A COLORFUL TIME
The title Catch Me If You Can could just as easily be applied to the films shooting schedule as to its story. The movie was filmed in just 56 jam-packed days, utilizing more than 140 sets on locations in and around Los Angeles, New York, Montreal and Quebec City. Spielberg states, It was a lot of moving aroundsometimes three locations on a single dayand I have never worked faster in my entire life. But I think, in this case, moving so fast kept the momentum going for the entire cast and crew.
Leonardo DiCaprio confirms, That was the fastest paced film I have ever worked on. We were constantly moving, but thats what was good about it. It was like a theatre group; we were always creating new things and then moving to the next location. I think the frenetic pace gave the entire production so much life and energy.
The speed of the production was also reflective of the 1960s period in which the story is set. This was the age of the jet set, Tom Hanks says. Literally, you could get on a jet plane and be on the other side of the world in a matter of hours. For my generation, it was the height of glamour: colors looked cooler and everything was very bold and stylish.
To capture the bold, colorful style of the times, Spielberg assembled a creative team that included his longtime collaborators: director of photography Janusz Kaminski, editor Michael Kahn and composer John Williams. Working for the first time with the director were production designer Jeannine Oppewall and costume designer Mary Zophres.
Given the pace of the shooting schedule, Parkes points out that the shorthand that has developed between Spielberg and Kaminski was especially crucial. The thing about Janusz is hes very quick, very intuitive, and he and Steven have an unspoken communication that is like nothing Ive ever seen.
Janusz and I have the greatest working relationship, Spielberg agrees. I set the camera, I block the scenes, but it is Janusz who paints every shot. He is a master of light. Catch Me If You Can is a very upbeat movie, so we didnt want to go with a low, dark half-light. Its very bright and very colorful, which is a huge stylistic departure for us in our work together.
Kaminski adds, The visual approach was really very simple: Lets have fun; lets create a world thats slightly idealistic, and not too serious. The lighting reflects that. Its like a glass of champagne.
Despite that approach, the sheer number of locations and the speed at which the company was moving through them made the actual task of lighting the sets anything but simple. Kaminski notes, We were not on soundstages. We were filming in existing buildings and on existing streets, so we had to work around certain limitations. We didnt have the luxury of removing walls or windows and putting the lights or the camera wherever I wanted. We had to compromise occasionally, but compromise is good because it forces you to be innovative. You could look at it as a disadvantage or as a great challenge. I happen to like the challenge.
The extensive location setsall of which had to be in the style of the periodposed an even more daunting challenge to production designer Jeannine Oppewall and her team. Oppewall attests, I thought L.A. Confidential was difficult because I counted 93 sets in 40 or 50 locations. When I first broke down the Catch Me If You Can script, I counted well over 100 sets, and then I couldnt count anymore because I started to panic.
Of all the many locations, perhaps the greatest coup for the production was being able to film in the historic TWA Terminal at New Yorks JFK Airport, which opened in 1962 and was nicknamed by many the bird building. Now standing empty, the landmark terminal was designed by Eero Saarinen, which gave it special meaning for Oppewall. I used to work for Charles Eames, and Eero Saarinen and Eames were best friends, she offers.
Interestingly, Oppewalls connection to Charles Eames was also the thing that first connected her to Steven Spielberg. Jeannine is a wonderful designer and has done extraordinary work, but then I heard that she had worked for Charles Eames. Growing up, I had an Eames chair; I did all my homework in that chair. I think he is one of the greatest designers of all time, so I was starstruck, Spielberg confesses.
On the opposite coast, Californias old Ontario Airport doubled for Miami International Airport, where Frank evades the FBI by surrounding himself with a bevy of beautiful stewardesses. In Canada, an abandoned prison in Montreal became the French prison where Carl Hanratty comes to extradite Frank back to the U.S.; and a square in Quebec City doubled for the French village of Montrichard, where Frank is cornered in a scene that features a cameo appearance by the real Frank Abagnale. Just a few of the other widely varied location sets included: a Victorian house in Altadena, California, which was used as the Strong familys New Orleans home; an old Boeing factory in Downey, California, which was used for the offices of the FBI; and the Ambassador Hotel and Union Station, both in Los Angeles.
