Watchmen Transforming the Masks

Nevertheless, Rorschach has one of the most striking attributes of all the costumed superheroes: his mask of shifting inkblots. “The evolution of Rorschach’s mask was a long and complex one,” remarks Wilkinson. “We developed a printing process onto a fantastic four-way Lycra that enabled us to create a rough, canvas-like texture but also had a stretchy quality, so we could achieve that smooth, egg-like silhouette. And then the digital effects team created these beautiful moving inkblots on top of the fabric. It was a great collaboration between costumes and visual effects.”
In order to complete the effect of the perpetually morphing inkblot mask—which Rorschach calls his “face”—the lycra was embedded with motion capture markers. “It was covered in tracking dots, except for my eyes,” describes Haley, who dubbed his mask “the sock.” “Even though Rorschach’s eyes aren’t visible under the mask, I was able to see what I was doing. So, the material and the blots move; it’s just absolutely awesome.”

“It was fascinating how Jackie was able to communicate so much emotion through this medium,” comments Deborah Snyder. “The patterns were designed as a reflection of his performance, and it was amazing how much complexity Jackie brought to Rorschach through his voice and body…how the mask became part of him.”

The visual effects team, under the supervision of John “DJ” DesJardin, animated the transitions between the inkblot patterns at different speeds, according to what Snyder wanted for the given scene. “We tried to model his expressions after the ones Dave Gibbons drew for the graphic novel,” DesJardin reveals. “The inkblots are not just black and white; the edges are grey and animated in a way that makes it look like the ink is coming out of the cloth and sinking back in again.”

Snyder and DesJardin engendered a natural collaboration in ensuring the tone of the visual effects would align with the vision the director was creating on the live sets. “The visual effects are a partner in the movie,” says Snyder. “Whether it was extending practical sets or inserting floating blimps in the skyline, or rendering Rorschach’s mask or Dr. Manhattan’s body—those are all things that have to go into the pipeline. And DJ did an amazing job of keeping this massive endeavor down to a very personal, shot-by-shot approach to the movie.”

Beyond visual effects, the embodiment of Dr. Manhattan hinged primarily on the actor playing him. “Dr. Manhattan was the biggest challenge for us,” says Deborah Snyder, “because we had to figure out how to create this god on earth that glows blue light, who can be 100-feet-tall, then shrink down to human size. At the same time, there was a real person playing Dr. Manhattan, through the medium of performance capture. It takes a really disciplined actor to pull that off, and Billy did such a great job.”

Billy Crudup’s performance would provide both the physical and the emotional anchor for the superbeing. Notes Levin, “Manhattan is an amazing, fascinating character, yet I never made the kind of emotional connection to the character in the book as I did watching Billy play him. It was deeply moving. There are so many moments in the film where the material coupled with the cast’s performances resulted in the kind of alchemy that only great actors are able to conjure when bringing a character to life.”

In addition to his physical embodiment, Manhattan has an effect on the environment around him: a blue glow that emanates from his body. “When I read the graphic novel, Manhattan was the only element that made me think, ‘How do we do this?’” recalls cinematographer Larry Fong.

Together, DesJardin and Fong found a creative solution. “We ultimately made a suit that had all the tracking markers we needed for motion capture but also thousands of LEDs that put out this nice, diffuse, blue light,” DesJardin explains. “Zack’s idea was that when Jon Osterman pulled himself back together, he made this ideal male form for him to embody. So, while keeping Billy’s face and remaining accurate to his performance, we created a CG character with a powerful, ultra-ripped, perfected body.”

Other cast members, however, could not rely on digital effects to alter their physical appearance or to prepare them for the intense action sequences in the film. Instead, they each undertook an individualized training program under the guidance of veteran stunt coordinator Damon Caro and his team.

“We looked at the characters specifically to determine what would be needed for each of their fight scenes, and all of the actors brought so much energy and enthusiasm to the table” says Caro, who had also worked with Snyder on “300.”

Malin Akerman had never done any kind of fight work so, Caro relates, “We pieced together a series of drills for her and she was so game to learn everything.” The actress also worked closely with her stunt double, Bridgett Riley, whose background is in women’s kickboxing and boxing.

“Bridgett trained me so hard, but I loved it,” Akerman states, admitting, “After the first week of training, I was thinking, ‘What did I get myself into?’ But then it got easier and it was such an amazing experience to learn the fight choreography. It brought out a whole different side of me that I didn’t know was there,” she smiles, “and definitely helped me get more into the character.”

For Rorschach, whose stature belies his strength, Caro offers, “Going in we figured that since Rorschach wears a mask, it would be easiest just to double him. But it turned out that Jackie was so psyched to do it. I looked at his movement and martial arts ability, and it was awesome. We ended up using him a lot.”

Haley adds, “I’ve been working out for a long time, doing different things to stay in shape. When I got this part, I started a new regimen to increase muscle mass and I also started to look at the proper way to eat. It was all about core training, and I started getting results that were off the hook.”

Unlike his partner, Patrick Wilson, as Dan Dreiberg, aka Night Owl II, had to appear alternately mild-mannered and threatening. The actor actually put on a fair amount of weight to reflect the contradiction between his alter egos. “I was in a different place from the other guys because I needed to be in shape to do all this fighting, but I had to gain 25 pounds or so to do the role; there was always an issue of Dan’s weight. I’m a runner but I had to stop doing any sort of cardio. Instead I did weights and more strength training because I needed Dan to be big but a little soft.”
Executive producer Herb Gains remarks, “We put the actors through physical training; aging makeup; wigs; prosthetics; bulky, uncomfortable suits… Everybody had a tremendous amount of pressure put on them and everybody delivered.”

