Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

TOM HANKS as Thomas Schell and THOMAS HORN as Oskar Schell in Warner Bros. Pictures' drama EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Francois Duhamel.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011/2012)

Opened: 01/20/2012 Wide

The Landmark12/25/2011 - 02/09/201247 days
Arclight/Holly...12/25/2011 - 02/02/201240 days
AMC Loews Meth...01/20/2012 - 03/01/201242 days
Embassy Cinema01/20/2012 - 02/23/201235 days
AMC Empire 2501/20/2012 - 02/23/201235 days
AMC Deer Valley01/20/2012 - 02/16/201228 days
Showcase Cinem...01/20/2012 - 02/16/201228 days
Fallbrook 701/20/2012 - 02/16/201228 days
Clearview Chel...01/20/2012 - 02/09/201221 days
Columbia Park ...01/20/2012 - 02/09/201221 days
NoHo 701/20/2012 - 02/02/201214 days
Claremont 501/20/2012 - 02/02/201214 days
Quad Cinema/NYC02/10/2012 - 02/23/201214 days
Playhouse 702/10/2012 - 02/16/20127 days

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Genre: Drama

Rated: PG-13 for emotional thematic material, some disturbing images, and language.


Adapted from the acclaimed bestseller by Jonathan Safran Foer, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" is a story that unfolds from inside the young mind of Oskar Schell, an inventive eleven year-old New Yorker whose discovery of a key in his deceased father's belongings sets him off on an urgent search across the city for the lock it will open. A year after his father died in the World Trade Center on what Oskar calls "The Worst Day," he is determined to keep his vital connection to the man who playfully cajoled him into confronting his wildest fears. Now, as Oskar crosses the five New York boroughs in quest of the missing lock -- encountering an eclectic assortment of people who are each survivors in their own way -- he begins to uncover unseen links to the father he misses, to the mother who seems so far away from him and to the whole noisy, dangerous, discombobulating world around him.

Three-time Academy Award® nominee Stephen Daldry ("Billy Elliot," "The Reader," "The Hours") directed "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" from a screenplay by Academy Award® winner Eric Roth ("Forrest Gump," "The Insider"), based on Jonathan Safran Foer's novel.

The film stars Academy Award® winners Tom Hanks ("Forrest Gump," "Philadelphia") and Sandra Bullock ("The Blind Side") along with newcomer Thomas Horn in the role of Oskar, and was produced by Scott Rudin ("No Country for Old Men," "The Social Network," "True Grit"). Celia Costas, Mark Roybal and Nora Skinner served as executive producers, with Eli Bush and Tarik Karam as co-producers.

The film also stars Academy Award® nominees Max von Sydow ("Shutter Island," "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," "Pelle the Conqueror") and Viola Davis ("Doubt," "The Help"), John Goodman, Jeffrey Wright and Zoe Caldwell.

The behind-the-scenes creative team includes Oscar®-winning director of photography Chris Menges ("The Mission," "The Killing Fields"), production designer K.K. Barrett, Academy Award®-winning editor Claire Simpson ("Platoon"), and Oscar®-winning costume designer Ann Roth ("The English Patient"). The music is by four-time Academy Award®-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat ("The King's Speech").

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Scott Rudin Production of a Stephen Daldry film, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." The movie will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

About the Production

In 2005 the novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, already renowned for his blend of incisive comedy and tragedy in his debut novel "Everything Is Illuminated," published his follow-up "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." His second novel was, on the one hand, the playful story of an unusually precocious and sensitive boy who invents fantastical devices, dreams about astrophysics, collects a vast assortment of random facts -- and is compelled into a quixotic odyssey through the fabric of New York. At the same time, the novel was the first major literary exploration into the grief of 9/11 families, and a study of how a child's imagination helps him navigate overwhelming fear and unfathomable loss in the wake of events that no logic could possibly reconcile.

When director Stephen Daldry -- a three-time Oscar® nominee for "The Reader," "The Hours" and "Billy Elliot" -- read the book, he was struck most of all by Oskar's subjective point of view. An unusual child with arrestingly high intelligence yet eccentric and obsessive behaviors that might put him on the autistic spectrum, Oskar describes the world around him with his own particular mix of naivete and insight, nervousness and boldness, incomprehension and a need to understand. Most of all, Daldry was intrigued by how this POV, just like a child's imagination, combined random thoughts, flashes of memory, lists of ideas and impromptu fantasies with pure emotion -- all at a moment when life has irrevocably changed for Oskar's family and the world around him.

"I found it truly compelling that Jonathan Safran Foer told this story not only from the perspective of a boy enduring unimaginable heartbreak, but a boy who has his own singular view of everything," says Daldry. "It's a perspective that is engaging, inventive and emotionally rich."

