ASHLEY JUDD (Agnes White)
An eighth generation Eastern Kentuckian, Ashley Judd first proved her acting abilities in her debut feature film role as ‘Ruby Lee Gissing’ in Victor Nunez' internationally acclaimed RUBY IN PARADISE. Now, a film star in her own right and having won major acting awards world wide, Judd has demonstrated her range and is a proven box office draw.
Ashley Judd as Agnes White in BUG, directed by William Friedkin.
Photo credit: Anthony Friedkin
Last fall, returning to her indie roots, Judd starred in the Bold Films feature film COME EARLY MORNING, written and directed by actress Joey Lauren Adams, her directorial debut. Judd played a “thirty-something” woman re-examining her wayward life in the town where she grew up and has been living in blame and denial. The film screened in competition at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. It was released on November 10, 2006 by Roadside Attractions, and garnered substantial praise for Judd’s honest performance.
Also on December 1st, which is World AIDS day, The Learning Channel featured a documentary of Judd’s travels to Central America this past spring in her ongoing commitment as Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS. Her friend and colleague, actor, feminist, and human rights activist, Salma Hayek accompanied her.
In 2004, Judd delivered a heartfelt, emotional performance as socialite ‘Linda Lee Porter’ in the MGM Studios, Cole Porter bio-pic, DE LOVELY, for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. The film chronicled their marriage, which inspired such famous Cole Porter tunes as “Anything Goes.” DE LOVELY premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
In early 2004, Judd starred in TWISTED for director, Philip Kauffman and also starred on Broadway for six months in the leading role of ‘Maggie’ in Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” was produced by Bill Kenwright and directed by Anthony Page and was a success by all standards.
Judd had a very successful and diverse 2002. She had a small, but significant appearance as ‘Tina Modotti’ in the Julie Taymor directed bio-pic of FRIDA KAHLO. In addition, Judd had a strong supporting role in THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD starring amongst an impressive cast including Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Maggie Smith and James Garner. The film was directed by Callie Khouri and was based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Rebecca Wells.
Judd also starred in 20th Century Fox’s HIGH CRIMES which re-teamed her with KISS THE GIRLS co-star, Morgan Freeman. The film was written by Joseph Finder and directed by Carl Franklin. Also for 20th Century Fox, Judd starred with Greg Kinnear and Hugh Jackman in SOMEONE LIKE YOU for director, Tony Goldwyn. With a turn to the romantic comedy genre, Judd portrayed a producer of a popular day time talk show who had a romance with the show's executive producer.
Judd’s other film credits include WHERE THE HEART IS, opposite Natalie Portman, Bruce Beresford's box-office success DOUBLE JEOPARDY, opposite Tommy Lee Jones for Paramount as well as EYE OF THE BEHOLDER with Ewan McGregor. Judd also starred in Walt Disney Pictures' 1998 drama SIMON BIRCH, based on the John Irving novel, A Prayer for Owen Meaney.
In 1997, Judd starred opposite Morgan Freeman in Paramount Pictures' box-office hit KISS THE GIRLS, as well as MGM's THE LOCUSTS, in which she co-starred opposite Vince Vaughn and Kate Capshaw. Judd was also seen in Michael Mann's HEAT, for which she won critical acclaim opposite Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Val Kilmer. In the summer of 1996, she appeared in Joel Schumacher's A TIME TO KILL, opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey. In late 1996, she was seen starring opposite Luke Perry in John McNaughton's black comedy NORMAL LIFE. Also in 1996, Judd received an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Norma Jean in HBO's "Norma Jean & Marilyn."
Judd made her debut theatre performance in the Naked Angels' production of "Busted," directed by Timothy Hutton. She then went on to star as Madge on Broadway in William Inge's Pulitzer-prize winning play, "Picnic" at the Roundabout Theatre Company, while simultaneously filming an unforgettable supporting role in the Miramax Film SMOKE, portraying the daughter of Harvey Keitel and Stockard Channing.
A Phi Beta Kappa nominee and Honors Program student of the University of Kentucky with a major in French and four minors, Judd studied the Meisner technique in acting when she first went to Hollywood.
Judd is also very proud to be the Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS, a global initiative that generates funding for grassroots programs in 65 countries and raises awareness to help fight the spread of HIV/AIDS among the world’s youth and most vulnerable populations. Judd has traveled throughout Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America to visit orphanages, slums, brothels, hospices, medical clinics, youth and drop in centers.
Her personal emphasis is on empowering girls and women, medically accurate sex education, and putting a stop to sex and human trafficking. To that end, she has been received by heads of state and religious leaders in all the countries she has visited, as well as having addressed the National Press Club and the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee here at home.
Judd resides in Tennessee and Scotland with her husband, international racing star Dario Franchitti. They have 8 beloved pets and enjoy a quiet, rural life.
