A Film by Rian Johnson
Winner of the Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Prize
for Originality of Vision
Running time: 110 minutes
Brick, the dynamic debut feature from writer/director Rian Johnson, won the
Sundance Film Festival's Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision.
Brick, while taking its cues and its verbal style from the novels of Dashiell
Hammett, also honours the rich cinematic tradition of the hard-boiled noir mystery, here
wittily and bracingly immersed in fresh territory - a modern-day Southern California
neighbourhood and high school. There, student Brendan Frye's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
piercing intelligence spares no one. Brendan is not afraid to back up his words with
actions, and knows all the angles; yet he prefers to stay an outsider, and does - until the
day that his ex-girlfriend, Emily (Emilie de Ravin of Lost), reaches out to him
unexpectedly and then vanishes. Brendan's feelings for her still run deep; so much so,
that he becomes consumed with finding his troubled inamorata.
To find her, Brendan enlists the aid of his only true peer, The Brain (Matt
O'Leary), while keeping the assistant vice principal (Richard Roundtree) only
occasionally informed of what quickly becomes a dangerous investigation. Brendan's
single-minded unearthing of students' secrets thrusts him headlong into the colliding
social orbits of rich-girl sophisticate Laura (Nora Zehetner), intimidating Tugger (Noah
Fleiss), substance-abusing Dode (Noah Segan), seductive Kara (Meagan Good), jock
Brad (Brian White), and - most ominously - non-student The Pin (Lukas Haas). It is only
by gaining acceptance into The Pin's closely guarded inner circle of crime and
punishment that Brendan will be able to uncover hard truths about himself, Emily, and
the suspects that he is getting closer to.
Focus Features presents a Bergman Lustig production. A Film by Rian Johnson.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Brick. Nora Zehetner, Noah Fleiss, Matt O'Leary, Noah Segan,
Meagan Good, Emilie de Ravin. With Richard Roundtree and Lukas Haas. Casting by
Shannon Makhanian. Costume Designer, Michele Posch. Music by Nathan Johnson.
Production Designer, Jodie Tillen. Director of Photography, Steve Yedlin. Co-Producers,
Dana Lustig, Susan Dynner, Angela Roessel. Executive Producers, Lisa Johnson, Craig
Johnson, Norman Dreyfuss, Marcie Campbell. Produced by Ram Bergman, Mark G
Mathis. Written and Directed by Rian Johnson. A Focus Features Release.
Brick talk: "It's duck soup for you yegs."
(A partial glossary of words and phrases used in Brick, and their definitions)
Blow - to leave, depart; eg "Did she blow last night?"
Bulls - cops; eg "What first, tip the bulls?"; also, as a verb, to turn over to the
cops; eg "I bulled the rat."
Burg (or Burgh) - town, city; eg "He knows every two-bit toker in the burg."
Copped - stole; eg "She copped the junk."
Dose - to take drugs; eg "He dosed off the bad junk and it laid him out."
Duck soup - easy pickings.
Gat - gun.
Gum - to mess things up; eg "Bulls would only gum it."
Heel - to walk away from (and show your heels to); eg "I'm not heeling you to
Hop; Jake; Junk - drugs.
Pick - a ride in a car (as in "pick-up"); eg "Did she get a pick?"
Reef worm - a stoner (abbrev. of "reefer").
Scape - a patsy to take the blame (abbrev. of "scapegoat").
Scraped - begged off of, cadged from; eg "Ask any dope rat where their junk
sprang and they'll say they scraped it off [name]... "
Shamus - a private detective.
Shine - to wield (as with a weapon); eg "He shines a blade."
Sprang - originated; eg "His gat sprang from Tugger's gang."
Take a powder - to slip away; eg "Why'd you take a powder the other night?"
Yeg - (generic for) a guy; eg "They'd probably find some yeg to pin it on."
Q&A with writer/director Rian Johnson
Q: When you were trying to raise the money to get this movie made,
independently, how did you describe Brick to people?
Rian Johnson: Just saying, "It's a detective movie but it's set in high school"
wouldn't communicate what makes the film tick. So, when I described it to people I
would reference the type of material that I was drawing from; I would talk to people
about Dashiell Hammett, and about the tradition of detective novels and movies in the
US, and stress that we were trying to do a faithful, straight-up detective movie as
opposed to a gimmicky high school movie.
Q: You probably faced more than one person saying, "Oh, I get it - Nancy
Drew or Hardy Boys."
RJ: Exactly. The other thing was, I wrote the script just out of college - seven
years ago - right when I was first starting to get it out there was when this big boom of
high school movies was happening. So people would hear that this was "a high school
script with a twist," and they'd read it all excited, thinking it was going to be American
Pie or something... and it's obviously not that.
Q: Now that the film is finished and is winning awards and screening at film
festivals, now how do you describe it to people?
RJ: I have the luxury of not really having to verbally explain it to them. [Laughs]
At its essence, we set out to make an American detective movie. When I'm saying it
very quickly, it's "Oh, it's a strange little detective movie." The reason it's set in high
school is, we did that to get away from the imagery of men in hats and what we typically
think of for detectives. That's all been done so well so many times over the years that
the instant you see the imagery, it becomes pastiche when you're doing a detective
movie. I love film noir, but the thought of imitating it was not appealing. Brick is not set in
high school for any post-modern twist or to make a comment on the genre; it was meant
to free us up to take a more straightforward approach to the genre. We wrestled with the
question of "How do you 'do' the genre today?" This was the weird approach that we
decided on. [Laughs]
Q: When you say "detective", we all think of Bogart, trenchcoats...
