"One of the best movies of the year."
"A love letter to rock & roll."
"a gritty, graceful salute to rock & roll."
“When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake”
“I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”
-- The Rolling Stones
Not Fade Away, David Chase’s deeply felt love letter to the music of the Sixties, is a film about dreams that come true -- and the ones that never do. For Chase, “It’s about anybody who has ever had a dream and about what it takes to actually realize that dream. Rock & roll is at the heart of the movie because for some of the characters, rock music is the gateway to transcendence, but it doesn’t end there.”
Traditionally, most rock & roll movies have focused on the agony and ecstasy of “making it” on a grand scale, usually with thousands of fans screaming in the background. As a rule, we witness some band of brothers’ rise and fall, then their crash and burn, and perhaps the eventual resurrection. As one might expect from a man best known as the creator of the groundbreaking television series The Sopranos, Not Fade Away is not your average rock & roll movie. Instead, this is an intimate, powerful, alternately painful and funny drama about coming of age and the sort of indelible memories -- musical and otherwise -- that end up making us who we are.
Not Fade Away -- which will makes its world premiere on Saturday, October 6 as the Centerpiece Gala selection for the 50th New York Film Festival -- is a kind of widescreen cinematic concept album in which writer and director David Chase vividly and grittily captures an extraordinary time in the mid-Sixties when music appeared to be changing our world on a daily basis. As Chase’s film lovingly and artfully documents, this was a singular era when The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Kinks, The Animals, among others, were taking musical leaps and bounds and redefining popular culture song by song.
Among other subjects, Not Fade Away beautifully examines the way one generation hung on every great rock song, and tried its best to keep up with and cop all the best moves. As Chase puts it, “Those people invented something important -- a new art form, a new business model, a new record industry, a new view of gender and a new perception of what stardom was. They really invented a new way of looking at art and at life.”
The Sixties were a time that shaped David Chase’s thinking and artistic mission -- a fact now clearly reflected by the remarkable way he has now brought that time to life again in his first feature film. “ I don't think there's been much better rock & roll produced since then,” says Chase, who like Not Fade Away’s central character Douglas served time as a drummer in an obscure New Jersey band with bigger dreams than accomplishments. “Steven Van Zandt describes that time in music as `The Renaissance.’ I always loved that period. It's been very influential in my life -- and probably in how I think. I first learned my ideas about popular art then -- like, oh that could be an art? You don’t have to paint the Sistine Chapel -- you could play the guitar, or the drums, and that would be an art too. Because that's what happened during this period -- music went from pop music to what some people call ‘an art’.”
Steven Van Zandt -- who famously played Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, and who served as an Executive Producer and the Music Supervisor for Not Fade Away -- explains, “This is something that David had been talking about for a lot of years. David’s a very musical guy, first of all -- anyone who's seen The Sopranos knows that. He was a drummer in a band -- which people may not know. I think one of David’s first loves -- if not his first love -- was to be involved in rock & roll. He went sideways into TV and movies, but my impression was that music was a bit more important to him than usual to a director or to a writer.”
Yet as Not Fade Away reminds us again, David Chase is definitely not just the usual director or writer. Not Fade Away -- which shares the title of a classic Buddy Holly rocker that later became an early hit for The Rolling Stones -- artfully tells the tale of one young man’s struggles to find himself as he seeks satisfaction while exiled on Main Street somewhere in suburban New Jersey. Douglas (John Magaro) is an intense, introspective fellow searching a bit aimlessly for his artistic identity on the records and album covers of the mid-Sixties. Opportunity knocks when he is asked to sit in on drums with a local rock combo that features Eugene (Jack Huston) and Wells (Will Brill).
Like so many great rock & roll stories, this one really starts with the classics -- The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. As David Chase explains, “The movie really begins in 1964 which was when what was called then, ‘the British Invasion’ hit the United States. That was The Beatles, The Stones, and The Kinks, the Animals, and then everybody else who came after. It's about a bunch of male friends in New Jersey, started out in high school, and they're just about going to go to college who are exposed to that music and like a gazillion other people decide it would be great to start that kind of band. And that's what they try to do.”
A bit of a brooding outsider by nature, Douglas finds his way in when he joins the band. As the band struggles to define itself, Douglas makes his way closer to the spotlight as he begins to explore his own voice by trying on the looks and sounds of his heroes. Before very long -- in a grand rock & roll tradition -- tensions ensue within the band, both creative and otherwise. The question becomes – as for countless bands everywhere, both before and since – will this group “make it big” before those tensions tear them apart?
Either way, being part of the band – at first called the Twylight Zones and later TBD -- dramatically transforms Douglas’ life and offers him the cooler and more bohemian identity that he so desperately desires. Among other things, Douglas’ raw talent and slightly Dylanesque onstage persona gives him the chance to finally win the attention of the beautiful girl of his dreams from high school, Grace Deitz (Bella Heathcote). This is, after all, the main reason that generations of male musicians have given for playing music in the first place. In Grace, Douglas finds his first true believer, and in his relationship with her, he begins to imagine a whole new world of possibilities -- as well as the chance to experience the burgeoning new sexual revolution hands on.
