As an actor, Clint Eastwood has given Hollywood some of its most memorable characters. His most recent parts have included the cat burglar Luther Whitney from the 1996 hit "Absolute Power"; the National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid from the 1995 blockbuster "The Bridges of Madison County"; the Texas Ranger Red Garnett from the critically praised "A Perfect World" in 1994; and Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan in 1993's $100 million hit "In The Line of Fire."
It was "Unforgiven," however, in 1992, that marked a crucial point in Eastwood's career. The film was his 36th starring feature and his 10th Western. Presenting a tortured, alcoholic gunman named William Munny, Eastwood gave moviegoers the antithesis of the traditional Western hero. "Unforgiven" generated $100 million in box-office and nine Academy Award nominations (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Set Design, Best Sound and Best Editing). It received four Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Sound, and marked the first time in his career that Eastwood received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
Eastwood's first break from his days as a contract player came in the well-documented move to the "Rawhide" television series, where he played cowboy Rowdy Yates. This led to the starring role in Italian director Sergio Leone's "Man With No Name" trilogy, including "A Fistful of Dollars," "For a Few Dollars More," and "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly."
The enormous popularity of these films not only helped coin the expression "Spaghetti Western," but moved Eastwood into subsequent starring roles in a long string of hits such as "Hang 'Em High," "Coogan's Bluff," "Where Eagles Dare," "Paint Your Wagon," "Two Mules For Sister Sarah," "Kelly's Heroes" and "The Beguiled."
Eastwood made his directing debut in 1971 with "Play Misty For Me," followed by the legendary "Dirty Harry." Directed by Don Siegel, the film created another Eastwood persona, and was followed by films such as "Joe Kidd," "High Plains Drifter," "Magnum Force," "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," "The Eiger Sanction," "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "The Enforcer," "The Gauntlet," the comic-action "Every Which Way But Loose," "Escape From Alcatraz" (directed by Don Siegel), the whimsical "Bronco Billy," "Any Which Way You Can," "Firefox," "Honkytonk Man" and "Sudden Impact."
"Tightrope," a film widely praised by reviewers, challenged Eastwood's conventional image of tough big-city cop. The comedy "City Heat" presented Eastwood in tandem with Burt Reynolds, while the enigmatic "Pale Rider" once again brought him back to a Western theme. Eastwood then portrayed a Marine gunnery sergeant in "Heartbreak Ridge," returned to his fifth Dirty Harry film with "The Dead Pool," entertained the notion of a good-hearted bounty hunter in "Pink Cadillac" and trained a novice cop in the art of police work in "The Rookie."
In 1995, Eastwood was honored with the Irving Thalberg Award for Lifetime Achievement by the Motion Picture Academy at the annual Academy Awards.
Washington brings a dedication and depth to his craft which is immediately evident onscreen. His performance as Frank Beachum was preceded by key roles in "Out of Sight," "Clockers," "Bulworth," "love jones," "Get On The Bus," "Girl 6," "Dead Presidents," "Crooklyn" and "Mixing Nia."
On television, Washington has appeared in a funny turn on "Ally McBeal" and in dramatic roles on "NYPD Blue," "Homicide," "Law and Order," "NY Undercover," "Always Outnumbered," "The Joe Torre Story," "Power: The Eddie Matos Story" and "Strapped."
Washington has appeared in a variety of regional plays such as "Police Boys," "The Skin of Our Teeth," "Distant Fires," "Fences," "Generations of The Dead," "Soulful Scream...," "Song of the Sad Young Men," "Vusumuzi," "Raisin In The Sun" and "Spell 7."
All of this is compounded by the fact that Everett is sleeping with Findley's wife. It isn't an unusual pattern for Everett, but it does generate open tension, which has a way of compromising the work environment.
Denis Leary brings an incisive wit and edgy anger to his performances, much of which is reflected in his comedic standup work and the various roles he has taken in both television and film.
Leary's feature credits include the role of a rebellious ladybug in Dreamworks' "A Bug's Life"; an ensemble role in "Monument Ave."; a role opposite Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman in Barry Levinson's Oscar-nominated "Wag the Dog"; an appearance in Tom DiCillo's "The Real Blonde" and a starring role opposite Kevin Spacey and Judy Davis in "The Ref."
Leary's production entity, Apostle, has been just as busy. They recently released their second independent film, the critically acclaimed "Monument Ave.," directed by Ted Demme, and produced Leary's HBO special "Lock 'N Load," which attracted over 16 million viewers and was the follow-up to his Showtime special "No Cure For Cancer." Apostle is also producing the annual "Comics Come Home," which airs on Comedy Central on New Year's Eve and benefits the Cam Neely Foundation and the Neely House at the New England Medical Center.
Hamilton's film credits include "Palookaville" and "Drunks," Quentin Tarantino's "Jackie Brown" and, most recently, the critically acclaimed "Beloved," in which she portrayed young Sethe. She is currently a series regular on the television drama "The Practice," created by David E. Kelley. She has also been seen on "Law & Order" and "Homicide: Life on the Streets."
A graduate of the Juilliard School's drama division, Hamilton's extensive theater credits include the New York Shakespeare Festival production of "Measure for Measure" opposite Kevin Kline and Andre Braugher, and the original Broadway production of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson."
