From first-time writer-director John Hindman, comes THE ANSWER MAN, a romantic comedy starring Jeff Daniels (The Squid and the Whale) and Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) about love and the search for meaning. Arlen Faber (Daniels) is the reclusive and misanthropic author of "Me and God," a book that has redefined spirituality for an entire generation and has been translated into over 100 languages. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of his still wildly popular book, Arlen is still sought after as the man who has all the answers. Arlen find his world turned upside down with his life collides with Elizabeth (Graham), a single mother who might just be able to provide the salvation he needs. In addition, Arlen forms an unlikely friendship with Kris ("Thumbsucker's" Lou Taylor Pucci), a young man fresh out of rehab who is searching for meaning. Both Elizabeth and Kris are hopeful that Arlen has the answers, but the truth is, he hasn't got a clue. Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) and Olivia Thirlby (Juno) also star in this charmingly witty romantic drama.
DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT – JOHN HINDMAN Since I was ten I have wanted to make movies. My hope was to one day write something good enough that I could force people to let me direct it. Having been on many meetings as a writer I could tell that most of the things that studios were looking for were not exactly in my wheelhouse. So, I set about writing a story that would be the kind of movie that I would like to see. For me that meant getting personal.
THE ANSWER MAN is my attempt to address several themes in my life. Fathers and sons. Overprotective parents. Drinking. A seemingly elusive Higher Power. A distaste for new age psychobabble. Romantic love. And, a deep reverence for sarcasm. I poured every bit of my life into that story although nothing in the movie actually happened. If that sounds like an oxymoron I would like to quote John Steinbeck who said “something doesn’t have to have happened for it to be true”. I got a brief smattering of attention but nothing really happened until Kevin Messick came on board and agreed to produce it. From that point forward it was an almost inexorable path toward production. Not that there weren’t a few bumps on the road but in retrospect it was as smooth a journey as one could ask for.
In my years doing stand-up comedy I learned one thing: don’t tell a story with jokes. Use jokes to tell a story. I love stories of smart flawed people with a great sense of humor who are in a state of moral crisis. I want to laugh with them and at them. I want to be there when they’ve tried every trick in the book and the only thing left is the truth. And ultimately, I want a happy ending for all the characters. But, one that is earned. I both love and miss the optimism of Frank Capra.
Casting was an amazing process. We chose to pick the perfect cast and then try and get financing. When we went to cast the role of Arlen Faber we had a couple of things to consider. A lot of people encouraged me to go younger with the role of Arlen. Something I was not willing to do. Arlen is fifty years old for a reason. I wanted to show someone who was set in his ways and then introduce characters who would make change not only possible but necessary. I needed an actor who could be intellectual, vulnerable, funny, and a romantic lead. When Jeff Daniels read the script he called me right away. Listening to him talk about the story it was as though he had written it himself. He got every nuance I had worked for as well as the overarching theme of the story. His work in the movie is as amazing to me now as it was when I was on the set.
For the part of Elizabeth, Lauren Graham was the only actress I met with. I think you’ll see why. To me she is the closest thing we have to those great fast talking women of the forties and fifties. I didn’t need a girl, I needed a woman. She was perfect. I was a fan of Lou Taylor Pucci’s from Thumbsucker and I was delighted when he agreed to do it. Oliva Thirlby, Kat Dennings, Nora Dunn, and Tony Hale all jumped on board and we were set. The work of the entire cast exceeded my expectations and to this day I wonder how I got so lucky.
I miss shooting it. I miss the front row seat I had for the best parts of somebody else’s life. We caught it all on film of course. But, I was right there with those characters when they experienced the biggest moments of their life. You can’t beat that.
- John Hindman, Director and Writer
ABOUT THE CAST
JEFF DANIELS - Arlen Faber
Jeff Daniels found his first popular success with Terms of Endearment, playing the philandering husband of Debra Winger’s character. His performance in The Squid and the Whale earned him Independent Spirit Award and Golden Globe nominations, as well as Newsweek’s choice for Best Actor of 2005. Daniels co-stars in the upcoming films State of Play, The Answer Man, Away We Go and Paper Man.
