Laurel Canyon : About The Cast

CHRISTIAN BALE (Sam) has attracted one of the largest followings on the Internet to date, prompting Entertainment Weekly to name him one of the "most powerful cult figures of the past decade. " Known for his uncanny ability to nail accents down to a precise art, British actor Bale use his skills again in playing American Sam in "Laurel Canyon. " "Sam grew up amidst all this creativity and chaos that was his mother's life," notes Bale. "His form of rebellion against that has been to create order in his life and to make sense of everything as best he can. He and his fiancé Alex feel strong in their choices, in their studious life. But, when they come to the West Coast, it starts to unravel for them both. "

An actor since age nine, Bale made a strong impression with audiences when he was selected to star in Steven Spielberg's "Empire of the Sun" (1987) which earned him a special National Board of Review award. His starring role in Mary Harron's controversial and notorious film "American Psycho" earned him more critical acclaim as did his performance in John Singelton's recent remake of "Shaft" leading Premiere Magazine to call him one of the "Hottest Leading Men Under 30" and Interview Magazine to name him one of the "Most wanted actors of the new millennium. " Bales' other film credits include "Captain Corelli's Mandolin," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "All the Little Animals," "Metroland," "Velvet Goldmine," Jane Campion's "Portrait of the Lady," "Secret Agent," "Little Women," "Swing Kids," "Newsies," Kenneth Branagh's "Henry V" and "Prince of Jutland" where he first worked with his "Laurel Canyon" co-star Kate Beckinsale. Bale has provided the voice of Thomas for the animated Disney film "Pocahontas. " His television roles include "Mary, Mother of Jesus" (1999), "Treasure Island" (1989), "Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna" (1986), and, for the BBC, "A Murder of Quality" (1990) and "Heart of the Country" (1986).

Bale will next be seen in the futuristic drama "Equilibrium" with Emily Watson and the post-apocalyptic thriller "Reign of Fire. " Academy Award-winning actress FRANCES McDORMAND (Jane) was drawn to the immediacy of her "Laurel Canyon" character. "Jane is a record producer. She is always in the here and now, about living in the moment. I was drawn to her because of how she was written on the page. A lot of scripts offer you a blueprint for the character, but here it was all written down. I had to do it. " A Best Actress Academy Award winner for her performance as Marge Gunderson in the acclaimed Coen Bros. film "Fargo," McDormand also has been nominated in the supporting actress category for her roles in "Mississippi Burning" and "Almost Famous. "

She recently starred in the Coen Bros. release "The Man Who Wasn't There" and "City by the Sea" with Robert DeNiro for director Michael Caton-Jones. Her duo work in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous" and Curtis Hanson's "Wonder Boys" earned her several award citations including the LA Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress (cited for both films), as well as Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA, and Academy Award nominations for "Almost Famous. " To date she has starred in four films for the Coen Bros: "Blood Simple," "Raising Arizona," "Fargo," and "The Man Who Wasn't There. " Others screen credits include John Sayles' "Lone Star," Robert Altman's "Short Cuts," John Boorman's "Beyond Rangoon," Sam Raimi's "Darkman," Bruce Beresford's "Paradise Road,' Ken Loach's "Hidden Agenda," Daisy V. S. Mayer's "Madeline," Gregory Hoblit's "Primal Fear," Alan Taylor's "Palookaville," Alan Parker's "Mississippi Burning," and Mick Jackson's "Chattahoochee. "

McDormand's telefilm credits include Martha Coolidge's "Crazy in Love," Tommy Lee Jones' "The Good Old Boys," Kathy Bates' "Talking With. .. ," and Martin Bell's "Hidden in America. " She also provides narration for the Fox Family Channel series "State of Grace. " McDormand studied acting at the Yale School of Drama. Her stage successes include a Tony-nominated performance as Stella in "A Streetcar Named Desire," the original Lincoln Theater Center production of "The Sisters Rosenzweig," and The Public Theatre production of "The Swan. " More recent stage credits include a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire," this time as Blanche DuBois, the Obie Award-winning new play "Oedipus" with Billy Crudup and the Wooster Group production of "Phaedre" with Kate Valk and Willem Dafoe. Currently, McDormand resides in New York with her husband Joel Coen and son Pedro.

