Release Date: June 22, 2012
Studio: Focus Features
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Screenwriter: Lorene Scafaria
Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley
MPAA Rating: R
Steve Carell (Dodge)
Steve Carell is one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood. After first gaining recognition for his contributions as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s Emmy Award-winning The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Mr. Carell successfully segued into primetime television and feature film stardom.
The Massachusetts native’s first movie lead was in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, for which he wrote the screenplay with director Judd Apatow; the picture opened at #1 and remained atop the domestic box office for two straight weekends. The 2005 sleeper hit went on to gross more than $175 million worldwide and achieve #1 openings in 12 countries, followed by over $100 million in DVD sales in North America alone. The movie won an American Film Institute Award as one of its (10 Best) AFI Movies of the Year, among other honors. Mr. Carell and Mr. Apatow shared a Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Mr. Carell shared the Screen Actors Guild Awards’ top movies prize, for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, with his fellow actors from Little Miss Sunshine, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris from Michael Arndt’s Academy Award-winning screenplay. The movie’s many other accolades included an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
He recently produced Glen Ficarra and John Requa’s Crazy, Stupid, Love, in which he starred with Ryan Gosling and Julianne Moore; Among his other popular movies are Jay Roach’s Dinner for Schmucks, opposite Paul Rudd; Shawn Levy’s Date Night, with Tina Fey; Peter Segal’s Get Smart, opposite Anne Hathaway and Alan Arkin; Peter Hedges’ Dan in Real Life, with Juliette Binoche and Emily Blunt; Tom Shadyac’s Bruce Almighty, opposite Jim Carrey, and Evan Almighty; Adam McKay’s Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, with Will Ferrell; and, in voiceover, Jimmy Hayward and Steve Martino’s Horton Hears a Who! as well as Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud’s Despicable Me. Production is under way on a sequel to the latter animated feature, with Mr. Carell again starring as Gru.
In 2011, he concluded his starring role in the acclaimed Americanized adaptation of Ricky Gervais’ celebrated television series The Office. Mr. Carell’s portrayal of Michael Scott earned him multiple Emmy Award nominations as well as a Golden Globe Award. He also received Emmy nominations as a producer of the series; and he twice shared the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, with his fellow actors from the show.
Building on his successes in acting, writing, and producing, he has inaugurated his own production company, Carousel Productions. Mr. Carell is an alumnus of the Second City Theater Group in Chicago.
He is currently filming Burt Wonderstone, directed by Don Scardino, which reteams him with Jim Carrey; and will next be seen starring in David Frankel’s Hope Springs, also for Mandate Pictures, opposite Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.
Keira Knightley (Penny)
Mixing Comedy with Depth. In Lorene Scafaria’s apocalyptic comedy SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, Keira Knightley plays Penny, an impulsive young woman who befriends her upstairs neighbor Dodge (Steve Carell) as a huge asteroid hurtling towards Earth portends the end of the world as we know it. While Knightley has made a name for herself in swashbuckling and literary period pieces, the filmmakers relished the chance to show off Knightley’s lighter side. Producer Steve Golin enthuses, “Keira is a lot of fun to watch as Penny. She is well known for making movies set in different time periods, so playing a funny modern girl –– in sneakers! –– is a fresh turn for her.” Writer/director Scafaria agrees, noting that Knightley is “so damn funny” in the film. At the same time, Knightley fills out her character, making her both real and funny. Producer Mark Roybal points out, “There’s a profound depth Keira brings to Penny even when her character’s behavior is whimsical, spontaneous, or flighty. There’s a light in her eyes that reflects her inner light, which is why Penny is Dodge’s beacon.” Indeed, throughout her career, Knightley has continually exceeded others’ expectations, demonstrating a depth of character that has left audiences wanting more.