Yet for all the newfound confidence and independence playing in the band affords Douglas, his new life as a local rock god and his now scruffier longhaired look soon causes simmering tensions between Douglas and his middle class family -- most notably his father Pat who’s played by an actor who will be quite familiar to admirers of David Chase’s previous work -- James Gandolfini. In this far more generationally divided world of the Sixties, Douglas rebels from the authority of his clearly unhappy housewife mother Antionette (Molly Price) and the businessman father whose own American Dream for his son does not include the extreme long shot of rock stardom, but something far safer and steady. Only Douglas’ little sister Evelyn (Meg Guzulescu) sees any prospect for success. As in countless homes in the Sixties, the generational battle lines are drawn. Harshly rejecting his father’s path during one key scene, Douglas declares, “The band is my family now.”
For James Gandolfini, playing the part of Pat in Not Fade Away was not simply a chance to reunite with David Chase, the man who made him Tony Soprano, but also an opportunity to play a part that brought home some of his own personal memories. “The script was very specific to the way I grew up too, so I identified with it,” says the three time Emmy-winning actor. “A lot of it made me laugh which won't make other people laugh -- it's just so specific to things that I saw. My father was a bit like the father in the movie. So I figured it was a chance to see what I could do with it -- and it was David's script. That was a time when a lot was happening with two different generations, and it was an intense time for David so it was a personal story for him, but I think it resonates with a lot of people. Even now, if your kid wants to go into the arts, or be an artist, or thinks he's that much smarter than you, it's an interesting dynamic.”
“James plays every father who can’t always express his love in the most nurturing way,” says David Chase. “The character is kind of like my father, but Tony Soprano had elements of my father too. And it’s great because James brings so much to everything he does. And working with him gave us time to talk about things and just between us appreciate the work we have done together. He is such a perfectionist and he just got it.”
Unlike his character Pat who is generally reserved in his praise for his son Douglas, James Gandolifini is quick to praise John Magaro, the actor who memorably plays his son onscreen. “I did a little movie with John before, and I think he was great in this movie,” added Gandolifini. “And I ain't just sayin' that.”
To bring all this personal and musical drama to life meant that Chase and his collaborators had to form a Sixties band of their own that looked and sounded true to that experience and to that time. Thankfully, Chase had the perfect man in his corner to help him bring this musical moment alive onscreen, especially for an imaginary yet very authentic sounding band from the Garden State. That man was, of course, the legendary singer-songwriter-producer Steven Van Zandt -- perhaps best known for his enduring role in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. Chase’s admiration for Van Zandt goes back well before The Sopranos. Indeed, Chase once told this writer that the cover art for Van Zandt’s acclaimed 1982 album Men Without Women by Little Steven & The Disciples helped spark his creation of The Sopranos.
Right from the start David Chase understood he was putting together a movie, not just a band, and he cast Not Fade Away accordingly. As Chase explains, “You know there's the old stand-by which is to just go for the best actor, and worry about all other things later? That's the criterion I used. I knew that even though this movie had a lot of music, there was even more acting required. So we had an exhaustive casting process, and got the best actors for the parts.”
Once those actors were cast, however, Chase put his onscreen band through a kind of rock & roll boot camp with Van Zandt – a man who served his time in the trenches with some of New Jersey and the world’s most enduring bands – to turn his charges into gig-worthy rockers.
As Van Zandt says with a laugh, “A film about a band growing up in New Jersey? Big stretch for me. This story was maybe a few years before my time actually. The story is from 1962 to 1968, and I really wasn't in my first band until 1965 or 1966, but the fun part was you got to design what this band sounds like and be accurate to every single year from '62 to '68. You have to use the right equipment, use the right sound, and use the right attitude. That was really a lot of fun. It's the most fun I've had in a long time.”
“Steven did a great job.” Chase says. “He sort of rode herd on a whole crew of people that helped that happen. We got very lucky. The three central guys in the band, in the month of October they played nothing. By the time we started shooting in the beginning of the year, they could play. That's a tribute to Steve, and to the people he got to work with the guys too. It's also just so happened that the guys like John Magaro and Jack Huston turned out to have talent on their instruments. Some people simply cannot play the drums, right? They cannot keep a beat. And John could. If he hadn't been able to, we would have had to work with that somehow. But making the movie would have been much, much harder, and the music wouldn't have come off as well. Some people have musical talent, some people don't. We just happen to get three guys who do. And then the other two guys in the last configuration of the band -- Brahm Vaccarella as Joe Patuto and Gregory Perri as Skip, they really can play. So in the end, they really became a band.”
In the end, all this practice and attention to detail pays off in a movie that seems both true to its historic time, and true to the music itself.
“Learning to play the music for this movie has been unbelievable actually, and they have taken a lot of time and surrounded us by a lot of great people to make sure we knew what we were doing,” says John Magaro. “First, they got me a great drum teacher Andy White who is one of the fifth Beatles. Andy actually played on "P.S. I Love You” and "Please Please Me" the original tracks. This is before the Beatles’ first album came out. Steve got him to come in and teach me drums. Learning from somebody like that who was working in that era, and had that style and vibe about him was really priceless.”
