Behind A Family Man

Behind A Family Man

A FAMILY MAN

 

CAST: GERARD BUTLER, GRETCHEN MOL, WILLEM DAFOE, ALFRED MOLINA, ALISON BRIE, MAXWELL JENKINS, JULIA BUTTERS

DIRECTOR: MARK WILLIAMS

WRITER BILL DUBUQUE

PRODUCERS: NICOLAS CHARTIER, MARK WILLIAMS, CRAIG J. FLORES ALAN SIEGEL, GERARD BUTLER, PATRICK NEWALL
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: BILL DUBUQUE, JONATHAN DECKTER, DAN BECKERMAN, DANIELLE ROBINSON
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: SHELLY JOHNSON

EDITOR: THOM NOBLE
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: CHARISSE CARDENAS
COMPOSER: MARK ISHAM
COSTUME DESIGNER: CHRISTOPHER HARDOGSON

 

Dane Jensen (Gerard Butler) is a driven Chicago-­‐based headhunter, working at a cut-­‐throat job placement firm. When Dane's boss (Willem Dafoe) announces his retirement, he pits Dane against Lynn Wilson (Alison Brie), Dane's equally driven but polar-­‐opposite rival at the firm, in a battle for control over the company. As Dane gears up for the professional battle of his life, he learns his 10-­‐year-­‐old son Ryan (Max Jenkins) is diagnosed with an illness. Suddenly, Dane is pulled between achieving his professional dream and his family, who need him now more than ever.

 

ABOUT THE PRODUCTION For everyone involved, A FAMILY MAN was a passion piece. Craig Flores (Voltage Pictures) was sent Bill Dubuque's script by his producing partner, Mark Williams (Zero Gravity Management). Gerald Butler and Alan Siegel were already attached; Alan to produce, and Gerald to both produce and star as talented headhunter Dane Jensen. Craig and Gerald had worked together before on 300 (2006). Craig admired Gerald's earlier performance in a small, independent film called DEAR FRANKIE (2004), about a single mother and her deaf son. 'In taking on A FAMILY MAN, our goal was to revisit Gerry's work in that film, and use it as a touchstone for this one," Craig said. The next key step in that process was assembling the supporting cast. Frequent award-­winners Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina were respectively cast as Dane's ruthless but retiring manager at the recruitment firm and as an aging out-­of‐work engineer, each of whom challenge headhunter Dane Jensen in unpredictable ways. Alison Brie was a perfect match to Gerald as Dane's rival, being herself 'smart, beautiful, confident and charming all in one," as Craig described. Gretchen Mol rounded out the deep bench of talent as Dane's wife, Elise. But the most difficult role to cast was the character of Dane Jensen's son, Ryan. Dane's journey is predominantly framed through his relationship with Ryan, which is constantly transforming over the course of the film. Craig described the wide search that went into Ryan's casting: 'We reviewed hundreds of self-­‐tapes and auditions from all around the world to find the right kid. Very tough decisions were made, but we ultimately discovered that Max Jenkins was born to play the role." Their relationship, the emotional center of the film, came to be founded on the genuine connection formed between Gerard and Max.

 

Producer Alan Siegel observed its development on set and influence on the final project: 'A father/son relationship can be very complicated and, in our movie, it is. Dane thinks that the best way to take care of and nourish his family is to make a lot of money. This steers him away from the family unit and isolates him from his wife and kids. He doesn't try to connect on an emotional level with Ryan and leaves the boy alone much of the time to fend and learn about life for himself." 'Gerry was so different with Max. When Gerry first met Max, an instant bond formed. Max is a warm, thoughtful, and friendly boy who brought out the best fatherly instincts that Gerry innately possesses. Gerry spent a great amount of time with Max. He was attentive and caring. They developed a real relationship: one of trust and mutual respect. And as our movie progresses, we see a great relationship between Dane and Ryan begin to crystallize and, actually, mirror the relationship that Gerry and Max had developed off-­‐ screen." A FAMILY MAN is Mark Williams' directorial debut. Not only did he guide resonant performances from an elite cast, as Craig noted, because of his experience as a producer, Mark was constantly anticipating and accounting for the concerns of the audience and the eventual marketing of the film. The coherence of the production team's vision, passion and experience has helped create an exceptionally polished debut for director Mark Williams, and showcase its nuanced performers, who bring the audience on a profound emotional journey with Dane and Ryan.

 

ABOUT THE DIRECTING

First-­‐time director Mark Williams was drawn to Bill Dubuque's script by the quality of the writing and the authenticity of its voices. An accomplished producer (FLAWLESS, THE ACCOUNTANT), Mark crossed over into the director's chair with full faith in his screenwriter and cast, and a complete vision for what he wanted: 'Simple, elegant, classic. A throwback movie. A family drama dealing with real-­‐life dilemmas. The goal was to always respect the characters and the world in which they exist." As a producer with years of experience on-­‐set, he was also uniquely predisposed to keep in balance with his artistic intents the commercial and marketing future of the film. 'I wanted to capture these unique voices on film without the camerawork or technical elements interfering, while still giving the movie a commercial size and scope." The script populates the under-­‐explored world of corporate headhunting with characters confronting relatable and universal challenges: 'the balance between work and family, husband and wife dynamics, the father and son relationship, losing a job and finding a job." Bill Dubuque's first-­‐hand experience in headhunting created the authenticity of the dialogue on the page, but it was Mark's 'constant creative banter" with a talented cast that translated the full characters to the screen. 'Each actor could relate to their character or the situation on one level or another from their own personal experience. This lent the performances a truth, which shows up on screen. I gave the actors the freedom to try different things, to explore." In the editing room, he then was able to play with the different takes 'to balance the humor and heart the story offers." Mark's first experience as a director was highly rewarding and fulfilling. He reflects on his on-­‐set role as collaborator and leader: 'While I gave the actors the opportunity to bring their own stamp to their characters, they allowed me to keep them true to the overall tone, style and story."

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