A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS Written and directed by Dito Montiel Based on his memoir PRESS NOTES Publicity Contact: Sales Contact: Jessica Grant Cassian Elwes Jeremy Walker + Associates William Morris Independent 160 West 71st Street, No. 2A 151 El Camino Drive New York, NY 10023 Beverly Hills, CA 90212 Tel. 212-595-6161 Tel. 310-859-4000 At Sundance: 435-649-2900, room 113 Cell: 917-887-5198 CAST DITO…………... ………………………………………………………Robert Downey Jr. YOUNG DITO…………...………………………………………………….Shia LaBeouf MONTY………………………………………………………………….Chazz Palminteri FLORI……..…………………………………………………………………Dianne Wiest YOUNG ANTONIO…..……………………………………….……..…..Channing Tatum YOUNG LAURIE…………………..………………………..………………Melonie Diaz MIKE O‟SHEA………..………………………………………………...Martin Compston ANTONIO………..…………………………………………………………...Eric Roberts LAURIE………..…...…………………………………………………….Rosario Dawson GIUSEPPE…………..…………………………………………………..Adam Scarimbolo DIANE HONEYMAN……………………..………………………………..….Julia Garro YOUNG NERF…………………………………………………………….Peter Tambakis ADULT NERF……………………………………………………………..Scott Campbell FRANK……..………………………………………………………….Anthony De Sando JENNY………………..…………………………………………….....Eleonore Hendricks UNCLE GEORGE……………………………………………………….George Di Cenzo FILMMAKERS Written and directed by……………………………………………………….Dito Montiel Produced by ………………………………………………………………….Trudie Styler ………………………………………………………………………………Travis Swords ……………………………………………………………………………...Charlie Corwin ……………………………………………………………………………Clara Markowicz Executive Producers…………………………………………………………………..Sting ………………………………………………………………………………...Bobby Sager ……………………………………………………………………………….Peter Sahagen ……………………………………………………………………………Amanda Mackey Coproducers…………………………………………………………………..Rene Bastian ………………………………………………………………………………...Linda Moran Coproducers…………………………………………………………….Robert Downey Jr. ………………………………………………………………………………Jonathan Elias Director of Photography……………………………………………………….Eric Gautier Editors……………………………………………………………….Christopher Tellefsen ……………………………………………………………………………...Jake Pushinsky Production Design……………………………………………………………...Jody Asnes Costume Design…………………………………………………………Sandra Hernandez Associate Producer……………………………………………………………Alex Francis Line Producer…………………………………………………………………Lucy Cooper Original Music by…………………………………………………………...Jonathan Elias Casting …………………………………………………………………...Amanda Mackey ……………………………………………………………………………...Melissa Chusid Supervising Sound Editor/Re-Recording Mixer ..................................................... Paul Hsu Production Sound Mixer .................................................................................. Charles Hunt Based on the book A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints by Dito Montiel A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS is a quintessentially American story of a young man‟s hunger for experience, his dawning awareness of the bigger world across the bridge, and of the loyalties that bind him to a violent past and to the flawed and desperate “saints” that have guided him. LONG SYNOPSIS A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS is a cinema-window on the early life of its writer/director, Dito Montiel. It tells the story of a pivotal summer on the hot and sweaty streets of Astoria, Queens – a summer that changed not only Dito‟s life, but the lives of everyone around him. It‟s also the story of the redemption he finds years later when he returns to the neighborhood. The film opens with Dito‟s mother Flori (Dianne Wiest), picking up the phone and leaving a message for her son. It has been a very long time since she has spoken with her son. She tells him she‟s already asked his friend Nerf to call him and tell him that his father is sick and refuses to go to the hospital. She apologizes for calling and tells Dito she loves him whether he comes home or not. We first meet Dito (Robert Downey Jr.) in present day Los Angeles at a reading of his memoir “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.” As he smokes and reads from the book, he talks about his friends, reminding the audience that these people are real and he wants to remember who they were to him. We flash back to July, 1986, where we meet Dito as a teenager (Shia LaBeouf) in Astoria. “My name is Dito,” the character says directly to the audience, the Hellsgate Bridge in the background, “and I’m going to leave everyone in this film.” We meet Antonio - a buff young thug strutting down the graffitied, dirty streets with a bruised face. He jumps a Puerto Rican kid who is harassing Dito and starts beating on him and young Dito runs to pull him off. Dito and his friends, Antonio, Nerf and Giuseppe stroll the streets like they are the kings of the neighborhood, throwing things, taunting the girls hanging out in front of the deli. They are a pack of teenage boys with nothing better to do on a sweltering summer day. As they pile into Dito‟s kitchen, we see the boys interact with Dito‟s parents: his father Monty (Chazz Palminteri) and his mother Flori and we see that the boys admire Dito‟s father and that Monty in turn truly cares about them as well, especially Antonio. Monty almost looks at Antonio as his other son…maybe even the son he wished Dito was. On a typical sweltering summer night we find Dito and his friends hanging out on a rooftop, drinking and messing around with the girls. Antonio is fooling around with Jenny (Eleonore Hendricks) in the stairwell and for the first time we see that Dito and Laurie (Melonie Diaz) are together and falling in love: they ignore the antics of the rest of their friends. We meet Mike O‟Shea (Martin Compston) who recently landed in the neighborhood from Scotland in Catholic summer school. Mike reads a poem to the class as Dito cracks up at his friend Giuseppe as he parades in front of the classroom windows completely naked. Not long after, Dito runs into Mike on the subway and the two bond. Mike talks about how he rides the subway back and forth when he gets bored and suggests that they ride the train to Coney Island. Dito, who‟s lived in Astoria all his life, tells Mike he‟s never been to Coney Island. When Dito returns home from his adventure to Coney Island he finds Antonio hanging out with Monty in the kitchen. Dito tells everyone that he and Mike want to start a band. In a brief flashback to present-day LA, we find Dito getting a message from Nerf telling him that Monty is really sick and that everyone wants him to come home. Then we head back to 1986…Laurie, Diane and Dito come across Puerto Rican kids spray painting the word „Reaper‟ in graffiti on the front of Nerf‟s mother‟s store. When Dito confronts him, the kid pushes Dito and he and his friends threaten to kill Dito and tell him that he better watch out. Dito, Laurie and Diane go back to Dito‟s house where we see that the Reaper has already left his tag all over Dito‟s house. Dito reluctantly tells Monty and Antonio what happened, but tries to play it down. Antonio is angry and wants to go after them. Nerf shows up with his mom‟s car and the boys all jump in and try to convince Nerf to take them to find the graffiti guys. Antonio finds a young boy and starts questioning him about the guys who write graffiti. The young boy knows them: one is his brother, the „Reaper.‟ Antonio sees an opportunity to send a message to The Reaper and punches the little boy, horrifying Dito. We see flashes of Antonio‟s father beating him and how Monty is protective of Antonio. We also see that Dito‟s mother is worried about Dito spending so much time with Antonio but Monty is convinced that Antonio is a good kid. We flash back to present day to a phone call between Antonio and Dito. Antonio asks Dito to come home and tells him that Monty has been having seizures. Antonio asks Dito to go see Monty for him because Antonio can‟t do anything from where he is. Back to 1986- Mike and Dito head into Manhattan to meet Frank (Anthony De Sando), a frenetic, funny guy who loves Lionel Richie and who Mike does some work for. Mike wants Frank to give Dito a job too. When the boys get to Frank‟s apartment we see that it‟s full of dogs and his phone is ringing off the hook. There are smashed parking meters with change all over the floor. The boys take the dogs from Frank and some change from the meters for the trains and Frank offers them jobs to walk the dogs for him to earn money for their band. Present day…Nerf meets Dito at the airport and drives him back to Nerf‟s mother‟s house, where he still lives and where Dito is planning to stay. Nerf tells Dito that Laurie is still around in the neighborhood and that she‟s got a son. The two old friends haven‟t seen each other in a very long time and they sit in the car and talk as Nerf brings Dito up to speed on life in the old neighborhood. Not a lot has changed, though it‟s clear that Nerf is a heavy drinker. Nerf tells Dito he hates seeing Monty the way he is and Dito‟s mom didn‟t really think Dito would come back, but she tells everyone about his book. Nerf talks about how his own mom hides from him on the street. It‟s clear from the conversation that things haven‟t gotten better in Astoria since Dito has been gone. Back to 1986- The kids are hanging out doing whippets on the roof but this time Dito has brought Mike along. Dito tells Antonio about his trips with Mike into Manhattan and about Ripley‟s Believe It Or Not at the Empire State Building. Antonio asks about the X-rated movies on 42nd street and if the “fag” he works for (Frank) can get him a job too. Mike tries hard to fit in with Dito‟s friends by telling them that he knows someone who can get good weed but Antonio keeps teasing and taunting Mike and giving him a hard time. Giuseppe is also there and tries to grab attention and playing around throws a knife at Diane. Antonio and the other guys laugh but Laurie is infuriated and leaves with Diane. Dito chases after to apologize but Laurie leaves. The boys eventually head back to Dito‟s house where something outside causes a ruckus among them. Dito is especially upset by it. When Dito walks into the house he hears his mother yelling as she runs out of the house, obviously upset. Dito heads upstairs to talk to Monty, who makes excuses for Flori and asks if Antonio and Dito got in a fight. Monty says that Antonio told him about Dito‟s trips to Manhattan with Mike. Dito asks his dad “So what if I did go to Manhattan or somewhere else?” Monty says “Come on Dito, you‟re not going anywhere.” Only then do we get to see what upset Dito so much outside his house: more graffiti spray- painted over Dito‟s window that says, “You live here Deeto you die here.” It is signed „The Reaper.