CAST & CREW BIOGRAPHIES
('PHILLIP' / EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)
Soft-spoken but carrying a talent every bit as huge as his imposing bear-like physique, Forest Whitaker started college on an athletic scholarship, but the charismatic African-American all-league defensive standout soon dropped football, studying first to become a classical tenor before shifting to acting. After playing high school athletes in a few ambitious teen flicks ("Fast Times at Ridgemont High" 1982; "Vision Quest" 1985), Whitaker gained notice as a charmingly duplicitous billiards opponent of Paul Newman in Martin Scorsese's "The Color of Money" (1986). Feature supporting roles followed in films like "Platoon" (1986), "Stakeout" and "Good Morning, Vietnam" (both 1987), in which he shone as Robin Williams' sidekick, a likable big man too timid for his own body. Whitaker graduated to leading man status under the direction of Clint Eastwood for the dark biopic "Bird" (1988), earning Best Actor honors at the Cannes Film Festival for his deft portrayal of jazz legend Charlie Parker.
Whitaker played a kindly plastic surgeon in "Johnny Handsome" (1989), and the actor's heavy-lidded, unhurried delivery suggested the naiveté of his Mama's Boy character in "A Rage in Harlem" (1991) and the skeptical intelligence of his insurance investigator in "Consenting Adults" (1992). All three projects showed how easily he could rise above otherwise bland material. He displayed a mesmerizing depth in "Diary of a Hitman" (1991, released in the USA in 1992), the feature directing debut of acting coach Roy London. Hired to knock off the wife and child of a born-again commodities broker who claims his wife is a drug addict and the infant crack baby not his, Whitaker goes about saving the intended victim (and himself) when he discovers the broker lied in this modest, expertly-acted indie. He was also quietly, irresistibly sympathetic as a British soldier kidnapped by the IRA in Neil Jordan's highly praised "The Crying Game" (1992).
The unexpected commercial success of that film led to increased interest in Whitaker's long-form directorial debut (he had previously directed music videos), "Strapped" (HBO, 1993). Filmed on location in Brooklyn's notorious Fort Greene district, the gritty urban drama screened at various international film festivals and earned the director's award for best first feature in Toronto. Deluged with offers to direct, Whitaker remained a familiar face on screen while pondering his filmmaking future, segueing effortlessly from Hollywood genre fare, both big-budget ("Blown Away" 1994; "Species" 1995) and small ("Body Snatchers" 1993). His ability to evoke audience empathy continued undiminished as he affectingly portrayed physically and mentally maimed fathers in "Jason's Lyric" (1994) and "Smoke" (1995). Admirably unafraid to play gay characters, Whitaker also fared well as a down-to-earth designer in Robert Altman's misfired satire, "Ready to Wear (Pret-a-Porter),” and returned to the world of jazz as trumpeter Buddy Chester, stricken with a fatal brain tumor in Showtime's "Lush Life" (both 1994).
Whitaker chose to make his feature directing debut with "Waiting to Exhale" (1995), the Black female ensemble drama adapted from Terry McMillan's best seller. Boasting a large cast headlined by Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett, the film opened to mixed reviewsmostly complaints about the episodic nature of the storyand healthy box office. He returned to the other side of the camera as John Travolta's best friend in "Phenomenon" (1996) but was back in the director's chair for "Hope Floats" (1998), unable to keep the leaky craft starring Sandra Bullock from sinking. Though similar to "Waiting to Exhale" in its story of a character trying to regain belief in herself, Whitaker's sophomore effort was far less compelling, and Bullock (who also executive produced) had very little help from her mostly muted and wooden fellow actors. Although he admittedly prefers directing to acting, the demand for him to do the latter has kept him primarily in front of the camera since "Hope Floats,” though he did executive produce and helm a busted ABC pilot "Black Jaq" in 1998.
Whitaker's school security guard ("a $5 cop with a $50 attitude") ends up a hostage in "Light It Up" (1999), a thoughtful, if too-often predictable teen drama. He also played a Federal Marshal who gets his kicks watching low-lifes squirm in that year's "Witness Protection" (HBO). He then stepped back into the shoes of a hit man as the titular character of Jim Jarmusch's whimsical "Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai" (1999), imparting a dignified gravity to the character's meticulously ordered existence defined and regulated by an 18th-century text, "Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai". Whitaker's complete immersion in and dead-on rendering of Jarmusch's anachronistic antihero, coupled with The RZA's high-voltage, hip-hop score, went a long way toward making what is arguably Jarmusch's most accessible film his most commercial one.