Apart from the cast, the combination of intense action sequences and digital effects, done in such a stylized way, put specific demands on Larry Fong and editor William Hoy. “I tried to get my cues from how Zack wanted to apply his visual style to the film, from the complicated title sequence onward,” says Fong. “The shots he wanted were very precisely designed; they’re very specific, if you look at the storyboards.”

“The whole idea of symmetry plays a big role in the graphic novel, and Zack took that approach in composing shots,” comments Deborah Snyder. “The best way to do that was with a single camera. There’s not a lot of SteadiCam. The action plays out within the shots almost like the frames of a comic panel. It was something we all gave a lot of thought to and worked closely together to achieve.”

Every shot was highly controlled. “There were certain iconic frames that we wanted to stay true to that relate back to the graphic novel,” says Hoy. “These are the images you want to just burn into the viewer’s mind, but not to encroach on what’s happening emotionally among the characters.”

In addition to the characters who are so well known to Watchmen aficionados, the film has glimpses of some famous people of the day. A team of special make-up designers, led by Greg Cannom, created facial prosthetics to bring to life the many historical and celebrity figures that were integral to their respective eras, including Presidents Kennedy and Nixon, and younger versions of Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Annie Leibowitz, and The Village People.

Music also plays a major role in establishing the timeline of the story. Snyder affirms, “Music is really important to me because not only does it set us in a place in time, it has the ability to evoke a flood of images and emotions.”

“Watchmen” features a collection of classic songs from such legendary artists as Nat “King” Cole, Billie Holiday, Simon & Garfunkel, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. In addition, the group My Chemical Romance performs a reinterpretation of the Bob Dylan song “Desolation Row.” The film’s musical score is by composer Tyler Bates.
Snyder asserts, “It’s a history with similarities to the one we all know. The big events—the sounds and sights—are largely the same. It’s the details that are different.”

“All of the different elements of the film made it hugely complex logistically and a colossal endeavor overall. I have to commend Zack, who took the whole thing on his shoulders and never seemed to break a sweat,” says producer Lloyd Levin. “He knows how important Watchmen is to so many people. But he embraced it fully and completely, without any fear.”

Producer Lawrence Gordon agrees, adding, “Perhaps equally as impressive as his exciting vision for the movie was Zack’s ability to remain a nice guy throughout the making of it. And now that the film is finished, I can say it was well worth the wait.”

Deborah Snyder states that everyone involved brought unparalleled passion and commitment to their work in bringing Watchmen to the screen. “Watchmen is not only significant to the comic book community; it has so much significance as a piece of literature. Our hope is that whoever sees the film discovers or rediscovers the graphic novel because there’s so much more than we can possibly get on the screen.” Zack Snyder reflects, “Watchmen is such a milestone; it was a privilege to direct this film. Deborah and I had so much fun working alongside everyone involved to finally make it happen. For me, the ‘why’ of this movie is all the small moral questions that lead to a giant moral question, and that question has no real answer. The end of the movie is meant to spark debate. I hope people come out of it thinking about which side of the question they might fall on. The graphic novel makes you question who is a good guy and who is a bad guy, and I hope the movie does the same thing.

“What is it that someone does that makes him a hero, even in real world terms? Those questions aren’t always as cut and dried, or as easy, as they are in movies. I think in the end ‘Watchmen’ wants to make that really difficult for you. And I think that’s how it should be.”

Watchmen Fabricating the Masks


The use of the graphic novel’s color palette extended to costume design as well. “We wanted to be very respectful to the source material, so that affected a lot of our color choices,” notes costume designer Michael Wilkinson. “We used a lot of greens, purples, oranges and browns…the murky secondary colors that darken as the story progresses.”

With the novel spanning several decades—from 1938 to 1985—and with much cutting back and forth between eras, it was essential to choose clothing that was appropriate for each period to make it clear where in the timeline a scene is taking place. The design team settled on “archetypal pieces that really summed up each decade and gave a sense of period authenticity to the movie,” says Wilkinson. While that sounds straightforward, the task was anything but, especially considering there were, at times, more than 300 extras in a scene. “There is a myriad of uniforms in the film—everything from World War II soldiers and sailors, to 1938 NYPD, to Vietnam War uniforms from both sides—and each one had to be meticulously well-researched. Adding to that, we had diner waitresses, prison cooks, security guards, flower children protesting in the 1960s, Soviet soldiers, astronauts and much more. I estimate there must have been about 150,000 pieces in our costume stock. We had a 600-page manifest, down to every last earring, and that’s a lot to wrap your brain around.”

The costumes for the key cast, like their environments, would need to be intimately designed, particularly their crime-fighting outfits. Wilkinson worked with the specialty costume company Quantum FX to create full body casts of all the major characters, upon which they then sculpted the details of each costume in clay. “We could then take those molds and render them in foam latex so you get a stylized physique—wrinkle-free and with beautiful, sculpted details, while being flexible and breathable for the actors,” he says.

For Dreiberg’s Owl costume, Wilkinson and his team researched 1970s aerospace technology to mimic Dan’s knowledge of birds and aerodynamics. “We looked at interesting NASA-style technology, things like exposed zippers, and air vents that might help him move through the air in a smoother way,” the costume designer offers. “At the same time, Zack wanted Nite Owl to be a little fear-inspiring; it’s important that putting on his costume has a very empowering quality. It helps Dan access a side of his personality that’s different from his very shy, retiring daytime character.”

The juxtaposition of daytime personality against the masked vigilante is also quite dynamic in the character of Silk Spectre. Sally Jupiter had created a sexy costume for her teenage daughter, a yellow and black mini-dress only marginally more modest than Sally’s costume had been. Wilkinson updated Laurie’s costume to be a form-fitting latex suit. “We wanted to keep the spirit of the graphic novel intact; Silk Spectre is in the same colors and has the same graphic silhouette as her costume in the book,” Wilkinson explains. “But we rendered it in latex because we liked the idea of that extreme, hyper-sexualized version of her character. It juxtaposes so beautifully with Laurie’s day-to-day look, which is very stitched together, tailored and precise, wanting to be taken seriously. We enjoyed exploring the two different sides of her personality.”

