– Production Information –
Dale McKussic wants out … but no one’s going to make it easy for him.
His years as a middleman in the narcotics business have been lucrative ones, but lately McKussic (MEL GIBSON) better known as Mac, has come to realize the far-reaching consequences of his chosen profession.
One person who doesn’t care for Mac’s decision is his ex-wife, who is accustomed to a style of living that a drug dealer’s salary can support. To retain that lifestyle, she’s not above threatening to take away Mac’s custody of their son. Mac’s cousin, Lindroff, a small-time hood, would also like Mac to stay in the business, if for no other reason than to find a way to cash in on his reputation.
On the other hand, there is someone who would like McKussic out of the narcotics game–Nick Frescia (KURT RUSSELL), Mac’s best friend since high school. However, Nick’,s concern for his old friend is in part a professional one, because Nick happens to be a cop. In fact, Nick’s superiors have ordered him to help Mac get out of the business–by putting him behind bars.
Despite the natural conflict of their respective careers, Mac and Nick still share many of the same interests that brought them together in high school–the roar of the surf, fast cars and attractive women.
These interests recently include beautiful restaurant owner Jo Ann Vallenari (MICHELLE PFEIFFER). Mac has been a familiar figure at Vallenari’s restaurant for a number of years, considered nothing more to Jo Ann than a “good customer.” Mac’s constant patronage of the restaurant, however, has caused police surveillance teams to wonder if his frequent culinary visits also include business dealings.
What bothers Nick is that his superiors aren’t interested in simply nabbing Mac. They’re hoping McKussic will lead them to Carlos, a big-time Latin American drug smuggler who has been Mac’s friend ever since the two shared a Mexican jail cell. Despite his serious intentions to turn away from his profession, Mac’s loyalty to Carlos has led him to handle one last “accounting problem” for his compadre.
As Mac and Nick work toward their respective goals, Jo Ann Vallenari finds herself caught in the middle, physically and emotionally drawn to both men. Ultimately she must choose between the two, despite Mac’s illicit past and unsure of his real feelings for her, while at the same time wondering if Nick’s professed love is genuine or just a charade designed to use her to get to Mac and Carlos.
Warner Bros. presents a Mount Company Production, starring Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kurt Russell and Raul Julia in “Tequila Sunrise.” Written and directed by Robert Towne, the Warner Bros. release was produced by Thom Mount, with Tom Shaw as executive producer. The film was edited by Claire Simpson; production designed by Richard Sylbert; director of photography was Conrad L. Hall, A.S.C., with music by Dave Grusin.
About the Production …
Shortly after finishing the first draft of his script for “Tequila Sunrise” in 1986, Robert Towne flew to Paris
to advise his friend, Roman Polanski, on some aspects of the screenplay for the director’s most recent film, “Frantic.”
While in Paris, Towne showed his “Tequila Sunrise” s.::ript to “Frantic” producer Thom Mount, who was immediately taken with the project. “The script I read,” says Mount, “depicted a wonderful story about friendship, betrayal and loyalty, what price those traits exact from us in life and what we’re willing to pay for them. What also struck me was that this was a truly adult film for our generation, like Towne’s ‘Shampoo’ (co-written by Towne and Warren Beatty) was 10 or 12 years earlier.” After discussing various casting ideas for the lead roles, Towne asked Mount to consider producing the film and Mount quickly agreed.
From the beginning of their association, there was little doubt in the minds of Towne and Mount that Towne himself was meant to direct “Tequila Sunrise.” For Mount, that decision was another demonstration of the producer’s belief that the author of a film often has the keenest insights in bringing his characters to life on the screen, just as he did when he gave them life on the printed page.
Mount previously handed over the directorial reins to writer Ron Shelton on the film “Bull Durham.”
“As a producer I always try to support a specific passionate vision,” explains Mount. “‘Tequila Sunrise’ was a project very close to Robert’s heart–a contemporary film about an area he grew up in and for which he had a personal fondness. It’s also about characters Bob understood better than anyone else could.”
Although Robert Towne had not been in the director’s chair since the 1982 production of “Personal Best” (which he also wrote and produced), his wish to return to directing was chiefly dictated by the Laterial he had written. “I think it was the sort of screenplay that wouldn’t necessarily translate very well in just anybody’s hands. Certain times and places in the dialogue must absorb certain rhythms to be effective,” comments Towne.
