Phone Booth : About The Filmmakers


Director JOEL SCHUMACHER's most recent feature was the critically acclaimed "Tigerland," the story of an army boot camp where young men were systematically turned into killers and shipped off to the Vietnam conflict. The film starred "Phone Booth's" Colin Farrell, who received best actor honors from the Boston Film Critics for his portrayal of a rebellious soldier who struggled against the system in an attempt to hold on to his humanity.

Schumacher's features have displayed the filmmaker's versatility and close attention to performance, nuance and atmosphere. "St. Elmo's Fire" was an ensemble drama that made stars of such young players as Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Andrew McCarthy and Demi Moore; "Lost Boys," starring Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland, successfully combined fantastical imagery, comedy and very contemporary horror; "Cousins" was a tender romantic comedy starring Ted Danson, Isabella Rossellini and Sean Young; "Flatliners," toplining Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt, was a stylish, surrealistic story of science and spirituality; "Dying Young" reunited Schumacher and Julia Roberts in an unflinching love story; and "Falling Down," starring Michael Douglas, was a gritty controversial and timely story of social disorder.

Schumacher's two hit adaptations of John Grisham's best-sellers have been hailed as the best of the authors work to be translated to film: "The Client," starring Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones, and 1996's summer smash, "A Time to Kill," which introduced Matthew McConaughey in a star-making role alongside such accomplished players as Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Kiefer Sutherland, Brenda Fricker, Charles S. Dutton, Ashley Judd, Patrick McGoohan and Donald Sutherland.

Schumacher's four films - "The Client," "A Time to Kill," "Batman Forever," and "Batman and Robin" - each grossed in excess of $100 million with domestic audiences alone, and "Batman Forever" achieved the distinction of being the highest grossing film of 1995.

Schumacher was born and raised in New York City, where he studied design and display at the Parsons School of Design. He began his career in the entertainment industry as an art director for television commercials before becoming costume designer for such notable films as Woody Allen's "Sleepers" and "Interiors," Herbert Ross' "The Last of Sheila" and Paul Mazursky's "Blume in Love. " He then wrote the screenplays for the Motown-inflected musical "Sparkle" and the funk-driven comedy "Car Wash. "

Schumacher made his directing debut with the television movie "The Virginia Hill Story," followed by his award-winning telefilm "Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill. " "The Incredible Shrinking Woman," starring Lily Tomlin, marked his feature-film directing debut, followed by "D. C. Cab," for which he also wrote the screenplay. Schumacher also wrote the script for "St. Elmo's Fire" with Carl Kurlander. In 1988, Schumacher directed the successful Chicago theatrical run of David Mamet's scorching Hollywood satire, "Speed-the-Plow. "

Schumacher has also directed a number of public service announcements for MTV's Emmy Award-winning "Fight For Your Rights: Take a Stand Against Violence" campaign and two series for their "Protect Yourself" safe-sex campaign with the Kaiser Family Foundation - one urging young people to get tested, the other targeting at-risk minority youth.

LARRY COHEN (Writer) is well known in the motion picture industry in two complementary though diverse categories. He is one of the most accomplished auteurs of the contemporary independent film genre having written, directed and produced twenty movies, and has also had an enormously successful career as a mainstream screenwriter of major motion pictures and television.

A film aficionado since his elementary school days, Cohen rocketed to fame as a television writer while still in his late teens. While attending City College of New York, he wrote a classic episode, "False Face" of the horror anthology, "Way Out," hosted by Roald Dahl. Later his talent was discovered by award winning writer Reginald Rose and he became a regular contributor to the prestigious award winning TV series, "The Defenders," writing 13 episodes for which he was honored twice by the Television Academy.

Cohen went on to write for such television series as "The Fugitive," before creating the series "The Invaders" and "Branded. " He then became a sought after screenwriter, penning the sequel to the highly successful "Magnificent Seven. " In the early '70s, he enjoyed enormous success as a screenwriter of such films as "Return of the Seven", which starred Yul Brynner, "Daddy's Gone A-Hunting," directed by Mark Robson, and "El Condor," directed by John Guillermin and produced by Andre De Toth.

Cohen began to get restless, wanting to direct his own material, and he made his directorial debut with "Bone. " Following that he directed and produced a string of films he had also written, including the controversial political drama "The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover," with an all star cast including Oscar winners Broderick, Crawford, Dan Dailey and Jose Ferrer, "God Told Me To," "It Lives Again," "The American Success Company" (starring Jeff Bridges), "Full Moon High (starring Alan and Adam Arkin)," the satiric "The Stuff, It's Alive," "A Return To Salem's Lot" (which starred cult director Samuel Fuller and introduced a young Tara Reid), "Wicked Stepmother" (starring Bette Davis), and "Ambulance" (starring Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones and Oscar winner Red Buttons). His most recent directorial effort was "Original Gangstas" with Pam Grier.

