JENNIFER JASON LEIGH first came to prominence alongside Sean Penn, Phoebe Cates and Nicolas Cage as the heartbreakingly innocent teenager, Stacy, in Amy Heckerling’s seminal FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. Six years later she garnered the Best Supporting Actress Awards from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Boston Society of Film Critics for her portrayals in both Uli Edel’s LAST EXIT TO BROOKLYN and George Armitage’s MIAMI BLUES.
Risky, complex, characters have become the signature of this actress who disappears chameleon-like into her roles. Jennifer has worked with many of the most fearless, maverick directors of our time. She starred in two films for Robert Altman — SHORT CUTS and KANSAS CITY, Joel and Ethan Coen’s THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, Barbet Schroeder’s SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, David Cronenberg’s EXISTENZ, Jane Campion’s IN THE CUT, Agnieszka Holland’s WASHINGTON SQUARE, Sam Mendes’s ROAD TO PERDITION and Ulu Grosbard’s GEORGIA which she produced with the director, and for which she was honored again by the New York Film Critics Circle, this time with the Best Actress Award. Her performance also earned her The Montreal Film Festival Best Actress Award and her second Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Jennifer’s collaboration with Robert Altman continued when he selected her for the role of Dorothy Parker in his production of Alan Rudolf’s MRS. PARKER AND THE VICIOUS CIRCLE, a performance which won her a Golden Globe nomination, the Best Actress Awards from the National Society of Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics Association and her first Independent Spirit Award nomination.
Her other films include: Lili Fini Zanuck’s RUSH, Ron Howard’s BACKDRAFT, Chrisopher Guest’s THE BIG PICTURE, Brad Anderson’s THE MACHINIST, Todd Solondz’s PALINDROMES. In 2000 she won The Best Actress Award at Tokyo’s International Film Festival for the dogma film THE KING IS ALIVE.
Jennifer made her writing and directorial debut in 2001 with the critically lauded, THE ANNIVERSARY PARTY which she co-wrote, co-starred and co-directed with Alan Cumming. The Independent Spirit Awards honored the pair with Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay nominations, and the movie garnered a citation for Excellence in Filmmaking from the National Board of Review.
On Broadway, Jennifer most recently starred opposite Edie Falco and Ben Stiller in John Guare’s THE HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES directed by David Cromer. Other Broadway credits include CABARET opposite Alan Cumming and directed by Sam Mendes and David Auburn’s PROOF. In 2006 Jennifer starred in the American premiere of Mike Leigh’s ABIGAIL’S PARTY for The New Group. The performance earned her the Drama Desk and the Lucille Lortell Best Actress nominations. She also starred in the radio play, ANOMALISA written and directed by Charlie Kaufman at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles.
Her career has been honored with numerous retrospectives,including the prestigious American Cinematheque, Telluride Film Festival, and the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York. In 2002, the Film Society of Lincoln Center presented Leigh with its Young Friends of Film Honors.
In 2007 Jennifer starred in Noah Baumbach’s MARGOT AT THE WEDDING opposite Nicole Kidman and Jack Black for which she was nominated for the Gotham Award, Chicago Film Critics Association Award, International Press Academy Satellite award, Dallas/Ft. Worth Film Critics Award, Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Award and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Other work includes writer/director Charlie Kaufman’s SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener and GREENBERG in which she is opposite Ben Stiller. She has recently done an arc on WEEDS playing Mary Louise Parker’s estranged sister.
Combining good looks and an innate acting ability, Martin Henderson is a member of the ‘next wave’ of actors that have made their way to Hollywood from Australia and New Zealand. Martin recently wrapped Atom Egoyan’s upcoming feature, Devil’s Knot, starring alongside Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, and Mireille Enos. Martin can also soon be seen starring alongside Jennifer Jason Leigh in the upcoming independent feature, The Moment. Television wise, he recently wrapped the NBC, Jerry Bruckheimer produced drama, The Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives. Martin stars along with Nicole Ari Parker, James Tupper, and Perry Reeves in the pilot, written by Sascha Penn.
Martin previously starred opposite Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Ray Liota, and Michelle Rodriguez in the critically acclaimed film Battle in Seattle. He has starred in multiple US films, but is most notably known for his performance starring opposite Naomi Watts in the Dreamworks’ horror hit The Ring. Martin also starred in the Warner Brothers action feature Torque in 2004, which was set in the world of motorcycle racing.
