehta most recently produced “CHIPS,” and previously produced “Grudge Match.” He was also an executive producer on “Get Hard,” and “The Lucky One.”
Mehta began his career at Warner Bros as a production accountant on films such as “Training Day” and “Romeo Must Die.”
CHRISTINA HODSON (Screenwriter) transitioned from development executive to screenwriter in 2012, and has started to make a name for herself writing muscular, female-driven stories in traditionally male-dominated genres.
The first two screenplays she wrote have already been produced. The psychological thriller “Shut In” was on the 2012 Black List and was subsequently made into a movie starring Naomi Watts. It was followed by “Unforgettable.”
Since then, Hodson has had two more spec scripts on The Black List: the psychological thriller “Seed” and the female-driven action sci-fi film “The Eden Project.” The latter is being produced by Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe for Material Pictures.
Hodson has more recently been hired to write the Transformers Bumblebee stand-alone movie, to be directed by Travis Knight and slated for release in June 2018. She has also been set write the reboot of “The Fugitive.” Hodson also has a number of diverse projects in development with various studios.
Born and raised in London, Hodson now lives in Los Angeles.
LYNN HARRIS (Executive Producer) is recognized as one of the most successful film executives in the industry. In a career spanning more than 20 years, she has developed and/or produced films that have grossed over $5 billion worldwide and have been nominated for numerous awards, including 80 Academy Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Golden Globes. She has worked with some of cinema’s most respected filmmakers, including David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Wachowskis, Steven Soderbergh, Paul Thomas Anderson and Alfonso Cuarón, to name only a few.
In June 2014, Harris and her husband, Matti Leshem, founded Weimaraner Republic Pictures, a content production entity dedicated to developing high-end event brands and elevated genre content that will attract the most creative filmmakers and talent in today’s film, television and digital arenas. The company’s most recent film was the terrifying thriller “The Shallows,” directed by Jaume Collet-Serra and starring Blake Lively. Under the WRP banner, Harris also produced “The 5th Wave,” starring Chloë Grace Moretz and directed by J Blakeson. Additionally, WRP has a broad slate of film and television projects in development.
Prior to forming WRP, Harris was Executive Vice President of Production at Warner Bros. Pictures, where she spent a decade developing and overseeing production for a diverse and successful slate of films. During her tenure, she worked on such films as Oscar-winning “Gravity”; “Contagion”; Man of Steel”; “Magic Mike”; “Godzilla”; the Oscar-nominated “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”; “Clash of the Titans” and its sequel, “Wrath of the Titans”; “Where the Wild Things Are”; and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” among others.
Before joining Warner Bros. Harris produced the hits “Blade: Trinity” and “The Notebook” and executive produced “About a Boy.” From 1993 to 2002, she served as Executive Vice President of Production at New Line Cinema, where she developed, oversaw and executive produced such films as “Se7en,” “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia,” “Life as a House,” and the first two movies in the “Blade” franchise.
A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Harris started her career in television. She worked for Leonard Hill Films in TV movies, and Fox Broadcasting in Current Programming. Segueing into features, she served as a story editor and then Vice President at Lynda Obst Productions.
Harris currently serves on the board of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), which raises awareness and funds for critical health, educational, and social issues to ensure a positive impact on the national stage. She also serves as a mentor to high school students through Communities in Schools, and is an active fundraiser for the Israel Philharmonic and City Year. She has two children and two Weimaraners.
CALEB DESCHANEL (Director of Photography) is one of the film industry’s most respected cinematographers. He has been honored with five Academy Award nominations, for his work on “The Passion of the Christ,” “Fly Away Home,” “The Natural,” “The Right Stuff” and “The Patriot.” For the last, he won an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Award, and he also received ASC Award nominations for “The Passion of the Christ” and “Fly Away Home.” For his stunning photography for “The Black Stallion,” he earned a BAFTA Award nomination and also won a Los Angeles Film Critics Award and a National Society of Film Critics Award, the latter also for his work on “Being There.”
Deschanel most recently lensed Warren Beatty’s “Rules Don’t Apply,” and Ron Howard’s “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years.” His long list of film credits also includes “Jack Reacher,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Dream House,” “My Sister’s Keeper,” “Killshot,” “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” “National Treasure,” “The Hunted,” “Anna and the King,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Hope Floats,” “It Could Happen to You,” “The Slugger’s Wife,” “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “More American Graffiti.”
His credits as a director include “The Escape Artist,” “Crusoe” and a number of short films. His short “Trains” won the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin Film Festival, and the short “Valley Forge” has been shown around the world by the United States Information Agency. He has also directed episodes of the television series “Bones,” “Conviction,” “Law & Order: Trial by Jury” and “Twin Peaks.”
Deschanel graduated from Johns Hopkins University and studied at the University of Southern California Film School and the American Film Institute before interning with cinematographer Gordon Willis. Deschanel began his career in commercials, short subjects and documentaries.
