Jesse Metcalfe as Craig Landry, Erika Christensen as Elise Landry and Bill Lippincott as Galligan in Robert Lieberman's THE TORTURED. Photo by Bob Akester. An IFC Films release.
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The Tortured (2010/2012)
Opened: 06/15/2012 Limited
|IFC Center||06/15/2012 - 06/21/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
Rated: R for for sadistic violence and torture, language and a scene of sexuality.
Craig and Elise (Jesse Metcalfe and Erika Christensen) had all the ingredients for an ideal life: a great marriage, a wonderful five-year-old son, a charming home and a bright future.
Then, on one sunny day, their perfect world is irrevocably shattered. Leaving their five year old son, Ben, alone for only a moment, Craig is horrified to see him being abducted from their own front yard. Sadly, the desperate police search for the kidnapper proves to be in vain when the child is found dead. Craig is wracked with guilt and Elise cannot forgive him. Their relationship crumbles under the strain and Elise moves out -- leaving each of them alone in their private hell.
Months later, a chance tip leads police to the suspect's door, catching him red-handed with another victim. Although Ben's murderer (Bill Moseley) is soon brought to trial, the grieving parents are stunned when his sentence is considerably reduced by a plea bargain. Utterly shocked and reunited by their outrage, Craig and Elise agree that they cannot live another day until they rectify this miscarriage of justice. Together they decide to seek their own retribution, hatching a plot to kidnap the man and subject him to the same monstrous acts he perpetrated against their helpless son.
About the Production
Production for the psychological thriller The Tortured was completed in Vancouver, British Columbia during the fall of 2008 and stars Jesse Metcalfe (Desperate Housewives), Erika Christensen (Six Degrees, Flight Plan) and Bill Moseley (Halloween, The Devil's Rejects).
The film is directed by Rob Lieberman (Table For Five, Fire In The Sky) from an original script written by Marek Posival. Producers are Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Carl Mazzocone of Twisted Pictures, the company responsible for the internationally successful award winning Saw horror movie franchise.
The project is the first picture for the Chicago based Lighthouse Features, recently launched by Executive Producers Curtis Leopardo and Jonathan Zucker.
The behind the scenes team is led by acclaimed director of photography Peter F. Woeste (Stargate, In Cold Blood), production designer Brian Davie (The Art of War11: Betrayal, Call of the Wild) and costume designer Nancy Bryant (Merlin's Apprentice, Earthsea).
Twisted Pictures is helmed by Mark Burg, Oren Koules and Carl Mazzocone and is the horror/thriller division of their company Evolution Entertainment. Their Saw horror franchise has been one of the most profitable ever. The first four Saw films opened # 1 at the box office and have earned over 500 million worldwide.
As a principal in Twisted Pictures, the horror/thriller division of Evolution Entertainment, the company behind the enormously successful SAW horror franchise, Producer Carl Mazzocone, along with partners Mark Burg and Oren Koules have established a well earned reputation in the highly competitive field of horror films. As such, as Mazzocone explains, they were inundated with scripts for the genre.
"After we made the SAW franchise -- successful as it is -- we became the go-to place in Hollywood for horror films." Mazzocone explains. "And after you've read a thousand scripts, and 95% of them are the same old regurgitated nonsense of a bunch of idiot children lost in a cabin in the woods, you realize that to find a successful horror movie is to find a successful boogeyman. If you don't have a great bad guy, you don't have a great horror movie."
And that's where the script for "Tortured" came in and immediately stood out because of its reflection of disturbing real life situations in modern society. "When I read this script I realized that this bad guy is real," Mazzocone recalls. And he's everywhere. If you go online and you look up sex offenders in any state, there's hundreds of thousands of them -- per state -- registered, with pictures, living right next door to you. So I thought to myself, this would be a phenomenal horror film, simply because the boogey-guy is real. He exists -- and he's living next door."
Producer Curtis Leopardo recalls that he had recently established his LightTower Entertainment with partner Jon Zucker. "We were introduced to Mark and Oren at Twisted Pictures by our agent at United Talent Agency," Leopardo recalls, "and we were really taken with the script for this project.
We felt that this was the kind of movie that had not really been done before, that this particular kidnapping story had a twist to it, which other films of the genre lacked. So that is what really inspired me to get involved from the beginning."
Carl Mazzocone talks about the importance of choosing the right director to help bring the indie feature in on time and on budget. " In choosing a director when you're making a movie for a price, you want to make sure you have somebody who is a filmmaker first and also truly is a journeyman in understanding their craft. Rob Lieberman made one of the scariest films I've seen, called Fire In The Sky. Exceptionally well done. He also has one of the most enormous records of success in directing the most amount of pilots that ended up as series. I think 16 of 18 pilots that he directed that he directed became TV series -- it's a remarkable achievement. He's won all these awards in commercials, which is super-sophisticated filmmaking, because you're creating an emotion in 28 seconds. Choosing him as the director was probably one of the smartest things we did, because he brought the incredible precision a TV director must have in order to make his schedule and applied that to a feature schedule. He shot the film with such amazing precision, and was able to spend the time in numerous takes to get the performances he wanted. It was an absolute delight to work with him."
