Master and Commander
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Production Notes - Trailer Feature

THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

MASTER AND COMMADER has the distinction of being the only feature film ever to shoot on The Galapagos. A province of Ecuador, The Galapagos is home to a variety of unique plant and animal species, including the almost-extinct giant tortoise. When English naturalist Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos in 1835 on his historic voyage aboard HMS Beagle, he discovered a natural laboratory rich in flora and fauna. His research of the animal life there contributed to his theory of evolution and natural selection.

Before receiving permission to shoot on the Galapagos, the filmmakers spent months addressing the concerns of the Ecuadorian government and the Galapagos National Park representatives, regarding the scope of the film company’s activity in the Park, as well as the presentation of the Galapagos within the story.

Film - Master and Commander -  Russell Crowe on the high seas - Trailer Feature
The Galapagos scenes are the only time where the men of the Surprise leave their wooden world to touch land. The story’s reverence for the Islands is reflected in Stephen Maturin’s studies as a naturalist and in his intense desire to see the Islands during their journey. “I love that aspect of Maturin; he gives us a glimpse of the world at that time, bursting with new developments in science and natural history,” says Weir.

“It was an incredible era: there was a feeling that knowledge was opening up in ways that were completely new. Stephen’s activities hint, as Patrick O’Brian certainly intended, that Darwin was to come, less than forty years later, and make discoveries which he would later incorporate into his theory of evolution.” Weir and a reduced shooting unit shot at the Galapagos for seven days. Cast members Paul Bettany, Max Pirkis and John DeSantis, along with 36 film crew members and all of the company’s equipment, were housed on the small tour ship the M/V Santa Cruz, a vessel built especially for moving around the Galapagos.

Filmmakers, cast, crew and equipment were transported from the Santa Cruz to the islands each day via small boats, and all equipment was hand carried and removed from the islands each night. While the filmmakers captured one-of-a-kind material during their visit to The Galapagos, logistical requirements dictated that they also recreate the area in Baja.

Digital matte painter Robert Stromberg of Digital Backlot worked with ILM to transform the gray cliffs of Baja into the startling landscape of The Galapagos. (Stromberg and company even accentuated the color of the sky in the Galapagos footage, enhancing the Islands’ already impressive beauty.) In addition, Asylum digitally cloned birds, iguanas and other fauna native to The Galapagos, for these scenes shot in Baja. According to Robert Stromberg, it’s hard to overestimate the importance of the Galapagos scenes.

“It’s the only point in the movie you actually see land,” he points out, “making it a centerpiece of the movie. Peter wanted to make The Galapagos look almost like another planet to the men aboard the Surprise.” MUSIC A trio of noted Australian musicians – Iva Davies, Richard Tognetti and Christopher Gordon – composed the film’s score. They previously collaborated on “The Ghost of Time,” a piece commissioned for the Millennium celebrations in Sydney, which came to the attention of Peter Weir. The director was so impressed, he played the piece on the MASTER AND COMMANDER set throughout production, and he asked its creators to write the music for his movie. The score interweaves “Old World” and “New World” music, reflecting the talents and backgrounds of its composers. Iva Davies hails from both pop and classical traditions; Richard Tognetti, one of the world’s great violin virtuosos, taught Russell Crowe the ins and outs of the instrument; and film/television composer Christopher Gordon brought orchestral texture to the project.

Given the period, it comes as no surprise that the score is infused with source music from Bach (“Cello Suite”) and Mozart, among other great classical composers. Percussion dominates portions of the score. “Drums signal the forward movement of the ship,” says Davies, “that it’s on a mission. It brings you back into the action.” The score’s biggest surprise comes with its use of synthesizers. “Peter doesn’t make films in the expected way,” says Davies, “and for that reason we wanted the score to be not what everyone expected. Peter wanted some scenes to have what I call a kind of ‘futuristic’ sense” – conveying the idea that these 19th century sailors were cutting-edge explorers.