He reunited with producer-star Travolta as evil dominators of the remnants of mankind in the notoriously awful sci-fi opus "Battlefield Earth: The Saga of the Year 3000" (2000), adapted from the novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Following a supporting turn in Vietnamese refugee tale "The Green Dragon" (2001) and a stint as Daguerreotypist Picard in the CBS television miniseries "Feast of All Saints" (2001) based on the Anne Rice horror novel, Whitaker made a believably reluctant villain as part of the team of home invaders who trap Jodie Foster in a secured zone in the David Fincher thriller "Panic Room" (2002). He also made the most of what might have been a clichéd role in "Phone Booth" (2002), playing an empathetic police captain who comes to the aid of a man (Colin Farrell) trapped in a telephone booth by a mysterious sniper.
Whitaker next moved into television, taking the reigns from Rod Serling as the host of UPN's revival of "The Twilight Zone" (2002-2003), executive produced the acclaimed TVT original film "Door to Door" (2002) starring William H. Macy, then appeared in the fact-based telepic "Deacons for the Defense" (2003) as the founder of the segregation-opposed organization of the 1960s who took up arms to oppose racial discrimination and battle the Ku Klux Klan. Meanwhile, on the big screen, the actor also served as a producer of the Latina-centric comedy "Chasing Papi" (2003), then, after coming close to directing a live-action version of Bill Cosby's animated series "Fat Albert" but ultimately departing the project, he moved behind the camera to direct Katie Holmes in "First Daughter" (2004), a lightweight tale of a headstrong, rebellious Presidential offspring who goes off to college and finds love with the undercover Secret Service agent secretly assigned to protect her (Whitaker also provided narration for the fairy tale-like production). The actor then signed on as a regular cast member for the fifth season of FX's "The Shield," playing a cop from internal affairs out to investigate Vic Mackey (Michael Chiklis) and his corrupt Strike Team.
Back in the feature world, Whitaker popped up in a variety 2005 films, including the Italian-released “Mary,” about the spiritual transformation of an actress after she plays Mary Magdalene in a film; “A Little Trip To Heaven,” a low-budget thriller that saw him portray an insurance investigator who poses as a police officer to investigate possible fraud after a tragic bus accident; and “American Gun,” which told three interwoven stories about the proliferation of firearms in America, depicting Whitaker as a high school principal in Chicago struggling to deal with increasing violence by his students. After a small voice role in the uninspired animated feature “Everyone’s Hero” (2006), Whitaker tackled the role of a lifetime in “The Last King of Scotland” (2006), playing Idi Amin, the charismatic, but brutal dictator of Uganda who was responsible for the sectarian slaughter of 300,000 people during the 1970s. Whitaker’s Amin vacillated from smooth-talking charm to absolute evil, creating a character that seemed both intensely personal and larger-than-life. His performance generated the first genuine Oscar buzz after the film was shown at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Though shamefully overlooked by the Golden Globe Awards for his stellar performance as the hectoring Lieutenant Kavanaugh on “The Shield,” Whitaker’s eerily accurate portrayal of Amin earned the actor a statue for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, making him a shoe-in for an Academy Award nomination, which he received when he joined the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, Peter O’Toole and Will Smith in the Best Actor category. As expected by critics and fans alike, Whitaker won the coveted award.
('SHERRY' / EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)
With her luxurious blonde hair, almond-shaped hazel eyes and comely figure, Virginia Madsen initially specialized in playing either femme fatales or imperiled heroines in various made-for-cable movies, but her consistently strong performances ultimately earned her a career second act that included an Oscar nomination for her subtle, touching portrayal of the confident waitress Maya in Alexander Payne’s critically acclaimed film, “Sideways” (2004). With this part, Madsen’s career moved to a whole new level, including being directed by such greats as Robert Altman and co-starring opposite some of Hollywood’s most respected leading men, including Harrison Ford, Billy Bob Thorton and Jim Carrey.