In the '70s and '80s, in addition to his film work, he also wrote the Broadway play "Trick," starring Tammy Grimes, produced by Joshua Logan. Other stage plays include the British production of "Motive," (with Honor Blackman) and the off-Broadway play, "Nature of The Crime," with Tony LoBianco. Most recently he wrote and directed the stage play "Fallen Eagle," for The Sandford Meisner Theatre Company in Los Angeles.

After almost twenty years of writing/directing and producing and becoming a well known "cult figure" in the world of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Cohen returned to his first love of screenwriting for both major television and films. During this period he penned some of the most acclaimed and provocative TV episodes of "Columbo" and more recently "The New Defenders," Ed McBain's "87th Precinct," "NYPD Blue," the TV miniseries "The Invaders" and a remake of "Body Snatchers. " For the big screen, his credits include the acclaimed mystery/thriller "Best Seller," starring Brian Dennehy and James Woods and "Guilty As Sin," starring Rebecca De Mornay and directed by Sidney Lumet, a Touchstone release.

Over the years Cohen has amassed numerous awards and honors and retrospectives of his films throughout the world. He received the coveted Avoriaz Film Festival Jury Prize twice from juries headed by Polanski and Spielberg and last year was honored with a showing of ten films at the Stockholm Film Festival and with a similar tribute held at the Brisbane Film Festival in Australia. Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, billed its tribute to Cohen, "Gods And Demons - A Tribute To The Maverick Independent Filmmaker," honoring his films with a month-long retrospective, which followed a previous month-long tribute at the Chicago Art Institute entitled "It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Larry Cohen!"

DAVID ZUCKER (Producer) is a prominent filmmaker whose credits include such hits as "Airplane," "Ruthless People," "Top Secret," and the "Naked Gun" movies, acting as writer/director/producer on some of the most successful and memorable films of recent years.

After graduation form the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Zucker, his brother Jerry and school friend Jim Abrahams rented the back of a Madison bookstore and created their own comedy troupe, Kentucky Fried Theater, a multi-media show that combined live improvisations with videotaped and filmed sketches. In 1972, they moved to Los Angeles and opened a new Kentucky Fried Theater, which soon attracted critical acclaim and a devoted following. In five years, they performed to more than 150,000 patrons and became the most successful small theater group in Los Angeles history.

In 1977, the team of "ZAZ" released their first movie. Inspired by their stage show, "Kentucky Fried Movie" soon became a hit independent release. Their next project, "Airplane!" became the surprise hit of 1980, and launched the trio on a streak of successful movies and TV shows, including the Emmy-nominated "Police Squad" (1982), "Top Secret" (1984), and "Ruthless People," one of the top grossing films of 1986.

Zucker ventured out on his own with "The Naked Gun" (1988), his first directorial solo. Based on the "ZAZ" television series, "Police Squad," with Leslie Nielsen reprising his role as Lt. Frank Drebin, "The Naked Gun" was a runaway hit. The l991 follow-up, "The Naked Gun 2 : The Smell of Fear," contained an environmental storyline and surpassed the original at the box office. "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult" remains one of the top ten box office hits of 1994. Zucker also found time to co-produce "A Walk in the Clouds" in 1995 starring Keanu Reeves, and "High School High" in 1997.

After the completion of "Phone Booth," Zucker is set to direct Ashton ("Dude, Where's My Car?") Kutcher in "The Guest" for Dimension and his recently completed script, "F. B. I. Man 2001," for Fox 2000. He is preparing a feature film biography on Davy Crockett, a subject he's held an avid interest in for many years, and which has spawned one of the largest collections of Davy Crockett memorabilia in the country.

GIL NETTER (Producer) is partnered with filmmaker David Zucker in Zucker-Netter Productions on "Phone Booth. " In a partnership with Wayne Rice, Netter produced the recently released Twentieth Century Fox comedy "Dude, Where's My Car?" Directed by Danny Leiner, the film starred Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott.

Netter was president of Zucker Brothers Productions for seven years, where he executive produced such films as "My Best Friend's Wedding," "First Knight," "Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult," "Naked Gun 2 : The Smell of Fear," and Fox's "A Walk in the Clouds. " Netter began his career as a talent/literary agent for The Agency and later vice president of Imagine Entertainment.

TED KURDYLA (Executive Producer) also served in this capacity on Joel Schumacher's "Tigerland," starring Colin Farrell. His credits as producer include "Fallen," starring Denzel Washington, John Goodman and Donald Sutherland, and directed by Gregory Hoblit; "The Confession," starring Alec Baldwin, Ben Kingsely and Amy Irving, directed by David Jones; "Final Analysis" starring Richard Gere and Kim Basinger, directed by Phil Joanou; "Cadillac Man" starring Robin Williams and Tim Robbins, directed by Roger Donaldson; and "Johnny Handsome" starring Mickey Rourke and Ellen Barkin, directed by Walter Hill.