‟ Later, at the Astoria Park Pool, Mike rolls a joint as he and Dito talk about the graffiti and Dito‟s predicament with the Reaper. Mike tells Dito he‟d be terrified if it happened to him but Dito tries to play it off like he‟s not that worried. Dito apologizes for Antonio being an asshole and Mike tells Dito he thinks Dito is afraid of Antonio and he thinks Antonio is a dick. Only then does Dito admit to Mike he‟s scared. Dito wants to get out of Astoria and brings up California. Mike agrees and the two fantasize about taking a bus and going there. Laurie is sitting in her window on the floor above the grocery store when Dito, high from the joint he just smoked with Mike and the idea of running away to California, climbs up the fire escape to see her. She is still mad at him and doesn‟t want to talk to him. He tells her he‟s going to California with Mike and he wants her to come because he loves her. Later, while Dito and Mike head into the city to see Frank and walk the dog of a music exec that Frank knows, Antonio, Nerf and Giuseppe are hanging out at the subway. Antonio‟s ball falls on the tracks and he commands his younger brother Giuseppe to jump down onto the tracks and get it. Giuseppe starts playing around on the tracks, pretending to touch the third rail and refusing to get back up onto the platform, even though a train is coming. Antonio tries to act like he‟s not worried about Giuseppe, just mad at him, and in retaliation Giuseppe sits down on the tracks and refuses to move until Antonio admits that he‟s worried. Antonio continues to refuse but becomes more and more agitated as the train approaches and Giuseppe continues to refuse to move. Finally Giuseppe tries to jump back up onto the platform, but it‟s too late. He gets hit by the train as Nerf and Antonio helplessly watch. At Giuseppe‟s funeral, Flori is amazed that Antonio and Giuseppe‟s parents aren‟t there. It‟s all too much for Dito: he knows he needs to escape. He tells Laurie he‟s leaving: he and Mike are going to California. Laurie reminds Dito he‟d asked her to go too. Dito is distraught and distracted. Laurie asks Dito if he still wants her to come with him. He tells her she can but she isn‟t convinced and asks if he remembers telling her he loved her. Dito just says that he‟s sorry and walks away to talk to Antonio. Laurie runs out of the church. When Dito approaches Antonio, Antonio doesn‟t seem that upset. He‟s more interested in telling Dito he‟s found The Reaper and his friends and knows where they hang out. He tells Dito he‟s going to kill them. Dito tries to get through to Antonio, asking why he‟s worried about The Reaper, that he should be thinking about his brother. But that only infuriates Antonio, who tells him that he‟s doing this for Dito. Back to present day. Dito walks around the old neighborhood and finds Laurie all grown up and beautiful, sitting with her son in the window of her old apartment over the grocery store. They talk for a few minutes and catch up. Laurie introduces Dito to her young son. Back to 1986 - Dito sees Antonio walking down the street at night and tries to talk to him, but Antonio blows him off. Antonio is still furious with Dito and tells him that his father had a seizure and Dito didn‟t even know. Antonio stalks off. At this point The Reaper and his crew pull up in front of Dito‟s house. The Reaper comes after Dito with a baseball bat. He beats Dito badly and reminds Dito he knows where he lives and threatens to kill him the next time he sees him. Antonio comes running just as the car pulls away. Antonio takes Dito upstairs to his house. Dito doesn‟t want to tell his father what really happened and tries to play the whole incident off as no big deal and Antonio promises Monty that he‟ll take care of it. It‟s then that Dito tells his dad about his plan to go to California with Mike, which infuriates both Monty and Antonio. They don‟t understand why he would want to leave. Monty forbids Dito to leave and tells him he‟ll never talk to him again if he leaves. Monty tells Dito that Antonio will make everything right. At this point Laurie enters the scene. She‟s heard about the beating and wants to see if Dito is okay. The fight escalates as Dito tells Monty he has to leave, that he can‟t be there any more. Dito gets angry with Laurie and pushes her out of the house, screams at his father and tells him he hates him. Monty tries to kick Dito out of the house but collapses with a seizure. Dito gets scared and runs away. Present day - Dito finally gets up the courage to go to see his parents. His mother is surprised and very emotional at seeing him. Monty is lying on the couch trying to act like he‟s not that sick. Flori tells Monty that Dito has come to take him to the hospital because he‟s sick but Monty dismisses him and tells him to leave. He tells Dito that he‟s not his son. Monty gets angry that Dito hasn‟t come back from California once in 15 years to see him or his mother or Antonio. Dito walks out. Flori follows Dito out of the house to talk to him. They sit in front of what used to be Antonio‟s house and Flori recalls what a house of horrors it had been for poor Antonio. She tells Dito she wasn‟t upset at all when Antonio went to jail, but that Monty was. She tells Dito how much his father loved him and asks him not to come back with hatred for his father. She asks how he could love him so much in his book and not see him for so long and tells him how much they‟ve all missed him. Back to summer 1986 - Everyone is at the Astoria Park Pool even though it‟s after dark and the pool has long since closed. Dito is talking to Mike about California again but now Mike seems skeptical about going, telling Dito there is no way they can afford to live on their own. But Dito is desperate to get out and wants Mike to come with him. Laurie still won‟t talk to Dito after he threw her out of his house the night he was attacked with the bat by the Reaper. He apologizes to her and is upset to see he bruised her arm. Nerf comes running to tell Dito that Antonio has found the Reaper. Laurie and Mike try to stop Dito from going to Antonio but he takes off. Wired to detonate, across the street from a convenience store where The Reaper and his friends are playing video games, Antonio is gripping a bat, waiting for the right moment. When the Reaper‟s friends leave, Antonio stalks into the store and takes the Reaper down with one blow to the back of the head as Dito and Mike look on. Antonio gets arrested. Dito and Mike go to Frank‟s in Manhattan to get the money he owes them for the work they‟ve done. After all that‟s happened, Dito feels like he needs to get away. Frank is high and the boys can‟t seem to get through to him and Frank thinks they are trying to rob him. Mike tells Frank he knows he keeps the money in the refrigerator. They finally convince Frank to give them the money and when he opens the fridge to get it the boys see a gun sitting on the shelf next to the cash. Frank tells Dito and Mike to take all the money, it‟s time to go. Dito and Mike head back to Astoria but don‟t notice they‟re being followed by the Reaper‟s friends who are bent on revenge. One of them follows Dito and Mike. He has a handgun. We hear a shot. We next see Dito sitting in the bathtub. Monty comes in to talk to him and Dito begins to cry. Monty tells Dito not to worry about this thing with Antonio, that it‟s all going to be okay. He tells Dito to go to Rikers and see Antonio on Monday and to take his friend Mike. This only serves to agitate Dito who asks if Monty ever listens to him. Dito only gets angrier as Monty grabs him but Monty won‟t listen. Monty keeps telling Dito that everything will be okay. Finally Dito tells him, “My friend Mike just got shot! He just died Dad! You don‟t know what‟s happening.” Monty tries to hug him but Dito pushes him away. Monty yells at Dito to not to raise his hands to his father and tells him that he loves him. “You‟re not supposed to hate your father,” Monty says. Dito says, “Since when are you my father?” We next see Dito on a bus and we see Laurie looking out her window. Back to present day- Laurie and Dito are on a rooftop, talking. She tells Dito that she waited for him at her window for a year but she‟s over it now, she was a stupid little girl. She tells him he needs to take his father to the hospital: he