Early in her career, the Chicago-born actress gained attention playing glamorous companions of larger-than-life men in several telefilms. As actress Marion Davies, she played opposite Robert Mitchum as newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in "The Hearst and Davies Affair" (ABC, 1985). Madsen made for a golden blonde version of the historically dark and brooding Claretta Petacci opposite George C. Scott's Italian dictator in the miniseries "Mussolini: The Untold Story" (NBC, 1985). She was a more apt choice to play a tough-as-nails beauty queen in "Long Gone" (HBO, 1987), a well regarded comedy-drama about a minor league baseball team in the 1950s.
Madsen's sporadic feature career up to that point had been uneven, usually playing leads in minor movies. Her first major screen credit was Princess Irulan in David Lynch's overblown sci-fi epic, "Dune" (1984). She was commendable opposite Anthony Edwards in "Mr. North" (1988), directed by her then-husband Danny Huston. Madsen also simmered stylishly as a bored Southern housewife who ensnared drifter Don Johnson in Dennis Hopper's cult classic, "The Hot Spot" (1990). Her best feature role at that point in time may well have been in "Candyman" (1992), a superior Clive Barker adaptation, as a graduate student whose life is transformed while studying urban folklore in a Chicago housing project. The film provided Madsen a rare opportunity to create a character that was as bright and curious as she was beautiful. She had far less to do in a subsequent horror outing, "The Prophecy" (1995), as an elementary school teacher involved in a battle between two angels on Earth.
The actress continued to work steadily, and to good effect, with roles in such highly touted films as director Rob Reiner's "Ghosts of Mississippi" (1996), director Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of John Grisham's legal potboiler "The Rainmaker" (1997) and Jan de Bont's version of Shirley Jackson's supernatural "The Haunting" (1999). But Madsen was subsequently seen more frequently in made-for-television fare and forgettable movies. Series television provided a welcome showcase for Madsen's talents: She spent several episodes of "Frasier" as one of two paramours vexing the indecisive Dr. Frasier Crane in 1999; enjoyed a rich recurring role on the ABC legal drama "The Practice" in 2001 as a political candidate's wife on trial for murder; and appeared for a season as Rebecca Sandstorm, the small town book club member who dares introduce radical, progressive reading material, on the NBC nostalgia drama "American Dream" from 2002-03.
Madsen's career blossomed into full flower in 2004 when Alexander Payne sent her the script for his comic road movie, "Sideways" and asked her to audition: the actress nailed the part and was cast as Maya, the warm-hearted wine country waitress who believes in reinvention and takes a liking to the neurotic Miles (Paul Giamatti). Her winning performance revitalized her career and earned critical plaudits. Madsen was bestowed with numerous awards and nominations for Best Supporting Actress: she won honors from the Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics, Toronto Film Critics and Broadcast Film Critics Association to name a few, and earned nominations for the SAG Awards, Golden Globes and Academy Awards.
Her career reignited, Madsen first played the kidnapped wife of a security expert (Harrison Ford) forced to divulge the workings of a system protecting a bank in “Firewall” (2006), before she joined the ensemble cast for “A Prairie Home Companion” (2006), Robert Altman’s fictional take on Garrison Keillor’s long-running radio program starring Meryl Streep, John C. Reilly and Lily Tomlin. Taking a break from film, Madsen returned to TV with “Smith” (CBS, 2006), a big-budget heist procedural told from the perspective of a crew of thieves. She played the wife of the crew’s leader (Ray Liotta), a cold and calculating mastermind looking to make a few last scores before retiring, whose suspicions about her husband’s activities are amplified when the FBI picks up the scent after a job gone bad at a Chicago museum. Though the series was cancelled shortly after it premiered, Madsen had received solid reviews for her work as Hope Stevens.
Showcasing her versatility, Madsen resumed her big screen career with roles in “The Number 23” (2007), a psychological thriller about a man (Jim Carrey) obsessed with an obscure book who is convinced it’s based on his own life, and “The Astronaut Farmer” (2007), a comedy co-starring Billy Bob Thorton, about a former NASA astronaut who still wants to travel into space and builds a rocket ship inside his barn to fulfill his dreams.
