Killer Joe 2012, A Riveting NC-17 Thriller
This was the official website for the 2012 NC-17 thriller/ suspense movie, Killer Joe, starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch.
Content is from the site's 2012 archived pages as well as from other outside sources.
Killer Joe Official Trailer #1 (2012) - William Friedkin NC-17
RELEASE DATE: December 21, 2012 (US DVD)
WRITER: Tracy Letts
DIRECTOR: William Friedkin
Matthew McConaughey as Killer Joe
Emile Hirsch as Chris Smith
Juno Temple as Dottie Smith
Thomas Haden Church as Ansel Smith
Gina Gershon as Sharla Smith
Love. Lust. Loyalty. Treachery. Innocent. Profane. Greed. Revenge. Family.
When 22-year-old Chris (Emile Hirsch) finds himself in debt to a drug lord, he hires a hit man to dispatch his mother, whose $50,000 life insurance policy benefits his sister Dottie (Juno Temple). Chris finds Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a creepy, crazy Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer. When Chris can't pay Joe upfront, Joe sets his sight on Dottie as collateral for the job. The contract killer and his hostage develop an unusual bond. Like from a modern-day, twisted fairy tale, "Killer Joe" Cooper becomes the prince to Dottie's Cinderella. Based on the play by Pulitzer and Tony Award winner Tracy Letts, "Killer Joe" is a garish, provocative black comedy from Academy Award-winning director William Friedkin (The Exorcist, The French Connection) and stars Emile Hirsch, Matthew McConaughey, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, and Gina Gershon.
Friedkin notes, "There's a thin line between good and evil and there is the possibility of evil in all of us." Friedkin relished exploring that interplay especially when more sinister inclinations take the lead. "Killer Joe" depicts the definitive dysfunctional family that gives in to its basest instincts and is forced to face the hidden truths about themselves that they've been avoiding for years. It's not an entirely heartless reflection, however; more noble aspirations hide among the cruder ones. As Friedkin puts it, "I myself have felt all of the emotions in my films at one time or another. I was drawn to this project as it's about innocence, victimhood, vengeance, and tenderness."
"Killer Joe" premiered as a stage production in 1998 at the famed Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. The play led to acclaimed productions in New York, London, and other cities around the world. In total, "Killer Joe" has been performed in 15 countries and 12 languages since its Chicago debut. When the play found a home at the Hyde Park Theatre in Austin, Texas, The Austinist announced, "It's like someone took Macbeth, â€˜All in the Family' and Sylvia Plath, tossed them in a blender and splattered them inside a beat-to-fuck trailer out in Dallas County." Some have called Letts' work the lovechild of Tennessee Williams and Quentin Tarantino. The Oklahoma-born Letts, a fan of Southern Gothic tradition, calls Williams one of his inspirations, in addition to William Faulkner and Jim Thompson. These influences, combined with Letts' distinctive storytelling, come together to form a play that is shocking, blatant, poetic, and completely cinematic.
Producer Nicolas Chartier of Voltage Pictures was one of the story's early advocates. Friedkin, who also saw the play's big-screen potential, got a draft to Chartier, and the latter was thrilled to work with Friedkin. "He's just brilliant," Chartier says simply of the filmmaker.
Fellow producer Scott Einbinder adds, "Billy knows what he wants and how to get it. It was amazing to watch him work - he really believes in allowing the actors to sink their teeth into their character, but he also believes in a spare amount of takes, so the performances are really spontaneous. He tried to keep the cameras invisible to provide an atmosphere where the actors could do their best work."
"Killer Joe" attracted McConaughey, who was drawn to the enigmatic title character's moral duality. A charming, soft-spoken, and eloquent gentleman on one hand, Killer Joe is also a stone-cold killer with alarming sexual proclivities. Indeed, McConaughey did not entirely wrap his head around the character until he met with Friedkin.
"The first time I read the script, I couldn't quite see the character clearly," says McConaughey. "Then I met with Billy Friedkin and his affection for the love story and the blasphemous humor within this wickedly dysfunctional family helped me understand Killer Joe."
Emile Hirsch was cast next as Chris, the well-intentioned but often bungling drug dealer who would otherwise be the family savior. Hirsch was eager to work with Friedkin and was not disappointed.
"Every day was exciting working with Billy; he's so energetic and he's so passionate. It really feels like you are part of something. At the same time, he has this unbelievable attention to detail, it's incredible. You'll be doing a scene and he'll be checking every little aspect, even elements of your own character that you may not have even noticed. He has this extraordinary mind in that way - he's able to hold all the different elements of the production in his mind's eye while at the same time he has this strong vision for the movie in its entirety. He is a master and working with Billy was an extraordinary experience," Hirsch says.
The most difficult role to cast proved to be that of Dottie Smith, Chris' fragile younger sister who becomes the lynchpin of the movie. The role ultimately went to Juno Temple, for whom Friedkin was a staunch advocate. Friedkin worked to win her admiration, and the bond was critical when Friedkin filmed scenes in which Temple was literally and figuratively exposed.
"Working with Billy was amazing. I trusted him implicitly and he made me feel comfortable, regardless of the scene. He made me feel like I was perfect for the role and that I could just go for it. I wasn't afraid to take risks largely because of him," she says.
Temple adds that the film's location also contributed to her sense of liberation and ease. While the movie is set in Texas, the production filmed in New Orleans.
"I love New Orleans! I would happily move there. You get an incredible feeling of freedom and lust for life there. It's an alive and electric city," Temple says.
Producer Scott Einbinder adds that while New Orleans' tax credits for filming were enticing, the city itself was the ideal location and, as Temple suggests, set the right tone.
"Tax rebates aside, our filming location had to reflect the mood and atmosphere of the story. New Orleans has so many different faces it proved to be the perfect backdrop for the story," he says.
Killer Joe (2012) Review
by Matt Molgaard on June 23, 2016 / horrorfreaknews.com/
Killer Joe isn’t a horror film and readers deserve to be alerted to this fact. That said, it’s definitely a really intense thriller, and it’s quite easy to understand why some might believe itis a horror film (which is the reason I’m covering the flick now): The Exorcist director William Friedkin os behind the camera for this one, countless genre specific sites have covered the picture (including BHM), and even the title suggests something sinister. Well, viewers do indeed get sinister, but Killer Joe just isn’t a full-fledged horror production, any way you look at it.