The most logistically challenging location was in front of the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue, right in the middle of busy New York City. The constant flow of traffic had to be stopped, and replaced with vintage cars and taxis that filled the street. Everything and everyone had to appear as they would have about 40 years ago.
It was really a guerilla operation, Spielberg laughs. Jeannine had a commando crew who went out and got their hands on anything they could possibly need to make everything look absolutely 60s-perfect.
The 60s did have a certain flavor, Oppewall suggests. It was a time when people felt a little more frivolous, a little more able to burst out in wild colors.
The production designer notes that she and costume designer Mary Zophres used color as more than a sign of the times. It also signaled the emotional arc of the story. When we first meet Frank, he is living an ordinary, relatively bland existence, so his environment is equally bland and slightly monochromatic. However, Oppewall illustrates, As he gets better and better at his game, the color palette gets wilder and wilder. When he is at the top of his game, we were able to play with vibrant colors like orange and yellow and red and pink. Then towards the end, as he is totally blending in with the bureaucracy, everything is again relatively monochromatic. Its a fascinating way to watch the character evolve.
It was fun to do all the different looks for Leo, Zophres agrees. At first, I had the impression that he was going to be in his Pan Am pilots uniform much of the time. Then I read the script again and realized he would have about 100 wardrobe changes.
Parkes comments, When you think about it, Frank is a man who is able to impersonate people and enter into different worlds by virtue of the clothes he wears on his back. So this was one of those times when costuming was tied to the very essence of the story. Mary Zophres not only handled the many logistical challenges of the day-to-day production, but also the fact that her costumes were the externalization of the character more than in most movies.
In contrast to DiCaprios ever-changing wardrobe, Tom Hanks wears virtually the same suit day after day. Zophres remarks, Tom could have worn 20 suits in this movie, and no one in the audience would know if he wore 20 or just one, because its essentially the same silhouette from one to another. We actually went to a lot of effort to tailor suits that had the same exact details: the same shape, the same shoulders, and the same buttons. Only the fabric is slightly differentone is navy, one is a bit lighter navy, one is brownbut they are all fundamentally identical. And he always wears the same style shirt and narrow tie with the diagonal stripe. It was basically the uniform of the FBI in those days. They lightened up in the 70s, but in the 60s, it was all very regimented.
Zophres was able to get much more creative with the wardrobe of some of the supporting characters and even the extras, particularly those 1960s stewardess uniforms, which range from prim and proper to bright and kitschy. As outlandish as some of them are, they are all modeled after actual uniforms that Zophres came across during her extensive research.
When it comes to fashion, everyone knows the cliché Everything old is new again. However, one thing that defines an era perhaps more than anything else is its music. In a rare move for a Steven Spielberg movie, Catch Me If You Can features a number of popular songs that are evocative of that time, including Frank Sinatras classic rendition of Come Fly With Me, which was a particular favorite of Spielbergs.
The songs are interspersed with a score by John Williams. Catch Me If You Can marks Spielbergs 20th film collaboration with the composer, but marks something of a departure for them. John did something hes never done before, Spielberg says. He wrote music in the idiom of progressive jazz, which was very popular in the 1950s and 60s.
In my past work with Steven, we have had large orchestras and broad themes, Williams notes, but on this particular film, we dont have that kind of canvas. Its more intricate. The story is light and amusing, but is also about a serious subject, so the music had to have different shades. Its comedic one moment, and then tense as the FBI closes in on Frank.
In composing the score for Catch Me If You Can, Williams drew on one of his earliest inspirations. "One particular figure who I think dominated the American film music scene in the 1960s was Henry Mancini, he states. He typified the best of that stylish, jazzy approach to films that we now associate with that period so nostalgically. I actually was the pianist in Henry Mancinis orchestra at the beginning of both of our careers. I played on the Peter Gunn recordings and on Breakfast at Tiffanys and was very close to him personally, as well as musically. Catch Me If You Can has been a wonderful opportunity for me to revisit that part of myself thats been lying dormant for a few decades now. It was a kind of regression, and one I enjoyed very much.
Coming full circle is a theme for several people involved in the making of Catch Me If You Can, beginning with the real Frank W. Abagnale. My story is not just about someone being very young and getting away with a lot. I got caught and served time in prison, but I paid my debt and have worked for my government for 25 years. I also have my own successful consulting business. People ask me all the time, What was the most incredible thing you ever pulled off? But to me, the greatest thing I have been able to do is to take those experiences and put them into the business I have today.