needs take care of his father and his mother in order to be a man. She tells him he killed his father when he left: Dito‟s leaving killed his parents. She tells him to let everything out and stop running away. “Go home and take care of your family.” Dito storms into his parent‟s house and demands his father to go to the hospital. Monty tries to kick him out and Dito asks if his father ever loved him at all. Monty tells him, “Of course I did. I told you I loved you the last time I saw you.” Dito remembers the last conversation with his father. Nerf drives Dito to jail to see an older Antonio now played by Eric Roberts. Antonio is happy to see Dito and asks what happened to Monty. He tells Dito he thinks of Monty every day and reminds Dito that he told him they‟d see each other again… “In the end I left everything and everyone but no one, no one has ever left me …” – Dito Montiel ABOUT THE PRODUCTION The Dito we meet in the movie is a man who has matured into a sensitive, literary type: a person whose adult life has taken him three thousand miles and worlds away from the old neighborhood to which he is about to reluctantly return. As we see him go back to Astoria he embraces his past, confronts real issues, experiences the memories of real events and feels real pain. Embracing and confronting the past is the essence of Dito‟s story. Although based on his memoir of the same name, much of Dito‟s experiences after leaving Astoria had to be left out of the movie in order to focus more clearly on the fundamental turning-point of his life. But the real Dito embarked on quite a journey after he left his boyhood home. A bigger-than-life guy, Dito came of age on the streets of Queens in the mid-eighties, discovered Manhattan, formed a band called Gutterboy, and was himself discovered by the city‟s punk rock culture. The kind of guy who can toss out a line like “Heavy drinking for me always leads to public nudity” and still seem charming: you imagine he‟s a rogue, and maybe a little dangerous, but he‟s also probably a lot of fun to be around. He was discovered by fashion magazines, the social butterfly-journalist / Andy Warhol actress Cherry Vanilla, and the photographer Bruce Weber. He met Liza Minnelli and the Beat poet Allen Ginsberg. He toured as the opening act for the Stray Cats and modeled Calvin Klein underwear. In his book, Dito writes about his exploits in Manhattan and on the road as if they are out-of- body experiences, as if they should have happened to someone else: “When we walked in, Liza Minnelli, to whom they had once before introduced me, remembered my name, and thanked me for coming. I was in shock and trying very hard not to let her, or anyone, know just how freaked out I was.” The memoir often takes an impressionistic approach, painting scenes with clips of memory and bits of pop music: And the vision was quick. As quick as it was vivid. And it was of you. Of you and me walking down a jazz-filled Miles Davis Saint Mark‟s Place. “So What” (especially once the trumpet kicks in). And just as that vision faded, the sweetest sound of pleading Curtis Mayfield took us all the way up to 111th Street (Eddie you should know better). Oh, and that was where we kissed…Annette. Where we kissed that magic kiss and wrote poems where every line rhymed. And being this was all a vision, a dream, a daydream, well then we went back downtown with the Isley Brothers “Who‟s That Lady” filling up the empty cracks along 8th Avenue‟s 1970s spent red-lit bars (around 38th Street). And Tony Bennett owned Mulberry Street as an Art Pepper saxophone gently put our hearts to rest on a snowy Central Park Christmas. We got high, crazy crazy high on Leonard Street to “Suzanne” but that got scary so I wished Lou Reed‟s “Coney Island Baby” to take us back up Elizabeth, especially that part where he says, “Man, you know I‟d give it all up for you.” And then the Tibetan bells clanged, and the vision ended. And Danny Style‟s AM 1050 seven nights a week forever talk show was right there in Eddie‟s car… a Camaro…Well just as I could bear no more I switched on CBS‟s Cousin Bruuuuceeey, to the sound of Dion‟s “The Wanderer.” Of course Cousin Bruuuuceeey is no longer on WCBS: the station is gone. With the flick of a switch someone changed the format from oldies to something called Jack. When that went down in New York just this summer, the press really had their day with it. But then it was done. An entire generation‟s memories replaced. The Dito that has emerged from the creative process of writing his book and then extracting from it the key story to be told on screen, then quietly feeling his way through the tricky new medium of film, is a talented director who has, with this piece of work, built a temple to the lasting power of memory. The faith practiced at this particular temple is the spirit of youth, of the events of one particular summer when everything changed for a particular young man. Guided by a prevailing directive to traffic only in emotional truth, filmmaker Dito went back to Astoria, populated it with a handful of extraordinary young actors, gave them the energy of what he calls “kids from nowhere going nowhere,” then put them against some seasoned veterans who lived through the days that filmmaker Dito was trying to re-create for this temple to the memory of youth. # # # The producer who first thought Dito Montiel‟s memoir might make a good movie is the actor Robert Downey, Jr. “A friend of both of ours, Jonathan Elias, brought him out,” Montiel recalls today. “They came to a reading I was doing at Book Soup in Los Angeles and Downey was like, you wanna make a movie outta this? And we did. Ridiculous, right?” he laughs. At first, Downey thought A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS might be a good project with which to make his debut as a director. “I think he liked the idea of working on something from scratch,” Montiel says. But Downey got busy with a flurry of acting projects, like “Good Night and Good Luck,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” “Fur” and “A Scanner Darkly.” In the meantime, Downey introduced Dito to his friend, producer Trudie Styler, whose Xingu Films banner put together the financing for the movie. Says Styler, “In Dito‟s memoir, I saw the kind of material I tend to respond to, which is material that comes from a place of true passion. I began as a documentary filmmaker, so an autobiographical tale of a young man‟s real-life journey really made sense to me. The title itself resonated with me on a personal level: I certainly have my own Saints that have guided me though life. “I think Robert thought of me for SAINTS because he saw what we did with Guy Ritchie and his first film,” Styler continues. “He knew I had an interest in first-time filmmakers and thought I was the woman for the job.” Downey concurs. “My first thought about making SAINTS into a movie was, „I don‟t want to walk into the office of a quintessential Hollywood producer with this,‟” he recalls. “Dito and I are, first and foremost, friends. There are a lot of creeps in the netherworld between true indies and studio movies and a lot of producers who will give up on a project too easily. Not Trudie. She‟s a really savvy business woman, but once she sets her mind to do something she won‟t stop until she succeeds.” In a development process that took over four years, Montiel, Styler and Downey worked diligently developing the parallel stories of Dito‟s youth and his return home. “Robert and I talked a lot and ultimately decided the heart and soul of the movie should be young Dito‟s coming of age and his return home,” Montiel says. He laughs about his wild days in Manhattan: “Who‟d want to see that?” “Trudie really gets story,” adds Downey, “and she really kicked our ass to get the right script. She was really diligent. At one stage she had me, Dito, and her Head of Development Alex Francis basically locked into a room in her apartment in New York, and wouldn‟t let us out until we‟d nailed the structure. She was pretty much working on the project when I wasn‟t, and when I‟d come out of an acting gig we‟d go and work together on it some more.” On top of Robert Downey Jr. and Trudie Styler, filmmaker Dito worked with a wide range of mentors. He worked on the script at the Sundance writer‟s lab with people like Frank Pierson (“Dog Day Afternoon”) and the novelist Walter Mosley. He worked with producers at Original Media and Belladonna Productions, who from their respective projects “The Squid and the Whale” and “Transamerica” and many others knew how to make movies on the streets of New York on a budget. He worked with cinematographer Eric Gautier, who shot “The Motorcycle Diaries.” With this team, Montiel shot a richly detailed period film, often in the precise locations where the pivotal events of his youth actually played out. Ironically, he says, it was harder to make his old neighborhood look like the present day than it was to get a mid-80s feel. “The place doesn‟t change,” he says. “That‟s what I love about it.” # # # Because A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS was now to focus on the director‟s very specific memories and events of his youth, casting these roles would become a challenge for both the filmmaker and his producers. As Dito puts it: “I was insane about the casting of this film. I‟d walk around all night, everywhere, looking for any ragged, under-aged kid out too late, and when I came across one I‟d walk over and say, „Look I know this is weird but I‟m gonna give you a number and you should come down and we‟ll do this thing for a movie.