Jeremy Piven, Rob Lowe, Christian McKay and Thomas Jane in I MELT WITH YOU, a Magnolia Pictures release directed by Mark Pellington. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
- Tom Bower
- Arielle Kebbel
- Zander Eckhouse
- Abhi Sinha
- Sasha Grey
- Joe Reegan
- August Emerson
- Rebecca Creskoff
- Melora Hardin
- Melora Walters
- Glenn Porter
- Liza Richardson
- Rob Lowe
- Jason Piette
- Sean O'Kelly
- Heidi Levitt
- Aaron L. Gilbert
- Thomas Jane
- Neil LaBute
- Michael Lionello Cowan
* Most external filmography links go to The Internet Movie Database.Home/Social Media Links
I Melt with You (2011)
Opened: 12/09/2011 Limited
|Quad Cinema/NYC||12/09/2011 - 12/20/2011||12 days|
|The Nuart||12/09/2011 - 12/15/2011||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Rated: R for pervasive drug use and language, some violence and sexual content.
Richard (Thomas Jane), Ron (Jeremy Piven), Tim (Christian McKay), and Jonathan (Rob Lowe) are friends from college who gather for a weekend each year to celebrate their friendship and catch up with each other. On the surface, they look like other men going through life: they have careers and families and responsibilities. But as with many people, there is more to them than meets the eye. As the weekend progresses, they go down the rabbit hole of excess. Fueled by sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, their bacchanalian reunion drives them to an unexpected place where they are forced to confront themselves and the choices they've made.
About the Film
"I was looking to make a raw, visceral, music-driven film that expressed where I was in my life," said director Mark Pellington. That desire to express unfiltered personal emotion comes up often for Pellington in describing I MELT WITH YOU Pellington's work in film, television and music video is trademarked by his innate ability to bring an audience deep inside a world--whether that world is inspiring, terrifying or both.
Frustrated by the often long process that comes with getting any movie made in this day and age, Pellington was shooting music videos cheaply and beautifully with new digital technology and looking to, as he says, "take the creative process back to a more intuitive place of directorial freedom, and get out and shoot something down and dirty, yet meaningful-- quickly."
He kept coming back to a script from a lifelong friend, Glenn Porter. It was an explosive screenplay about men who had made an idealistic pact in college in their early twenties, and who are forced to confront the promise they made 25 years later. Pellington viewed his friend's thriller script as an existential horror film, as well an allegory exploring the darker side of the modern male psyche. He was drawn to Porter's complex characters-- men in their shadow side, holding their greed and addiction and guilt like weapons.
"We are both 48, and found ourselves asking where our generation's version of Cassavetes' Husbands is...where is the film about our life experience?" Pellington says.
"The film is potent," says Porter. "It's palpable. As an audience member you feel what these characters are experiencing."
"Rather than provide answers," offers Pellington, "The film asks a lot of questions about the real life experiences of males." Questions like: how do we as men come to terms with not becoming what we set out to be; how do we handle the powerlessness and guilt connected to failure; and how do we cope with the fear of losing our identity?
Pellington and Porter enhanced the script by exploring themes of mortality, time and memory. They channeled and reflected on their own lives, wilder times and heartbreak gone by, and relived those cultural and musical touchstones that drum up communal emotional memories.
"The first time I heard the Sex Pistols was a very pivotal moment in my life," says Pellington. "Music, drugs, sex-- these things are cross-generational. They unite us. We see this when the college age kids show up at the house. There it is right there in front of you. It just manifests itself differently with age, in this case, idealism vs. bitterness."
In Pellington and Porter's twenty plus year friendship, they have lived through highs as well as heartbreak and disappointment. All of this informs the script for I Melt With You. It's in essence a dark thriller, bristling and brimming with dark humor and self-discovery.
"Mark and I were very deliberate about marking time, and allowing things to creep in. The genre aspect is meant to drive the story, and help peel back the layers of these men as deeply as possible," says Porter.
"We kind of embraced the punk rock spirit of fuck it, let's just do it ourselves," Pellington recalls of Melt's 2010 shoot in Big Sur.