In a way, Franks life was his graduate school, Walter Parkes says. The great irony is that after all his attempts to reinvent himself, he finally succeeded by becoming himself. Theres something redemptive about the end of the movie that suggests that you really can start over.
Spielberg adds, Part of the inspiration of Catch Me If You Can for me is that it shows you can turn your life around and make something better of yourself, but its also a story that is pure, unadulterated fun. It has tremendous joie de vivre, which is reflective of who the real Frank Abagnale is to me.
The director goes on to reveal, I could also relate to him in a way. When I was first trying to become a movie director, I became a 16-and-a-half-year-old executive. I put on a suit and tie and carried a briefcase, and walked right past Scotty at the main gate at Universal Studios every day during summer vacation. Five days a week for three months, I walked on and off that lot
and was, for that one moment, Frank Abagnale.
ABOUT THE CAST
LEONARDO DICAPRIO (Frank Abagnale) is an Academy Award®-nominated actor, and also the star of the top-grossing movie of all time. In 1994, he earned both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for his role as a mentally handicapped young man in Lasse Hallströms Whats Eating Gilbert Grape. His performance also brought him awards from the National Board of Review and the Chicago Film Critics Association. He received his second Golden Globe nomination in 1997 for his starring role in James Camerons Academy Award®-winning Best Picture Titanic.
Born in Hollywood, California, DiCaprio began performing while still in elementary school. Following work in commercials and daytime television, he landed a regular role on the series Parenthood. The following year, he joined the cast of the hit ABC sitcom Growing Pains.
DiCaprio landed his first major feature film part when director Michael Caton-Jones cast him in the coveted role of Tobias Wolff in his big screen adaptation of Wolffs autobiographical drama This Boys Life. Starring opposite Robert De Niro and Ellen Barkin, DiCaprio earned praise for his compelling performance as a boy who must endure his stepfathers abuse.
DiCaprios award-winning turn in Whats Eating Gilbert Grape came next, followed by starring roles in three very diverse films, all released in 1995: Sam Raimis Western The Quick and the Dead, with Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman; Jim Carrolls harrowing autobiographical story of drug addition, The Basketball Diaries; and Agnieszka Hollands film version of the Christopher Hampton play Total Eclipse.
The following year, DiCaprio again appeared in multiple features, first starring as Romeo, opposite Claire Danes as Juliet, in Baz Luhrmanns updated screen adaptation of William Shakespeares Romeo + Juliet. He then joined an all-star ensemble cast, including Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro, in Marvins Room.
In 1997, DiCaprio starred in Titanic, James Camerons blockbuster about the ill-fated maiden voyage of the doomed ship, which went on to shatter every box office record and win the Oscar® and Golden Globe for Best Picture. His subsequent film credits include Woody Allens Celebrity, The Beach and dual roles in The Man in the Iron Mask.
In addition to Catch Me If You Can, DiCaprio also stars this holiday season in Martin Scorseses period crime drama Gangs of New York, with Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson.
TOM HANKS (Carl Hanratty) earned praise from both critics and audiences this past summer for his portrayal of gangster Michael Sullivan in Sam Mendes Depression-era drama Road to Perdition. One of only two actors in history to win back-to-back Best Actor Academy Awards®, Hanks won his first Oscar® in 1994 for his moving portrayal of AIDS-stricken lawyer Andrew Beckett in Jonathan Demmes Philadelphia. The following year, he took home his second Oscar® for his unforgettable performance in the title role of Robert Zemeckis Forrest Gump. He also won Golden Globe Awards for both films, as well as a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for the latter.
Hanks more recently garnered Academy Award®, Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for his work in Steven Spielbergs Saving Private Ryan, and he last year won a Golden Globe Award and garnered his fifth Oscar® nomination for his role in Cast Away. He had previously won a Golden Globe Award and earned an Oscar® nomination for his portrayal of a little boy in a mans body in Penny Marshalls Big, and received another Golden Globe nomination for his work opposite Meg Ryan in the romantic comedy smash Sleepless in Seattle, directed by Nora Ephron.
