The Russia House
THE RUSSIA HOUSE
Barley Blair is a British publisher who likes books, booze and jazz.
And that’s about as complicated as his life has been. Until now.
A brilliant Soviet scientist whom the publisher met at a writer’s dinner party in the Russian countryside, attempts to smuggle a manuscript to Barley; a manuscript which, if published in the West, could dramatically alter the global balance of power, if not the course of world history itself.
The courier is a beautiful Soviet woman named Katya. The cold communism of the Russia into which she was born is giving way to glasnost and perestroika. Yet despite the new openness, there remain those who seek to preserve the status quo of a cold war between the superpowers. Aware of the danger in acting as the intermediary, Katya risks her life, and that of her children, so that a measure of peace and understanding might somehow come to a troubled world.
When the manuscript falls into the hands of the West’s spymasters, Barley is pulled into a world of intrigue, risk and danger from which there may be no escape — a world in which love is the most dangerous risk of all.
Pathe Entertainment, Inc. presents THE RUSSIA HOUSE, a Fred Schepisi Film starring Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer. Directed by Fred Schepisi and written by Tom Stoppard from the novel by John le Carre’, THE RUSSIA HOUSE also stars Roy Scheider, James Fox, John Mahoney and Klaus Maria Brandauer. The film is produced by Paul Maslansky and Fred Schepisi, with cinematography by Ian Baker and a musical score by Jerry Goldsmith, featuring Branford Marsalis.
Helining an all-star cast, producer/director Fred Schepisi calls THE RUSSIA HOUSE, “The dream ticket.”
The filmmaker, whose past work has included, among others, the films “A Cry in the Dark,” “Roxanne” and “Plenty” adds, “I do think movies these days have got to take you on a journey or an experience that’s special or different. This is a great sweep of a movie that has an intimacy at its core.”
Certainly one element which makes THE RUSSIA HOUSE unique is that it is the first major Hollywood film to be made in the U.S.S.R. that is not a co-production. It emerged as a result of a unique friendship that developed between Schepisi and director Elem Klimov, who headed the Soviet Filmmakers Union. The Soviet director steered the Westerner to the independent Russian-German company Corona, which provided guidance through the intricacies of a system gearing up to a more Western approach.
“The structure we worked out was that our Russian partners paid for everything in Russia and we put the equivalent amount into a film they want to make in the West,” explains Schepisi, who first read the galleys of John le Carres thriller back in February, 1989. Amazingly, just seven months later, on October 2, 1989, he was standing in Leningrad’s Palace Square, birthplace of the Revolution, looking at the Winter Palace of the Czars on a bitingly cold day and calling “action” on the multi-million dollar production.
The filming of THE RUSSIA HOUSE came at one of the most significant times in the history of the Soviet Union since the Revolution.
“When I went on my first location scout, it was incredible because I was there when they were making historic changes in the country,” recalls Schepisi.
“You could feel the excitement; there was uncertainty and worry.
“I thought John le Carre’s book was a real look at glasnost and the end of the cold war and a look at the people who should know better,” continuesSchepis “The spymasters of East and West are the people who should appreciate that the cold war is over, but they seem to want to perpetuate it to keep their jobs going.”
While glasnost in action is the underlying theme, THE RUSSIA HOUSE is also a powerful and persuasive East/West love story — subject matter which, before Gorbachev, would probably not have been filmed in the Soviet Union. “I think we very optimistic,” Schepisi adds. “It’s about a disillusioned character who meets people prepared to risk their lives to make changes for the good of mankind; it’s about a man meeting a woman who gives him the strength to rehabilitate himself.”
John le Carre4s best-selling novel upon which THE RUSSIA HOUSE is based was written for the screen by reknowned playwright Tom Stoppard.
“John le Carrgmay have flirted with the idea of writing the screenplay,” notes Schepisi, “but he wasn’t really sure that a novelist is the best person to write his own material for the screen.”
It was the author himself who suggested Tom Stoppard write the script based on his book. Not only does the Czechoslovakian-born Stoppard have the emigre sensitivity to the subject, but he is one of the foremost British playwrights whose works are eagerly sought by actors and theatregoers the world over. THE RUSSIA HOUSE marks Stoppard’s latest foray into film, having recently written the screenplay for Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed “Empire of the Sun,” as well as writing and directing the screen adaptation of his own play, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”
Following its enormous success in the West, the Russian translation of John le Carrels novel “The Russia House” was published almost exactly one year from the day the film began production in the Soviet Union. With unprecedented speed and despite a nationwide paper shortage, a first print run of 100,000 copies of the book became available in Russia on October 3, 1990, marking the first le Cane/novel to be published in Russia in hardcover.