It was in Milos Forman’s Ragtime that Daniels made his feature film debut. Other film credits include Woody Allen’s The Purple Rose of Cairo, Mike Nichols’ Heartburn, Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild, Radio Days, House on Carroll Street, Marie, Checking Out, Welcome Back Roxy Carmichael, The Butcher’s Wife, Grand Tour,Arachnophobia, Gettysburg, Speed, Dumb & Dumber, Fly Away Home, 2 Days in the Valley, 101 Dalmatians, Trial and Error, Pleasantville, My Favorite Martian, All the Rage, Chasing Sheep, Blood Work, The Hours, Gods and Generals, I Witness, Imaginary Heroes, Because of Winn Dixie, RV, Good Night and Good Luck, Infamous, The Lookout and most recently Traitor.
Daniels launched his film career from the New York stage. Raised in Michigan, he attended Central Michigan University, majoring in English with a minor in theater. Impressed with the 21-year-old actor, guest director Marshall W. Mason invited him to join the acclaimed Circle Repertory Company in New York. His stage credits from this period include “The Farm,” Lanford Wilson’s “Brontosaurus,” and Corinne Jacker’s “My Life,” co-starring Christopher Reeve and William Hurt. Other New York roles include “Three Sisters,” “Short Changed Review,” “Lemon Sky” (earning Daniels a Drama Desk nomination), and A.R. Gurney’s “The Golden Age,” with Stockard Channing and Irene Worth. Daniels worked with Marshall Mason again on Broadway in Lanford Wilson’s “Redwood Curtain” in 1993. In the Spring of 2007, he returned to the Off Broadway stage in the critically acclaimed American Premiere of David Harrower’s “Blackbird.” He most recently starred in the World Premiere of “Turn of the Century,” a musical directed by Tommy Tune and written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, the writing team behind “Jersey Boys.”
The role of Jed Jenkins in Lanford Wilson’s “Fifth of July” won Daniels his first widespread recognition. After three different productions and filming the play for television, Daniels returned to Circle Rep to star in a one-man show adapting Dalton’s Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun,” an effort for which he won a 1983 Obie Award.
Recently Daniels starred in Hallmark Hall of Fame’s “Sweet Nothings In My Ear” opposite Marlee Matlin. Other television credits include “Invasion of Privacy,”
“A Rumor of War,” “The Visit,” “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial,” “The Jackie Presser Story,” “No Place Like Home,” “Tanner ‘88,” “The Crossing,” “Cheaters,” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.”
In 1991, Daniels established the Purple Rose Theatre Company, a not-for-profit professional theatre in the small town of Chelsea, Michigan. Since then, the PRTC has gained a national reputation as a home for new American plays. Daniels has written twelve plays for the Purple Rose, including “Apartment 3A,” “Boom Town”, and “Guest Artist,” Runner Up for 2007 Best New Play by the American Theatre Critics Association. In 2003, “Across the Way” was a finalist and Daniels’ first nomination for ATCA’s Best New Play. In the fall of 2006, the Purple Rose premiered “Escanaba in Love,” the second play of Daniels’ “Escanaba Trilogy.” “Escanaba in Da Moonlight” sold out in 1995 and 1997, setting the record as the longest-running show in Detroit history. His latest play with music, “Panhandle Slim & The Oklahoma Kid” will premiere at the Purple Rose in June, 2008.
In 1998, he formed Purple Rose Films. The company’s first project, Escanaba in Da Moonlight, earned $2.3 million despite being self-distributed, making it one of 2001’s top-grossing independent films in the country. Daniels’ second venture, Super Sucker, won the Audience Award for Best Feature at the HBO-sponsored U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado, in February 2002.
Daniels’ songwriting has taken him all over the country. Initially a way to raise money for the Purple Rose, Daniels’ live performance and guitar playing can be found on his three CDs: “Live and Unplugged At The Purple Rose,” “Grandfather’s Hat,” and “Together Again.” More information regarding his music career can be found at www.jeffdaniels.com.
Daniels was awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Central Michigan University. In 1991, he received both the Detroit News’ Michiganian Of The Year Award and the prestigious Governor’s Michigan Artist Award.