In 1998, Hanks, Ryan and Ephron again scored a hit when they reunited for the romantic comedy Youve Got Mail. The following year, Hanks starred in Frank Darabonts acclaimed drama The Green Mile, for which he shared in a SAG Award nomination for Outstanding Cast Performance.
Hanks other film credits include starring roles in A League of Their Own, Turner & Hooch, Punchline, Nothing in Common, Volunteers, Bachelor Party and Splash. The actor also lent his voice to the computer animated blockbusters Toy Story and Toy Story 2.
Hanks work on the big screen has also translated to success on the small screen. Following his critically acclaimed portrayal of astronaut Jim Lovell in Ron Howards Apollo 13, Hanks executive produced and hosted the acclaimed HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. He also directed one segment, and wrote or co-wrote several others, in addition to appearing in one episode. Hanks work on the miniseries earned him Emmy, Golden Globe and Producers Guild Awards for Outstanding Miniseries, as well as an Emmy nomination for Best Director.
His collaboration with Steven Spielberg on the World War II drama Saving Private Ryan led to them teaming to executive produce the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, based on the book by Stephen Ambrose. Hanks also directed a segment and wrote another segment of the fact-based miniseries, which follows one group of paratroopers from boot camp to D-Day to the end of World War II. The show recently won both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Miniseries. In addition, Hanks won an Emmy Award for Best Director, earned an Emmy nomination for Best Writing, and received another Producers Guild Award for his work on the project.
In 1996, Hanks made his successful feature film writing and directing debut with That Thing You Do, in which he also starred. The films title song received an Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Song. This year, under his own Playtone banner, Hanks, together with his wife, Rita Wilson, and partner, Gary Goetzman, produced the smash hit romantic comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Budgeted at approximately $5 million, the film has to date grossed more than $200 million at the domestic box office.
CHRISTOPHER WALKEN (Frank Abagnale, Sr.) won the 1978 Academy Awardâ for Best Supporting Actor for his gripping performance in Michael Ciminos The Deer Hunter. He also earned a New York Film Critics Award, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the film.
Walken first gained attention for his work on screen in the role of Diane Keatons brother Duane in Woody Allens Oscarâ-winning Best Picture Annie Hall. He has since had memorable roles in more than 50 feature films, including Herbert Ross Pennies From Heaven; David Cronenbergs adaptation of Stephen Kings The Dead Zone; James Foleys At Close Range, opposite Sean Penn; Mike Nichols Biloxi Blues, based on the Neil Simon play; Abel Ferraras King of New York; Tony Scotts True Romance; Quentin Tarantinos Pulp Fiction; Peter OFallons Suicide Kings; Joe Roths comedy Americas Sweethearts, with Julia Roberts, John Cusack and Billy Crystal; and Tim Burtons Batman Returns and Sleepy Hollow.
An accomplished stage actor, Walken began his career at the age of ten, acting and dancing. He trained to be a dancer at the Professional Childrens School in Manhattan, and went on to appear in numerous plays and musicals. He received the Clarence Derwent Award for his performance in the Broadway production of The Lion in Winter, an Obie for his role in The Seagull, a Theatre World Award for The Rose Tattoo, and the 1997 Susan Stein Shiva Award for his work with Joseph Papps Public Theatre.
In the fall of 1999, Walken co-starred in the stage adaptation of James Joyces The Dead. He returned to the stage in the summer of 2001 in the New York Shakespeare Festival revival of Anton Chekhovs The Seagull, in which he starred with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline, under the direction of Mike Nichols.
On television, Walken has been one of the most popular hosts of Saturday Night Live, returning five times to host the show since 1990. In addition, he recently performed an unforgettable dance number in the Spike Jonze-directed music video for Fat Boy Slims Weapon of Choice, and wrote and directed the short film Popcorn Shrimp, which premiered on Showtime in 2001.
Walkens upcoming film work includes Martin Brests Gigli, with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, and Barry Levinsons comedy Envy, in which he stars with Ben Stiller and Jack Black.
MARTIN SHEEN (Roger Strong) is presently best known for his starring role on the award-winning NBC television series The West Wing. Sheens portrayal of President Josiah Bartlett has brought him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series, as well as three more Golden Globe nominations, and three Emmy nominations. He was also honored by his peers with a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series, and shared with the other members of The West Wing cast in two SAG Awards for Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series.