Pellington and Porter constructed the story to fit in a mostly contained environment to keep production costs low. Fit inside a tight timetable, Pellington and his crew (including longtime collaborator, DP Eric Schmidt) shot the film in sequence, allowing he, the actors and Glenn to make decisions and see what was working and was needed in real time.
"For me as a writer, it was the first time I watched something I wrote shot in sequence-- which gave me quite an education," recalled Porter. "You learn fast about what you don't need and what notes you've already hit. You also learn what you don't have. So I wrote things on the set, Mark would review them at night and we'd shoot them the next day. I found that process very exhilarating."
After he and Porter completed the script, a number of well-known actors and their representatives showed interest in the material. A few of those actors said of the script, "It's great, but I'm not sure I want to go there." Most saw it as a rare opportunity to delve into a rich piece of material. In the end, Pellington got a stellar cast: Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven, Christian McKay and Carla Gugino all of whom usually command more in individual salaries that the entire budget of Melt.
"I needed male actors who had the courage to dig pretty deep, and Rob, Tom, Jeremy, Christian-- they just went for it," said Pellington.
There were no trailers, a shared make-up room on the set. These four men not only needed to forgo any vanity to play these heavily wired, self-medicating characters on the brink, but submit to a process that included hundreds of hours of shooting, and extraordinary commitment to character.
Pellington and Porter constructed the story to fit in a mostly contained environment to keep production costs low. Pellington, Porter, producers Norm Reiss and Rob Cowan, DP Eric Schmidt, cast and crew went to work for eighteen days in the visually amazing locations of Big Sur.
I MELT WITH YOU was designed and conceived as an allegory about male friendship and failure, set inside the powerful bonds of memory and promise. I was interested in exploring how middle aged men become far different creatures than they imagined they would be, and how they deal with it.
It's the story of four men searching inside themselves and finding emptiness. The film was super low budget and driven by commitment and passion from all involved, and we shot it in 18 days in Big Sur. I worked on the script with its creator, the writer Glenn Porter, and we received input and support from executive producer Neil Labute.
The movie has aesthetic influences in 80's new wave/punk rock, and the aggressive cut up poetics of William Burroughs. It was inspired by the likes of Cassavetes' Husbands and Mike Leigh's Naked. It is quasi-experimental, intense, and personal film for me, a 180 degree turn from my last work. We were all a team, a small band of actors and crew who took our collective influences and life experience and threw it into a harrowing experimental blender, exploring the vagaries of friendship, regret, shame, failure, greed, and the desperate search for hope.
It is a film that loves music and understands the role it plays in the highs and lows of life. It is a tale, on the surface, of old friends being confronted by their youthful promise, and shifts into an exploration of the dark side, the weakness of the male psyche and men who ultimately hide from themselves and their responsibilities.
At the end of the day I MELT WITH YOU is just a movie. However, it is not for the squeamish. It's the type of film that is going to generate controversy and garner deeply felt polarized reactions. I very much look forward to yours.
-- Mark Pellington
I MELT WITH YOU was more of an emotional state I hoped to purge from my psyche with some form of therapy than a dramatic piece I expected to be seen by anyone. Specifically, it's a story about anti-heroes who never lived up to their own expectations, and come to believe, over the course of a drug-fueled weekend, there is one way they can honor the men they failed to become. It's the ultimate escapist fantasy. Generally, it's a story about men and their failures, lies, rationalizations, and the games of Peter Pan self-delusion they play and have to reconcile with in mid-life. We all dream big, but reality is usually less thrilling. The film, I think, also captures the joy of friendship for many guys born around the mid-sixties, which was often accompanied by music and altered states.
-- Glenn Porter
About the Actors
Thomas Jane (Richard)
Thomas currently stars on HBO's critically-acclaimed comedy series "Hung" for which he has been nominated for two Golden Globe® Awards. Jane stars as Ray Drecker, a former high school sports legend turned high school basketball coach who, after hitting a financial rough patch becomes a male escort. The show's third season will premiere in 2011.