Additionally, in the first of a two-part serialization, the prestigious and influential Russian magazine Inostrannava Literatura (Foreign Literature) published a portion of “The Russia House” in May, 1990. Soviet readers anxiously await the second installment, which is scheduled to run as soon as enough paper can be made available to the publication.
The film tells the story of Barley Blair (Sean Connery), a British publisher who becomes unwittingly embroiled in the world of espionage when a Soviet scientist (Klaus Maria Brandauer) attempts to put glasnost to the
test. Using the beautiful Katya (Michelle Pfeiffer) as his courier, the scientist smuggles his manuscript to the West, whereupon the information falls into the hands of Western spymasters. Their suspicion leads Barley
deep into a web of deceit, danger and unexpected desire in Mr. Gorbachev’s Russia.
“I had the galley proofs of John le Cards book, which I thought was terrific,” recalls Sean Connery, who first became aware of THE RUSSIA HOUSE while filming “The Hunt for Red October.”
“My character, Barley Blair, starts out as this boozy, saxophone playing publisher, whose whole life and situation is in chaos,” continues Connery. “The people he meets in Russia, and the experience of this moral dilemma with which he is faced, help connect him back, finally, to the world.”
Schepisi describes Connery’s character, the hero of THE RUSSIA HOUSE, as “certainly outside the system. I’m attracted to these characters because through them you can look at everything differently.”
For Michelle Pfeiffer, playing Katya in THE RUSSIA HOUSE was perhaps the most challenging role thus far in her career. “This is the toughest film I’ve ever done. I’ve done dialects before but here I’m playing somebody from a completely different culture. Russia is not an easy country to grasp, not an easy country to talk about.”
Interspersed with the action taking place in Russia are the scenes in the situation rooms in Washington and London, where the rest of the international cast assembles.
Producer Paul Maslansky was familiar with the exigencies, as well as the extraordinary benefits associated with film production in Russia, having previously worked in the Soviet Union on “The Red Tent,” the first Russian-Italian co-production, starring Sean Connery, and “The Bluebird,” for director George Cukor which starred Elizabeth Taylor.
“THE RUSSIA HOUSE is, in many ways, a ‘pioneer’ movie. It deals with themes and events never before filmed in the U.S.S.R.,” Maslansky notes.
Schepisi, in a memo to cast and crew their first week in Moscow, perhaps best summed up the rare experience of filming THE RUSSIA HOUSE, writing, “In a small way you are a part of history. We are the first people to be making a film, in this way, in this country. The people here are bending over backwards to help us, in ways that are almost alien to their upbringing. They are more than willing. They know that many high-level people are closely observing what is considered a bold experiment.
“In an era of glasnost, I believe it is important to make it work. We have a real chance to do something different and exciting.”
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Production began on October 2, 1989 in Leningrad, the first of several major international locations that would include Moscow, London, Lisbon and Vancouver.
Four and one half weeks of locations in Russia represented uncharted waters for the filmmakers Once the Soviet government granted the necessary permissions, however, the production received unique cooperation, filming wherever they wanted in a way that might not have been possible anywhere else in the world.
Leningrad, often called the Venice of the north, is one of Europe’s most elegant cities, with its neo-classical architecture and Russian baroque influences. Formerly St. Petersburg, then Petrograd, Leningrad was the birthplace of the Revolution in 1905. After Leningrad was besieged by the Germans during World War IT, a magnificent granite memorial to those who died was built in the Field of Mars, which the filmmakers chose as the location to film a crucial meeting between Barley (Sean Connery) and Dante (Klaus Maria Brandauer).
In Nevsky Prospekt, one of the main thoroughfares of Leningrad, the filmmakers shot in and among the crowds which lent further realism to those scenes. During the hectic week there, the crew often shot three separate locations in one day. Leaving Leningrad, the cast and crew took a special train on which they filmed a sequence while travelling to Moscow.
The differences between Leningrad and Moscow were readily apparent. As the capital of the Soviet Union, Moscow, a sprawling city of eight million, is dominated by solid architecture and Stalinist buildings, a far more oppressive look and feel than the vibrant, light-filled streets of Leningrad.
Red Square itself, under the watchful eye of the guards outside Lenin’s tomb, played host to the filmmakers one rainy day as sequences were filmed with Sean Connery and Michelle Pfeiffer walking across the Square in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral. Kremlin officials watched the proceedings from their offices above the Square.
Among the many film locations in and around Moscow were a few days at Peredelkino, the site of the dachas of the prestigious writers and artists.
On another day, filming took place in the nearby cemetary where Boris Pasternak, famed Russian poet and novelist (“Dr. Zhivago”), is buried.
A night spent shooting in the Moscow Metro was enlightening for the cast and crew. Not only were they able to witness Muscovites on their way home after a hard day’s work, but the Metro itself was chastening to the Western eye. Completely devoid of graffiti, litter and advertisements, the grand structure boasts spectacular art, sculpture, mosaic and chandeliers.