Acting as the Cure. Born in 1985, Keira Knightley was raised around actors and theater. Her father, Will Knightley, was a stage and television actor and her mother, Sharman Macdonald, had worked as an actress before making a name for herself as a prolific playwright and screenwriter. Knightley highlighted the benefits of her childhood to Collider: “I very definitely grew up around stories, art and people that really believed that they could make a difference through their art form, which is a very exciting thing to see, as a child.” But while engaged in drama, art and acting, she also suffered from dyslexia, a condition that made school and schoolwork a nightmare for Knightley as a young woman. Knightley remembered, “My headmaster, at the time, said to my parents, ‘You need to find a carrot to dangle in front of her to make her work harder,’ and the carrot they found was an agent and the promise that I could go for auditions if I kept my grades up.” In many ways, the cure worked too well. By the age of six, Knightley had an agent, and at seven, she appeared in the TV drama Royal Celebration. At nine, she was cast in the very sophisticated TV movie A Village Affair, in which she played the daughter of a housewife who takes up with another woman.
Athletic Acting. Through her teens, Knightley proved to be a budding actress with amazing athleticism and action star potential. In 2001, she appeared as Robin Hood’s horse-riding, arrow-shooting daughter in Disney’s Princess of Thieves. The next year, Knightley was cast as the star player for a semi-pro women’s soccer team in Gurinder Chadha’s crowd-pleasing sports film, Bend It Like Beckham, a role that gained her and her fellow teammates international acclaim. In her USA Today review, Claudia Puig stressed the “startlingly accomplished performances of a young and largely unknown cast” in the film. Even more action –– and attention –– arrived the next year when Knightley was cast in the swashbuckling role of Orlando Bloom’s love interest in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Time magazine’s Richard Corliss wrote, “Knightley, just 19 when the film was shot, radiates a mature fire through her fresh, patrician beauty.” The film was so popular that Disney rushed forwarded with several more – the 2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and the 2007 Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End –– and Knightley stepped up to do more stunts and action, to a large degree due to her own desires. As Knightley told Close-up Film, “On the first one they kept asking what I wanted for my character and I kept on saying ‘I want a sword.’ And I never got one so in this one they gave me two, so I am very lucky.”
The Wright Choice. While Knightley continued to appear in period adventures (like the 2004 medieval piece King Arthur) and literary adaptations (like the 1999 TV miniseries Oliver Twist or the 2002 TV remake of Doctor Zhivago), her sense and sensibility changed drastically in 2004 when Joe Wright cast her as one of literature’s great heroines, Elizabeth Bennet, in his adaptation of Jane Austen’s PRIDE & PREJUDICE. While categorically a period piece, Wright’s original direction and Knightley’s fresh approach to the character brought Austen’s masterpiece to life for a new generation. As Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman noted, “Keira Knightley, in a witty, vibrant, altogether superb performance, plays Lizzie's sparky, questing nature as a matter of the deepest personal sacrifice.” Quite rightly, she was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her performance. She also cemented a relationship with director Joe Wright, with whom she would work with again on another stunning period drama, 2007’s ATONEMENT, Wright’s take on Ian McEwan’s celebrated novel of war, romance and remembrance. As the emotionally complex heroine Cecilia Tallis, Knightley -- as Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers aptly notes -- “blends beauty and gravity to stunning effect.” In a Cinema Blend interview, she championed her relationship with Joe Wright, saying, “We have really good creative chemistry for some reason, I don’t know why. We speak the same language. I think very often acting is all about emotions. I think everybody intrinsically has the same emotions but we describe them differently. Sometimes on set that can feel literally like a language barrier. With Joe, we describe emotions the same. We kind of had our own language, and I understood what he wanted.” Knightley will demonstrate the connection again when she stars in the title role of Joe Wright’s upcoming ANNA KARENINA.