Jane recently completed production on the film LOL, a comedy starring Miley Cyrus, Ashley Greene and Demi Moore. He also had a cameo in Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and made his feature directorial debut on Dark Country, a psycho-noir he also starred in with Ron Perlman and Lauren German.
Among Jane's previous film credits are: John Madden's Kill Shot with Diane Lane and Mickey Rourke; Frank Darabont's The Mist; Mutant Chronicles with John Malkovich and Ron Perlman; Marvel's The Punisher in which he starred as Frank Castle, the titular character; Bronwen Hughes's Stander the true story of Andre Stander, a South African police officer turned bank robber; 61*, the Emmy-nominated HBO film directed by Billy Crystal and co-starring Barry Pepper, in which he starred as legendary baseball hero Mickey Mantle; Original Sin with Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas; Renny Harlin's Deep Blue Sea; Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line; and Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia and Boogie Nights.
In addition to his busy career as an actor and filmmaker, Jane founded Raw Studios in partnership with Eisner Award-nominated illustrator/production designer, Tim Bradstreet. Raw Studios is a leading producer of high end, "elevated genre" graphic novels using the best artists working today. Several of Raw's properties are currently being packaged for movie and television deals, among them: "Alien Pig Farm," a comedy in the vein of Zombieland that centers on a fight between rednecks and aliens; and the cult classic horror anthology "Twisted Tales," which is currently being shopped as a television series.
Jane resides in Los Angeles.
Jeremy Piven (Ron)
A Golden Globe® and Emmy® Award-winning actor, is one of the most charismatic and captivating performers on the screen today. His remarkable versatility, combined with the unique depth he brings to his roles, has made him one of the most sought-after actors of his generation.
Piven's acclaimed portrayal of the fast-talking agent "Ari Gold" in the smash-hit HBO original series "Entourage" has propelled Piven to the forefront of the entertainment industry. Piven won a Golden Globe® for Best Supporting Actor Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and three Emmy® awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. He has also received three SAG nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.
His upcoming film projects include Gabby Dellal's indie drama Drift, based on the novel 'Angels Crest' by Leslie Schwartz, and Dimension Films' Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World.
Previous film credits include Gary Fleder's Runaway Jury; Todd Phillips' hit comedy Old School; Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down; Peter Chelsom's Serendipity; Brett Ratner's Rush Hour 2 and The Family Man; Peter Berg's Very Bad Things and The Kingdom; Cameron Crowe's Singles; Joe Carnahan's Smokin Aces; Guy Ritchie's Rocknrolla, and The Player, for director Robert Altman.
In 2005, Piven returned to his theater acting roots starring in the off-Broadway hit "Fat Pig," by Neil LaBute. Piven received a Distinguished Performance Honor from the Drama League for his performance.
He was born and raised in Chicago, where his parents founded the Piven Theatre Workshop. His father, Byrne, taught the likes of John and Joan Cusack, Roseanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn. Jeremy is still very active with this workshop and returns to Chicago frequently to help keep his father's dream alive.
Rob Lowe (Jonathan)
Rob stars as state auditor Chris Traeger on NBC's critically acclaimed comedy "Parks and Recreation."
For four seasons Lowe starred as Sam Seaborn on the hit NBC drama "The West Wing." During that time, the show won a record four consecutive Emmys® for Outstanding Drama. Lowe received an Emmy® Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama, as well as his third and fourth Golden Globe® Awards. He was nominated three times for a Screen Actors Guild Award, winning twice.
Lowe will star in the Hollywood-Bollywood film Breakaway, also to be released in 2011. This January, Lowe also joins the hit Showtime series "Californication" as the possibly drug-addled, clearly insane, Academy Award® winning movie star, Eddie Nero.
In 2009, Lowe appeared opposite Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, and Tina Fey in The Invention of Lying.
In 2006, Lowe starred in the hit satire Thank You for Smoking. His hilarious portrayal of a kimono-wearing, zen-like Hollywood agent garnered him rave reviews.
Lowe recently wrapped a four year run as Senator Robert McCallister in the hit ABC series "Brothers & Sisters".