Yet in the end, Magaro and his onscreen band mates in Not Fade Away learned that rock & roll is as much an attitude as anything else. “The main lesson Stevie taught us was to enjoy it,” he explains. “You can tell someone to be confident and have a swagger, and act like a rock star, but it's really just about having fun. I think that’s a big part of the movie. These guys have a lot of tension, a lot of politics, and a lot of infighting within the band, and their families and their lovers too. But the time that they really connect and click is when they're playing their music. And I think a lot of musicians feel that way. The music is where it all comes together.”
As no less of an authority than Steven Van Zandt, “There’s something universal about music bringing people together for a minute -- in this case on stage, onstage. No matter what's going on off stage, on stage, music bonds people beyond their personalities, beyond the circumstance. Music is a unifying force.”
Making a great movie, like making a great band or song, is not easy.
The chance to work with a true storytelling artist like Chase is what attracted veteran Producer Mark Johnson whose long list of credits include Diner, the Academy Award-winning Rain Man and the TV series Breaking Bad to Not Fade Away. “David is somebody I've admired for a long, long time,” says Johnson. He’s an extraordinary writer, and what he does in this movie is he writes great characters. You don't go to a David Chase television show or movie, to go see how well the bank robbery worked out, or the car chase. It’s interesting because David's technically a first-time feature director, but he's directed a lot of television. He directed both the pilot and the last episode of The Sopranos. So it's not like he didn't know what a 35mm lens was, but he’s had a lot of questions. Often I find out that he already knows the answer, but he was just curious if there's another answer. So for me it's been a great partnership working with David.”
The movie that they made is a kind of box set for every great band that never quite was – every great expectation that is never quite met. It’s a subject that Chase knows very well. “My band, we didn't do the hard work. We got together in my friend's basement. We played every once in a while, we pretended we were playing, we jammed with some other band, but we did not try to get a manager. We never found a name. Some people quit at crucial times and then came back. It was a whack off. Yet we took it very seriously. In our minds, we were the great--one of the great bands in America, but we weren't doing anything.”
Still, music has shaped Chase’s life and his art, much like it has for countless others of his generation and those who have followed. So it’s no surprise that the music heard in Not Fade Away takes us on an amazing journey – from Joey Dee & The Starlighters performing “The Peppermint Twist” to The Sex Pistols playing Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lover’s “Road Runner” – basically from innocence to something else entirely. We witness the struggles as the band try to find their own voice and make their own mark with their own songs. We even get to see the band touched, however fleetingly, by the sort of greatness they desire, if only for one song. Written and produced by Steven Van Zandt with vocals performed by John Magaro and Jack Huston, “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” is a stunningly romantic epic rocker that reflects the sort of white hot, wild eyed, poetic ambition of ever young musician in the mid to late Sixties who ever wanted to express deep thoughts like Bob Dylan or like a Rolling Stone.
We are even there as the band meets with the man who they believe can make them stars -- Jerry Ragovoy, the very real life Sixties songwriter-producer behind such timeless gems as “Time Is On My Side” and “Stay With Me,” memorably brought back to life here by Brad Garrett.
As producer Mark Johnson notes, “In many ways this is about a band that doesn't make it. It's a very good band, and they're good, but they're not great. And they're, not willing to make themselves great, and that’s what I think ultimately defines these characters.”
Most rock & roll movies are about surviving being great – Not Fade Away is about surviving being merely good, and how to carry on to find a new dream. Like a lot of lasting rock & roll songs, Not Fade Away is a musical statement about home truths, about fathers and sons, brothers and sisters, lovers and friends, and the people closest to us who simultaneously fuck us up and ultimately make us who were are. And at its heart, it’s about how great music provides the best soundtrack to the good, the bad and the ugly our lives.
“What I hope is that the people who see the movie will discover that the journey is everything,” says David Chase. “And that playing music is a tonic for just about everything.”
In a sense, Not Fade Away could be considered very long in development – arguably most of David Chase’s life.
“Throughout the whole production process, I kept telling David how autobiographical his film is and he kept denying it, but the evidence might suggest otherwise,” says Executive Producer Mark Johnson. “I do remember when David was shooting a scene with James Gandolfini as the father of our lead character confronting his son, I asked David, `So did your father ever say, “You and I, we are going to tangle my friend?” and David just said “All the time” and smiled.’
“It’s not an autobiography,” Chase says. “But it’s suggested by the way I felt at the time, and my loves and hates at the time, but not incidents per se. I started writing a primitive version of this screenplay 25 or 30 years ago, but I only got eight or nine pages into it. So I had the idea for a long time, but not many pages. So I really only started writing this movie after The Sopranos.”
According to Johnson, “It was always clear this movie was very important and personal for David, as most great films are. There was no sense, of “Well, The Sopranos is over, so I guess I should make a movie now. This was very clearly a story David has wanted to tell. It’s David’s first feature so this was a chance to do something he’s really passionate about. I believe this is something he had to write. The first script I read was significantly different, but even then something about it reminded me of the first film I ever was the Executive Producer on – Diner by Barry Levinson. In a different way, this had that same sense of a very talented man revisiting the time and place that shaped him.”
Not Fade Away was shot over sixty days in New York State and later California. "This is a period film that takes place over nine years, and a period piece like this one can be so difficult, becuase you have to change all the cars, all the meters, the stop signs," says Johnson. “David has remarkable attention to detail and a tremendous concern for realism, so it was very important for him to get things right, especially the music that had to be exact to the period. He wanted the music to be totally true to when the guys in our story would hear things and be influenced by them. Some of the music David wanted was indicated in the script, but he kept thinking and improving everything. And thanks to the power of David and Steven Van Zandt, and the music team at Paramount, we were able to get what we wanted.”
