Levity : About The Cast

BILLY BOB THORNTON (Manual Jordan) -- Academy Award-winning writer, actor, director and musician, BILLY BOB THORNTON has an extensive and impressive career in motion pictures, television and theatre. Charismatic and uniquely talented, Thornton has established himself as one of the most sought after filmmakers of his generation. Following the completion of Levity, Thornton is currently celebrating a high water mark in his career. Demonstrating the versatility of his acting abilities, Thornton starred in the caper comedy Bandits for director Barry Levinson and co-starring Bruce Willis and Cate Blanchett; the noir The Man Who Wasn't There for the Coen Brothers; and the heart wrenching drama Monster's Ball, in which he co-starred with Oscar-winner Halle Berry, Heath Ledger and Peter Boyle. Each of the three performances garnered Thornton unprecedented critical acclaim, and resulted in him being named Best Actor of 2001 by the National Board of Review, Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor in a Drama for The Man Who Wasn't There and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for Bandits, and an American Film Institute Award nomination for Best Actor for The Man Who Wasn't There. Thornton's 1996 release of the critically acclaimed and phenomenally popular feature film Sling Blade, which he starred in and directed from an original script he wrote, firmly secured his status as a preeminent filmmaker. For his efforts, he was honored with both an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. The film, produced by The Shooting Gallery and released by Miramax, also starred Robert Duvall, J. T. Walsh, Dwight Yoakum and John Ritter.

Prior to Sling Blade, Thornton already had an extensive motion picture credit list. He wrote and starred in the character drama One False Move, which brought him immediate critical praise. Thornton's powerful script (co-written with Tom Epperson) was enhanced by his intense performance as a hunted criminal. The film, directed by Carl Franklin, was a sleeper success.

In addition, Thornton has been featured in such films as The Winner for director Alex Cox, Indecent Proposal directed by Adrian Lyne, Dead Man for director Jim Jarmusch and in Tombstone, directed by George P. Cosmatos. Thornton has also appeared in the films On Deadly Ground, Bound by Honor, For the Boys and The Stars Fell on Henrietta.

As a writer, Thornton has worked on numerous projects for United Artists, Miramax, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. , Touchstone Pictures, Island Pictures, David Geffen Productions and HBO. He also scripted A Family Thing, a highly regarded feature film that starred Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones for United Artists.

Thornton co-starred in the blockbuster action-adventure film Armageddon with Bruce Willis for producer Jerry bruckheimer and he has also co-starred opposite Sean Penn, Nick Nolte and Jennifer Lopez in U-Turn, directed by Oliver Stone and in Primary Colors opposite John Travolta and Emma Thompson for director Mike Nichols. He also starred in the dark comedy Pushing Tin opposite John Cusack, Cate Blanchett and Angelina Jolie.

Thornton received an Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actor for his celebrated work in the drama A Simple Plan for director Sam Raimi, as well as a Best Supporting Actor award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and a Best Supporting Actor nomination from the Screen Actors Guild. For his second and third directorial outings, Thornton chose the comedy Daddy and Them, which he again wrote and starred in, and the best-selling Cormac McCarthy novel, All the Pretty Horses, starring Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz and Henry Thomas. Thornton also co-wrote The Gift, starring Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi and Hilary Swank.

MORGAN FREEMAN (Miles/Executive Producer) became known nationally when he created the popular character "Easy Reader" on the highly praised public television children's show, The Electric Company. .. but he was already known in New York theatre circles for the critical body of work and characters he had created there. Freeman won the Drama Desk Award, the Clarence Derwent Award and received a Tony Award nomination for his outstanding performance in The Mighty Gents in 1978, and received more acclaim and an Obie Award for his appearance as the Shakespearean anti-hero, Coriolanus, at the New York Shakespeare Festival. In 1984, Freeman won an additional Obie for his role as "The Messenger" in the acclaimed Brooklyn Academy of Music production of Lee Breuer's Gospel at Colonus. In 1985, he was awarded the Dramalogue Award for the same role. Then the role of Hoke Coleburn in Alfred Uhry's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Driving Miss Daisy won him his third Obie Award. His most recent stage appearance was as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew at the New York Shakespeare Festival's Delacorte Theatre, with Tracey Ullman.

