A History of Violence Press Kit 2

Source: Cannes Film Festival Press Kit

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The Cast

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Viggo Mortensen (Tom Stall) Since his screen debut as a young Amish farmer in Peter Weir's 1985 Witness, Viggo Mortensen's career has been marked by a steady string of stellar and diverse performances.

Mortensen was last seen in Disney's epic action-adventure Hidalgo based on the true story of the greatest long-distance horse race in history. Directed by Joe Johnston and written by John Fusco, Mortensen stars as Frank T. Hopkins, the legendary cowboy and the greatest endurance rider the West has ever known. Frank and his mustang, Hidalgo, compete in the Ocean of Fire - a 3,000 mile race across the Arabian Desert - which becomes not only a matter of pride and honor, but also a race for his very survival as he and Hidalgo attempt the impossible.

Critics have continually recognized his work in more than 30 films, including such diverse performances in Peter Jackson's epic trilogy The Lord of the Rings, A Walk on the Moon opposite Diane Lane, Jane Campion's Portrait of a Lady opposite Nichole Kidman and John Malkovich, Brian DePalma's Carlito's Way opposite At Pacino and Sean Penn, Boiling Point with Wesley Snipes and Dennis Hopper, and Ruby Cairo with Liam Neeson.

Born in New York to a Danish father and an American mother, Mortensen spent the early part of his childhood in Manhattan. His family traveled a great deal and he spent several years living in Venezuela, Argentina and Denmark. He began acting in New York, studying with Warren Robertson. He appeared in several plays and movies, and eventually moved to Los Angeles, where his performance in Bent at the Coast Playhouse earned him a Drama-logue Critic's Award.

Mortensen is also an accomplished poet, photographer and painter. Mortensen founded Perceval Press in 2002, a small independent publisher specializing in art, critical writing and poetry. The intention of the press is to publish texts, images, and recordings that otherwise might not be presented.

Mortensen is currently working on his third book of poetry, and recently exhibited a new photographic series, Miyelo at the Stephen Cohen Gallery in Los Angeles. He also exhibited at the Wellington City Gallery and Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand, Track 16 Gallery in Los Angeles and Robert Mann Gallery in New York City.

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Maria Bello (Edie Stall) Best known for her Screen Actors Guild Award-winning lead role on ER as the passionate and headstrong pediatrician Dr. Anna Del Amico, Maria Bello has quickly emerged as one of Hollywood's up and coming film stars. She made her television debut as a series regular opposite Scott Bakula in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The spy-adventure series required Bello to do some of her own stunts.

She co-starred in Permanent Midnight with Ben Stiller and Elizabeth Hurley, and with Mel Gibson in Paramount's Payback. In 2000, Bello co-starred in Duets with Gwyneth Paltrow, Huey Lewis and Scott Speedman, and starred in Jerry Bruckheimer's highly anticipated Coyote Ugly, portraying Lil, a tough talking entrepreneur who owns a Western style bar in New York City called Coyote Ugly.

In the fall of 2000, Bello returned from China where she filmed a special project, which was presented on the spectacular giant IMAX(R) screen called China: the Panda Adventure. Based on Ruth Harkness' autobiography, Lady and the Panda, the large format picture, released in 2001, combines spectacular images of a foreign land and breathtaking scenes with Giant Pandas, in an incredible true story of hope courage and triumph of the human spirit.

In October of 2002, Bello co-starred opposite Greg Kinnear in the feature Auto Focus, based on the complex life of Bob Crane of television's Hogan's Hero's. She also completed the dark comedy 100-Mile Rule, a story which revolved around three salesmen from Detroit who come to Los Angeles for a seminar and become entrenched in far more than they ever imagined. In 2003, Bello captivated audiences in the feature film The Cooler, a tale of luck, love and Las Vegas. She was part of an all-star cast including William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin and Ron Livingston. Screened at the 2003 Sundance Festival, Bello received glowing reviews, and earned Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Supporting Actress. The picture was released by Lion's Gate in November, 2003.