The casting process for Not Fade Away was unusually long and intense for a number of reasons. “Casting went on for a long time because we were looking for a lot of relatively new talent and because of the musical demands of some of the roles,” Johnson explains. “Normally the casting process would be eight to ten weeks – but for us it took about six months. We were casting a lot of unfamiliar faces and it took time to get it all right. We were literally and figuratively putting a band together. And we kept looking – we had to see John Magaro a second time before it was clear he was the man to play our lead.”
With casting finally complete, the production of Not Fade Away now faced a few more significant challenges. One was weather, since the storyline required both snowy and summery scenes. “We needed snow and we needed sun, and thankfully we got both,” says Johnson. Interestingly, another major concern for the film was hair. “Funnily enough, hair was a major issue. The hairstyles were changing so much in the era we were covering and we need it all to appear believable. I’ve seen period movies that fall apart over such things, but fortunately, I think due first and foremost to David’s great attention to detail, he was able to capture the times in every way here.”
Johnson says that filming Not Fade Away with David Chase was made much easier by the fact that he was uniquely experienced and knowledgeable. “You have to remember David is not a first time director --- he’s a first time feature director. He directed a couple of the greatest hours of television ever, and television that was truly cinematic too. It was very clear that he knew what he was doing.”
“Directing this movie was a learning experience, and I think that never stops,” says Chase. “I remember seeing Akira Kurosawa getting an Oscar lifetime achievement award, and he said the great thing about filmmaking is that you’re always learning. And he was in his Eighties and a genius. So I think it’s safe to say I learned a lot making this movie.”
Similarly, Johnson says that Chase clearly had a remarkable ability to inspire and work with actors. “Our mostly young cast rose to the challenges and didn’t seem too thrown to be working with David Chase who clearly has an eye for great actors,” says Johnson. “Maybe some of them were too young to fully realize what an opportunity this was for them. And I have to say as a fan of The Sopranos, to see David working with James Gandolfini again and thinking about the character they created together was amazing too.”
According to Johnson, editing was another intense part of the creative process. “We had almost too much of a good thing,” he explains. “David brought so many interesting and indelible characters to the screen, you wanted to keep following all of them. But in the end, you have to find your story to tell, and in the end, David found a great and meaningful one – to him and to all of us.”
Asked if there’s anything else at all that he would like people to know before they see Not Fade Away, David Chase thinks for a moment and then recalls a statement by famed music producer Brian Eno on the Daniel Lanois album and film Here Is What Is that has stayed with him. “Eno said, `What would be really interesting is to see how beautiful things grow out of shit, because nobody ever believes that. Everybody thinks that Beethoven had his string quartets completely in his head—they’d somehow appeared there and formed in his head . . . and all he had to do was write them down and they would kind of be manifest to the world. But I think what’s so interesting, and what would really be a lesson that everybody should learn is that things come out of nothing.’”
David Chase has produced, written, and directed critically acclaimed television shows such as I’ll Fly Away and the influential Peabody Award-winning HBO drama series The Sopranos. The Sopranos, which he created, is the most financially successful series in the history of cable television and is acknowledged as one of the greatest television series of all time.
Chase was born in Mt. Vernon, New York and raised in New Jersey. He studied at New York University and received a graduate degree in film from Stanford University.
Chase began writing for network television and eventually became a writer and producer on the classic NBC show The Rockford Files. In 1978, he won his first Emmy when the show was named Outstanding Dramatic Series. In 1980, Chase earned his second Emmy, this time for Outstanding Writing in a Movie for Television, the acclaimed Off the Minnesota Strip. He also received the Writers Guild of America Award for that film.
Chase first directed a self-penned episode of the ‘80s incarnation of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. He continued writing, directing, and producing, garnering further Emmy nominations for Outstanding Drama Series with Northern Exposure and the civil rights drama I’ll Fly Away.
Inspired by William Wellman’s The Public Enemy and his early years in New Jersey, Chase created and developed the HBO series The Sopranos. The show, which premiered January 10, 1999, is recognized as a phenomenon in American television and popular culture, winning a multitude of awards, 21 Emmys and five Golden Globes among them.
Mark Johnson won the Best Picture Academy Award for Barry Levinson’s poignant 1988 drama Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman (Best Actor Oscar) and Tom Cruise. Currently he is the executive producer of the Emmy-nominated AMC drama Breaking Bad, which is in its fifth season
His recent slate of motion pictures includes The Chronicles of Narnia franchise as well as Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark written and co-produced by Guillermo del Toro and starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pearce. In the past, he has produced Nick Cassavetes’ dramas My Sister’s Keeper, starring Cameron Diaz, and The Notebook, based on Nicholas Sparks’ bestselling novel; Lance Hammer’s Sundance award-winning film Ballast; the Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver sci-fi comedy Galaxy Quest directed by Dean Parisot; The Rookie directed by John Lee Hancock; Mike Newell’s gangster drama Donnie Brasco starring Johnny Depp and Al Pacino; and Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World starring Kevin Costner.