Outside the city, the unit travelled 45 miles northeast of Moscow to Zagorsk, also called the City of Churches, known for its fine treasure store of early Russian art, dating back to medieval times. A reduced unit shot for three days at the top of a bell tower in sub-zero temperatures, filming an involved scene between Barley (Sean Connery) and Katya (Michelle Pfeiffer).
The unit next moved to Kolomenskoye, the old country estate of the Czars which is perched on a commanding bluff above a long curve in the Moscow River. Used in THE RUSSIA HOUSE for the scene in which Barley and Katya picnic with her children, the park boasts examples of old wooden buildings from Peter the Great’s hut to a seventeenth century watchtower dismantled and brought there from Siberia. The tall white Church of the Ascension dates from the 1530s. The Czar had a throne in the upper gallery which allowed him to simultaneously “attend” the religious service while watching the military maneuvers and falconry in the fields across the river.
The 17th century church of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, with its distinctive blue cupolas, was the Czars’ domestic chapel, and was linked to the palace by an underground tunnel. Peter the Great spent most of his childhood here, and gave his royal protection to the park’s grove of ancient oak trees, which are now more than 800 years old.
Other sequences took the cast and crew out into the Moscow streets, to
the Ukraine Hotel with its characteristic Stalinesque architecture; to the spectacular Exhibition site close to the Memorial to Space Achievement; to apartment block high rises; into the restaurant of the National Hotel with its bird’s-eye view of Red Square; and into GUM itself, the world’s largest department store.
Of their experiences filming in Russia, Schepisi notes, “The Russians are lovely people. They have a warmth and humanity and they want to help.
Of course it’s difficult because we go about making a film in a very different way from the Russian way and a lot of adjustment to their ways of working was required. But the Russians were incredibly cooperative, helpful and willing”
Echoing Schepisi’s feelings, Maslansky says, “It was an untested area but it went as smoothly as any location could have have gone anywhere. We finished 26 days filming on time, on budget and without incident”
The crew moved to London for a 10-day shoot, mostly on Katya’s apartment set at Pinewood Studios, before moving on to Lisbon for the scenes involving Barley’s interrogation by British Intelligence and the CIA, and also the scenes of Barley’s Lisbon apartment Much of the time in Lisbon was taken up with interiors at the Lisbon House, an impressive building with a spectacular view over the rooftops of Lisbon and out to sea. In reality, the building houses the head office of Nissan’s Portugese operation.
After a hectic ten days in Lisbon, the crew moved back to England for scenes involving CIA agent Russell (Roy Scheider), British agent Ned (James Fox) and staff in the Situation Room which was actually a floor of Pathe House in Hammersmith, West London. The set was appropriately dressed with state-of-the-art computer banks, monitoring equipment and television sets.
The final ten days of shooting took place in Vancouver, Canada, for the scenes in which Barley Blair is interrogated at a mountain retreat on a beautiful island off the North American coast.
With a statement that might apply not only to the experience of filming in the Soviet Union, but to the state of affairs there as well, producer Maslansky concludes, “Nothing is easy in Russia, but everything is possible.”
ABOUT THE CAST
“Barley Blair is a very well-conceived character, very well-rounded.
He is naive, but he has no illusions about either the Russians or the Americans. He believes they are equally corrupt, but the Russians have less bullshit.”
So says SEAN CONNERY of his role in THE RUSSIA HOUSE. The actor, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1987 for his performance in “The Untouchables,” earned worldwide recognition as the original James Bond in the film series based on Ian Fleming’s legendary character. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1930, Connery took his first steps toward acting when he was a chorus boy in “South Pacific” in 1951.
Involvement in repertory theatre, small parts in movies and television roles (“Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “Age of Kings,” “Anna Christie” and “Anna Karenina”) preceded the role that would launch the actor’s stellar career.
Cast as British secret service agent 007 James Bond in a small budget British picture called “Dr. No,” Connery portrayed the suave and sexy superspy. Over the next decade, he starred as Bond in “From Russia With Love,” “Goldfinger,” “Thunderball,” “You Only Live Twice” and “Diamonds Are Forever.” After a lengthy hiatus from the role, Connery returned for one last outing as Bond in “Never Say Never Again” in 1983.
Away from Bond, Connery starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Mamie,” “Woman of Straw,” “The Hill” for director Sidney Lumet, “A Fine Madness” with Joanne Woodward, “Shalako” with Brigitte Bardot, “The Molly Maguires” and “The Anderson Tapes.” “The Red Tent,” with Peter Finch, was Connery’s first visit to Russia.