It has been more than 20 years since Sheen took on what would be one of the signature roles of his career: the enigmatic Captain Willard in Francis Ford Coppolas searing Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now. In 2001, the movie was re-released with added footage, bringing it to a new generation of filmgoers as Apocalypse Now Redux.
Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Sheen first garnered attention from critics when he starred in the Broadway production of The Subject Was Roses. He went on to reprise his role in Ulu Grosbards 1968 screen version of the play, earning a Golden Globe Award nomination for his performance. Sheen also received early praise for his chilling portrait of serial killer Kit Carruthers in Terrence Malicks Badlands.
Sheens other notable film credits include Rob Reiners The American President, written by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, Oliver Stones Wall Street, Jason Millers That Championship Season, and Richard Attenboroughs Oscar®-winning Best Picture Gandhi, to name only a few. He made his feature film directorial debut with Cadence, in which he also starred with his son, Charlie Sheen.
In addition to The West Wing, Sheens myriad television credits include some of the most memorable longform projects of the past three decades, including The Execution of Private Slovick, for which he earned an Emmy nomination; That Certain Summer, which was one of the first television dramas to deal openly with homosexuality; The Missiles of October; Blind Ambition; In the Custody of Strangers; Kennedy, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination; and Gettysburg, playing General Robert E. Lee. Sheen also won an Emmy Award for his guest starring role on the comedy series Murphy Brown.
NATHALIE BAYE (Paula Abagnale) is one of Frances most distinguished and admired actresses. Among her honors, she has won three César Awards, Frances equivalent of the Oscar®, and earned another four César nominations. American moviegoers have seen her in several of her more than 60 films, including three for famed director Francois Truffaut: Day for Night, which marked her major motion picture debut; The Man Who Loved Women; and The Green Room. She also starred opposite Gerard Dépardieu in The Return of Martin Guerre.
Bayes more recent film credits include Une liaison pornographique (An Affair of Love), for which she won the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival; and Vénus beauté (institut) (Venus Beauty Institute), which brought her her most recent César Award nomination.
Baye began her career in the arts as a dancer, and moved to New York at age 17 to study classical ballet and modern dance. She toured the United States with a dance company before returning to France, where she turned her attention to acting. She won her first César Award in 1981 for her performance in Jean-Luc Godards Sauve qui peut (la vie) (Every Man for Himself), and earned an additional César nomination that same year for her role in Bertrand Taverniers Une semaine de vacances (A Weeks Vacation).
Over the next two years, Baye won two consecutive César Awards for her work in Pierre Granier-Deferres Une étrange affaire and Bob Swaims La balance. Her other César nominations came for her performances in Robin Davis Jai épousé un ombre (I Married a Dead Man) and Nicole Garcias Un week-end sur deux (Every Other Weekend).
Bayes most noted film credits also include Jean-Luc Godards Détective, Bertrand Bliers Beau-pére and Notre histoire (Our Story), and Diane Kurys Cest la vie, to list only a few. She was also featured in Roger Spottiswoodes award-winning television movie And the Band Played On.
AMY ADAMS (Brenda Strong) has been seen in several feature films, but Catch Me If You Can marks her first starring role in a major motion picture release. She made her film debut playing a cheerleader in the dark comedy Drop Dead Gorgeous, and includes among her other film credits Serving Sara, and the independent features Psycho Beach Party and Pumpkin.
On television, Adams has had guest starring roles on such series as The West Wing, Smallville and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She also starred in the television project Cruel Intentions 2: Manchester Prep.
Hailing from Colorado, Adams began her career on the stage in a number of regional theatre productions. She appeared in such classic musicals as Brigadoon, Good News, State Fair, Crazy For You, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Anything Goes!, A Chorus Line and Annie.
JENNIFER GARNER (Cheryl Ann) was virtually catapulted to stardom with her leading role in ABCs hit dramatic action series Alias. Starring as double agent Sydney Bristow, Garner has won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series, and also earned an Emmy nomination for her work on the show.