The story is downright maniacal, with Matthew McConaughey portraying the titular character that’s part villain, part anti-hero, part trash man. Killer Joe’s a man of the law, on the books. Off, he’s an ice cold hit-man for hire with a taste for sadistic manipulation and a fondness for disposing of any white trash that need be disposed of. Working opposite McConaughey is Emile Hirsch who takes on the character Chris Smith, a dude in danger of losing his life courtesy of a debt he’s unable to clear. Chris hires Joe to kill his mother, who’s outlined as a vile hag, although we don’t really see her onscreen… alive at least. After some hard bargaining which sees Chris’ sister Dottie offered up as a retainer, the mission to murder one unknowing old woman gets underway, but the hiccups in this disturbing mission threaten to bring an end to everyone involved.
It’s great to see Matthew distancing himself from romantic comedies in order to do what he does best: perform, with amazing conviction, in intense pictures. The man simply wasn’t deposited on this earth to shoot shit-storms like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days orFailure to Launch. He was born to showcase a true talent. That cookie cutter crap can take a backseat. And, in the case of Killer Joe, it most certainly does. This is one wild film.
From the outset, Friedkin hits viewers with a dose of reality: this flick is going to take black comedy to new heights. Tracy Letts’ screenplay is over the top, hilarious, frightening and deeply, deeply unhinging. Within 10 minutes you’ll come to understand that perverse laughs lie in wait and a handful of damning twists are sneaking past the horizon, fast approaching one of the most dysfunctional families to grace the screen in years. But that dysfunctional family successfully sucks viewers right into their embarrassing existence, and this is made possible only thanks to a series of absolutely stellar performances.
McConaughey isn’t the only performer to shine in this production.
Juno Temple is haunting as the… special, shall we say, Dottie. Her performance far betrays her limited time in this business. She’s simply amazing. Speaking of amazing, it’d be downright criminal to avoid extending Thomas Haden Church major, major respect. His approach to character Ansel Smith (Chris’ father) is pitch-perfect. Church doesn’t miss a beat as the noticeably slow “old man”, capable of setting the worst possible example for his children. His brand of comedy is really something to behold, and by the time the final reel rolls around, your guts are going to be in knots from laughing at his aloof demeanor and golden one-liners. Also worthy of respect is Gina Gershon, who throws the flawless pitch as stepmom Sharla. She’s so white trash, I found myself wondering what her home life, away from cameras, really looks like.
Sadly, Emile Hirsch, who’s turned in some great work in his day, is completely outshined in this one, and not by one lone performer, but by virtually the entire focal cast. His character makes for a daunting challenge, likely for any performer, but rather than rise to the occasion, he simply finds himself lost in the mystique of those surrounding him. He’s not bad as Chris, by any means, but he doesn’t pop off the screen in the fashion that the aforementioned contributors do.
Again, Killer Joe isn’t a horror film, it’s a thriller. However, it’s got a little bit of just about everything horror fans expect from a top notch genre effort: some ultra-violence, some murder, tons of nudity and a very, very offensive premise. This one may not leave you quivering in your moccasins, but it’s chilling, and it really sticks to your bones.
RottenTomato Critics Reviews
Matthew McConaughey terrorizes in Killer Joe
October 24, 2017 / By Craig D. Lindsey /indyweek.com
Killer Joe begins showing a semi-nude Gina Gershon and ends with her beaten, bloodied and being forced to suck off a fried chicken leg. Just by that one sentence, you might immediately know if this is a movie you do or do not want to be down with. However, if you require more info, here goes.
Chris (Emile Hirsch, still looking like Jack Black's younger, skinnier self), a small-time Texas drug dealer saddled with debt, hatches a plan to kill his mother for the insurance money. His trailer park-dwelling family, including a slatternly stepmom (Gershon); a stubbly dad (Thomas Haden Church); and a simple, virginal sister (Juno Temple) her brother is way too attached to, are disturbingly OK with this plan.
Chris hires the services of "Killer" Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a police detective who has a little side gig as a hitman. Cooper initially balks at the idea of waiting until after he's committed the act to get his $25,000 fee. That is, until he sees Chris's sister and decides she can serve as his "retainer" until he gets his money.
A film that virtually reeks of cigarettes, stale food and lower-class luridness, Killer Joe marks the second collaboration between director William Friedkin and playwright Tracy Letts, whose play Bug Friedkin made into a 2007 movie with Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon. What the hell is it about the work of Letts that makes Friedkin get into big-screen adaptation mode? Maybe it's because Letts' plays seem like pieces that are both controlled and out-of-control—and presented in a fast and cheap manner. Anyone who knows Friedkin's catalog knows this is how he's been making these films his entire career.
Joe is practically the flip side of Bug, playing its intense/ immense white-trashiness for dark, startling laughs instead of unnerving, blood-curdling terror. When I saw a production of the play years ago (in Texas, no less), my immediate response was "What the fuck was that all about?" I'm not that surprised to see that my opinion still hasn't changed. Even with recognizable names in the cast, this is still one messed-up piece of work.
The cast does appear to revel in all this honky-tonk nastiness. McConaughey lays on such a menacing, assured cool as the bad boy of the title that it's almost unfortunate when he turns out—in the movie's now-notorious, blood-and-poultry-filled climax—to be a ludicrous nutjob with serious psychosexual issues. (However, McConaughey is hilarious when he tosses tables around like a gorilla and hollers, "I'll slaughter all of ya!") The cast's commitment to the material almost makes you forget there's really not much to this story.
Nevertheless, Killer Joe is such a hideously over-the-top, black-hearted view of Southern-fried scumbags that even Texans like myself can't get offended. However, I wouldn't blame you if this movie turned you off from ever eating at Bojangles again.
August 23, 2012 | Rating: 2/4
Rene Rodrigue Miami Herald Top Critic
You end up feeling sorry for all the actors forced to humiliate themselves, except for McConaughey, whose portrayal of sadistic, manipulative evil is mesmerizing.