‟” Montiel reports holding seven open casting calls “on his own” in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. “It‟s almost funny now when I think about the fact that I was so obsessed with discovering unknowns -- it never seemed strange to me,” he says today. “The idea of using actors, especially „child actors,‟ was at that point unimaginable.” Downey and Styler had different takes on Montiel‟s desire to cast unknowns. “Ultimately, my only job as producer on this movie was having Dito‟s back,” Downey says. “If he became obsessed with one approach or another, my role was to say „OK, go explore it.‟ My feeling is you can never go wrong by instilling in your director that they‟ve got to go through what they‟ve got to go through.” Styler took a more practical approach. “Dito hadn‟t had the benefit of making films,” she explains, “and at the beginning didn‟t realize the extreme time constraints he‟d be working under just to shoot the movie. Ultimately it became clear that kids off the street simply wouldn‟t be viable. We‟d need actors with experience and stamina in order to make our days.” “I was busy fighting against my cast and luckily I lost battle after battle,” Montiel laughs. “At the time, Shia seemed a million miles from the Dito I wrote, yet I came to discover that he somehow understood all the undercurrents of the character. He did it his way. He‟s great and no one would have done it better. All the actors in the film gave me gifts I‟ll carry for a lifetime.” The director‟s interest in casting unknowns ultimately did pay off, however. “I loved this one white girl in New York named Eleonore. I wanted her to be „young Laurie‟ and I felt like I‟d found Jodie Foster in TAXI DRIVER. But Rosario Dawson wanted the role of „adult Laurie,‟ and there was no way white Eleonore was going to grow up to be Rosario Dawson.” But Dawson led Montiel to Melonie Diaz, a young actress who‟d charmed audiences in RAISING VICTOR VARGAS. “She was the most perfect young Laurie I could wish for,” says Montiel. “I did, however, sneak Eleonore into the film as this recurring extra that talked all over the place, and she just naturally became Laurie‟s friend, Jenny.” Styler is proud to have discovered Martin Compston, who plays young Dito‟s friend Mike O‟Shea, when she served on the jury for the British Independent Film Awards, which voted him Best Actor for his work in Ken Loach‟s SWEET 16. Styler is particularly passionate about the younger actors in SAINTS. “Martin‟s performance in SWEET 16 haunted me,” she says, “and he really lifts our movie by playing a character that‟s not so many degrees away from his own background. I am so glad that we cast a real Scottish actor in the role. His foreignness is alien to Dito and all his friends, and for Dito this new guy opens up a whole new world for him, beyond his insular existence in Astoria. Mike is almost exotic – a poet as well as a foreigner. To someone like Antonio, this is a threat. But to Dito it‟s like he‟s been shown a way out. “Channing Tatum gives the movie a huge, bright spark. Antonio is one of the most difficult but one of the most important roles in the film. He needed to convey tremendous vulnerability despite his tendency to violence. Channing manages to generate huge empathy for Antonio. We can see how troubled he is, and we can see that everything he does, while it may be misguided, is done out of love and friendship for Dito. “Melonie was of course amazing in RAISING VICTOR VARGAS. Like any low-budget film, making SAINTS was hard work for everyone, especially our younger actors. They never once let us down.” Anyone familiar with film production will know that most movies are shot out of sequence, so that a production can “shoot out” an actor on consecutive days. SAINTS was no different: because Downey and LaBeouf were playing the same character at different points in life, their actual shooting schedules never overlapped. Although audiences will surely notice how young Dito and returning Dito share many of the same mannerisms, by all accounts the two actors never studied up on each other. Says Downey: “The day before I started shooting I watched Dito and everyone shoot the scene in church where Antonio flips out. I‟d heard the kid [LaBeouf] was great, and he was, and we talked. But we didn‟t get into any heavy technical stuff. I think it probably works simply because it‟s an example of good casting. But the key might have been that neither one of us were trying to play Dito per se.” Styler thinks each actor‟s work plays so well against the other‟s because “It has to do with their acting chops. Robert of course is one of our greatest actors. And Shia is one of the newest crop of talented young leading men. They both immersed themselves into the role. They share in common an uncanny ability to combine tremendous charisma with great sensitivity. They each command an audience‟s attention in scenes without ever resorting to grandstanding. I think it‟s because they both seem to hold within them a curious and very strong sense of solitude.” # # # Making a movie based on the life one actually has lived created both challenges and some extraordinary opportunities for both the filmmaker and his actors. While shooting in the very neighborhood in which he grew up, Montiel encountered a number of old friends who watched as actors playing people with their same names performed the script. “My old friends were always hanging around, telling the actors „I would never say that!‟” Montiel reports with a laugh. Actor Anthony De Sando, who brings life to Frank the Dog Walker in what will surely be one of the film‟s more memorable turns, sought out the real-life Frank the Dog Walker, who now lives on Manhattan‟s Upper West Side, without telling his director. “It was the most amazing acting research I‟ve ever done,” enthuses De Sando, “because he‟d lived it and breathed it. I saw this movie as a very fine line between cinema verité and fiction, and talking with this guy was just incredible.” “He hung out with him for three days and never said a thing,” says Montiel, shaking his head in disbelief. “Anthony totally freaked me out when we shot his scenes.” Other events and characters in the film were changed to fit the movie‟s new narrative. The death of Giuseppe on the elevated train tracks is one such example: “Giuseppe is alive and well but got deported to Italy for being a career criminal,” explains Montiel. “My friend Billy Cockeye died riding on the roofs of trains, which is where that idea came from.” However, the harrowing scene in question was shot at the train station nearest Dito‟s childhood home, a location that was very difficult to secure. The real-life Laurie lived above “some kind of locksmith” and not a grocery store, says Montiel, “but very similar. I jumped out of her second story window more times than I can remember. Her father was always chasing me.” # # # After shooting the film, the biggest challenge to confront Montiel was found in the editing room: he not only had to cut a story line from the past against a story line set in the present day, he had to create an unconventional narrative strategy that said something about the very nature of time and memory. One of the film‟s motifs is to withhold information from the audience as the storyline from the past plays out. Twice we experience characters playing out scenes against breathtaking visuals that the filmmakers don‟t share until the scenes‟ end, almost like visual exclamation points. One is the very personal threat against Dito spray-painted around his window, to which Dito, Antonio and his friends react long before we see it. Another is a wide, nighttime shot of the majestic Astoria Park Pool, which we only see after a long scene of intense dialog between Dito and Mike O‟Shea about their future. This “backwards” narrative strategy gives these scenes the added depth of a passionate storyteller, someone whose enthusiasm for the telling has led him to, perhaps inadvertently, “save the best for last.” A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS was put to together by Montiel while working with two editors. Chris Tellefsen started out as an assistant editor for Martin Scorsese on THE COLOR OF MONEY and went on to edit the early films of Whit Stillman and films for Milos Forman, David O. Russell, Larry Clark and M. Night Shyamalan. Jake Pushinsky had worked with Montiel for several years on his music and on Montiel‟s short films, but had never cut a feature. Needless to say, it was an unusual process. “I‟d just come off learning that „INT‟ meant „interior‟ and „EXT‟ meant „exterior,‟” Montiel explains, “and my friend Jake, who‟d edited nothing, ever, except for my short films, didn‟t even know what an AVID was. “My producers allowed him on as an assistant and hired Chris, an excellent, experienced editor. I spent all day with Chris and all night with Jake. Both were equally amazing and both deserve full credit for helping me find the movie in what we‟d shot.” In the editing room, Montiel discovered that “the script was really only there to put people in particular positions. Once we got them there it was time to sit back, enjoy and cut it up!” ABOUT THE CAST Robert Downey Jr. (Dito) has evolved into one of the most respected actors in Hollywood. With an amazing list of credits to his name, he has managed to stay