For a writer who received three Oscar nominations, in addition to receiving an Academy Award for his “Chinatown” screenplay, Towne’s attitude toward the written word is somewhat unexpected. “I’m not somebody who necessarily believes in writing memorable or provocative dialogue in a screenplay,” he states. “The lines themselves may be rather prosaic or even vulgar, but that breath an actor takes between the lines is what makes them work and what gives them significance. I remember talking to an actress who looked at some scenes I had written and then she read them aloud. I tried to get her to read the same scenes the way I heard them. She suddenly discovered the humor she missed on her first reading. It didn’t seem funny on the page, because she didn’t ‘hear’ the lines as I did when I wrote them. It’s very difficult to try to convey those nuances to someone else. The direction of a film is not automatically written on a page.”
One of the biggest tasks Towne faced in writing and directing “Tequila Sunrise” was making Dale McKussic, a man who earns his living as a drug dealer, someone that audiences could feel sympathy for, as well as being the type of man with whom Jo Ann Vallenari could fall deeply in love.
“This is a story about drug dealing,” explains Towne, “but it’s also about love and friendship and what it takes to love somebody, whether it’s a guy who has been in trouble, like McKussic, or a man who is in a respectable position, like Frescia.” For Towne, the central issue of honesty and trust is the focus for the actions of his characters.
“Jo Ann falls in love with the man who trusts her the most, the one who is consistently truthful to her. Because of his candor and honesty, she has enough faith in him to trust his future is what he tells her it’s going to be-regardless of the past.”
The concept of a love strong enough to instill blind faith in someone like Jo Ann Vallenari was also why Towne assigned McKussic and Frescia totally divergent occupations. “This point couldn’t be made as well if both characters were, for instance, rocket scientists. There just wouldn’t be as much of a choice for her,” says the director.
Towne was aided in lessening the severity of McKussic’s background with his choice of Mel Gibson to play the role. Gibson was intrigued with McKussic’s checkered past and the inherent problems that arose from it. “Mac was basically a middle man in the drug business,” says Gibson of his character. “He was never exposed to the ugly reality of the effects of drugs on kids, yet he did play a part in that.
I think he realizes that, which is why he’s so adamant about going legitimate. We find McKussic on the verge of some kind of change. He’s a man who’s never at ease because of his past and is, to a point, paranoid. Of course he has good reason, because people are watching his every move.”
“There was a kind of ’40s feel to the script that attracted me, and I wanted to work with Mel Gibson and Kurt Russell,” says Michelle Pfeiffer. Having just completed her tour-de-force performance in Jonathan Demme’s “Married to the Mob,” Pfeiffer saw “Tequila Sunrise” as. an opportunity to play a woman far removed from her part as Angela DeMarco, the wife of a mob enforcer. “Jo Ann is very ‘compartmentalized’ when we first meet her. Everything in her life revolves around her business and anything beyond the restaurant has to fit around that schedule. As a result, everything is very controlled and very in order. When she finally lets go of that control-after she gets involved with Mac and Nick–it becomes disastrous for her.”
For the role of Lt. Frescia, Towne chose Kurt Russell an actor not normally associated with an urbane, sophisticated image. A show business veteran of more than 28 years, Russell’s career ranges from a string of Disney films to action/adventure pictures such as “The Thing” and “Escape From New York,” to comedy roles in “Swing Shift,” “Used Cars” and “Overboard.” He was critically acclaimed for his portrayal of Elvis Presley, yet for all of the time he spent in front of the cameras “Tequila Sunrise” remains the first film to show him as a cosmopolitan character.
“Kurt has always been capable of the work he did as Frescia, it just hasn’t been seen before,” says Towne.
“I think it’s going to come as a big surprise. Although he’s been acting in films for nearly 30 years, he’s still like a young kid. Right now, Kurt has reached a point where actors who have come of age in the business just barely become leading men. In that sense, it’s just a grown-up role for him.”
To prepare for their roles, Gibson, Pfeiffer and Russell were offered technical advice from real-life counterparts of their characters: a retired drug dealer, a woman who managed an exclusive restaurant and a narcotics detective. For the most part, this luxury proved to be unnecessary for the actors, as Robert Towne had already done their preparation for them when he wrote the script. “It was all there on paper,” recalls Kurt Russell. “Everything my character does is total reality. The attitude and actions of the character are real. When the script is given to you and it’s right, the homework’s already been done.”
Towne heavily researched his characters and the validity of the situations he was putting them into long before the first frame of film was exposed. “I called upon people who knew a lot about the backgrounds of my characters. I began with the dramatic structure and asked those I was loosely basing these characters on how they would fit into the structure. I relied very much on their experiences to give me a sense of how they would react to the events in my story,” comments Towne. “If anything like the particular situation ever happened to them, I found out how they reacted. I modified events that seemed unsuitable for the characters that developed as a result of my conversations with these real people.”
Principal photography on “Tequila Sunrise” commenced in February 1988, in the South Bay section of Los Angeles, an area in which Robert Towne felt quite at home. In actuality, the filming was a case of the local boy returning home to make his film, Towne having been raised in Redondo Beach and its environs.
Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Hermosa Beach, Venice and Santa Monica all served as shooting locations. The actors often took advantage of their surroundings during shooting breaks. Residents of the area, as well as beachgoers, were somewhat surprised to find Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kurt Russell taking in the afternoon sun, but nonetheless more than happy to share their turf with the three stars.
Rather than film the interior scenes at a studio, Robert Towne opted to remain closer to the actual locations in his story. To accomplish this, a vacant warehouse in Santa Monica was pressed into service as a soundstage. Needing control over the elements as well as seclusion in order to film some of Mac and Jo Ann’s more private moments together, an exact duplicate of the two-story Manhattan Beach residence used in the movie as Mac’s home was erected, complete with courtyard and hot tub. Despite the enormity of the building, the structure was able to fit in half of the spacious warehouse.
The other half of the warehouse was able to acconnnodate the interior of Vallenari’s restaurant, wine cellar and kitchen. Although it is usually standard procedure for a film’s propmaster to prepare the food that will be eaten by the actors on camera, the filmmakers decided to lend even more authenticity to these scenes. Gourmet chefs from some of the finest restaurants in Los Angeles were brought in to cook the food eaten by Mel Gibson, Michelle Pfeiffer and Kurt Russell, as well as the dozens of extras seated at surrounding tables in the restaurant set.
At the completion of principal photography, the cast and crew of “Tequila Sunrise” held their wrap party at LA’s most exclusive restaurant–Vallenari’s.
About the Cast …
Recognized the world over from his performances in the “Mad Max” film trilogy, MEL GIBSON (Dale McKussic) attained even greater popularity with his portrayal of Martin Riggs, the cop registered with the Los Angeles Police Department as a “Lethal Weapon.”
Born in upstate New York, the Gibson family emigrated to Australia when Mel was 11 years old. After high school, he enrolled in a three-year study program at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts.
His curriculum at the Institute was interrupted twice, the first time for Gibson to make his screen debut as a surfer in a small Australian film entitled “Summer City.” Shortly after his return to school, the actor took another hiatus from his dramatic training, this time to star as a policeman in a post-apocalyptic future, known as “Mad Max” (1979). Despite the instant acclaim and numerous acting offers he received, Gibson chose to complete his studies. Upon graduation from the Institute, he joined the State Theatre Company of South Australia, appearing in productions of “Romeo and Juliet,” “Waiting For Godot” and a hit Australian play entitled “No Names, No Pack Drill.”
Gibson’s return to the screen showed audiences a totally different side of the actor as he portrayed “Tim,” (1979) a retarded handyman forced to cope with life and his love for a woman twice his age. This performance brought him a Best Actor Award from the Australian Film Institute, as well as the Sammy Award as an outstanding new talent. 1979 also found Gibson in “Attack Force Z,” a World War II drama. In 1981, Gibson saw action in the first World War, under the direction of Peter Weir in “Gallipoli,” for which he received his second AFI Best Actor Award.
Recreating the role of Mad Max for director George Miller in 1982’s “The Road Warrior,” Gibson also re-teamed with Peter Weir for “The Year of Living Dangerously” (1983). He returned to the Australian stage in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” which was followed by the Dino de Laurentiis production of “The Bounty” (1984), featuring Gibson in the role of Fletcher Christian.