On the big screen, Garner stars opposite Ben Affleck in the upcoming actioner Daredevil, based on the popular Marvel Comics superhero, due out in early 2003. She had previously worked with Affleck when she co-starred with him, Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale in Michael Bays World War II drama Pearl Harbor. Garner also starred opposite Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott in the comedy hit Dude, Wheres My Car?. Her additional film credits include Deconstructing Harry, Washington Square, Mr. Magoo and 1999. She is next set to star in the comedy 13 Going on 30.
Born in Houston, Texas, and raised in West Virginia, Garner moved to New York to pursue her acting career. She was featured in the longform television projects Zoya, Dead Mans Walk and Rose Hill, before landing her first series role on Significant Others. Garner went on to star with Jennifer Love Hewitt on the Party of Five spin-off series Time of Your Life, and she had a recurring role on the WB hit Felicity. Her other television work includes guest roles on such series as Spin City and Law & Order.
ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS
STEVEN SPIELBERG (Director/Producer) has directed, produced, or executive produced eight of the thirty top-grossing films of all time, including Jurassic Park and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. Among his myriad honors, he is a three-time Academy Award® winner, earning two Oscars® for Best Director and Best Picture for Schindlers List, and a third Oscar® for Best Director for Saving Private Ryan. He has also received Academy Awardâ nominations for Best Director for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Spielbergs critically acclaimed World War II drama Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, was the highest-grossing release (domestically) of 1998. The film also won five Oscars®, including the one for Spielberg as Best Director, as well as two Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture (Drama) and Best Director. In addition, Spielberg was recognized by his peers with a Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award, and shared with the films other producers in the Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award. That year, the PGA also presented Spielberg with the prestigious Milestone Award for his historic contribution to the motion picture industry.
Saving Private Ryan also won Best Picture honors from the New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, British and Broadcast Film Critics Associations, with the Los Angeles, Toronto and Broadcast Film Critics also naming Spielberg Best Director.
On the heels of Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg and Hanks executive produced the miniseries Band of Brothers for HBO and DreamWorks Television. Based on the book of the same name by the late Stephen Ambrose, the fact-based World War II project recently won both Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Miniseries.
In 1994, Spielbergs internationally lauded Schindlers List was the years most honored film, receiving a total of seven Oscarsâ, including the aforementioned nods for Best Picture and Best Director. The film also collected Best Picture honors from many of the major critics organizations, in addition to seven BAFTA Awards, including two for Spielberg. He also won the Golden Globe Award and received his second DGA Award.
Spielberg won his first DGA Award for his work on The Color Purple and earned DGA Award nominations for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Empire of the Sun, Jaws and Amistad. With nine in all, Spielberg has received more DGA Award nominations than any director in history, and, in 2000, he received the DGAs Lifetime Achievement Award. He is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute and the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Spielberg was raised in the suburbs of Haddonfield, New Jersey and Scottsdale, Arizona. He started making amateur films while still in his teens, later studying film at California State University, Long Beach. In 1969, his 22-minute short Amblin was shown at the Atlanta Film Festival, which led to a deal with Universal, making him the youngest director ever to be signed to a long-term deal with a major Hollywood studio.
Four years later, he directed the suspenseful telefilm Duel, which garnered both critical and audience attention. He made his feature film directorial debut on The Sugarland Express from a screenplay he co-wrote. His other earlier film credits as director include Always, Hook, and the Raiders of the Lost Ark sequels Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Spielbergs more recent films include the futuristic thriller Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, and he also wrote, directed and produced A.I. Artificial Intelligence, which was realized from the vision of the late Stanley Kubrick. In 2000, Spielberg won the Stanley Kubrick Brittania Award for Excellence in Film, presented by BAFTA - Los Angeles.
In 1984, Spielberg formed his own production company, Amblin Entertainment. Under the Amblin banner, he has served as producer or executive producer on more than a dozen films, including such successes as Gremlins, The Goonies, Back to the Future I, II, and III, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, An American Tail, The Land Before Time, The Flintstones, Casper, Twister, The Mask of Zorro, Men in Black and Men in Black II. Amblin Entertainment also produces the hit series ER with Warner Bros. TV.
In October 1994, Spielberg partnered with Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen to form the new studio DreamWorks SKG. Since then, the studios successes have included three consecutive Best Picture Oscars® for American Beauty, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind, the latter two in partnership with Universal.