Killer Joe': Death and Texas
REVIEW: William Friedkin directs a depraved dark comedy about a criminal scheme gone terribly wrong.
August 23, 2012 | Rating: 3.5/4 |
Colin Covert / Minneapolis Star Tribune / Top Critic
Meet the Smiths, the most odious family this side of the Manson clan. There's young Chris, whose dealer is fixing to kill him because Chris' momma flushed $6,000 worth of drugs down the drain. His spaced-out sister Dottie is a naïve, nubile pixie who hasn't been quite right since momma tried to suffocate her. Ansel is the paterfamilias, a man of invincible stupidity, and evil stepmother Sharla is the raunchiest biped ever to inhabit their Texas trailer park. There's a consensus that all their problems would be solved if they could get their hands on momma's $50,000 life insurance policy. That's where Killer Joe comes in.
You will either love "Killer Joe" or run away screaming. I absorbed this NC-17 nail bomb with awestruck admiration. It is a high comedy of low taste, a work of blood-spattered skill and conviction made by people sick of timid studio pabulum.
"Killer Joe" takes horror and criminality and translates them into subversive comedy. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts provided the sardonic screenplay about a knot of characters trapped in a vise of need and folly. The ever-more-interesting Matthew McConaughey signed on for the title role, a courtly, cocksure, offhandedly vicious Dallas police detective who sidelines as a hit man. Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon are ideal as knuckle-dragging Ansel, who is several beats late in following every development, and his sexpot wife, who is not as crafty as she thinks she is. Emile Hirsch plays pipsqueak Chris with transparent false bravado, and Juno Temple provides Dottie with a space-cadet ambiguity. We're never sure whether her vacant smile reflects innocence or nymphet depravity. Every performer tackles a tricky, emotion-straddling role with assurance.
The film is crafted with ferocious tension and unexpected humor by William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of "The French Connection" and "The Exorcist." Friedkin digs deep into the texture of his settings. Every location but the Smiths' claustrophobic trailer is authentic. The film is a gallery of derelict no-hope Americana. The ghastly sprawling strip joint, abandoned one-table pool hall and dilapidated amusement park where the characters meet reek despair that no set designer could conjure. Friedkin's you-are-there earthiness grounds the story, whose twists are absurd to the point of surrealism.
To say the Smiths' homicidal scheme does not go as planned is an understatement. Joe, who initially wanted no extracurricular contact with his clients, changes his mind when he sees virginal Dottie, and insists that she stay with him as his "retainer." To her cash-strapped father, that sounds like good value. Moving into the family's orbit, Joe begins acting like a gentleman caller, but he leaves no doubt about who's in charge. He takes command with insinuating courtesy and an intimidating capacity for violence. He's the sort of natural-born leader who can get the family to hold hands for grace before supper, then commit an act of sexual aggression with a chicken leg. This deep-fried sociopath inspires the most controlled, and most outrageous, performance of McConaughey's career. If he doesn't make your skin crawl, it's on too tight.
The pressure cooker boils until the climactic freakout, a "Jerry Springer" brawl that shreds whatever sense of propriety viewers might still be clinging to. I don't think everyone is ready for this film, but I strongly encourage those who have read this far. It'll be a long time before you see another movie like this, if ever.
Killer Joe (2012) Red Band Official Trailer (HD) Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch
RottenTomato Audience Reviews
*** Barnett Sam Barnett Super Reviewer
While there are certainly plenty of good elements (a twisted sense of humor and captivating performances from McConaughey and Thomas Haden Church), "Killer Joe" is basically like that kid you once knew that would say increasingly perverted, ridiculous things, as if to dare everyone to be offended -- and much like that kid, it eventually just gets annoying.
**** Jim Hunter Super Reviewer
A young drug dealer falls into debt, so he trades his sister for the services of a hitman, who will kill his mother for insurance money. Tracy Letts and William Friedkin follow up their relentless, paranoid thriller Bug with an even more relentless thriller in Killer Joe. Like Bug, it's almost impossible to tell where the plot is going, yet each turn is logical and character-driven. The action moments seem shoe-horned in, but the interactions between the characters are profoundly disturbing and occasionally disarmingly funny. The performances by Matthew McConaughey (the first film in his insurgence toward Oscar-worthy work), Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple, and Gina Gershon are all fantastic. Hirsch and Temple are especially good with characters stripped of dignity and gazing wide-eyed at the world's depravity. Overall, Letts and Friedkin are great together, and Killer Joe is a wonderfully disturbing follow-up.
**** ½ Carlos Magalhaes Super Reviewer
It is like the Coen brothers meet David Lynch in this depraved, vicious and incredibly gripping festival of sadism that Friedkin puts us through - a spectacular thriller that is both brutal and hilarious in a twisted way, like what he did in his fantastic Bug, also written by Tracy Letts.
**** ½ F. Evens
Man, Friedkin can make a movie. Somewhere between it's twisted plot, realistic performances, and great cast, "Killer Joe" became my guilty pleasure. Filled with awkward, uncomfortable scenes that you can't help but feel, this film is not for the average person, particularly those who do not like films that are exceptionally violent or are filled to the brim with reprehensible characters and situations. My wife is such a person. Now that is not a put down of her viewing preferences. When you have a film whose material is incredibly dark and the finale of this story enters into depravity, this is simply not her type of movie. But, initially she was game enough to try. Halfway through this dark, grisly comedy she admitted she had had enough. She decided to spend the rest of the movie looking for a residential carpet cleaning NYC service which we definitely needed after our upstairs neighbor had a fire.
Between the smoke and water that dripped down pipes into our apartment our carpets along with furniture, drapes, and all clothing needed to be cleaned. We had escaped to a nearby hotel last night. Today was spent dealing with insurance companies and we were finally given the go ahead to get out furnishings cleaned, the floors redone, and the apartment repainted. It was too overwhelming which is why I was watching Killer Joe. This dark comedy certainly was riveting and took my mind off the mess. Meanwhile my wife was hard at work doing Google searches. By the end of the film she had found a local rug cleaning company who would come by the next day. She liked the fact that they only apply organic, non chemical solutions by “Green Seal” to the rugs, had free pickup and delivery, and had great reviews. In addition they did uphostery cleaning which we also needed. Kudos to my wife for finding My Home Carpet & Upholstery Care NYC and kudos to Friedkin and the entire cast of Killer Joe. It was a killer of a movie.