In 2004, Bello starred in the Sony thriller Secret Window, with Johnny Depp and John Turturro, and in John Sayles' Silver City, co-starring Chris Cooper, Richard Dreyfuss and Thora Birch. She recently completed Assault on Precinct 13, opposite Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne and John Leguizamo; Sisters, based on the Chekov play Three Sisters directed by Arthur Allan Seidelman, and costarring Erika Christensen, Mary Stuart Masterson and Chris O'Donnell; and The Dark.

On stage Bello performed in the world premiere of The Killer Inside Me, in addition to Smart Town Gals, Big Problems, Urban Planning, and A Lie of the Mind.

She co-founded the Dream Yard Drama Project for Kids, a not-for-profit arts and education program for children in Harlem. She has toured Africa and Asia while continuing her studies in conjunction with her arts and education program for children, and lends her time and energy to the charity, Save The Children.



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William Hurt (Richie Cusack) William Hurt was most recently seen in M. Night Shyamalan's thriller, The Village, opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Sigourney Weaver. In October, 2004, he was seen in The Hallmark Channel's miniseries, Frankenstein, opposite Donald Sutherland. Also in 2004, Hurt was seen in the independent film, Blue Butterfly. He starred as a famous entomologist who takes a terminally ill boy into the rainforest to grant his dying wish. The film was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and released in Canada and Japan.

In 2002, Hurt appeared in Disney's Tuck Everlasting, directed by Jay Russell, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He also starred in the title role of the CBS mini-series Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story, and made a cameo appearance in Paramount's Changing Lanes, starring Samuel L. Jackson.

In 2001, Hurt starred in the independent film Rare Birds co-starring Molly Parker, which was nominated for Best Film at the Genie Awards, Canada's equivalent of the Academy Awards. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. He was also seen in a supporting role in Steven Spielberg's A.l. In the same year, he starred in The Flamingo Rising for CBS. Based on the novel by Larry Baker and directed by Martha Coolidge, Hurt starred opposite Brian Bonbon and Elizabeth McGovern in the story of an eccentric dreamer who builds the world's largest drive-in movie theater across the street from a funeral parlor. In April of 2003, Hurt starred in Varian's War for Showtime. Directed by Lionel Chetwynd and produced by Barbra Streisand's Barwood Films, the film costarred Alan Arkin, Julia Ormond and Lynn Redgrave, and followed the story of Varian Fry (Hurt) who rescued prominent European artists and more than 2,000 others from the Nazi persecution during World War 11.

In 2000, Hurt delivered a memorable performance in Sunshine, opposite Ralph Fiennes. Directed by Istvan Szabo, Sunshine received three Genie Awards, including one for Best Motion Picture. In addition, Hurt also appeared in The Simian Line with Lynn Redgrave and Eric Stoltz, and in Dune for the Sci-Fi Channel.

In 1980, Hurt made his film debut in Altered States. He received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Broadcast News and Children of a Lesser God. For Kiss of the Spider Woman, he was honored with an Academy Award as well as Best Actor Awards from the British Academy and the Cannes Film Festival.

Among his other film credits are Body Heat, The Big Chill, Eyewitness, Gorky Park, Alice, I Love You to Death, The Accidental Tourist, The Doctor, The Plague, Trial by Jury, Second Best, Smoke, Confidences a un Inconnu, Jane Eyre, Michael, Dark City, The Proposition, The Big Brass Ring and One True Thing.

For radio, Hurt read Paul Theroux's The Great Railway Bazaar, for BBC Radio Four, and Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx. He has recorded The Polar Express, The Boy Who Drew Cats and narrated the documentaries Searching for America: The Odyssey of John Dos Passos, Einstein - How I See the World, and the English narration of Elie Weisel's To Speak the Unspeakable, a documentary directed by produced by Pierre Marmiesse.