('KITTY' / EXECUTIVE PRODUCER)
Minnie Driver charmed the hearts of America as 'Benny' Hogan, the plump and plain Irish co-ed who wins Chris O'Donnell's heart in Pat O'Connor's "Circle of Friends" (1995). The tall, slender beauty gained 25 pounds and wore little make-up in her portrayal of the small-town girl who heads to a Dublin university and learns about love and life. Owen Gliberman in Entertainment Weekly wrote "Driver has a touchingly awkward prettiness. Her jaw may be as square as a picture frame, but her smile lights her up from within." Girl wins the boy in the end, and Driver attracted the notice of every studio in Hollywood. Slimming down after production, she appeared as a Russian country-western singer in "GoldenEye", the 1995 James Bond offering. She also displayed her sexy allure as the mistress of a British parliamentarian in "The Politician's Wife" (PBS, 1996).
Driver was subsequently wooed to star in numerous American and British films, opting to co-star as the girlfriend of a struggling restaurateur in "Big Night" (1996), co-directed by actors Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott. She also landed a key role as the woman with feelings for both Brad Pitt and Jason Patric in Barry Levinson's "Sleepers" (also 1996) before continuing her streak as leading lady to up-and-coming actors. Driver (complete with Chicago accent) was the jilted prom date of hit man John Cusack who remeet at their high school reunion in "Grosse Point Blank" (1997). In "Good Will Hunting" (also 1997), Driver got to employ her own British accent as an exchange student who romances a troubled young genius (Matt Damon). "Hard Rain" (1998) put her in action mode as a feisty woman who saves the life of a security guard (Christian Slater). Driver segued to the role of a Jewish girl forced by circumstances to work for a family in rural Scotland in the period film "The Governess" (also 1998).
The actress' career continued to flourish at a brisk pace: she was an effective presence in the powerhouse acting ensemble of the film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" (1999), playing Mabel, the sweet love interest of the idle bachelor Lord Goring (Rupert Everett); the appropriately adventurous voice of Jane Porter in Disney's fact-paced animated adaptation of "Tarzan" (1999); a heart transplant patient who falls for the husband (David Duchovny of the dead woman who donated her heart in the sweet romantic comedy "Return to Me" (2000)--Driver also cheekily played herself on a 2000 episode of "The X-Files" directed by Duchovny; as Philip Seymour Hoffman's devoted fiance in the crime drama "Owning Mahowny" (2003); and as the not-so-skilled household fairy Mandy in the endearing fable update "Ella Enchanted" (2004).
Driver also appeared in her share of disappointing films, including director Sally Field's beauty pageant comedy "Beautiful" (2000), the clunky caper comedy "High Heels and Low Lifes" (2001), the little-seen romantic comedy "Hope Springs" (2003). But any comic misfires were offset by her hilarious recurring performances on the hit NBC sit-com "Will & Grace" beginning in 2003, playing Karen Walker's haughty nemesis Lorraine Finster at a high-camp high pitch, and by her bravura supporting turn as the Italian opera diva Carlotta in the film adaptation of the popular Broadway musical "The Phantom of the Opera" (2004). Driver stole virtually every scene she appeared in, and while the actress had enjoyed a side career as a singer (her debut album, Everything I've Got In My Pocket was released in 2004 to a warm critical response) the role required that a full-voiced opera singer dub her singing voice. In return, Driver herself sang the closing credits song, "Learn to Be Lonely," a new composition from Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber created specficially for the film.
('AMER' / DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/WRITER)
Born of French/Lebanese descent, Philippe Caland has lived in the United States since 1985. He grew up in Paris and Beirut, attended the American College of Paris and was part of the French National Swim Team from 1976 to 1980.
Caland moved to the United States in 1985 and became interested in the film industry in 1987. He wrote the story for 'Boxing Helena,' which Jennifer Lynch adapted into a screenplay in 1993. Caland also served as producer on the film. In 1998, Caland and co-producer, Sean Penn, were nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for 'Best Feature' for the film, 'Loved.'