Mixing it Up with Others. In the last decade, Knightley continued to show a knack for bringing glamour and smarts to historical dramas, like François Girard 2007 multilayered historical piece, Silk, and Saul Dibb’s sumptuous 2008 drama, The Duchess. In 2008, she also played Vera Phillips, a torch singer who carries the torch for Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, in John Maybury’s The Edge of Love (from a screenplay penned by Knightley’s mother, Sharman Macdonald). Interestingly, Knightley first read her mother’s script when she was doing her first film with Maybury, The Jacket. “I thought it was a really beautiful story,” Knightley told Digital Spy. “You very rarely see films that really study friendship and rivalry and the complexities of a group of friends and how they can implode and how they manipulate each other.” In recent films, Knightley has worked adeptly in ensemble dramas. In Mark Romanek’s lush adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, she shines as the third leg of a complex romantic triangle with Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. In the Philadelphia Inquirer, Steven Rea underlined how “Knightley, dark-haired and deliberate, brings nuance and humor” to the role of Ruth. In Massy Tadjedin’s Last Night, Knightley was part of a quartet (including Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Guillaume Canet) composed of two couples teetering on the brink of adultery. And more recently she became the central part of a historical triangle in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method that focuses on the relationship between Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen), Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and the hysteric-turned-psychoanalyst Sabina Spielrein (Knightley). In this cerebral drama, as Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum points out, “Knightley pours herself into the role with ballsy abandon, whether in the throes of hysterical tics, in sexual ecstasy, or merely conversing in Sabina's complicated Russian-German accent.”
Connie Britton (Diane)
Connie Britton notably starred in Peter Berg’s hit movie Friday Night Lights, opposite Billy Bob Thornton, and then became the only cast member to reprise her role in the beloved television program of the same name, opposite Kyle Chandler. She received two Emmy Award and Television Critics Association Award nominations for her work in the series. The show and its creators received several awards over the course of the series’ five-year run, including the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence. Ms. Britton’s performance also earned her a Women’s Image Network (WIN) Award nomination.
The Boston native has had guest arcs on Ellen, 24, and The West Wing; and starred in such hit shows as Spin City and the much-talked-about American Horror Story, which recently concluded its first season.
Ms. Britton’s breakthrough movie role was in Edward Burns’ independent film The Brothers McMullen, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. She has since reteamed with the writer/director on the features No Looking Back and Looking for Kitty.
Her other films include Sarah Kelly’s The Lather Effect; Sebastian Gutierrez’s Women in Trouble; Samuel Bayer’s A Nightmare on Elm Street; Larry Fessenden’s The Last Winter, for which she shared with her fellow actors a Gotham Independent Film Award nomination for Best Ensemble Cast; and writer/director Maggie Carey’s upcoming The To Do List.
Ms. Britton is currently completing a documentary, which she produced and directed, on the orphans of Ethiopia. Also as producer, she is developing television projects including a new series to star in.
She attended Dartmouth College, where she majored in Asian studies and spent a term in Beijing studying Chinese. Upon graduation, she moved to New York City, where she spent two years at the Neighborhood Playhouse studying with Sanford Meisner before performing in regional theater and off-Broadway productions.
Adam Brody (Owen)
Adam Brody is known to audiences for his work in film and television.
In the first half of 2012, moviegoers will see him starring in not only Seeking a Friend for the End of the World but also Damsels in Distress and The Oranges. Damsels in Distress is the long-awaited new movie from writer/director Whit Stillman, with Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton, Caitlin Fitzgerald, and Megalyn Echikunwoke. In The Oranges, directed by Julian Farino from Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss’ screenplay, Mr. Brody is part of an ensemble that includes Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Alia Shawkat, Leighton Meester, Oliver Platt, and Allison Janney.
Mr. Brody will next star in the lead role of Some Girls, adapted by Neil LaBute from his play of the same name, and directed by Jennifer Getzinger; in Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Lovelace, portraying Harry Reems, with Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, and James Franco; and in Rob Meltzer’s Welcome to the Jungle. His previous movies include Jon Kasdan’s In the Land of Women, starring opposite Meg Ryan and Kristen Stewart; Wes Craven’s Scream 4; Kevin Smith’s Cop Out; Galt Niederhoffer’s The Romantics;Karyn Kusama’s Jennifer’s Body, written by Diablo Cody; Boaz Yakin’s Death in Love, withJosh Lucas, Lukas Haas, and Jacqueline Bisset; Gregg Araki’s Smiley Face, with Anna Faris; David Wain’s The Ten; Jason Reitman’s Thank You For Smoking; Gore Verbinski’s smash The Ring; and Doug Liman’s blockbuster Mr. & Mrs. Smith, alongside Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Mr. Brody memorably starred as Seth Cohen on the popular television series The O.C., the pilot episode of which was directed by Doug Liman. His television work also includes recurring roles on Once and Again and Gilmore Girls; and standout guest turns on Judging Amy, Family Law, and Smallville.