Johnson produced all of the writer-director Barry Levinson’s films from 1982-1994. In addition to Rain Man, their diverse slate of acclaimed features includes Good Morning Vietnam, The Natural, Tin Men, Toys, Young Sherlock Holmes, Avalon, Diner (their 1982 debut project, for which Levinson earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay), and Bugsy, nominated for ten Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. Bugsy also captured a Best Picture Golden Globe Award.
Johnson is currently in post-production on Chasing Mavericks with Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted directing and Gerard Butler starring. He just released Won’t Back Down for Fox/Walden Media starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis and directed by Daniel Barnz. He also finished Bless Me Ultima directed by Carl Franklin, which is being released in the fall of 2012. On the television side, he is in post-production on the Sundance Channel’s first scripted series, Rectify, created by Ray McKinnon.
For the past 12 years he has been the chairman of the Motion Picture Academy’s foreign language film selection committee.
Founded Santa Monica-based production company Indian Paintbrush Productions in 2006. His films include: The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Like Crazy, Young Adult, Jeff Who Lives at Home, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and Moonrise Kingdom.
Mark Roybal is the President of Production at Indian Paintbrush, overseeing all creative aspects of film development, production, and acquisitions. Indian Paintbrush is currently in postproduction on Jason Reitman’s Labor Day, Drake Doremus’ untitled project; Park Chan-Wook’s Stoker; and Danny Boyle’s Trance.
Indian Paintbrush’s most recent releases have been Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, Lorene Scafaria’s Seeking A Friend for the End of the World, Jay and Mark Duplass’ Jeff Who Lives At Home, and Drake Doremus’ Like Crazy.
Prior to joining Indian Paintbrush in 2010, Roybal was the President of Scott Rudin Productions where he worked with the Academy Award®-winning producer from 1996 to 2010. He was an executive producer on Joel and Ethan Coen’s No Country for Old Men. The film won four Academy Awards® in 2008: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem). Roybal also produced Kim Peirce’s Stop-Loss, and John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, and executive produced Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.
Is a Musician, Songwriter, Performer, Arranger, Record Producer, Actor, Writer, Human Rights Activist, and International Radio DJ. He is a founding member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and an original principal cast member on The Sopranos.
Steven's current projects include writing, co-directing, and co-producing The Rascals Once Upon A Dream reunion concert events. He is also starring, co-writing, co-producing, and co-scoring Lilyhammer, which was chosen as the first original programming for Netflix, America’s first digital network. He continues to host his internationally syndicated Rock and Roll radio show Little Steven's Underground Garage (now broadcast in over 180 countries with over 1 million listeners in North America alone), and is touring the world with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Steven has also founded The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation dedicated to the development, preservation, dissemination, and continuing support of Rock and Roll, past, present, and future - which is currently developing an online curriculum on the history of Rock and Roll and its role in American culture to both provide music education and defeat America’s High School dropout epidemic with a pilot program set to launch in schools in 2013.
Produced Duplicity, directed by Tony Gilroy and starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. He also produced the Academy Award® winning Michael Clayton, starring George Clooney, and directed by Tony Gilroy. Michael Clayton was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the year by the Academy, and the film won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Tilda Swinton. Other nominations for the film include Best Director – Tony Gilroy; Best Original Screenplay – Tony Gilroy; Best Actor - George Clooney; Best Supporting Actor – Tom Wilkinson; and Best Original Score – James Newton Howard.
Orent’s film credits as executive producer include Guillaume Canet's Blood Ties starring Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Marion Cottillard, Mila Kunis, Zoe Saldana and James Caan. Definitely, Maybe, starring Ryan Reynolds, Rachel Weisz, Abigail Breslin and Kevin Kline; Kate & Leopold, starring Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman, under the direction of James Mangold; Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton; Jonathan Glazer’s Birth, starring Nicole Kidman; and Fred Schepisi’s It Runs in the Family, starring Michael Douglas and Kirk Douglas. Additionally, Orent was a producer on James Gray’s crime thriller The Yards, starring Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix and Charlize Theron.
Orent has also co-produced James Mangold’s Cop Land, with Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta; David O. Russell’s hilarious comedy Flirting with Disaster, starring Ben Stiller, Patricia Arquette, Alan Alda and Lily Tomlin; James Gray’s feature directorial debut Little Odessa, starring Tim Roth and Edward Furlong; John Duigan’s The Journey of August King; and Phillip Haas’ The Music of Chance.
Orent served as executive producer on FX’s hit firefighter drama Rescue Me, starring Denis Leary. In 2005, the show was honored by the Producers Guild of America with a Visionary Award, which acknowledges producers whose work demonstrates a unique or uplifting quality.
Orent’s other television producing credits include the 2010 AMC series Rubicon, the 2001-2002 ABC series The Job, starring Denis Leary. Earlier in his career, Orent served as post-production supervisor on films such as The Pelican Brief, Reversal of Fortune, Peggy Sue Got Married and The Cotton Club.
Bryld most recently lensed Netflix’s upcoming series House Of Cards (starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), executive produced by David Fincher, Kevin Spacey and Beau Willimon. Bryld received an Emmy nomination for Best Cinematography on the HBO film, You Don’t Know Jack, directed by Barry Levinson and starring Al Pacino and Susan Sarandon. Other credits include the dark comic thriller In Bruges (starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson), Becoming Jane (starring Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy), Kinky Boots, The King and HBO’s PU-239.