In contrast to the characteristically extreme costumes of the majority of the Masks is the almost non-descript costume of Rorschach: a simple trench coat. “When you read about the character in the graphic novel, he has a very bleak outlook on life,” Wilkinson observes. “He’s very misanthropic. He just wants to bring a little bit of justice in the world. In terms of his costume, there is the sense that he gave up caring about his appearance a long time ago. He just wears this outfit, not to make a particular impression, just because it’s what he wears. He keeps it in a dumpster. It has years of layers of grime and other encrusted crud on it. The whole litany of his past can be read through his trench coat.”

Patrick Wilson - Watchmen - Dan Dreiberg Nite Owl II

PATRICK WILSON (Dan Dreiberg/Nite Owl II) is an award-winning theatre actor who has also become well-known for his work on the screen. He next stars in the title role of the independent comedy “Barry Munday,” due out later this year. In 2008, Wilson starred in three very different films: Neil LaBute’s thriller “Lakeview Terrace,” with Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington; the mystery drama “Passengers,” opposite Anne Hathaway; and the independent film “Life in Flight,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Wilson previously received praise for his work in the critically acclaimed drama “Little Children,” in which he starred with Kate Winslet and Jackie Earle Haley under the direction of Todd Field. His motion picture work also includes the indie films “Evening,” with Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Claire Danes and Vanessa Redgrave; “Purple Violets,” directed by Edward Burns; “Running with Scissors”; and “Hard Candy,” opposite Ellen Page. He also starred as Raoul in Joel Schumacher’s big-screen adaptation of “The Phantom of the Opera,” showcasing his musical talents.

On the small screen, Wilson received Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations for his portrayal of the morally conflicted Joe Pitt in the HBO miniseries “Angels in America,” the much-honored 2003 adaptation of Tony Kushner’s award-winning plays “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches” and “Angels in America: Perestroika.”

Wilson has been honored with two consecutive Tony Award nominations for Best Actor in a Musical, the most recent coming for his performance as Curly in the successful 2002 Broadway revival of “Oklahoma!,” for which he also received a Drama Desk Award nomination. He earned his first Tony nomination for his work in the 2001 Broadway hit “The Full Monty,” for which he also garnered Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations and won a Drama League Award.

In 2006, Wilson returned to Broadway to star in the revival of the Neil Simon comedy “Barefoot in the Park,” opposite Amanda Peet. He most recently starred in the 2008/09 Broadway revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” with John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest and Katie Holmes.

Born in Virginia and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Wilson earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Carnegie Mellon University. Starting his career on the stage, he earned applause in the national tours of “Miss Saigon” and “Carousel.” In 1999, he starred off-Broadway in “Bright Lights, Big City,” winning a Drama League Award and receiving a Drama Desk Award nomination. That same year, he made his Broadway debut in “Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm,” for which he won another Drama League Award.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan - Watchmen - Edward Blake The Comedian

JEFFREY DEAN MORGAN (Edward Blake/The Comedian) has, in just the past few years, emerged as one of the industry’s most sought-after leading men. “Watchmen” is only the first of four very different motion pictures in which the busy actor stars this year. He next plays a detective who becomes emotionally involved in the case of a missing woman in the murder mystery drama “All Good Things,” directed by Andrew Jarecki and also starring Kirsten Dunst, Ryan Gosling and Frank Langella. In August, Morgan stars opposite Emile Hirsch in “Taking Woodstock,” a story surrounding the seminal 1969 music festival, directed by Ang Lee. The following month, he stars in the World War II period drama “Shanghai,” with John Cusack and Ken Watanabe under the direction of Mikael Hafstrom.

Morgan is about to start work on the suspense thriller “The Resident,” in which he stars as a seemingly charming landlord who develops a dangerous obsession with his newest tenant, played by Hilary Swank.

The new film reunites Morgan with Swank, with whom he worked when he played her prospective love interest in the romantic drama “P.S. I Love You,” under the direction of Richard LaGravenese. His film credits also include a cameo role in the holiday comedy "Fred Claus," and the independent comedy "Kabluey," with Lisa Kudrow.
Morgan first gained the attention of television audiences with a recurring role in ABC’s smash hit series “Grey’s Anatomy.” His dramatic arc as heart patient Denny Duquette, who wins the heart of Katherine Heigl’s Izzie Stevens in a star-crossed romance, made him a universal fan favorite. In addition, he has also had recurring roles on the hit CW series “Supernatural” and on the award-winning Showtime series “Weeds.”

Jackie Earle Haley - Watchmen - Walter Kovacs Rorschach

JACKIE EARLE HALEY (Walter Kovacs/Rorschach) has the rare distinction of being a successful child actor who, after virtually disappearing from Hollywood for 15 years, made an almost unprecedented comeback in back-to-back feature films: Steven Zaillian’s “All the King’s Men” and Todd Field’s controversial drama “Little Children.” Haley’s courageous performance in the latter brought him numerous accolades, including an Academy Award® nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He was also honored with a Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination and won Best Supporting Actor awards from several critics groups, including the New York Film Critics Circle and the Chicago Film Critics Association.

He more recently appeared in the Will Ferrell basketball comedy “Semi-Pro.” This fall, Haley will be seen in the thriller “Shutter Island,” in which he co-stars with Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley under the direction of Martin Scorsese.
Haley first came to fame in the mid-1970s with his scene-stealing performance as Kelly Leak, the cigarette-smoking, motorcycle-riding hellion, in Michael Ritchie’s comedy hit “The Bad News Bears,” reprising his role in two sequels. Haley again won praise from critics and audiences for his role as the romantic but short-tempered Moocher in Peter Yates’ Oscar®-winning 1979 sleeper hit “Breaking Away.” In 1983, Haley played the sex-obsessed Dave in Curtis Hanson’s “Losin’ It,” with Tom Cruise. That same year, he made his Broadway debut, starring in John Byrne’s play “Slab Boys,” with Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Val Kilmer.

