BIRDMAN, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton)-famous for portraying an iconic superhero-as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.
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Edward NortonActorAmerican actor, filmmaker and activist Edward Harrison Norton was born on August 18, 1969, in Boston, Massachusetts, and was raised in Columbia, Maryland. His mother, Lydia Robinson "Robin" (Rouse), was a foundation executive and teacher of English, and a daughter of famed real estate developer James Rouse, who developed Columbia, MD; she passed away of brain cancer on March 6, 1997. His father, Edward Mower Norton, Jr., was an environmental lawyer and conservationist, who works for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Edward has two younger siblings, James and Molly. From the age of five onward, the Yale graduate (majoring in history) was interested in acting. At the age of eight, he would ask his drama teacher what his motivation in a scene was. He attended theater schools throughout his life, and eventually managed to find work on stage in New York as a member of the Signature players, who produced the works of playwright and director Edward Albee. Around the time when he was appearing in Albee's Fragments, in Hollywood, they were looking for a young actor to star opposite Richard Gere in a new courtroom thriller, Primal Fear (1996). The role was offered to Leonardo DiCaprio but he turned it down. Gere was on the verge of walking away from the project, fed up with the wait for a young star to be found, when Edward auditioned and won the role over 2000 other hopefuls. Before the film was even released, his test screenings for the part were causing a Hollywood sensation, and he was soon offered roles in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996) and The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996). Edward won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Supporting Role and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Primal Fear (1996). In 1998, Norton gained 30 pounds of muscle and transformed his look into that of a monstrous skinhead for his role as a violent white supremacist in American History X (1998). This performance earned him his second Oscar nomination, this time for Best Actor. He received his third Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actor, for his work in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014). His most prominent roles also include the critically acclaimed Everyone Says I Love You (1996), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), Fight Club (1999), Red Dragon (2002), 25th Hour (2002), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), The Illusionist (2006), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). He has also directed and co-written films, including his directorial debut, Keeping the Faith (2000). He has done uncredited work on the scripts for The Score (2001), Frida (2002), and The Incredible Hulk (2008). Alongside his work in cinema, Norton is an environmental and social activist, and is a member of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, a non-profit organization for developing affordable housing founded by his grandfather James Rouse.More
Michael KeatonActorQuirky, inventive and handsome American actor Michael Keaton first achieved major fame with his door-busting performance as fast-talking ideas man Bill Blazejowski, alongside a nerdish morgue attendant (Henry Winkler), in Night Shift (1982). He played further comedic roles in Mr. Mom (1983), Johnny Dangerously (1984), and Beetlejuice (1988), earned further acclaim for his dramatic portrayal of Bruce Wayne / Batman in Tim Burton's Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992), and since then, has moved easily between film genres, ranging from drama and romantic comedy to thriller and action. Keaton was born Michael John Douglas on September 5, 1951 in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, to Leona Elizabeth (Loftus), a homemaker, and George A. Douglas, a civil engineer and surveyor. He is of Irish, as well as English, Scottish, and German, descent. Michael studied speech for two years at Kent State, before dropping out and moving to Pittsburgh. An unsuccessful attempt at stand-up comedy led Keaton to working as a TV cameraman in a cable station, and he came to realize he wanted to work in front of the cameras. Keaton first appeared on TV in several episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968). He left Pittsburgh and moved to Los Angeles to begin auditioning for TV. He began cropping up in popular TV shows including Maude (1972) and The Mary Tyler Moore Hour (1979). Around this time, Keaton decided to use an alternative surname to remove confusion with better-known actor Michael Douglas. After reading an article on actress Diane Keaton, he decided that Michael Keaton sounded good. His next break was scoring a co-starring role alongside Jim Belushi in the short-lived comedy series Working Stiffs (1979), which showcased his comedic talent and led to his co-starring role in Night Shift (1982). Keaton next scored the lead in the comedy hits Mr. Mom (1983), Johnny Dangerously (1984) , Gung Ho (1986), the Tim Burton horror-comedy Beetlejuice (1988), and The Dream Team (1989). Keaton's