Matthew McConaughey |"Killer" Joe Cooper
Matthew McConaughey is one of Hollywood's most sought after leading men and a huge box office draw. His numerous films have grossed over a billion dollars worldwide at the box office.
He is a Texas native who, while attending the University of Texas in Austin, planned to be a lawyer. After discovering the inspirational Og Mandino book "The Greatest Salesman in the World" before one of his final exams, he suddenly knew that he had to change his major from law to film.
McConaughey began his acting career in 1991, appearing in student films and commercials in Texas and directing short films. It was a chance meeting in Austin with casting director and producer, Don Phillips that led to an introduction to the then up-and-coming film director Richard Linklater. Linklater cast McConaughey as the unforgettable Wooderson in the cult classic Dazed and Confused. McConaughey has appeared in over 40 feature films and has portrayed an athlete, a police officer, a football coach, and a lawyer. He has worked with Hollywood greats such as Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Sandra Bullock, and Al Pacino to name a few. In addition to acting, McConaughey is a producer, director, and philanthropist. Known around the world for his work, McConaughey is ground by his Texas roots and "j.k. livin" philosophy.
McConaughey recently wrapped production on Lee Daniel's The Paperboy, opposite Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, and Zac Efron. McConaughey will appear as the title character in Jeff Nichols' drama Mud, and is costarring alongside Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer in Steven Soderbergh's upcoming indie drama, Magic Mike.
In 2011, McConaughey starred as Mick Haller in the legal thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer, adapted from the hit novel series by best-selling author, Michael Connelly. McConaughey was also recently seen in Richard Linklater's latest dark comedy, Bernie opposite Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine. Bernie premiered at the 2011 Los Angeles Film Festival.
Matthew starred as Connor Mead in the hit romantic comedy, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past opposite Michael Douglas and Jennifer Garner in 2009.
In 2008, McConaughey appeared in the ensemble cast of Ben Stiller's wildly successful action comedy, Tropic Thunder. Earlier in 2008, he headlined opposite Kate Hudson in Fool's Gold, for director Andy Tennant. He also produced and starred in Surfer, Dude a comedy that featured music from his own j.k. livin recording artist, Mishka.
Previously, McConaughey portrayed real-life college football coach Jack Lengyel in the critically acclaimed drama We Are Marshall, the inspiring story of a small West Virginia town's struggle with devastating loss.
In 2005, he starred with Penelope Cruz and Steve Zahn in the action-adventure comedy Sahara - the first major motion picture produced by his production company j.k livin productions. He earned a People's Choice Award for his role in the film, which opened at the top of the weekend box office. Later that year, McConaughey starred opposite Al Pacino in the drama Two for the Money and was named as People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2005.
Additional film credits include: the popular romantic comedies Failure to Launch, with Sarah Jessica Parker, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, opposite Kate Hudson; the sci-fi adventure Reign of Fire, with Christian Bale; the ensemble drama Thirteen Conversations About One Thing; the horror thriller Frailty, written and directed by Bill Paxton; and Adam Shankman's hit romantic comedy The Wedding Planner, opposite Jennifer Lopez.
McConaughey also starred in the World War II action drama U-571, Ron Howard's EDtv, Steven Spielberg's Amistad, Robert Zemeckis' Contact, and Joel Schumacher's critically acclaimed courtroom drama A Time to Kill, as well as Lone Star, Angels in the Outfield, The Newton Boys, and The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
McConaughey's production company, j.k. livin, executive produced the feature documentary Hands on a Hard Body, and is currently in development on numerous projects with various studios and production companies.
In addition to his film career, Matthew is dedicated to giving back to the community through his philanthropic work. In 2008, he started the j.k. livin foundation which is dedicated to helping teens lead active lives and make healthy choices to become great men and women. The core message of the foundation is that each child will benefit given the opportunity for a healthy lifestyle. The j.k. livin foundation works with schools throughout the United States and in other parts of the world to reach the maximum number of children with the greatest needs. The official website is: www.jklivinfoundation.org
Emile Hirsch |Chris Smith
Emile Hirsch recently took time off from acting to work on a humanitarian journey that took him through the Congo, Zimbabwe, and the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Following those incredible experiences Emile had a fire to get back to acting and he's been busy ever since. First came The Darkest Hour, a sci-fi action thriller directed by Chris Gorak set in Russia about a group of kids who struggle to survive after an alien invasion. Immediately following that, Hirsch went to New Orleans to work with legendary director William Friedkin on Killer Joe. Following Christmas break, Emile jumped into The Motel Life, based on the novel by Willy Vlautin, starring opposite Dakota Fanning. He recently finished working on Oliver Stone's Savages with Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, and Benicio Del Toro. Hirsch will next shoot Venuto al Mondo in Italy, based on the best selling book by Margaret Mazzantini, which will star Penelope Cruz and will be directed by Sergio Castellitto.
In 2008, Hirsch was a Screen Actors Guild Award nominee as part of the ensemble of Gus Van Sant's Milk. In the movie, Hirsch starred as real-life activist Cleve Jones opposite Sean Penn's Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award-winning performance as Harvey Milk. The following year, Hirsch worked on Taking Woodstock, directed by Ang Lee and based on James Schamus' adaptation of Elliot Tiber's memoir.
In 2007, Hirsch garnered attention for his captivating performance in Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn. Based on the bestselling book by Jon Krakauer and adapted for the screen by Penn, Into the Wild starred Hirsch as real-life adventurer Christopher McCandless. His portrayal earned him the National Board of Review Award for Breakthrough Performance by an Actor; the Rising Star Award from the Palm Springs International Film Festival; Gotham and Critics' Choice Award nominations for Best Actor; and two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, in both the lead actor and ensemble categories.