Bryld won the award for Most Innovating Cinematography at the Madridimagen Festival in Madrid for his work on Dariusz Steiness' Charlie Butterfly. He won a BAFTA Award in 2001 for Best Cinematography for James Marsh's Wisconsin Death Trip and was nominated by the Royal Television Society for his work on the television adaptation of Crime and Punishment.
Bryld graduated from Gwent College, Wales with a highernational diploma in film and video production in 1992. He currently lives in New York with his wife and children.
Wheeler has been working in the film industry since 1991 when he started as a P.A. on Philip Haas' film, The Music of Chance. Since that time, he has been credited with nearly every Art Department job finishing with that of Production Designer. A sampling of his work as a production designer includes Blood Ties for French director, Guillaume Canet, Matt Reeves' Let Me In, Greenberg directed by Noah Baumbach and produced by Scott Rudin, Rachel Getting Married directed by Jonathan Demme, Terry George's Reservation Road and James Gray's We Own the Night.
He has worked extensively as a Set Decorator with Production Designer Kevin Thompson on such films as: Stranger Than Fiction, Little Odessa, The Yards, Birth, Kids, and Flirting With Disaster. Also as Set Decorator, he has done such films as Any Given Sunday, Bamboozled, She Hate Me, Beloved and many more.
Mr. Wheeler was born in Glendale, California and moved to the coastal town of Corona del Mar at the age of two. He attended Brigham Young University where he received a degree in Fine Arts. Upon graduation he moved to San Francisco in 1968, just in time for the Hippie Revolution, and on to New York City in 1973. Prior to his motion picture career Mr. Wheeler owned and operated a wholesale/retail store in Manhattan's SoHo district. The store was the largest importer of traditional African art and utilitarian objects in the U.S. supplying stores, museums, dealers and collectors worldwide and giving Mr Wheeler the opportunity to travel extensively in West Africa.
Wolinsky worked on Chase’s legendary show The Sopranos. He edited the series from beginning to end, including infamous final episode which was directed by Chase himself. In addition, he worked on the 1st season on the HBO series Rome. He has cut the pilots for a number of series - Sons of Anarchy, Blue Bloods, and Boardwalk Empire, receiving an Emmy for his work on the Boardwalk Empire pilot. He is currently working on a series for Netflix called House of Cards, being produced by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey. In 2008, he won the American Cinema Editors Award for Best Edited One-Hour Series for The Sopranos.
Thomas began her film work in 1994, and her influential designs have defined some of the most memorable film characters of the past two decades. Among her most notable achievements have been the cutting-edge bright yellow fight suit designed for Uma Thurman in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, the folksy attire donned By Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin in Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion, and her Costume Design Guild Award™ winning Emmy™ nominated designs worn By Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange In Michael Suscy’s Grey Gardens for HBO.
Catherine has designed over two dozen feature films, among them Anne Fletcher’s hit comedies, 27 Dresses and The Proposal, and Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, Whip It. Her filmography also includes Neil Jordan’s The Brave One, Richard Shepard’s The Matador, Ethan Hawke’s The Hottest State and Chelsea Walls and four collaborations with writer/director Edward Burns: Purple Violets, The Groomsmen, Ash Wednesday and Sidewalks Of New York.
In October 2012, Catherine’s work will be featured in a 100 year retrospective of Hollywood costume designers at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, UK.
In addition to the recognition of her work in Grey Gardens, Catherine earned Costume Designers Guild Award™ nominations for Kill Bill: Volumes 1 and 2 and was profiled in Deborah Nadoolman Landis’s Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costumes (Harper Collins, 2007). She received a career achievement award from New York Women in Film & Television and Variety Magazine and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Her media appearances have included NBC’s The Talk, Access Hollywood, NPR’s Eight Forty--‐Eight, Interview, Vogue (US, UK, Japan), W, Harpers Bazaar, WWD, Them New York Times, USA Today, Variety, Clothes on Film, TBS’s Dinner and a Movie and The Hollywood Reporter.
A Brooklyn resident and Chicago native, Catherine studied at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and the Kansas City Art Institute before starting her career as a designer in New York City in the costume shop at The Julliard School.
In Not Fade Away, John Magaro plays the leading part – and eventually he sings lead too.
Already nurturing an impressive body of work that encompasses film, television, and theatre, John Magaro is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s most sought after and engaging young actors. Recently, Magaro finished filming the Maersk, Alabama opposite Tom Hanks as his son. He is also currently filming Deep Powder opposite Shiloh Fernandez, Haley Bennett, Dana Eskelson, and Logan Miller. Next, John can be seen co-starring opposite Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, and Richard Jenkins in IFC Films movie Liberal Arts.
John’s other film credits include: The Brave One, directed by Neil Jordan, opposite Jodie Foster, The Box, Bret Simon's The Assassination Of A High School President, Vadim Perelman's The Life Before Her Eyes and Wes Craven's My Soul To Take. His television credits include the critically acclaimed HBO film Taking Chance opposite Kevin Bacon, Person Of Interest, Body Of Proof, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order, and Conviction.