LIFE ON THE SET / FINAL THOUGHTS

Despite the rigors and challenges of an epic production, the cast and crew found time to mix it up during a series of rugby games, organized by Russell Crowe, to toughen everyone up for the film’s final battle scenes. Between scenes, cast members could retire to The Monkey Bar, a lounge built on the studio lot, conceived by Peter Weir as a place for the actors to gather together. Here, the cast developed a camaraderie that translated to their on-screen interactions.

“I thought the cast, who were spending months in Baja, far from home, needed a club, like a gentleman’s club in England,” says Weir. “The only thing I did insist on was that there would be no televisions, radios or CD players. It was a place for conversation, to play pool or chess, or to read and have a cappuccino.” On one of the final days of second unit shooting, Weir was directing the action on the tank ship when the Rose, which had completed its role in the film, passed the studio on its way to San Diego dry dock from its temporary berth in Ensenada.

As it sailed by its “twin” in the tank, Weir and historical advisor Gordon Laco fired swivel guns in salute and farewell to the Rose. After a short interval, the Rose answered with a salute of her own, as filmmakers and crew watched from the shore. “It was quite moving, and there were tears in many eyes,” says Laco. “I was proud of what we had done to transform Rose into an authentic frigate, but it marked the end of the unforgettable experience of working on this film. And for the young sailing crew, to whom the Rose had been home for years, it was especially bittersweet.”

For Peter Weir, the final days of shooting and post-production were the culmination of a three-year journey that he looks forward to sharing with audiences. “I hope moviegoers enjoy the chase, the action and the voyage from the coast of Brazil, round the Horn and up to the Galapagos Islands, but will also feel that they are living aboard this ship,” says Weir.

ABOUT PATRICK O’BRIAN

Patrick O’Brian is one of the great, if relatively undiscovered, authors of the twentieth century. His novels were often compared by critics to the work of Jane Austen and even Homer. A writer of breathtaking erudition, O'Brian evoked in complete and dazzling detail an entire world – that of the British Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.

n addition to formidable scholarship, O'Brian brought to his work keen psychological insights, a sharp wit, and fast-paced, heart-stopping action. In a cover story in The New York Times Book Review published on January 6, 1991, Richard Snow wrote that Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin naval adventure novels are "the best historical novels ever written. On every page Mr. O'Brian reminds us with subtle artistry of the most important of all historical lessons: that times change but people don't, that the griefs and follies and victories of the men and women who were here before us are in fact the maps of our own lives." And in a Washington Post article published August 2, 1992, Ken Ringle wrote, "The Aubrey/Maturin series far beyond any episodic chronicle, ebbs and flows with the timeless tide of character and the human heart."

In addition to his acclaimed Aubrey-Maturin novels, author Patrick O’Brian is the biographer of Joseph Banks and Picasso, and his first novel, Testimonies and his Collected Short Stories were republished by HarperCollins. O’Brian translated many works from French into English, among them the novels and memoirs of Simone de Beauvoir and the first volume of Jean Lacouture’s biography of Charles De Gaulle. In 1995, he was the first recipient of the Heywood Hill Prize for a lifetime’s contribution to literature and in the same year, he was also awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). In 1997, O’Brian was given an honorary doctorate of letters by Dublin’s Trinity College. O’Brian died in January 2000.

ABOUT THE CAST

RUSSELL CROWE (Captain Jack Aubrey) has received three consecutive Academy Award Best Actor nominations for his performance in: The Insider (2000), Gladiator (2001) and A Beautiful Mind (2002). He won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Maximus, the Roman general-turned-gladiator, in Ridley Scott’s blockbuster Gladiator. This role also earned him Best Actor honors from several critics’ organizations, including the Broadcast Film Critics. In addition, he received nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA.

In Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind, Crowe’s masterful portrayal of Nobel Prize-winning John Forbes Nash, Jr. earned him his third Academy Award nomination and garnered him Best Actor awards from the Hollywood Foreign Press, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA, among other critics groups. Crowe received his first Academy Award nomination for his work in Michael Mann’s non-fiction drama The Insider, as tobacco company whistle-blower, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand. He also earned Best Actor Awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics, Broadcast Film Critics, National Society of Film Critics and the National Board of Review; and nominations for a Golden Globe® Award, a BAFTA Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award™.