Hurt trained at Tufts University and New York's Juilliard School of Music and Drama. He spent the early years of his career on the stage between drama school, summer stock, regional repertory and Off Broadway, appearing in more than 50 productions, including Henry V, 5th Of July, Hamlet, Richard ll, Hurlyburly (for which he was nominated for a Tony Award), My Life, (winning an Obie Award for Best Actor), A Midsummer's Night's Dream and Good. In 1988, he was awarded the first Spencer Tracy Award from UCLA.


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Ed Harris (Carl Fogarty) Ed Harris recently demonstrated his range and versatility with three different roles in director Michael Tollin's Radio with Cuba Gooding Jr., Robert Benton's screen adaptation of The Human Stain with Nicole Kidman and Anthony Hopkins, and the black comedy, Buffalo Soldiers, co-starring Joaquin Phoenix.

He also wrapped production opposite Paul Newman on the HBO film Empire Falls, based on Richard Russo's best-selling novel, directed by Fred Schepisi. The film also stars Joanne Woodward, Helen Hunt, Robin Wright Penn and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Harris also starred in the Focus Films drama, Winter Passing, opposite Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel for director Adam Rapp.

In 2003, Harris earned his fourth Academy Awards nomination, a Golden Globe nomination, a Screen Actors Guild nomination, and a BAFTA nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Stephen Daldry's The Hours, Previously, he earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for Pollock, his widely acclaimed directorial debut. The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival and co-starred Marcia Gay Harden, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Harris' other feature credits include A Beautiful Mind, Stepmom, The Truman Show (for which he received an Academy Award nomination and won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor), Apollo 13 (for which he was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe, and won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor), The Right Stuff, A Flash of Green, Walker, The Third Miracle, Alamo Bay, Sweet Dreams, Jackknife, and The Firm.

His television credits include The Last Innocent Man, Running Mates, Paris Trout, and Riders of the Purple Sage (for which he and his wife Amy Madigan, as co-producers and co-stars of the film, were presented with the prestigious Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Outstanding Television Feature Film), and HBO's Empire Falls, with Paul Newman.

Harris made his New York stage debut in Sam Shepard's Fool for Love, for which he earned an Obie Award for Outstanding Actor. His other stage credits include Prairie Avenue, Scar, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Grapes of Wrath, Sweet Bird of Youth, and Simpatico for which he received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Actor.

Ashton Holmes (Jack Stall) Holmes makes his feature film debut opposite Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello in David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. He recently completed guest lead roles on CBS' Cold Case in which he played a troubled thug; and on NBC's Law & Order, SVU, as a low-life character.

Holmes made an impact in his stage debut as the lead in the National Tour of Rent, landing the role after his first audition, He also performed in London's West End in The Snow Queen and made his professional debut in A Christmas Carol, which toured regionally.

Born in Albany, N.Y., Holmes was struck by the magic of theatre and film at age 4 when his mother took him to see Peter Pan, clinched by a desire to play Luke Skywalker when he saw Star Wars. He subsequently took acting lessons at age 6 and began appearing in community theatre. While attending the Albany Academy, he performed in Guys and Dolls. His other stage credits include Hippolytus, and Measure for Measure which played at the Albany Art Centre. He further honed his skills during a one-year internship at New York State Theatre Institute before relocating to Los Angeles.


Heidi Hayes (Sarah Stall) Heidi Hayes, age 6, makes her feature film debut in A History of Violence as the Stall's young daughter. She made her television debut at age 5, on Doc. On stage, she performed in a local production of Charlie Brown, Oliver, and a summer theatre musical review.

Born in Orillia, Ontario, on September 25, 1998, home-schooled Hayes is in the equivalent of grade one. The blue-eyed blonde youngster lives with her parents and two older sisters, Malaria (11) and Nakita (9), in the Muskoka "cottage country", north of Toronto where her parents run The Central Ontario School of Falconry, breeding birds of prey, giving flight demonstrations at schools and events in addition to falconry courses.