"Rob Lieberman was already attached to the project when I came on board," Curtis Leopardo recalls. " And Rob has been in the business so long, I learned so much just by being around him. He had a real passion for the movie; it was something you could see every time the cameras were rolling. He had such a strong passion for the story, to tell the story how it should be and that was a great thing about him. It was an honor to work with the man."
The unpredictable nature of the story also attracted Lieberman's interest. "I read the script and it started out kind of macabre, and I loved the opening, it kind of sucked me in -- I didn't know where it was going," says Lieberman. "And then it turned into a flashback, and structurally I loved that aspect. And for the remainder of the movie it kind of jumped back and forth between the flashback and the present, it's really a remarkably structured film. I define the story as a crossroads between the macabre and the heartfelt. There are not a lot of people at that intersection; I've kind of claimed a stake to it. From tear jerkers like Table for Five to comedies like All I Want For Christmas, I kind of pride myself on being able to make films of all natures, but primarily something that has a dark side to it, and a real human side to it."
Carl Mazzocone is also emphatic about the distinctive qualities, which place Tortured above the standard horror fare. "We worked very, very diligently to make the characters believable -- based in reality. And I think that's going to set this picture apart from most films. A lot of horror movies -- and this is a lot more than a horror movie -- rely on cheap thrills or, or just the traditional scares of a horror picture. Because this story is more realistic and because of the quality of the acting and directing, I believe audiences will get emotionally involved with this thriller."
About the Casting
Involved in the project from early on in the process, producer Curtis Leopardo is very enthusiastic about the casting choices. " I'm very happy with our cast. I feel we literally got diamonds. Jesse Metcalfe is a great actor, he really did an unbelievable job and I've been a huge fan of Erika Christensen's since Swimfan, not to mention her fabulous work in Traffic and Flight Plan and Perfect Score. It was an honor to work with both her and Jesse. And last but not least, Bill Moseley, I saw his movie Devil's Rejects -- and he never left my head. That particular character he played was huge for me. So it was very exciting to have him on board."
Producer Mazzocone elaborates on the casting choices. "You can have a fabulous screenplay and spend years developing it, but you can make a bad film if you don't cast intelligently," he explains. "We were very much interested in finding young fresh faces that were believable as young parents. And I consider our choices to have been superb. I just can't imagine anybody but Erika and Jesse in these roles. They had genuine affection for one another off the set, and I think that is apparent throughout the scripted turmoil of their roles as husband and wife. I also had the great fortune of working with Bill Moseley on another Twisted picture, called REPO! The Genetic Opera so I was able to call him up and ask that he play this very, very difficult role for us. Not a lot of people would want this role, and Bill did a great job at it."
Erika Christensen recalls that she was immediately taken with the script when her agent sent it to her. "I was hooked from page one because I thought it was such an eloquent examination of evil and what that means. Not in a theoretical sense but in a very real, face to face sense."
"This movie definitely has some violence in it, some blood and that kind of thing," adds Christensen. "But like I said it's examining evil in human form. What is that and what do you do when you're confronted with it? Do you curl up into a ball and die or do you fight back? And especially when you have been deeply wronged you've been provoked. What does that bring out in a person? It's brutal. It's a brutal story. In a good way."
A subsequent meeting with director Rob Lieberman convinced the young actress that they were both on the same track. "I felt like we were both interested in making the same kind of move-it was very exciting!"
As for Lieberman, he can't say enough about the talented young actress. About Erika: "Erika Christensen is the creme de la creme of this movie. When her name came up for the part, I went back and looked at Traffic again and she's flawless -- she's flawless. Her instincts are impeccable. She was only 26 when we made Tortured but I'm willing to bet anything by the time she's 36 there'll be an Oscar sitting on her mantle. This is the beginning of a young Meryl Streep; this girl has Kate Winslet chops. She's the real thing. And for a director, it doesn't get any better than that."
Also attracted by the unusual aspects of the Tortured story, Jesse Metcalfe remembers that he was emotionally affected by his initial reading of the script. "The first time I read the script, I found it very moving. And even more than that, I was in a very introspective place after I read the script. It was very thought provoking. The real message of the script is the moral dilemma of the two main characters, Elise and Craig. It's about how they deal with a tremendous tragedy and how they choose to deal with their grief."
Director Lieberman recalls that his initial reservations about casting Metcalfe were quickly dispelled after talking to Peter Hyams who directed the young actor in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt opposite Michael Douglas and Amber Tamblyn. "Peter said he was great, that both Michael Douglas and Amber were impressed by him. I had only known him from Desperate Housewives, so I was concerned what his range would be, because I wasn't looking for soap opera actors. So Peter kind of assured me that he was a complex, complicated guy who could deliver the goods and he was not lying. Jesse is a wonderful actor."
Lieberman goes on to talk about casting the archetypal horror star Bill Mosley as the villain. " Bill Moseley is famous for his work in the horror genre but the audience is going to be shocked because I pulled him way back and he is really frightening. Here's a guy who has already played predator types and really scary types -- and now he's playing it real."
Moseley himself admits that he was also drawn to the project thanks to the script and its potentially controversial subject matter. " The subject matter of this movie is pretty risky. It's very dark. It's very real. And I thought the script was really well written. I thought it managed to stay on track. I thought the plot twists and turns were very well contrasted -- so that's what really sold me on it."
"I talked with my agent and manager both," Moseley adds "and they concurred that it was a really good script so in spite of the risks of playing a child killer agreed that it was a really good project to take on."
Erika Christensen (Elise Landry)
Erika Christensen's most recent feature film credits include Veronika Decides to Die, in which she plays a troubled, scheming mental patient alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar. In Mercy, starring Scott Caan, she plays a gentle soul who comes to his emotional rescue. She is currently co-starring in the NBC television series Parenthood as Julia Braverman-Graham.
Other credits include New Line Cinema's critically acclaimed The Upside of Anger with Joan Allen and Kevin Costner in which she plays the free spirited and defiant daughter and Touchstone Pictures' international blockbuster Flightplan, starring Jodie Foster, in which Christensen plays a conflicted flight attendant.
Christensen is also well remembered as the rebellious daughter of exgroupie, Susan Sarandon, in Fox Searchlight's, The Banger Sisters costarring Goldie Hawn and Geoffrey Rush and in Twentieth Century Fox's Swimfan, where she reprised a classic femme fatale role in a love triangle.
Christensen stunned audiences as Michael Douglas' drug addicted daughter in Steven Soderbergh's Oscar and Golden Globe winning film, Traffic. She, along with the rest of the cast, also received the prestigious Screen Actor's Guild Award for their work and Erika individually received the Movieline Award for "Standout Performance" and MTV's "Breakthrough Performance Female" Award for her role.
Since her early teens Christensen has gravitated to dramatic roles, playing in award winning television dramas such as: The Practice, Touched by an Angel, The Pretender and Nothing Sacred, for which she was nominated by The Hollywood Reporter for the Young Star Award: "Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Drama TV Series".
Jesse Metcalfe (Craig Landry)
SAG Award-winning actor Jesse Metcalfe may be best known for his role as John Rowland, in Desperate Housewives ABC's pop culture phenomenon. His move to the big screen happened in 2006 when Metcalfe starred as the lead and title character in 20th Century Fox's John Tucker Must Die.
Metcalfe's recent credits include a starring role opposite Michael Douglas in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt for RKO pictures as well as the romantic comedy The Other End of the Line for MGM.
Born in Monterey, California and raised in Waterford, Connecticut, Metcalfe was always a fan of the arts. After studying at NYU and the famed Tisch School of the Arts, he modeled in both the U.S. and Europe, a stint that ended when he joined NBC's hit daytime drama Passions.
Metcalfe has received the 2005 Young Hollywood Award for "Exciting New Face," and has been nominated for two Teen Choice Awards including one for Choice Actor in a television comedy.
Rob Lieberman (Director)
Four-time nominee and two-time winner of the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials, Rob Lieberman was the first director to win this award when it was introduced in 1979. Founder of the legendary production company, Harmony Pictures, Mr. Lieberman has directed over 2000 commercials winning countless awards. His credits include the feature films, Table for Five, D3 The Mighty Ducks, and Fire in the Sky, as well as television programs such as, The Dead Zone, Brothers & Sisters, Thirtysomething, The Young Riders, Gabriel's Fire, X Files, Shark and Dexter.
Curtis Leopardo (Producer)
Curtis Leopardo is the Founder of Chicago-based production company LightTower Entertainment and an award-winning Filmmaker, Producer, Writer and Director. His first film, "Slaves of the Beast," won several prestigious international film festival awards, including "Best Horror Film of the Year" at the 2006 Long Beach Action On Film Festival and "Top Five Best Short Film" at the 2006 Myrtle Beach International Film Festival.
Leopardo's Chicago film experience includes the Emmy Award-winning drama series "ER," starring special guest Forest Whitaker, Universal Pictures' "The Express" starring Dennis Quaid and Parallel Entertainment's "Witless Protection" starring Larry the Cable Guy. Recently, Leopardo was a guest speaker at the College of DuPage on the topic of "How to produce an award-winning film."
Jon Zucker (Producer)
Jon Zucker is Executive Producer with LightTower Entertainment and recently spent four years at United Talent Agency (UTA), where he represented a prestigious A-list of actors and musicians, including motion picture clients like Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler and Rachel McAdams. His also managed casting for UTA clients on numerous television shows for Disney, Nickelodeon, MTV, FX, Sci-Fi Channel, Oxygen, TBS and TNT. Previously, Zucker worked in the Legal and Publicity Department of Arista Records, one of the nation's leading record labels.
Zucker is a former attorney with political experience working for former New York Senator Al D'Amato and on the re-election campaign of Long Island Judge David Freundlich. Zucker has his Juris Doctor from George Washington University Law School and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Arizona State University. He was one of 25 students in the country selected for a fellowship at Cambridge University and London School of Economics.
Carl Mazzocone (Producer)
Twisted Pictures is helmed by Mark Burg and Oren Koules, and is the genre division of their management company Evolution Entertainment. Established in 2004 by Burg, Koules and the late Gregg Hoffman, Twisted is an independent production company specializing in horror/thriller-based films.
The first picture released under this new banner was the powerhouse horror hit, Saw, one of the most profitable films of 2004. Starring Cary Elwes, Danny Glover and Monica Potter, the film was a smash hit, grossing $55.3 million in the US alone and $104 million worldwide.
In 2005 the company rocked Hollywood again with the release of Saw II, opening to a Halloween weekend record $31.7 million in North America. The film went on to become the year's top grossing horror movie. Based on the success of the sequel, Saw III was green-lit to hit theaters Halloween weekend 2006. Bigger than its two predecessors, Saw III opened at #1 in North America, the U.K. and Australia the weekend of October 27, 2006. The film's opening box-office in North America was $33.6 million. The film ended up grossing $80 million domestically and $164 million worldwide
Outside of the Saw franchise, Twisted had two other releases. The company produced Dead Silence by Saw creators James Wan and Leigh Whannell for Universal Pictures. The second film was Catacombs, starring Shannyn Sossamon and pop diva Pink, premiered in October 2007.
Also in 2007, in it's ongoing effort to expand it's production slate, Twisted Pictures partnered with RKO Pictures in a joint venture to remake four classic Val Lewton films from the RKO library: The Body Snatcher, Bedlam, I Walked With A Zombie and Five Came Back. The films will be spearheaded by producer/director Andy Fickman in collaboration with some Evolution's best and brightest horror writers and directors.
Raymond Massey (Producer)
Raymond Massey began his filmmaking career in 1983 in partnership with cinematographer brother Nathaniel, completing a wide variety of productions over the next five years. In 1989 his first feature film premiered at TIFF (then the Toronto Festival of Festivals) while completing a producer residency at the Canadian Film Centre. Since then, Massey has produced over 20 more movies in varying capacities as producer, executive producer, line producer. Award-winning titles by Massey include Impolite, Whale Music, Lives of Gorls and Women, My Father's Angel, Spirit Bear, Long Life & Happiness & Prosperity, Lynne Stopkewich's Suspicious River and Iron Road a China-Canada co-production. In recent years, Massey has line produced several movies including Kicken It Old School for the Yari Film Group. Massey Productions continues to develop and produce independent feature films, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Peter Woeste (Cinematographer)
Peter Woeste is a director, cinematographer and camera operator. Born in Germany and raised in Canada, he was nominated for an ASC Award in 1997 for In Cold Blood in the category "Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Mini-Series", and won a 1997 Blizzard Award in the category "Best Cinematography - Dramatic" for Paris or Somewhere. He was nominated for a Gemini Award in the category "Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series" three times: in 1994 for Neon Rider, in 1997 for The Legend of the Ruby Silver, and in 2004 for the Stargate SG-1 episode "Nightwalkers". He was Director of photography and Director on the Stargate television franchise. When he isn't in production, Peter and his wife operate a nursery on Westham Island outside Vancouver.
Brian Davie (Production Designer)
Brian Davie was raised between his native Vancouver and San Francisco before attending art school and university in Ontario. He entered into the motion picture industry in 1987 starting out in eet decoration, gradually worked his way up through the ranks and eventually into the art department where he became accredited as a Production Designer in 1999. During his lengthy career he has worked for such notables as Director Ridley Scott, and legendary Producer Albert S. Ruddy.
He is past winner of the Leo Award for Best Production Design in feature film and the MOMA Award for Best Art Direction in advertising. He has also received two additional Leo Award nominations. Brian has also taught Production Design at both Vancouver Film School and Capilano University.