Before his award-winning acclaim, Crowe made his mark in Curtis Hanson’s crime drama, L.A. Confidential, as vice cop Bud White. He later starred in Jay Roach’s Mystery, Alaska, and in Taylor Hackford’s Proof of Life, opposite Meg Ryan. In 1995 he made his American film debut in the western The Quick and the Dead, with Gene Hackman and Sharon Stone, and then starred as the cyber-villain Sid 6.7 in Virtuosity, opposite Denzel Washington. Additional film credits include Heaven’s Burning, Breaking Up, Rough Magic, The Sum of Us, For the Moment, Love in Limbo, The Silver Brumby, based on the classic Australian children’s novel, The Efficiency Expert and Prisoners of the Sun. Born in New Zealand, Crowe was raised in Australia where he has also been honored for his work on the screen.

He was recognized for three consecutive years by the Australian Film Institute (AFI), beginning in 1991, when he was nominated for Best Actor for The Crossing. The following year, he won the Best Supporting Actor Award for Proof, and, in 1992, he received Best Actor Awards from the AFI and the Australian Film Critics for his performance in the controversial Romper Stomper. In 1993, the Seattle Film Festival named Crowe Best Actor for his work in both Romper Stomper and Hammers Over the Anvil. Crowe currently resides in Australia.

PAUL BETTANY (Dr. Stephen Maturin) portrayed Charles Herman, mathematician John Nash, Jr.’s imaginary roommate in Ron Howard’s Academy Award-winning Best Picture A Beautiful Mind, starring opposite Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Ed Harris. He was nominated for the London Film Critics’ Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The British-born Bettany is a recognized star overseas with well-received performances in film, on the London stage and on British television. American audiences first discovered him in A Knight’s Tale, in which he played the comical role of Chaucer opposite Heath Ledger. Bettany earned the Best Supporting Actor award from the London Film Critics for his performance in the film, and led to his being named one of Daily Variety’s “Ten to Watch” for 2001.

Classically trained at the Drama Centre in London, he made his stage debut in a West End production of An Inspector Calls under the direction of Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot). He then spent a season with the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing in productions of Richard III, Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar before landing his first feature film role in Bent. Bettany returned to the stage to appear in Love and Understanding at London’s Bush Theatre.

He later reprised that role at the Longwharf Theatre in Connecticut. The play led to more British television work, including Lynda La Plante’s Killer Net and Coming Home, in which he starred with Peter O’Toole. His appearance in the Royal Court Theatre productions of One More Wasted Year and Stranger’s House preceded his second feature film role in David Leland’s Land Girls with Catherine McCormack and Rachel Weisz. He next appeared in the film After the Rain.

Bettany portrayed Steerforth in the TNT production of David Copperfield, directed by Peter Medak, opposite Sally Field and Michael Richards. More feature film roles followed, including The Suicide Club with Jonathan Pryce and David Morrissey. He was nominated for a British Independent Film award and a London Film Critics’ award for Best Newcomer in the just-released Gangster No.1, directed by Paul McGuigan, and starring Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, and Saffron Burrows. He stars in the period mystery-thriller The Reckoning opposite Willem Dafoe, which re-teamed Bettany with director Paul McGuigan. Next, Bettany starred in the independent U.K. feature Heart of Me, starring opposite Helena Bonham-Carter and Oliver Williams for director Thaddeus O’Sullivan.