Despite his early prominence, however, Haley found it difficult to successfully transition to more adult roles and turned his focus to directing. After years of struggling to make ends meet, he began directing industrial videos, which eventually led to commercial directing.

He had been off the screen for more than a decade when, in October of 2004, Steven Zaillian tracked Haley down—on his honeymoon in France—and asked him to audition for the role of Sugar Boy in “All the King’s Men.” Haley sent in a tape and won the part. Following that film, he landed the role of Ronnie McGorvey in Todd Field’s “Little Children,” resulting in his first Oscar® nomination and what has been the resurgence of his acting career.

Today, Haley divides his time between acting and directing.

Carla Gugino - Watchmen - Sally Jupiter Silk Spectre

CARLA GUGINO (Sally Jupiter/Silk Spectre), a favorite of film and television audiences, next stars in Andy Fickman’s family adventure “Race to Witch Mountain,” opposite Dwayne Johnson. The follow-up to the classic “Escape to Witch Mountain,” the film is set to open on March 13. Her upcoming films also include the indie features “Every Day,” and “Electra Luxx,” in which she plays the title role.

Last year, Gugino shared in a Screen Actors Guild Award® nomination as a member of the cast of Ridley Scott’s acclaimed 2007 drama “American Gangster,” with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe. In 2006, she starred in the smash hit comedy “Night at the Museum,” opposite Ben Stiller. Her recent film credits also include Jon Avnet’s “Righteous Kill,” starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, and Scott Frank’s “The Lookout.” In addition, she starred opposite Antonio Banderas in the hugely successful “Spy Kids” film trilogy, all written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez also directed Gugino in the action thriller “Sin City.”

For television, Gugino recently had a recurring role on the hit HBO series “Entourage,” playing uber-agent Amanda, who proves a formidable nemesis to Jeremy Piven’s character, Ari Gold. Among her earlier television credits are regular roles on the sci-fi series “Threshold”; “Karen Sisco,” as the title character; the hospital drama “Chicago Hope”; and the sitcom “Spin City,” opposite Michael J. Fox.

On the stage, Gugino is currently starring in the role of the alluring and headstrong Abbie in the Eugene O’Neil play “Desire Under the Elms,” which runs from January 17 to February 22 at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. She made her Broadway debut as Maggie in the 2004 revival of Arthur Miller’s “After the Fall,” earning an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination and a Theatre World Award for her performance. In 2006, she starred in the off-Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ “Suddenly Last Summer,” opposite Blythe Danner.

Gugino began her career while still in her teens, making her feature film debut in the comedy “Troop Beverly Hills.” She went on to appear in such films as “Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael”; the drama “This Boy’s Life,” with Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio; and the comedy “Son in Law.” Her additional film credits include “Miami Rhapsody,” with Sarah Jessica Parker; Nora Ephron’s “Michael,” starring John Travolta; “Snake Eyes,” opposite Nicolas Cage under the direction of Brian De Palma; and “The Singing Detective,” with Robert Downey Jr.

Stephen Colbert - Monsters vs. Aliens

STEPHEN COLBERT (The President) is the host and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated series on Comedy Central “The Colbert Report.” Touted by The New York Times as “one of the best television shows of the year” and praised as “a must watch show” by Entertainment Weekly, “The Colbert Report” has garnered ratings and critical success as one of the top shows on television.

Colbert’s personality, insight and overall rightness led to his half-hour nightly platform, which takes on issues of the day and, more importantly, tells you why everyone else’s take is just plain wrong. In just three seasons, “The Colbert Report” has received 12 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program and Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series. In 2008, “The Colbert Report” won its first Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program. In addition, “The Colbert Report” has also been honored with a prestigious George Foster Peabody Award in the 67th Annual Peabody Awards.

Colbert recently completed his first Christmas special, “A Colbert Christmas! The Greatest Gift of All,” with appearances by Elvis Costello, Willie Nelson, John Legend, Toby Keith, Feist and Jon Stewart. Colbert describes his special as “strangely sincere, but also sincerely strange.”

In 2007, Colbert published his first book, I AM AMERICA (And So Can You!), which debuted at #1 on The New York Times Best Seller List. In the book, he voices his opinions on all things American as loudly in print as he does on air.

Since 1997, Colbert was the longest-tenured and most diverse correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” He helped the show to win numerous Emmy and Peabody Awards as an on-air personality and show writer for the news satire. He contributed to AMERICA (THE BOOK): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction (Warner Books), which immediately topped The New York Times Best Seller List for 15 consecutive weeks. He also co-authored the critically acclaimed book Wigfield (Hyperion), which Publisher’s Weekly called “uproariously funny, painfully sharp and unlike anything the genre of humorous fiction has seen before.”

Born and raised near Charleston, South Carolina, Colbert graduated from Northwestern University and quickly made a name for himself as a member of Chicago’s famed Second City improv troupe, where he met Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello. The threesome moved to New York City, where they created and starred in “Exit 57,” a half-hour sketch comedy series that ran for three seasons on Comedy Central. “Exit 57” received five CableACE nominations for Best Writing, Performing and Comedy Series. Colbert reunited with Sedaris and Dinello to create Comedy Central’s first ever live-action narrative series, the cult hit “Strangers with Candy.”