Rob Corddry (Warren)
Rob Corddry made his debut on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in the spring of 2002 and quickly became one of the most popular correspondents to emerge from the groundbreaking program. He continued with the show through the fall of 2006, and has since made guest appearances.
In 2007, he starred in the television series The Winner, created by Seth MacFarlane and Ricky Blitt. Joining the throngs of many other critically acclaimed shows before it, The Winner lasted only a half-dozen episodes before it was taken off the air.
Writing and creating his own comedic content, Mr. Corddry was one of the first talents to craft original “television-esque” programming for the Internet. Teaming up with Warner Bros. TV Group’s digital arm, Studio 2.0, he served as creator, writer, and director of the web series Childrens Hospital, which spoofs the medical drama genre. Launched in December 2008, the 5-minute chapters starred him alongside Jason Sudeikis, Lake Bell, Megan Mullally, and Ed Helms, among others. The series won the Webby Award for Comedy: Long Form or Series and received two other nominations including for his performance. Season 2 then debuted on Adult Swim, making Childrens Hospital one of only two shows ever to make the successful transition from a web series to a television series. Season 3 aired in 2011, and season 4 will debut this year.
He has starred in a host of features, including Oliver Stone’s W., as Ari Fleischer; Steve Pink’s Hot Tub Time Machine, with John Cusack and Craig Robinson; Miguel Arteta’s Cedar Rapids, opposite Ed Helms; Tom Vaughan’s What Happens in Vegas, written by Dana Fox, opposite Ashton Kucther, Cameron Diaz, and Lake Bell; James C. Strouse’s The Winning Season, opposite Sam Rockwell; Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg’s Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay; Todd Phillips’ Old School; Jim Field Smith’s Butter, with Jennifer Garner, Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde, and Alicia Silverstone; and Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies, with Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, and John Malkovich, which is due out in February 2013.
Mr. Corddry has guest-starred on such television series as Curb Your Enthusiasm and Arrested Development.
Gillian Jacobs (Waitress/Katie)
Gillian Jacobs’s vibrant presence has been noted by audiences in the film, stage, and television mediums.
In the latter, she has portrayed Britta for all three seasons of the acclaimed comedy series Community, with Joel McHale. Her guest appearances include ones on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Royal Pains, The Good Wife, Fringe, and in an arc on The Book of Daniel.
In addition to Richard Kelly’s cult film The Box, Ms. Jacobs’ movie work has included such independent features as Clark Gregg’s Choke, opposite Sam Rockwell and for which she shared the Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Prize with her fellow actors; Damian Harris’ Gardens of the Night, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and which was a Prism Award nominee; Kathy Lindboe’s NoNAMES, opposite James Badge Dale, for which she was a Best Actress nominee at Method Fest and for which she won a Special Jury Award for Best Acting Achievement at the Phoenix Film Festival; Joseph Infantolino’s Helena from the Wedding, in which she played the title role; Brian Koppelman and David Levien’s Solitary Man, alongside Michael Douglas; Will Frears’ Coach, with Hugh Dancy; and four recently completed movies. The latter are Shimon Dotan’s Watching TV with the Red Chinese; Billy Federighi’s Sin Bin; Brian Jett’s Let Go; and Chadd Harbold’s Revenge for Jolly!, starring as part of a stellar ensemble.
She has starred off-Broadway at the Public Theater in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ play The Little Flower of East Orange, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, opposite Michael Shannon; in Sarah Treem’s play A Feminine Ending, directed by Blair Brown at Playwrights Horizons; and in Christopher Denham’s play Cagelove, directed by Adam Rapp at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.