Spielberg has also devoted his time and resources to many philanthropic causes. The impact of his experience making Schindlers List led him to establish the Righteous Persons Foundation using all his profits from the film. He also founded Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, which has recorded more than 50,000 Holocaust survivor testimonies. In addition, Spielberg executive produced The Last Days, the Shoah Foundations third documentary, which won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature. He is also the chairman of the Starbright Foundation, which combines the efforts of pediatric health care, technology and entertainment to empower seriously ill children.
WALTER F. PARKES (Producer), in addition to being the co-head of DreamWorks Pictures, is one of the most active producers in Hollywood today. He most recently produced the thriller The Ring, starring Naomi Watts, which has grossed more than $100 million at the box office. He also produced the summer 2002 releases: Minority Report, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise; and, with his partner and wife Laurie MacDonald, the sequel Men in Black II, which re-teamed Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith and director Barry Sonnenfeld. Parkes and MacDonald had earlier produced the 1997 blockbuster Men in Black, for which they were named ShoWest Producers of the Year.
Parkes was also an executive producer on the acclaimed drama Road to Perdition, starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, under the direction of Sam Mendes. Previously, Parkes served as an executive producer on Ridley Scotts Gladiator, which won five Academy Awards®, including Best Picture, as well as Best Picture honors from the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Broadcast Film Critics Awards, among others.
His additional credits as an executive producer or producer include the Jackie Chan starrer The Tuxedo, the recent remake of The Time Machine, The Mask of Zorro, Deep Impact, Amistad, The Peacemaker, Sneakers, which he also co-wrote, Volunteers, Project X and True Believer.
A three-time Academy Awardâ nominee, Parkes earned his first nomination as the director/producer of the 1978 documentary California Reich, which exposed neo-Nazi activities in California. He garnered his second Oscarâ nomination for writing (with Lawrence Lasker) the original screenplay for WarGames, and his third nod for his work as a producer on the Best Picture nominee Awakenings.
As co-head of DreamWorks Pictures, together with Laurie MacDonald, Parkes has overseen such successes as the Oscar® and Golden Globe-winning Best Picture American Beauty, and the Academy Awardâ and Golden Globe-winning drama Saving Private Ryan, which was the top-grossing film domestically of 1998.
JEFF NATHANSON (Screenwriter) has worked on a variety of film and television projects over the last ten years. He wrote the screenplay for the hit action comedy Rush Hour 2, having earlier worked on the first Rush Hour. His other film work includes Speed 2: Cruise Control and Twister. He more recently wrote Providence, a black comedy that he will also direct, and he just completed a rewrite for the upcoming DreamWorks project Terminal, to star Tom Hanks.
Nathanson graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles, before entering the American Film Institutes screenwriting program in 1989.
FRANK W. ABAGNALE (Author/Consultant) is today one of the worlds most respected authorities on the subjects of forgery, embezzlements and secure documents. However, more than 35 years ago, he was better known as one of the worlds most infamous confidence men. Between the ages of 16 and 21, he successfully posed as an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor and a pediatrician. During that five-year period, he cashed $2.5 million in fraudulent checks across the United States and in 26 foreign countries.
Apprehended by the French police when he was 21 years old, he served time in prisons in France, Sweden and the United States. After five years, he was released on the condition that he would use his expertise to help the federal government by teaching and assisting its law enforcement agencies. Over the past 25 years, Abagnale has more than met that condition.
Believing that punishment for fraud and recovery of stolen funds are extremely rare, Abagnale teaches prevention as the only viable course of action. He has developed new procedures and created manuals and educational programs utilized by over 14,000 financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and corporations. He lectures and instructs extensively at the FBI Academy and field offices, and conducts more than 140 domestic and international seminars each year with the single objective of instructing attendees how to reduce their exposure to fraud, forgery and embezzlement.
In the private sector, Abagnale designed the IPS Official Check used by thousands of financial institutions in place of cashiers checks. He also designed and developed the SAFEChecks and Check Plus programs that provide small and medium businesses with an inexpensive secure check. His expertise is relied upon by three major secure document printers and credit card manufacturers. In addition, he is a consultant to the nations largest accounts payable auditing firm.