Colbert’s other on-camera appearances are numerous. He starred opposite Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman in Columbia Pictures’ “Bewitched”; made memorable guest appearances on shows like HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”; was a cast member and writer on ABC’s “The Dana Carvey Show”; wrote for “Saturday Night Live” and was the voice of Ace on the SNL animated series “The Ambiguously Gay Duo”; and appeared in a long-running commercial campaign for General Motors/Mr. Goodwrench.

Colbert, his wife Evelyn, and their three children reside in the New York area.

Paul Rudd - Monsters vs. Aliens

PAUL RUDD (Derek Dietl) recently starred in Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up,” opposite Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann. “Knocked Up” grossed over $300 million worldwide and won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Movie Comedy. It was also nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy Movie and was named as one of AFI’s Top Ten Films of the Year.

Rudd most recently starred in David Wain’s “Role Models,” opposite Seann William Scott. Danny (Rudd) and Wheeler (Scott) are two energy drink salesmen who, after crashing their company truck, must either do hard time in jail or enroll in a Big Brother mentorship program. After one day with the kids, however, jail doesn’t look half bad. Rudd also served as a writer on the film. The film was released by Universal on November 7, 2008.

Rudd will next star in John Hamburg’s “I Love You, Man,” starring opposite Jason Segel. Rudd plays a newly engaged guy who sets out to find the perfect best man for his wedding. “I Love You, Man” will be released by Paramount on March 20, 2009.

Rudd’s other film credits include: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy,” “The Ten” (in which he also served as a producer), “Night at the Museum,” “Diggers,” “Reno 911!: Miami,” “The Cider House Rules,” “The Object of My Affection,” “Wet Hot American Summer,” “The Chateau,” “Clueless” and “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet,” among others.

On stage, Rudd starred in Richard Greenberg’s “Three Days of Rain” on Broadway, opposite Julia Roberts and Bradley Cooper. He also starred in Neil LaBute’s “Bash” in both New York and Los Angeles, as well as LaBute’s “The Shape of Things” in London and New York. After successful runs on both the London and New York stage, LaBute brought “The Shape of Things” to the big screen.

Rudd made his West End debut in Robin Phillips’ London production of “Long Day’s Journey into Night,” opposite Jessica Lange. Other stage credits include Nicholas Hynter’s production of “Twelfth Night” at Lincoln Center Theater (with a special performance that aired on PBS’ “Great Performances”) and in Alfred Uhry’s Tony Award-winning play, “The Last Night of Ballyhoo.”

On television, Rudd guest starred on NBC’s “Friends” as Phoebe’s (Lisa Kudrow) husband, Mike Hannigan, for the final two seasons and starred as Nick Carraway in A&E’s production of “The Great Gatsby.”

Rainn Wilson - Monsters vs. Aliens

RAINN WILSON (Galaxhar) can currently be seen on NBC in the fifth season of the Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning series for Best Comedy, the American version of “The Office,” alongside Steve Carell, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer. Over the years, he has endeared himself to millions and earned two Emmy nominations with his portrayal of Dwight Schrute, an eccentric paper salesman whose ego knows no bounds, dreams of being “#2” and fervently torments his colleagues in his own lovable, pathetic fashion.

On the big screen, Wilson most recently starred in “The Rocker,” a music-themed comedy that follows a failed, down-and-out drummer (Wilson) who, 20 years after being kicked out of his now-famous group, gets a second chance – with his nephew’s high school rock band. The film was released through 21 Laps Entertainment for 20th Century Fox. He also is currently in pre-production on “Bonzai Shadowhands,” a dark comedy that he will both write and star in for Fox Searchlight; Jason Reitman (“Thank You for Smoking,” “Juno”) is set to direct and produce through his Hard C shingle. The story revolves around a once-great ninja currently living a life of mediocrity somewhere in the San Fernando Valley.

Prior to “The Office” fame, he was best known for his role as Arthur Martin, the pitiable mortician’s apprentice on HBO’s Emmy Award-winning television series “Six Feet Under.” Previous film credits include “The Last Mimzy,” Ivan Reitman’s “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,” “Sahara,” Mario Van Peebles’ “Baadasss,” Steven Soderbergh’s “Full Frontal,” Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous,” “America’s Sweethearts,” “House of 1,000 Corpses” and “Galaxy Quest.” Wilson has also guest-starred on “CSI,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Dark Angel” and “Monk” and co-starred in the TV movie “When Billie Beat Bobby.”

Wilson honed his skills on the stage in New York for years before making the trip to Los Angeles to pursue onscreen work. His credits include performances in two Broadway plays, “London Assurance” and “The Tempest,” as well as off-Broadway productions of “The New Bozena” (a piece he created), “Plunge,” “Venus,” “Titus Andronicus” and “Twelfth Night.” He attended the graduate acting program at New York University.

Wilson currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, fiction writer Holiday Reinhorn, their young son, Walter, and their two pit bulls, Oona and Harper Lee.

Will Arnett - Monsters vs. Aliens

WILL ARNETT (The Missing Link) has been an extremely busy man of late. Arnett recently completed filming Jerry Bruckheimer’s “G-Force,” a combination live-action/CG film from Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films, opposite Penelope Cruz, Nicholas Cage and Steve Buscemi, which is slated for a July 2009 release. In addition, Arnett recently wrapped production on Walt Disney Pictures’ romantic comedy “When in Rome,” opposite Kristen Bell and Anjelica Huston. He will play a suitor who is aggressively trying to win the heart of a young girl (Bell) after she steals coins from a Roman fountain.

Arnett will soon return to television as well. He recently sealed a development deal with FOX, which will develop a comedy project for him to topline. Arnett will also provide a voice for FOX’s upcoming animated sitcom from creator Mitch Hurwitz, “Sit Down, Shut Up.”