In 2005, Lowe made his West End debut to rave reviews, starring in Aaron Sorkin's "A Few Good Men" at the Royal Haymarket Theatre in London. Additional theatre credits include the Broadway production of "Little Hotel on the Side" and "Three Sisters".
At 18, Lowe made his feature film debut in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders. He went on to star in the classics St. Elmo's Fire and About Last Night. Other film credits include Bad Influence, as well as the blockbuster comedies Wayne's World and Tommy Boy. After Wayne's World, Lowe re-teamed with Myers in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Lowe also starred in Class, The Hotel New Hampshire, Oxford Blues, Youngblood, Square Dance, Masquerade, A View from the Top and Mulholland Falls. Lowe has had a successful run of highly-rated television miniseries such as "Beach Girls," "Salem's Lot," "The Christmas Shoes" and "The Stand."
As a producer, lowePROFILE, his production company, is currently developing television series for HBO and E!. In 1994, he produced and starred in the film Frank and Jesse for Trimark Pictures. For television, Lowe produced the NBC series "The Lyon's Den" and the CBS series "Dr. Vegas." He also wrote and directed the short film "Desert's Edge," for Showtime in 1997.
Lowe recently made headlines for his participation in the acquisition of Miramax with his entertainment fund partner, Tom Barrack.
Lowe recently finished his much anticipated memoir "Stories I Only Tell My Friends" which was published by Holt in the Spring of 2011.
Lowe, his wife, and their two sons currently reside in California.
Christian McKay (Tim)
Christian was born in Bury, Lancashire. He began his career in music, first as a chorister at Manchester Cathedral, and subsequently studying piano at Chethan School of Music. He went on to study at the University of York, The Royal College of Music, and the Queensland Conservatorium in Australia. After several years touring Europe as a successful and critically acclaimed concert pianist, he turned to acting receiving his training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.
At RADA he was told by one of his instructors that he wouldn't find steady work until he was 50. He needed to "grow into his face"! Fortunately, he beat that prediction by several years. On graduation, he was recommended by Lord (Richard) Attenborough to the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing in "Antony and Cleopatra" at Stratford-upon-Avon and in London's West End. His other successful stage appearances include his award-winning portrayal of Orson Welles in "Rosebud: The Lives of Orson Welles at the Edinburgh Festival and in London, Toronto and New York. His feature film debut, Abraham's Point, with Mackenzie Crook, was completed shortly before he began work on Me and Orson Welles. His screen portrayal of Orson Welles was widely acclaimed, winning him the Austin Film Critics' "Breakthrough Artist" Award, a BAFTA nomination for "Best Supporting Actor", and "Best Supporting Male Actor" from the Independent Spirit Awards.
Christian was recently featured in Woody Allen's You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger and also in Bernard Rose's Mr. Nice. Upcoming, is a major role in the Canal+ Borgia and in the Studio Canal remake of John LeCarre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.
Christian is married to the actress Emily Allen. They make their home in the county of Kent in England.
Carla Gugino (Laura)
After graduating from high school as class valedictorian, Carla Gugino began a memorable and provocative acting career which today, continues to showcase her many talents and considerable beauty.
Gugino was most recently seen in the Warner Bros. / Legendary drama Suckerpunch where she will reunite with Watchmen director Zack Snyder. This film centers around a girl who's institutionalized by her wicked stepfather and retreats into an alternative reality as a coping strategy. Gugino will play a nurse in the insane asylum who becomes a madam at a brothel in the film's alternate reality. The film was released on March 25, 2011.
Gugino currently stars in the fourth season of Showtime's "Californication" as the new love interest for David Duchovny's Hank Moody. Gugino just finished filming Mr. Poppers Penguins alongside Jim Carrey and Angela Lansbury.
Gugino was last seen in Faster starring alongside Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton. The film is directed by George Tillman Jr. and was released November 24, 2010.
Gugino recently revisited her role as Amanda on the HBO hit series "Entourage." The series follows an up-and-coming actor, Vince Chase as he navigates his career in Hollywood. Gugino joined the cast in its fourth season as Vince Chase's new agent after he fired his longtime agent played by Jeremy Piven. "Entourage" has continued its success among critics and fans and has earned multiple awards and nominations.