An accomplished theatre actor, Magaro has been seen in many productions in New York and throughout the country, including originating the role of White Steve in Adam Rapp's Gompers. Most recently, John played the male lead in the critically acclaimed production of Tigers Be Still written by Kimberly Rosenstock and directed by Sam Gold for the Roundabout Theatre Company.
According to Jack Huston, his Not Fade Away character Eugene Gaunt “holds himself in very high esteem and think he's probably the greatest guitarist who ever lived. But he’s not the greatest singer.” Huston’s captivating portrayal of ‘Richard Harrow’ in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire elevated him from a guest star in the series’ first season to a series regular in Season 2. Most recently, Huston wrapped production in Portugal on Night Train To Lisbon, which also stars Jeremy Irons and Mélanie Laurent.
Huston will next star in Killer Films’ Kill Your Darlings. The thriller tells the story of a murder in 1944 that brings together Beat Generation founders Jack Kerouac (Huston), Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) and William Burroughs (Ben Foster). Elizabeth Olsen stars alongside Huston as Edie Parker, wife of Jack Kerouac.
In 2010, Huston appeared as Royce King II in the third installment in the Twilight series, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. That same year, Huston starred alongside Mena Suvari in Garden Of Eden, based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway.
His other film credits include starring opposite his real-life uncle, Danny Huston, Stellan Skarsgaard and Gillian Anderson in Boogie Woogie. Appearing alongside Kevin Spacey and Robin Williams in the independent picture Shrink that premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and in Factory Girl with Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce in 2006.
Huston was born in London, England, the son of Lady Margot Lavinia Cholmondeley and Walter Anthony Huston. His paternal grandfather was director John Huston and his maternal grandfather was Hugh Cholmondeley, 6th Marquess of Cholmondeley. Huston is the nephew of actors Anjelica Huston and Danny Huston.
In Not Fade Away, Will Brill plays Wells, a guitarist bandmate of Douglas’ who is, Brill says, “kind of a spoiled rich kid. Wells is given a lot of things but at the same time he holds himself and the people around him to this incredible standard. He really wants everyone around him to uh, raise the bar for themselves for each other, and for that reason is very scared of being out in the world.”
Brill is an accomplished stage actor in New York City. He is currently starring in Tribes, directed by David Cromer at the Barrow Street Theater. Other New York theater work includes Restoration Comedy (Exit, Pursued By a Bear), Winnemucca, Three Days in the Belly (FringeNYC), Our Town (Barrow Street Theater) and the Ephemerama (Shelby Co.). His regional theater work includes Translations and Goat Song for Asa Jacobs(Stanford),The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Pittsburgh Irish and Classical). His upcoming TV and film projects include Louie, Boys Against Girls and King Kelly. Brill is a founding member of Exit, Pursued By a Bear and Shelby Company and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University.
Rock history is full of fathers who doubted their sons, and in Not Fade Away, James Gandolfini plays Pat, a dad who both loves and doubts his rocker son.
Not Fade Away reunites Gandolfini with David Chase with whom he made TV history in The Sopranos.
Gandolfini has made his mark in a variety of roles in film on the stage and in television. Next, on the big screen he will be seen in Killing Them Softly, a film starring Brad Pitt, Geoffrey Fletcher's Violet and Daisy and Zero Dark Thirty. His other upcoming features include The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and Nicole Holofcener’s untitled film opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus. On the stage, Gandolfini completed a successful Broadway and Los Angeles run for the Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage that earned him a Tony nomination for Best Leading Actor. In 1992, Gandolfini made his Broadway debut in the revival of A Streetcar Named Desire with Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange.
Other film credits include the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated HBO Film Cinema Verite, Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story Where the Wild Things Are, Tony Scott’s remake of The Taking of Pelham 123 and the independent feature In the Loop. His small screen executive producing credits include the HBO Documentary Films Wartorn and the Emmy-nominated Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq in addition to the Emmy-nominated HBO Film Hemingway and Gellhorn. In the Emmy Award-winning HBO drama series The Sopranos portraying the series lead, Tony Soprano, his portrayal of the mob boss brought him three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series. He has also won four Screen Actors Guild Awards, including two for Outstanding Male Actor in a Drama Series and two shared with The Sopranos cast for Outstanding Ensemble Cast.
Gandolfini's other films include: Romance & Cigarettes, Lonely Hearts, All the King's Men, Surviving Christmas, The Man Who Wasn't There, The Last Castle, The Mexican, 8MM, A Civil Action, The Mighty, She's So Lovely, Fallen, Night Falls on Manhattan, The Juror, Get Shorty, Crimson Tide, Angie and True Romance.
Much of rock history has been made by young men trying to impress beautiful young women. In Not Fade Away, Bella Heathcote plays the lovely muse who inspires Douglas and becomes his first great love.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Bella Heathcote is quickly emerging as one of Hollywood’s most sought after talents. In 2010, after being honored with the Heath Ledger Scholarship Award for her performance in the Australian war epic, Beneath Hill 60, Heathcote moved to Los Angeles to further pursue her acting career and has since been working non-stop, working with an impressive roster of award winning directors.
Heathcote was last seen in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, as the romantic lead opposite Johnny Depp. Bella was hand selected by Burton to play Victoria Winters and Josette du Pres in his film adaptation. In 2011 she was seen in Andrew Niccol’s sci-fi thriller In Time starring Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake.