He recently starred in director Lars von Trier’s (Dancing in the Dark, Breaking the Waves) dramatic thriller Dogville, also starring Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skaarsgard. Bettany’s most recent project is Wimbledon, also starring Kirsten Dunst, directed by Richard Loncraine, and centering on the tennis world. BILLY BOYD plays Coxswain Barrett Bonden. Boyd most recently portrayed Peregrin (Pippin) Took in director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings film trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien book series. The first and second films in the series, The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers, were released to worldwide boxoffice success. His other films include An Urban Ghost Story, Julie and the Cadillacs and a film short, Soldiers Leap. Boyd, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, began his acting career in the Scottish television series Taggart.

is UK television credits include Coming Soon and Chapter and Verse. On stage, Boyd has performed in various UK productions including The Speculator, Trainspotting, An Experienced Woman Gives Advice, Therese Racquin, Britannia Rules, Kill The Old, Torture Their Young, The Chic Nerds, Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, Merlin the Magnificent and The Slab Boys, and most recently, the Traverse production of The Ballad of Crazy Paola. Boyd also plays guitar, bass and sings light baritone/tenor. JAMES D’ARCY portrays 1st Lt. Thomas Pullings. D’Arcy portrayed the title role in Nicholas Nickleby for Britain’s Channel 4.
He also appeared in several BBC TV productions, including The Ice House, Silent Witness, Beck, Dalziel and Pascoe, Tom Jones and Sunburn. D’Arcy’s film work includes Dot the I opposite Gael Garcia Bernal, which was recently featured at the Sundance Film Festival. He portrayed Sherlock Holmes in A Case of Evil, and he also appeared in the films Revelation, The Trench, Wilde and Guest House Paradiso. He performed in several theatre productions at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, including the title roles in Heracles and Sherlock Holmes; As You Like It, Wild Honey, The Freedom of the City and Larkrise to Candleford.

LEE INGLEBY portrays indecisive midshipman Hollom. Ingleby’s film credits include Borstal Boy for director Peter Sheridan, Ever After for director Andy Tennant, and Beer Goggles. For television, his work includes roles in ITV’s Nicholas Nickleby, the BBC productions of Nature Boy, Dalziel and Pascoe, The Dark Room and In the Red; and Impact, Spaced, Junk, A Wing & A Prayer, A Small Addition and Soldier Soldier. Ingleby’s theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as Puck; the West End production of Cressida and About The Boy, for the Royal Court.

GEORGE INNES is able Seaman Joe Plaice. Innes’ film credits include Last Orders for director Fred Schepisi, Richard Attenborough’s A Bridge Too Far, Stephen Frears’ Gumshoe, The Italian Job, and Billy Liar for director John Schlesinger. Innes’ television work includes roles in Nicholas Nickleby, Who Killed Cock Robin, Menace, the popular long-running British series Upstairs, Downstairs, as well as appearances on American classic series such as Cagney & Lacey, Magnum P.I., M.A.S.H., Hill Street Blues and the miniseries Shogun. Innes’ theatre work includes the Broadway and the Steppenwolf Theatre productions of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice and the National Theatre productions of Olivier’s Othello and Dutch Courtesan.

MARK LEWIS JONES portrays the whaler Mr. Hogg. Jones recently completed his second season of the BBC TV series The Bench. His credits also include Lenny Blue for Granada, the BBC productions of Dangerfield, This Life, Casualty, Between the Lines, Gaslight and Candles and Heartland. Jones appeared in the TNT telefilm The Mists of Avalon and Hallmark’s Jason and the Argonauts, Granada Films’ Paper Mask and TVS’ The Shell Seekers, as well as Carlton production Soldier, Soldier and The Angry Earth for Britain’s Channel 4. Jones’ theatre credits include several Royal Shakespeare Company productions, among them The Tempest, Love’s Labours Lost, The Merchant of Venice and Richard III. His credits at the Globe Theatre include roles in Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar, The Winters Tale and The Maids Tragedy.

CHRIS LARKIN portrays Royal Marines Captain Howard. Larkin’s film work includes roles in Angels and Insects for director Philip Haas and Tea With Mussolini, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. Also for Zeffirelli, Larkin portrayed Frederick Lynn in Jane Eyre. Larkin portrayed Marston in First Sight Films’ Emmy®-nominated Shackleton and he played the title role in Darwin. For BBC TV, Larkin’s credits include roles in Roger Roger and Casualty. His theatre work includes the West End production of When We Are Married; and Taming of the Shrew, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Towards Zero, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

RICHARD McCABE plays Mr. Higgins, assistant surgeon to Dr. Maturin. McCabe portrayed Tony in the boxoffice hit Notting Hill opposite Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. His television work includes the BBC presentations of A Prince Among Men, Persuasion, Between The Lines and For the Greater Good; Carlton Productions’ The Vice and Under the Sun; and ITV’s Bramwell. McCabe is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and his extensive theatre background includes performances in the RSC Stratford/Barbicon productions of Othello, Three Hours After Marriage, Troilus and Cressida, and the Royal National Theatre productions of Way of the World, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Absolute Hell. For Birmingham Repertory, McCabe performed the title role in Hamlet, and he has also performed in presentations of As You Like It, Romeo & Juliet, Amadeus as Mozart, The Changeling and The Alchemist. ROBERT PUGH portrays sailing master Mr. Allen. Pugh’s film credits include the forthcoming Plotz With A View starring Christopher Walken, Alfred Molina and Brenda Blethyn; Innocence, Happy Now, Enigma, The Tichborne Claimant, Hello, Hello, Hello, Superman III and The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain. For television, Pugh appeared in the BBC Productions Silent Witness, Score, The Lakes, Dangerfield and Drover’s Gold; and for Britain’s Channel 4, Sword of Honor, The Secret Life of Michael Fry and Dance to the Music of Time. Pugh’s theatre work includes productions of The Iceman Cometh, A Streetcar Named Desire, Elephants Foot, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hamlet and Playing the Game.

DAVID THRELFALL plays Killick, Jack’s rather uncivil servant. Threlfall earned both Tony® and Emmy nominations for his work as Smike in the acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company production of Nicholas Nickleby in London, New York and for Britain’s Channel 4. Threlfall’s feature film work includes roles in The Russia House, Patriot Games, and Murderers Among Us. For television, he played Prince Charles in the NBC miniseries Diana: Her True Story, and he also appeared in BBC presentations of Clothes In The Wardrobe, Men of the World, The Brylcream Boys and Sex, Chips & Rock ‘n’ Roll, as well as the telefilm A Casualty of War. Threlfall was a Royal Shakespeare Company leading player from 1977-79, appearing in RSC productions of Savage Amusement, A & R, Shout Across the River, Sons of Light, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Suicide and Julius Caesar.

Thirteen year old MAX PIRKIS plays the midshipman Lord Blakeney. Pirkis was cast in the role after meeting with director Peter Weir, and participating in an audition with other prospective midshipmen, including fellow cast member Max Benitz. Pirkis has played the violin since the age of 6, and he is presently studying the saxophone. His school work includes French and Latin, he has performed in school drama productions and is a avid soccer and cricket fan. Pirkis has accompanied his family on treks through the Himalayas and the Andes Mountains. He marks his second trip to the Galapagos Islands for his role in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, having visited previously with his family. Pirkis lives in London with his parents, his sister and two dogs.

EDWARD WOODALL plays the poetic 2nd Lt. William Mowett. Woodall’s work includes the films Enigma, directed by Michael Apted; The Jolly Boys Last Stand, Emma and Triphony. Woodall’s television credits include Cold Lazarus, Harbour Lights, The Tenth Kingdom and Oliver Twist. Woodall also performed in the Royal Shakespeare Company productions of Everyman and The Mysteries, and his other theatre credits include roles in productions of School for Scandal, Bitching, Boozing and Bumming Fags, The Changeling, Conquest of the South Pole and Wanted Man.

IAN MERCER plays ship’s boatswain Mr. Hollar. Mercer’s film credits include Shooting Stars, The First Day and Blue Money. For television, Mercer portrayed Ernest Holness in the telefilm Shackleton and he was Gary Mallett in the popular series Coronation Street. His television credits also include the BBC productions of One By One, Pity in History, Common as Muck, Night Voice, Brick is Beautiful, The Monocled Mutineer and Flowers in the Rain. Mercer’s theatre work includes roles in productions of Bent, Spend, Spend, Spend, Billy Liar, Far From the Madding Crowd, Beauty and the Beast and Romeo and Juliet.