Last year, Arnett was seen in the basketball comedy “Semi-Pro,” opposite Will Ferrell and Woody Harrelson, and also lent his voice to the hugely successful animated comedy “Horton Hears a Who!” with Jim Carrey and Steve Carell. In 2007, he was seen opposite Will Ferrell and Arnett’s wife Amy Poehler in the figure skating comedy “Blades of Glory,” and also co-starred opposite Will Forte in “The Brothers Solomon.”

Arnett earned his first Emmy nomination in 2006 for his work on the critically acclaimed FOX sitcom “Arrested Development,” where he portrayed Gob Bluth for three seasons. From time to time, Arnett guest-stars on NBC’s “30 Rock,” playing Devon Banks. This year, he earned his second Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for this role.

Before “Arrested Development,” Arnett was a regular on the NBC comedy series “The Mike O’Malley Show.” His additional television credits include guest-starring roles on “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos,” “Boston Public,” “Third Watch” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Arnett also appeared on NBC’s “Will & Grace,” playing Jack’s dance nemesis while auditioning to become a backup dancer for Janet Jackson.

Arnett’s other feature credits include “Ice Age 2: The Meltdown,” “R.V.” (opposite Robin Williams), “Monster-in-Law,” “The Waiting Game,” “The Broken Giant,” “Southie” and “Ed’s Next Move.” Additionally, he can be heard in a variety of commercials, most notably as the voice of GMC trucks.

Arnett currently resides in New York, where he lives with his wife and son.

Hugh Laurie - Monsters vs. Aliens

Known for possessing a keen eye for the complex characters he creates as an actor and a writer, HUGH LAURIE (Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D.) currently brings that talent to his work on the critically acclaimed series “House.”

Laurie currently stars in FOX’s hit medical drama “House,” for which he has won two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and an Emmy Award. The innovative and uncompromising series features Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, an antisocial and brutally honest doctor who combines an unconventional approach to his cases with flawless instincts. Also starring Omar Epps and Robert Sean Leonard, the series premiered its third season September 25, 2008.

Laurie previously starred in a number of groundbreaking British television comedy series, including four seasons of “A Bit of Fry and Laurie,” which he co-wrote for the BBC with Stephen Fry; three seasons of “Blackadder,” written by Richard Curtis and Ben Elton; and three seasons of “Saturday Live.” In addition, four seasons of “Jeeves and Wooster,” based on the novels of P.G. Wodehouse, aired on PBS’s “Masterpiece Theatre” from 1990-1995.

On the big screen, Laurie was most recently seen in the 20th Century Fox release “Flight of the Phoenix,” opposite Dennis Quaid, as well as director David Ayer’s “Street Kings,” opposite Keanu Reeves and Forrest Whitaker.

Other film credits include “Peter’s Friends,” directed by and co-starring Kenneth Branagh; “Sense and Sensibility” with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet; “Cousin Bette” with Jessica Lange; “The Man in the Iron Mask”; “101 Dalmatians”; and “Stuart Little” and “Stuart Little 2” with Geena Davis.

On American television, Laurie portrayed Vincente Minnelli opposite Judy Davis in the network telefilm “Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows.” He also appeared in “Tracy Takes On” and “Friends.”

In addition to acting, Laurie has directed television programs and commercials, composed and recorded numerous original songs and written articles for London’s The Daily Telegraph. Four volumes of “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” scripts have been published by Mandarin and his first novel, The Gun Seller, was published in both the UK and the US to critical acclaim and has been adapted into a screenplay for MGM.

Laurie was educated at Eton and Cambridge University, where he took a degree in anthropology. He also rowed in the University Boat Race of 1980. He was elected president of the venerable Footlights Revue, where he produced “The Cellar Tapes,” along with Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson. The show won the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Festival of 1981.

Seth Rogen in Monsters vs. Aliens

This year has not been slow for SETH ROGEN (B.O.B.). He started by lending his voice as Mantis (alongside Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie) in “Kung Fu Panda,” which has earned more than $630 million worldwide, making it DreamWorks Animation’s most successful non-sequel film ever. Rogen immediately followed “Kung Fu Panda” with another #1 box office hit in the action comedy “Pineapple Express,” a film he co-wrote with Evan Goldberg and starred in opposite James Franco and Danny McBride. Sony Pictures released the film in August, nearly earning $100 million worldwide to date. Most recently, Rogen was seen in Kevin Smith’s “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” released by The Weinstein Company in October, in which he starred opposite Elizabeth Banks.

Rogen has emerged leading a new generation of comedic actors, writers and producers. Nominated for an Emmy Award in 2005 for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy for “Da Ali G Show,” Rogen began his career doing standup comedy in Vancouver, Canada, at 13 years of age. After moving to Los Angeles, Rogen landed supporting roles in Judd Apatow’s two critically acclaimed network television comedies, “Freaks and Geeks” and “Undeclared,” the latter of which Rogen was also hired on as a staff writer at the age of 18. Shortly after, Rogen was guided by Apatow toward a film career.

In 2005, Rogen was cast by Apatow in the hit feature comedy “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” which opened #1 at the box office, where it remained at the top perch for two weekends in a row. The film went on to gross over $175 million worldwide and helped put Rogen on the map as a future film star. The film was named one of 10 Most Outstanding Motion Pictures of the Year by AFI and took home Best Comedy Movie at the 11th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. Rogen was a co-producer on the film as well.

In 2007, Rogen toplined the summer comedy “Knocked Up” with co-stars Katherine Heigl, Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann, a film that has grossed over $140 million domestically. Once again pairing Rogen with Apatow, the story centers on a one-night stand; eight weeks later, Alison (Heigl) reveals to Ben (Rogen) that she’s pregnant. Having little in common, the two decide that they have to at least try to make some kind of relationship work for the baby’s sake. Rogen was also an executive producer on the project, which was distributed by Universal Pictures.