Gugino was seen in Electra Luxx which was directed by and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. This film was the sequel to last year's Women In Trouble which was also directed by Gutierrez. The film premiered at SXSW on March 14th and was next screened at the GenArt Film Festival on April 9th. Gugino was also seen in Every Day with Liev Schreiber and Helen Hunt. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 24th.
Gugino appeared on Broadway in "Desire Under the Elms," a play by Eugene O'Neil and directed by Tony Award recipient Robert Falls. The show ran at the award winning Goodman Theatre in Chicago, IL and was picked up for a Broadway run thanks to rave reviews. Gugino received incredible reviews for her stellar performance as Abbie, an alluring and headstrong woman who knows what she wants.
Gugino was also seen in the film Watchmen, based on the celebrated DC Comic novel. Zack Snyder (300) directed the film, which also starred Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Goode and Jackie Earle Haley. The film grossed $181 million worldwide.
Following Watchmen, Gugino starred in Race To Witch Mountain, opposite Dwayne Johnson. The action adventure, from Walt Disney Pictures, was directed by Andy Fickman (The Game Plan) and advanced from the plot of the 1975 Disney favorite, Escape To Witch Mountain. The film opened at #1 at the box office.
Gugino starred opposite Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino in the film Righteous Kill. This crime drama follows to New York City policemen in search of a serial killer. Righteous Kill opened wide and has continued its success in the box office.
In 2007, Gugino starred in the critically acclaimed American Gangster opposite Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington under the direction of Ridley Scott, and The Lookout opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Gugino also starred in the Spy Kids trilogy of movies opposite Antonio Banderas and had a scene-stealing performance in Robert Rodriguez's Sin City. In 2006, Gugino starred opposite Ben Stiller in Night At The Museum, which was the highest grossing film of that year.
Other television credits include her critically acclaimed performances as a government recruit on the CBS series "Threshold" and as the title character in the ABC series "Karen Sisco," based on the Elmore Leonard novel "Out of Sight." Roles in shows like "Chicago Hope" and the ABC sitcom "Spin City" showcased Gugino's wide range of talents in both drama and comedy.
Gugino completed a critically lauded performance as 'Catherine Holly' opposite Blythe Danner in a Roundabout Theater Company production of the Tennessee Williams classis "Suddenly Last Summer." She made her Broadway debut in Roundabout's 2004 revival of Arthur Miller's "After The Fall." For her performance, she received many accolades, including an Outer Critics' Circle Award nomination and a Theater World award for Outstanding Broadway Debut for her role 'Maggie.'
Gugino's film career began auspiciously as she landed a role in the now iconic Troop Beverly Hills. From there, Gugino would go onto roles in Son In Law, This Boy's Life opposite Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio, Miami Rhapsody opposite Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael opposite John Travolta, Snake Eyes in which she starred alongside Nicolas Cage under Brian De Palma's direction, and The Singing Detective opposite Robert Downey, Jr, Robin Wright Penn, and Jeremy Northam.
Gugino currently resides in Los Angeles.
About the Filmmakers
Mark Pellington (Director)
Mark is a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. A native of Baltimore, MD, he attended the University of Virginia, receiving a B.A. in Rhetoric in 1984. Upon graduation, he joined MTV's award-winning On-Air Promotions Department, where he developed a series of short conceptual spots, editing original footage with found sound and images. This groundbreaking training in post-production collage and unusual sound/image/text juxtaposition became a primary focus of Pellington's early work.
While at MTV, he branched out as a freelance music video director completing clips for Information Society, Malcolm McLaren, and De La Soul, among others. He also ventured into the art world, collaborating on text image pieces with New York gallery artist Jenny Holzer and William Burroughs.
In 1988, Pellington developed an idea for a non-linear collage program. Created in partnership with MTV Europe producer/director Jon Klein, Buzz was an ambitious 13-part global series commissioned by MTV and channel 4 (UK). Hailed by critics as progressive adventurous television, it was the culmination of Pellington's MTV career.