MICHAEL SHANNON (Peter Evans)
Michael Shannon grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and began his professional stage career in Chicago. His first acting role was in “Winterset” at the Illinois Theatre Center. Over the next several years, he continued working on the stage with such companies as Steppenwolf, The Next Lab and A Red Orchid Theatre. He subsequently relocated to London for a year, and performed on stage in London’s West End in such productions as “Woyzeck,” “Killer Joe,” and “Bug.”
Michael Shannon stars as Peter Evans in BUG, directed by William Friedkin. Photo credit: Anthony Friedkin
While in Chicago, Shannon also kept busy in front of movie and television cameras, most notably in Oliver Stone’s WORLD TRADE CENTER. KANGAROO JACK (2003) marked the third Jerry Bruckheimer production in which Shannon has appeared. He also appeared in BAD BOYS II (2003), directed by Michael Bay and starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and in GRAND THEFT PARSONS (2003), with Johnny Knoxville and Christina Applegate.
Later this year, Shannon headlines SHOTGUN STORIES which premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival this spring. Then you will see him in Sydney Lumet’s upcoming film, BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD along side Philip Seymour Hoffman, Albert Finney and Ethan Hawke. And he recently worked with Curtin Hanson for a second time in LUCKY YOU.
His many other credits include THE WOODSMAN, BAD BOYS II, KANGAROO JACK, PEARL HARBOR, VANILLA SKY, 8 MILE, HIGH CRIMES, CECIL B. DEMENTED, TIGERLAND, and CHICAGO CAB, an adaptation of the long-running play, “Hellcab.”
LYNN COLLINS (R.C.)
Actress Lynn Collins displayed her tremendous range and versatility starring opposite Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Joseph Fiennes in the leading female role in Michael Radford’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. The film made its debut at the Venice Film Festival in August of 2004 and was released by Sony Classics on December 29th, 2004.
R.C. (Lynn Collins), Agnes White (Ashley Judd) and Peter Evans (Michael Shannon) in William Friedkin's BUG.
Photo credit: Anthony Friedkin
This past February, Collins was seen on stage at New York’s legendary Lucille Lortel Theater in the production of “A Very Common Procedure.” Collins received rave reviews for her portrayal of Carolyn Goldenhersh, a young woman who loses her baby during a routine surgery.
Most recently, Collins completed production on LIFE IN FLIGHT starring Patrick Wilson. Directed by Tracey Hecht, the film tells the story of a confused architect (Wilson) who begins to second guess life when he meets an urban designer played by Collins. She also rounds out the cast of Alan Ball’s highly anticipated film, NOTHING IS PRIVATE. Based on the novel Towelhead by Alicia Erian, the film also stars Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello and Toni Collette. Scott Rudin will produce.
NUMB, also starring Matthew Perry, tells the story of a chronically depressed screenwriter (Perry) who is desperately trying to cure his condition when he meets the girl of his dreams (Collins). The film will be screened at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 30, 2007.
Collins was last seen in Joel Schumacher’s THE NUMBER 23 with Jim Carey and Virginia Madsen, which was released by New Line on February 23, 2007.
In 2006, Collins starred alongside Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in THE LAKEHOUSE. The film, directed by Alejandro Agretsi, revolves around a lonely doctor (Bullock) and a frustrated architect (Reeves). The two begin exchanging letters and come to discover that they are actually living two years apart.
In the summer of 2005, Lynn played the lead role of “Rosalind” in The NYSF Public Theatre’s production of “As You Like It” at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, for which she received also rave reviews.
Also in 2005, she completed production on THE DOG PROBLEM, a film written and directed by Scott Caan. The film also stars Giovanni Ribisi, Mena Suvari, Don Cheadle and Scott Caan and screened at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival.
In 2004, Collins appeared in the box office hit 13 GOING ON 30, with Jennifer Garner and 50 FIRST DATES, with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore.
Collins was born and raised in Texas but moved to New York upon acceptance into the esteemed Julliard School in Manhattan to study acting. While at Julliard, Lynn was honored with the two most prestigious awards given to drama students: The Houseman Award, for Exceptional Ability in Classical Theatre and Command of Language and The Michel St. Denis Award, given to one member of the graduating class for Outstanding Achievement and Commitment to the Ensemble.
After graduating, Collins landed her first starring role on the New York stage, playing “Ophelia” opposite Liev Schrieber in The NYSF Public Theatre’s production of “Hamlet.” Among other roles that followed included Shakespeare’s “Juliet” in Sir Peter Hall’s production of “Romeo And Juliet” at the Ahmanson Theatre and John Barton’s Shakespeare special for PBS. Collins’ landed her first leading role on Broadway in Scott Elliot’s production of “The Women” at The Roundabout Theatre.