Heathcote made her feature film debut in the 2008 film Acolytes and is well known for her starring role on the Australian drama series Neighbors.
Molly Price plays Douglas’ mother Antoinette in Not Fade Away.
New Jersey native Molly Price is best known for her role as Faith Yokas in John Wells’ highly regarded NBC drama Third Watch that ran for six seasons. Molly was also a series regular on NBC’s Bionic Woman where she played Ruth Treadwell, one of the Bionic team members. Price’s television career began with multiple guest appearances on NBC's Law & Order.
Molly has appeared in such films as Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown (with Sean Penn), Pushing Tin (directed by Mike Newell), and the Sundance favorites Kiss Me, Guido and Risk. She was in The Life Before Her Eyes starring alongside Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood, can be seen in the Devil You Know alongside Lena Olin and Rosamund Pike, with Hilary Duff and Steve Coogan in What Goes Up and in The Good Doctor alongside Orlando Bloom. Molly was most recently seen in How Do You Know directed by James Brooks.
In addition to film and television, Molly has deep roots with the theater. She was in Salome with Al Pacino on Broadway, and appeared in the off-Broadway production of Manic Flight Reaction. She has worked for such theaters as Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, Playwrights Horizons and The St. Louis Rep. Molly will soon begin rehearsals for The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, Tony Kushner’s new play at The Public Theater.
Molly received her bachelor of fine arts degree from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts. She is married to Derek Kelly, a New York firefighter she met on the set of Third Watch.
Lisa Lampanelli -- who plays Douglas’ relatively hip and supportive Aunt Josie -- is well known as Comedy's Lovable Queen of Mean. Heralded as "more than a standup -- a standout,” by comedy legend Jim Carrey, Lampanelli has been described a cross between Don Rickles, Archie Bunker, and a vial of estrogen. Known for saying things that most people are afraid to think, Lisa Lampanelli's raunchy, gut-busting performances are wildly popular at theaters across the U.S. and Canada. Lisa recently appeared in her latest one-hour special Tough Love that premiered on Comedy Central and is now available on CD/DVD. Lisa is also currently working on a one-woman show for Broadway, with plans to debut this fall.
Lampanelli joined the ranks of comedy greats with her 2009 HBO comedy special, Long Live the Queen, and that same year, released her first autobiography, Chocolate, Please: My Adventures in Food, Fat and Freaks. Lisa's rise to the top of the comedy food chain began in 2002 when she was the only female comedian invited to skewer Chevy Chase on the NY Friars Club Roast on Comedy Central. She soon became known as “the Queen of the Roast”, going on to skewer such names as Pamela Anderson, Jeff Foxworthy, William Shatner, Flava Flav and most recently, David Hasselhoff.
On the feature film side, Lisa appeared in Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector and had a featured role in Delta Farce, opposite Bill Engvall, Larry the Cable Guy, and D.J. Quall. She also starred in the popular comedy documentary The Aristocrats and played a more maternal version of herself with Owen Wilson in Drillbit Taylor.
Dominique McElligott who plays the troubled older sister of Douglas’ girlfriend in Not Fade Away is currently starring as ‘Lily Bell’ in AMC’s critically acclaimed Hell on Wheels. She began her acting career when she was cast as the young rebellious daughter of Sean McGinley (‘Cora’) in RTE’s On Home Ground. After completing her Leaving Certificate, Dominique landed another leading role of ‘Rachel’ in Harry Hook’s mini-series Whiskey Echo – a CBC / Littlebird co-production. She decided to finish her studies in UCD before committing full-time to her acting career. She won the female lead in Pete Riski’s Lordi horror vehicle Dark Floors and two other roles quickly afterwards: Rick Larkin’s Satellites and Meteorites (‘Dr. Johnson’) and ‘Jenna’ in Being Human (BBC/Touchpaper Films). Dominique also appeared as series regular Rebecca in RAW, a TV drama series for Ecosse TV/RTE 2 directed by Kieron J Walsh and David Caffrey. She followed this with an appearance opposite Sam Rockwell in the acclaimed and multi-award winning feature film Moon, directed by Duncan Jones. Her other roles include ‘Aoife O’Carroll’ in The Guard with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle, directed by John McDonagh for Reprisal Films/Element Pictures and ‘Ellie’ in Blackthorn, starring Sam Shepard, directed by Mateo Gil.
Christopher McDonald, one of Hollywood’s most prolific and versatile actors plays Jack Deitz -- the father of Douglas’ love interest Grace Deitz in Not Fade Away.
Beloved for his memorable performances in Thelma and Louise, Requiem for a Dream, Quiz Show, The Perfect Storm, Happy Gilmore, and voice talent in The Iron Giant, McDonald is a classically trained stage actor. His notable dramatic television guest-starring roles include work on The Sopranos, The Bronx is Burning, 61* and Boardwalk Empire.
McDonald first caught Hollywood’s attention when he played Goose McKenzie in Grease 2, starring Michelle Pfeiffer. Even though more movie offers followed, McDonald opted instead to work on his acting craft, immersing himself in acting studies at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Upon returning to Los Angeles, McDonald performed in over thirty-five productions at the Los Angeles Theater Center, which led him to begin an enviable career that has never slowed down.