TOWER HEIST (2011)
Release Date: November 4, 2011
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Brett Ratner
Screenwriter: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Russell Gewirtz, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Ted Griffin, Leslie Dixon, Noah Baumbach, Jeff Nathanson
Starring: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Téa Leoni
Genre: Action, Comedy
MPAA Rating: PG-13
BEN STILLER (Josh Kovaks) is an actor, writer, director and producer. This fall, Stiller will begin production on 20 th Century Fox’s Neighborhood Watch, starring opposite Vince Vaughn. The film revolves around a group of men who uncover a plot to destroy the world and is set for release on July 27, 2012.
Stiller received rave reviews for his lead role in Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, for which he earned a 2011 Film Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Male Lead. He recently starred in the Broadway revival of John Guare’s award-winning play The House of Blue Leaves, alongside Edie Falco and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Stiller made his Broadway debut in the 1986 production of the play.
In 2008, Stiller starred in Tropic Thunder, which he also co-wrote and directed under his Red Hour Films banner. The film also starred Robert Downey, Jr., Jack Black and Tom Cruise. For his performance as Kirk Lazarus, Downey earned nominations for an Academy Award ®, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a Screen Actors Guild Award, and for his performance as Les Grossman, Cruise received a Golden Globe nomination. Tropic Thunder won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy and the Hollywood Film Award for Comedy of the Year. Red Hour’s other production credits include the upcoming film The Big Year, starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson and Jack Black; the dark comedy 30 Minutes or Less, starring Danny McBride and Jesse Eisenberg; the animated feature Megamind, featuring the voices of Will Ferrell and Brad Pitt; Submarine, which premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival; Blades of Glory; Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; and Starsky & Hutch.
Stiller’s other features as a director include Reality Bites, The Cable Guy and Zoolander, which he co-wrote and in which he played the title role. Stiller won an Emmy Award as one of the writers of The Ben Stiller Show, which he also directed and produced.
For many years, Stiller has been involved with and supported numerous charities and foundations, including Project A.L.S., Artists for Peace and Justice, the Center for Environmental Education, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Oxfam, the Red Cross and the Starlight Children’s Foundation, among others.
Following his first visit to Haiti with Save the Children in 2009, Stiller has been committed to raising money for schools in the country through his StillerStrong campaign and, more recently, with The Stiller Foundation. In 2010, Time magazine recognized Stiller for his philanthropic work by naming him as one of the Time 100, a list of the most influential people in the world.
EDDIE MURPHY (Slide/Produced by) is the most commercially successful African-American actor in the history of the motion picture business and is one of the industry’s top-five box-office performers overall. At the tender age of 50, Murphy is on the very short list of actors who have starred in multiple $100-million pictures over the past three decades, from Beverly Hills Cop to Daddy Day Care. He is also the voice of Donkey in the Oscar ®-winning animated film Shrek and its sequel Shrek 2, which is the top-grossing animated film of all time. Murphy won an Annie Award and earned BAFTA and MTV Movie Award nominations for his performance in the first Shrek, and recently reprised the role of Donkey in the final installment of the hugely successful franchise, Shrek Forever After.
Murphy began his career as a stand-up comedian as a teenager. In 1980, at the age of 19, he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live and has since gone on to establish a successful career on the big screen.
His films have been some of the highest-grossing comedies in the industry, among them 48 Hrs., Trading Places, Dr. Dolittle, Coming to America and the Beverly Hills Cop franchise. Murphy garnered Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical for his performances in Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places and 48 Hrs.
In 1989, Murphy made his directorial debut with Harlem Nights, a period comedy he also wrote and starred in, opposite Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx. In addition, Murphy starred in and produced the hit comedy Life, co-starring Martin Lawrence, and starred opposite Steve Martin in the comedy Bowfinger. He was also the voice of Mushu the dragon in the successful animated epic Mulan.
In 1996, Murphy portrayed seven different characters in the worldwide box-office smash The Nutty Professor, for which he received another Golden Globe Award nomination. He added a character to play a total of eight roles in the sequel Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, co-starring Janet Jackson. His more recent films include Dr. Dolittle 2, Daddy Day Care, The Haunted Mansion and the romantic comedy Norbit, in which he played three characters and served as the film’s producer and screenwriter.
In 2007, Murphy received rave reviews and critical acclaim for his portrayal of James “Thunder” Early in the DreamWorks film Dreamgirls, a performance for which he garnered Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice Awards for Best Supporting Actor, as well as his first Academy Award ® nomination in the same category.
An accomplished and striking artist, CASEY AFFLECK (Charlie Gibbs) has established himself as a powerful leading man with singular performances, both in front of and behind the camera.