LAUREN GRAHAM - Elizabeth
Lauren Graham will star as Miss Adelaide on Broadway in the musical comedy “Guys & Dolls,” opening March 1st. Graham recently completed production on THE ANSWER MAN with Jeff Daniels, which will premiere at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. She was also recently seen in the critically acclaimed Flash of Genius opposite Greg Kinnear for Universal and Spyglass Entertainment. This year she starred alongside Matthew Perry and Hillary Swank in Birds of America, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
Graham garnered critical acclaim for her performance as Lorelai Gilmore on “Gilmore Girls;” a series on which she also served as producer in its final season. For her work on the show Graham was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress in a Drama Series,” two Screen Actors Guild Awards for “Outstanding Female Actor in a Drama Series” and two Television Critics Association Awards for “Individual Achievement in Drama and Comedy.” Additionally, she earned two Teen Choice Awards, a “Best Actress” nod from Viewers for Quality Television, and was honored by Planned Parenthood as a “Champion of Choice” for her work with family issues on and off-screen.
Graham’s additional feature film credits include: Universal’s blockbuster comedy Evan Almighty alongside Steve Carell, Because I Said So opposite Diane Keaton and Mandy Moore, Bad Santa with Billy Bob Thornton, The Pacifier, The Amateurs with Jeff Bridges, Nightwatch and One True Thing with Renee Zellweger and Meryl Streep.
In 2002, Graham starred in the 1929 comedy “Once In A Lifetime” at The Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Graham holds a degree in English from Barnard College, and an MFA from SMU Meadows School of The Arts. Graham currently resides in New York and Los Angeles.
LOU TAYLOR PUCCI – Kris Lucas
Lou Taylor Pucci emerged as one of the most promising actors of his generation following the premiere of Mike Mills’ THUMBSUCKER at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. In the funny, exceptionally observant coming-of-age story, Pucci starred opposite Tilda Swinton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Keanu Reeves and Vince Vaughn as Justin Cobb, a compulsive 17-year-old thumbsucker. Pucci received both a Sundance Special Jury Prize for acting and the Best Actor Award at the Berlin Film Festival for his performance.
Lou is part of three films at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival – THE ANSWER MAN, written and directed by John Hindman starring Jeff Daniels, Gregor Jordan’s THE INFORMERS, based upon the Bret Easton Ellis novel, and John Krasinski’s adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men.
Next year, Pucci appears in three features – Jonas Akerlund’s THE HORSEMAN, co-starring Dennis Quaid and Ziyi Zhang, Mark Webber’s EXPLICIT ILLS, and David and Alex Pastor’s thriller CARRIERS.
Pucci made his feature film debut as Kevin, the badly beaten young hitchhiker encountered by Fairuza Balk's character in Rebecca Miller's 2002 award-winning Sundance Film Festival entry PERSONAL VELOCITY. His credits also include Richard Linklater’s FAST FOOD NATION, Martin Hynes’ THE GO-GETTER, Fred Schepisi’s EMPIRE FALLS with Paul Newman and Ed Harris, THE CHUMSCRUBBER with Jamie Bell and Justin Chatwin and Theo Avgerinos’s FIFTY PILLS, which premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival.
In 2005, Pucci rejoined THUMBSUCKER co-star Vincent D’Onofrio for an episode of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.” He also starred with Kelli Garner (his love interest in the Mills film), in Green Day’s “Jesus of Suburbia” video for director Samuel Bayer.
Pucci grew up in central New Jersey and had little interest in acting until his aunt bribed him to try out for community theatre at age 10. Two years later, he appeared on Broadway as Friedrich in "The Sound of Music."
OLIVIA THIRLBY - Anne
Olivia Thirlby landed her first role in Vincent Perez's THE SECRET followed by her role as Nicole Miller in Paul Greengrass' critically acclaimed 9/11 drama, UNITED 93. She has continued to work in film with prominent directors such as Kenneth Lonergan in MARGARET and David Gordon Green in SNOW ANGELS. She was last seen in the award winning sensation, JUNO directed by Jason Reitman and THE WACKNESS, directed by Jonathan Levine, which won the Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and the LA International Film Festival. She recently starred alongside film legends Lauren Bacall and Ben Gazzara in the short film EVE, written and directed by Natalie Portman.
Olivia recently made her Off-Broadway debut in the Atlantic Theater Company's production of “Farragut North” written by Beau Willimon and directed by Doug Hughes, starring alongside John Gallagher, Jr. and Chris Noth. She was hailed by New York Magazine as “the most magnetic player.”