Daldry was also compelled to learn more about the very specific trauma experienced by the 3,000 children who lost parents on 9/11, and their struggle for resilience. He sought the counsel of a number of experts, as well as the organization Tuesday's Children, a non-profit founded by families and friends of 9/11 victims to address the unique and ongoing challenges of those whose loved ones died in the terrorist attacks. He learned that for many kids like Oskar, the suddenness, enormity and public nature of the event left a sense of helplessness over their already profound grief.

"I started talking to a lot of different specialists, including therapists who work with children who have lost parents," says Daldry. "I wanted to better understand the process kids like Oskar went through in the days, months and years after 9/11 -- how they began to heal, or sometimes not. That process of learning went hand in hand with the development of the script. At the same time, we also consulted with experts on the autistic spectrum and Asperger's Syndrome, which Oskar is tested for, inconclusively."

Oskar's very personal experience of September 11th, and what came after, was brought to the fore in a screenplay adaptation by Eric Roth, who wanted to be true to the distinctive immediacy of Foer's novel. "It's a very emotional book and I hope it is a very emotional movie," says Roth. "There's also a real kinetic energy to the book -- and the challenge was to translate that into visual imagery."

The book wove many themes -- of individual and national trauma, of childhood's strangeness, of the nature of tragedy and the endurance of love through family hardship -- into its tapestry. Each of those themes was key to the storytelling, but Roth found his way in through one particular element: the relationship between Oskar and his father, Thomas, who is seen in the film entirely through Oskar's subjective memories, which are in turn fueled by a confusing mixture of love, loss and lingering questions.

Oskar deeply misses his father's so-called "reconnaissance expeditions," clever puzzles that Thomas created for Oskar to solve, not only as inspired father-son games but also to help him engage with the world despite his social awkwardness. So when he finds the mysterious key in the bottom of a vase hidden in the dark recesses of his father's closet, Oskar propels himself into a new mission to ferret out the key's meaning.

His only clue to the key's potential origins is the name "Black," written on the envelope in which he found it, so Oskar dutifully makes an ambitious plan to visit all 472 people named Black in the New York City phone books, even though, according to the math, it will take him three years to do so. He meticulously charts his course, turning a map of the city into a perfectly plotted grid, sets his ground rules and starts out on foot because there could still be a risk of attack on a bus or subway.

Like many kids with gifted intelligence, high sensory sensitivity and impaired social skills, Oskar thrives on schedules, rules and facts yet his search takes him far from the predictable and the comfortable. But no matter what obstacles stand in his way, Oskar is determined to complete his task.

"Oskar is a kid who is different, but in a wonderful way," notes Roth. "He might have a form of Asperger's but he also has a great imagination and a real sense of curiosity along with his many fears. For a long time, he was kept afloat very much by his father who enjoyed so many similar things. So now, when Oskar finds his father's key a year after his death, he believes it has to unlock something -- a piece of advice, an object, some wisdom that his father left for him. And it leads him on an adventure that is his way of coming to terms with grief and all sorts of other things."

As Roth began compacting Foer's wide-ranging plot and finding the cinematic structure, he found Foer to be a supportive resource. "Jonathan is a wonderful novelist but my ability is to be a good dramatist and bring the work alive on the screen. He really trusted me in that process and we developed a very close and collaborative relationship."

Adds Stephen Daldry: "Jonathan really understands the difference between a book and a script, and was very helpful. He never once uttered the phrase, 'Well, in the book...' He was always open to interpretation and reinvention."

When the screenplay was completed, it quickly began to attract talent. "I think Oskar's story touched everyone when they read the script, and therefore we were able to assemble a truly wonderful group of actors," says Daldry of an ensemble that not only includes Oscar® winners Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, and Oscar® nominee Max von Sydow, but also introduces Thomas Horn as Oskar. The supporting cast is equally accomplished, including Zoe Caldwell, Academy Award® nominee Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright and John Goodman.

Hanks, who plays Oskar's father, was drawn to the way the script gets inside Oskar's mind at a time when the power of logical facts to keep him grounded seems to have evaporated. "In the blink of an eye, the course of Oskar's whole world changes, and he loses his only anchor," Hanks says. "His father used to tell him that there are always clues and treasures to be found in the world. So when he finds his father's key, it's very interesting that Oskar devises his own elaborate hunt for what the key might mean, convinced it will somehow explain the unexplained to him. It becomes a very personal, intimate story of a kid trying to make sense in his own way of a nonsensical world."

He adds: "It was easiest thing in the world for me to want to do this -- as soon as I read it, there was not even any question."

Taking the role of Oskar's grief-stricken mother, whose apparent absence in Oskar's life is not quite what it seems, is Bullock. "What I find so moving about Oskar is that he feels there has to be an answer, but there is not always a clear 'why' or a 'because' to a situation," she says. "And sometimes the answer you get is not the one you expect, which is something Oskar has to discover for himself."

She continues: "I think Eric Roth did an amazing job of telling this challenging story entirely through a child's point of view."



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