Later that year, Rogen was seen in another summer blockbuster, “Superbad” (a semi-autobiographical comedy), which he co-wrote and executive-produced with writing partner Evan Goldberg; the film grossed over $120 million domestically for Sony Pictures. The story is based on two co-dependent high school seniors (Jonah Hill and Michael Cera), who are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry.

Other film credits for Rogen include “Horton Hears a Who!,” “The Spiderwick Chronicles,” “Drillbit Taylor,” “You, Me, and Dupree” and “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.”

He recently wrapped filming the comedy “Observe and Report” with writer/director Jody Hill (“The Foot Fist Way”) and producer Donald De Line (“The Italian Job”), where Rogen stars as Ronnie, a local mall security guard who wages war on the cops; in it, he plays opposite Anna Faris (“House Bunny”). Warner Bros. is set to release the film in 2009.

Rogen is currently filming Judd Apatow’s new comedy “Funny People,” which is set to release next July by Universal Pictures; Rogen stars as Ira and will be joined by comedy superstars Adam Sandler, Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann and Jason Schwartzman. At the conclusion of “Funny People,” Rogen will demonstrate his wide-ranging acting ability by starring in the action film “The Green Hornet” (Sony Pictures). He will again team up with writing partner Evan Goldberg for director Stephen Chow—the film has a scheduled release of June 2010.

Rogen currently resides in Los Angeles.

Academy Award winner REESE WITHERSPOON

Academy Award® winner REESE WITHERSPOON (Susan / Ginormica) has created the kind of unforgettable characters that connect with critics and audiences alike, making her one of Hollywood’s most sought after actresses.

She could last be seen in New Line’s hit comedy “Four Christmases,” opposite Vince Vaughn. The film follows a couple as they struggle to visit their four divorced parents for Christmas and the antics that ensue. To date, the film has grossed $156 million worldwide.

Prior to “Four Christmases,” you could see Witherspoon in the ensemble thriller “Rendition,” directed by Gavin Hood (whose previous effort, “Tsotsi,” won the Oscar® for Best Foreign Film), with a cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, Peter Sarsgaard, and Alan Arkin; the film premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival. She also starred as a spirit who refuses to accept her death in the romantic comedy “Just Like Heaven”; and as one of the most indelible characters in English literature, the social climbing Becky Sharp, in Mira Nair’s revisionist take on the Thackeray novel, “Vanity Fair.”

Her extraordinary performance as June Carter Cash opposite Joaquin Phoenix in the 20th Century Fox bio-pic “Walk the Line” earned her the 2006 Academy Award® for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, a BAFTA, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, New York Film Critics Award, Broadcast Film Critics Award and People’s Choice Award, as well as 11 additional awards.

Prior to “Walk the Line,” Witherspoon starred in many diverse projects with characters ranging from a fun-loving sorority girl to an uptight goodie-two-shoes. She captured the hearts of girls everywhere with her endearing performance as Elle Woods in the surprise hit “Legally Blonde,” and again two years later as both producer and star in “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde,” in which Elle Woods takes on Washington politics in defense of her beloved Chihuahua, Bruiser.

She also headlined in “Election” as the indelible Tracy Flick, whose mere existence torments her teacher Jim McAllister (Matthew Broderick); directed by Alexander Payne, this brilliantly reviewed and satirically edged comedy earned Reese a Best Actress Award from the National Society of Film Critics, as well as a Golden Globe Nomination. Her additional film projects include “Sweet Home Alabama,” which was the largest opening at the time for a female-driven romantic comedy; Sony Pictures’ teen cult classic “Cruel Intentions,” in which she plays the object of focus for Upper East Side step-siblings’ wicked games; and “Pleasantville,” written and directed by Gary Ross, in which she and Tobey Maguire played modern-day siblings who find themselves trapped in the wholesome world of a 1950s sitcom.

In 1995, Witherspoon starred opposite Mark Wahlberg in the pulpy thriller “Fear,” and received rave reviews for her performance in the independent feature “Freeway,” a wildly conceived modern version of “Little Red Riding Hood” produced by Oliver Stone, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and aired to record-breaking numbers on HBO.

Her illustrious career began when, at the age of 14, she hoped to be an extra in Robert Mulligan’s coming-of-age drama, “The Man in the Moon,” and unexpectedly landed the lead.

Witherspoon’s production company, Type A Films, in addition to producing “Legally Blonde 2” and “Four Christmases,” also produced the modern fairy-tale “Penelope,” starring Christina Ricci and James McAvoy.

Although low-key about her ongoing charity work, Witherspoon has been active on behalf of the Rape Treatment Center at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, as well as Save the Children. She currently serves on the Board of the Children’s Defense Fund, with whom she has been involved for many years, raising money and awareness for their multiple programs. Last year she went to New Orleans with a group of women to open the first “Freedom School” there, and they have since endowed 13 more community centers in the area.

The tale of “Monsters vs. Aliens”

The tale of “Monsters vs. Aliens,” however, originates from a few very earthbound sources—behind the walls of the Glendale, California campus of DreamWorks Animation with CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and two veteran feature film directors named Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon.

The mere mention of the word ‘monster’—especially when paired with the word ‘alien’—customarily lights up the eyes of any filmmaker (like Letterman and Vernon) who ever spent a Saturday afternoon planted in front of the television, watching a black-and-white cautionary tale (Don’t mess with Mother Nature! Radioactive fallout renders creatures gigantic!) in the form of a 1950s ‘B’ movie.

Not only were Letterman and Vernon enormous fans of the films, they were also heavily influenced by the style of the poster art of the genre. The evolving style of “Monsters vs. Aliens” was influenced not only by ‘B’ movies from the ‘50s and their printed advertising, but also from the Mad magazines of the period, which boasted the likes of iconic and influential illustrators Jack Davis, Don Martin and Jack Rickard. (Savvy viewers will recognize the homage to these sources during the war room playback of archival footage of the pre-capture sprees of Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D., The Missing Link, B.O.B. and Insectosaurus.)