Following Into the Wild, Hirsch became an Oxfam Ambassador and in June 2008 travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo with Oxfam. He spent five days visiting this country, which has suffered one of the most deadly conflicts since World War II. Hirsch was featured on the cover of the January 2009 Men's Journal with a photo spread and a heartfelt diary about his experience. Hirsch has also participated in Summit on the Summit, an expedition to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the need for clean water in the world.
Hirsch's other feature films include the Wachowski Brother's Speed Racer, Nick Cassavetes' Alpha Dog, and Catherine Hardwicke's Lords of Dogtown, opposite Heath Ledger.
Juno Temple |Dottie Smith
In just a few years, Juno Temple has firmly established herself as one of the most versatile and talented young actresses in Hollywood.
Temple recently wrapped production on Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, the third film in the Batman franchise. Temple stars alongside Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine. The movie is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures on July 20, 2012. Temple is also starring in an independent film entitled The Brass Teapot about a young broke couple that steals a teapot that produces cash whenever someone feels pain.
Additionally, Temple is starring in Jack and Diane, a love story between two teenage girls, one of whom occasionally turns into a werewolf as a representation of all-consuming love and desire.
Temple can also be seen in Killer Films' Dirty Girl, in which the actress plays a notorious high school slut who journeys from Oklahoma to California to find her father. The Weinstein Company purchased the film for distribution at the Toronto Film Festival, and released it on August 5, 2011. Temple also starred as the Queen in Paul W.S. Anderson's The Three Musketeers, which was released by Summit Entertainment in October 2011. The cast includes Christoph Waltz, Mads Mikkelsen and Milla Jovovich.
Temple had two films premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. She starred as Lily Hobart opposite Kate Bosworth and Leslie Mann in Elgin James' Little Birds, which Millennium Entertainment acquired for distribution in fall 2011. Her other film, Kaboom, is Gregg Araki's sci-fi tale about the sexual awakening of a group of college students.
In 2009, Temple appeared in the independent drama, Cracks, directed by Jordan Scott. The film explores the dark side of female relationships at an elite, English boarding school. Temple plays Di Radfield, a student who becomes obsessed with her teacher, played by Eva Green. In 2010, Temple appeared in Focus Features' relationship dramedy, Greenberg, directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Ben Stiller.
In 2008, Temple was seen in The Other Boleyn Girl, opposite Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson. Temple played Jane Parker, who marries Anne Boleyn's (Portman) brother. Parker's accusations of incest between the two ultimately led to the executions of both George and Anne.
In 2007, she appeared in the Academy Award-winning film Atonement, opposite Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan. Temple played Lola Quincey, who changes everyone's lives when she is raped in the garden and Briony (Ronan) erroneously names Robbie (McAvoy) as the rapist.
Temple's breakthrough came in 2006 when she won the role of Cate Blanchett's daughter in the Academy Award nominated film Notes on a Scandal. Temple played Polly, the rebellious daughter of Blanchett's character Sheba.
Additional credits include Mr. Nobody, Year One, 1939 and British box office hits St. Trinian's, Wild Child and Pandaemonium.
Juno is the daughter of director Julien Temple and producer Amanda Temple. She currently resides in Los Angeles.
Gina Gershon |Sharla Smith
Gina Gershon recently spent two seasons on HBO's hit show How To Make It In America as classy, sexy, Nancy Frankenburg.
She is next set to star in The Unknown Son alongside Val Kilmer, Eric Roberts, and David Anders. She recently starred in Taylor Hackford's Love Ranch opposite Helen Mirren and Joe Pesci. Gina's other work includes such films as Richard LaGravenese's P.S. I Love You, Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls, The Wachowski Brothers' Bound, Robert Altman's The Player, Alex Steyermark's Prey for Rock & Roll (which she went on tour to promote and ended up producing the documentary Rocked for IFC), Michael Mann's The Insider, and John Woo's Face/Off. She has also had television roles on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Rescue Me, and Eastbound & Down.
Overseas, Gina worked with Danny Glover and an all-star Turkish cast in the highly anticipated Turkish film Five Minarets in New York and Olivier Assayas sought her out to play the role of Elaine Si Gibril in the French film Demonlover.
Gershon is not only a versatile film actress, but has also had proven success on stage. After appearing in off-Broadway and regional theater productions, she made her Broadway debut in Sam Mendes' revival of Cabaret in January 2001. For six months, she played the key role of Sally Bowles and then returned again that October to reprise the role for another month. In 2008, she once again appeared on Broadway in the revival of the farce Boeing Boeing, which won the Tony Award for Best Revival. Her other Broadway credits include the revival of Bye Bye Birdie where she starred in the role of Rose.
Gershon is also a singer/songwriter releasing her first eclectic album entitled In Search of Cleo (which she then turned into a one-woman show) in 2007. Gershon went on to release with a kids' album, Beardo & Baddo - The Good, The Bad, & The Hungry. Gina is also a children's book writer. In 2008, Putnam Juvenile published her Camp Creepy Time, a tale of a boy who discovers aliens at his summer camp.
Thomas Haden |Church Ansel Smith
Thomas Haden Church received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Jack starring opposite Paul Giamatti in Alexander Payne's critically acclaimed film Sideways.
The Fox Searchlight Pictures' release premiered at the 29th Toronto International Film Festival and went on to win numerous awards in 2004 and 2005, including a Golden Globe for Best Comedy Picture, Broadcast Film Critics award for Best Picture, a Screen Actors Guild / SAG Award for Best Ensemble Cast and 6 Independent Spirit Awards. Church was also honored as Best Supporting Actor by the Broadcast Film Critics and the Independent Spirit Awards.
Church most recently starred in the Disney Pictures' sci-fi, adventure John Carter opposite Willem Dafoe, Bryan Cranston, Samantha Morton and Taylor Kitsch. Previously, Church was in Cameron Crowe's We Bought A Zoo, which was released on December 23, 2011 by 20th Century Fox. The film also starred Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Patrick Fugit, and Elle Fanning. Church also starred in Another Happy Day opposite Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore, Ellen Barkin, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Ellen Burstyn, which was released November 4th.
In 2010, Church was seen in Sony Screen Gems' Easy A, a comedy co-starring Emma Stone, Amanda Bynes, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci, Penn Badgley, and Patrica Clarkson with Will Gluck directing. The film opened to critical accolades and has performed exceptionally well at the worldwide box office.
In 2009, Church starred opposite Elisabeth Shue and Melissa Leo in Don McKay, which premiered at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival. Two other movies starring Church included 20th Century Fox's dark comedy All About Steve, opposite Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper and Paramount Pictures' family film Imagine That, starring Eddie Murphy.
In 2007, Church gained worldwide appreciation for starring as the villain Sandman aka Flint Marko in the third installment of Sony Pictures franchise, Spider-Man 3, which was 2007's largest box-office success. That year, Church also starred opposite Dennis Quaid and Sarah Jessica Parker in the Miramax art-house film, Smart People.
Church won an Emmy Award and received a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for his role as Tom Harte opposite the legendary Robert Duvall in the western epic, Broken Trail. The movie, directed by Walter Hill and premiering on AMC, was critically acclaimed and a huge ratings success. In 2006, Church utilized his unique voice in two voice-over roles; first as the cow in Dreamworks' Over the Hedge, and then as the crow, Brooks, in the remake of the classic, Charlotte's Web, released by Paramount Pictures.
Church made his feature film debut in the legendary film Tombstone in 1993. Church first gained prominence for his role as the bucket-headed mechanic, Lowell Mather, on the long-running NBC series Wings. He is also known for his lead role in the FOX series Ned and Stacey, in which he starred opposite Debra Messing as the self-righteous Ned Dorsey. In 1997, TIME Magazine proclaimed Ned Dorsey as "One of the six reasons to watch television." That same year, and for the same performance, Church was declared "unfit to live with dogs" by National Public Radio.
Church has also had roles in numerous feature films, most notably opposite Brendan Fraser in the box-office blockbuster George of the Jungle, and the straight-to-cable Free Money, opposite the brilliant and (bizarre) Marlon Brando.
In addition, Church was the co-screenwriter and director of the film Rolling Kansas, which premiered as an official selection to the Sundance Film Festival in 2003.
Church resides on his ranch in Texas.
William Friedkin |Director
William Friedkin is an American film director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing The French Connection in 1971 and The Exorcist in 1973; for the former, he won the Academy Award for Best Director. His film, Bug (2006) won the FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
After seeing the movie Citizen Kane as a boy, Friedkin became fascinated with movies. He began working for WGN-TV immediately after high school. He eventually started his directorial career doing live television shows and documentaries, including The People vs. Paul Crump which won several awards and contributed to the commutation of Crump's death sentence. As mentioned in Friedkin's voice-over commentary on the DVD re-release of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, Friedkin also directed one of the last episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1965, called Off-Season.
Two years later he released his first feature film, Good Times starring Sonny and Cher. This was followed by The Birthday Party written by Nobel Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Harold Pinter with whom Friedkin formed a strong artistic bond after spending a year working with the playwright in London in 1967. Several other films followed including the gay-themed movie The Boys in the Band.
In 1971, The French Connection was released to wide audience and critical acclaim. Shot in a gritty style more suited for documentaries than Hollywood features, the film won five Academy Awards, including an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.
Friedkin followed up with 1973's The Exorcist, based on William Peter Blatty's best-selling novel, which revolutionized the horror genre and is considered by some critics to be the greatest horror movie of all time. The Exorcist was nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. It won the Best Screenplay and Best Sound Awards.
Following these acclaimed pictures, Friedkin was deemed as one of the premier directors of New Hollywood. Next was Sorcerer (1977), an American version of the French classic Wages of Fear, starring Roy Scheider. Friedkin considers it his finest film.
Sorcerer was followed by the crime-comedy The Brink's Job (1978), based on the real-life Brink's robbery in Boston, Massachusetts and the highly controversial crime thriller Cruising (1980), starring Al Pacino, which remains the subject of heated debate to this day.
Other notable Friedkin films of the 1980s and 1990s include Deal of the Century (1983), starring Chevy Chase, Gregory Hines and Sigourney Weaver, sometimes regarded as a latter-day Dr. Strangelove, his successful action/crime movie To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), starring William Petersen and Willem Dafoe, the courtroom-drama/thriller Rampage (1987), Jade (1995), starring Linda Fiorentino.
In 2000, The Exorcist was re-released in theaters with extra footage and grossed $40 million in the U.S. alone. That same year Friedkin's action thriller Rules of Engagement (2000), starring Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson, was a box office success. Friedkin worked again with Tommy Lee Jones in 2003 on The Hunted that co-starred Benicio Del Toro. In 2007, he directed Bug starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon. Bug was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Letts who also wrote Killer Joe.
Later, Friedkin directed an episode of the hit TV series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation entitled Cockroaches, which re-teamed him with To Live and Die In L.A. star William Petersen. He would go on to direct again for CSI's 200th episode, Mascara.
Friedkin started directing operas in 1998 with a widely-acclaimed production of Berg's Wozzeck at Maggio Musicale in Florence. He followed that in 2002 with a double bill of Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at Los Angeles Opera. In 2004 at the Los Angeles Opera, he directed R. Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos.
Other operas include: 2005, Saint-Saëns' Samson and Delilah at the New Israeli Opera, Tel Aviv, and Verdi's Aida at the Teatro Regio Torino in Torino, Italy, 2006/07, Duke Bluebeard's Castle/Gianni Schicchi - Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center, and Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Germany, new productions of Strauss' Salome and the world premiere of Wolfgang Rihm's Das Gehege; 2008, a double bill of Suor Angelica/Il Tabarro at the Los Angeles Opera. Friedkin returned to Maggio Musicale, Florence in October 2011 with Leos Janácek's The Makropulos Case and in 2012 is directing Offenbach's The Tales Of Hoffmann at Theater An der Wien, Vienna, Austria.
Friedkin was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Rae (née Green) and Louis Friedkin. He has two sons: Jack and Cedric. He is married to Sherry Lansing, Chairman, University of California Board of Regents and one of the founders of STAND UP TO CANCER.