Collins divides her time between Los Angeles and New York City.
BRIAN F. O’BYRNE (Dr. Sweet)
Irish actor Brían F. O’Byrne is as comfortable in front of the camera as he is on the stage. Most recently seen on screen in Terrence Malick’s THE NEW WORLD, he also appeared in such films as Clint Eastwood’s MILLION DOLLAR BABY, two films for Barry Levinson – BANDITS and AN EVERLASTING PIECE, and Tim Blake Nelson’s THE GREY ZONE. Following, O’Byrne appears in the critically acclaimed German film, MOSTLY MARTHA, directed by Scott Hicks and starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart. His television credits include the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of “Blackwater Lightship”, HBO’s “Oz,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” This fall he will portray the title role on the two-hour PBS docudrama, “Alexander Hamilton.”
O’Byrne credits his training at the Samuel Beckett Center, Trinity College, Dublin for his many successes on stage. He is a four-time Tony nominee (“The Lonesome West,” “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” “Doubt”) and won the Tony for his portrayal of a murderous pedophile in 2004’s “Frozen.” His most recent Broadway production was “Shining City,” for which he received his third Drama Desk nomination. Brían will next appear in New York’s Lincoln Center production of Tom Stoppard’s new play, “The Coast of Utopia,” co-starring with Ethan Hawke and Billy Crudup.
HARRY CONNICK, JR. (Jerry Goss)
Over the past two decades, Harry Connick, Jr. has proven to be among the world’s most successful and multi-talented artists. Connick first reached a mass audience as a pianist, singer and bandleader, securing his place in the public eye as a Renaissance man and versatile entertainer. His love of music and performing dates back to his childhood in New Orleans, where he studied piano with such luminaries as James Booker and Ellis Marsalis. He first performed publicly at age five, appeared on his first jazz recording at age ten, and released his self-titled major label debut for Columbia Records at 19, only a year after his high school graduation and his move to New York City. Connick achieved widespread success as a musician when director Rob Reiner asked him to contribute the score to his 1989 smash WHEN HARRY MET SALLY, leading to Connick's first multi-platinum album (also his first big band recording.)
At the same time, Connick has built a successful film career, appearing both on screen and soundtracks. After making his acting debut in MEMPHIS BELLE in 1990, he appeared the following year in LITTLE MAN TATE, Jodie Foster's directorial debut. His next role, as a homicidal sociopath in 1995’s COPYCAT was “scarily effective” said the New York Times. For this film, The Tampa Tribune named him “the most memorable” in a cast that included Holly Hunter and Sigourney Weaver. Connick continued to display his acting range with a memorable turn in INDEPENDENCE DAY, one of the highest grossing films of all time.
“There’s no doubting Connick’s impact,” said the Los Angeles Times for his role in HOPE FLOATS alongside Sandra Bullock. This compelling leading man performance was recognized with a 1999 Blockbuster Award nomination for Favorite Actor - Drama/Romance. In addition, 1999 saw Connick lend his voice-over talents to the critically acclaimed features MY DOG SKIP and the animated THE IRON GIANT. For his work in director Linda Yellen's improvisational film THE SIMIAN LINE, Connick turned in what Variety termed an "achingly honest" performance for his role with Lynn Redgrave. His music has also contributed to the success of such films as GODFATHER III, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE and THE MASK.
As a television performer, Connick has starred in two holiday specials built around his best selling holiday albums “When My Heart Finds Christmas” (CBS) and “Harry for the Holidays” (NBC), and two Great Performances/PBS concert specials “Swingin’ Out Live and Harry Connick, Jr.: Only You In Concert” for which he won a 2004 Emmy. He teamed with IDT Entertainment (producers of “The Simpsons”) on “The Happy Elf,” a one-hour 3D animated holiday TV special which aired on NBC and was released on DVD during the 2005 holiday season. The story is based on his original children’s song from the best selling Sony/Columbia Harry for the Holidays release. In addition, he starred opposite Glenn Close in the ABC TV adaptation of the musical “South Pacific” and played the recurring role of Dr. Leo Markus on the NBC series “Will & Grace.”
Although Connick will make his Broadway theatrical debut in “The Pajama Game” as Sid Sorokin in 2006, he is no stranger to the New York theater scene. His sold-out concert production “Harry Connick, Jr. and His Orchestra - Live on Broadway,” directed by Joe Layton was produced in 1990 at the Lunt-Fontaine Theatre. And in 2001, he received a Tony nomination for Best Original Score for “Thou Shalt Not,” directed by Susan Stroman at the Plymouth Theatre.
All of these achievements – not to mention his album sales of over 25 million, his three Grammy awards, Emmy award, and Tony nomination – reflect a creative energy that make Harry Connick Jr. unique in the world of contemporary entertainment.