new and fresh even after three decades in the business. Downey received an Academy Award nomination and won the BAFTA (British Academy Award) for best actor for his performance in the title role of CHAPLIN, released in 1992 by TriStar Pictures. Downey has just started production on ZODIAK for Warner Bros. The film is based on the Robert Graysmith book of the same name, and is about the notorious serial killer who haunted San Francisco during the 1970's. It co stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Gary Oldman and is directed by David Fincher. On November 23rd, 2004, Robert Downey Jr. released his debut album called “The Futurist” on the Sony Classics Label. The album, which contains eight original songs that Downey wrote, and two cover songs, shows off his sultry singing voice, and his musical talents. Downey recently completed production on FUR with Nicole Kidman, directed by Steven Shainberg. Downey plays husband to Kidman‟s character, Diane Arbus, the revered photographer whose images captured attention in the early 1960s. After her suicide in 1971, she became the first American photographer to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale. Downey can currently be seen in GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, directed by George Clooney. Downey can also be seen in “KISS KISS, BANG BANG” (Warner Bros.), an action comedy directed by Shane Black and co-starring Val Kilmer. Two films that have been completed and slated to be released in 2006 are Richard Linklater‟s futuristic drama A SCANNER DARKLY and THE SHAGGY DOG. A SCANNER DARKLY co-stars Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, and Woody Harrelson playing characters living in an America that has lost the war on drugs. In THE SHAGGY DOG, a Disney film, Tim Allen plays a man trying to live a normal life despite the fact that he sometimes turns into a sheepdog. In October 2003 Downey was seen in two very different films. The ICON film THE SINGING DETECTIVE was a musical/drama/remake of the popular BBC hit of the same name. He also starred in the Warner Bros. thriller GOTHIKA opposite Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz. Downey made his primetime television debut in 2001 joining the cast of the Fox-TV series “Ally McBeal,” playing the role of attorney Larry Paul, for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male in a Comedy Series. In addition, Downey was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. In 2000, Downey co-starred with Michael Douglas and Toby Maguire in WONDER BOYS, directed by Curtis Hanson. In April 2000 he starred alongside Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy in the hit comedy BOWFINGER. In September of 1999 he starred in BLACK AND WHITE, written and directed by James Toback, along with Ben Stiller, Elijah Wood, Gaby Hoffman, Brooke Shields and Claudia Schiffer. In January of 1999, he starred with Annette Bening and Aidan Quinn in the Dreamworks SKG film IN DREAMS directed by Neil Jordan. In 1998, Downey co-starred with Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes in Warner Bros. U.S. MARSHALLS directed by Stuart Baird. He also starred with Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner in the critically acclaimed TWO GIRLS AND A GUY directed by James Toback. In 1997, Downey was seen in Robert Altman‟s THE GINGERBREAD MAN starring with Kenneth Branagh, Daryl Hannah and Embeth Davitz; HUGO POOL directed by his father Robert Downey Sr., starring Sean Penn and Patrick Dempsey; and in New Line Cinema‟s ONE NIGHT STAND directed by Mike Figgis and starring Wesley Snipes and Nastassja Kinski. In 1995, Downey starred in Miramax's RESTORATION with Hugh Grant, Meg Ryan and Ian McKellen, directed by Michael Hoffman. Also that year, he starred in RICHARD III, for MGM/UA, in which he appears opposite his RESTORATION co-star McKellen. In Oliver Stone's NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994) with Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis, Downey starred as a tabloid TV journalist who exploits a murderous couple's killing spree to boost his ratings. In Robert Altman's SHORT CUTS (1993) he appeared as an aspiring film make-up artist whose best friend commits murder. For the comedy HEARTS AND SOULS (1993) Downey starred as a young man with a special relationship with four ghosts. His other film credits include THE LAST PARTY, SOAPDISH, AIR AMERICA, CHANCES ARE, TRUE BELEIVER, JOHNNY BE GOOD, 1969, LESS THAN ZERO, THE PICKUP ARTIST, BACK TO SCHOOL, TUFF TURF, WEIRD SCIENCE, FIRST BORN and POUND, in which he made his feature film debut and which was directed by Robert Downey, Sr. SHIA LaBEOUF (Dito) burst upon the scene and has quickly become one of Hollywood‟s most sought-after actors. His natural talent and raw energy are quickly earning him a reputation as one of the most promising young thespians. Shia was most recently seen as the lead role in the film THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED for Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Bill Paxton, the film was based on the best- selling book by Mark Frost, and tells the true story of the legendary 1913 U.S. Open, in which Frances Ouimet, a 20-year old golf amateur from Massachusetts, shocked the golf world by defeating the British champion. Shia recently completed filming the drama BOBBY for director Emilio Estevez. Starring opposite Demi Moore and Elijah Wood, the film centers around 22 people who were at the Ambassador Hotel where U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated. Shia‟s additional feature film credits include CONSTANTINE opposite Keanu Reeves, I, ROBOT, with Will Smith, HBO‟s Project Greenlight production THE BATTLE OF SHAKER HEIGHTS, and the hit action- film CHARLIE‟S ANGELS II: FULL THROTTLE. In 2003, LaBeouf made his big screen debut starring opposite Sigourney Weaver and Jon Voight in the film HOLES. On television, LeBeouf garnered much praise from critics everywhere for his portrayal of Louis Stevens, on the Disney Channel‟s original series “Even Stevens.” In 2003, he earned a Daytime Emmy award for “Outstanding Performer in a Children‟s Series” for his work on the highly rated family show. LaBeouf attended the Magnet School of Performing Arts at USC and currently resides in California with his family. CHAZZ PALMINTERI (Monty) - Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri has had a very busy year, and as a result has completed five films with 2005/2006 release dates. His most recent releases include Ron Underwood‟s IN THE MIX starring the music sensation, Usher, and the animated film HOODWINKED, with Glenn Close, Jim Belushi and Anne Hathaway. In 2006 he‟ll appear in: THE DUKES, a heist movie set to 50‟s rock and roll, written and directed by Robert Davi; PUSH, a drama set in the world of drugs, sex, and the allure of fast money directed by Dave Rodriguez, the action thriller RUNNING SCARED, written and directed by Wayne Kramer and co-starring Paul Walker. Palminteri recently made his feature film directorial debut with the holiday film NOEL, starring Penelope Cruz, Susan Sarandon, and Paul Walker. The film is the first feature film to be distributed via Flexplay, the 48-Hour No Return DVD. Chazz Palminteri earned high praise and an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Woody Allen's BULLETS OVER BROADWAY. His portrayal of "Cheech," a gangster with unexpected dramaturgical gifts, also earned him an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well as nominations for a Screen Actors Guild Award and an American Comedy Award. Palminteri delivered another gripping, noteworthy performance in Anthony Drazen's feature HURLYBURLY in which he co-starred opposite Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Garry Shandling, Meg Ryan, Robin Wright Penn and Anna Paquin. Based upon David Rabe's acclaimed play and script adaptation, the film was released by Fineline Features in December 1998. He was also seen in DOWN TO EARTH co-starring Chris Rock, Eugene Levy, Greg Germain and Regina King. On television, Palminteri most recently starred opposite Ving Rhames in USA Network‟s series “Kojak.” He portrayed Mob Boss Paul Castellano in TNT's “Boss Of Bosses.” In the HBO film “Excellent Cadavers” he starred as famed Sicilian prosecutor Giovanni Falcone, who pursued the Mafia and was ultimately assassinated. As a director, Palminteri directed “Unnatural Disasters” -- an episode of the critically acclaimed prison series, “Oz.” He also directed “Women Vs. Men,” a Showtime feature, starring Paul Reiser, Joe Montagna and Christine Lahti. Well known for A BRONX TALE, Palminteri originally wrote the script for the stage and performed it as a one-man show in Los Angeles. He then moved the production to New York, where it played for four sold-out months and earned him nominations for the New York Outer Critics Circle for both acting and writing. While in New York he completed the screenplay of A BRONX TALE, which became one of the hottest properties in Hollywood. He held out for an offer that would let him star in the film, and soon found himself starring opposite Robert DeNiro, who chose the script for his directorial debut. Chazz is currently working with composer Jimmy Webb to bring A BRONX TALE, The Musical to the New York Stage. For his second play, FAITHFUL, Palminteri again won the Los Angeles Dramalogue Award for acting. He also wrote and starred in the film version of FAITHFUL opposite Cher and Ryan