British actress KATE BECKINSALE (Alex) starred in two of last year's biggest and most visible films-Michael Bay's historical drama "Pearl Harbor" and the comedy hit "Serendipity" with John Cusack. "My character Alex undergoes a major transformation in the film and I was really challenged by that," Beckinsale explains. "She starts out as an academically high-achieving snob about to get married. Her exposure to her fiancée's mother leads her to discover that she's ready to move out of the narrow confines of her life. Always a good girl, she's about to find out that that's not always a good thing. "

The daughter of actors, Beckinsale attended public school in London and, later, Oxford University for three years. As a teen, she won two separate writing contests, one for stories, the other for poetry. Though she acted in several television productions, including 1993's "Prince of Jutland" where she first worked opposite her "Laurel Canyon" co-star Christian Bale, Beckinsale first attracted considerable attention for her starring role in John Schlesinger's comedy "Cold Comfort Farm. "

More recently, Beckinsale has starred in the Merchant/Ivory production "The Golden Bowl," and with Claire Danes in the drama "Brokedown Palace. " Her other screen roles include Whit Stillman's comic charmer "The Last Days of Disco," and "Shooting Fish. " Additional screen credits include Kenneth Branagh's "Much Ado About Nothing," "Haunted" with Aidan Quinn, and "Marie Louise. " Television credits include "One Against the Wind," "Anna Lee," and "Rachel's Dream. " Stage roles include productions of "The Seagull," and "Clocks and Whistles. " Beckinsale is married to British actor Michael Sheen. The couple has a three-year-old daughter. London born actress NATASCHA MCELHONE (Sara) sees her character Sara clearly and precisely. "She's a second year psychiatric student who's very sure of what she wants," notes McElhone. "She wants Sam and he's taken. She slowly begins to see a window of opportunity, however, and is waiting to make her move. " McElhone made a striking impression on audiences in the 1996 Merchant/Ivory production "Surviving Picasso" in which she starred opposite Anthony Hopkins. Her other film credits include "The Devil's Own" for Alan J. Pakula, "Mrs. Dalloway," the international phenomenon "The Truman Show" for Peter Weir, John Frankenheimer's thriller "Ronin" with Robert DeNiro, Kenneth Branagh's "Love's Labours Lost," "What Rats Won't Do," and "Beneath the Banyon Trees. " She most recently starred in Chen Kaige's thriller "Killing Me Softly" with Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham and will next be seen in "FearDotCom. " McElhone lives in England with her husband.

Born in Boston, ALESSANDRO NIVOLA (Ian), plays rock star rogue Ian. "Ian's in LA for the first time and is recording an album with a legendary producer and is having an affair with her at the same time," says Nivola. "He's a decadent, fun-loving, young guy who doesn't share the boundaries or anxieties that the other characters have. In some ways, he's actually absurd as far as his sexual appetites go. " A musician himself, Nivola sings and plays guitar in the film as well.

Best known to audiences for his role opposite some marauding dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park III," the American actor has made a prominent name for himself playing British roles. In addition to Ian in "Laurel Canyon," these have included Kenneth Branagh's "Love's Labours Lost," Michael Winterbottom's "I Want You, and Patricia Rozema's "Mansfield Park. " Nivola made a strong first impression upon audiences and critics alike in John Woo's thriller "Face/Off" in which he played Nicolas Cage's younger brother. His additional credits include Mike Figgis' "Time Code," Mike Barker's "Best Laid Plans," and Pat O'Connor's "Inventing the Abbotts. "

Nivola has a BA from Yale University and has studied acting at Yale and in the United Kingdom with actors Fiona Shaw and Derek Jacobi. He has starred opposite Nastassja Kinski in the NBC-TV miniseries "The Ring. " Among his stage credits are productions of "Cabaret," "Love's Labors Lost" and "Loot" at Yale, and "Master Harold and the Boys," "Paddywack," and "The Cherry Orchard" at other venues.

Nivola will next be seen starring with Shirley MacLaine and Julia Stiles in "Carolina. " He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Author : Sony Pictures Classics