Gibson made his American film debut opposite Sissy Spacek in “The River” (1984), as a rural farmer pitted against a failing economy and the natural elements. He next appeared as a prisoner who seduces a warden’s wife (Diane Keaton) into aiding his escape in “Mrs. Soffel.” Gibson made his third visit to the future in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” (1986). Following his performance in “Tequila Sunrise,” Gibson returns to the right side of the law with partner Danny Glover in “Lethal Weapon II.”
MICHELLE PFEIFFER (Jo Ann Vallenari), was born and raised in Orange County. At Fountain Valley High School, Pfeiffer took theatre in an effort to avoid English classes, but soon discovered that she enjoyed the company of those in the theatre and began her studies in earnest.
Pfeiffer began commuting to Los Angeles to study acting. Her first professional role came on the television series “Delta House.” One month later she made her feature film debut in “Falling In Love Again.”
Roles as a carhop in “Hollywood Knights” and a debutante in “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen” followed, and the actress garnered major attention for her role as the flamboyant “Pink Lady” in “Grease 2.” Her work in television movies includes the role of Jennie in “Splendor in the Grass,” a foster parent to nine kids in “The Children Nobody Wanted” and a floozie haunted by her past in “Callie and Son.”
Pfeiffer’s first starring role came opposite Al Pacino in “Scarface,” next taking on the part of Rutger Bauer’s doomed lover in Richard Donner’s medieval fantasy “Ladyhawke.” She co-starred with Jeff Goldblum in John Landis’ “Into the Night” and took on the dual role of Faith Healy, a calculating actress on the rise, and patriot Mary Slocum, the character that Faith portrays in “Sweet Liberty,” directed by and starring Alan Alda.
In 1986, Pfeiffer, along with co-stars Cher and Susan Sarandon, worked her supernatural charms on a devilish Jack Nicholson, as one of “The Witches of Eastwick.” As Angela DeMarco, Pfeiffer portrayed the widow of a Mafia hitman trying to take control of her life, but instead found herself “Married to the Mob.” Pfeiffer will shortly star opposite Glenn Close and John Malkovich in “Dangerous Liaisons,” Warner Bros.’ screen version of “Les Liaisons Dangereuses.”
Inspired by his father, actor Bing Russell (who played the sheriff on “Bonanza” for 14 years), KURT RUSSELL (Frescia) made his professional debut at the age of nine as a member of the Walt Disney company of stock players. He graduated from appearances on Disney’s television series to starring roles in ten of the studio’s feature films ranging from
“The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes” to the animated feature “The Fox and the Hound.” His non-Disney series work includes starring roles in “The Travels of Jamie McPheeters,” “The New Land” and “The Quest,” as well as guest-starring roles in numerous major dramatic series.
Russell has also appeared in such made for television movies as “The Deadly Tower” (1975) and “Amber Waves,” (1980), but it was his performance as the king of rock ‘n’ roll in
John Carpenter’s “Elvis” that garnered the actor both widespread critical acclaim and an Emmy nomination. The telefilm’s popularity led to an expanded version which was released theatrically in the United States and overseas.
Since that time, Russell has devoted his career exclusively to motion pictures, essaying a versatile range of characters. He has displayed comedic acumen in films such as “Used Cars,” “Swing Shift,” “The Best of Times” and “Overboard.” His dramatic work includes his role as Meryl Streep’s boyfriend in “Silkwood” and as a reporter who is drawn into a relationship with a killer in “The Mean Season.” In the action/adventure genre, Russell has reteamed with “Elvis” director John Carpenter for the films “Escape From New York;” The Thing” and “Big Trouble In Little China.”
Years earlier, Russell made his legitimate theatre debut opposite Gregory Harrison and Lisa Eichhorn in the Los Angeles Music Center production of “The Hasty Heart.”
RAUL JULIA (Commandante Escalante) a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, studied law at the University of Puerto Rico before deciding on an acting career. Appearing in a show at a San Juan nightclub, Julia was spotted by American actor/ comedian Orson Bean, who advised the young man to move to New York City to further his acting studies.
Within weeks after his arrival in New York, the actor began to work in English and Spanish off-off-Broadway productions.
In 1966, Julia began what was to be a long and fruitful association with producer/director Joseph Papp, who cast him as Macduff in the New York Shakespeare Festival Mobile Unit’s production of “Macbeth.” Years later, Julia played a leading role in an off-Broadway production of “Two Gentlemen of Verona.” Julia received his first Tony Award nomination for that role on Broadway.
Other memorable stage performances by Julia include “The Threepenny Opera” (Tony nomination), the Circle In the Square revival of “Where’s Charley?” (Tony nomination), “Betrayal,” “Dracula,” “The Taming of the Shrew” opposite Meryl Streep, John Malkovich’s production of “Arms and the Man” co-starring Kevin Kline, and the role of an Italian film director caught in a midlife crisis in “Nine,” for which he received his fourth Tony nomination.
Recent years have established Julia as a significant film actor as well, with starring roles in the films “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “The Tempest,” “The Morning After,” “Compromising Positions” and “Moon Over Parador,” among others. On television, he has been seen in the mini-series “Mussolini,” “The Alamo: Thirteen Days to Glory,” and in the title role of “Onassis.”
J.T. WALSH (Maguire) embarked upon a career in acting at the age of 30, leaving a job in sales to join an off Broadway theatre troupe. Despite his late start, the actor has amassed an impressive list of credits in a relatively short time.
After several years in regional theatre and extensive work off-Broadway, Walsh earned a Tony nomination for his role in “Glengarry Glen Ross” on Broadway. He also appeared in stage productions of “Rose” with Glenda Jackson, “Last Licks” with Ed Flanders, “Macbeth” with Nicol Williamson, and “Richard III” as an understudy for Al Pacino.
In addition to theatre, Walsh has been featured in the made-for-television movies “On the Edge,” “Right to Kill,” “Little Gloria, Happy at Last,” “Today’s FBI,” “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number,” and “Windmills of the Gods.” Walsh’s feature film credits include “Eddie Macon’s Run,” “Power,” “Hard Choices,” “House of Garnes,” “Hannah and Her Sisters” and two films for director Barry Levinson–“Tin Men” and “Good Morning Vietnam.”. Walsh will portray journalist Bob Woodward in the screen adaptation of Woodward’s biography of John Belushi, “Wired.”
ARLISS HOWARD (Gregg Lindroff) who performed in “A Hatful of Rain” as a high school senior in Independence, Missouri was subsequently offered a drama scholarship to Missouri’s Columbia College.
Graduating with a degree in English Literature, Howard moved to New Mexico, where he worked as a cowboy. Suffering a broken leg, the actor recuperated in Kansas City, where he became involved in local theatre productions. There he was discovered by a casting director who brought him to the attention of director Nicolas Meyer, who offered Howard a role in the television film “The Day After.”
Moving to Los Angeles, the actor made his feature film debut in “The Prodigal,” followed by roles in “Ladies’ Choice,” “Door to Door” and “Sylvester.” He received major critical acclaim for his portrayal of “Cowboy” in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” and as a psychopathic killer in “The Lightship.” Earlier this year he was seen as a policeman who goes undercover in a high school to solve a murder in “Plain Clothes.” His next film is Warner Bros.’ “Men Don’t Leave,” starring Jessica Lange.
Howard’s television credits include appearances in the series “After M*A*S*H,” “Hill Street Blues,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Call to Glory” and the NBC mini-series “Hands of a Stranger.”
While acting in “Tequila Sunrise,” Howard was also appearing 6tj·stage at L.A. ‘s Mark Taper Forum in “A Lie of the Mind,” with Holly Hunter. Other stage performances include roles in “Romeo and Juliet,” “In the Boom Boom Room,” “Henry IV, Part I,” “American Buffalo,” “Life and Limb” and “Fool for Love.”
Howard resides in Los Angeles with his wife and son. ANN MAGNUSON (Shaleen) was born in Charleston, West Virginia, and attended Denison University. Moving to New York to intern as a director at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, t~e actress found herself intrigued with the Lower East Side art scene. She founded and managed Club 57, located in the basement of a Polish church. It was in this club and others across the country where she introduced a number of satirical characters including a cocktail lounge chanteuse who sings along with Muzak in an elevator and a television evangelist caught between the channels of public access.
She has appeared on screen in “The Hunger,” “Sleepwalk,” “Mondo New York” and “A Night in the Life of Jinnny Reardon.” A bit part as a cigarette girl in Susan Seidelman’s “Desperately Seeking Susan” led to the starring role in the director’s next film, “Making Mr. Right.” Magnuson has also done video pieces (“Vandemonium,” “Cinemax Comedy Experiment” and “Made For TV,” which was shown on public television), and has started several musical groups, among them Pulsallama, Vulcan Death Grip and Bleecker Street Incident.
Journalistic pieces penned by Magnuson have been published in the Soho Weekly News, and the actress is prominently mentioned in the books The East Village Scene: Art After Midnight and Downtown and the Avant-Garde in New York.
ARYE GROSS (Sandy Leonard) credits his fifth grade production of “Homer and the Doughnut Shop” as being the inspiration for his desire to act. A native of Los Angeles, Gross left college after his first year, when he was invited to join the South Coast Repertory Theatre, appearing in productions of “Art For Pete’s Sake,” “Brecht On Brecht” and “Wild Oats.” Gross was presented with a Dramalogue Award for his portrayal of a mentally-retarded adolescent in “Screwball.” Other theatre credits include a recent production of “Room Service” at the Pasadena Playhouse, 11Three Sisters” for the Los Angeles Theatre Center, “The Chicago Conspiracy Trial” for the Odyssey Theatre Ensemble and “Much Ado About Nothing” for the Grove Shakespeare Festival.”
His debut in motion pictures came with small roles in the films “Just One of the Guys” and “Exterminator II.”
He has since graduated to co-starring roles in “Soul Man,” “House II: The Second Story” and “The Couch Trip.” On television he guest-starred in the series “Remington Steele,” “Knight Rider” and “Different Strokes” and appeared in the pilot episode of “Heart of the City.” Gross stars opposite John Travolta in director Dave Thomas’ “The Experts.”
About the Filmmakers …
Renowned as one of the pre-eminent screenwriters in the film industry, Academy Award winner ROBERT TOWNE again places himself behind the typewriter, as well as the camera, as writer and director of “Tequila Sunrise.”
A native of Southern California, Towne attended University High School and went on to graduate from Pomona College with a degree in English Literature and creative writing. His entry into the entertainment field came as a writer for the master of the low-budget film, R0ger Corman, later moving on to write numerous segments of episodic television.
The next few years saw Towne as a contributor to such film classics as “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Godfather” and as a co-writer with Paul Schrader of “The Yakuza.”
In 1974, Towne received his first Academy Award nomination for his screen adaptation of “The Last Detail.” One year later, he received the Oscar for the original screenplay of “Chinatown.” The next year saw yet another writing nomination, this one shared with co-writer Warren Beatty, for “Shampoo.”
A desire to expand his creative endeavors resulted in the writer making his directorial debut with “Personal Best” (1981), a film which he also produced and wrote. His ability to work with actors was greatly influenced by his own studies of the craft years earlier with Jeff Corey, as well as acting classmate Jack Nicholson.
THOM MOUNT (Producer) is one of the motion picture industry’s most innovative producers and executives. As president and head of Universal Pictures–a post he -assumed at 26, Mount was responsible for the development and production of more than 140 feature films.
The Durham, North Carolina native graduated from Bard College in upstate New York, and moved to Southern California at the age of 21. He enrolled in the California Institute of the Arts, earning a Master’s degree in Fine Arts. Mount entered the film industry via Roger Corrnan’s New World Pictures. Within three years of his arrival at Universal Pictures, Mount was appointed president of production.
During his eight-year tenure, Mount personally oversaw the production of such diverse projects as “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life,” “Blue Collar” and “Missing,” to name but a few. Acknowledged by others as having a keen ability to recognize potential new stars, Mount was instrumental in signing talent such as John Belushi, Sean Penn, Steve Martin, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Richard Pryor, all of whom made their motion picture debuts at Universal.
Leaving the studio in 1985, Mount founded his own organization. Called The Mount Company, its projects include specials for HBO, music videos, mini-series, and of course, motion pictures. The first project of the company’s film division was Roman Polanski’s “Pirates.” Next came the summer hit “Can’t Buy Me Love,” followed by a retearning with Polanski for “Frantic,” as well as “Stealing Horne,” starring Mark Harmon and Jodie Foster. In 1987 Mount was able to combine his lifelong passion for baseball with his love of film, the result being the hit film “Bull Durham,” starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon.