Born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, Henderson was introduced to acting when Strangers, a local television program, held an open casting call at his elementary school. He was thirteen years old when he was cast in this series and he has been acting professionally ever since. He went on to star in the New Zealand drama Shortland Street and in 1993 was nominated and won the ‘Best Male Dramatic Performance in a Television Show’ award at the New Zealand Television and Film Awards (equivalent to the Emmy Awards here in the US) for his role as ‘Stuart.’ In 1995 Henderson moved to Sydney, Australia where he played an Olympian in training on the series Sweat. He was later cast opposite Rahda Mitchell in the feature Kick, set in the world of the Sydney ballet. Martin is best known in Australia for his work on the independent crime thriller Little Fish where he starred opposite Cate Blanchett and Sam Neill. He was nominated for an Australian Academy Award for this performance.
In order to prepare himself for acting in the United States, Henderson moved to New York in 1997 and began a two-year program of study at the Neighborhood Playhouse. During his course of study, he was seen in the off-Broadway play Ophelia Thinks Harder at the Samuel Beckett Theatre. He has since returned to the stage in 2006 where he starred opposite Juliette Lewis in Sam Shepherd’s play Fool For Love at the Apollo Theatre in London. Martin was most recently seen on stage in Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof at the Melbourne Theatre in 2008. His other bodies of work include, Flyboys, Smokin’ Aces, and Windtalkers.
Henderson currently lives in Los Angeles.
Success arrived early for Alia Shawkat and she continues to establish herself as a highly sought after young actress in both film and television. Shawkat was named one of Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch for 2009 and one of Hollywood Reporter’s 10 rising comedy talents. She recently wrapped production on the independent drama Night Moves opposite Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard. In the last year, Shawkat has been busy filming a slew of much anticipated film projects: The To-Do List, opposite Aubrey Plaza, Bill Hader, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Donald Glover, and Andy Samberg; Brass Teapot opposite Juno Temple and Michael Angarano; The Moment, with Jennifer Jason Leigh and Martin Henderson. She recently reunited with director Cherien Dabis on the independent drama May in Summer which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Shawkat will next be seen in the highly anticipated, long awaited, new season of the Emmy award winning comedy “Arrested Development” which will premiere in May on Netflix.
In October 2012, Shawkat hit the big screen with two starring roles: the independent drama The Oranges and independent comedy That’s What She Said. Leighton Meester, Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney and Adam Brody also star in The Oranges, a film about a guy (Laurie) who falls in love with the daughter (Meester) of a family friend. In That’s What She Said, Shawkat stars opposite Anne Heche and Marcia Debonis as a young interloper who battles New York City and a day of disaster with two best friends. The film is directed by actress Carrie Preston. Early this year, she was also seen in Ruby Sparks, with Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Shawkat’s other film credits include: Fox Searchlight Pictures comedy Cedar Rapids opposite Ed Helms and John C. Reilly, directed by Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt), Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut Whip It, a dramedy released by Fox Searchlight Pictures about a misfit teenager (Ellen Page) who discovers herself through joining a roller derby league; Amreeka, a film about a Palestinian family who relocates to Illinois, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and was released by National Geographic Entertainment; Bart Got a Room, opposite William H. Macy and Cheryl Hines, in which Shawkat also served as a producer on the film; The Runaways, coming-of-age biopic about ’70s teenage band; the ensemble family comedy Deck the Halls with Matthew Broderick, Danny De Vito and Kristin Chenoweth,; and her first film role playing a young Iraqi child in Three Kings opposite George Clooney.
In addition to a bustling film career, Shawkat has appeared in many projects on the small screen as well. Her career began at the young age of 11 when she landed a leading role on the ABC Family series “State of Grace.” However, she is best known for her role as ‘Maeby Funke’ on Fox’s Emmy award winning “Arrested Development,” where she portrayed a rebellious and mischievous member of a dysfunctional Orange County family trying to adjust to their loss of wealth. She recently had a recurring role on USA Network’s “Starter Wife” with Debra Messing. Her additional television credits also include a starring role in the Lifetime original movie “Not Like Everyone Else” and guest starring roles on “Veronica Mars,” “JAG,” “Without a Trace,” “Boomtown,” and “Presidio Med.”