O'Neal. Palminteri has starred in ANALYZE THIS, with Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal; THE PEREZ FAMILY opposite Marisa Tomei and Angelica Houston; THE USUAL SUSPECTS co-starring Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey and Stephen Baldwin; JADE opposite David Caruso and Linda Fiorentino for director William Friedkin; MULHOLLAND FALLS opposite Nick Nolte and John Malkovich for director Lee Tamahori; and DIABOLIQUE co-starring Sharon Stone and Isabelle Adjani. In the fall of 2002, he starred opposite Al Pacino in Bertolt Brecht‟s brilliant parable play, “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui” The standing-room-only production at the National Actors Theatre in New York City, was directed by Tony Randall, with a star-studded cast which included Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Paul Giamatti, Dominic Chianese, Billy Crudup and Charles Durning. Chazz received the 1996 Leadership in Entertainment Award from the Coalition of Italo- American Association, Inc. and was honored by President Clinton with a Special Achievement Award for the Performing Arts from the National Italian American Foundation in Washington, D.C. In addition, Chazz is the National Spokesperson for the Cooley's Anemia Foundation, leading the fight against Thalassemia. Thalassemia is an inherited characteristic of blood which reduces the amount of hemoglobin the body is able to produce, thus causing anemia. This potentially fatal trait is primarily found in people of Mediterranean, African, Asian, Southeast Asian and Indian descent. DIANNE WIEST (Flori) - Perhaps best known for her Oscar winning supporting roles in Woody Allen's HANNAH AND HER SISTERS and BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, Dianne Wiest has also had memorable roles in Allen's films RADIO DAYS, SEPTEMBER and THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO. She was also nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Ron Howard's PARENTHOOD. Other memorable film roles include work in Tim Burton's EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and Mike Nichol's THE BIRDCAGE. Wiest last appeared onstage in Wendy Wasserstein's Third at Lincoln Center and on Broadway with Al Pacino in Salome directed by Estelle Parsons. Other theatre appearances include The Shawl, Hunting Cockroaches, After the Fall, Beyond Therapy and The Art of Dining. CHANNING TATUM (Antonio) - With exceptional roles in three upcoming films, Channing Tatum is a talented young actor who is sure to establish himself as a breakout star in 2006. Tatum will star opposite Amanda Bynes in the Dreamworks film, SHE‟S THE MAN, to be released on March 17, 2006. This film is directed by Andy Fickman and produced by Lauren Shuler Donner. Inspired by the Shakespeare play “Twelfth Night,” the film stars Amanda Bynes as a boarding school student, Viola, who enrolls in the school disguised as her twin brother and finds herself falling in love with her handsome roommate, Duke, played by Tatum. In Fall 2006, Tatum will star in the Disney film, THE UNTITLED MUSIC HIGH PROJECT directed by Anne Fletcher and produced by Adam Shankman. The film centers around Tyler Gage, played by Tatum, a street smart juvenile delinquent who gets sentenced to community service at a high school for the performing arts. After first distancing himself from the rest of the students, he falls in love with a beautiful dancer who helps him to discover his own talent for dance. Channing Tatum was born in Alabama and grew up in Florida. At age 23, he starred in an international Pepsi commercial with director Tarsem and two highly popular national Mountain Dew commercials directed by Kinka Usher. His natural charisma and athleticism in these commercials brought him to the attention of both extreme sports fans and Hollywood industry executives. He was then signed by a talent agency and started taking acting classes with Harold Guskin and at the Dena Levy Acting Studio. In 2004, he had his first guest appearance on a television show with a role on an episode of “CSI: Miami.” In 2005, he starred in HAVOC opposite Anne Hathaway and Joseph Gordon Levitt and then in COACH CARTER with Sam Jackson as Jason Lyle. That same year, he starred as motorcross superstar Rowdy Sparks in the Fox film, SUPERCROSS and also shot the lead role in the WB pilot “The Prince” for director Gavin O‟Connor. Channing Tatum currently resides in Los Angeles. MELONIE DIAZ (Young Laurie) - Melonie Diaz was born in NYC. She was raised in the Lillian Wald Projects of the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She has attended the prestigious Professional Performing Arts High School for drama and is now pursuing to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film at NYU‟s Tisch School of the Arts. Melonie is also an accomplished actress; she has been featured in notable films such as Tom DiCillo‟s DOUBLE WHAMMY, Pete Sollet‟s, RAISING VICTOR VARGAS (official selection of the Cannes and Sundance Film Festivals) and LORDS OF DOGTOWN (from Catherine Hardwick, director of THIRTEEN). She has also starred in “Scenarios U.S.A” short film promoting safe sex, “From an Objective Point of View”, directed by Jim McKay and Hannah Weyer. Melonie has participated in the 1st annual Hip Hop theater festival at P.S 122. She is currently working on an untitled film which she plans to make in the fall of 2006. MARTIN COMPSTON (Mike O’Shea) - Martin makes his US screen debut in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS. The experienced young Scottish actor starred in Ken Loach‟s 2002 film SWEET SIXTEEN, for which he won a BAFTA Award and a British Independent Film Award. The role also garnered him Critics Circle, European Film Academy and Cannes Film Festival Best Actor nominations. Martin has appeared in WILD COUNTRY, TICKETS and NICELAND, as well as on British television, with roles on “Monarch of the Glen” and “Casualty,” among others. The Glasgow, Scotland native can be seen in 2006 in RED ROAD and alongside Robert Carlyle in DRAGNET. ERIC ROBERTS (Antonio) - Eric Roberts is an Academy Award nominee for his role in RUNAWAY TRAIN and a three-time Golden Globe nominee for RUNAWAY TRAIN, STAR 80 and KING OF THE GYPSIES. At the Sundance Film Festival in 1996, Roberts received critical acclaim for his starring role in the motion picture IT‟S MY PARTY and he also made a profound impact in the Emmy nominated television adaptation of Truman Capote‟s “In Cold Blood,” directed by Jonathan Kaplan and costarring Anthony Edwards. Eric starred in LA CUCARACHA, which won Best Film at the Austin Film Festival in 1998, and for which Eric won Best Actor in the New York Independent Film Festival that same year. Other notable performances include his roles in FINAL ANALYSIS, THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE, RAGGEDY MAN, BABY FEVER, HEAVEN‟S PRISONERS, THE SPECIALIST and THE GRAVE. Eric also won a Golden Satellite Award for the 2002 season of “Less Than Perfect.” Roberts recently completed filming FATAL ERROR in which he stars opposite Anne Heche. Roberts was born in Biloxi, Mississippi and grew up in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area. He began his career as an actor in his late teens in New York City. In 1989 Eric won the Theatre World Award for his role on Broadway in Burn This. He returned to the New York stage in 2003 in The Exonerated, which he appeared in as part of their touring company as well. ROSARIO DAWSON (Laurie) - With numerous films already to her credit, including female leading roles opposite today‟s hottest film actors and directors, Rosario Dawson has emerged as one of Hollywood‟s most sought after leading ladies. Dawson can currently be seen in the starring role of „Mimi Valdez‟ in the film adaptation of famed Broadway play RENT. Dawson toplines the Chris Columbus-directed version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Jonathan Larson musical, joining many of the original cast members including Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Jesse Martin, and Taye Diggs. Dawson recently wrapped starring roles in two films, both for The Weinstein Company: Kevin Smith‟s sequel to CLERKS, titled PASSION OF THE CLERKS, and John Madden‟s, KILLSHOT alongside Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane and Johnny Knoxville. Dawson is currently starring in and producing her first film with director Talia Lugacy. Dawson was last seen starring in the Robert Rodriguez/Frank Miller film noir SIN CITY opposite Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Clive Owen, and Brittany Murphy. This Miramax/Dimension film opened #1 at the box office. Dawson recently starred in the Oliver Stone epic ALEXANDER for Warner Bros. pictures playing the role of „Roxanne.