Freeman's numerous television credits include NBC's The Atlanta Child Murders with Cicely Tyson and CBS' The Execution of Raymond Graham. His numerous feature film credits include Brubaker, Eyewitness, Harry & Sons, Teachers, Marie, That Was Then, This Is Now, Street Smart (for which he won the Los Angeles, New York and National Society of Film Critics Awards for Best Supporting Actor of 1987, and was nominated for both Golden Globe and Academy Awards), Clean and Sober, Johnny Handsome, Glory, Driving Mis Daisy (for which Freeman won his second Academy Award nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award and Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin Film Festival in recreating the role that he created on stage) and Chain Reaction.

The Shawshank Redemption, a story of hope based on the Stephen King novel, won Freeman his third Academy Award nomination. He also starred in Steven Spielberg's Amistad as abolitionist Theodore Jackson, Paramount's adventure Hard Rain, as the President of the United States in the box office hit Deep Impact and opposite Ashley Judd in the highly successful thriller Kiss the Girls.

Neil LaBute's Nurse Betty, which saw Freeman performing with Chris Rock and Renee Zellweger, was released to critical acclaim in 2000. Freeman then reprised his Kiss the Girls role of Alex Cross in Along Came A Spider, which was a box office smash in the spring of 2001. Most recently, Freeman again starred with Ashley Judd in Carl Franklin's High Crimes, performed opposite Ben Affleck in the action thriller The Sum of All Fears, based on the Tom Clancy novel and performed in Dreamcatcher, also based on a work by Stephen King.

In 1993, Freeman made his feature directorial debut with Bopha!, starring Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard, and soon after formed Revelations Entertainment, a production company developing entertainment product in all existing and emerging media that "enlightens, expresses heart and glorifies the human experience. "

HOLLY HUNTER (Adele) has demonstrated extraordinary versatility throughout her remarkable career. She was recently seen in Moonlight Mile, directed by Brad Silberling, which also stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon.

Last year, Hunter starred in the Irish play By the Bog of Cats by Marina Karr at the San Jose Repertory Theatre. The same year, she starred in ABC's When Billie Beat Bobby, in which she portrayed tennis legend Billie Jean King in the famous 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" match between Billie and male pro Bobby Riggs. The project rejoined Hunter and writer-director Jane Anderson, who wrote The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom. She garnered an Emmy nomination last year for her portrayal of Billie Jean King.

In 2000, Hunter starred in Showtime's Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her, which garnered her a second Emmy nomination last year. The film won an award in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and also screened at last year's Sundance Film Festival. The film told various stories about love and loss in the lives of five women, and also starred Amy Brenneman, Glenn Close, Kathy Baker, Cameron Diaz and Calista Flockhart.

Hunter also starred in Showtime's original movie Harlan County War for which she earned both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie. The film told the story of a coal mining family's struggle during the Harlan County coal strike in the 1970s.

Also in 2000, Hunter starred in the Coen Brothers' film O Brother, Where Art Thou? with George Clooney and John Turturro, and Mike Figgis' experimental Time Code. In 1999, she starred in Jesus' Son opposite Billy Crudup.

In 1998, Hunter starred in New Line Cinema's adult comedy Living Out Loud opposite Danny DeVito, Elias Koteas and Queen Latifah. The film was inspired by two short stories from Anton Chekhov. In 1993, she received an Academy Award for her stunning performance as a mute Scottish widow in Jane Campion's The Piano. She also received a Golden Globe Award and Best Actress award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the New York Film Critics Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, the National Board of Review Award and the Cannes Film Festival Award.