In 1997, Hamilton earned an Ovation nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Veronica in Athol Fugard's play, "Valley Song," at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Her performance previously earned her an Obie Award, the Clarence Derwent Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination.
Recently, Hamilton was invited to attend the prestigious Filmmakers and Screenwriters Lab at the Sundance Institute.
James Woods is one of Hollywood's most prolific and talented actors. His recent "Ghosts of Mississippi" portrayal of Byron De La Beckwith, convicted murderer of civil-rights activist Medgar Evers, earned him his second Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe nomination.
Woods' voiceover portrayal of Hades in Disney's animated feature, "Hercules," won critical raves, as did his teaming with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey in Robert Zemeckis' "Contact." Woods also received a shower of honors for his other work in 1997, including a Golden Satellite Award for his lead performance in Oliver Stone's independent film "Killer: A Journal of Murder," and a Golden Globe nomination for the Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie "The Summer of Ben Tyler."
Woods recently starred in "John Carpenter's Vampires" and "Another Day In Paradise." He has worked for many of the film industry's greatest directors, including Oliver Stone ("Salvador," "Nixon"), Martin Scorsese ("Casino"), Harold Becker ("The Onion Field"), Elia Kazan ("The Visitors"), Arthur Penn ("Night Moves"), Ted Kotcheff ("Joshua, Then and Now"), Rob Reiner ("Ghosts of Mississippi") and Robert Zemeckis ("Contact"). His additional theatrical credits include "The Specialist," "The Getaway," "Diggstown," "Straight Talk," "Chaplin," "The Hard Way," "Immediate Family," "True Believer," "The Boost," "Best Seller" and "Cop."
For his television roles, Woods is a two-time Emmy winner and has been praised for performances in such recent works as cable television's "Indictment: The McMartin Trial" and HBO's "Citizen Cohn." "Citizen Cohn" earned him the first American Television Award's Best Actor Trophy and the Peabody Award. He also appeared in the acclaimed Bruce Beresford/Sam Shepard drama "Curse of the Starving Class." "Citizen Cohn" earned him the first American Television Award's Best Actor Trophy and the Peabody Award.
Woods earned a Golden Globe Award, Golden Apple Award and Emmy Award for the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of "Promise." He also won another Emmy Award for his performance as the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in "My Name Is Bill W."
Brendan Behan's "Borstal Boy" marked Woods' Broadway debut, followed by the lead in Off-Broadway's "Saved," for which he won the Obie Award and the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Actor. Woods' New York stage credits include "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine," "Finishing Touches," "Green Julia" and Michael Weller's "Moonchildren," for which he won the Theater World Award.
Woods made his film debut in Elia Kazan's "The Visitors" and then had a role in "The Way We Were." His first starring role was in "Alex and the Gypsy" with Jack Lemmon; he subsequently appeared in Arthur Penn's "Night Moves" and in "The Onion Field," for which he received his first Golden Globe Award.
Woods has given notable performances in features outside the mainstream such as "Eyewitness," "Split Image," "Distance," "Fastwalking," "Cat's Eye," "The Choirboys," "Cop" and "The Black Marble." Other highly regarded films in which Woods has starred are "Once Upon A Time In America," "Videodrome," "Joshua, Then and Now," "Against All Odds" and "True Believer."
Venora is a critically acclaimed actress who won rave reviews for her smoldering performance in "Heat" opposite Al Pacino, and for her empowering portrait in "Surviving Picasso" with Anthony Hopkins. Her additional recent theatrical credits include "The Jackal," with Bruce Willis, Richard Gere and Sidney Poitier; and "Eaters of The Dead," with Antonio Banderas and Omar Sharif.
Venora garnered high praise for her performance in Clint Eastwood's "Bird," opposite Forest Whitaker, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination as well as a New York Film Critics Award. Her other film credits include "The Cotton Club," "Ironweed," "F/X'" and "The Substitute." Future roles include Michael Mann's upcoming film, in which Venora stars opposite Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer and Russell Crowe.
A graduate of Juilliard's school of drama, Venora immediately embarked on a theater career, appearing in plays such as "The Country Wife," "The Three Sisters," "Penguin Touquet," "Miss Julie," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "Uncle Vanya," "The Seagull," "Peer Gynt" and "The School for Scandal."
Also among Venora's theater repertoire are "Messiah," "Tomorrow's Monday," "A Man For All Seasons," two productions of "Hamlet" (one playing the title role, the other starring opposite Kevin Kline) and "A Winter's Tale." She is currently a member of the Ensemble Studio Theater and the Circle Repertory Company.
Venora has also had extensive experience in television, with a recurring role in the acclaimed CBS series "Chicago Hope," a starring role in the ABC series "Thunder Alley" and a PBS Great Performances production of "Hamlet."
Sydney Tamiia Poitier is the daughter of legendary actor, director and producer Sidney Poitier and she is a graduate of New York University, with a degree in acting.
Poitier starred in the Showtime feature "Free of Eden," as well as in the independent film "Park Day," which won the Audience Award at the 1998 UrbanWorld Film Festival.
She co-starred in the NBC television miniseries "Noah's Ark," and has also appeared in theatrical presentations of "Titus Andronicus," "Our Town" and "Hello From Birtha" at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York City.