In 2004, Caland wrote, directed and starred in 'Hollywood Buddha,' a film loosely based on his quixotic attempts to place his 1994 film, "Dead Girl" with a major distributor. The film was an 'Official Selection' at the South By Southwest Film Festival, the Paris Film Festival and the New York/Avignon Film Festival. It won the 'Best Film' and 'Best Director' awards at the Taos Vision Quest Film Festival.
Caland is also the founder of Econology, an organization that supports concepts and campaigns that promote environmental sustainability.
An ubiquitous presence on both the big and small screens, character actor John Billingsley was a well-known regular on TV’s guest-star circuit before landing his first steady gig as a series regular in 1999’s short-lived series, “The Others.” However, it was not until 2001 that Billingsley won his first breakout role as the irrepressibly optimistic Dr. Phlox on the sci-fi series, “Star Trek: Enterprise” (UPN, 2001-05). He would follow up that successful run with a shorter turn on the heavily promoted serialized drama, “The Nine” (ABC, 2006) all projects raising the profile of this dependable utility player.
Born on May 20, 1960 in Media, PA, Billingsley spent much of his early childhood criss-crossing the American South, before his family settled in Weston, CT. Viciously taunted for his Southern drawl while growing up, Billingsley quickly learned the value of acting by learning how to walk and talk like the other “Yankee children” just to avoid getting beat up after school. After receiving a degree in Theatre from Bennington College in the early 1980’s, Billingsley set out west for Seattle, WA, where he spent the next 15 years acting in regional theater. As rewarding as the work was, however, Billingsley struggled to make a decent living. Driven by financial desperation, Billingsley finally decided to move to Los Angeles in 1995 in a last-ditch, do-or-die attempt to break into television.
Billingsley’s gamble luckily paid off. Kicking off his television career in the mid-1990’s, Billingsley quickly found work by playing off his eccentric looks and sharp comedic timing. In 1997, Billingsley caught a major break and landed an uncredited bit part on an episode of “NYPD Blue” (ABC, 1993-2005) as a child molester. Other guest star roles soon followed on such hit shows as “Judging Amy” (CBS, 1999-2005), “Nash Bridges” (CBS, 1996-2001) “Martial Law” (CBS, 1998-2000) and “Arli$$” (HBO, 1996-2002). In a portent of things to come, one of Billingsley’s earliest memorable credits was a guest role as a techie geek in a 1999 episode of the popular science-fiction drama, “The X-Files” (Fox, 1993-2002) a genre that would eventually make Billingsley’s career.
After racking up a sizeable list of guest star credits, Billingsley landed his first regular series the short-lived paranormal drama, “The Others” (NBC, 2000), in which he portrayed Prof. Miles Ballard. Despite its high production values and impressive pedigree, however, (the show was executive produced by Steven Spielberg), “The Others” failed to find an audience and was cancelled after only a few episodes.
Luckily Billingsley’s ship came in with his next series a starship, to be exact. In 2001, Billingsley won the role that would make him famous that of the alien physician, Dr. Phlox, on “Star Trek: Enterprise.” The fourth spin-off based on Gene Roddenberry’s legendary space opera saga, “Enterprise” was a half-hearted attempt to inject new life into the dying “Star Trek” franchise. Touted as a more realistic, back-to-basics approach to the final frontier, “Enterprise” set itself apart from the rest of the Star Trek spin-offs by being a prequel. Set some one hundred years before the adventures of William Shatner’s iconic Captain James T. Kirk, “Enterprise” promised to bridge the gap and re-invent “Star Trek” for the new millennium. Unfortunately, the show failed to live up to its promise and proceeded to boldly go where other “Star Trek” shows had already gone many, many times before. The lowest rated of all the “Trek” spin-off shows, “Enterprise” chugged along with unimpressive ratings for four seasons before finally being cancelled by UPN.
Fortunately, Billingsley did not stay unemployed for very long. Soon after the cancellation of “Enterprise,” Billingsley returned to the TV guest star circuit, hotter than ever before. Post-“Enterprise,” Billingsley's credits included guest star roles on “Nip/Tuck” (FX, 2003- ), “The Closer” (TNT, 2005- ) and “CSI: NY” (CBS, 2004- ). Billingsley’s most notable role from that period, however, was probably that of serial killer George Marks a part Billingsley played in two episodes of the hit police procedural drama, “Cold Case” (CBS, 2003- ). A monstrous sociopathic murderer of staggering intellect, the character of George Marks held the distinction of being the only killer on the show never to be caught. First introduced in the early second season episode “Mindhunters,” Billingsley returned to reprise the role several months later for the show’s season finale, entitled “The Woods.” Though the episode ended with Marks finally meeting justice, the character continued to live on as a looming presence that haunted the show’s protagonist, Detective Lilly Rush (Katherine Morris) for much of the third season.