Olivia will next be seen in the ensemble drama SAFETY GLASS, as well as in John Hindman's THE ANSWER MAN, which premiered in competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
KAT DENNINGS - Dahlia
Kat Dennings is one of Hollywood’s hottest rising young stars. With her highly acclaimed performance in NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST and her role as Catherine Keener’s daughter in the smash hit THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN Dennings has quickly become a house hold name.
Dennings was most recently seen in NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST starring opposite Michael Cera and directed by Peter Sollett. The film, based on the book of the same name, follows Nick and Norah on a one night adventure in New York City. The New York Post called Dennings “…engaging, smart and completely natural, an instant star in whom the girls in the audience will be able to picture themselves” about her portrayal of Norah in the film. Dennings was nominated by the International Press Academy for a Satellite Award in the “Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical” category for her performance in the film.
Dennings recently wrapped DEFENDOR in Toronto. Dennings stars alongside Woody Harrelson and Sandra Oh. The film, written and directed by Peter Stebbings centers around a man (Harrelson) who believes he has a secret superhero identity.
Dennings can next be seen in Robert Rodriguez’s SHORTS with William H. Macy and Leslie Mann. The film focuses on a young boy's discovery of a colorful, wish-granting rock, which causes chaos in a suburban town. SHORTS will be released on August 7, 2009.
Dennings recently completed filming THE ANSWER MAN with Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham. The film follows a reclusive author of spiritual books who is pursued for advice by a single mother and a man recently out of rehab.
Dennings was seen in the hit comedy HOUSE BUNNY co-starring with Anna Faris, Katharine McPhee, Emma Stone and Rumer Willis. The film centers around a Playboy bunny who becomes the house mother of Zeta Alpha Zeta, a sorority of misfits who are about to loose their house. HOUSE BUNNY opened number one at the box office and has grossed over $70 million worldwide.
Dennings other film credits include CHARLIE BARTLETT opposite Robert Downey Jr., New Line’s RAISE YOUR VOICE, where her performance was singled out by The New York Times, DOWN IN THE VALLEY opposite Edward Norton, LONDON with Jessica Biel, and BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE 2 with Martin Lawrence. She appeared in IFC’s WANDERLUST for directors Robert Pucini and Shari Springer Berman and was selected to participate in the prestigious 2005 Sundance Filmmaker’s Lab where she worked with Robert Redford on director Dante Harper’s DREAMLAND.
Dennings has appeared on some of television’s most critically acclaimed dramas including a recurring role on NBC’s “ER”, a guest-starring role on a highly publicized “CSI: Miami/NY” cross-over episode and a controversial role on “Without A Trace.” She also starred opposite Bob Saget in the WB series “Raising Dad” and had a standout guest-starring role as Jenny Brier, a teen who hires ‘Samantha Jones’ to do publicity for her Bat Mitzvah, in HBO’s “Sex and the City.”
Dennings currently resides in Los Angeles.
NORA DUNN - Terry Fraser
Nora’s most recent film, THE ANSWER MAN with Jeff Daniels, Kat Dennings and Olivia Thrilby was accepted into Dramatic Competition at 2009 Sundance Film Festival. In it, she plays Jeff Daniels’ forceful and acerbic literary agent. This film marks a return to Sundance for Nora who as costarred in several films at the festival.
Earlier this year, Nora appeared in the film, Pineapple Express, produced by Judd Apatow, and directed by David Gordon Green. She and Ed Begley play Amber Heard’s parents who create a hilariously mortifying encounter with Seth Rogen.
Five seasons on Saturday Night Live benefitted from the rich cast of characters Nora created including The Pat Steven’s Show (which she also created and wrote), whose famous guest stars included Oprah Winfrey, Jimmy Breslin, as well as John Lithgow as Margaret Thatcher. Her send up of soap opera diva Linda Dano made the popular sketch “Attitudes” a hilarious SNL staple, featuring such stars as John Malkovich and Christopher Walken. Her portrayal of lounge lizardess Liz Sweeney of the singing Sweeney Sisters has been mimicked by fans for years.