RJ: There's kind of a layer of lacquer that's been built up over the genre over the
years. But, sure, some of my favourite movies ever made are detective films.
Q: What are some of your favourite movies?
RJ: It's a broad range... I went to film school, so there are a number of "film
school classics" - all the great directors, like Hitchcock and Fellini... In terms of detective
films, I'm actually not as well-steeped in film noir as a lot of people assume from the fact
that I made a detective movie. The ones I'm familiar with are mostly the classics; The
Maltese Falcon, I would count among my favourite movies of all time. The Big Sleep,
adapting Raymond Chandler, is a great film. James Cain has had some great screen
adaptations, like The Postman Always Rings Twice.
What originally got me into the idea of doing a detective movie, and introduced
me to Hammett, is a film the Coen Brothers did called Miller's Crossing. That film is very
much inspired by two of Hammett's novels, Red Harvest and The Glass Key. I was
introduced to that film in film school, and I just fell in love with it. I found out about their
inspirations, read all of Hammett's novels in a month. They connected with me in a way
I wasn't expecting, and I was spurred to write Brick, to bring my interpretation of their
world to life.
Another of the Coen Brothers' - one of their best - movies, The Man Who Wasn't
There, draws from Cain in the way that Miller's Crossing drew from Hammett; unique
takes on a classic genre.
Q: At what point did it all come together for you; the inspiration to tell this
story, in this style, as your first feature film? You'd been to film school; you were
already writing scripts...
RJ: Getting out of film school, I had no contacts in the industry; I didn't have any
connections. I'm not the type of person who's good at going out there and hustling,
going out there and selling myself. But I knew that I wanted to make a feature, it's all
I've wanted to do - I was one of those geeky kids who's been making short films since
they were 12. I figured the best way to make a feature was to write a script that I really
wanted to do that could be done for a modest budget level, and then show it around to
everybody that I possibly could until I found someone who wanted to help me do it.
It was a long, long process; it took six years. People were found, and then went
away; money was found, and then went away; different actors were in and out. You talk
to any independent filmmaker who's gotten a film made, and it's the same story. It's not
easy. It was a long path. Eventually, everything worked out for the best, and when it did
come together, it was the best possible combination of people and the best possible
way the money could have been there - the right way to make the movie.
Q: How did the financing finally come together - and, until it did, did you
think of doing it in arguably an easier way, like shooting on HD or even doing a
RJ: The financing was, friends and family. We tightened our belts and figured out
the very lowest amount of money that we could get this shot for on 35MM film, and then
passed the hat to friends and family - some of whom became executive producers of
the movie. We pulled off making this movie on such a low budget because, first of all,
we got an amazing crew and a great set of actors. And I'd essentially had six years of
pre-planning time to know exactly and precisely how every shot of the movie was going
to look and how it was going to fit together. My director of photography, Steve Yedlin, is
one of my best friends. He's known me since college, and we've had all that time to talk
about it and pre-plan. That's a big factor in how we were able to get it shot for the
budget we had and in the time that we did.
It was a very blessed shoot. The shooting schedule was 20 days, which is typical
at this budget level; but, as anyone who works at that pace will tell you, it was not easy -
it was hard work and long hours. At the same time, there was this great feeling;
everybody got along and got a sense very quickly of what the movie was, and the clear
direction in which we were going.
We shot the film down in San Clemente, which is a beautiful little beach town,
about an hour south of LA, on the southern tip of Orange County - it's my hometown.
We filmed at the school I actually went to. It was like we had our own back-lot, because
I knew the town inside and out. If we lost a location or suddenly needed something, I
could say, "OK, we can just go to this spot over here." I knew the lay of the land, and
the script had been written around some of the locations.
The high school has a very specific look to it, with great wide-open flat spaces,
airy breezeways, and an almost institutional feel. We built all of this into the style of
Brick, as a detective movie that took more of its visual cues from Chinatown than from
the dark alleyways of noir. We set it out in the open, in a setting that will catch you off
guard and that you wouldn't normally associate with menace.
When I was in the last stages of visually planning Brick, I was watching a lot of
Sergio Leone's movies. In that respect, the movie probably owes more to Westerns than
to film noir, actually. The school and the locations in San Clemente all lent themselves
to shooting in that style.
Q: You're also taking advantage of the frame, like with the foot chase and
how that ends...
RJ: Sure. And the parking-lot sequence is a showdown, between Brendan and a
Q: The character of Brendan is interesting, because he registers on-screen
as almost physically slight, yet it's clear from early on that he will not hesitate to
mix it up. This recalls Bogart in that he may not have been conventionally tough,
but when he reacted to something you realized that there was a lot going on
below the surface.
RJ: The casting of Brendan was difficult; it might have been the most crucial part
of making the entire film. It was imperative to find someone who you would not expect
certain things from; he needed to be able to blend into a crowd at a party, he needed to
look like he couldn't take you in a fight - and then surprise you and put you down in half
He did need to have that feel that Bogart had; this was the one area where we
were trying to replicate Bogart movies. In general, I forbade Joseph [Gordon-Levitt] and
the rest of the cast from watching Bogart movies, or any other classic detective movies.
We all knew that those elements were going to be in ours inherently, just because of the
type of movie we were doing; putting any more weight in that direction at all, you could
go very wrong very quickly - say, kids doing impressions of old movies...