In 2005, Billingsley scored big with roles on two high-profile shows. The first was in a recurring role as convict Terrence Steadman, the hapless brother of U.S. Vice President Caroline Steadman, in the breakout hit drama of the season, “Prison Break” (Fox, 2005- ). Billingsley played Steadman in three episodes during the first season and was scheduled to return for an expanded role in the second. That is until Billingsley got a better offer a series regular gig on ABC’s new serial drama, “The Nine” (ABC, 2006- ). (The character of Terrence Steadman was subsequently recast with actor Jeff Perry).
One of the most hyped new shows of the 2006-07 fall season, “The Nine” told the story of nine strangers whose lives were inexplicably intertwined by a single, seemingly random bank robbery. Closely following the blueprint from its lead-in, the hit adventure-drama, “Lost” (ABC, 2004- ), “The Nine” entered its story mid-stream and challenged viewers to stick around long enough to learn the rest. As terminally depressed, suicidal pencil pusher, Egan Foote, Billingsley was the focal point of the season’s fourth episode entitled “Brother’s Keeper.”
Kali Michele Rocha was born in Memphis, Tennessee and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, graduating from Carnegie Mellon School of Drama in 1993. Kali is best known to comedic audiences as the Atlantic American flight attendant who had a humorous fight with Ben Stiller's character at the airport in the 2000 hit comedy "Meet The Parents" (a role she reprised in sequel "Meet The Fockers"). She also recurred memorably on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" as Anya's vengeance demon pal, Halfrek, as well as William the Bloody's love affection, Cecily. The two characters are considered the same person. Kali played Stonewall Jackson's wife, Anna in Ron Maxwell's "Gods and Generals," an epic drama about the first two years of the American Civil War. Other films include "The Crucible," "White Oleander" and "The Object of My Affection."
She has appeared on the Will and Grace episode "Strangers With Candice", she played a straight woman who flirted with Will. In spring 2006, Rocha began acting in the short-lived NBC sitcom "Teachers." Kali guest-starred in on the February 20, 2007, episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" as Cindy Marino, an aggressive TV reporter. Notably, Rocha plays the character of a fourth-year resident surgeon, Dr. Sydney Heron, at Seattle Grace Hospital in the hit ABC TV series "Grey's Anatomy."
In February 2008, Rocha announced that she is pregnant.
A handsome blond actor with all-American athletic good looks and magnetic charisma onscreen, Kip Pardue was a ready-made heartthrob with the acting abilities to set him apart from other pretty faces. Having been discovered in 1996 while working as a production assistant on the short-lived ABC series "Townies" on a summer break from Yale, the college football quarterback left the team in his senior year in order to work as a model and pay his bills. With credits including Abercrombie & Fitch, Polo and Armani campaigns, Pardue became a familiar face in the industry.
After earning his economics degree, he segued into acting in 1999 with a guest role on "7th Heaven" (The WB), which led to his being cast in the pilot of the high school set-series "Popular" in the role of jock Josh Ford. Being replaced for the actual run of the series by actor Bryce Johnson proved a positive development in Pardue's career, with the lack of work freeing him up for movie roles. A supporting turn in the off-beat comedy "But I'm a Cheerleader" (1999) as a gay teen enrolled in a program designed to "straighten" him out marked the actor's big screen debut. He followed up with a turn in the less funny "Whatever it Takes" (2000), an uninspired reworking of "Cyrano de Bergerac" for the teen set. Pardue gained more notice for his co-starring role as 'Sunshine', the long-haired California import who helps unite a school and community as the quarterback of the newly desegregated football team in the 1970s Virginia-set drama "Remember the Titans" (2000). Here his high school and college football past served him well, and audiences took notice of the charming character and his more-than-capable portrayer.