Affleck recently made his directorial debut with I’m Still Here, a documentary about Joaquin Phoenix, which Affleck also wrote and produced. Magnolia Pictures released the film in September 2010. Prior to that, he starred in Michael Winterbottom’s The Killer Inside Me, opposite Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson. The film premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. He is currently attached to star in the period noir drama The Kind One, based on the novel by Tom Epperson and to be directed by Ridley Scott.
In 2008, Affleck was nominated for an Academy Award ®, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award and won a National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor for his unanimously praised performance in the character drama The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Affleck starred opposite Brad Pitt in the Warner Bros. film, which was written and directed by Andrew Dominik. Additionally, Affleck garnered significant praise for his starring turn in the Miramax film Gone Baby Gone, with Ed Harris, Morgan Freeman and Michelle Monaghan. The film is based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same title and was adapted for the screen and directed by Ben Affleck.
An accomplished screenwriter, Affleck recently penned the original screenplay for Aardvark Art’s Ark, an animated family film that he will also executive produce for Warner Bros. The film tells the story of a family of animals that sets sail on Noah’s Ark and finds wild adventures when the waters get dangerous.
On stage, Affleck appeared as Warren in Kenneth Lonergan’s West End debut of his award-winning play This Is Our Youth, alongside Matt Damon and Summer Phoenix.
Affleck starred in Gus Van Sant’s independent road movie Gerry, which he also co-wrote with Damon. He has also appeared in Van Sant’s Good Will Hunting; To Die For; Hamlet, with Ethan Hawke and Julia Stiles; Ocean’s Eleven; Ocean’s Twelve; Ocean’s Thirteen; and Tony Goldwyn’s The Last Kiss, with Zach Braff, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson and Jacinda Barrett.
Affleck’s additional films include Lonesome Jim, Soul Survivors, American Pie 2, Attention Shoppers, Committed, Drowning Mona, Floating, American Pie, 200 Cigarettes, Desert Blue and Race the Sun.
On television, Affleck was seen in the ABC miniseries The Kennedys of Massachusetts and the PBS telefilm Lemon Sky, based on Lanford Wilson’s play and starring Kevin Bacon.
ALAN ALDA (Arthur Shaw) has earned international recognition as an actor, writer and director. In addition to The Aviator, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award ®, Alda’s film credits include Crimes and Misdemeanors; Everyone Says I Love You; Flirting With Disaster, with his Tower Heist co-stars Ben Stiller and Téa Leoni; Manhattan Murder Mystery; And the Band Played On; Same Time, Next Year; California Suite; The Seduction of Joe Tynan, which he wrote; and The Four Seasons, Sweet Liberty, A New Life and Betsy’s Wedding, all of which he wrote and directed. He will next appear in the comedy Wanderlust, opposite Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd.
Alda has the distinction of being nominated for an Oscar ®, a Tony and an Emmy, as well as publishing a best-selling book, all in the same year (2005). His Emmy nomination was for his role on The West Wing, and his Tony nomination that year was for his role in the Broadway revival of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. In addition to receiving an Academy Award ® nomination for his appearance in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator that year, he was also nominated for a BAFTA.
Alda played Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce on the classic television series M*A*S*H, and he wrote and directed many of the episodes. His 33 Emmy Award nominations include those for his performances in 30 Rock (2009), The West Wing (2006, for which he won his sixth Emmy) and ER (1999). He recently reprised his 30 Rock role in 2010.
In 1994, Alda was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame. He hosted PBS’ award-winning series Scientific American Frontiers for 11 years, in which he interviewed leading scientists from around the world. In January 2010, he hosted the PBS series The Human Spark, in which he interviewed dozens of scientists and searched for answers to the question “What is it that makes us human?”
His other television performances include Truman Capote’s The Glass House and Kill Me If You Can, for which he received an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Caryl W. Chessman, an inmate who spent 12 years on death row.
On Broadway, Alda appeared as the physicist Richard Feynman in the play QED. He starred in the first American production of the international hit play Art. In addition to his nomination for Glengarry, he was nominated for a Tony Award for his performances in Neil Simon’s Jake’s Women and the musical The Apple Tree. His other appearances on Broadway include The Owl and the Pussycat, Purlie Victorious and Fair Game for Lovers, for which he received a Theatre World Award.
Alda was presented with the National Science Board’s Public Service Award in 2006 for his efforts in helping to broaden the public’s understanding of science. Since 2008, he has worked with physicist Brian Greene in presenting the annual World Science Festival in New York City, which was attended by 183,000 people this year.
His first memoir, “ Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned,” became a New York Times best seller, as did his second, “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.”