We got lucky, finding Joe to play Brendan. He completely got the material
instantly. The language in the movie is highly specific and even peculiar, and I think that
he approached it in a unique and effective manner. He is also a musician, and he
approached the dialogue as if it were lyrics. Which made a lot of sense to me, because
the words in the lines that he's saying are often cryptic. It's definitely not the way that
people speak today. So, the way of making it communicable and getting the lines to hit
home was to find what was beautiful about them; the musicality, the rhythm, the flow.
Joe also had another revelation; that he had training doing this kind of old-school
dialogue and snappy back-and-forth - on his television show, 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Obviously, the character and material are very different, but once he tapped into that
particular aspect he was able to draw from his years on the show and it helped inform
his performance here.
He was physically right for the part, and he is a spectacular actor who takes his
work seriously. He worked his butt off for the movie, and in many ways set the bar -
even for me - in terms of the amount of dedication and work that he poured into making
Q: If not watching movies, did you have the cast do other kinds of
research, like reading Hammett's books?
RJ: Yeah, I told them all to read Hammett. We did watch some movies, just not
The Maltese Falcon and the noirs. In Brick, we do reference some of those, just
because this type of language was handled so well back then; dialogue was said in a
way it's not said today. For performance touchstones, we had to reference back before
realism came into vogue, because there's nothing realistic about the dialogue. One of
the first things we discovered was that if you take this dialogue and try to perform it in a
realistic fashion, it doesn't work. It's like trying to put a tomato into a matchbox; it's not
meant to fit. The dialogue in Brick is in a style that's not used today, so the actors mostly
hadn't done it before. To see how actors used to handle dialogue, we watched Billy
Wilder films; His Girl Friday; Singin' in the Rain - movies you wouldn't expect to go along
with the feel of Brick.
Q: If not Bogart as an icon, was there any other detective icon or male
screen persona that you gravitated towards?
RJ: Not in the rehearsal process, no. We did have a lot of rehearsal time - 2 or 3
months from the time we cast Joe - in which to find the voice of the character. Literally -
what kind of regional accent he would have. Joe would call me up all excited and say, "I
found out how to do his 'r's; Brendan does his 'r's like Tom Waits! Listen - " We had the
time to refine it and get it just right.
We referenced older movies for the style of performance. The character
archetypes are inherently owed to previous examples of the genre. But I didn't want to
throw that it into the mix for the actors; I wanted them to approach their roles as they
would in any other movie - "Who is this person?"
Q: Since there's no caricaturing in the movie, the teenaged characters are
very suitable for the elements of crime and passion. There's an emotional
intensity; so much seems to be at stake for them.
RJ: You know, Hammett was once asked if Sam Spade [, the character he
created,] was based on any particular detective. He answered no, it's based on what
every real detective would like to imagine himself to be. That's sort of analogous to our
movie's relationship to real high school; it's not the way high school is, but it's the way
high school feels.
When you're in high school, things don't feel - they didn't, for me - flippant and
silly. A lot of high school shows and movies seem to me to have a very adult
perspective on high school, the perspective of someone who is out of that world and is
now seeing it in a slightly condescending manner. Once you get beyond it, it's easy to
forget how you once were completely encased in its logic. Whereas when you're
actually in it, and your head is completely encased in this microcosm, it's your world and
it's a world you have to survive. And things seem, if not life-or-death, very important and
mythical. The people you know and the dynamics of your relationships seem hyper-real.
We tried to summon that here. The level of intensity that's in Brick equates to the level
of intensity that I think a lot of us felt in high school.
Q: You knew you were always going to make this movie with Steve Yedlin.
How hard was it to pull the rest of the crew together?
RJ: Again, we got lucky with all of 'em. Some of the people that Steve brought
with him, I had also known, and there were a couple of other friends that worked on the
movie. It was important to me that the movie be a good experience for everybody, and
when you're shooting at this budget level, there are many opportunities for it not to be a
good experience. [Laughs] So in interviewing people and in picking them for the crew,
as much as you're looking for someone you creatively connect with, you're also looking
for someone who brings a good energy to the entire operation. We found that in every
Jodie Tillen, our production designer, had done costume design for years and
years on big projects. She had done [the original TV series] Miami Vice, so we have her
to thank for those fashions... She had just switched to doing production design when I
met with her for Brick, and we immediately connected. Jodie's a real artist, and she
brought such a wealth of experience to the set.
Michele Posch, our costume designer and one of the coolest people on the
planet, I had worked with before on some promos and commercials. I had very specific
ideas for the looks and costumes for all the characters. She executed those and also
came up with more ideas of her own, and was able to solicit some pieces from smaller
Q: Did you give the crew books to read or movies to watch?
RJ: Yes. Well, Jodie already knew her stuff in terms of what we were referencing,
but it was important that every single member of the crew knew and understood what
our movie was and what we were doing, and that they felt a part of it.
Q: Over the years, did you shoot any test-run footage or do a sample
RJ: We considered it, because there were years of us thinking, "When is this
thing going to come together? Maybe we should shoot a trailer... " But whenever we
would get really frustrated, we would go to San Clemente for the day and take pictures
of locations. My little brother would come down with me and be a stand-in in the shots,
so you can see him growing up over the years in these photos, standing in front of the
drainage tunnel... Steve and I would talk about the movie at length; a lot of hours sitting
in coffee shops...
Q: How did the cast come together so well? Many of these actors - like your
lead actor - have, already, had years of experience and grown up on-screen.
RJ: Yeah, most of them have been on sets since they were very young. They're
veterans, which made for a great working environment because they were mature and
professional. It scared me to death, because, as a first-time feature director, I had never
worked with professional actors before. That was the big unknown; I was confident in
my visual and filmmaking abilities. It turned out to be the element that I think I drew the
most joy from - the creative process of working through this with them, and my constant
amazement at what they do. It was something I had not experienced before.
We had a great casting director, Shannon Makhanian. She sunk her teeth into
this project, way before we had the money for it. She decided that she loved the script,
and worked on the project for nearly two years before the final funding was in place,
doggedly pursuing exactly the right people for every part. It was easy to find people who
were physically right for a role, but it's a lot harder to find intelligent and talented actors
who get the material and the language. Actors either understood it or didn't.
Q: How did you cultivate the chemistry between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and,
respectively, Nora Zehetner and Emilie de Ravin?
RJ: The rehearsal time allowed them to spend time together and get to know
each other. Joe and I spent a lot of time together working out how we were going to
handle the language and Brendan's voice. One we felt we had a line on that, we started
bringing in - one by one - the other actors to work with him, and they were able to cue in
and get up to speed with our approach.
The other aspect was, approaching the characters as their own people, as
opposed to, "Here's the femme fatale. Here's the little girl gone wrong." The material is
its own world.
Q: Is any of this material remotely autobiographical?
RJ: Oh, not at all; I was never this cool in high school. [Laughs]
Q: You didn't get into this many fistfights?
RJ: Not quite, and if I did, I sure wouldn't have won them.
Q: You must have wanted to trip somebody -
RJ: I wanted to many, many times, and I finally got to when we shot the movie.
Q: Is it your foot in that scene?
RJ: No, no. I got to vicariously experience it.
Q: How did things come together in the editing room? After having
prepared and visualized the movie for so long, was the editing easy?
RJ: It was interesting, because the editing process was very intimate; I edited
Brick myself. I cut it using Final Cut Pro on a Mac, in my bedroom. I didn't have an
assistant, or an office that I would go to. It was like a writing process; I could get up
whenever and work on the film, since it was just there on my computer.
The first cut of the movie snapped together very quickly, but there was a lot of
refining. I had to find the rhythm of each individual scene, and there were clarity issues
that we had to deal with. That's probably what we spent the majority of our time on for
the initial and subsequent cuts; doing it, then showing it to people and saying, "Okay,
where are you lost?" [Laughs] We did have to figure out creative ways to clarify different
points. Stories like those in The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep are complicated and
twisty, and part of the excitement is having periods where the audience is intrigued and
doesn't know exactly what's going on, but all the pieces are there and they do and will fit
together. It's walking a line; withholding information, yet keeping the audience staying
with the movie and actively engaged in following the story and figuring out some of the
Q: Was your first cut substantially longer?
RJ: By about 10-13 minutes, and I've done some more trimming since we
showed it at Sundance. But that's the nature of this material; Hammett's writing is very
sharp and clean and gets right to the point. I'd have scenes that played and worked fine,
and then I'd go in and take out a line or two that might be good but also superfluous,
and the scene would work that much better.
Q: Were you confident about getting into Sundance?
RJ: [Laughs] Ohhh, I wasn't confident about a thing! I didn't know whether
anyone was going to like it... I was blown away and completely surprised when it got
into Sundance, and I was even more shocked when it played there and got such a
strong response - whether people loved it or hated it... It struck people as unique, and
that's my favourite kind of movie - one that tries to do something a little different.
Q: What was the Sundance experience like for you?
RJ: Unreal, man; a blur. The whole cast was up there, and a lot of the crew came
up, and my family and friends who had financed the movie... I have a very large family;
we had like 30 Johnsons there. It felt good to be able to do right by them.
Q: Post-Sundance, you're headed to other film festivals around the world.
But after that, what's next, now that you've finally gotten this project made, which
RJ: It's time to make another one! [Laughs] I have a con man movie which I just
finished writing the script for. Hopefully that will be the next film that I make, and
hopefully I will work with a lot of the same people that I worked with on Brick. Whatever
the next project is, a lot of my energy will go into making sure that it's as good an
experience as Brick - for everybody involved.
About the Cast
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT (Brendan) has demonstrated his range for over a
decade, in both television and film. He was most recently seen starring in Gregg Araki's
acclaimed Mysterious Skin, which earned him the Best Actor award at the 2005 Seattle
International Film Festival.
For his starring role on the hit NBC television series 3rd Rock from the Sun, he
won two Hollywood Reporter YoungStar Awards and shared with his colleagues three
Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble
in a Comedy Series.
Prior to that long-running success, Joseph was already working steadily in
feature films; he had made his screen debut in Robert Redford's Academy
Award-winning A River Runs Through It, for which he received a Young Artist Award.
His other film credits include William Dear's Angels in the Outfield; Brian Gibson's The
Juror; Steve Miner's Halloween: H2O; Gil Junger's 10 Things I Hate About You; in the
lead voiceover role, the animated feature Treasure Planet, directed by John Musker and
Ron Clements; Jordan Melamed's independent feature Manic; and Lee Daniels'
Shadowboxer, starring with Cuba Gooding Jr, Helen Mirren, and Mo'nique.
Joseph next stars for writer/director Scott Frank in the lead role of the dramatic
thriller The Lookout; and is a member of the ensemble in Killshot, directed by John
Madden and based on the Elmore Leonard novel.
NORA ZEHETNER (Laura) recently completed filming her starring role in Dagen
Merrill's psychological thriller Beneath, for MTV Films and Paramount Classics release.
She also will soon be seen in Hans Canosa's Conversations with Other Women,
starring Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart. In the film, which re-teams her with
Brick producers Ram Bergman and Mark G Mathis, she portrays the younger
incarnation of Ms. Carter's character.
For two seasons, Nora had a recurring role on the critically acclaimed hit series
Everwood, starring opposite Gregory Smith and alongside Treat Williams. She has also
made guest appearances on Gilmore Girls and She Spies, among other shows.
The El Paso native's other feature credits include Theo Avgerinos' Fifty Pills;
Lucky McKee's May; JB Rogers' American Pie 2; Mark Anthony Galluzzo's RSVP;
Newton Thomas Sigel's Point of Origin; and the title role in Mikhail Ptashuk's The Song
of Rose (aka The Burning Land).
LUKAS HAAS (The Pin) was 7 years old when he was cast opposite Harrison
Ford, in the title role of Peter Weir's Academy Award-winning Witness. Lukas'
performance in the title role firmly established his acting career.
He was nominated for an Emmy Award for portraying AIDS activist Ryan White in
John Herzfeld's telefilm The Ryan White Story.
Among Lukas' other films are Frank LaLoggia's Lady in White; Alan J Pakula's
See You in the Morning; Costa-Gavras' Music Box; Peter Masterson's Convicts; Martha
Coolidge's Rambling Rose; Sterling Van Wagenen's Alan & Naomi; Scott Silver's johns;
Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You; Tim Burton's Mars Attacks!; Alan Rudolph's
Breakfast of Champions; Lloyd Kramer's "Oprah Winfrey Presents" telefilm David and
Lisa; and Gus Van Sant's Last Days.
He will next be seen starring in Nick Cassavetes' Alpha Dog; has re-teamed with
Martha Coolidge for the upcoming Material Girls; and has completed filming Matthew
Bissonnette's Summer Babes.
Lukas appeared at Lincoln Centre in Mike Nichols' staging of Samuel Beckett's
Waiting for Godot, with Steve Martin and Robin Williams; and in several episodes of the
hit series 24.
His other passion, which he continues to pursue, is music. He has recently
performed with Outkast and Macy Gray, among other artists.
NOAH FLEISS (Tugger) has starred in a number of notable independent
His performance in the title role of Frank Whaley's Joe the King (which won the
screenwriting prize at the Sundance Film Festival) earned him a Young Artist Award.
Previously, Noah won a Hollywood Reporter YoungStar Award for his starring role
opposite Linda Hamilton in Larry Elikann's telefilm A Mother's Prayer.
His other screen credits include Rodrigo García's Things You Can Tell Just by
Looking at Her; Moisés Kaufman's The Laramie Project; Todd Solondz' Storytelling;
Stephen Kinsella's Double Parked; Enid Zentelis' Evergreen; and Rocky Costanzo's
Noah's first movie was Billy Weber's Josh and SAM, in which he played the latter
MATT O'LEARY (The Brain) has had starring roles in Bill Paxton's Frailty
(opposite Bill Paxton and Jeremy Sumpter) and Harold Becker's Domestic Disturbance
(opposite John Travolta and Vince Vaughn).
His other features include Joseph Sargent's acclaimed telefilm Warm Springs
(opposite Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon); John Lee Hancock's The Alamo; and
Robert Rodriguez' Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.
EMILIE de RAVIN (Emily) is a regular on the hit series Lost, starring with the
ensemble cast as single mother Claire Littleton.
The native Australian had previously starred on another much-talked-about
television show, Roswell.
She recently wrapped production on Alexandre Aja's thriller The Hills Have Eyes
(a remake of Wes Craven's film of the same name); and will soon be seen in the black
comedy Santa's Slay, produced by Brett Ratner and directed by David Steiman. For
NBC, she co-starred in the telefilm remake of Carrie, directed by David Carson.
NOAH SEGAN (Dode) was born in New York City, into a family of artists and
bohemians, and began acting in theatre and television at a young age.
As a teenager, Noah pursued his interests in photography and music in lieu of a
formal education. He then returned to acting, and has since appeared in such
independent features as Craig Chester's Adam & Steve; Duncan Roy's The Picture of
Dorian Gray; and the biopic of punk rock legends The Germs, Rodger Grossman's What
We Do Is Secret. In the latter film, he plays real-life drummer Don Bolles. He will also
soon be seen starring in Robby Henson's The Visitation, with Martin Donovan and Kelly
Noah's favourite actor is Warren Oates, with whom he aspires to share the
mantle of "Existential Heavy."
RICHARD ROUNDTREE (Assistant VP Trueman) attended Southern Illinois
University on a football scholarship. While there, he signed with Johnson Publications to
model in their annual Ebony Fashion Fair. Richard then returned to his home in New
York, and began taking acting lessons.
He would go on to become a member of the acclaimed Negro Ensemble
Company. A series of Off-Broadway roles culminated in a starring one, as legendary
boxer Jack Johnson, in Howard Sackler's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Great White Hope.
He soon became internationally famous; filmmaker Gordon Parks chose him to
star as private detective John Shaft in the groundbreaking hit film Shaft. Richard
reunited with the director to make Shaft's Big Score!, and played the character again in
Shaft in Africa (directed by John Guillermin); the television series Shaft; and John
Singleton's 2000 update Shaft.
He has appeared in several dozen other films, among them Mark Robson's
Earthquake; Jack Gold's Man Friday (starring as the title character, opposite Peter
O'Toole as Robinson Crusoe); George Pan Cosmatos' Escape to Athena; Larry Cohen's
Q; Richard Benjamin's City Heat; David Fincher's smash Se7en; Sam Weisman's hit
George of the Jungle; and Tim Reid's award-winning Once Upon a Time... When We
Other television series that Richard has starred in have included 413 Hope
Street, for which he received an NAACP Image Award nomination. Additionally, he has
played recurring roles on several notable shows, including, most recently, the national
phenomenon Desperate Housewives (opposite Nicollette Sheridan).
Among Richard's telefilm credits are the top-rated Having Our Say: The Delany
Sisters' First 100 Years (directed by Lynne Littman), in which he portrayed Booker T
Washington; Christmas in Connecticut, directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Steve
James' Joe and Max. He also starred in the classic miniseries Roots.
He was honoured with a Peabody Award for his narration of the PBS
documentary miniseries The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.
MEAGAN GOOD (Kara) next stars, opposite Tyrese Gibson, in Rogue Pictures'
urban action thriller Waist Deep (directed by Vondie Curtis Hall).
One of Hollywood's rising talents, Meagan previously starred for Focus Features
in Gary Hardwick's romantic comedy Deliver Us from Eva. Her breakthrough role was in
Kasi Lemmon's Eve's Bayou, for which she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award
and a Hollywood Reporter YoungStar Award.
Her subsequent films include Malcolm D Lee's Roll Bounce; Jim Gillespie's
Venom; Lance Rivera's The Cookout; Angela Robinson's DEBS; Chris Stokes' sleeper
hit You Got Served; and Reggie Rock Bythewood's Biker Boyz.
The California native began starring in commercials at age 4, and ultimately
filmed over 60 national spots. She also began guest-starring on various television
series, and was a series regular on the popular kids' show Cousin Skeeter. Among her
more recent guest appearances was a pivotal multi-episode arc on My Wife and Kids.
BRIAN WHITE's (Brad Bramish) feature credits include Charles Stone III's Mr
3000 (starring opposite Bernie Mac); Thomas Bezucha's The Family Stone (starring
with Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Claire Danes, among
others); Uwe Boll's forthcoming Dungeon Siege; and Corey Yuen's upcoming DOA:
Dead or Alive.
Brian has also starred in such independent films as Dennis Cooper's Ways of the
Flesh (opposite Zoe Saldana) and Ed Laborde's Me & Mrs. Jones (opposite Kim Fields).
Since graduating from Dartmouth College, he has played both professional
football (NFL) and lacrosse (NLL); earned his certifications as a licensed stockbroker
(series 6, 7, 63, 65); and co-founded the professional dance company/community youth
outreach organization Phunk Phenomenon Urban Dance Theatre.
Brian's acting career began when he was cast in a national television
commercial. A recurring role on the television series Moesha followed, as did a regular
role on the series Spyder Games. More recently, he recurred for two seasons on the
award-winning The Shield; and was a series regular on Second Time Around. In
addition to his acting career, Brian works as an independent film producer with film
finance company Bull's Eye Entertainment.
About the Filmmakers
RIAN JOHNSON (Writer/Director) has been making movies since the seventh
grade, but Brick is his first feature. He was honoured with the Sundance Film Festival's
Special Jury Prize for Originality of Vision.
RAM BERGMAN (Producer) is an independent film producer. Ram hopes to
produce many more of Rian Johnson's films.
MARK G Mathis (Producer) produced the 2000 Slamdance International Film
Festival Grand Jury Prize award winner for Best Picture, Good Housekeeping, written
and directed by Frank Novak.
Among Mark's other credits are co-producing Rob Meltzer's short, I Am Stamos,
which won the Audience Award at the 2004 Gen Art Film Festival.
Re-teaming with Brick producer Ram Bergman, Mark most recently
line-produced Hans Canosa's Conversations with Other Women, starring Helena
Bonham Carter, Aaron Eckhart, and Nora Zehetner of Brick.
DANA LUSTIG (Co-Producer) has produced and/or directed 16 features. She
most recently directed the telefilm Confessions of a Sociopathic Social Climber, starring
Jennifer Love Hewitt, which aired last March and brought the Oxygen Network its
highest ratings ever for original programming. Her other feature credits as director
include the romantic thriller Kill Me Later, starring Selma Blair and Max Beesley; and the
romantic comedy Wedding Bell Blues, starring Ileana Douglas, Paulina Porizkova, and
Julie Warner. Dana also wrote and produced the latter two films with Brick producer
As a partner in Bergman Lustig Productions, Dana produced several notable
independent movies, including Michael Radford's Dancing at the Blue Iguana, starring
Daryl Hannah, Sandra Oh, and Jennifer Tilly. Her upcoming projects include Yuri
Zeltser's The Circle, a uniquely filmed project starring Angela Bettis and Scott Cohen.
She was born in Israel and began her career as an actress before moving to the
US. After graduating from the American Film Institute's producing program, she began
making short films and videos and then features.
SUSAN DYNNER (Co-Producer) is currently in post-production on Punk's Not
Dead, a documentary feature that she has directed and produced.
Susan previously worked as an executive at a number of filmmakers' production
companies, most recently with Steve Herzberg at Prairiefire Films, as vice president of
development and production. Earlier, she was vice president of creative affairs at
Charlie Sheen and Nick Cassavetes' Ventura Films.
She began her career working for Richard Donner Productions and,
subsequently, for Wolfgang Petersen's Radiant Productions.
ANGELA ROESSEL (Co-Producer) began her industry career in London, with
Playpont Films Ltd.