Stephen McHattie (Leland Jones) Stephen McHattie's substantial body of work encompasses a wide range of roles in feature film, theatre and television. Most recently he starred in the independent feature, One Dead Indian, the story of the indigenous peoples 1995 Quebec uprising, Other recent features include The Lazarus Child, starring Andy Garcia, Frances O'Connor and Angela Bassett; Twist, opposite Nick Stahl, a contemporary urban drama based on Dickson's Oliver Twist, and Secretary, in which he played Maggie Gyllenhaal's father. Among his more than 40 films are memorable turns in Geronimo, Belizaire the Cajun, Gray Lady Down, Beverly Hills Cop III and The Dark.

McHattie has starred on television in Canada and the US. He received the 1995 Gemini Award for Best Actor in a telefilm for CBC's Life with Billy. He was a series regular on Cold Squad, CBC's Emily of New Moon, Beauty and the Beast and CBS' Scene of the Crime. Other notable television performances include XFiles, Seinfeld, Law and Order and the telefilms Centennial and the title role in NBC's James Dean.

McHattie made his Broadway debut in The American Dream in 1968, and was a member of the Phoenix Theater and the Circle in the square repertory. He received an Obie Award for Ghetto and the Drama Desk nomination for Mensch Meier at the Manhattan Theater Club.

Born in Nova Scotia, McHattie now lives outside Toronto with his wife, actress Lisa Houle, and their children: Isobel, Duncan and Tess.


Greg Bryk (William "Billy" Orser) On the big screen, Greg Bryk's credits include a lead role in the independent feature, Pizza; Men With Brooms, written and directed by Paul Gross; The Gospel of John; and Clay Borris' indie film, The Pawn. His two most recent independent films are Slattand and Gray Light, where he plays the leading role in both.

Bryk recently completed the futuristic drama series ReGenesis. He was a series regular on Body and Soul and guest-starred on several popular series including The Eleventh Hour, Blue Murder, Sue Thomas F.B.Eye, Starhunter, Mutant X, and The Relic Hunter.

A native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Bryk played football at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where he won the Vanier Cup in 1993. He decided to pursue an acting career after landing his first role as the lead in the university's production of Hamlet. After graduating with a Bachelor of Honours in Drama and English, he went on to perform on some of North America's most prestigious stages including the Stratford Festival, the Stratford Conservatory, Circle in the Square, New York's Metropolitan Opera, and the Prairie Theatre Exchange. Bryk makes his home in Toronto with his wife and children.


Peter MacNeill (Sheriff Sam Carney) Peter MacNeill, one of Canada's busiest actors has an incredibly impressive resume. He has appeared in Kevin Costner's feature Open Range, with Costner, Robert Duvall and Annette Bening, and in John Smith's Geraldine's Fortune, opposite Jane Curtin. He received a 1997 Genie Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Whiskey Mac in Thom Fitzgerald's The Hanging Garden. Among his other big screen credits are Cletis Tout with Christian Slater and Richard Dreyfus; The Cavemen's Valentine, featuring Samuel L. Jackson; Violet opposite Mary Walsh; Frequency with Dennis Quaid; Simon Birch, based on a novel by John Irving; and David Cronenberg's Crash with Holly Hunter and James Spader.

On television, MacNeill most recently appeared in Paul Gross' mini-series, H20. In 2003, he won a Gemini Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Eleventh Hour in which he had a recurring role. He also has a recurring role in the popular television series Queer as Folk. MacNeill earned a 1994 Gemini Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Gross Misconduct, a television movie directed by Atom Egoyan; and again, in 1998 for his role in Penelope Buitenhuis' Giant Mine. His extensive list of television credits also includes Framed with Rob Lowe and Sam Neill; Blue Moon, Stuart Gunnarson's Dangerous Evidence: The Lori Jackson Story, Deep in My Heart with Gloria Reuben and Anne Bancroft; the fact-based Long Island Incident, and My Own Country with Marisa Tomei. He also appeared in Storm of the Century, a mini-series based on the book by Stephen King. Among his many episodic credits are recurring roles on the series Traders and Psi Factor Chronicles of the Paranormal.


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Last edited: 19 May 2006 13:11:20
© New Line Cinema/Cannes Film Festival.