Upon completing Buzz, Mark refined his unique personal vision through a series of TV and video projects. He is internationally recognized as one of the world's premiere music video directors. His video for Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" is one of the most popular in history, as well as one of the most honored. It earned him Best Director at the 1992 Billboard Video Music Awards, and picked up four 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, including Best Director and Video of the Year.
His videos for such noted rock, pop, and rap performers as U2, PM Dawn, Public Enemy and Alice in Chains form a prolific and often imitated body of work. A piece for INXS, entitled "Beautiful Girl," is a provocative visual essay on the female body that garnered a Grammy nomination. With his video for the Jungle Brothers' "I Get A Kick Out Of You," Pellington joined Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch, and Jonathan Demme as one of the elite group of directors chosen for Red, Hot & Blue, a landmark AIDS special shown on ABC and later released on home video.
Mark brought his commentary on television and media manipulation techniques to large stadiums around the world when he helped create the multi-screen image environment for U2's highly acclaimed "Zoo TV" tour.
He also served as creative director on an experimental multi-media project for the Spanish exhibition at World Expo '92 in Seville, Spain. "The Memory Palace" was a five-screen live-action/film evocation of cyberspace made in collaboration with science fiction writer William Gibson, Spanish performance group La Fura Dels Baus, Buzz director Mark Neale, artist Julia Heyward, and musicians Brian Eno and Peter Gabriel.
Outside of the music world, Pellington developed his eye for documentary and narrative. "Words In Your Face," a half-hour film he created for PBS's prestigious series "Alive From Off Center," anticipated the current appeal of spoken word poetry. A half-hour television poem, Words featured John Leguizamo, KRS-ONE and Henry Rollins, and was chosen as one of six U.S. entries at the 1992 Input Festival.
Pellington wrapped up "Red Hot & Dance" and collaborated with Obie-award winning director David Gordon and music producer Hal Willner on a half-hour live action cartoon called "Punch and Judy Get Divorced" for the PBS series Alive TV.
In 1993 he created his most personal work to date, a 30-minute film for PBS, called "Father's Daze," in which he came to terms with his father's suffering from Alzheimer's disease. This intense, impressionistic diary film was screened at the Berlin, Montreal and Rotterdam Film Festivals and was praised by critics worldwide.
"The United States of Poetry" was a five-part series for PBS that took a year-and-a-half to complete. In the program, Pellington takes the viewer on a cross-country journey through end-of-the-century America, guided by 72 poets and spoken word artists. They range from school children to cowboys, beat poets to poet laureates, musicians Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen, to housewives and homeless people on the street. A kaleidoscopic portrait of America, the series captured the moment and will last as an artifact of a turbulent but hopeful time.
In 1997, Pellington's feature film debut, Going All the Way, bowed at the Sundance Film Festival and was released by Gramercy Pictures. Starring Ben Affleck and Jeremy Davies, the movie received good reviews and firmly planted Mark on the Hollywood radar. Next, he directed "Destination Anywhere," an experimental short film for MTV, starring Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Bon Jovi and Kevin Bacon. That fall, he directed James Earl Jones in an episode of the dramatic television series "Homicide."
Pellington helmed his second feature film, Arlington Road, starring Jeff Bridges and Tim Robbins. Screen Gems released the controversial political thriller in the summer of 1999. The movie established Mark's ability to work with A-list actors and saw his unique creative vision expand.
Following the release of Arlington Road, Pellington was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Music Video Producers' Association. He stayed true to his documentary and experimental roots when he directed "Of Time and Memory," an impressionistic adaptation of Don Snyder's novel. The half hour lyrical documentary depicts Snyder's struggle to reconstruct the identity of his mother, who died shortly after his birth. The film aired on the Independent Film Channel in the spring of 2002.
Pellington's third feature, The Mothman Prophecies, arrived in the winter of 2002. A cerebral, paranormal thriller, Mothman starred Richard Gere, Laura Linney, Alan Bates and Debra Messing. It proved that Mark was adept at handling complex special effects and the latest CGI.