Shawkat was born in Palm Springs, CA and currently lives in Los Angeles. Off screen, she is an emerging artist & painter (www.mutantalia.com) in talks to show her work in NY and LA galleries. She is also an aspiring animator for television and comic books. And additionally, she made her singing debut, singing jazz standards at Littlefield in New York.
Marianne Jean-Baptiste received Academy Award, Golden Globe and British Academy Award nominations for her feature-film debut role in Mike Leigh’s “Secrets and Lies.” Marianne will next be seen in four upcoming feature films: “The Moment” opposite Jennifer Jason Leigh and Martin Henderson, directed by Jane Weinstock, “Violet & Daisy” opposite James Gandolfini and Saoirse Ronan, directed by Geoffrey Fletcher, Fernando Meirelles’ “360” (Magnolia) opposite Jude Law, Anthony Hopkins, and Rachel Weisz and “Won’t Back Down” (FOX) opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, opening September 28th. Other film credits include in “Takers” (Screen Gems), “City of Ember” (Fox), “The Cell” (New Line), “28 Days” (Columbia), “The 24 Hour Woman”(Artisan) and “Spy Games” (Warner Brothers) opposite Robert Redford. For seven years Marianne portrayed ‘Vivian Johnson’ on “Without A Trace” (CBS). She and her cast mates were nominated for the SAG Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2004. She was nominated for a NAACP Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series three years in a row. Other television credits include “Harry’s Law” (NBC), “Sons of Anarchy” (FX), “The Murder of Stephen Lawrence” (PBS), “The Man” (BBC) and Oprah Winfrey’s mini-series “The Wedding” (ABC). A writer and composer, she wrote the score for Mike Leigh’s feature film “Career Girls.” She has written and performed with British jazz musicians, including Jason Rebello, for whom she wrote and recorded four tracks on his album “Keeping Time.” Her directing talents shine in “Ink,” a short film that she wrote and directed. Marianne’s directorial credits also include “Without A Trace” episode ‘Wanted.’ Marianne is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Theatre credits include “The Way of the World,” “Measure for Measure”(Royal National Theatre), “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Merchant of Venice” (Shakespeare in the Park) opposite Al Pacino.
Whether he’s on tape, stage, or screen, Meat Loaf’s presence is always felt.
He may be typically recognized as the Grammy Award-winning musical titan who sold over 43 million copies of the classic album, Bat Out Of Hell, but he’s truly an actor at heart. In fact, as far as creative pursuits go, acting actually came first for Meat. To date, he’s appeared in over 55 films and television shows ranging from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Crazy in Alabama, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, and Fight Club to House, M.D., Masters of Horror, Hallmark’s Citizen Jane, Monk, and Glee. However, acting became part of his oeuvre while he was attending high school in his native Dallas, Texas.
“I really just wanted to get out of study hall,” chuckles Meat with a smile. “I couldn’t sit quiet for 45 minutes so I enrolled in drama class as an elective when I was a sophomore. By my senior year, I was actually taking it very seriously.”
After moving to Los Angeles, Meat began making a name for himself as a local musician. In 1968, he gained immense notoriety as part of the Los Angeles production of the counter culture musical, Hair. It revved up both his stage and music careers all at once.
Shortly after, he relocated to New York and moved audiences in Hair’s Broadway production. Living in the Big Apple in the early ’70s, he continued to cultivate a unique acting style while appearing in productions of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It in Central Park and other plays at the Manhattan Theater Club, Kennedy Center, Circle in the Square, and off-Broadway.
He was also the 13th actor ever to be put on salary full-time at the city’s illustrious Public Theater and he had a stint working at Café La Mama. At the Public Theater, he acted in a rendition of As You Like It directed by celebrated director Joseph Papp. Collaborating with the likes of Lee Strasberg, Meat learned from some of the best names in show business.
“I’d be rehearsing one play during the day while doing another at night,” he says. “I studied method, method image, and the Meisner Technique. I just needed to know everything I could about the craft.”
In 1975, he made his big screen debut in the cult phenomenon, The Rocky Horror Picture Show as Eddie. The movie played a part in further establishing Meat as a versatile force in both film and music as he continued to evolve as a performer.