Frank Abagnales consulting business includes document reviews and design as well as specialized training and seminars. In his continuing efforts to provide companies, law enforcement and institutions with up-to-date information on todays high-tech crimes, Abagnale publishes The Client Service Bulletin, a document devoted exclusively to the education in and prevention of forgery and embezzlement. He also publishes The Abagnale Document Verification and Currency Transaction Manual and the quarterly Abagnale Advisor Newsletter. In 1998, he was selected as a distinguished member of the Pinnacle 400 by CNN Financial News.
Since authoring the bestselling 1980 memoir Catch Me If You Can, Abagnale has more recently written The Art of the Steal. The book chronicles the remarkable story of how he parlayed his knowledge of cons and scams into a successful career as a consultant on preventing financial foul play, while also showing the reader how to identify and outsmart perpetrators of fraud.
BARRY KEMP (Executive Producer) optioned Frank Abagnales book Catch Me If You Can from Michel Shane and Tony Romano in 1997, and first developed the screenplay with Jeff Nathanson. A well-known writer and producer for both television and film, Kemp previously executive produced the hit comedy Romy and Micheles High School Reunion, starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow, and produced the Robin Williams hit Patch Adams. For television, he has created and/or produced 12 television series, including the two back-to-back hits Newhart, starring Bob Newhart, which ran on CBS for eight years, and Coach, starring Craig T. Nelson and Jerry Van Dyke, which ran on ABC for nine years.
Kemp began his career 25 years ago as a staff writer for the acclaimed television series Taxi. Over the course of his three seasons with the show, he wrote 14 episodes, earning an Emmy nomination and two Writers Guild nominations. In 1981, Kemp was recruited by MTM to create a new series for Bob Newhart, resulting in the CBS hit Newhart. Kemp was an executive producer on the series for the first two seasons, receiving two more Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe nomination and a Peoples Choice Award nomination, all for Best Comedy series. In 1986, he co-wrote and executive produced the five-part CBS comedy miniseries Fresno, starring Carol Burnett, Charles Grodin and Teri Garr.
The following year, Kemp moved to Universal Television, where he created the series Coach, which premiered on ABC in 1989 and ran for 200 episodes. During his ten years at Universal, Kemps other projects included Coming of Age, Princesses, Delta, Blue Skies and A Whole New Ballgame.
Kemp now heads two separate producing entities. Bungalow 78 Productions has an overall deal with Paramount Television to develop and produce new series, their most recent project being the prequel to Romy and Micheles High School Reunion, which is being developed as an ABC two-hour movie and back-door pilot. The film division, The Kemp Company, is developing various film projects, including Without Warning, based on the 1997 flood in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Seeing Red, loosely based on the true story of a young American marketing whiz assigned the task of converting the fabled Russian Red Army hockey team into a successful capitalist enterprise.
LAURIE MACDONALD (Executive Producer), the co-head of DreamWorks Pictures, has also produced or executive produced a number of films. She and her husband, Walter F. Parkes, most recently teamed to produce the hit thriller The Ring, starring Naomi Watts. MacDonald and Parkes also produced this past summers sequel Men in Black II, which reunited stars Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones and director Barry Sonnenfeld. The duo had earlier produced the 1997 sci-fi comedy smash Men in Black, which brought them Producers of the Year honors at ShoWest.
MacDonald was an executive producer on the Oscar®-winning Best Picture Gladiator, which was one of the most honored and successful films of 2000. Her credits as an executive producer also include the Jackie Chan starrer The Tuxedo, the recent remake of The Time Machine, The Mask of Zorro, The Peacemaker, Amistad, How to Make an American Quilt, The Trigger Effect and Twister.
As co-head of DreamWorks Pictures, alongside Walter Parkes, MacDonald has overseen such feature hits as American Beauty, which won numerous honors, including the Academy Awardâ for Best Picture; and Steven Spielbergs Oscarâ-winning drama Saving Private Ryan, which was 1998s highest-grossing release domestically.
MacDonald began her producing career as a documentary and news producer at KRON, the NBC affiliate in San Francisco. She later joined Columbia Pictures, where she served as a Vice President of Production. After four years, she started a production company with Walter Parkes. Immediately prior to joining DreamWorks, MacDonald oversaw development and production at Amblin Entertainment.
MICHEL SHANE and TONY ROMANO (Executive Producers), principals in Romano Shane Productions, most recently executive produced the dramatic fea