Letterman had just finished helming the Oscar®-nominated DreamWorks Animation hit “Shark Tale” when he scheduled a meeting with Jeffrey Katzenberg to discuss his next project. “He asked me to take a look at a project that was in development about monsters,” recalls Letterman. “I had always wanted to do a comedy, kind of like the film ‘The Dirty Dozen.’ Oddly enough, it turned out to be a way to do my ‘Dirty Dozen’ comedy, as the Monsters are a type of rogue team that goes up against aliens invading the Earth…and so I loved the idea.”

For Vernon, the tale of the fantastical group’s clash began some 6,000 miles away. The director offers, “I was in Cannes for ‘Shrek 2,’ and I was looking over an early draft of the project. I saw that it had an element of a 1950s ‘B’ movie, which I had never before seen in animation. I thought that was a really interesting concept to tackle and how great it would be if we could give this gang of misfit Monsters personalities, and satirize those kinds of films at the same time. I especially thought it would be fun, since we pay homage to different styles of filmmaking and different genres of film. I thought that would be pretty interesting to try and take on.”

For Letterman, teaming up with fellow monster movie lover Vernon had great promise: “Conrad’s really great, a talented storyboard artist and director and a voice talent as well…I mean, he’s the voice of the Gingerbread Man [from the ‘Shrek’ movies]. It was a great advantage, because he could do all of the actors’ voices—he impersonates every single person in the cast. So while we were developing the story, we could build the movie while we were waiting for our chance with the actors. I mean, that was just one wonderful side benefit. But he’s great, and we really bounce off each other well.”

Vernon was also more than comfortable with sharing the “Monsters vs. Aliens” director’s chair: “From the beginning, we didn’t try to delineate jobs, but rather to create a back-and-forth way of working. We were in constant contact, pitching ideas about scenes and characters to each other. Our goal all along was to create a cohesive and entertaining film, and we did that by keeping each other in the loop. That assured that we both stayed on the same page about every aspect of the film, and we weren’t off separately making two very different projects. Always being clear about what film we were making—that kept it on track.”

Meanwhile, a world away (well, in the alternate universe of the live-action world, anyway), a producer was being recruited to join the MvA-ers. Lisa Stewart—who has worked on such titles as “Almost Famous” and “Jerry Maguire”—took a meeting, and her life took an unexpected turn…

“When Jeffrey Katzenberg calls, you take the meeting,” recalls Stewart. A talented and successful live-action film producer, Stewart had just wrapped production on a film and was looking forward to a break when she got the call to meet with Katzenberg and tour the studio’s Glendale animation campus.

It was on that tour that Stewart’s fate was sealed. “I saw this really great iconic image of Susan,” explains Stewart. “She was sitting on the roof of a gas station. Her fiancĂ© has just dumped her; she’s taking stock of her life. It was such an evocative image. I thought to myself, ‘This is a woman I want to know, I want to tell her story, I want to be a part of that world!’” The matter that she had never worked in animation did not intimidate Stewart in the least: “Great storytelling is great storytelling, and I had to see Susan’s story through.”

The fact that Susan’s story arc appealed to Stewart comes as no surprise. Throughout her career, the producer has a track record of bringing to the screen strong female characters, and the casting of Reese Witherspoon cinched the deal. “I’ve known Reese for a number of years as a friend and, when I found out she had been cast as Susan, I thought it would finally be a great opportunity to work with her.” Two co-producers also joined the gathering bunch, Jill Hopper Desmarchelier and Latifa Ouaou. Together, the pair can boast of more than 25 years of production experience at DreamWorks Animation, and that experience was put to good use by Stewart and the directors.

Monsters vs. Aliens Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd

When California girl Susan Murphy (REESE WITHERSPOON) is unwittingly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall. The military jumps into action and Susan is captured and put into a secret government compound. There, she is renamed Ginormica and held along with a ragtag group of Monsters: the brilliant but insect-headed Dr. Cockroach, Ph.D. (HUGH LAURIE); the macho half-ape, half-fish, The Missing Link (WILL ARNETT); the gelatinous and indestructible B.O.B. (SETH ROGEN); and the 350-foot grub called Insectosaurus. Their confinement is cut short, however, when a mysterious alien robot lands on Earth and begins storming the country. In a moment of desperation, The President (STEPHEN COLBERT) is persuaded to enlist the motley crew of Monsters to combat the alien robot and save the world from imminent destruction.

Other stars in this out-of-this-world ensemble include RAINN WILSON as Gallaxhar, the megalomaniac responsible for the alien robots and looking to replicate a new world in his own image; KIEFER SUTHERLAND as General W.R. Monger, an armed forces lifer who’s finally found a use for his collection of detained Monsters…battling the alien invader; and PAUL RUDD as Derek Dietl, Susan’s selfish fiancĂ©, who has outgrown his current weatherman position and aspires to network news greatness.
reamWorks Animation SKG Presents “Monsters vs. Aliens,” a Paramount Pictures release—and DreamWorks Animation’s first InTru 3D Movie, wholly conceived, developed and authored in 3D—featuring the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Seth Rogen, Hugh Laurie, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Paul Rudd and Stephen Colbert. The film is directed by ROB LETTERMAN (“Shark Tale”) and CONRAD VERNON (“Shrek 2”). The story is by Rob Letterman & Conrad Vernon. The screenplay is by MAYA FORBES & WALLY WOLODARSKY and Rob Letterman and JONATHAN AIBEL & GLENN BERGER. It is produced by LISA STEWART (“Almost Famous”) and co-produced by JILL HOPPER DESMARCHELIER and LATIFA OUAOU. “Monsters vs. Aliens” has been rated “PG” for sci-fi action, some crude humor and mild language by the MPAA.