The same year, Hunter also garnered an Academy Award nomination for her performance as the investigative secretary in The Firm, based on the John Grisham novel. In 1987, Hunter was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of a driven career woman in James L. Brooks' Broadcast News. For this role, she received the New York Film Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics Award, the National Board of Review Award and the Berlin Film Festival Award, all for Best Actress.

Hunter's other film credits include Home for the Holidays, Copycat, Once Around, Always, Raising Arizona, Crash and A Life Less Ordinary. In 1982, she made her Broadway debut in Beth Henley's Crimes of the Heart and followed that with another Broadway play by Henley, The Wake of Jamey Foster. Her other New York stage appearances include The Miss Firecracker Contest, Battery, The Person I Once Was, A Weekend Near Madison and Impossible Marriage. Hunter co-produced and starred in Beth Henley's Control Freaks and produced Ray Barry's Mother's Son at the Met Theatre in Los Angeles. Her television work includes HBO's The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Cheerleader-Murdering Mom, for which she won the Emmy Award for Best Actress. This role also brought her a Golden Globe nomiantion. Hunter was awarded the Emmy for her role as Jane Roe in NBC's Roe Vs. Wade. She also appeared in A Gathering of Old Men. Hunter resides in New York.

KIRSTEN DUNST (Sofia Mellinger) has catapulted her way into the spotlight by capturing the most coveted roles around town. Audiences recently had the opportunity to see Dunst in a pair of diverse films. She starred as Marion Davies, mistress to William Randolph Hearst (played by Edward Herrmann) in Lions Gate Entertainment's The Cat's Meow, a semi-biographical murder mystery directed by Peter Bogdanovich. That film was followed by the highly-anticipated Spider-Man from Sony Pictures, in which she stars as Mary Jane Watson opposite Tobey Maguire's Peter Parker/Spider-Man, in the film directed by Sam Raimi.

Dunst's stellar performances in Universal's comedy Bring It On, which opened number one at the box office, and the critically acclaimed The Virgin Suicides with James Woods and Kathleen Turner, made critics and fans alike stand up and take notice of her blossoming talent. Last year, she won rave reviews for her role as a troubled girl in Crazy/Beautiful.

Nominated for a Golden Globe Award for the feature film Interview With the Vampire, in which she performed opposite Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt, Dunst's other motion picture credits include starring roles in Drop Dead Gorgeous, Dick, Little Women, Jumanji, Mother Night, the Golden Globe nominated Barry Levinson film Wag the Dog and Small Soldiers.

With a growing list of accolades befitting an actress 10 years her senior, Dunst's performance in Vampire earned her the Blockbuster Video Award for Best Supporting Newcomer, an MTV Award for Best Breakthrough Artist and the Saturn award for Best Young Actress. The Hollywood Reporter also named Dunst as Best Young Star for her portrayal of a teenager prostitute in NBC's hit series, ER.

Dunst got her showbiz start at the tender age of 3, when she began filming television commercials. With more than 100 commercials under her belt, she made the jump to the big screen in 1989 in Woody Allen's New York Stories. After moving to Los Angeles with her family that same year, Dunst's film career really took off.

Dunst's career has not been limited to the big screen. In addition to a critically acclaimed recurring role on the hit television drama ER, she starred in Showtime's The Outer Limits and The Devil's Arithmetic, produced by Dustin Hoffman and Mimi Rogers; the telefilm Ruby Ridge: An American Tragedy; the Wonderful World of Disney's Tower of Terror; and Lifetime Television's 15 and Pregnant. The Point Pleasant, New Jersey native currently lives in Los Angeles. When she's not busy making films, she enjoys attending Lakers games, shopping, painting, swimming and riding horses. Dunst is also active in charity organizations such as the Pediatric AIDS Foundation and is always happy to attend functions that benefit women and children.

Author : Sony Pictures Classics