‟ wife of Alexander the Great. She also co-starred with The Rock, Sean William Scott and Christopher Walken in Universal‟s action/comedy THE RUNDOWN which was the #1 movie in its opening weekend, and went on to be the #1 selling DVD and video rental in the nation. Dawson co-starred in the Lions Gate drama SHATTERED GLASS with Hayden Christensen, Chloe Sevigny and Steve Zahn. She also appeared in the indie film THIS GIRLS LIFE. Dawson shone on-screen starring in the acclaimed Spike Lee film, THE 25th HOUR, opposite Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Barry Pepper. She also starred opposite Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in Columbia Pictures‟ MEN IN BLACK 2 and in THE ADVENTURES OF PLUTO NASH, a futuristic action/comedy, starring opposite Eddie Murphy. She also starred in Lions Gate‟s CHELSEA WALLS, for director Ethan Hawke, which was based on the play of the same name. Dawson‟s credits include the Paramount Classics‟ SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK, a romantic comedy, written, directed, and starring Ed Burns, THE FIRST $20 MILLION IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST, written by Jon Favreau and directed by Mick Jackson and in Ed Burns‟ ASH WEDNESDAY. Dawson‟s other film credits include: Spike Lee‟s HE GOT GAME opposite Denzel Washington; LIGHT IT UP, opposite Forrest Whitaker and Vanessa Williams; DOWN TO YOU with Freddie Prinze Jr.; and, JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS, with Rachel Leigh Cook and Tara Reid. Dawson made her film debut in the highly acclaimed and controversial hit KIDS. Directed by photographer Larry Clark, with a script by Harmony Korine, KIDS depicted 24 hours in the life if a group of New York Skaters and the havoc that runs through it. The film features a group of kids actually pulled from the streets in New York, as opposed to professional actors. With a surprise midnight screening at the Sundance and a spot in the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, her film career was well underway. Born and raised in New York, Rosario continues to make her home there. ADAM SCARIMBOLO (Giuseppe) – A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS marks Adam‟s first lead-acting role in a feature film. His prior roles include a featured part in UNDEFEATED, a John Leguizamo-directed film for HBO; supporting roles in LYMELIFE, BITTERSWEET PLACE and ANNE B. REAL; and a lead role in “Gasline,” which was awarded Best Short Film at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. Adam has also appeared on Television in guest starring roles on “Third Watch” and “The Sopranos.” Adam studied theatre arts at Brooklyn College. JULIA GARRO (Diane Honeyman) – Julia makes her screen debut in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS. The Spanish-Italian first generation American was born in New York City where, at the age of 13, she began acting classes at Biz Kids. She later studied drama at the prestigious LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. During that time, she also studied in Argentina and at the French-American Association for Cinema and Theatre in Paris. A dedicated athlete and yogi, Julia currently attends Barnard College, where she is majoring in Women‟s Studies and Film. PETER TAMBAKIS (Young Nerf) – Before his role as the reluctant troublemaker Nerf in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, Peter appeared in the blockbuster films THE SIXTH SENSE and RANSOM. He has also had supporting parts in IGBY GOES DOWN, LIVE FREE OR DIE and SNOW IN AUGUST, among others. SCOTT MICHAEL CAMPBELL (Adult Nerf) – Besides Scott‟s turn as the down-on-his-luck Nerf in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS, he can also be seen this year in Ang Lee‟s BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and the forthcoming films CRAZY and AMERICAN GOTHIC. His prior film credits include FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, HART‟S WAR, RADIOLAND MURDERS and BULLWORTH. He has also appeared in myriad popular television shows, such as “Grey‟s Anatomy,” “The West Wing,” “Frasier,” “E.R.” and “Crossing Jordan.” ANTHONY DE SANDO (Frank) - Anthony starred in the dramatic films FEDERAL HILL, CEMENT, A DAY IN BLACK AND WHITE, as well as the comedies KISS ME GUIDO, PARTY GIRL and THE WHOLE SHEBANG. Other film credits include NEW JACK CITY, OUT FOR JUSTICE, and HBO‟s HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS. On television he has played series regular roles on “LA Law,” “Under Suspicion,” “New York News” and “Welcome to New York.” Anthony has also had recurring roles on “Crossing Jordan” and “The Sopranos.” Additionally, he has Guest Starred on “Sex and the City,” “Third Watch,” “Without a Trace,” “Numb3rs,” and “NYPD Blue.” On Broadway Anthony played the role of Toddy Koovitz in Richard Greenberg‟s 2003 Tony Award Winning Best Play “Take Me Out.” He recently completed BEER LEAGUE in which he co-stars with Artie Lange and Ralph Macchio. ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS Dito Montiel (writer-director) -- Orlandito “Dito” Montiel, son of Orlando, a Nicaraguan immigrant, and an Irish mother, grew up wild in the streets of Astoria, Queens and came of age in the 1980‟s. At 15, Dito watched as his best friend and surrogate older brother, Antonio, beat another kid to death with a baseball bat in a fight. With echoes of Whitman and Kerouac, Saturday Night Fever and Grandmaster Flash, Montiel‟s widely praised, true life underground memoir, A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS was published in July, 2003 by Thunders Mouth/Avalon Press. After wowing the biggest crowd in the history of Astor Place's Barnes and Noble, this uniquely told and widely appealing story attracted the attention of the Sundance Institute, which chose it for their annual Writer‟s Lab. Mentors assigned to this script included Frank Pierson (Dog Day Afternoon), the novelist Walter Mosley and Doug Wright (Quills). A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS is Montiel‟s first feature. Trudie Styler (Producer) - Trudie Styler is an actress, film producer, director, environmentalist, human rights activist and Unicef Ambassador. Trudie‟s film credits with her production company Xingu Films, include the documentaries “Boys from Brazil” (1993); IDA award-winning MOVING THE MOUNTAIN (1995); award- winning documentary on the making of a Walt Disney animation THE SWEATBOX (2002) which she co-directed; and A KIND OF CHILDHOOD (2002). Feature film credits include THE GROTESQUE (1996), Guy Ritchie‟s first two films LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998) and SNATCH (2000) which she executive produced; GREENFINGERS (2001); CHEEKY (2003); ALPHA MALE (2005); and A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS (2006). Commissioned by Glamour magazine, Trudie directed her first short film entitled “Wait” in the summer of 2005 in New York. The film stars Kerry Washington and Debi Mazar. Trudie‟s recent acting credits include a guest appearance in “Friends” (2001), a major role in the ABC series “Empire” (2004), and the highly acclaimed BBC series “Love Soup” (2005). Her most recent film roles include CONFESSIONS OF AN UGLY STEPSISTER (2001); ME WITHOUT YOU (2001); CHEEKY (2003) and ALPHA MALE (2005). In 1988 Trudie co-founded The Rainforest Foundation with husband Sting, and for thirteen years she has produced benefit concerts at Carnegie Hall, securing the talents and enthusiasm of some of the world‟s most prestigious artists and raising $21million for the cause. Travis Swords (Producer) - As an actor Swords appeared opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall in the CBS blockbuster mini-series “Lonesome Dove,” Clint Eastwood in PINK CADILLAC and Kevin Spacey in “The Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker Story.” Under the tutelage of legendary producers Don Simpson and Dawn Steel, Swords made his „behind-the-camera‟ career move by raising the financing for and producing Joel Hershman‟s award-winning debut film, HOLD ME, THRILL ME, KISS ME. Acquired by October Films, the micro-budget indie garnered Audience Favorite awards at both the Deauville and Seattle International Film Festivals. Its initial cable airing netted the year‟s highest rating for an indie film. Time Warner paired the duo with “ER” creator John Wells to produce a TV version of their off-beat indie. GREENFINGERS, a Samuel Goldwyn / MGM release produced along with Trudie Styler and starring Clive Owen and Helen Mirren, marked Swords‟s first foray into the U.K. film scene. Swords remained in England to work with Xingu Films, producing CHEEKY, the directorial debut of actor David Thewlis. Once again partnering with Joel Hershman and Trudie Styler, Swords signed a deal with the Walt Disney Company to produce THE LOCKSMITH, Hershman‟s first studio picture. Clara Markowicz (Producer) has spent the past 10 years in the world of entertainment. After having cultivated her production talents on a number of high-profile special events, television shows, and music videos, Clara Markowicz founded Original Media with her partner Charlie Corwin in 2001. As a Managing Partner of Original Media, Clara not only runs operations at the company, but supervises the production of all in-house projects such as “Miami Ink,” a popular tv series on TLC, the reality show “Skate Maps,” which is in its second season on Fox‟s Fuel Channel, and numerous projects for MTV and VH1. She is also one of the producers on the feature film THE SQUID AND THE WHALE. Prior to founding Original Media, Clara worked as a producer at Live Music Channel, a company that delivered live performance programming to viewers via multimedia formats. There she produced three television series which aired on Fox, WB, and cable affiliates respectively, and numerous live concert shoots for artists ranging from Snoop Dogg to The Flaming Lips to TLC. Before joining LMC, Clara was a special event producer and publicist at Harrison and Shriftman and was responsible for producing numerous special events for high- profile clients in New York like Gucci and Absolut Vodka. In her free time, Clara