Tracy Letts Writer
Tracy Letts is the author of the plays Superior Donuts, August: Osage County, Killer Joe, Bug, Man From Nebraska (named one of Time Magazine's Top Ten Plays of 2003) and an adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters. In addition to writing, Letts is an accomplished actor.
Letts is an ensemble member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and his appearances there include: Homebody/Kabul, The Dazzle, Glengarry Glen Ross, Three Days of Rain, and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Film appearances include: Guinevere, U.S. Marshalls and Chicago Cab. TV appearances include: The District, Profiler, The Drew Carey Show, Home Improvement and Seinfeld. Letts made his directing debut at the Lookingglass Theatre with Glen Berger's play Great Men of Science, No's 21 & 22.
Letts wrote the screenplay for Bug, which was made into a feature film directed by William Friedkin and starring Ashley Judd. Friedkin also directed the feature film adaptation - also written by Letts - of Killer Joe starring Matthew McConaughey. Letts was the recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his play August: Osage County. He is currently adapting that play for the big-screen for The Weinstein Company.
Lett's most recent play Superior Donuts opened on Broadway in October of 2009.
Nicolas Chartier Producer
Nicolas Chartier, the Academy Award-winning producer of The Hurt Locker, has been involved in the financing, production and sales of a diverse range of films for the past ten years.
In 2005, he founded Voltage Pictures, an International financing, sales and production operation. He has handled over 150 movies in the past six years. "The Hurt Locker" was Voltage Pictures first in-house production and claimed six Oscars in 2009, including Best Picture. Killer Joe is its second in-house film and was directed by William Friedkin and starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch. Killer Joe had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September 2011. His next film The Company You Keep is currently in postproduction and is directed by Robert Redford and starring Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Nick Nolte, Susan Sarandon, Richard Jenkins, Julie Christie, and Brit Marling. Voltage has also co-financed or sold international rights for George's Romero's Diary of the Dead, The Whistleblower, Fire with Fire, Peace Love and Misunderstanding and Summer at Dog Dave's.
Prior to forming Voltage, Chartier was VP of sales and acquisitions at Myriad Pictures. Here, Chartier was involved in the sales of a diverse range of films such as The Good Girl and Van Wilder. As the president of Vortex Pictures, he sold such titles as Joel Zwick's My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Nicolas Cage's Sonny. As head of sales and acquisitions at Arclight Films, Chartier acquired Dean Devlin's The Librarian, 2006 Academy Award winner Crash and The Matador starring Pierce Brosnan. During his time at Arclight, Chartier also sold Lord of War starring Nicolas Cage and The Merchant of Venice starring Al Pacino.
Scott Einbinder Producer
Prior to producing Killer Joe with Nicolas Chartier, Scott Einbinder was co-CEO of Leomax Entertainment, a Los Angeles- and Berlin-based motion picture production house.
At Leomax, Einbinder produced: the psychological-thriller Walled In starring Mischa Barton based on the best-selling French novel; Grace, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, won the Special Jury Prize at France's prestigious Gerardmer Film Festival and played in over 30 festivals throughout the world; and The Shortcut, co-produced with Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions. Einbinder oversaw development, financing, business affairs, distribution, and production activities on the three films.
Previous to forming Leomax, Einbinder was a partner at Los Angeles-based Sandstorm Films. The company had a first look deal at the Screen Gems division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. At Sandstorm, Einbinder executive produced 14 motion pictures including The Covenant starring Taylor Kitsch and Chase Crawford. The film was number one at the box office in its opening weekend in 2006. Einbinder was responsible for forging a unique marketing deal between Screen Gems and Top Cow Comics, the third-largest comic book publisher in the world, in which Top Cow created, produced and distributed a comic book based upon The Covenant screenplay.
Other Screen Gems theatrical releases Einbinder produced include The Forsaken and Outside Ozona starring Academy Award nominees Robert Forster and David Paymer. Einbinder also executive produced 8MM 2 starring Jonathan Schaech, Alien Hunter starring James Spader, The Marksman starring Wesley Snipes, Vampires: The Turning and True Blue starring Tom Berenger, and both Sniper 2 and 3 both also starring Berenger.
While at Sandstorm, Einbinder oversaw development, production, financing, distribution, and business affairs of its movies shot in Thailand, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Canada, and the United States. At Sandstorm, Einbinder produced Exit in Red starring Mickey Rourke, Black Day Blue Night starring JT Walsh and Gil Bellows, and Shadowhunter starring Benjamin Bratt and Scott Glenn.
Prior to Sandstorm, Einbinder worked as a literary agent, then a manager and development executive, at Waterman Entertainment, where he worked on projects set up at Universal Pictures, NBC, HBO and The Family Channel. Einbinder began his career as a publicist and marketing executive at New World Pictures and Empire Entertainment, where he worked in both the domestic and international distribution arena, executing campaigns for the company's theatrical and home entertainment releases.
In addition to his work in the entertainment industry, Einbinder is involved in a number of charitable and philanthropic organizations. He is Chair of the Southern California Regional Council, and a member of the National Board of Progressive Jewish Alliance - Jewish Funds for Justice, which educates and advocates on issues of social and economic justice, civil liberties, peace and dialogue. He is a graduate of the Anti-Defamation League's Salvin Leadership Institute and was a member of the ADL's Entertainment Industry Committee.
Einbinder attended California State University Long Beach where he earned a BA degree in Film and Television and minored in Public Relations and Journalism. He also studied in the Department of Cinema at University of Paris III: Sorbonne Nouvelle.
Caleb Deschanel Director of Photography
Caleb Deschanel, ASC (Director of Photography) is a graduate of the USC film school and The American Film Institute.
He first impressed moviegoers with his photography for The Black Stallion and Being There, both of which were released in 1979. He went on to receive consecutive Academy Award nominations in 1983 and 1984 for The Right Stuff and The Natural. In 1982, he made his directorial debut with The Escape Artist starring Raul Julia, Griffin O'Neal and Joan Hackett for American Zoetrope. He also directed Crusoe starring Aidan Quinn. He's directed multiple episodes of the television series Twin Peaks and episodes of Law and Order.