Eighteen-year-old MAX BENITZ portrays midshipman Peter Calamy. A finalist for a role in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Benitz was chosen for the role of Calamy after completing an improvisational interview with Weir, a second reading with other cast members, and was chosen for the role of Calamy later that day. Benitz attended school in London, where he was born and raised. He has performed in school productions of As You Like It, Hamlet, The Pirates of Penzance and Me and My Girl.

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

Australian director PETER WEIR producer/Director/Screenplay) is renowned for such films as Gallipoli, Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Year of Living Dangerously, Witness, Dead Poets Society and The Truman Show. Weir received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director in 1999 for The Truman Show, which starred Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, the unwitting star of the longest-running, most popular documentary-soap opera in history.

Ed Harris (Best Actor in a Supporting Role) and Andrew Niccol (Best Screenplay written directly for the screen) received Academy Award nominations for their work on the critically acclaimed film, which also earned six Golden Globe nominations, including a Best Director nomination for Weir, and a Golden Globe win for Jim Carrey, as Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. In addition, Weir was honored by BAFTA with the David Lean Award for Direction for the film. In 1991, Weir received an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay of his romantic comedy Green Card, which starred French actor Gerard Depardieu (in his first English-speaking role) and Andie MacDowell.

Weir’s previous film, Dead Poets Society, a character drama starring Robin Williams as a joyously eccentric English teacher who inspires his students, earned the director an Academy Award nomination for Best Director as well as the prestigious BAFTA Award for Best Picture and Italy’s Donatello Award for Best Direction. Born in Sydney, Australia, Weir began his moviemaking career with three prize-winning short films before directing The Cars That Ate Paris, an offbeat comedy-horror film based on his own short story. His first international motion picture success came in 1975 with Picnic at Hanging Rock, which brought him widespread attention and became the most successful Australian film of the 1970s.

In 1977, Weir directed The Last Wave, starring Richard Chamberlain as a lawyer haunted by recurring dreams. He then wrote and directed The Plumber (1978), an unusual black comedy made for television that won the Australian Sammy Award for best writer-television plays and best television play. Weir’s next film, Gallipoli, the story of two Australian youths caught up in the idealistic fervor of World War I, swept the Australian Film Institute Awards and became a worldwide box office success.

In 1983, Weir reunited with his Gallipoli star Mel Gibson for The Year of Living Dangerously, which starred Gibson, Linda Hunt and Sigourney Weaver. Hunt won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her memorable work in the film. In 1985, Weir directed Harrison Ford in Witness, the haunting thriller in which a young Amish boy becomes a witness to murder, sparking a clash of cultures within his community. The film received eight Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture, and a Best Direction nomination for Weir. In 1986, Weir directed The Mosquito Coast, again starring Harrison Ford, and in 1993, Fearless, a drama about people’s varying reactions to tragedy and loss, which starred Jeff Bridges, Rosie Perez, Isabella Rossellini and John Turturro.

SAMUEL GOLDWYN, JR. (Producer) A risk taker and a survivor is the best way to describe Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. Having spent most of his life in the entertainment industry, Goldwyn has produced some of the industry's most ground-breaking and acclaimed films. His work has left an indelible impression on several generations of film audiences. Goldwyn currently presides over The Samuel Goldwyn Company, whose activities encompass feature film development, production and distribution. A long-time member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he also is an officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters. In 1997 at ShowEast, he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Exhibitors. Most recently, he was honored by the University of Connecticut with a Doctorate of the Arts.

Taking chances on films that no other studio would is an important element in Goldwyn's life. Some of these gems include bringing films based on Shakespearean scripts back into favor with Kenneth Branagh's Henry V and, later, Much Ado About Nothing. Never one to back away from controversy, he presented the AIDS drama Longtime Companion at a time when the American population and the media were avoiding the subject at all costs. Desert Hearts, another Goldwyn film, dealt with the then taboo topic of a lesbian relationship.