For television, Kurdyla co-produced "The Cosby Mysteries," and produced the telefilm "Trapped" starring Kris Kristofferson, "Birds II: Land's End" and "Twilight Man" starring Tim Matheson and Dean Stockwell.

He also has worked as a production manager on films such as "Once Upon a Time in America," "Blow Out," "Year of the Dragon" and "Batteries Not Included. "

MATTHEW LIBATIQUE (Director of Photography) previously collaborated with director Joel Schumacher on the acclaimed New Regency drama "Tigerland," released by Twentieth Century Fox.

Libatique worked with independent filmmaker Darren Aronofsky on four shorts and two feature films. Their most recent effort is the provocative drama "Requiem for a Dream," based on the novel by Hubert Selby, Jr. Their award-winning feature debut, "Pi," was noted for, among other things, Libatique's severe back-and-white imagery. Libatique also shot Rob Schmidt's dark, elegiac drama "Saturn," as well as numerous music videos for artists such as Incubus, Snoop Dog, Moby and Barenaked Ladies.

He most recently served as director of photography on "Josie and the Pussycats" for Universal Studios and directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan.

ANDREW LAWS (Production Designer) has worked as a production designer and art director since leaving the field of architecture in 1995.

"Phone Booth" is Laws' third film and his second with director Joel Schumacher. Their last collaboration was New Regency Films' "Tigerland," released by Twentieth Century Fox. Previously, Laws designed the production for director Hampton Fancher's noir thriller "The Minus Man. "

Laws' credits as art director include "Gone in 60 Seconds," directed by Dominic Sena and production designed by Jeff Mann; "Simpatico," directed by Matthew Warchus and production designed by Amy B. Ancona; and "Rushmore," directed by Wes Anderson and production designed by David Wasco.

As assistant art director, Laws collaborated with production designer David Wasco on "Jackie Brown," "She's So Lovely" and "Touch," directed by Paul Schrader.

MARK STEVENS (Editor) previously worked with director Joel Schumacher as the editor of "Tigerland," "8mm" and "Flawless," and working alongside Dennis Virkler on both "Batman Forever" and "Batman & Robin. " Stevens also had a shared credit as editor on the thriller "Chain Reaction. "

Stevens served as first assistant editor on such feature films as "Hard to Kill," "If Looks Could Kill," "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," "Under Siege," "The Fugitive," and "On Deadly Ground. "

His television credits include the movies-of-the-week "My Wicked, Wicked Ways," "First Steps," "Picking Up the Pieces," "One Police Plaza," "Secret Witness," and "Who Will Get the Friends?" as well as the mini-series "If Tomorrow Comes. "

HARRY GREGSON-WILLIAMS (Composer) began his motion picture career as an orchestrator, arranger, and writer on many of composer Stanley Myers' films, with whom he rapidly learned the techniques of film scoring and formed relationships with other top composers, including Hans Zimmer.

It was through his association with Myers that Gregson-Williams became friends with legendary filmmaker Nicolas Roeg, composing his first major scores for Roeg's "Full Body Massage" and "Hotel Paradise. "

In 1995 Gregson-Williams moved to Los Angeles and quickly launched his career as a Hollywood composer by composing the score for Billie August's "Smilla's Sense of Snow. " Gregson-Williams next took on "The Whole Wide World," and in 1996, he composed music for "The Rock," forming a relationship with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, which has continued to this day. The following year found Gregson-Williams busy with a total of eight feature film projects, including "Deceiver," "The Replacement Killers" and "The Borrowers. "

Gregson-Williams went on to team up with legendary rock guitarist Trevor Rabin for the scores to "Armageddon" and "Enemy of the State" for Jerry Bruckheimer, followed by "Antz," a computer animated movie.

Gregson-Williams work continued to be diverse as he continued to score big studio films interspersed with smaller independent movies. In 1999 after completing the score for "King of the Jungle", Gregson-Williams scored the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced TV movie "Swing Vote," as well as Fox's urban drama "Light it Up. "

In 2000, Gregson-Williams scored two of the year's most successful family films: "The Tigger Movie" and "Chicken Run. " He also composed the music for a British independent film "Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?"

Gregson-Williams scored the Oscar winning blockbuster animated feature "Shrek" for which he received a BAFTA nomination and won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Score. In 2001, he scored the Tony Scott feature "Spy Game," starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt and received a Golden Satellite Award nomination for his score. He also completed an album that was co-written with guitarist Peter Distefano (Porno for Pyros). His upcoming projects include "Veronica Guerin" starring Cate Blanchett from director Joel Schumacher, and an animated feature "Sinbad. "

Author : 2002 Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved.