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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Cast Profiles


Born Isaac Liev Schreiber on April 10, 1967 in San Francisco, CA, Schreiber’s father, Tell, was an actor and stage director, while his mother, Heather Milgram, was an artist. The family – which included his half-brother, actor Pablo Schreiber – moved to Canada when he was little, over one-year-old, but his parents separated a few years later and Schreiber moved with his mother and siblings to New York City. His mother was, by all accounts, a caring but eccentric woman who supported the family by driving a cab. She encouraged him to read but forbade him to watch color films, so Schreiber developed an affinity for silent films, especially those of Charlie Chaplin. The combination of influences led him to pursue acting as a career, leading him to train at several colleges and universities, including Hampshire College in Massachusetts and the Yale School of Drama, from which he graduated in 1992. He furthered his studies by attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his professional acting debut at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland. Stage roles in America soon followed, as did his film debut in the charming indie comedy “Party Girl” (1994), in which he played a British bouncer who fancies Parker Posey’s offbeat librarian. He and Posey reunited the same year in “Mixed Nuts” (1994), Nora Ephron’s glum comedy about a suicide hotline’s callers on Christmas Eve, with Schreiber playing a drag queen opposite Steve Martin and a then-unknown Adam Sandler. Schreiber returned to Hollywood films in 1996 as a member of a team of kidnappers who steal Mel Gibson’s son in the intense Ron Howard thriller, “Ransom.” That same year, he gained even further exposure as Cotton Weary, the ex-mental patient and most likely suspect in a rash of killings in “Scream” (1996). Schreiber formed a small cottage industry as the husband/boyfriend left for greener pastures in films like “Kate and Leopold” (2001) and “Dial 9 for Love” (2001), but it was his tortured work opposite Lane in “Moon” which really put him on the mainstream radar. In 1999, Schreiber enjoyed top billing as Orson Welles in “RKO 281,” a compelling examination of the actor’s struggle to create and release the classic film loosely based on newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, “Citizen Kane” (1940). The standout performance, which rose far above the usual imitations of Welles, earned him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations in 2000, increasing his profile within the film industry considerably. Schreiber captured the attention of many critics with his dark comic turn as a mercenary in the actioner, “The Sum of All Fears,” co-starring Ben Affleck. In 2004, he surpassed the firestorm of negative publicity surrounding Jonathan Demme’s remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” to turn in a stellar performance as a vice-presidential candidate who has been reprogrammed by a large and sinister multinational corporation. Though the film fared poorly at the box office, it helped to bolster the idea of Schreiber as a viable leading man. He made his debut as a film director with “Everything Is Illuminated,” starring Elijah Wood as a young man seeking to better understand the history of his Ukrainian family. The film fared moderately at the box office – due in no small part to the challenging nature of the material – but several critics praised Schreiber for his efforts and the scope of his vision. In 2006, Schreiber did his best to survive an unnecessary remake of “The Omen” and did fine work as a doctor who carries on an affair with a married woman (Naomi Watts) in “The Painted Veil.” In real life, Schreiber and Watts became a couple, announcing they were pregnant with their first child in 2007. Schreiber made a rare jump to network television in late 2006 with an appearance on “CSI” as an investigator with a troubled past. His four-episode guest shot gave the veteran series a much-needed dose of solid acting. The following year, Schreiber scored a personal triumph in his stage career with a production of Eric Bogosian’s “Talk Radio;” his performance as an abrasive talk show jock earned him the Drama League Award and a Tony nomination, among many other laurels. Schreiber also provided the voice-overs for the Infiniti car company. Back on the big screen, he was one of three Jewish brothers who seek revenge on the Nazis after escaping a prison camp in “Defiance” (2008), which he followed by taking on the role of Victor Creed/Sabretooth in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009).


Hugh Michael Jackman was born on Oct. 12, 1968, and raised in Sydney, Australia. The youngest of five children and always clowning around for attention, Jackman performed variety routines for his family and participated in school musical productions when he was young. After earning a journalism degree from the University of Technology in Sydney, he decided to pursue an acting career and trained at the Actors Centre Sydney before graduating from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 1994. Fresh out of drama school, Jackman landed a role on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) prison drama "Corelli." He powerfully played the role of violent and manipulative but insidiously attractive prison inmate Kevin Jones opposite Deborra-Lee Furness, who starred as the title criminal psychologist. The couples budding romance on-screen led to a behind-the-scenes relationship and the actors' longtime marriage.
On stage, Jackman was hailed as one of the most promising newcomers in music theater when he was cast in a Melbourne production of "Walt Disney's Beauty and the Beast," essaying the supporting part of macho villain, Gaston. He followed up by playing hack screenwriter Joe Gillis in Trevor Nunn's Melbourne production of "Sunset Boulevard".
While Jackman technically made his film debut in the little-seen Australian production "Erskinville Kings" (1999), a drama examining failing relationships, he reached a much wider audience with his starring role in Antony J. Bowman's amiable comedy "Paperback Hero" (1999), where he portrayed an outback trucker who writes a sappy romance novel in his spare time and submits it to a publisher under a female pseudonym. But he truly went wide with his follow-up venture as Logan/Wolverine, a mutant superhero with quick-healing powers, unbreakable bones and razor-sharp metal claws, in Brian Singer's crowd-pleaser "X-Men" (2000). Jackman perfectly brought the comic-book character of Wolverine, a conflicted anti-hero, to vivid life, pleasing general moviegoers and fans of the comic book, alike. He stayed in the American spotlight with a supporting role of Ashley Judd's womanizing co-worker in the otherwise pallid "Someone Like You" (2001) and tackled the role of a computer hacker forced to participate in a major heist in the action film, "Swordfish" (2001) opposite John Travolta and his "X-Men" co-star Halle Berry.
Opting for a slight change of pace, Jackman delivered a charming leading man performance as Meg Ryan's time-traveling beau in the romantic comedy-drama "Kate & Leopold" (2001).The actor again donned the sideburns and claws of Wolverine for "X2" (2003), the sequel to "X-Men" in which Jackman's character stood out amidst the rest of the terrific ensemble cast as bits and pieces of Wolverine's mysterious origins were at last revealed.
Now an international movie star, Jackman returned his love of musical theater and debuted on Broadway in 2003 in "The Boy from Oz." He starred as Peter Allen, the flamboyant showman best known for pop songs like "Dont Cry Out Loud," who died of AIDS-related cancer in 1992. Jackman received a highly coveted Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical, among other accolades, and also hosted the 2004 Tony Awards ceremony. In another pulpy turn on the big screen, Jackman played Count Dracula's old nemesis Dr. Abraham Van Helsing in the disappointing Universal monster thriller, "Van Helsing" (2004), which pitted the good doctor against an unholy union of his old foe, Frankenstein's Monster and the Wolfman.
In 2006, Jackman revived Wolverine for the third installment of the series, X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), directed by Brett Ratner. In a further display of Jackman's versatility, he turned around to play a charming British playboy suspected of being an infamous killer terrorizing London in Scoop (2006), Woody Allen's comedy starring Scarlett Johansson as a journalist who poses as a wealthy American to snuff him out. In Christopher Nolan's thriller "The Prestige" (2006), he sparkled as a brash showman caught up in a deadly rival with a brilliant trickster (Christian Bale). He lightened the mood considerably with his next project, lending his voice to the hit animated children's adventure, Happy Feet (2006).
Jackman next starred in Darren Aronofsky's bizarre time travel picture, "The Fountain" (2006), playing both a 16th century Spanish conquistador looking for the fabled Fountain of Youth and a modern-day scientist desperately seeking a cure for the cancer killing his wife (Rachel Weisz). In contrast, "Deception" (2008), which marked Jackman's foray into producing, was deemed a dull mystery by critics and audiences who stayed away. He co-starred with Nicole Kidman in "Australia" (2008), Baz Luhrmans lush, about unlikely lovers who meet under the duress of World War II. Adding icing to the cake, the film release coincided with People magazine's annual declaration that for 2008, Jackman was the Sexiest Man Alive. Now Hugh Jackman's revisiting his character Wolverine in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (2009).


Cultura Movie Maniacs said...

Oh, c'mon. He's not that hot.