After five years of late night pandemonium, Nora played lesbian television producer Norma Lear in NBC’s prime time drama “Sisters” for three seasons. She has weaved effortlessly between comedy and drama in memorable supporting roles such as the flamboyant, blasphemous Adriana Cruz in David Russell’s chic anti-war epic ThreeKings. That performance garnered her praise and attention, prompting Peter Travers to write that she was “finally given the chance to show her chops as an actress.”
She continued to show her chops in films such as Gary Fleder’s drama Runaway Jury with John Cusack and Gene Hackman, as the straight-laced boozer/juror Stella Hulic; New Line’s Laws of Attraction, opposite Pierce Brosnan and Julianne Moore as a glitzy judge from Scarsdale whose Judge Judy tactics cause a split in the stars’ already stressed marriage.
Dunn has begun to carve a presence in independent features as well, appearing in Finn Taylor’s Cherish and The Darwin Awards. She also played a sympathetic therapist in newcomer Greg Harrison’s feature November (Sony Classics) starring Courtney Cox and a cameo as a bitchy publicist in past Sundance Film Festival’s crowd-pleaser Die Mommy Die. Nora played a crazed right-winged fanatic in Richard Kelly’s (Donnie Darko) newest film Southland Tales.
Nora invariably proves a notable addition to any series be it drama or comedy. He recent guest spots encompass such disparate shows as “Numbers,” “Criminal Minds” and the final episode of “Pushing Daisies.” Additionally, she recently recurred on “Boston Legal”and “Shark” as well as playing such memorable characters as the head of a TV network on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and as a marriage counselor to Ari and Mrs. Ari on “Entourage” for multiple episodes.
In her first film role Nora played opposite Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith in Mike Nichols’ hit comedy Working Girl. Though the role had just three scenes, the New York Times still praised her performance, saying she turned her uptight Wall Street executive “into a wicked Witch of the Westside.” She was next cast by Jonathan Demme
in the cult classic Miami Blues as a Cuban born homicide detective. Dunn worked again with Mike Nichols in What Planet Are You From?, and subsequently appeared in the comedies Bruce Almighty, Heartbreakers, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and What’s the Worst that Could Happen?, in which she played Danny Devito’s Bostonian society wife, and worked with English director Lewis Gilbert in his musical Stepping Out, and for Warren Beatty in his political satire Bullworth.
Theater credits include the emotionally anguished housewife Bea Small in George Firth’s drama, “Precious Sons” at The Blank Theater Co., “The Vagina Monologue”s in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Fe and Gary Lennon’s “Blackout.” She wrote and starred in a one-woman show, “Small Prey” in 1997, which played to sold-out houses for sixteen weeks in Los Angeles. Harper/Collins published her book, Nobody’s Rib in 1991.
Dunn was administered twelve years of Catholic tutelage and upon graduating from St. Mary’s Academy pursued a career in painting at The Art Institute of Chicago. She studied at the Institute for three years, then moved to San Francisco where she began to study acting with Anne Macey at The Jean Sheldon Acting Workshop. She continued theater productions before turning her attention to comedic monologues and character studies. She returned to her native Chicago in 1982 and in 1983 was spotted by a team of Saturday Night Live talent scouts. Soon after she was whisked from her deli waitress position to New York City where she resided until 1992. She now lives in Los Angeles.
TONY HALE - Mailman
Tony Hale developed a strong fan base for his hilarious role as 'Buster Bluth,' the eccentric, one-handed Mama's boy on Fox Television's smart, ground-breaking, Emmy award-winning series "Arrested Development." His performance as 'Buster' left fans longing for more, and with a plethora of upcoming feature film roles and TV appearances, audiences will soon be treated to a variety of new roles from the versatile and multi-talented Tony Hale.
In December 2008 Tony was heard as the voice of 'Furlough,' the treacherous brother mouse, in Universal Pictures' animated feature, The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, A Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread. It is an adaptation of the 2004 Newbery Medal-winning children's book by Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie). In the story, 'Furlough' tattle-tales on his brother 'Despereaux' for falling in love with a human princess. The film's all-star cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Kline, Christopher Lloyd, William H. Macy, Stanley Tucci, Tracey Ullman and Sigourney Weaver.
Tony will also soon be seen in the romantic comedy THE ANSWER MAN starring Jeff Daniels and Lauren Graham. The film was among the select line up to be screened in dramatic competition at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and marks the feature debut of writer-director John Hindman.