Noted as one to watch by both Variety and E! Online following this turn, Pardue was poised to make his breakthrough, taking his debut starring role opposite Sylvester Stallone in "Driven" (2001), the action-packed Renny Harlin-directed look at the CART racing circuit. As the dashing rookie Jimmy Bly, he caught the attention of an even wider audience, and brought the right mixture of fire and apathy to the hot property reveling in his success and facing burnout. Turns in the less-flashy features "The Glass House" (2001) and "Rat in the Can" (lensed 2000) would prove Pardue's versatility, while his reputation as a grounded and professional person off screen would open ever more doors. In 2002 Pardue joined the young ensemble cast of writer-director Roger Avary's edgy and provocative film adaptation of Brett Easton Ellis' bestseller "The Rules of Attraction," playing a shallow 1980s college student caught up in a variety of sexcapades. In “This Girl’s Life”, Pardue goes on a blind date with a young woman (Juliette Marquis) he later finds out is a porn star.
Then after appearing as a 20-something neighbor who is tempted by the prospect of a threesome with two thirteen year-olds in the acclaimed drama “Thirteen” (2003), Pardue played a high school swimming champion tired of the pressure and attention in “Imaginary Heroes” (2005), co-starring Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Daniels and Emile Hirsch. The low-budget indie was seen at a few festivals, including Toronto in 2004 and Santa Barbara in early 2005, before being released in a couple dozen theaters. Pardue then appeared in “Undiscovered” (2005) co-starring Pell James, Ashlee Simpson and Shannyn Sossamon. Thanks to poor reviews and limited advertising, the insipid romantic drama about wannabe singers guided by random fate and superficial ambitions remained true to its name by failing to crack seven figures in wide release opening weekend.
(DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY)
Daron’s critical eye and passionate sensibilities make him a sought-after cinematographer who moves easily between commercials and features.
His stylized work has attracted the attention of visually-driven directors interested in utilizing technique to enhance visual nuances, and amplify the audience’s emotional response to a story.
Prior to becoming a cinematographer, Daron apprenticed 15 years through the camera assistant ranks. His career included working for three-time Oscar-nominated and one-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (The Black Dahlia, The River, The Deer Hunter, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind) as well as working for Oscar-nominated cinematographer Seamus Mcgarvey (World Trade Center).
Daron's training under many esteemed cinematographers today enables him to bring technical proficiency, clarity, and innovation to his easygoing, on-set approach. He has extensive working experience on 35mm, Viper Film Stream and HD camera systems.
To view his work in more detail visit him at www.daronkeet.com
Daron lives in Santa Monica with his wife and two kids.
Shirley is proud of her contribution as the Production Designer in Philippe Caland’s film, “Ripple Effect”.
Her recent work as Production Designer includes Michael Connell’s film; entitled “Rodeo Girl”, starring Rachael Hunter, June Squibb and Tippi Hedren, and Carl Colpaert’s film; “G.I. Jesus”, Winner of the Grand Jury Award at the Las Vegas Film Festival; CineVegas. “G.I. Jesus”, a bold approach in dealing with multicultural post-war trauma, is her second creative collaboration, as Production Designer, with Director Carl Colpaert. Their earlier work together was the award winning feature film, “The Affair”, which received special recognition for its cinematography and art direction as a result of the intense research concerning HD as a new media at the time between the Director, Director of Photography and Art Department. The film was showcased by Panavision Hollywood as a reference High-Definition feature film for it’s exceptional looks and style. It had also won Best Dramatic Feature at the Houston International Film Festival.
Shirley’s art direction and design work embraces such multi-award winning projects as; David Scott Hay’s film, “Hard Scrambled”, starring Kurtwood Smith, James Buglewicz’s feature, “The Importance of Blind Dating”, starring Stephen Tobolowsky, selected projects such as music video, “Casualty of War “, with Rap Artists; Coolio, Krazy Bone of Bones Thugs-N-Harmony, tied into the feature film, “Tyrone”, both directed by Chris Palzis and narrative industrials. Born in Hong Kong and living in the US since 2001, Shirley studied in Canada Business Management at the University of Calgary, The Form and Function Institute of Design and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, Fashion Design.