He describes his enigmatic style best. “I like to play characters who are ever so slightly quirky. They’re real. I enjoy those offbeat and relatable characters. I never want to play someone who’s straight ahead and on the nose.”
One of his most notable “offbeat” roles includes Robert Paulson in David Fincher’s 2000 masterpiece, Fight Club. Alongside Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter, he proved riveting as the former bodybuilder and cancer survivor, giving the hyper-kinetic and violent film a poignant, emotional center. “I loved that character. I even created a certain walk for Robert, and Fincher reshot a scene to effectively capture it,” he enthuses.
Meat humanizes every role he accepts, adding both dimension and depth to their DNA. “Whether it comes to music or acting, I want people to be able to pull me out and step in,” he reveals. “When I’m doing a role, I want the viewer to step into my shoes and have the same feeling that I’m having. I want to disappear, and I want people to understand the emotion that I’m going through. It’s about preserving the tension and feeling between the audience and myself. I want them to connect to the emotional level as opposed to just watching me.”
His acting even often informs what he does musically. Ever since the timeless Bat Out Of Hell, Meat has approached his musical output like he would a movie. Legendary producer of Hang Cool Teddy Bear Rob Cavallo appropriately dubbed Meat, “an actor who acts like he can sing.”
“I interpret a song the same way I would interpret a script,” Meat goes on. “There are beats in a script. I try to capture the emotion of the song. The band usually has to learn to do that with me. I don’t speak in musical terms; I speak in acting terms.”
Over the course of his career, he’s shared the screen with the likes of Liam Neeson, Steve Martin, Michael Keaton, Antonio Banderas, William H. Macy, Laura Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Debra Winger, Val Kilmer, and countless others. “I love working with giving actors. Acting is about reacting. I’m constantly looking to learn and find the truth that’s hidden in the character. You’ve got to have coaches on your team too. It’s better to have two minds analyzing a role.”
Ultimately, the characters will always come first for Meat Loaf. He wants them to become immortal in the minds of viewers, and they most certainly do. “If I finish a scene and I don’t know what happened, it’s going to be okay,” concludes Meat. “It’s the best compliment when people don’t know I played the character. Meat Loaf as they know it is completely gone, and the character takes over.”
That’s why you’ll feel it anytime Meat Loaf is in front of an audience. — Rick Florino, February 2012
Golden Globe Award winning television, film and stage actor, Navid Negahban recently starred on Showtime’s Emmy winning drama series HOMELAND, in the role of the CIA’s most wanted terrorist “Abu Nazir.” Nazir, a high ranking member of Al Qaeda, is suspected by CIA analyst Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes) to have turned decorated U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicholas “Nick” Brody (Damian Lewis) against America while he was held captive as a prisoner of war and is now a threat to the United States.
Negahban’s film credits include a powerful leading role in the critically acclaimed feature THE STONING OF SORAYA M., in which he played Ali, dubbed by the New York Times as, “satanic as any horror-movie apparition.” He has also had significant supporting roles in BROTHERS starring Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal; POWDER BLUE with Jessica Biel and Forest Whitaker, and CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Amy Adams. Negahban has also signed on to star alongside Clive Owen in the indy film WORDS AND PICTURES being released Fall 2013.
Most widely recognized for his recurring role on Fox’s eighth and final season of the TV hit show 24; Negahban portrayed Jamot, an IRK (Islamic Republic of Kamistan) delegate and confidant to President Dalia Hassan (Necar Zadegan) during the politically delicate United Nations conference. He has also made appearances (among others) on CSI: NY, CSI: MIAMI, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, LAW & ORDER: SVU, THE CLOSER, CRIMINAL MINDS, THE UNIT, LAS VEGAS, LOST, JAG, THE WEST WING, WITHOUT A TRACE and THE SHIELD.
Born in Mashhad, Iran, Negahban took a liking to acting at the age of 8 provoking laughter from a large audience by portraying an old man on stage. His passion for acting led him to Germany where he spent eight years honing his theatrical skills prior to arriving in the United States. He is fluent in English, Farsi and German and in his spare time, enjoys traveling, studying anthropology, shooting pool, driving and playing poker.