career was given another major boost when he was again cast by Tim Burton, this time as the title comic book superhero, millionaire playboy / crime-fighter Bruce Wayne, in Batman (1989). Burton cast him because he thought that Keaton was the only actor who could portray someone who has the kind of darkly obsessive personality that the character demands. To say there were howls of protest by fans of the caped crusader comic strip is an understatement! Warner Bros. was deluged with thousands of letters of complaint commenting that comedian Keaton was the wrong choice for the Caped Crusader, given his prior work and the fact that he lacked the suave, handsome features and tall, muscular physicality often attributed to the character in the comic books. However, their fears were proven wrong when Keaton turned in a sensational performance, and he held his own on screen with opponent Jack Nicholson, playing the lunatic villain, "The Joker". Keaton's dramatic work earned widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike, and Batman (1989) became one of the most successful films of the year. Keaton remained active during the 1990s, appearing in a wide range of films. Keen to diversify his work, Keaton starred as a psychotic tenant in Pacific Heights (1990), as a hard-working cop in One Good Cop (1991), and then donned the black cape and cowl once more for Batman Returns (1992). He remained in demand during the 1990s, appearing in a wide range of films, including the star-studded Shakespearian Much Ado About Nothing (1993), the drama My Life (1993), another Ron Howard comedy The Paper (1994), with sexy Andie MacDowell in Multiplicity (1996), twice in the same role, dogged Elmore Leonard character Agent Ray Nicolette, in Jackie Brown (1997) and Out of Sight (1998). He also played a killer in the mediocre thriller Desperate Measures (1998). In the 2000s, Keaton appeared in several productions with mixed success, including Live from Baghdad (2002), First Daughter (2004), and Herbie Fully Loaded (2005). He also provided voices for characters in the animated films Cars (2006), Toy Story 3 (2010), and Minions (2015). He returned to major film roles in the 2010s, co-starring in The Other Guys (2010), RoboCop (2014) and Need for Speed (2014). Also that year, Keaton starred alongside Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), a film by 21 Grams (2003) and Biutiful (2010) director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. In the film, Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, a screen actor, famous for playing the iconic titular superhero, who puts on a Broadway play based on a Raymond Carver short story, to regain his former glory. Keaton's critically praised lead performance earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, the Critics' Choice Award for Best Actor and Best Actor in a Comedy, and nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award, British Academy Film Award, and Academy Award for Best Actor. In 2015, he played a journalist in Spotlight (2015), which, like Birdman, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In 2016, he starred as Ray Kroc, the developer of McDonald's, in the drama The Founder (2016). He is a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University.More
Zach GalifianakisActorZach Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, to Mary Frances (Cashion), who owned a community arts center, and Harry Galifianakis, a heating oil vendor. His father is of Greek descent and his mother is of mostly English and Scottish ancestry. Zach moved to New York City after failing his last college class by one point. Zach got his start performing his brand of humor in the back of a hamburger joint in Times Square. He toured the country, performing in coffee shops and universities. After more than a decade performing stand-up and making both television and film appearances, Zach broke through to wider recognition with his co-starring role as "Alan Garner", in the comedy mega-hit, The Hangover (2009). Later that year, he played a large role in the CGI-heavy kids movie, G-Force (2009), and then appeared in memorable supporting parts in the films, Up in the Air (2009) (as a laid-off employee), Youth in Revolt (2009) (as a loutish stepfather), and Dinner for Schmucks (2010), as one of the title characters. More recently, he co-starred with Keir Gilchrist in the teen dramedy, It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010), with Robert Downey Jr. in the road trip comedy, Due Date (2010), and alongside Will Ferrell in the political spoof, The Campaign (2012). He also voiced "Humpty Dumpty" in the animated film, Puss in Boots (2011), and reprised his character in both The Hangover Part II (2011) and The Hangover Part III (2013). In 2014, he appeared in the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), and in 2016, he starred in the comedies Masterminds (2016) and Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016), released three weeks apart. When not performing and acting, Zach spends time at his home in the mountains of his native North Carolina, where he hopes to open a writer's retreat on a completely self-sustained farm.More