In the years that followed, Connery starred in “Murder on the Orient Express,” “The Wind and the Lion,” “The Man Who Would Be King,” “Robin and Marian,” “A Bridge Too Far,” “Outland,” “Zardoz,” “Five Days One Summer,” “Meteor” and “The Name of the Rose.”
The actor followed his Oscar-winning role in “The Untouchables” with “The Presidio,” “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “Family Business” and “The Hunt for Red October.”
In January, 1991, Connery will star in, as well as Executive Produce, a love story set against the background of the Amazon, for director John McTiernan.
In addition to receiving both the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, as well as the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in 1987, for his work in “The Untouchables,” Connery has received numerous other accolades. They include, among others, the Commandeur des Arts et les Lettres, the highest honour given in France; the Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Andrews University and also from Heriot-Watt University, both in Scotland; a Fellowship from the Royal Scottish academy of Music and Drama; the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Best Actor Award for “The Name of the Rose” (1987), as well as the Life Time Achievement Tribute Award — a special BAFTA silver mask presented by H.R.H. Princess Ann “to
a British actor or actress who has made an outstanding contribution to world cinema” — presented in 1990; and the Man of Culture Award in Rome, given by the President of Italy. Connery also founded the Scottish International Education Trust in 1968.
For her role as the strong and determined Katya, MICHELLE PFEIFFER was committed to fully discover this complex character. “There are certain things about playing a Russian woman that just don’t compute with my own reality and it’s difficult for me as an American to get under the skin of a character who is so far from my experience,” explains Pfeiffer.
“Katya is strong, intelligent and brave. Very, very brave. She lives where she speaks.”
Fresh from her Oscar-nominated performance as Best Actress in “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” Pfeiffer remains one of the most in-demand actresses in film, by Hollywood standards, that rarified strata known as “bankable.”
Born in Orange County, California, Pfeiffer planned to become a court reporter but, after winning a local beauty contest, decided to study acting
The actress landed her first professional role on the television series “Delta House” and one month later, she made her feature film debut in “Falling in Love Again.”
Pfeiffer next co-starred as Suzie-Q, the carhop in “Hollywood Knights,” and as a debutante in “Charlie Chan and the Curse of the Dragon Queen.”
She later won a nationwide talent search and the singing role of the Pink Lady in “Grease II.”
The actress made a resounding impression in her next film role, as Al Pacino’s icy bride in “Scarface.” In quick succession, she starred in the
medieval fable “Ladyhawke,” in John Landis’ offbeat “Into the Night” and in the comedy “Sweet Liberty.” She will be seen in “Love Field” in 1991.
It was “The Witches of Eastwick,” in which Pfeiffer starred with Jack Nicholson, Cher and Susan Sarandon, that vaulted Pfeiffer to leading lady status.
Pfeiffer next starred in “Married to the Mob” and earned a Golden Globe nomination for her role as a Mafia enforcer’s wife She continued to gather praise for her performances opposite Mel Gibson in “Tequila Sunrise,” and earned her first Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress in “Dangerous Liaisons” with Glenn Close and John Malkovich. Most recently, Pfeiffer portrayed the sultry Susie Diamond in “The Fabulous Baker Boys.”
For her performance opposite Jeff and Beau Bridges, she earned an Oscar nomination as Best Actress, a New York Film Critics Award, the National Society of Film Critics Award, and tied for the Los Angeles Film Critics Award.
Among her stage credits, Pfeiffer includes her recent performance in Joseph Papp’s Delacorte Theatre production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” with Jeff Goldblum and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Of his role in THE RUSSIA HOUSE, ROY SCHEIDER notes, “Russell is the CIA front man. He’s not a conservative man; he’s very secure and somewhat flamboyant.” Not only were the script, the cast and the chance to work with Fred Schepisi attractive to Scheider, but “most of all, I believe in the spirit of the film. I believe in what it is saying, that we have come to the end of an era and it is time now for less distrust and more cooperation.”
One of the most sought-after actors over the past 20 years, Scheider began his career on stage when, in college, a performance in Shakespeare’s “Richard III” gained the attention of producer Joseph Papp, who signed him
to his professional debut as Mercutio in the Shakespeare Festival’s 1961 production of “Romeo and Juliet.”
Between 1960 and 1971, he appeared in more than 80 plays. In 1968 he was honored with an Obie Award for his off-Broadway performance in James Joyce’s “Stephen D.” For his work in the Broadway presentation of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal,” he earned the Drama League of New York Award for Most Distinguished Performance of 1980-81.
With roles in several films, including “Star,” “Stiletto,” “Loving,” “Puzzle of a Downfall Child,” “The Seven Ups,” “Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York,” “Sorcerer” and “Last Embrace,” as well as the French films “The Outside Man” and “The Attendant,” Scheider’s career really took off in 1971 with two high-profile performances in the year’s biggest films. In “Klute,” the actor co-starred with Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, and in “The French Connection,” co-starring with Gene Hackman, he earned an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.
Then along came “Jaws.” Based on the best-selling novel by Peter Benchley, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw, the 1975 release went on to become one of the highest grossing films of all time. Scheider played the Sheriff of Amity, the small seaside community terrorized by a killer shark — a role he would reprise in the 1979 sequel, “Jaws II.”
Scheider also starred with Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman in John Schlesinger’s thriller “Marathon Man” before earning wide acclaim, as well as an Oscar nomination as Best Actor, for his mesmerizing portrayal of the Broadway director in Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz.”
Recently, Scheider has starred in “Blue Thunder,” “Still of the Night” with Meryl Streep, “2010,” “The Men’s Club,” “52 Pick Up,” “Listen To Me,” “Night Game” and “The Fourth War.”
Among the actor’s television credits are the telefilms “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number” and “Tiger Town.”
JAMES FOX, who plays Ned in THE RUSSIA HOUSE, says of his character, “In a sense, Ned’s the headmaster. He is the man who hasn’t rebelled, but he has to understand the rebel, the drop out. He could have gone that way himself, but he has risen in the unconventional world of spies.
He’s a good chap and he cares for people.”
Born into a theatrical family (his father was a famous actors’ agent, brother Edward is an actor, brother Robert is a producer), Fox was a child actor educated at Harrow.
Stardom came easily. After two films, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” and “Tamahine,” he was cast as the lead, opposite Dirk Bogarde and Sarah Miles in Joseph Losey’s “The Servant,” written by Harold Pinter. He was 23 years old.
Fox firmed his reputation with films like “King Rat,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines,” “Isadora” and “The Chase.”
After appearing in “Performance” with Mick Jagger, Fox took a long sabbatical from acting during the 1970s, devoting himself to Christianity and spiritual enlightenment Joining the Navigators, a United States-based Christian organization, Fox immersed himself in evangelism, married and became a father. He chronicled these events in his autobiography “Comeback” in 1983.
It was Hugh Hudson’s film “Greystoke” that beckoned Fox back into acting. Since then, he has appeared in “High Season,” “Farewell to the King” and “The Mighty Quinn.” The greatest tribute to his decision to return to acting, however, was legendary director David Lean’s request that Fox join the cast of “A Passage to India” — an experience, Fox says, he “cherished.”
For KLAUS MARIA BRANDAUER, it was a simple phone call from Sean Connery, with whom the actor has been close since appearing as Maximillian Largo, the villain in “Never Say Never Again,” that hooked him on playing the brilliant Soviet scientist Dante in THE RUSSIA HOUSE.
“Sean phoned, said he had a good script by Tom Stoppard and there was this character I could play. A small part, but good to realize…
Sometimes parts that don’t look like much on paper become something special.”
The multi-lingual actor joined the international cast as Dante, the Soviet scientist who puts glasnost to the test by smuggling his notebooks to the West.
Born in Austria and raised in West Germany, Brandauer has spent nearly twenty years as both an actor and director with the National Theatre of Austria, where he has performed everything from Shakespeare to Beckett.
It was the Oscar-winning “Mephisto,” directed by Istvan Szabo, for whom he later starred in “Colonel Redl” and “Hanussen,” that established Brandauer far beyond his native Europe. In Sydney Pollack’s “Out of Africa,” with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Brandauer played Baron Bror Blixen, winning the New York Film Critics Award, a Golden Globe Award and an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor. Every weekend while in Africa, the actor commuted back to Austria where his production of “Hamlet” was being staged.
Among his other notable film roles are “The Lightship” with Robert Duvall and “Burning Secret” with Faye Dunaway, which was lauded at the 1988 Venice Film Festival. Recently, he completed the miniseries “The French Revolution,” as well as the film “White Fang,” from the Jack London novel, directed by Randal Kleiser.
Prior to THE RUSSIA HOUSE, Brandauer starred in and made his directorial debut with “Seven Minutes,” a story of an early plot to kill Hitler, co-starring Brian Dennehy, which has already played to enthusiastic audiences in Germany.
JOHN MAHONEY, who plays CIA agent Brady, was born in Manchester, England where he performed classics with the Stratford Children’s Theatre between the ages of 10 and 13. After graduating high school, he was briefly associated with the Birmingham Repertory Company.
Upon moving to the United States at 19, he served a stint in the Army and taught English at Western Elinois University.
At age 35, after a successful career as an editor of medical journals in Chicago, he decided to change careers and pursue his early love, theatre.
Enrolling in classes at Chicago’s St. Nicholas Theatre where David Mamet was then a moving force, Mahoney landed his first professional role in the world premiere of Mamet’s “The Water Engine.” His appearance in “Ashes,” with John Malkovich, led to his membership in Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre. And despite his subsequent successes in film and on the New York stage, he still regularly returns to work with the company.