Angela later joined the West Coast office of the International Creative
Management agency, working in the international and literary departments. A
subsequent stint in the company's Paris office led to an opportunity to open and run the
LA office for the storied French film company Gaumont.
Since 1997, she has been a consultant to a number of European companies and
has produced movies on both sides of the Atlantic. Among these have been Ate de
Jong's Fogbound (starring Luke Perry) and Sönke Wortmann's The Hollywood Sign
(starring Tom Berenger, Burt Reynolds, and Rod Steiger).
STEVE YEDLIN (Director of Photography) has thoroughly enjoyed working with
Brick writer/director Rian Johnson in 13 years (and counting) of collaboration on a slew
of projects. Their collaboration began when they were teenagers, with Steve manning a
16 mm camera to shoot The Short Life and Tragic Death of Josh Arce.
Brick is the second Sundance debut feature that Steve has shot; the first was
Lucky McKee's May (in 2002).
Among his other feature credits as director of photography are Eduardo Sanchez'
Altered, to be released by Rogue Pictures; Hans Canosa's upcoming Conversations
with Other Women; Simon Brand's forthcoming Unknown; and Tobe Hooper's Toolbox
Steve has attended more than 20 Bob Dylan concerts and is also a huge fan of
both Richard Feynman and Carl Jung.
JODIE TILLEN (Production Designer) began her film career as a costume
designer. This work encompassed several dozen features, ranging from such 70s genre
classics as George Armitage's Hit Man and Jack Hill's Switchblade Sisters, to two films
apiece for Ron Howard (Night Shift and Backdraft) and Paul Schrader (Light of Day and,
for television, Witch Hunt), to the James Bond movie Licence to Kill (directed by John
Glen), to Rob Cohen's award-winning telefilm The Rat Pack.
After working with Michael Mann on his breakthrough feature, Thief, she reunited
with the filmmaker as the costume designer of the smash television series Miami Vice,
changing fashion around the world forever. Jodie was nominated for an Emmy Award
for her work on the unforgettable episode (from the show's first season) that
guest-starred Bruce Willis.
Jodie chose to expand her sense of colour and design by making the move to
become a production designer. After production-designing several television projects,
her first feature was Brick; Jodie has since completed production design work on Hans
Canosa's Conversations with Other Women.
NATHAN JOHNSON (Music) grew up assisting his older cousin Rian on a host of
homemade family movies, before being lured across the ocean into the UK music
He now divides his time between England and America, fronting and touring an
artistic collective known as the Cinematic Underground
(www.thecinematicunderground.com). After hearing their concept album Annasthesia,
Rian invited Nathan to create the score for Brick.
Accordingly, Nathan and his cohorts used and abused a variety of household
implements, including dinner settings, filing cabinets, cheese graters and radiators.
Actual instruments were even more horribly misused, as pianos were bolted and tacked;
double basses were beaten with mallets and any things that could be played with a bow
(and many things that arguably couldn't) were. The resulting score proudly conveys the
desired broken-down junkyard sound to echo off of Rian's characters.
MICHELE POSCH (Costume Designer) likes to work on the cutting edge of
music, fashion, and film - or some combination thereof.
The San Francisco native lived and studied in London before returning to
America where she worked in the music industry, touring with and managing indie
bands. She then worked for the Timothy Leary Foundation, as Mr Leary's archivist and
assistant until his death in 1997.
Michele then worked as a personal assistant to actor/director Diane Keaton, who
in turn facilitated her first costuming job, on the feature Hanging Up. She has since
found her niche working on film and television wardrobe and costume design.
Among Michele's other feature credits as costume designer are Larry Clark's Ken
This Film Was Made Possible By The Love And Support Of
Howard & Dorsey Johnson
Court & Cynthia Johnson
Jon & Janet McClintock
Brendan Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Laura Nora Zehetner
The Pin Lukas Haas
Tugger Noah Fleiss
The Brain Matt O'Leary
Emily Emilie de Ravin
Dode Noah Segan
Assistant VP Trueman Richard Roundtree
Kara Meagan Good
Brad Bramish Brian White
Biff Jonathan Cauff
Pin's Mom Reedy Gibbs
Big Stoner Lucas Babin
Straggler Tracy Wilcoxen
Tangles Ari Velkom
The Lug Cody Lightning
Stunt Co-ordinator Nils Stewart
The Crew and the Credits
Written and Directed by Rian Johnson
Produced by Ram Bergman
Mark G Mathis
Executive Producers Lisa Johnson
Co-Producers Dana Lustig
Director of Photography Steve Yedlin
Production Designer Jodie Tillen
Music by Nathan Johnson
Costume Designer Michele Posch
Casting by Shannon Makhanian
Unit Production Manager Ilya Lyudmirsky
First Assistant Director Kristin Mente