Naomi WattsActorNaomi Ellen Watts was born on September 28, 1968 in Shoreham, England, to Myfanwy Edwards "Miv" (Roberts), an antiques dealer and costume/set designer, and Peter Watts (Peter Anthony Watts), the road manager to Pink Floyd. Her maternal grandfather was Welsh. Her father died when Naomi was seven and she began to follow her mother and her brother around England, until she was fourteen, then they settled in Australia, where her maternal grandmother was from. She coaxed her mother into letting her take acting class when they arrived. After bit parts in commercials, she landed her first role in For Love Alone (1986). Naomi met her best friend, Nicole Kidman, when they both auditioned for a bikini commercial and they shared a taxi ride home. In 1991, Naomi starred along Kidman in the sleeper-hit Flirting (1991) directed by John Duigan. Naomi continued her career by starring in the Australian Brides of Christ (1991) co-starring Oscar-winners Russell Crowe and Brenda Fricker. In 1993, she worked with John Duigan again in Wide Sargasso Sea (1993) and director George Miller in Gross Misconduct (1993). Tank Girl (1995), in 1995, an adaptation of the comic book was a cult hit, starred Naomi as "Jet Girl", but it didn't fare well at the box-office and didn't do much for her career as a whole. Watts continued to take insignificant parts in movies including the much forgotten film Children of the Corn: The Gathering (1996). It wasn't until David Lynch cast her in the critically acclaimed film Mulholland Dr. (2001) that she began to become noticed. Her part as an aspiring actress showed her strong acting ability and wide range and earned her much respect, as much as to say by some that she was overlooked for a Oscar nomination that year. Stardom finally came to Naomi in the surprise hit The Ring (2002), which grossed over $100,000,000 at the box-office and starred Watts as an investigative reporter hunting down the truth behind several mysterious deaths seemingly caused by a video tape. While the movie did not fare well with the critics, it launched her into the spotlight. In 2003, she starred in Alejandro González Iñárritu's 21 Grams (2003) which earned her - what some say is a much overdue Oscar nomination and brought others to call her one of the best in her generation of actors. The same year, she was nominated for 21 Grams (2003), Naomi was chosen to play "Ann Darrow" in director Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005) which took her to New Zealand for a five month shoot. Watts completed her first comedy in I Heart Huckabees (2004) for director David O. Russell, playing a superficial spokes model - a break from her usual intense and dramatic roles she is known for. In 2005, she reprized her role as the protective-mother-reporter "Rachel Keller" in The Ring Two (2005). The movie, released in March, opened to $35,000,000 at the box office in the first weekend and established her as a box-office draw. Also in 2005, it was decided that her independent movie Ellie Parker (2001) would be re-released in late 2005 after its success at resurfacing at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie, which Naomi also produced, features her in the title role and is a bit biographical, but yet exaggerated take of the life of a struggling actress as she comes to Hollywood and encounters nightmares of the profession (it also features Watts' own beat-up Honda which she travels around in). In 2006, she starred with Edward Norton in The Painted Veil (2006). In July of 2007, Naomi gave birth to a boy, Alexander Pete (Sasha Schreiber) in Los Angeles with Liev Schreiber. Since then her career choices have gathered even more critical acclaim with starring roles roles in German director Michael Haneke's American remake of his thriller Funny Games (2007), David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises (2007), and the action-thriller, The International (2009), released in February 2009. In mid-2008, Watts announced she was expecting her second child with Schreiber and gave birth to another boy, Samuel Kai Schreiber, in New York on December 13.More
Emma StoneActorEmily Jean "Emma" Stone was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Krista (Yeager), a homemaker, and Jeffrey Charles Stone, a contracting company founder and CEO. She is of Swedish, German, and British Isles descent. Stone began acting as a child as a member of the Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, where she made her stage debut in a production of Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows". She appeared in many more productions through her early teens until, at the age of fifteen, she decided that she wanted to make acting her career. The official story is that she made a PowerPoint presentation, backed by Madonna's "Hollywood" and itself entitled "Project Hollywood", in an attempt to persuade her parents to allow her to drop out of school and move to Los Angeles. The pitch was successful and she and her mother moved to LA with her schooling completed at home while she spent her days auditioning. She had her TV breakthrough when she won the part of Laurie Partridge in the VH1 talent/reality show In Search of the Partridge Family (2004) which led to a number of small TV roles in the following years. Her movie debut was as Jules in Superbad (2007) and, after a string of successful performances, her leading role as Olive in Easy A (2010) established her as a star.More