A two-time Tony Award-winning stage actor and instantly recognizable film presence, MATTHEW BRODERICK (Mr. Fitzhugh) was recently seen in the feature films Wonderful World; Universal Pictures’ animated adventure The Tale of Despereaux, in which he voices the title character; and Diminished Capacity, opposite Alan Alda and Virginia Madsen. In 2008, he was on the big screen in Helen Hunt’s directorial debut, Then She Found Me. Broderick is now starring in Margaret, with Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo, and will return to Broadway in Nice Work If You Can Get It, in early 2012.
Broderick recently starred on Broadway in Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist and in Kenneth Lonergan’s off-Broadway production of Starry Messenger, opposite Catalina Sandino Moreno. He previously starred in the blockbuster Broadway production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple and in the hit off-Broadway play The Foreigner, at the Roundabout Theatre Company. In 2005, he starred in the feature-film version of The Producers, reprising the Tony-nominated performance he gave on Broadway in this smash-hit musical.
Broderick starred in the critically acclaimed You Can Count on Me , opposite Laura Linney. He also earned considerable acclaim for his starring role opposite Reese Witherspoon in the critically lauded and Independent Spirit Award-winning political satire Election, directed by Alexander Payne.
A New York native, he made his professional stage debut opposite his father, James Broderick, at age 17 in a production of On Valentine’s Day. His performance in Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song Trilogy won him the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor. Broderick won his first Tony Award for Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs and starred in the play’s sequel, Biloxi Blues. He won his second Tony for his role as J. Pierrepont Finch in the 1995 Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying .
Broderick has starred in such blockbuster movies as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Glory, WarGames and Disney’s The Lion King, as the adult voice of Simba. His additional credits include Bee Movie, Godzilla , Addicted to Love, The Cable Guy, Inspector Gadget, Deck the Halls, Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, Max Dugan Returns, Project X, Family Business, The Freshman, The Night We Never Met, The Last Shot and The Stepford Wives.
In addition to his stage, screen and Broadway credits, Broderick has also appeared in the Showtime film “ Master Harold”…and the Boys and received an Emmy nomination for the TNT production of David Mamet’s A Life in the Theater , in which he starred opposite Jack Lemmon.
Broderick resides in New York with his wife, Sarah Jessica Parker, and their three children.
An actress of extraordinary versatility and charm, TÉA LEONI (Special Agent Claire Denham) has portrayed an impressive list of characters thus far in her career. Tower Heist marks Leoni’s second collaboration with director Brett Ratner (The Family Man) and co-stars Ben Stiller and Alan Alda (Flirting With Disaster).
Leoni’s recent feature film credits include DreamWorks’ Ghost Town; You Kill Me, opposite Ben Kingsley, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and on which Leoni also served as an executive producer; and Fun With Dick & Jane, starring opposite Jim Carrey, directed Dean Parisot and produced by Brian Grazer for Imagine Entertainment.
In 2004, Leoni starred in David Duchovny’s writing and directorial debut, House of D , which was released by Lionsgate Films. Her other motion picture credits include James L. Brooks’ Spanglish, opposite Adam Sandler; Daniel Algrant’s People I Know, opposite Al Pacino and Kim Basinger; Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending, opposite Allen; Universal Pictures’ Jurassic Park III, opposite Sam Neill and William H. Macy; and Deep Impact, opposite Morgan Freeman and Vanessa Redgrave for DreamWorks/Paramount Pictures.
Leoni is also known for her critically acclaimed role in the situation comedy The Naked Truth, which aired on ABC in 1995 and on NBC from 1996 to 1998. In 1996, Leoni was also seen in Miramax’s comedy Flirting With Disaster, co-starring opposite Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Mary Tyler Moore and George Segal. Prior to The Naked Truth, Leoni starred in the FOX comedy series Flying Blind and in The Counterfeit Contessa, an original film for FOX Television.
Born in New York City, Leoni became interested in acting through the influence of her paternal grandmother, a former Broadway actress. Leoni didn’t pursue her craft immediately; instead, she studied anthropology and psychology at Sarah Lawrence College and then took time off from school to travel and live in Tokyo, Italy and St. Croix. Upon her return to New York, she went on her first audition.
Leoni landed one of the coveted roles in Angels ’88, a Charlie’s Angels remake. Having relocated to Los Angeles for the series, Leoni began to study her craft while waiting out her contract. She went on to appear in the feature films Switch and Indian Love Story and had roles in A League of Their Own, Wyatt Earp and the 1995 hit action- comedy Bad Boys.
Following in the footsteps of her grandmother Helenka Adamowska-Pantaleoni, who co-founded the U.S. Committee for UNICEF and served as its president for 25 years, Leoni was appointed a UNICEF ambassador in 2001 and a national board member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in 2006. She continues to be an actively involved board member and has traveled to observe UNICEF programs around the globe in countries such as Honduras, Vietnam, Brazil and Ethiopia.
Bronx-born actor JUDD HIRSCH (Mr. Simon) attended the City College of New York, where he majored in engineering and physics. A blossoming fascination with the theater convinced Hirsch that his future lay in acting. He studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and worked with a Colorado stock company before his 1966 Broadway debut in Barefoot in the Park. He spent many years at New York’s Circle Repertory Company, where he appeared in the first-ever production of Lanford Wilson’s The Hot L Baltimore. After an auspicious bow in the well-received television movie The Law (1974), Hirsch landed his first weekly series assignment playing the title character in the cop drama Delvecchio, from 1976 to 1977. From 1978 to 1983, he was seen as Alex Reiger in the popular ensemble comedy Taxi and earned two Emmy Awards.
While occupied with Taxi, Hirsch found time to act off-Broadway, winning an Obie award for the 1979 production Talley’s Folly. The following decade, Hirsch was honored with two Tony Awards for his Broadway efforts I’m Not Rappaport and Conversations With My Father.
After starring in Taxi, Hirsch was the lead in the television series Detective in the House, in 1985, and had a Golden Globe-winning turn as John Lacey in Dear John, from 1988 to 1992.
More recently, Hirsch co-starred opposite Rob Morrow and David Krumholtz in the CBS series Numb3rs. He currently appears on the critically acclaimed FX Network series Damages, starring Glenn Close.
Hirsch’s motion-picture credits include his Academy Award ®-nominated performance in the critically acclaimed, Oscar ®-nominated film Ordinary People, starring Timothy Hutton, Mary Tyler Moore and Donald Sutherland. He also played Russell Crowe’s mathematics mentor in Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind and was seen playing Jeff Goldblum’s father in the movie blockbuster Independence Day. Most recently, Hirsch starred with Sean Penn in This Must Be the Place, which garnered rave notices at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
MICHAEL PEÑA (Dev’reaux) has distinguished himself as an actor in Hollywood with a wide range of performances, having worked with an impressive roster of award-winning directors. Peña earned notable recognition for his performance in Paul Haggis’ provocative Oscar ®-winning film Crash, alongside Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard. The film was critically acclaimed for its interpretation of complex race relations in contemporary America.
Peña has worked on a diverse range of films in the past year, including Sony’s epic alien-invasion film Battle: Los Angeles, starring alongside Aaron Eckhart and Bridget Moynahan; The Lincoln Lawyer, starring alongside Matthew McConaughey; and the independent film Everything Must Go, starring alongside Will Ferrell and Rebecca Hall. Additionally, Peña can be seen in 30 Minutes or Less, starring Danny McBride and Jesse Eisenberg and directed by Ruben Fleischer, and in the upcoming dark comedy The Good Doctor, starring Orlando Bloom. Peña also appeared in season two of HBO’s Eastbound & Down, starring Danny McBride.
Peña’s film credits include The Lucky Ones, co-starring Rachel McAdams and Tim Robbins; Jody Hill’s comedy Observe and Report, with Seth Rogen; Robert Redford’s political drama Lions for Lambs, with Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep; and Werner Herzog and David Lynch’s psychological thriller My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, with Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe and Chloë Sevigny.
Peña’s other noteworthy credits include Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center, which chronicled the heroism of American servicemen in the direct aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11; Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby; Matthew Ryan Hoge’s The United States ofLeland; Gregor Jordan’s Buffalo Soldiers; Antoine Fuqua’s Shooter; and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Babel.
Peña’s television credits include the HBO film Walkout, which is based on the true story of a young Mexican-American high-school teacher who helped stage a massive student walkout in the mid-1960s. Peña received an Imagen Award for Best Actor—Television for his performance. He also guest-starred on the fourth season of the FX Network drama The Shield as one of the central leads, opposite Glenn Close and Anthony Anderson. His other television credits include Steven Spielberg’s NBC series Semper Fi.
Raised in Chicago, Peña began acting when he beat out hundreds of actors in an open call for a role in Peter Bogdanovich’s To Sir, With Love II, starring Sidney Poitier.
GABOUREY SIDIBE (Odessa) was a student pursuing a degree in psychology when she was cast as the lead in Lee Daniels’ film Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire.
For her performance, Sidibe received Academy Award ® and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress. She also garnered Best Actress nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The National Board of Review recognized her with its Breakthrough Performance—Female Award and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival honored her with the Virtuoso Award for “taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.” Sidibe also received both a Film Independent Spirit Award and an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress.
Sidibe can currently be seen opposite Laura Linney in the Golden Globe-nominated Showtime comedy series The Big C. Acclaimed director Bill Condon directed the pilot and the show is now on its second season.
Sidibe can soon be seen in Victoria Mahoney’s Yelling to the Sky, which had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival and its U.S. premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival. She also had the distinct honor of hosting Saturday Night Live.
Studio photos, notes and videos © 2011 Universal Pictures