Three Goldwyn films have captured the prestigious Palme d'Or at Cannes David Lynch's Wild at Heart, Bille August's The Best Intentions, and Steven Soderbergh's Sex, Lies and Videotape. Foreign films are another passion, having released The Best Intentions, 3 Men and a Cradle, Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita, the recent Faithless, and Ang Lee's Oscar-nominated classics Wedding Banquet and Eat Drink Man Woman. He has also been a champion of fine documentary works, highlighted by the Oscar-winning Hotel Terminus, the multi-Award-winning 35 Up, Sting's Bring on the Night and the critically-acclaimed Mystery of Picasso.

He has consistently found a talent pool in Great Britain, producing and presenting such films as Gregory's Girl from director Bill Forsyth, Anthony Minghella's Truly, Madly, Deeply, and the multi-Oscar nominated The Madness of King George, featuring first time director Nicholas Hytner and "overnight" sensation Nigel Hawthorne. As a producer, he has garnered a reputation as a "discoverer" of talent having provided the forum to launch the careers of numerous stars, producers, directors and writers.

Goldwyn's Mystic Pizza introduced Julia Roberts as a leading lady, Once Bitten showcased the talents of then unknown comedian Jim Carrey; Hollywood Shuffle served as the springboard for the talented Robert Townsend, and filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and his first film, Stranger Than Paradise. Among the other films that Goldwyn has produced and/or distributed include Better Than Sex, Solas, Greenfingers, and King of Masks. Other notable company productions and releases include Lolita starring Jeremy Irons, The Preacher's Wife with Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston, Big Night, I Shot Andy Warhol, Angels and Insects, To Live, A Prayer for the Dying, Sid and Nancy, Turtle Diary, Prick Up Your Ears, Black Robe, Mississippi Masala, The Playboys, and Dance with a Stranger. He also was responsible for the television phenomenon, American Gladiators, which ran for seven seasons in the U.S. and around the world. In 1987 Goldwyn took on the monumental task of producing the 59th Annual Academy Awards. The Academy invited him back the following year and Goldwyn was rewarded with an Emmy Award for Best Variety-Music Programming for his efforts on that show.

In the early 1970's he produced two successful comedies which helped set the tone for an emerging genre, the black film cycle, with Cotton Comes to Harlem starring Godfrey Cambridge and Come Back Charleston Blue. Two 1990s releases also helped pave the way for future works by black filmmakers-- To Sleep with Anger and Straight Out of Brooklyn. The son of legendary producer Samuel Goldwyn and actress Frances Howard, Goldwyn was born and raised in Los Angeles. He later attended the University of Virginia where he majored in English and Drama.

After a stint in the Army during World War II, he went to work in England for J. Arthur Rank Productions as a writer and associate producer and also spent some time in various capacities in the London theatre. Returning to Hollywood, he worked for a short time as a writer and producer at Universal Studios before once again joining the military in 1950. This time, he joined the staff of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, where he produced and directed documentary films. His Alliance for Peace won first prize at the Edinburgh Film Festival, serving as an auger of things to follow. Returning to the U.S. in 1952, he picked up where he left off, working for a time under Edward R. Murrow at CBS News. He went on to co-produce the documentary series, Adventure, which won a George Foster Peabody Award.

In 1955, Goldwyn formed his own independent production company. Among the company's productions were Man with a Gun with Robert Mitchum, Sharkfighters, The Proud Rebel with Alan Ladd and Olivia de Havilland, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Young Lovers, which he also directed. The new Goldwyn Company was founded in 1979 stemming from Mr. Goldwyn's vision for a motion picture company with the scope of a major studio and the heart of an old-fashioned family business. Using more than 50 classic American films owned by the original company as building blocks, classics such as Wuthering Heights, Pride of the Yankees, Best Years of Our Lives, Guys and Dolls, Hans Christian Anderson, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the company continues to build a library of fine films.

In addition to his role as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Goldwyn serves as President of The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation, a non-profit organization with a primary interest in health, education and child services. The Foundation sponsors a yearly writing competition for the University of California system, which has a proven track record of launching the careers of talented young screenwriters. The Foundation also constructed the Hollywood Public Library in memory of Frances Howard Goldwyn

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