Future Mount Company projects include Roger Corman’s “Frankenstein,” written by Wes Craven, Cameron Crowe’s “Singles,” a new film with Richard Pryor, and a third teaming with director Roman Polanski.
Among the most respected directors of photography in the motion picture industry, Academy Award-winner CONRAD HALL lends his unique visual style to “Tequila Sunrise,” a style which has been honored with five Oscar nominations.
The son of James Norman Hall (co-author of “Mutiny on the Bounty”), Conrad Hall learned his craft at the University of Southern California. His first professional job was a class project, entitled “Sea Theme,” which he and two classmates produced and later sold to television. During the 1950s, Hall worked on commercials, industrial films and television series. He also shot footage for Walk Disney’s Oscar-winning 1953 documentary “The Living Desert.” In the early ’60s Hall became the cinematographer on the television series “Stoney Burke” and “The Outer Limits” before landing his first assignment on a feature film “The Wild Seed.”
His first Oscar nomination came with his second film, 1965’s “Morituri,” starring Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner.
In 1966, Hall shot “Harper” with Paul Newman and “The Professionals,” for which he received his second nomination. One year later, he worked with Newman again on “Cool Hand Luke” and was accorded a third nomination for “In Cold Blood.” He shot two more films, “Electra Glide In Blue” and “The Happy Ending,” before his third teaming with Paul Newman on “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” the film which brought him his Academy Award.
Hall’s fifth nomination was for John Schlesinger’s “Day of the Locust,” and he also served as cinematographer on “Marathon Man,” “Fat City” and “Black Widow.”
Academy Award-winning Production Designer RICHARD SYLBERT began his career in the early days of television, designing sets for CBS and NBC dramas. Studying under noted designer William Cameron Menzies, he moved into features in 1956 as production designer on Elia Kazan’s “Baby Doll” and later worked with Kazan on “A Face in the Crowd” and “Splendor in the Grass.”
During the ’60s and ’70s, Sylbert put his stamp on many memorable Hollywood films including “The Fugitive Kind,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” “Lilith,” “How to Murder Your Wife,” “The Pawnbroker,” “What’s New Pussycat?,” “Grand Prix,” “The Graduate,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Catch-22,” “Carnal Knowledge,” “Fat City” and “The Heartbreak Kid,” among others. In 1966, Sylbert received an Academy
Award for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” and has since been nominated for his work on “Chinatown,” “Shampoo,” “Reds” and “The Cotton Club.” Other films designed by Sylbert include “Players,” “Frances,” “Breathless” with Richard Gere and “Under the Cherry Moon.”
CLAIRE SIMPSON (Editor) is yet another Academy Award- winner featured behind the cameras of “Tequila Sunrise.”
She was first nominated for an Oscar in 1985 for her editing of the documentary “Soldiers in Hiding.”
She has had a long-standing association with director Oliver Stone, which began with her editing of Stone’s “Salvador.” For her work on “Platoon,” Simpson received not only the Academy Award, but also the British Academy Award as well as the “Eddy” award from the American Cinema Editors. She continued the association with Stone as the editor of “Wall Street,” and edited “Someone to Watch Over Me” for director Ridley Scott.
JULIE WEISS (Costume Designer) was awarded with an Emmy for her work on the ABC telefilm “The Dollmaker,” and nominated for a Tony for Broadway’s “The Elephant Man.”
She was Emmy-nominated for the ABC adaption of “Elephant Man,” as well as “Little Gloria, Happy At Last” and “Evergreen.” Her other television work includes “The Gangster Chronicles,” “Do You Remember Love?,” “The Oldest Living Graduate,” “The Gladiola Girls” and several episodes of the revived “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.” Weiss has designed costumes for the features “Independence Day,” “I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can,” “Testament,” “Creator,” “F/X,”, “Cherry 2000,” “Masters of the Universe,” “1969” and “Steel Magnolia”
DAVE GRUSIN (Music) has created the original scores for countless motion pictures, including “The Graduate,”
“The Front,” “The Goodbye Girl,”” … And Justice For All,” “Reds,” “The Little Drummer Girl,” “The Goonies,” “The Milagro Beanfield War” and most recently, “Clara’s Heart.”
He received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Score for “On Golden Pond,” “Heaven Can Wait” and “The Champ.” He also received a Best Original Song nomination for “It Might Be You” from “Tootsie.”