Ms. Jacobs received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at The Juilliard School.
Derek Luke (Speck)
Derek Luke previously starred for Focus Features as real-life South African hero Patrick Chamusso in Catch a Fire. His performance brought him Satellite and Black Reel Award nominations, as well as the Breakthrough Award from the Hollywood Awards and the Star of Tomorrow Award from the Motion Picture Club.
The New Jersey native made his feature film debut in 2002 in the title role of Antwone Fisher, written by the real-life Antwone Fisher and directed by and starring Denzel Washington. He won the part after five auditions, and while working at the Sony Pictures gift shop. Up until that time, his acting credits had consisted of small appearances in the television series Moesha and The King of Queens.
Mr. Luke’s performance in Antwone Fisher earned him the Independent Spirit and Black Reel Awards for Best Actor. He was also honored by the National Board of Review, for Breakthrough Performance; and nominated for an MTV Movie Award for the portrayal.
His subsequent movies have included Peter Hedges’ award-winning Pieces of April, opposite Katie Holmes and Academy Award nominee Patricia Clarkson; Peter Berg’s Friday Night Lights; David Mamet’s Spartan; Reggie Rock Bythewood’s Biker Boyz; James Gartner’s Glory Road; Robert Redford’s Lions for Lambs; Adam Brooks’ Definitely, Maybe; Spike Lee’s Miracle at St. Anna, for which he was again a Best Actor nominee at the Black Reel Awards as well as an Image Award nominee; George Tillman Jr.’s Notorious; Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail; Joe Johnston’s Captain America: The First Avenger; and Salim Akil’s Sparkle, opening in the second half of 2012, in which Mr. Luke stars as part of an ensemble that includes Michael Beach, Carmen Ejogo, Mike Epps, Omari Hardwick, Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, and Tika Sumpter.
Television audiences have seen him starring in the series Trauma, and in a guest arc on the show Hawthorne.
Melanie Lynskey (Karen)
Melanie Lynskey is an accomplished and versatile actress who took worldwide audiences by storm in 1994 with her debut performance opposite Kate Winslet in Peter Jackson’s Academy Award-nominated Heavenly Creatures. Her portrayal of Pauline Parker earned Ms. Lynskey the New Zealand Film and Television Award for Best Actress.
In 2009, her notable work in several of the year’s films – including Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! (opposite Matt Damon), and Sam Mendes’ Away We Go (also for Focus Features) – earned her the Spotlight Award from the Hollywood Awards. Her other movies include Tom McCarthy’s Win Win; Tim Blake Nelson’s Leaves of Grass; Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers; Joseph Infantolino’s Helena from the Wedding; Anthony McCarten’s Show of Hands and Gillian Ashurst’s Snakeskin, both of which earned her New Zealand Film and Television Award nominations for Best Actress; Billy Ray’s Shattered Glass; David McNally’s Coyote Ugly; Jamie Babbit’s But I’m a Cheerleader; Andy Tennant’s Sweet Home Alabama and Ever After: A Cinderella Story; and Stephen Chbosky’s upcoming The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
The native New Zealander most recently starred in the lead role of Hello I Must Be Going, directed by Todd Louiso from Sarah Koskoff’s original screenplay, which world-premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Television audiences know Ms. Lynskey best for her recurring role on the hit series Two and a Half Men, and she voices a continuing character in the animated series The Life and Times of Tim. Among the shows that she has guest-starred on are House, Psych, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and The L Word. She was a regular on the series Drive; and starred in the miniseries Rose Red and Comanche Moon.
T.J. Miller (Chipper Host/Darcy)
T.J. Miller is quickly becoming one of the industry’s most sought-after comedians and actors. He has been cited by Variety as one of its “Top 10 Comics to Watch;” and as one of Entertainment Weekly’s “Next Big Things in Comedy.”