Second Assistant Director Anthony Carregal
Associate Producer Raymond Izaac
Production Co-ordinator Daniel Laiblin
First Assistant Camera Wade Whitley
Second Assistant Camera Ryan McCoy
Second Unit DP's Todd Antonio Somodevilla
Steadicam Operator David Grove
Additional Camera Assistants Seth Orozco
Script Supervisor Elizabeth Covert
Sound Mixer Dennis Grzesik
Boom Operator Gerrard Bernice
Additional Sound Mixer Randy Lawson
Additional Boom Operator Bryant Grizzell
Property Master Trevan Bedwell
Set Decorator Shara Kasprack
Assistant Decorator Jason O'Rourke
Assistant Property Master Moe Moe Lwin
Piano Movers Layton Rawlins
Carpenter Ron Lance
Gaffer Jaron Presant
Additional Gaffer Ama MacDonald
Best Boy Electric Roi Maufus
Electricians Ryan McCoy
Key Grip Mike Weeks
Additional Key Grip Greg Romero
Best Boy Grip Rick Peebles
Make-Up and Hair Jill Ventimiglia
Additional Make-Up and Hair Dahlia Warner
Key Costumer Michelle Anne Giannoulis
Assistant Wardrobe Sam Velde
Costume Consultant Jen Greeke
Post-Production Supervisor Philip Harrelson
Supervising Sound Editor/Designer Jonathan Miller
Re-Recording Mixer Jerry Gilbert
Sound Effects Editor/Sound Design Editor Randy Babajtis
Dialogue Editor Andrew Patterson
Assistant Dialogue Editor Dhyana Carlton-Tims
ADR Editor Alan "Danger" Freedman CAS
Foley Editor Spencer Johnson
ADR Mixer Alan "Mo Danger" Freedman CAS
Foley Mixer Jeremy Balko
Foley Artist Shelley Roden
Post Sound Recordist Scott Hinkley
Assistant Editors Jeana Lasser
Special Effects Co-ordinator David Wanye
Transportation Co-ordinator Paul Feddersen
Key Set Production Assistant Joel Hamilton
Set Production Assistants Sean Adderly
Craft Service William Coleman
Catering Denise Marciel
Still Photographers Greg Gaynes
Post-Production Assistant Henry Lowenfels
Dolby Sound Engineer Jim Wright
Ben and Dave Ben Boyer & Dave Roche
Music produced and composed by Nathan Johnson
with the Cinematic Underground
China Kent, Chris Mears, Steve Cowley,
Chris Pedley and Seth Kent
Musicians Nathan Johnson
Music Mixed by Aaron Johnson
Score Engineered by Nathan Johnson
Music Editor Drew DeAscentis
Music Supervisor Joe Rudge
"The Sun Whose Rays Are All Ablaze"
From The Mikado
Music by Arthur Sullivan, Lyrics by WS Gilbert
Arranged by Renato Neto
Performed by Nora Zehetner
"Frankie & Johnny"
Performed by Bunny Berigan
Courtesy of SOUNDIES Inc by arrangement with Sugaroo!
Written and Performed by The Hospital Bombers Experience
Courtesy of Amalgamated Conglomerate Music Inc
"I'm in the Middle of a Riddle"
Written by Franz Winkler & Albert Goetz
Performed by Anton Karas & Kay Armen
Courtesy of Jasmine Records
Used by permission of EMI Robbins Catalog Inc
Written by Lou Reed, John Cale, Maureen Tucker & Sterling Morrison
Performed by Velvet Underground
Courtesy of Universal Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
Legal Services provided by Reder & Feig LLP
Glenn D Feig
Eric J Spiegelman
Payroll Services provided by PES
Insurance provided by PUFHL Insurance
Negative Cutter Magic Film & Video Works
Lab - Answer Print Fotokem
Colour Timer Bob Fredrickson
Sales Larry Michalski
Schedule Perry Suppa
Film Dailies by CFI
Dailies Telecine by Matchframe Video
Optical Sound by NT Audio
Opticals and Titles by F-Stop Inc
Optical Cameraman James R Kerrigan
Optical Supervisor Todd R Hall
Title Co-ordinator Maria Kerrigan
Visual Effects by Pixel Magic
Grip/Lighting provided by TM Motion Picture Equip Rental
Raw Stock provided by Reel Good
Dolly/Dolly Track Chapman/Leonard
Permits City of San Clemente
Production Vehicles provided by Avon Rents
Production Supplies Sunset Expendables
Props provided by Hand Prop Room
Independent Studio Services
Special Effects Unlimited Inc
South Coast Furniture
Lennie Marvin Enterprises Inc
Still Photograph Processing Studio Photo Imaging
Walkie Talkies provided by Coufal Isley
Sound Post-Production and Mixing at Sonic Magic Studios
Distribution Advisory Services Cinetic Media
We Don't Have Room To Thank Everybody Who Helped Us
Make This Film, But We Are Especially Grateful To:
Dr Charles Hinman Brian Dreyfuss
Erin Holzer Crosby Burns
Tyson League Michelle Delanty
Adrian Caufield George Knights
Zack & Jake Schiffelbein Steve Rim
Lauren Schwartz Jack Pastorok
Eddie Barragan Lucky McKee
Evan Christman Chris Sivertson
Sean McKesson Shelli Merrill
Santiago Dominguez Jaye Barnes-Luckett
Natalie Torney Zach Passero
Shane Weld Forest & Elody James
Jennifer Kuwabara Adam Johnson
Catherine Mathis Jon Paul Johnson
Dan & Stacy Chariton Lauren Johnson
Jaime Nichols Jacob Porteous
Chris Johnson Tara & Jake Holland
Zach Johnson Greg Cundiff
Bliss Bryan Bishop
Paul & Cathy Burton Mark Gutmann
Kribber Jensen Lee Farber
Andy & Anna Chamberlain Sean Watson
Rick J Delanty Jessica Thompson
Ron Collins Sophie & Scout
Tal Bergman Larry Seymour
Students and Faculty of San Clemente High School
Bumble & Bumble
World According To Jess
and my family
Produced and released on Kodak Motion Picture Film
Filmed with Panavision Cameras & Lenses
This Film Was Shot Entirely On Location
In Beautiful San Clemente CA