Appearing in over 30 productions at the Steppenwolf Theatre, the actor has been nominated three limes for Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Award for his work in “The Hothouse,” “Taking Steps” and “Death of a Salesman.”
Mahoney made his New York debut in 1985 as Harold in the off-Broadway production of “Orphans,” for which he earned a Theatre World Award and Drama Desk nomination. The following year, he won a Tony, a Clarence Derwent Award and a Drama Desk nomination for his Broadway debut performance as Artie in the hit revival of John Guare’s “The House of Blue Leaves.”
Mahoney has appeared in such feature films as “Code of Silence,” “The Manhattan Project,” “Streets of Gold,” “Tin Men,” “Suspect,” “Frantic,” “Moonstruck,” “Betrayed,” “Eight Men Out” and “Say Anything.” He will star as Jeff Daniels’ father in the upcoming film, “Love Hurts.”
For television, Mahoney’s credits include “Chicago Story,” “The Killing Floor,” “First Step,” “Lady Blue,” “Prisoner of Silence” and “H.E.L.P.”
In a rare turn, famed director KEN RUSSELL takes his place in front of the cameras as Walter in THE RUSSIA HOUSE. “It is a very extraordinary thing for me to be doing,” admits Russell. “I was a bit nervous to start, but as I got into it, I developed a taste for it. This part is good because it’s more or less me. Walter worries the other characters in the film, he’s inconsistent, and his strange behavior unsettles the Americans.”
For many years regarded as the “enfant terrible” of British directors for such controversial films of the 1970s as “Lisztornania,” “The Music Lovers” and “The Devils,” Ken Russell began his career with the BBC where his films about composers Elgar, Debussy, Bartok and Delius are still considered in a class of their own.
When Russell made the move to film, he soon attracted notice with his remarkable version of D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Women In Love,” starring Glenda Jackson, Alan Bates and Oliver Reed. He returned to Lawrence with his most recent film “The Rainbow,” which also starred Glenda Jackson.
Among his other credits are “Savage Messiah,” “Tommy,” “Mahler,” “The Boyfriend” and “Valentino,” which starred Rudolf Nureyev in his acting debut as the silent screen idol.
Russell went to Hollywood to direct “Altered States” with William Hurt and “Crimes of Passion” with Kathleen Turner. Recently, the director has brought to the screen the films “Gothic,” “Aria,” “Salome’s Last Dance” and “Lair of the White Worm.”
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
FRED SCHEPISI (Producer/Director) has entertained audiences worldwide with an impressive array of powerful and socially significant films.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Schepisi joined an advertising agency as a dispatch boy and, at age 17, was the first person in charge of the official television department. By the time he was 25 he had bought a company, Cinesound Melbourne, in partnership with graphic designers Alex Stitt and Bruce Weatherhead.
In 1966 he changed its name to Film House and today the firm is one of the most successful film production companies in Australia. Schepisi’s partner in Film House is Robert Le Tet and, in 1984, along with Peter Beilby, they launched a new company, Entertainment Media, which has produced the films “Dogs in Space” and “Bushfire Moon.”
Schepisi wrote, directed and produced documentaries and commercials, many of which won national and international awards, before joining the Producers and Directors Guild, a group that was trying to revive a dormant Australian film industry.
In 1969, with the backing of the Producers and Directors Guild, Schepisi produced an experimental short, “The Party,” followed by a half- hour drama, The Priest,” by Thomas Keneally, who also wrote the novel upon which Schepisi would later base his screenplay for “The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith,” which he also produced and directed.
“The Priest,” a half-hour segment in the well-received 1973 four-part feature film “Libido” was followed by the outstanding success of his first feature, “The Devil’s Playground,” which he wrote, produced and directed in 1975. The film was the runaway winner at the Australian Film Institute Awards and was also presented at the London Film Festival and in the Directors Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. Schepisi then made the critically accclaimed “The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith,” the first Australian film ever accepted in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and his first film to be distributed in the United States.
In 1979 Schepisi left Australia for the United States where he made “Barbarosa,” a mythic western starring Willie Nelson and Gary Busey which also went to the Directors Fortnight at Cannes. Next came “Iceman” starring Timothy Hutton and John Lone.
The filmmaker’s next project took him to England where he directed “Plenty” from the David Hare play, which starred Meryl Streep, John Gielgud, Charles Dance, Sam Neill, Sting, Tracy Ullman and Ian McKellan.
Switching gears, Schepisi followed with the comedy “Roxanne,” written by and starring Steve Martin. The film was widely acclaimed by audiences and critics alike.
Reuniting with “Plenty” star Meryl Streep, Schepisi filmed “A Cry in the Dark,” which was the first picture he had made in his native Australia in eight years. The film was entered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and Streep was named Best Actress. She also received yet another Oscar nomination as Best Actress for her performance as a bereaved mother who stands trial to defend her claim that her baby was taken into the Outback by a wild dog.
Early next year, Schepisi will return to comedy to direct and produce “The President Elopes,” starring Robert Redford.
PAUL MASLANSKY (Producer) comes full-circle with THE RUSSIA HOUSE, having forged links with the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago when he was executive producer on “The Red Tent” starring Sean Connery, and producer of “The Blue Bird” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Fonda.
Achieving international success as creator and producer of the “Police Academy” films (six, to date), Maslansky has been associated, in various capacities, with more than 40 movies filmed around the world. With a thorough knowledge of both the technical and creative aspects of filmmaking, he includes among Ms credits “Castle of the Living Dead,” “Sister of Satan,” “Hard Times,” “Damnation Alley,” “When You Comin’ Back, Red Ryder?,” “Scavenger Hunt,” “The Salamander,” “Hot Stuff,” “The Villain,” “Race with the Devil,” “Love Child” and the upcoming “For Better Or For Worse.”
TOM STOPPARD (Screenwriter), who wrote Ms first play “Enter A Free Man” while working as a f eelance journalist in Bristol, is one of Britain’s most talented playwrights, one whose work has appeared with equal success in both London’s West End and on Broadway.
The plays “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” “Travesties” and “The Real Thing” have earned Stoppard Tony Awards, while those three plays plus “Jumpers” and “Night and Day” have all won London Evening Standard Drama Awards.
Among Ms many other plays are “The Real Inspector Hound,” “After Magritte” and “Every Good Boy Deserves Favor” (a play for actors and orchestra written with Andre Previn). For British television, he has written “A Separate Peace,” “Neutral Ground,” “Teeth,” “Professional Foul” (for which he won awards from the British Academy and the Broadcasting Press Guild)and “Squaring the Circle.” Recently, Stoppard’s play “Hapgood” was presented in London, Los Angeles and New York.
Stoppard’s screenplays include “Despair,” “The Human Factor,” “Brazil” and “Empire of the Sun.” The film version of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead,” starring Richard Dreyfuss, marks Stoppard’s debut as a feature film director.
IAN BAKER (Director of Photography) continues a long-standing collaboration with Fred Schepisi, having previously shot “The Devil’s Playground,” “The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith,” “Barbarosa,” “Iceman,” “Plenty,” “Roxanne” and “A Cry in the Dark.”
Educated at Swinburne Institute of Technology, Australia’s foremost film and television school, Baker’s entry into the realm of top cinematographers began when he served as Schepisi’s head lighting cameraman on a variety of television commercials in the 1960s. When Schepisi made the move into feature films, Baker went with him, subsequently winning an Australian Film Institute Award for Best Cinematography on “The Devil’s Playground.”
Among Baker’s other film credits are “The Clinic,” “Everybody Wins” and the upcoming Dolph Lundgren adventure “The Punisher.” For television, he shot the 1986 miniseries “The Last Frontier” starring Linda Evans.
Among the accolades Baker has earned are the Australian Television Award for Best Cinematography in 1972 and 1973, and in 1974 he won the Gold Award for Best Cinematography from the Art Directors Club of Melbourne.
Born in Dorset, England, RICHARD MacDONALD (Production Designer) served as a gunboat commander in the British navy and was an instructor at the Royal College of Art for 10 years. In 1952, he designed the title cards for David Lean’s “Summertime,” and his work led to a decade as head of the creative department in an advertising agency.
A chance meeting with director Joseph Losey resulted in MacDonald’s doing the storyboard drawings for Losey’s The Sleeping Tiger.” This was the first in a series of movies for the acclaimed filmmaker, including “The Servant,” “King and Country,” “Boom,” “Modesty Blaise” and “Secret Ceremony.” He also worked on “Isadora” and “Far From the Madding Crowd.”
In the United States, MacDonald designed the films “Coming to America,” “Space Camp,” “Teachers,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Cannery Row,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “F.I.S.T.,” “…And Justice For All,” “Exorcist II: The Heretic,” “Marathon Man” and “The Twelve Chairs.”
MacDonald and Schepisi previously worked together on “Plenty.”
PETER HONESS (Editor) was born in Eastbourne in the South of England. At age 17 he joined Compton College Cameo Films in London’s West End. Turning to editing, he was an assistant on such films as “The Dirty Dozen,” “The Hunger,” “Ragtime” and “Dogs of War.”
Among his credits as a film editor are “Man From a Far Country,” “Memed My Hawk,” “Champions,” “Electric Dreams,” “Plenty,” “Highlander,” “The Believers,” “Madame Sousatzka” and “Next of Kin.” Honess earned an Emmy nomination for ABC’s “Following the Tundra Wolf,” narrated by Robert Redford.
RUTH MYERS (Costume Designer) was born and raised in Manchester, England, and graduated from St. Martin’s College of Art in London before training under scholarship with the English Stage Company of the Royal Court Theatre. Myers moved to the Repertory Theatre in Oxford, returning after a year to the Royal Court in 1965 where she worked on over 15 productions, including John Osborne’s “Hotel in Amsterdam” and “Time Present,” and David Hare’s “Slag.”
Turning to film in 1969, she designed costumes for “The Loves of Isadora,” “A Touch of Class,” “The Ruling Class” and “The Twelve Chairs.”
Actor Gene Wilder persuaded her to come to Hollywood where she worked with him on “The World’s Greatest Lover,” “Sunday Lovers,” “The Woman in Red” and “Haunted Honeymoon.”
Among Myers’ other film credits are “…And Justice For All,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “Teachers,” “Cannery Row,” “Plenty” (all of which she collaborated with production designer husband Richard MacDonald), “Altered States,” “Electric Dreams,” “The Main Event,” “The Competition,” “Vibes,” “The Accidental Tourist,” “Bert Rigby, You’re A Fool” and, most recently, “Blaze.”
Myers received an ACE Award for costuming the HBO film “Baja Oklahoma.”
JERRY GOLDSMITH (Composer), one of the world’s leading composers of film and television music for over 25 years, has been honored with an overwhelming number of prizes, including one Academy Award (for”The Omen”), 14 additional Oscar nominations, seven Grammy nominations, four Emmys, two additional Emmy nominations and six Golden Globes.Studying during most of the 1940s with Jacob Gimpel and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Goldsmith worked his way into motion picture scores by composing and conducting for radio and television.
Goldsmith had his first major feature film scoring opportunity in 1960 with “Lonely Are the Brave.” He quickly followed with celebrated scores for such noted films as “Freud” (1962), “Lilies of the Field” (1963), “Seven Days in May” (1964),”A Patch of Blue” (1965), “The Sand Pebbles” (1965) and “Planet of the Apes” (1968), among others.
Beginning the 1970s with his memorable score for “Patton,” Goldsmith continued his impressive string of credits with “Rio Lobo” (1970), “Papillon” (1973), “Chinatown” (1974), “The Wind and the Lion” (1976), “Islands in the Stream” (1976), “Coma” (1977), “The Great Train Robbery” (1978), “The Boys From Brazil” (1978), “Alien” (1979) and “Star Trek — The Motion Picture” (1979). His Oscar came in 1977 for his powerful score for “The Omen.”
During the 1980s, the composer scored such films as “Outland” (1981), “Raggedy Man” (1981), “Poltergeist” (1981), “The Secret of NIMH” (1982), “First Blood” (1982), “Psycho II” (1983), “Under Fire” (1983), “Twilight Zone: The Movie” (1983), “Gremlins” (1984), “Rambo: First Blood II” (1985), “Hoosiers” (1986), “Extreme Prejudice” (1987), “Innerspace” (1987), “Rambo III” (1988), “Leviathan” (1989), “The ‘Burbs” (1989) and “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” (1989).
BRANFORD MARSALIS adds his featured performance on THE RUSSIA HOUSE soundtrack to his acclaimed work on other film projects, including Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” “School Daze” and “Mo’ Better Blues,” and the film documentary chronicling Sting’s “Dream of the Blue Turtles” world tour, “Bring On the Night.”From his early performances with his brother Wynton in the award- winning lineup of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, to their time together with the Herbie Hancock Quartet and VSOP II, then through Wynton’s first four solo albums, Marsalis earned critical and professional recognition that would set the stage for his thriving career as a solo artist.
Born in New Orleans in 1960 to a musical family (father Ellis and brother Wynton are noted jazzmen), Marsalis began playing piano at age four, then clarinet by age seven. At 15 he moved over to alto saxophone, “because everyone else was playing tenor,” and continued his musical studies at Southern University in Baton Rouge in 1978. He followed with two years at the famed Berklee School of Music in Boston before beginning his professional career, touring with some of the biggest names in jazz: Art Blakey, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Clark Terry Band, Herbie Hancock, and others.
His discography includes sessions with jazz greats including Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Bobby Hutcherson, Miles Davis, the Duke Ellington Orchestra and brother Wynton Marsalis, as well as popular artists including, among others, Sting, Carole King, Tina Turner, the Neville Brothers, Nancy Wilson, Teena Marie, Janis Siegel, Harry Connick Jr., the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Since his debut album Scenes In the City in 1984, Marsalis has released six albums on CBS Records, including his most recent, Crazy People Music He has also ventured into acting, with roles in the films “Bring On the Night,” “School Daze” and “Throw Momma From the Train.”