He first came to movie audiences’ attention in Matt Reeves’ hit Cloverfield, which marked his feature debut. He concurrently starred opposite Jerry O’Connell in the television series Carpoolers.
Mr. Miller starred in and wrote two short films that notably played at the 2010 and 2011 Sundance Film Festivals; these were, respectively, Successful Alcoholics and I’m Having a Difficult Time Killing My Parents.
His feature films have included Mike Judge’s Extract; Jim Field Smith’s She’s Out of My League; Nicholas Stoller’s Get Him to the Greek; Rob Letterman’s Gulliver’s Travels; Eric Brevig’s Yogi Bear; Jesse Peretz’s Our Idiot Brother, with Paul Rudd and Kathryn Hahn; and Tony Scott’s Unstoppable.
Mr. Miller voiced the character Tuffnut in Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders’ beloved animated feature How to Train Your Dragon, alongside Jay Baruchel and Kristen Wiig; he will reprise his role for the sequel, again directed by Mr. DeBlois. He will also be starring in voiceover in Tom Gianas and Ross Shuman’s stop-motion animated feature Hell & Back.
He is currently crisscrossing the country performing his stand-up act. Last year he recorded his first hour-long stand-up special, “T.J. Miller: No Real Reason,” for Comedy Central, in his hometown of Denver; he has also released a music satire pop/hip-hop/folk album, “The Extended Play EP,” through Comedy Central Records.
Mr. Miller also performs in the sketch comedy group Heavy Weight, with Brady Novak, Mark Raterman, and Nick Vatterott. He toured with Second City in Chicago for almost two years; and insists on reminding people that he was the Regional Winner of the Sierra Mist Search for the Next Great Comic in 2005.
He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he struggles to find meaning in an uncertain world.
Mark Moses (Anchorman)
Mark Moses is an actor whom audiences know from his 25 years of performing in film, television, and theater.
He made his film debut in the Best Picture Academy Award winner Platoon and then appeared in Born on the Fourth of July and The Doors, each directed by Oliver Stone. Among his other movies have been Ridley Scott’s Someone to Watch Over Me; Ronald Maxwell’s Gettysburg; Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact; Sean McNamara’s Race to Space, as astronaut Alan Shepard; Brett Ratner’s Red Dragon and After the Sunset; Robert Luketic’s Monster-in-Law; John Whitesell’s Big Momma’s House 2; Joshua Stern’s Swing Vote; and Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima.
Mr. Moses’ many telefilm and miniseries credits include North and South, in which he portrayed Ulysses S. Grant. He has guest-starred on a host of programs, from ER and The West Wing to multiple respective CSI and Star Trek incarnations. He will next be seen in a recurring role on The Killing.
Also for television, he has recurred through all four seasons of the Emmy Award-winning Mad Men as Duck Phillips; and starred for several seasons, including the first, on the smash Desperate Housewives as Paul Young. With his colleagues from these two series, he has shared three Screen Actors Guild Awards for their ensemble work.
Mr. Moses began his career on the stage, starring on Broadway in Slab Boys; in the New York Shakespeare Festival production of Love’s Labour’s Lost; and Our Country’s Good, in its premiere staging at the Mark Taper Forum.
Patton Oswalt (Roache)
Patton Oswalt was recently a Critics’ Choice Movie Award nominee for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in Young Adult. He starred opposite Charlize Theron in the movie directed by Jason Reitman from Diablo Cody’s original screenplay; the quartet was honored with the Vanguard Award at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Mr. Oswalt previously earned rave reviews for his performance in the title role of Robert Siegel’s Big Fan, receiving a Gotham Independent Film Award nomination. His other movies include Paul Thomas Anderson’s award-winning Magnolia; Robert Ben Garant’s Reno 911!: Miami; Jody Hill’s Observe and Report; and Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant!; he will next be seen starring opposite Anton Yelchin in Stephen Sommers’ Odd Thomas, adapted from the bestselling Dean Koontz novels.
He memorably provided the voice for the lead character of Remy the rat, in Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava’s Ratatouille, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. He has also voiced characters on such television series as WordGirl, Kim Possible, and Neighbors from Hell.