Tony has wrapped production on director Steven Soderbergh's espionage thriller The Informant, starring Matt Damon. The film centers on 'Mark Whitacre,' (Damon) a high-level mole at the self-declared "supermarket to the world," Archer Daniels Midland. The film is based on a true story and adapted from the book by Kurt Eichenwald by Scott Burns. Warner Independent will release the film on March 27, 2009.
Also in the can is Paramount Vantage's upcoming comedy The Goods: The Don Ready Story, to be release on April 24, 2009. He stars alongside Jeremy Piven in this feature for Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions.
This fall, Tony can be seen on NBC's "Chuck," where he will play 'Emmett,' the new assistant manager of the Buy More store where 'Chuck' (Zachary Levi) works. An efficiency expert, 'Emmett' is sent in by Buy More corporate and decides to stay on when he realizes how poorly the store is run. Tony was recently seen on ABC's "Samantha Who," where he played 'Andy Adams,' a new doctor to 'Samantha' (Christina Applegate). He also guest-starred in the final season debut of "ER," where he played a nerd who rescues an old lady and subsequently develops a hero complex.
Earlier this year, Tony co-starred with Jimmy Fallon in The Year of Getting to KnowUs. The feature, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, also starred Sharon Stone, Illeana Douglas, and Lucy Liu. He previously co-starred opposite Will Ferrell in Columbia Pictures' feature Stranger Than Fiction, directed by Marc Forster (FindingNeverland). In the later film, he played 'Dave,' the best friend and co-worker of Ferrell's character. The stellar ensemble cast included Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Queen Latifah. Additional feature credits include supporting roles in director Barry Sonnenfeld's roadtrip comedy, RV, with Robin Williams and Cheryl Hines; and Because I Said So with Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore and Lauren Graham.
Tony endeared himself to audiences as 'Buster Bluth' in Fox-TV's Emmy Award-winning television series, "Arrested Development." Details Magazine called his 'Buster' "the most hysterically unhinged supporting player since Cosmo Kramer." Other television credits include a series regular role on NBC Universal Television's comedy series "Andy Barker, P.I."
Army Brat Hale was actually born at West Point where his father taught nuclear physics to the Corps. Tony is the youngest of three children, and his family moved seven times before he reached middle school. They spent five years at various military locations in Heidelberg and Berlin. The family finally settled in Tallahassee, Florida where dad Mike, a brain with a greater computer brain, served as Commissioner of Information and Research for the State Department.
During his high school years, Tony was a member of the Young Actors Theater where he learned all facets of theater production. Cheryl Hines preceded him as a famous alumni of this academy. He loved acting, but his family urged him to have a "career to fall back on" so he received his B.A. in Mass Communications / Journalism from Samford University in Alabama.
After college, Tony worked for a year as a counselor at a youth program helping kids broaden their horizons through acting sketches and other cultural exercises. Tony realized that he was passionate about pursuing his acting career and enrolled in the Masters Theater program at Regent University. During a visit to New York in his second year at Regent, he fell in love with the "terrifying and exciting" city and, after graduation, he moved to Manhattan. Like most actors, he was in residential sublet-to-sublet flux, moving seven times in six months. His first professional job was in a "Shakespeare in the Parking Lot" production of "Taming of the Shrew" staged in an East Village parking lot. He landed a commercial agent and was featured in spots for Volkswagen (singing "Mr. Roboto") and Citibank. He also guest-starred on such popular television series as "Sex and the City," "The Sopranos," "Mad TV," "Stacked" and "Dawson's Creek."
During this time, Tony became involved with Wide Horizons for Children, an organization that raises funds to assist with international adoptions. He spent three weeks visiting children in Romanian orphanages. The experience was life-altering, and Tony remains committed to international children's causes. "We have so much, and our small measure of assistance goes such a long way," says Tony.
And then came the audition for "Arrested Development." "I loved the script immediately because it was a smart, brilliantly written comedy shot documentary-style, and Ron Howard as producer and narrator was a huge bonus. Jason Bateman's description of "Arrested" is The Royal Tenenbaums meets "Cops."
Tony moved to Los Angeles with his wife, Emmy-winning makeup artist Martel, who actually worked on The Royal Tenenbaums. Tony proposed on a surprise weekend getaway to Ireland. They continue to live in L.A. with their two and a half year old daughter, Loy.
Life is good, but the Los Angeles car/traffic thing is still a daily challenge for him. He longs for a subway system.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
JOHN HINDMAN - Writer/Director
When John was ten he saw Rocky and knew what he wanted to do with his life: make movies. He got his start in the entertainment business doing stand up comedy in the San Francisco Bay Area. After years of production experience both in front of and behind the camera he realized he wasn’t getting any closer to his goal of making movies, so he became a writer for hire on a few projects and then began writing on his own. His screenplay for THE ANSWER MAN was included on the 2007 Blacklist, a year end list of the most well liked screenplays in Hollywood. John currently resides in Los Angeles.
KEVIN MESSICK - Producer
Kevin Messick is an independent producer and THE ANSWER MAN represents his second film selected to be in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Messick previously produced the documentary AMERICAN PIMP directed by Allen and Albert Hughes, an official selection in competition at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival.
Upcoming projects for Messick include THE GOODS, a comedy about mercenary car salesmen that he produced with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions, which is slated for release by Paramount later this summer. THE GOODS, directed by Neal Brennan, is an ensemble comedy that stars Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, James Brolin, Dave Koechner, Kathryn Hahn, Ed Helms and Rob Riggle.
Messick has several high profile projects in development including BLACK HOLE which he is producing for Paramount with Brad Pitt’s Plan B, based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel by Charles Burns which David Fincher is attached to direct and ONE SHOT also at Paramount, based on the best-selling series of books by Lee Child which he is producing with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner.
Other upcoming film projects for Messick include WHO’S YOUR MOMMA for 20th Century Fox, a family comedy for which he co-wrote the story inspired by the current wave of suburban mothers across the country starting garage bands and PUNK FARM, an animated musical feature film for Dreamworks Animation for which he also co-wrote the story based on the children’s book of the same name that chronicles a punk rock band of farm animals.
Messick’s past feature producing credits include Touchstone’s romantic comedy A LOT LIKE LOVE with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet, Sony’s TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M” directed by Kiefer Sutherland, the Alicia Silverstone starrer THE BABY SITTER and New Line Cinema’s SURVIVING THE GAME directed by Ernest Dickerson.
In television, Messick Executive Produced the FX Original Film “Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie” based on the true story of ASU’s college basketball point shaving scandal which starred David Krumholtz.
Messick graduated with an MFA from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.
JERRY GREENBURG - Editor
Jerry Greenburg is an Academy Award-winning and multi-award nominated editor who has edited some of the most well known films of the past 30 years, for some of the most acclaimed directors in the industry such as Sidney Lument, Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma. Beginning in 1968 with THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES, Greenberg's numerous and wide-ranging feature credits include BYE BYE BRAVERMAN, THE BOYS IN THE BAND, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, for which he won the Academy Award for best editing, THE SEVEN UPS, the Academy Award-winning KRAMER VS. KRAMER, DRESSED TO KILL, WISE GUYS,THE ACCUSED, NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, GET CARTER, INVINCIBLE, and the mini-series THE BRONX IS BURNING. He shared editing credit on a number of films including ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE, THE TAKING OF PELHAM, the multi-award nominated APOCALYPSE NOW, SCARFACE, THE UNTOUCHABLES, SCHOOL TIES and AMERICAN HISTORY X.
OLIVER BOKELBERG - Director of Photography
THE ANSWER MAN is cinematographer Oliver Bokelberg’s first collaboration with Messick Films and director John Hindman. Oliver’s broad experience includes shooting acclaimed features such as the award winning The Station Agent directed by Tom McCarthy. The film captured the Audience Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and Bokelberg went on to shoot other Sundance favorites such as Loggerheads, directed by Tim Kirkman, Strangers With Candy, starring Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, and Mathew Broderick, and Dark Matter, starring Merryl Streep, before he re-teamed once more with director Tom McCarthy on the feature film The Visitor. In 2008 The Visitor was released by Overture Films after an intense sale during the 2007 Toronto Film Festival.