Also in '02, Mark wrote and directed "The Place We Call Earth," a 40 minute narrative piece commissioned by Panasonic for the launch of their 24p camera. That fall, he directed "Lonesome Day", Bruce Springsteen's premiere video from his acclaimed album, "The Rising." Other video highlights included clips for The Flaming Lips, Nine Inch Nails, Kings of Leon and Dave Matthews.
In the spring of 2003, Mark moved in to the world of network television. He was asked to direct the pilot episode of CBS' "Cold Case," a one-hour dramatic series Executive Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. He served as a Consulting Producer overseeing the visual look of the top rated show for 4 years. A highlight was the January '06 episode entitled "8 Years" in which Cold Case producers were able to license nine Bruce Springsteen songs. Springsteen very rarely licenses his music and his relationship with Mark was an integral part of his decision.
In 2005, Pellington's video for the Foo Fighters' "Best of You" was nominated for two prestigious awards, Best Rock Video and Best Editing, at the MTV Music Awards.
That year Pellington also Executive Produced a documentary called Our Town by director Scott Kennedy. It was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. He continued to work commercially, shooting campaigns for Subaru, Lowe's, Honda and Cingular - the latter a collaboration with Savion Glover.
In March of '06, Mark traveled to South America to direct the U2 3D concert film. A longtime collaborator with Bono and U2, Pellington and co-director, Catherine Owens, broke new cinematic ground for both cameras and technology. Nine 3D HD cameras were used to bring the visual spectacle of the live U2 experience to life. The film will be released in 3D in theaters and on IMAX in the spring of '08.
2007 included an episode of "Cold Case," two music videos, a commercial spot for Tylenol and a feature film. The video for The Fray's: "How To Save A Life" was awarded Adult Contemporary Video of the Year by the MVPA. Then came the video for "Soulmates" by British pop sensation Natasha Bedingfield. The NASCAR themed Tylenol spot,"Bunker", featured racing legends: Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Jeff Gordon.
The summer of '07 saw the commencement of Pellington's fourth feature Henry Poole is Here. An uplifting story about hope and faith the film stars Luke Wilson, Rahda Mitchell, and Academy Award Nominee Adriana Barraza. The film was financed by Lakeshore Entertainment and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January. It was acquired by Overture Films and was released in the fall of 08'.
In early 2009 Pellington directed the CBS pilot "BACK," an intense original mystery featuring Skeet Ulrich as a man returning home after mysteriously disappearing in the tragedy of 9-11.
Pellington further established his big-act musical legacy with a trio of artistic videos, for indie-rock sensation Alpha Rev, Grammy-nominated mainstay Moby, and Grammy winners The Fray. Pellington approached each of these unique videos with his unique abstract narrative style, merging vocal performance with conceptual and thematic imagery.
Pellington Films, Mark's company, is a small boutique with long lasting ties to Crossroads Films. The company's goal is to focus on creating innovative and thought provoking short and long form entertainment. Mark is currently developing multiple television and film projects with several studios and producers.
Glenn Porter (Screenplay)
Glenn is a Los Angeles based screenwriter. He is currently working on screenplays about the music industry, a comedy about the sexes, and a family action-adventure film. He is also developing TV projects. He co-wrote the thriller "Dolly Dimple" with Mark Pellington, was a finalist at the Austin Film Festival for his script "Achtung World," and wrote Cowboy Cupid for Focus Features. Glenn made a tribute film for The Paris Review's 50th anniversary, which celebrated the life of George Plimpton, and collaborated with the artist Hugo Guinness on a video project that explored modern day Manhattan angst. Glenn worked in the advertising and media industry for eighteen years as an award winning writer and creative director. He has been featured in the New York Times and Creativity Magazine Online for innovative use of new media. He has served as judge for the AICP awards and lectured at the USC Music School on the impact of music on advertising.
Rob Cowan (Producer)
Rob is a 25 year veteran in the film industry having worked on over 30 productions in both features and television. Cowan began his career in Canada in the early 80's working as an Assistant Director on such money making films as Three Men And A Baby with Tom Selleck and Ted Danson, Stakeout with Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez and Cocktail with Tom Cruise.