Also for television, Mr. Oswalt was a series regular on the shows United States of Tara and The King of Queens. His guest appearances include ones on The Sarah Silverman Program, Flight of the Conchords, Seinfeld, Reaper, and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Additionally, he had recurring roles on Caprica and Bored to Death; and is a frequent contributor to such programs as Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil.
As a comedian, he has recorded four television specials, including Patton Oswalt: Finest Hour, which premiered in September 2011, and three critically acclaimed albums; the most recent album, My Weakness is Strong, brought him a Grammy Award nomination. He tours regularly, headlining in both the U.S. and the U.K; and has a bimonthly show at the Coronet Theater in Los Angeles.
Mr. Oswalt’s first published book, Spaceship Zombie Wasteland, made The New York Times bestseller list.
William Petersen (Trucker)
William Petersen continues to show the full range of his unique talent to audiences in multiple mediums.
The Evanston, Illinois native first discovered acting while pursuing a football scholarship at Idaho State University. He first drew film industry and critical attention with his back-to-back starring roles in William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A., opposite Willem Dafoe and based on the Gerald Petievich novel; and Michael Mann’s Manhunter, opposite Brian Cox as Hannibal Lecktor and based on the Thomas Harris novel.
Mr. Petersen’s subsequent movies included Joel Schumacher’s Cousins; Geoff Murphy’s Young Guns II, as Pat Garrett; and Martin Davidson’s telefilm Long Gone. He reteamed with the latter director on Hard Promises, which he also produced with his partner Cindy Chvatal for his High Horse Films production banner. Another High Horse production was the telefilm Keep the Change, directed by Andy Tennant.
Among the other features that he has starred in are James Foley’s Fear, with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg; Roger Young’s Kiss the Sky, with Gary Cole and Sheryl Lee; Rob Cohen’s The Skulls and telefilm The Rat Pack, in which he portrayed John F. Kennedy after earlier portraying the latter’s father Joseph Kennedy in Lamont Johnson’s miniseries The Kennedys of Massachusetts; the telefilm 12 Angry Men, which reunited Mr. Petersen with director William Friedkin and teamed him with a stellar ensemble headed by Jack Lemmon; and Rod Lurie’s The Contender, opposite Joan Allen, Jeff Bridges, and Gary Oldman, for which he shared with the director and cast the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s prestigious Alan J. Pakula Award.
For 10 seasons, he starred as Gil Grissom on the top-rated drama series C.S.I: Crime Scene Investigation, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination. As executive producer on the show, he has shared multiple Producers Guild of America and Emmy Award nominations with his fellow producers of the series when the program was nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. With his fellow actors from the show, he won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. He continues as an executive producer on the program.
In 1979, Mr. Petersen founded the Remains Theater Ensemble in Chicago with a group of fellow actors. In 1983, he starred as Jack Henry Abbott in In the Belly of the Beast, which he performed at the Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago; at the Edinburgh Festival; and at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
In 1996, he made his Broadway debut in a revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Night of the Iguana. He has also appeared in a number of regional stage productions, including ones of A Streetcar Named Desire, The Time of Your Life, Glengarry Glen Ross, Fool for Love, and Speed-the-Plow. More recently he starred in A Dublin Carol and Endgame at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago; and in David Harrower’s Blackbird at the Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago.
Aleister is a 5-year-old (approximately) Terrier mix dog who was rescued from a California animal shelter in 2008. He now largely resides on a movie animals’ ranch in Castaic, CA, sharing spacious accommodations with a dog buddy.
Aleister gets along with other dogs, humans, and even cats. When away on assignment, he stays with one of his trainers, and at leisure can be found sleeping upside down on the couch or sunning himself.
His previous credits include print and/or television commercials for Pedigree Dog Food, Eli Lilly, Texas Energy, Intuit, and Microsoft. He appeared in the student film Worst Enemy, but Seeking a Friend for the End of the World marks his feature debut.