Bokelberg was recently nominated for an ASC Award for his work on the Fox television series “My Own Worst Enemy” starring Christian Slater. This is Bokelberg’s second ASC nomination. Bokelberg was previously nominated for an ASC Award for his work on the Frank Darabont directed pilot, “Raines” in 2008. Bokelberg is currently filming the USA Network pilot “Operating Instructions” which will be directed by Andy Tennant. www.oliverbokelberg.com
REBECCA BENTJEN - Costume Designer
A self-proclaimed cinemaphile and frock lover, Los Angeles native Rebecca Bentjen counts her lucky stars that she has been able to combine her love of film and fashion as a costume designer for film and television for the past 14 years. Bentjen has honed her character building skills by people watching. It is this observation of real life that has helped her understand the psychology of people as it relates to their presentation. Bentjen maintains that costumes constitute an integral part of character building. Using costume to create well rounded characters, along with her belief in collaboration as the essential component to the creative process, has lead Bentjen to work with such celluloid notables as Jeff Bridges, Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim Robbins, Stockard Channing, Christina Ricci, Adam Goldberg, Woody Allen and Jon Favreau.
ALEX DIGERLANDO - Production Designer
Alex DiGerlando was born in Summit, NJ in 1978. He now lives in
Astoria, NY. Somewhere in the middle he attended NYU for Cinema
Studies. Upon graduation Mr. DiGerlando began working on movies in the
Art Department. Those credits include: Far From Heaven (Todd Haynes,
2002); Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch, 2005); The Producers (Susan
Stroman, 2005); Across the Universe (Julie Taymor, 2007); The
Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson, 2007); Synecdoche, New York (Charlie
Kaufman, 2008); and most recently Julie Taymor's The Tempest which was
filmed in Hawaii. DiGerlando's first film as Production Designer was
Paul Schneider's Pretty Bird which was presented for competition at
iDeal Partners Film Fund
iDeal Partners Film Fund is an independent financing and production company founded in 2006 by managing partner Jana Edelbaum and Dr. Michael Lesser. Working in partnership with the country’s top film producers, iDeal produces a diversified slate of quality independent feature films and documentaries. iDeal manages the downside risk to its partners and collaborators through presales, casting and state tax incentives.
iDeal is currently in production on An Invisible Sign of my Own, a whimsical drama with a generous dose of magical realism. Directed by Marilyn Agrelo (Mad Hot Ballroom) from a screenplay by writers Pam Falk and Mike Ellis (The Wedding Planner) it stars Jessica Alba, Chris Messina, JK Simmons, John Shea and Sonia Braga.
iDeal recently completed two films, both of which are world premiering at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival: Motherhood, co-produced with Pam Koffler and Christine Vachon of Killer Films (Boys Don’t Cry, I’m Not There), is a day-in-the-life comedy written and directed by Katherine Dieckmann and starring Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver and Anthony Edwards; and THE ANSWER MAN, is a romantic comedy from first time writer-director John Hindman starring Jeff Daniels, Lauren Graham, Lou Taylor Pucci, Olivia Thirlby and Kat Dennings.
In addition, iDeal is putting together two to three more titles slated for production in 2009. Previous projects include: the documentary Waiting for Hockney, which premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival and sold in several territories around the world, including to The Sundance Channel in the U.S. and Channel 4 in the UK; Birds of America, a comedic drama directed by Craig Lucas and starring Matthew Perry, Hilary Swank, Lauren Graham, Ben Foster and Ginnifer Goodwin which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and has sold worldwide; and Tenderness directed by John Pulson (Hide and Seek, SwimFan) starring Russell Crowe and Laura Dern which Lionsgate is releasing theatrically in 2009.
Prior to forming iDeal, Jana Edelbaum spent twelve years as an independent producer. Her credits include Romance & Cigarettes, directed by John Turturro and starring Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, which was released in the fall of 2007, and Advice From A Caterpillar, which won the Best Feature Award at the US Comedy Art Festival in 2002. Prior to this, she worked in the fixed income and mezzanine finance divisions of Morgan Stanley International UK, and the M&A division of Ansbacher Media UK.
iDeal’s Head of Production is Rachel Cohen. Rachel was previously an EVP at TriBeCa Productions and an SVP Production & Acquisitions at Artisan. Notable acquisitions include The Blair Witch Project, Startup.com, and Roger Dodger.