It was during this time that Cowan worked on the Costa Gavras directed, Joe Eszterhas written film Betrayed starring Debra Winger and Tom Berenger. The film was an introduction to the academy award winning producer Irwin Winkler who produced the film. Winkler asked Cowan to come to Los Angeles to work not only on Music Box starring Jessica Lange (and directed again by Costa Gavras) but to assist on Winkler's first directing foray, Guilty By Suspicion starring Robert De Niro and Annette Bening. Just after finishing the film in 1990 Cowan was asked to come onto work full time at Winker Films as the head of development.
The next film for the company was Night And The City starring Robert DeNiro and Jessica Lange in which Winkler directed and Cowan co-produced. After this successful pairing Cowan was upped to President of Winkler Films.
A succession of films followed. The first being the successful The Net - starring Sandra Bullock, next came The Juror, written by Academy Award winning writer Ted Tally (Silence of the Lambs) and starring Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin and followed quickly by At First Sight starring Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino. Cowan not only produced the film but added an uncredited rewrite that got the film green lit. Based on this and writing he had done on the film "The Net" - he and Winkler were commissioned to write a TV pilot based on The Net - which got a commitment from USA television. The series lasted 22 episodes before USA exchanged hands.
After producing a Showtime feature for TV, "Marciano" starring Jon Favreau and George C. Scott, (which was selected as the opening night gala film of the Monte Carlo Television festival) Cowan returned to features with the critically acclaimed New Line film Life As A House - starring Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas and Hayden Christensen. (Christensen was nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG award along with Kevin Kline)
He produced this film while simultaneously producing the Columbia Picture Enough directed by Michael Apted and starring Jennifer Lopez.
Cowan next turned to the world of musicals with the Cole Porter biopic -- De-Lovely --starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. (both nominated for Golden Globes). Cowan not only produced the film which was selected as the closing night film for the 2004 Cannes film festival - but he executive produced the album which was nominated for a Grammy that year.
Delving into the world of DVD's Cowan next produced two 3 million dollar films for Sony Home Video, Shackles starring D. L. Hughley and a "sequel" to The Net -- The Net 2.0 which he wrote and produced and which was the first American film to shoot entirely in Istanbul.
Cowan wrapped up his time with Winkler films with the Iraq war film Home of the Brave starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Christina Ricci and rapper 50 Cent. (The film's end title song by Sheryl Crow was nominated for a Golden Globe.)
As head of his own company Cowan's first project was producing the much anticipated Righteous Kill starring Robert Deniro (their third paring) and Al Pacino. The film was directed by Jon Avnet and was released by Overture. Through this relationship Cowan was brought in to produce a George Romero remake The Crazies starring Timothy Olyphant and Radha Mitchell and directed by Breck Eisner. The film was released February 2010 to strong critical reviews and box office performance.
Most recently he is currently Executive Producer on the Miley Cyrus starrer So Undercover.
Over his career Cowan has had a wide range of experience from producing low budget independent style films to higher budget studio fare. He's developed projects with such talented writers as Joe Eszterhas, Nick Pileggi (Goodfellas), Oliver Stone, Jay Cocks (Age of Innocence) and academy award nominee Nicholas Kazan (Reversal of Fortune). He has shot extensively throughout the United States and in numerous countries around the world including Canada, England, Luxembourg, Jamaica, Morocco, Turkey and Hungary and had films accepted into such festivals as Deauville, Cannes(closing night), Monte Carlo (opening night), Toronto, Tribeca and New York (opening night).
Rob Cowan is a member of the Producers Guild of America, Director's Guild of America, Director's Guild of Canada, Writer's Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Norm Reiss (Producer)
Norman Reiss is a Los Angeles based independent Producer with over 20 years of experience in the industry. His resume includes hundreds of television commercials, music videos, and films. His multitude of projects have honed his producing talents to insure the ideal balance between the artistic integrity and budget of each project.
Reiss has been producing for Mark Pellington for over 18 years in all mediums. Norman just finished his third film with Pellington, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance. He is also attached to produce his next feature.