NELSON COATES (Production Designer) recently designed Billy Ray’s “Secret in Their Eyes” and James Foley’s “Fifty Shades Darker,” the hit sequel to “Fifty Shades of Grey.” He most recently completed work on Foley’s upcoming “Fifty Shades Freed,” and is currently working on the comedy “Crazy Rich Asians,” for director Jon M. Chu.
Coates previously designed Robert Zemeckis’s “Flight,” for which he was honored with an Art Directors Guild Nomination for Best Contemporary Feature Design. He has also collaborated multiple times with director Anne Fletcher, on “The Proposal,” “The Guilt Trip” and “Hot Pursuit”; and with Gary Fleder, on the films “The Express,” “Runaway Jury,” “Impostor,” “Don’t Say a Word,” “Kiss the Girls” and Fleder’s directorial debut, “Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead.” He also worked with Fleder on the ABC series “October Road” and the ABC telefilm “Boston’s Finest.”
His additional credits include such diverse films as Ken Kwapis’s “Big Miracle”; the Miley Cyrus film “The Last Song”; Todd Phillips’ “School for Scoundrels”; “Aquamarine”; “Man of the House,” starring Tommy Lee Jones; Denzel Washington’s directing debut, “Antwone Fisher”; Bill Paxton’s “Frailty”; David Koepp’s “Stir of Echoes”; Richard LaGravenese’s “Living Out Loud”; “Disturbing Behavior”; “Murder at 1600,” starring Wesley Snipes and Diane Lane; “Albino Alligator,” marking Kevin Spacey’s directorial debut; and “Bastard Out of Carolina,” directed by Anjelica Huston. His earliest film work includes “Blank Check,” “CB4,” “Three of Hearts” and “Universal Soldier.”
Coates earned an Emmy nomination for his design of the miniseries “Stephen King’s The Stand,” based on King’s bestseller. His other television work includes the series “Jonny Zero” and “John Doe.”
Between movie projects, Nelson designs for the real world as the architect/interior designer on unique residential and commercial projects. His design work has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Design Magazine, and has also been featured at the Biennale Milano.
An actor, singer, and dancer with numerous stage, TV and film credits, Coates has composed, choreographed & performed in more than a dozen opening and closing numbers for the Albert Schweitzer Awards in New York. He also has 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 and the Television Academy. He speaks at colleges, universities, and festivals, and serves on the Board of Trustees of Laguna College of Art and Design.
FRÉDÉRIC THORAVAL (Editor) edited the mega-hit action thriller “Taken,” starring Liam Neeson under the direction of Pierre Morel. He has also collaborated with Morel on the films “The Gunman,” starring Sean Penn; “From Paris with Love,” starring John Travolta; and the thriller “District B13,” written and produced by Luc Besson, who also co-wrote “Taken.”
Thoraval has also collaborated with Besson on a number of other projects. He edited “Angel-A,” written and directed by Besson; and “Bandidas,” written by Besson. Thoraval was also an additional editor on the Besson-written films “Fanfan,” “Taxi 3” and “Wasabi,” all for director Gérard Krawczyk, and “Kiss of the Dragon,” directed by Chris Nahon.
His other film credits as an editor include Scott Derrickson’s “Sinister,” Niels Arden Oplev’s “Dead Man Down” and Boaz Yakin’s “Safe,” as well as a number of short films.
MARIAN TOY (Costume Designer) reunited with Denise Di Novi on “Unforgettable,” having previously worked with her on “The Best of Me,” on which Toy was the associate costume designer.
Toy also designed the costumes for the psychological thriller “The Disappointments Room.” In addition, she served as an associate or assistant costume designer on numerous feature films, including: “Man of Steel,” “This Means War,” “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Four Christmases,” “I Am Legend,” “Miami Vice” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”
For television, Toy was a costume designer on the inaugural season of the hit HBO series “Ballers,” starring Dwayne Johnson. She was also the costume designer for FOX’s short-lived series “Surviving Jack.” She began her career as the assistant costume designer for the long-running Michael J. Fox series “Spin City.”
TOBY CHU (Composer) has composed music for over 50 films and television programs over the last 20 years. His works include “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” “Surf’s Up 2: Wavemania,” and the thriller “Wolves at the Door.” He is also scoring the Freeform original series “Beyond” and the upcoming horror film “Wish Upon.”
Chu’s previous scoring credits include USA Network’s “Covert Affairs” and “Burn Notice,” NBC’s “State of Affairs,” and FX’s cult-classic “The Riches.” Before embarking on solo projects, Chu worked for over a decade for award-winning composer Harry Gregson-Williams.
Chu collaborated with Daft Punk, arranging and orchestrating “Adagio for Tron” on the “Tron: Legacy” soundtrack. He has also been credited for musical contributions to such films as “Man on Fire,” “Déjà Vu,” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” “Domino” and “Team America: World Police.”