Tom Hanks stars as Commander James A. Lovell, Jr. in this historical drama centering on the ill-fated NASA mission whose trip to the moon in 1970 was interrupted by a deep space explosion in the command module. Following the explosion, 400,000 global outer space workers, including Mission Control flight director Gene Kranz (Ed Harris), worked diligently to figure out a way to save astronauts Lovell, John L. Swigart (Kevin Bacon) and Fred W. Haise (Bill Paxton) from such life-threatening dangers as freezing temperatures, poisoning by carbon monoxide, suffocation and incineration on re-entry into the earth's atmosphere. Of the story directed by Ron (BACKDRAFT) Howard for Imagine Entertainment: 'Explosive, into-outer-space scenes are counteracted by the infinitely personal drama inside the module, which is no bigger than the interior of a sports car.'
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Ed HarrisActorBy transforming into his characters and pulling the audience in, Ed Harris has earned a reputation as one of the most talented actors of our time. Ed Harris was born in Tenafly, New Jersey, to Margaret (Sholl), a travel agent, and Robert Lee Harris, a bookstore worker who also sang professionally. Both of his parents were originally from Oklahoma. Harris grew up as the middle child. After graduating high school, he attended New York's Columbia University, where he played football. After viewing local theater productions, Harris took a sudden interest in acting. He left Columbia, headed to Oklahoma, where his parents were living, and enrolled in the University of Oklahoma's theater department. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to find work. He started acting in theater and television guest spots. Harris landed his first leading role in a film in cult-favorite George A. Romero's Knightriders (1981). Two years later, he got his first taste of critical acclaim, playing astronaut John Glenn in The Right Stuff (1983). Also that year, he made his New York stage debut in Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love", a performance that earned him an Obie for Outstanding Actor. Harris' career gathered momentum after that. In 2000, he made his debut as a director in the Oscar-winning film Pollock (2000).More
Gary SiniseActorGary Alan Sinise was born in Blue Island, Illinois, to Mylles S. (Alsip) and Robert L. Sinise, A.C.E., a film editor. He is of Italian (from his paternal grandfather), English, Scottish, Irish, French, German, and Swedish ancestry. His family moved to Highland Park, where he attended high school. He was something of a rebel, playing in bands but paying little attention to school. Gary and some friends tried out for "West Side Story" as a lark, but Gary was hooked on acting for life by closing night. Gary credits his love for theatre to his drama teacher, Barbara Patterson. In 1974, Gary, Terry Kinney, and Jeff Perry founded the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. Initially performing in a church basement, the company grew and gained stature in the Chicago area. In addition to acting in many plays, Gary also directed some of Steppenwolf's most notable productions, including Sam Shepard's "True West". The company made its off-Broadway debut with that production, starring Gary and John Malkovich, and its Broadway debut with "The Grapes of Wrath" at the Cort Theatre in 1990. Gary's Hollywood career also started in the director's chair with two episodes of the stylish TV series Crime Story (1986), followed in 1988 by the feature Miles from Home (1988) starring Richard Gere. Gary's first feature film as an actor was the World War II fable A Midnight Clear (1992) in 1992. That year also found Gary combining his acting and directing talents with the critically acclaimed Of Mice and Men (1992). His first real notice by the public came in 1994, however. He starred in the blockbuster miniseries The Stand (1994), rapidly followed by his bravura performance as "Lt. Dan" in Forrest Gump (1994). His portrayal of the disabled, emotionally tortured veteran earned Gary numerous awards and an Oscar nomination. Busy 1994 was followed by busy 1995, first reuniting with Tom Hanks in Apollo 13 (1995) and then starring in the HBO film Truman (1995) which earned him the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards and an Emmy nomination. Gary is married to Moira Sinise, an actress and original member of the Steppenwolf company. They have three children, Sophie Sinise, McCanna Anthony Sinise and Ella Sinise.More
Tom HanksActorThomas Jeffrey Hanks was born in Concord, California, to Janet Marylyn (Frager), a hospital worker, and Amos Mefford Hanks, an itinerant cook. His mother's family, originally surnamed "Fraga", was entirely Portuguese, while his father was of mostly English ancestry. Tom grew up in what he has called a "fractured" family. He moved around a great deal after his parents' divorce, living with a succession of step-families. No problems, no alcoholism - just a confused childhood. He has no acting experience in college and credits the fact that he could not get cast in a college play with actually starting his career. He went downtown, and auditioned for a community theater play, was invited by the director of that play to go to Cleveland, and there his acting career started. Ron Howard was working on Splash (1984), a fantasy-comedy about a mermaid who falls in love with a business executive. Howard considered Hanks for the role of the main character's wisecracking brother, which eventually went to John Candy. Instead, Hanks landed the lead role and the film went on to become a surprise box office success, grossing more than $69 million. After several flops and a moderate success with the comedy Dragnet (1987), Hanks' stature in the film industry rose. The broad success with the fantasy-comedy Big (1988) established him as a major Hollywood talent, both as a box office draw and within the film industry as an actor. For his performance in the film, Hanks earned his first Academy Award nomination as Best Actor. Hanks climbed back to the top again with his portrayal of a washed-up baseball legend turned manager in A League of Their Own (1992). Hanks has stated that his acting in earlier roles was not great, but that he subsequently improved. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Hanks noted his "modern era of movie making ... because enough self-discovery has gone on ... My work has become less pretentiously fake and over the top". This "modern era" began for Hanks, first with Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and then with Philadelphia (1993). The former was a blockbuster success about a widower who finds true love over the radio airwaves. Richard Schickel of Time magazine called his performance "charming", and most critics agreed that Hanks' portrayal ensured him a place among the premier romantic-comedy stars of his generation. In Philadelphia, he played a gay lawyer with AIDS who sues his firm for discrimination. Hanks lost 35 pounds and thinned his hair in order to appear sickly for the role. In a review for People, Leah Rozen stated, "Above all, credit for Philadelphia's success belongs to Hanks, who makes sure that he plays a character, not a saint. He is flat-out terrific, giving a deeply felt, carefully nuanced performance that deserves an Oscar." Hanks won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Philadelphia. During his acceptance speech, he revealed that his high school drama teacher Rawley Farnsworth and former classmate John Gilkerson, two people with whom he was close, were gay. Hanks followed Philadelphia with the blockbuster Forrest Gump (1994) which grossed a worldwide total of over $600 million at the box office. Hanks remarked: "When I read the script for Gump, I saw it as one of those kind of grand, hopeful movies that the audience can go to and feel ... some hope for their lot and their position in life ... I got that from the movies a hundred million times when I was a kid. I still do." Hanks won his second Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Forrest Gump, becoming only the second actor to have accomplished the feat of winning consecutive Best Actor Oscars. Hanks' next role - astronaut and commander Jim Lovell, in the docudrama Apollo 13 (1995) - reunited him with Ron Howard. Critics generally applauded the film and the performances of the entire cast, which included actors Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris, and Kathleen Quinlan. The movie also earned nine Academy Award nominations, winning two. Later that year, Hanks starred in Disney/Pixar's computer-animated film Toy Story (1995), as the voice of Sheriff Woody. A year later, he made his directing debut with the musical comedy That Thing You Do! (1996) about the rise and fall of a 1960s pop group, also playing the role of a music producer.More
Xander BerkeleyActorXander's father was a painter and his mother a school teacher who sewed, providing him with costumes (his preference over toys). School plays and Community Theater were next. An experimental theater troupe in the area (which was an offshoot from Joseph Chaikin's Open Theater in New York) took Xander under their wing when he was 16. He credits this group for shaping him as both a person and an actor, committed to taking risks and remaining open to the unknown. Xander went to Hampshire College, the progressive brainchild of Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst, and the University of Massachusetts. He would continue in the theater at Hampshire, studying and doing plays at each of the other schools, all of which were there in the area. A move to New York after college brought him access to private teachers from the Royal Academy of the Arts, the Moscow Arts Theater and HB Studios. Later in Los Angeles, Xander would spend time with Lee Strasberg at The Actor's Studio during the last years of his life. Xander worked in Regional and Repertory Theaters in addition to off-Broadway while living in New York but, despite a classically trained theater background, he was increasingly drawn to the subtleties of film acting. A play, written by the great southern novelist Reynolds Price, called "Early Dark" had such a cinematic feel to it, that an agent saw the film acting potential in Xander and encouraged him to make the move out west. Soon Mommie Dearest (1981) provided Xander with his film debut in the role of "Christopher Crawford", and simultaneously gave his career a slightly cultish twist. Alex Cox with Sid and Nancy (1986), James Cameron with Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Bernard Rose with Candyman (1992), Todd Haynes with Safe (1995), Mike Figgis with Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Andrew Niccol with Gattaca (1997) all helped to further associate Xander as an actor in his own rather unusual category. Xander's choices were often determined by the opportunity to learn from directors he admired, certainly all those listed above fell into that category. Clint Eastwood with The Rookie (1990), Ron Howard with Apollo 13 (1995), Rob Reiner with A Few Good Men (1992), Michael Mann with Heat (1995), Wolfgang Petersen with Air Force One (1997), Steven Spielberg with Amistad (1997) are obvious examples of others Xander actively sought to work with and learn from. From obscure independent movies where Xander could play lead roles to the big budget studio movies where he might often play smaller character-driven parts, an education was taking place. Just as working with older directors like Michael Cacoyannis on The Cherry Orchard (1999) and Robert M. Young on Human Error (2004) (aka "Human Error") brought insights to ways of working that are being lost in pop cultures tendency to slide toward slickness. Not to mention bringing him to places like Bulgaria and China along the way. Perhaps because a life in the foreign services, or espionage was seen as a road not taken, living on location in foreign countries, working as an actor, has somewhat fulfilled the impulse. As early as 1987, a film took Xander to Nicaragua while the Contra War was taking place. It was during this three month shoot on the film Walker (1987) (starring Ed Harris) that Xander got an offer to do a film with his friend, director Jon Hess, in Chile for the following three months. Taking him straight from the revolutionary left-wing Sandanistas to Pinochet's fascist, right-wing regime. In 2001, an offer came in to play a part on a TV pilot called 24 (2001). It was another shady agent-type, and reluctant to repeat his performance from Air Force One (1997) as the turncoat secret serviceman, Xander almost passed on the job. Fortunately for him, he said yes. He met his future wife, Sarah Clarke during the first day of filming. His character, "George Mason", was just a guest star in the pilot, but the producers liked what Xander brought to it and continued to write more episodes for him. By the second season, it had become perhaps the most interesting, leveled character Xander had ever gotten to play. Sarah and Xander were married in 2002 and had their daughters, Olwyn in 2006 and Rowan in 2010. Other favorite roles of late have been "Arlen Pavich", the middle management dweeb, in Niki Caro's North Country (2005), and the Irish hooligan/railway foreman in David Von Ancken's Seraphim Falls (2006) and, more recently, "The King of Sodom" in Harold Ramis' Year One (2009), "Sonny" in David Pomes' Cook County (2008), the recovering meth head coming out of prison to discover the life he had left (and destroyed), and crazy "Uncle Doug" in David Wike's Out There (2006) (aka "Out There").More