Deschanel photographed Fly Away Home in 1996, garnering his third Oscar nomination for Best Cinematography and a nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography by the American Society of Cinematographers. He shot Forrest Whitaker's Hope Floats, Luis Mandoki's Message in a Bottle, and won accolades for his lush camerawork on two epic productions: Anna and the King and Roland Emmerich's The Patriot, (for which he received another Academy Award nomination and won the ASC Award). He was again nominated for an Academy Award for the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. He went on to photograph National Treasure and The Spiderwick Chronicles. He also collaborated with director and writer Robert Towne on Ask the Dust and Nick Cassevetes' My Sister's Keeper. He was honored with the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.
Darrin Navarro Editor
Killer Joe is Darrin Navarro's second feature collaboration with William Friedkin.
After working with Friedkin as an assistant editor for a decade, he first moved into the editor's chair for the highly-acclaimed psychological thriller, Bug, starring Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon. Since then, Navarro has brought his rigorous eye and storytelling sense to Azazel Jacobs' films, Momma's Man and Terri, and Paul Solet's indie horror film, Grace, all of which were official selections at the Sundance Film Festival. Recently, Navarro edited Alison Bagnall's Indie drama, The Dish & the Spoon, starring Greta Gerwig.
Franco Giacomo Carbone Production Designer
Carbone began his career as a stage designer in New York City working for avant-garde theater companies such as La Mama and Circle Repertory Company.
He transitioned to film during the independent film boom of the mid-1990s, after graduating from the AFI film program with a Masters of Fine Art degree in production design for film and television. Carbone is also a previous graduate of the Parsons School of Design and the NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Some of Carbone's notable film credits include Lionsgate's release of Hostel produced by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Eli Roth, Wonderland starring Val Kilmer, Down in the Valley starring Edward Norton, and William Friedkin's Bug starring Ashley Judd.
Last summer's The Expendables was Carbone's third film collaboration with actor/director Sylvester Stallone. He first teamed up with Stallone on Rocky Balboa then set off for the jungles of Thailand for Rambo.
Recently, Carbone wrapped production for the action comedy One for the Money starring Katherine Heigl, and The Last Stand starring Arnold Schwarzenegger for Lionsgate Films.
tyler bates Composer / Innovator
Ambient electronic textures, intoxicating vocal melodies, driving hypnotic rhythms -- these are just some of the phrases to describe the musical innovations of Tyler Bates.
ABates is creating some of the most distinctive music today ~ whether as one of the most sought-after composers scoring hit films Watchmen, 300, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Rob Zombie's Halloween and Halloween 2, scoring Showtime's hit comedy Californication, or writing music for videogames such as Army of Two: The 40th Day, Activision's Transformers and the 300 and Watchmen games. His latest projects include Zack Snyder's Sucker Punch, Emilio Estevez's The Way, James Gunn's Super, and Genndy Tartakovsky's animated series for Cartoon Network Sym-Bionic Titan.
Bates' music possesses a timbre of its own, attracting visionary filmmakers who aim to make extraordinary films with commercial appeal. His work on Zack Snyder's battle epic, 300, embodies expansive orchestral and choral themes that express a sweeping range of color and emotion with a rock n' roll attitude. Snyder responded to Bates' score concept for Dawn of the Dead, and hired him to create the music for his zombie epic, which became an instant classic in the horror movie genre. Both Rob Zombie and Dawn script-writer James Gunn recognized the effect of Bates' music for Dawn, and recruited him to score their films, The Devil's Rejects, Halloween 1 and 2 and Slither, respectively, which have joined the pantheon of cult classic films and earned Bates' the moniker "The Devil's DJ" by his directors!
The film that cemented Bates' career in scoring movies was director Stephen Kay's art house Be-Bop film, The Last Time I Committed Suicide, starring Keanu Reeves, Adrien Brody, and Thomas Jane. This film, whose critically acclaimed soundtrack was released on Blue Note Records, led to their collaboration on several films, including Get Carter; the catalyst to Bates' stylistic emergence as a film composer. Bates followed up with Matt Dillon's directorial debut, City Of Ghosts, and Mario Van Peebles' acclaimed BAADASSSSS!
Early in his career, while composing a string of low-budget films, Bates, along with singer-songwriter Lisa Papineau, formed the band, Pet. The duo created a stir in Los Angeles that led to their major label debut on Atlantic Records, recorded at Amos' hillside castle in rural Ireland in 1996. Pet soon had a platinum record to their credit for the song Lil' Boots, from The Crow: City Of Angels soundtrack album, and began touring stints with Blink 182, Limp Bizkit, and Social Distortion. By late 1997, Bates' desire to write and record music on a daily basis prompted him to leave the group and focus his energy solely on scoring films.
Tyler Bates spent his formative years in Chicago, developing his keen obsession with music. An avid enthusiast, his mother introduced him to a wide range of recording artists; from Zappa to Coltrane, Simon and Garfunkel to Sly Stone. The soundtrack albums for the Broadway musicals Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar left an indelible impression upon him, both compositionally and emotionally.
At age ten, his hard-partying teenage cousins introduced him to Led Zeppelin and Kiss, which was all it took for Bates to drop his alto saxophone for an electric guitar. He then found the early records of U2, Gang of Four, and King Crimson, which influenced the principles apparent in his music today. The limitations of his home studio equipment became an integral part of his creative process; sparking an experimental approach in effort to complete his compositional ideas.
His foray into music production began by daisy-chaining cassette recorders to produce multi-track recordings. An Echoplex and other sound mutation devices became the gateway to his atmospheric explorations and counter-rhythmic sensibilities, as he studied the effects of varying tape speeds on live and pre-recorded sound sources.
By 19, Bates managed a trading firm in Chicago while enjoying the beginnings of great success in bands, but he could not ignore the calling to expand his career in music. In 1993, fueled by an offer to score a movie that paid less than a month's rent, Bates returned to his native Los Angeles with little experience in making music for films.
In 2011, with more than 40 films and 17 years of experience scoring movies, Bates is at the forefront of innovation in film music, steadfastly finding new ways to connect the emotional with the abstract and the organic with electronic.