has produced several short films including “One Life” which aired on Showtime. She holds a degree from Brown University and currently resides in Manhattan. Charles Corwin (Producer) was born and raised in New York City and attended NYU Law School. After brief stints as an attorney, and in the record business, he co-founded an Internet company called LiveMusicChannel.com. LMC broadcast live concert performances by platinum recording artists over the web, and was a pioneer in the streaming of digital media. After selling the company, Charlie turned his attentions to producing films and television. In 2002 Charles Corwin and Clara Markowicz founded Original Media LLC, a New York based production company, specializing in unique films and series for television. In 2004 Corwin produced the feature film THE SQUID AND THE WHALE (along with fellow producers Clara Markowicz, Wes Anderson and Peter Newman). The film was directed by Noah Baumbach and premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival where it won awards for Best Director and Best Screenplay. The film was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures in October 2005. It has since been nominated for 6 Spirit Awards and 3 Golden Globes, including best picture for both. Original Media also produces multiple television series including “Miami Ink” (Corwin, Executive Producer) about 5 dedicated and colorful tattoo artists who open a tattoo parlor on South Beach. Xingu Films Ltd has offices in both New York and London, England. Established by Trudie Styler and partner Anita Sumner in 1996, the company has specialized in producing feature- length documentaries, including Boys from Brazil (1993); IDA award-winning MOVING THE MOUNTAIN (1995); award-winning documentary on the making of a Walt Disney animation THE SWEATBOX (2002); and A KIND OF CHILDHOOD (2002). Dramatic feature film productions include THE GROTESQUE (1996), Guy Ritchie‟s first two films LOCK, STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998) and SNATCH (2000); Joel Hershman's GREENFINGERS (2001); David Thewlis's CHEEKY (2003); Dan Wilde's ALPHA MALE (2005); and Dito Montiel's A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS (2006). Since its inception, Xingu Films has worked almost exclusively with first time writer/directors (only Joel Hershman had made a feature film previously), and continues to focus primarily on searching for fresh and innovative creative voices. While Styler acknowledges this can be a risky approach to take, the rewards of discovering and nurturing genuine and exciting new talent only serve to increase her passion for the world of filmmaking. Original Media LLC is a New York-based production company specializing in unique films and series for television. Our company has built a strong reputation for cutting-edge content and quality production. Original programs include feature films, television series, and alternative programs. In 2004 Original Media co-produced THE SQUID AND THE WHALE which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005 where it won Best Director and Best Screenplay. The film was nominated for 3 Golden Globes and 6 Independent Spirit Awards. The company has just finished two new films. A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS which was co-produced with Xingu Films and features Robert Downey Jr., Rosario Dawson, Chazz Palminteri and Shia La Boeuf; and HALF NELSON, co-produced with Hunting Lane Films and starring Ryan Gosling. Both films will premiere at Sundance in January 2006. Original Media also produces television series, including series currently airing on VH1, TLC, and Fuel. Belladonna Productions is the team of René Bastian and Linda Moran. For the past ten years, Belladonna has been active on the highest level of feature-film, commercial and television production worldwide. Linda and René won the Motorola Producer of the Year Award in 2002 and were named by Variety among “10 Producers to Watch” during the 2005 Toronto Film Festival. Belladonna first garnered acclaim with its first feature film, Amos Kollek‟s SUE in 1996. The film, which had a total production budget of $150,000 premiered to standing ovations at the Toronto Film Festival and won the International Critics Award (FIPRESCI) and the Award of the Ecumenical Jury at the Berlin Film Festival. It was released internationally and played everywhere to great critical acclaim and box office success. Many of the most important European publications, including the prestigious French Film Magazine “Cahiers du Cinema” called it “one of the ten best films of the year 1998.” Since then Belladonna has been producing an average of two feature films a year. Among their successes are, FIONA (Amos Kollek), which premiered at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival, once again went on to Berlin and again was successfully released internationally, HARLEM ARIA, starring Damon Wayans, Paul Sorvino and Nicole Parker, SWIMMING, directed by Robert J. Siegel and starring “Six Feet Under” star Lauren Ambrose, FRIENDS & FAMILY (Regent Entertainment) and MARTIN AND ORLOFF featuring the “Upright Citizens Brigade,” and acclaimed comedians David Cross, Rachel Dratch, Tina Faye, Andy Richter and Janeane Garofalo. All of these films enjoyed A-list festival recognition and US domestic theatrical releases. Belladonna‟s film L.I.E. had its world premiere in Competition at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, screened at the prestigious New Directors/New Films series at the Modern Art Museum in New York and was nominated as “Best Picture” at the Gotham Awards in New York. It was released in September 2001 by Lot 47 to strong critical praise and box office success. Among the honors bestowed upon the film to date are: “Best Actor” (Brian Cox) and “Best Directorial Debut” (Michael Cuesta) by the Boston Society of Film Critics and “Best Supporting Actor” Nomination (Brian Cox) by the American Film Institute. It appeared on over 10 top ten films lists of 2001, including Rex Reed‟s of the New York Observer, while Kevin Thomas of the LA Times called it “The Best Film of the Year 2001.” The film had the most nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards of any Film in 2001, including “Best Film” and “Best Director.” At that ceremony the Belladonna team was awarded the prestigious “Motorola - Producer of the Year Award.” More recently, Belladonna produced JAILBAIT starring Michael Pitt (The Dreamers) and Stephen Adly-Guirgis (Palindromes), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and FROM OTHER WORLDS starring Isaach De Bankolé (GHOST DOG) and Cara Buono (THE HULK). The most recent production TRANSAMERICA, directed by Duncan Tucker, starring Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”) and Kevin Zegers (DAWN OF THE DEAD) premiered with great success at the Berlin International Film Festival 2005 where it won the Siegessäule Audience Award. TRANSAMERICA has since won awards at every subsequent festival it played. It screened in Competition at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2005, where it won the Best Actress Award. It won the Audience Award at Frameline in San Francisco, Best Screenplay in Deauville and the Audience Award in Woodstock. It was acquired by The Weinstein Company and will be released in December of 2005. Felicity Huffman‟s performance has been creating strong Oscar buzz. Eric Gautier (Director of Photography) has received critical acclaim for his images in Walter Salles‚ MOTORCYCLE DIARIES. The film was nominated for a BAFTA Award and won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography. Having also worked on Olivier Assayas' CLEAN, he earned the Technical Grand Prize in Cinematography at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival for both films. Eric is currently shooting Alain Resnais‟ new feature PETITE PEUR PARTAGEE. Eric has worked with critically acclaimed directors such as Raoul Ruiz, Arnaud Desplechin, Patrice Chereau, Claude Berri, Catherine Breillat and Leos Carax. He won the French Cesar in 1999 THOSE WHO LOVE ME LIKE THE TRAIN and received a nomination last year for CLEAN. Jody Asnes (Production Designer) has lent her talents to commercials, feature films and television projects as divergent as John Cameron Mitchell‟s SHORTBUS, Good Machine‟s iconic TRICK (Sundance 1999) and Director Josh Sternfeld‟s WINTER SOLSTICE (Tribeca 2004). She has an art history background, is fluent in Spanish and has worked extensively in Latin America where she designed the film HOMELAND for Director Doug Scott. Chris Tellefsen (Editor) – Chris Tellefsen began his career as an assistant editor for Martin Scorsese on THE COLOR OF MONEY and BAD. Since then, Tellefsen has worked on a wide range of feature films including KIDS, FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, GUMMO, ANALYZE THIS, CHANGING LANES and THE VILLAGE. Most recently, Tellefsen edited the acclaimed film, CAPOTE. Jake Pushinsky (Editor) - After completing his studies in Jazz and Recording Arts at Sonoma State University, Jake Pushinsky spent a year as an assistant music editor. During that period he worked on Tsui Hark‟s cult classic, ZU WARRIORS as well as a couple of other features. Next came his four-year tenure as a music editor at Elias Arts where he worked alongside Dito Montiel. Jake edited two short films for Dito that were the earliest incarnations of A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS.