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LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD is the hilarious story of what happens when the U.S. Government sends comedian Albert Brooks to India and Pakistan to find out what makes the over 300 million Muslims in the region laugh. Brooks, accompanied by two state department handlers and his trusted assistant, goes on a journey that takes him from a concert stage in New Delhi, to the Taj Mahal, to a secret location in the mountains of Pakistan. Written and directed by Albert Brooks, LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD is a funny and insightful look at some of the issues we are dealing with in a post-9/11 world. The comedy also stars John Carroll Lynch, Sheetal Sheth, Jon Tenney, and Fred Dalton Thompson.
In the hilarious new film LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD, comedian Albert Brooks gets summoned by politician/actor Fred Dalton Thompson to come to Washington D.C. to help in a new diplomatic effort. His job? Spend a month in India and Pakistan, write a 500 page report, and tell the U.S. government what makes the over 300 million Muslims in the region laugh. While Brooks isn’t sure he’s the man for the job, the possibility of a Medal of Freedom proves irresistible and he accepts.
With the aid of two government agents, Stuart (John Carrol Lynch), Mark (Jon Tenney), and a lovely assistant, Maya (Sheetal Sheth), Brooks starts the interviewing process, as soon as he lands in India, asking everyone, “What makes you laugh?” Since people aren’t as forthcoming as he would like, and when he discovers there are no comedy clubs in India or Pakistan that would help him observe, he decides to put on The Big Show, the first comedy concert in New Delhi. He figures that by what the audience laughs at, he’ll get what he needs for his important government assignment. He figured wrong. Undaunted, Brooks continues his quest, doing everything from a clandestine meeting with a group of Pakistani comedians, to a business meeting with Al Jezeera, all in the hopes of achieving his goal.
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World provides an inspired and comedic view of America’s approach towards other cultures. Written, directed by and starring Albert Brooks, the comedy also stars John Carroll Lynch, Sheetal Sheth, Jon Tenney, and Fred Dalton Thompson.
INTERVIEW WITH ALBERT BROOKS
How did you get the idea for the film, was there something specific that inspired you?
The world really changed after 9/11, not just in the tragic way but in every way. So it took me a couple of years to even understand how in my art form I could process any of this. My job, what I do for a living, is to try to elicit laughter. And when the world changed, eliciting laughter with subjects that were funny to me before 9/11 just didn't seem good enough. I thought why do I want to take a year out of my life and make a funny movie about dogs? I'm not thinking about dogs anymore. Now I'm not saying that once I've made this movie I can't go on and do another subject. I will. But I just thought this was the 700-lb. gorilla sitting in my comedy office saying, ‘deal with this, find a way.’
Well, it's not a funny subject.
No, it isn't. But let me tell you something—and this is really the most important thing—when the time comes where there literally is no ability to extract laughs from a subject, it's really the end of the world. I mean, people with horrible diseases make jokes till the end. It's like it's the armor against being completely eaten and gone from the planet. But if the movie can get a bunch of people in a darkened room laughing for an hour and a half – people who in real life may otherwise never encounter each other – then I feel I’ve done a good thing.
Do you think humor really is a way to get to understand another culture?
I think if people who hate you can laugh with you at something, that's the fastest way to have a little understanding. If you really sat in a room with different kinds of people who normally don't speak to each other and you all laughed at something, even if it was me falling on my ass, there's some sort of release of pressure there. There's some sort of commonality there. And that's one thing I believe a comedian provides.
So do you think that comedy can be more effective than the more traditional approach to international relations?
I don't think it can be more effective, but why not add it? What I'm saying is that with all of the other things the United States has in its arsenal, which are weapons and spying and the CIA, it just wouldn't be a bad thing to add human contact. Find out what makes people laugh. Find out what clothes they like. Find out what they do on a Friday night. All it means is I'm trying to find something out about you that’s not top secret. It can't hurt.
Do you see your film as an attempt to bridge the cultural gap?
Well, one of the biggest things in World War II was the Voice of America and this idea of trying to broadcast the entertainment side, the non-violent side. I don't believe in this new era of conflict that the United States has done one-tenth what they should do on the cultural side. Trying to find out about other people; the idea that America is interested, that is intriguing.
Do you think the State Department would do well to have a real program like the one in the film?
Yes, I do. Just don't put me in charge. In fact they’re starting one. Bush has asked Karen Hughes to head it up. Basically, it’s PR to the Muslim world. Maybe she’ll have a comedy department.
Was it difficult to get permission to shoot a movie in India?
You need permission from the government to shoot there. I had to make one separate trip ahead of time just to do that, to meet with government officials. I told them the story and I gave them a 45-page outline. I told them very clearly what happens in the movie, they liked the story. What they don’t like is when films make fun of their traditions or religions. And of course this one does not do that.
What kind of response did you get when you were in India, were people open to what the film was about?
This was one of the greatest things. This was a huge moment for me personally. I was in the biggest mosque in India and they never allow any filming in that mosque. I'm a Jewish man and I don't think there's been 15 Jewish people in that mosque ever. But in order to get permission I had to talk to the Imam, the man who is head of the mosque. And I’m just having a private discussion with him and telling him I'm doing a movie about a character who has come to this part of the world to find out what makes people laugh. And he started to laugh. And then he said, ‘Okay,’ so I felt like a diplomat for two minutes.
So how close is the character you play to yourself?
Well, I played Albert Brooks in one other movie in 1979 in REAL LIFE. I was the first one in my generation to play a character in the movies who uses his own name. It's done on TV but almost never in the movies. But it’s still a comedy character even though it had my name. It's like Jack Benny was not a cheap guy and didn't have a dungeon and I don't think Eddie Anderson worked for him as a houseboy. Laurel and Hardy really could move a piano if they had to. It's the same thing with me. I used Albert Brooks because it feels more real, but it's a comedy creation. And I can movie a piano too, if I have to.
Does the character understand anything more about the Muslim world when he leaves?
Well, I think the one thing he understands is that it's not easy to find out what makes people laugh and you probably shouldn't send a comedian to do it. You should probably send an anthropologist because a comedian’s sense of humor is already formed. He’ll have preconceived notions. Probably the best person to find out what makes people laugh is a person with no visible sense of humor.
Did you learn anything about people that might be useful to Americans?
Yes, I did. There is a preconceived notion of America. We know what it is. Right or wrong, many people see us as bullies and insensitive. So when you travel you’re acting like mini-ambassadors. If someone in a foreign country says, “Here is a bowl of soup,” don’t go, “Eeww, what is that?!” There's a way to say “No thank you” without making a face. America will come off better.
How do you think the film would play in the Muslim world?
Well, I think that the Muslim world would laugh at this because I am the person who is—I don't want to use the word ‘idiot’ but—I'm the buffoon in the movie. It's not them. It's not countries. It's this guy. And that's in the grand tradition of comedy. Charlie Chaplin was the buffoon in Charlie Chaplin movies. W.C. Fields took all the hits in his movies. The comedian is the one we are making fun of; no one else.
How do you want people to feel coming out of the film?
I don't have any overall philosophical idea of what they should feel. I would like them to think they've seen a great comedy. And if it provides discussion, that would be cool. Maybe this movie will lead to a Muslim comedy night at the Improv.
Would you like the film to play in India or for a Muslim audience?
Oh, I'd love it. That would be the greatest thing. What I'm trying to show is America making fun of itself. And America needs to kick itself in the butt a little bit so these people see that we're human, that we're not this giant robot that's going to kill them, because many people perceive us that way. If an Indian audience or a Muslim audience could laugh because we’re making fun of ourselves a little bit it certainly couldn’t hurt.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Director Albert Brooks and his production team worked closely with the Indian government prepping the stunning locations in Delhi and Agra for three months prior to shooting LOOKING FOR COMEDY IN THE MUSLIM WORLD. They wanted to capture India as it really was in 2005, a modern India, which is not often seen in Western movies. From the beginning of the process Brooks was “thrilled that India is one of the big stars of the movie.”
The director and his producing team were granted unprecedented access to mosques, temples, and monuments. Many of these precious locations had never opened their doors for a film crew before, including the sacred Taj Mahal.
The film shot at the Taj Mahal for two days under strict regulations. One of them was that tourism had to continue as usual. So the crew had to integrate people passing by into its daily work and into the plan for the scene.
“It was a great challenge having 800 people a foot away from your lens staring into the camera,” says Brooks. “We had to keep the illusion that a movie is going on despite all the on-lookers.”
Brooks and the crew devised a strategy in which they formed a moving human daisy chain comprised of their own extras who would move as the camera moved. The production even recruited some members of the Indian army who were tourists watching from the sidelines to help accomplish this. Says Brooks, “I was worried for a couple of hours that we were not going to get what we needed. And then I kept thinking how lucky we were to be filming at the Taj Mahal at all.” Finally, after many takes, they got one with no bystanders looking into the camera.
Shooting in a country as densely populated as India was complicated. Brooks jokes that it wasn’t like Los Angeles where you could shut down Wilshire Blvd. at rush hour. In India there were no street closures or block lock-ups to help secure a location. “You can’t stop life in India,” says producer Herb Nanas. “Whether it is people—or in some extreme cases, cows, elephants or monkeys—moving through your shot, we had to incorporate them into the scene and embrace the uniquely crowded environment.”
Adds production designer Stephen Altman, “From the get go you couldn’t fight or control what was happening around you like you can when you are shooting on a Hollywood back-lot. So the only choice was to embrace the surroundings, and as a result we achieved the realism of India that Albert wanted all along.”
Part of the challenge was capturing the vibrancy of the Indian culture on film. “I knew once I arrived in Delhi that the color palate for the film’s costumes would continue to change as our environments changed,” says costume designer Deborah Everton. “India’s cities are so rich in color from the women’s saris, to the men’s pagris (turbans), to the women’s chunis (long scarves)…. Our costume design became just a small part of what was already out there. It all merged together so beautifully.”
As is the case with all productions, only more so here, the crew had to be ready for enormous changes at the last minute. “When you shoot in India, even if you have approved permits and plans and all systems are a go, things can change at any minute,” says executive producer JoAnn Perritano. “You can’t prepare for it. Change is inevitable and became part of your day.”
One of the on-the-spot changes occurred during filming at the Delhi International airport. The scene called for an immigration official sitting behind a desk as Brooks arrive in the country. A local actor had been cast for the part and was in his wardrobe ready to shoot the scene when, unexpectedly, Brooks was called over by the head immigration official of the airport.
Though everything had been cleared ahead of time, the immigration officer said for security reasons he was not comfortable with a strange man sitting behind the immigration desk. Rather than scrapping the scenes brooks asked if he could use one of the real officers. After discussing this idea amongst themselves the immigration officers decided they would give it a try.
Then suddenly Brooks had to shift gears and right on the set conduct a casting call line-up with a group of actual immigration officials. The director picked the one he liked best, gave him some acting tips, put him through hair and make-up, and began shooting the scene. Everything was seemingly in synch, except now the head of immigration did not like the lines of dialogue being said by the character, he thought it made the immigration official look too harsh. Brooks smiled and said, “Everyone’s a studio head. I’ll chance the line.”
Describing Brooks’ flexibility on the set, Tenney says, “Everyday with Albert is unpredictable in such a rewarding way. Things always happen on the fly and Albert will give them a try. He let’s you explore options and is right there next to you asking if you think that it is funny.”
Sometimes things even worked out better than planned. Perhaps it was the Indian ceremonial blessing that was given to the cast and crew on their first day of filming. In any case, the original script called for a shot of the exterior of the Pakistani embassy. Unfortunately the embassy had a no filming policy. Then, coincidentally, a high-ranking Pakistani government official checked into the hotel where the production was based and coveted the suite where Brooks was staying. Of course the director would swap with him— under one condition…. Suffice to say, the exterior of the Pakistan Embassy can be seen in the finished film.
One of the highlights of the shoot was Brooks’ return to his roots in stand-up comedy before an audience of Indian extras. Dressed in a silk crème colored tunic with gold sequined trim over matching pants and beaded Indian slippers, Brooks looked the very model of an American comic trying too hard to go native. In the hot and humid auditorium, the colorful Indian audience awaited Brooks’ first performance on stage in thirty years.
For producer Herb Nanas, who has worked with Brooks since his beginnings in stand-up comedy, “it was a tremendous feeling seeing Albert once again doing stand-up, even though the audience in the movie was not supposed to “get” the show. He even did his old ventriloquist routine that he did on Ed Sullivan using his dummy named Danny.”
But Brooks didn’t have time to be anxious about his staged return to stand-up. “Overall I'm the director of the movie and I had so much more anxiety about finishing the days work on time. Also the people in the audience were hired, so I knew they wouldn’t hate me.”
In character, Brooks tells the audience “You are going to see comedy created right in front of your eyes…By what you laugh at, you are going to teach me who you are.”
But the joke is on Albert because they audience isn’t laughing. To make the joke work, the director instructed the audience to remain silent even when they wanted to laugh. But Brooks says since there were some takes in the show that had to be done 30 times from many, many, different angles, “I only had to ask them to be silent the first 11 times. After that they naturally quieted down.”
For another crucial scene set on a train, unlike shooting on a sound stage as they would in this country, the production negotiated with the Indian government to shoot on an actual moving train car that was attached at the end of a regularly scheduled passenger train. The trip was scheduled as a two-and-a-half hour run from Delhi to Agra. That was how long the crew had to get the scene—all while the train was moving.
Tight set was an understatement. The door to the train was no wider than a person. All camera and sound gear, wardrobe and props were carefully loaded into the coach the night before the train was to leave. First thing in the morning the cast, crew, and fifty extras all packed themselves into the car. There was no power on the train so all the equipment had to operate on car batteries.
“The crew was so inspired by the conditions and wanted so badly to make the scene work,” says Perritano. “Literally, as the train ended its journey and we finished shooting, we pulled into the Agra train station, all the batteries died.” But they got the shot, the first time a production had accomplished that feat in India.
“We were very fortunate to be working with such awesome American and Indian crew,” says Perritano. “Delhi has a reputation for not being very film friendly. We never saw that side of the city as our production crew was welcomed every step of the way. Albert’s script took place in Delhi, so Delhi it was.”
As the last shot of the film was completed, a twenty-one piece Indian band played for the crew to celebrate the end of their unpredictable production journey. Tarot card readers with parrots, henna painters and Rajastani dancers formed a procession from the set to the base camp, with Brooks in the lead dancing. The realism of the country had been captured on film, and now it was time to party Bollywood style.
For all involved, shooting in India was a unique experience. Says John Carroll Lynch, who plays a State Dept. official, “Albert wants people to come to the set, and eventually to the movie theatre fresh. He instills a great sense of joy and play in his work process.”
Being of Indian descent, Sheetal Sheth, who plays Brooks’ assistant Maya, was especially pleased with the director’s responsiveness to her native culture. "We all learned from each other everyday,” she says. “It always felt like collaboration on set. Being of Indian decent, I admire Albert so much for portraying the Indian culture as it truly is in everyday real life. Most people tend to only portray India as exotic. I respect him so much for caring enough to really explore the true pulse of the people as they exist today.”
Adds Lynch, “I hope when people see this film, especially those who have never traveled to India, they will get out of their heads and into the world that we experienced. The life that is being lived here has existed for a long time and will continue to exist. India is an incredible mass of humanity.”
ALBERT BROOKS (see filmmaker bios)
JOHN CARROLL LYNCH (Stuart)
Born in Colorado, John Carroll Lynch began his professional career in the theater and spent eight years as a member of the Guthrie Theater Company in Minneapolis. His recent stage appearances include the original production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Dinner with Friends and Under the Blue Sky.
Lynch has over 30 feature film credits including Fargo, The Good Girl, Bubble Boy, Waking the Dead, A Thousand Acres, Pushing Tin, Face/Off, Volcano and Confidence. He will be seen later this year in Trust the Man with Julianne Moore and Mozart and the Whale with Josh Hartnett.
He played one of the Shaw brothers in David Kelley’s Brotherhood of Poland, NH, and Drew's brother Steve for six seasons on The Drew Carey Show. He has appeared in television movies and mini-series such as Tuesdays with Morrie, Live from Baghdad and From the Earth to the Moon, as well as in the upcoming season of Carnivale on HBO.
SHEETAL SHETH (Maya)
Sheetal Sheth is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She began her film career in the emerging Asian American cinema, starring in five festival-winning films by and featuring first generation South Asian Americans.
Acting was the first thing the New Jersey native felt passionate about. While waitressing and bartending in New York after graduation, Sheth was cast as the lead in ABCD (1999), a film about the issues confronted by first generation Americans. The controversial film received critical praise and won awards at festivals in Bombay, Calcutta, Houston and Austin, including Best Film at the latter two.
Next Sheth starred in Pocketful of Dreams (2001) followed by Wings of Hope (2001). For Wings she won a Best Actress award at the Cinevue Festival. In American Chai (2001), Sheth played the female lead in the coming-of-age romantic comedy. The same year she starred in Indian Cowboy.
She then relocated to Los Angeles and did a television movie, The Princess and the Marine, as well as guest spots on Strong Medicine, The Agency and Line of Fire. She also did her first cartoon voiceover. In 2004 she returned to the big screen, co-starring in Dancing in Twilight, a family drama with Kal Penn and Mimi Rogers.
About her role as the modern, intelligent Delhi woman in “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World,” Sheth says, “From the minute I heard about this project, I felt that I needed to do it.”
JON TENNEY (Mark Brody)
Jon Tenney was raised in Princeton, New Jersey. After graduating from high school, he studied at the Circle in the Square Theatre, acting in over 150 plays, and was accepted into Julliard. Following that he joined the national touring company of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, directed by Mike Nichols.
He next played the title role in an off-Broadway production of Tartuffe, which subsequently led to his being cast as the lead in Romeo and Juliet at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. A newspaper review of the production came to the attention of the producers of the TV hit Murphy Brown who cast Tenney in the show as Miles' older brother.
Tenney has since appeared on many television series including Crime & Punishment and Equal Justice, co-starring Sarah Jessica Parker. At he same time he starting appearing in films, including Watch It, Fools Rush In and Showtime's original feature, The Twilight Of The Golds, co-starring Jennifer Beals, Faye Dunaway and Brendan Fraser. Among his other credits are roles in Tombstone, Nixon, Music From Another Room, With Friends Like These and in the Sundance hit You Can Count On Me, opposite Laura Linney and Mathew Broderick.
Between film work, Tenney has continued to appear on television as a series regular on Steven Bochco's Brooklyn South as well as Get Real and Kristin.
On Broadway he was seen opposite Cherry Jones in The Heiress. Off-Broadway he has starred in The Impossible Marriage with Holly Hunter, Brighton Beach Memoirs, A Shayna Maidel and other productions. In 2004 Tenney starred in the TV pilot Joint Custody and was seen in eight episodes of The Division.
FRED DALTON THOMPSON (Himself)
Former United States Senator, prosecutor and accomplished film and television actor, Fred Dalton Thompson first appeared on screen in the feature film Marie in 1985, portraying himself in the fact-based story of a high-profile case he handled in Tennessee. Since then, he has appeared in numerous other movies and television programs, including the features Racing Stripes, In the Line of Fire, Die Hard II, The Hunt for Red October and the television series’ China Beach, Wiseguy and Matlock.
After growing up in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, Thompson attended Memphis State University, where he earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science. He went on to receive a law degree from Vanderbilt University. Two years later, Thompson was named an assistant United States attorney and later served as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee. His experience with the Watergate scandal is detailed in his memoir, At That Point in Time. In 1994, Thompson was elected to the United States Senate and was re-elected for a second term in 1996.
Thompson is also a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a Washington think-tank, and continues his starring role of District Attorney “Arthur Branch,” in NBC's Law & Order, the venerable dramatic series from executive producer Dick Wolf.
PENNY MARSHALL (Herself)
Born and raised in the Bronx, Marshall made her television debut after moving to Hollywood in "The Danny Thomas Hour," a drama anthology series. During the next several years, Marshall appeared in several small feature film and television roles, including recurring roles on "Paul Sand's Friends and Lovers" and "The Odd Couple." An appearance with Cindy Williams in a segment of the series "Happy Days" introduced the characters of Laverne and Shirley, which spun off into their own landmark, long-running comedy series.
Off-Broadway, Marshall starred in a production of “Eden Court” with Ellen Barkin. Other television credits include three television movies and regular roles on "Mork & Mindy," "Taxi," "The Bob Newhart Show" and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." Marshall has also worked on the other side of the television camera, directing episodes "Laverne & Shirley" and “The Tracey Ullman Show,” and a pilot called "Working Stiffs," starring Jim Belushi and Michael Keaton.
Marshall made her feature film directorial debut with Jumpin' Jack Flash starring Whoopi Goldberg. Her next film, Big, starred Tom Hanks in a role that garnered him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Awakenings followed and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture and starred Robert De Niro (who earned an Oscar nomination for his performance) and Robin Williams. Inspired by the little known story of the All-American Girls professional baseball league of the 1940s, Marshall directed and executive produced A League of Their Own which starred Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna. The film later turned into a TV series for Tristar with Marshall directing the pilot episode and serving as Executive Producer. Under the banner of her production company, Parkway Productions, along with partner Elliot Abbott, Marshall executive produced the comedy Calendar Girl starring Jason Priestley.
Marshall also directed Renaissance Man starring Danny DeVito, Gregory Hines and Mark Wahlberg, The Preacher's Wife starring Whitney Houston and Denzel Washington and Columbia Pictures' Riding in Cars with Boys starring Drew Barrymore. She also developed and produced the Russell Crowe boxing drama Cinderella Man for Universal Pictures, directed by Ron Howard. Marshall occasionally takes cameo roles in other director’s feature films, such as opposite her brother Garry in Hocus Pocus, playing a director herself in Get Shorty and in the Albert Brooks film, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World.
AMY RYAN (Emily Brooks)
Amy Ryan's film credits include the recently released Keane opposite Damian Lewis, written and directed by Lodge Kerrigan, and Steven Spielberg’s The War of the World’s. She also appears in the upcoming film Capote starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the legendary writer.
On television Ryan plays Officer Beatrice Russell in the acclaimed series The Wire for HBO. She also played Alan Arkin's daughter on 100 Centre Street directed by Sidney Lumet for A&E.
Ryan was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in Uncle Vanja opposite Laura Linney and Derek Jacobi. She was also seen in the role of Stella in the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire starring Natasha Richardson and John C. Reilly.
ALBERT BROOKS (Writer/Director)
Albert Brooks began his career as a stand-up comic, and has gone on to become an award-winning actor, writer and filmmaker.
He has written, directed and starred in seven feature films: Real Life, Modern Romance, Lost In America, Defending Your Life, Mother, The Muse and Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World. Lost in America and Mother were both honored by the National Society of Film Critics with the Best Screenplay award; Mother also won the New York Film Critic’s Circle Award for Best Screenplay.
Brooks made his acting debut in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 classic, Taxi Driver. His other acting credits include Private Benjamin, Unfaithfully Yours, I'll Do Anything, Critical Care, The In-Laws, Out of Sight and My First Mister. He earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance in James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News. He was also the voice of the father fish Marlin in Finding Nemo, which received an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brooks studied drama at Carnegie Mellon University before starting his performing career in 1968 doing stand-up comedy on network television. He began on The Steve Allen Show, later becoming a regular on The Dean Martin Show, and performing on such variety programs as The Ed Sullivan Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Hollywood Palace. He appeared over forty times on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.
His first directorial effort was in 1972 for the PBS series The Great American Dream Machine. He adapted an article he had written for Esquire Magazine, "Albert Brooks' Famous School for Comedians," into a short film. Following this, he created six short films for the debut season of Saturday Night Live.
Brooks has recorded two comedy albums: Comedy Minus One and A Star is Bought, the latter earning him a Grammy Award nomination for Best Comedy Recording.
He has been honored by the American Film Institute with a retrospective of his work at the First U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado.
HERBERT NANAS (Producer)
Herb Nanas has been in show business for over 35 years as a talent agent, personal manager and producer. Although one of his favorite quotes is “smart guys listen, dumb guys talk and I’m a great listener,” it’s through his eye, not his ear, that Nanas has made his biggest impact on the industry.
His keen eye spotted a struggling actor named Sylvester Stallone by an elevator and promised to make him the biggest star in the world. Almost thirty years ago Nanas gave up a promising career at the William Morris Agency to personally manage a young comedian who was considered by many to be too unconventional to ever become a star. Nanas saw genius in this eclectic, eccentric artist who refused to compromise his craft. That was Albert Brooks, now considered one of the most original filmmakers of his generation.
Along with Stallone and Brooks, Nanas helped shape the careers of Golden Globe winner Ray Sharkey (The Idolmaker, Sonny Steelgrave (Wiseguy), Academy Award Nominee Gary Busey (The Buddy Holly Story), Roseanne Barr, Joe Penny (Jake and the Fatman), Michael Chiklis (The Commish and The Shield) and Lorenzo Lamas (Renegade).
Beside his achievements as a personal manager, as a film producer Nanas has had both commercial and critical success. His films include Rocky III, Paradise Alley, Night Hawks, Rambo: First Blood, Eye of the Tiger, Lost in America, Defending Your Life, The Scout, 2 Days in the Valley, Mother, The Muse, and No Good Deed.
Raised in The Bronx, New York, Nanas has been a resident of Los Angeles for many years.
JOANN PERRITANO (Executive Producer)
JoAnn Perritano has worked as a unit production manager on such films as Van Helsing, Red Dragon, Rush Hour 2, The Family Man, Love & Basketball, The Mod Squad, Phantoms, Murder In Mind, The Prophecy and American Yakuza, among others.
Born in Winchester, Massachusetts, Perritano is a graduate of Boston’s Emerson College where she studied mass communications with an emphasis on television. She moved to Los Angeles in the early 90’s. Her first job was as an intern at Entertainment Tonight. While working at ET, Perritano shifted her focus from television to film.
THOMAS ACKERMAN (Director of Photography)
Thomas Ackerman’s feature credits include Jumanji, Beetlejuice, Frankenweenie, Roadhouse 66, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Back to School, Dennis the Menace, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, George of the Jungle, Rat Race, Anchorman: Legend of Ron Burgundy and Are We There Yet?
A graduate of the University of Iowa, his first experience in the motion picture industry came as an officer in the United States Air Force. While assigned to the 600th Photo Squadron in Viet Nam, Ackerman commanded a combat documentation unit. In 1971 Ackerman took a position with Charles Guggenheim, the Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, with whom he spent three years working on political spots, culminating in the McGovern for President campaign.
In 1974, Ackerman joined Mike Robe to form Robe/Ackerman, Inc. The Hollywood-based company grew to offer a wide range of services in commercials, corporate film production and television. Beginning in the early 1980’s, Ackerman devoted himself to commercial shooting and the emerging MTV network. Before the end of the decade, he had shot music videos for Bob Dylan, Ashford and Simpson, Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, The Pretenders, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and many others.
Ackerman’s commercial clients include Coco-Cola, Chevrolet, Kodak, BMW, Budweiser and many more. He has photographed special venue productions in 65mm and 3D, including Cinemagique for Disney Studios Paris. He also shot the award-winning feature documentary set in Cuba, Los Zafiros, for director Lorenzo DeStefano.
STEPHEN ALTMAN (Production Designer)
Stephen Altman’s career as a production designer started with the feature Fool For Love, directed by his father Robert Altman. He has also collaborated with his father on Beyond Therapy, Vincent and Theo, The Player, Short Cuts, Pret-A-Porter, Kansas City, The Gingerbread Man, Cookie’s Fortune, Dr. T & the Women and Gosford Park. He also designed Kathryn Bigelow’s iconoclastic vampire western Near Dark; the retro chic of Brian Gibson’s Tina Turner biopic, What’s Love Got To Do With It? and the cool, sleek Grosse Pointe Blank for George Armitage, and worked again for Armitage on The Big Bounce. Altman earned AFI, BAFTA and Oscar nominations for Gosford Park.
Most recently Altman’s talents can be seen in his inspired work on Taylor Hackford’s Ray.
DEBORAH EVERTON (Costume Designer)
Deborah Everton first collaborated with Albert Brooks on The In-Laws. Her other film credits include The Abyss for director James Cameron, Spy Kids, Dick, Halloween H2O, Knight Moves, Highlander II: The Quickening and Chill Factor. She won the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising Award in Excellence for Spy Kids and a Saturn Award for Star Trek: First Contact.
Everton has also worked on numerous mini-series and series for television including the pilots for The X-Files and Battlestar Gallactica. She received a Cable Ace Award for her designs for Heart of Darkness.
ANITA BRANDT-BURGOYNE (Editor)
You could say that Anita Brandt Burgoyne went into the family business. Her father is Emmy Award winning editor Byron "Buzz" Brandt. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the USC Film School with a degree in Critical Studies.
She began her career in television movies, cutting some thirty-plus films for network and cable TV, among them In the Line of Duty: Ambush in Waco, Stealing Christmas and the series Out of Order and Judging Amy. Her first feature was A Very Brady Sequel, followed by A Kid in King Arthur's Court, I'll Be Home for Christmas and Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, among others. She was also the editor of the boxoffice hit Legally Blonde.
In 2002, she was nominated for both an Emmy Award and an A.C.E. Eddie Award for the Lifetime film Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story.
MICHAEL GIACCHINO (Composer)
Michael Giacchino’s award-winning melodies have enhanced entertainment of all genres, including television shows, animated shorts, video games, and stand-alone symphonies. His boyhood fascination with movies led him to film school at the School of Visual Arts in New York City where he majored in film production with a minor in history. Upon graduation, Giacchino began composition studies at Juilliard School at Lincoln Center while working day jobs in Universal and Disney’s New York publicity offices. After a transfer to Los Angeles, he associate produced titles for Disney’s Interactive division, devoting his evenings and weekends to practicing and studying music.
In 1997, Giacchino scored DreamWorks Studio’s flagship PlayStation video game based on Steven Spielberg’s summer box office hit, The Lost World, featuring the first original live orchestral score written for a PlayStation console game, and recorded with members of the Seattle Symphony. Giacchino has composed many orchestral scores since for DreamWorks Interactive, including the highly successful “Medal of Honor” series. His scores for “Medal of Honor Underground” and “Medal of Honor Frontline” each won the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences award for “Best Original Score.”
In 2000, the Haddonfield Symphony premiered Giacchino’s first Symphony, “Camden 2000.” The concert took place at the Sony E-Center in Camden, and proceeds went to benefit the Heart of Camden, an organization dedicated to rebuilding inner city Camden housing.
Giacchino made his feature film scoring debut on The Incredibles for Pixar, and is currently scoring the hit ABC dramas, “Alias” and “Lost,” the latter for which he won the 2005 Emmy for Best Dramatic Underscore for a Series. His upcoming feature projects include the Mission Impossible 3 and The Family Stone for Fox.
Written and Directed by
Director of Photography
THOMAS ACKERMAN, A.S.C
ANITA BRANDT BURGOYNE, A.C.E.
JOHN CARROLL LYNCH
FRED DALTON THOMPSON
Unit Production Manager
First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director
(in order of appearance)
Penny Marshall PENNY MARSHALL
Casting Director VICTORIA BURROWS
Studio Executive PAUL ERIC JEROME
Albert Brooks ALBERT BROOKS
Laura EMMA LOCKHART
Emily AMY RYAN
Fred Dalton Thompson FRED DALTON THOMPSON
Barbara Nader B.J. WARD
Don Budge TONY MONTERO
Margaret Allenton LYNDA BERG
Sam Loman STEVE KRAMER
Ben Wallerstein CONRAD BACHMANN
Stuart JOHN CARROLL LYNCH
Mark JON TENNEY
Customs Agent VIPIN KUMAR
Job Applicants: AVINASH KAUR
Maya SHEETAL SHETH
Hotel Guest SANJEEV JOHRAI
Concierge IMRAN MASHKOOR KHAN
Waitress KAVITA ASHOK
Street Interviews: SANDHYA BHATIA
Majeed HOMIE DOROODIAN
Man in Temple SURINDER ARORA
Guide at Mosque GABBAR SINGH
Man in Bar RAUL LASKAROV
Stage Manager DUNCAN BRAVO
Spotlight Man KEVIN MUKHERJI
School Official BARBARA ALI
Fan ALI SUPRIWALA
Audience Member SANKALP RASTOGI
Indian Officials: DHIRU SHAH
Translator KAVI RAZ
Pakistani Comedians: ANAND VADEHRA
LALIT P. JOBANPUTRA
GAGAN DEEP SINGH
Pakistani Officials: BEN ANAND
Escort AHMED AHMED
Receptionist YASMINE HANNANEY
Shaif Al-Rafi MARSHALL MANESH
Mukhtar Al-Mujib SAMEH SHEIK
Anisha Kishore SHAHEEN SHEIK
News Anchor LINDEN SOLES
Art Director JOHN BUCKLIN
Set Decorator CHRIS SPELLMAN
Leadman SEAN GINEVAN
On Set Dresser DAVID HOPKINS
Set Dressers ALAN EASLEY
JAMES DANIEL FERNANDEZ
CAMERON R. MATHESON
Set Dressing Buyer KRISTEN GASSNER
Graphic Designer WILLIAM ELISCU
Script Supervisor CAROL BANKER
“A” Camera Operator / Steadicam Operator HARRY GARVIN
“A” Camera First Assistant LINDA GACSKO
“A” Camera Second Assistant ROB MONROY
“B” Camera Operator STEVEN HILLER
“B” Camera First Assistant DARIN NECESSARY
“B” Camera Second Assistant MATT KENNEDY
Loaders CRAIG M. BAUER
Video Assist MICHAEL J. HOGAN
Video Playback CYGNET VIDEO
Costume Supervisor RACHEL SAGE KUNIN
Key Costumer FRAN ALLGOOD
Set Costumers ANGELA AMARO
LEAH P. BROWN
NAZHAT SHARIF HESTER
Department Head Makeup KATE SHORTER
Assistant Make Up JAY WEJEBE
Department Head Hair Stylist LINDA ARNOLD
Assistant Hairstylist DAVID J. LARSON
Gaffer RAMAN RAO
Best Boy ALAN COLBERT
Electricians EDWARD B. BERNSTEIN
ANDREW B. HORTON
Rigging Gaffer RAYMOND A. GONZALES
Best Boy Rigging RUSSELL AYER
Rigging Electrician ERIK BERNSTEIN
Key Grip CHRIS BYERS
Best Boy Grip ROBERT McCARTY
Dolly Grip PONCH GUTIERREZ
Grips FRED DALE
MARK W. PICKENS
Key Rigging Grip JERRY SANDAGER
Best Boy Rigging RANDY KUTCHER
Rigging Grips CHRIS GOE
Production Mixer KIM H. ORNITZ
Boom Operator MYCHAL D. SMITH
Sound Utility DEVENDRA CLEARY
Special Effects Technician LARZ ANDERSON
Location Manager JAY TRAYNOR
Assistant Location Manager CATHERINE KAGAN
Production Coordinator MATTHEW HIRSCH
Assistant Production Coordinator STACY FOOT
Production Accountant CHRIS FURIA
First Assistant Accountant RICK CASTRO
Second Assistant Accountant LISA FURIA
Assistant Accountant JERRY CARVILLE
Art Department Coordinator KATHERINE WILSON
Art Department Assistant SHANNON TYMKIW
Construction Coordinator WAYNE SPRINGFIELD
Construction Foreman MARC STEVENS
Labor Foreman JOHNNY “THE BEAR” MORALES
Laborers RICHARD MARTINEZ
Construction Gangboss JASON A. SILBER
Propmakers GREG ALLINSON
STEVE “BATMAN” CLARK
JOHN G. GALLAHER
GUY A. HERMAN
Paint Foreman JAMES J. PASSANANTE
Paint Gangboss JOHN PASSANANTE
Set Painters MARIA L. MEJIA
Painters RICHARD BRONDUM
Painter Decorator JOLEE PASSANANTE
Standby Painter ROBERT R. SCHAEFER II
Plasterer Foreman ROBERT SOLES
Plasterer Gangboss DANIEL SOLES
Signwriters THOMAS DOMINO
Signwriter/Painter MICHAEL J. VASQUEZ
Greensman STEPHEN J. PEIRANO
Toolman MICAL SILBER
Property Master DON MILOYEVICH
Assistant Property Master CHERI PAUL
Unit Publicist CLAIRE RASKIND
Still Photographer LACEY TERRELL
2nd 2nd Assistant Director STEVEN F. BEAUPRE
Assistant to Mr. Brooks MARJA ADRIANCE
Assistant to Mr. Nanas FRAN MESSER
First Assistant Editor HELEN HAND
Production Office Assistants ADAM LEVINE
JAMIE R. ROBINSON
Set Production Assistants SARAH E. BAKER
JASON Z. KEMP
Casting Assistant TINEKA BECKER
Extras Casting BACKGROUND PLAYERS
Extras Casting Coordinator JUDY COOK, SHANNON QUAMME
Assistant Extras Casting DAVID KANG
Product Placement Coordinator MARY K FANTO
Production Attorney JULIE M. PHILIPS
Music Clearances JILL MEYERS
Transportation Coordinator RANDY MUSSELMAN
Transportation Captain DOUG MILLER
VALERIE J. BARTZACK DIANE GLAVIN RICHARD LENGLE
JANDA BRADEN LEON L. GLAVIN JOHN McCOMB
DAVE CALAWAY GEORGE GRAHAM TOMMY OBERLIN
PAT CARMAN DON HARRIS BEVERLY SEIFERT
KELLY COLGAN SANDY HINKLE JOHNTERNENYI JR
BERNARD GLAVIN KELLY HUSTIS RAY VAN HOLTEN
DAVE GLAVIN TIMONTHY C. JENSEN
Craft Service RICH CODY
Craft Service Assistant ERIC ARMAO
Caterer PETER M. STARKMAN /
FOR STARS CATERING
Cooks JONAS GARCIA
Helper RAUL SOLANO
Set Medic JASON INMAN
Construction Medic BERNIE GRANADOS JR.
India Producer TABREZ NOORANI
Production Services by INDIA TAKE ONE PRODUCTIONS
Line Producer PRAVESH SAHNI
Production Manager RAJEEV MEHRA
Unit Manager/Locations SANJAY KUMAR
1st Assistant Director ARIF SHAMSI
NARESH ARORA SAMRIDHI KATYAL RAMESH SADRANI
PRADEEP ARORA SAMEER KAZMI SAMEER SADHWANI
VIKRANT BHAGI RAJESH KHALE SIDDHARTH SADHWANI
ANUBHAV BHASIN PRADEEP KHANNA SAMARTH SAHNI
ARJUN BHURJI CHARU KHURANE SURESH SHARMA
DHARMENDRA BHURJI VIJAY KOTIAN MANISH SHRIVASTAV
INDERJEET BHURJI TANAJI S. KSHIRSAGAR BHAWANI SINGH
SUNIL CHABRA DILIP KUMAR DHRUV SINGH
SANJAY CHATURVEDI LALIT KUMAR HARVEER SINGH
CYNTHIA CHEN SANJEEV KUMAR KULDEEP SINGH
JOHN CLOTHIER AKRAM MALIK PRITHVI SINGH
KHILESHWAR DAS SANJAY MALIK RITU SINGH
MRINAL DESAI JASLEEN MARWAH SIDHU SINGH
RAJEESH DHAM SHAMBHU NATH DEVENDER THAKKAR
PAVAN DUGGAL CAM NORTH KELSANG TSERING
NAVIT DUTT PRANATI PINAK OZA AYATRI UPPAL
ANIRUDH GARBYAL KANIKA PUNJ SANJEEV UPPAL
KAUSHIK GUHA AYESHA PUNVANI VINIT VYAS
ASIF HAROON KUMAR RAJENDRA ANIL WATCH
DR. JAGDEEP AMIT RASTOGI ANETTE WONG
RASHIKA JAIN ABHISHEK REDKAR
Post Production Supervisor BRAD ARENSMAN
Sound Post Production and Mixing Sonic Magic Studios
Supervising Sound Editor Jonathan Miller
Re-recording mixers Jonathan Wales
Sound Effects Editors David F. Van Slyke
Chad J. Hughes
Dialogue/ADR Editor Zeke Richardson
ADR Recordist Matt Beville
Foley Editor Jeremy Balko
Foley Artist Shelley Roden, M.P.S.E.
Foley Mixer Jeremy Balko
ADR Voice Casting BARBARA HARRIS
Music Editors STEPHEN M. DAVIS, M.P.S.E
MICHAEL T. ANDREAS
Score Assistant CHAD SEITER
Additional Music PAUL LIVINGSTON
Opticals and Titles by PACIFIC TITLE
Negative Cutter MARY NELSON-FRASER & ASSOCIATES
Color by DELUXE
Color Timer STEVE SHERIDAN
Score Recorded and Mixed by DAN WALLIN and MIKE AARVOLD
Visual Effects by REZ-ILLUSION
Visual Effects Supervisor JAMISON GOEI
Digital Artists SOOKIE PARK
Post Production Accounting R.C. BARAL
Stage Facilities provided by Get Studios
Washington, DC production services provided by thinkfilm
Camera Equipment provided by Clairmont Camera
Production Equipment provided by Leonetti Company
Telecine by Midnight Transfer (London)
Laser Pacific (Los Angeles)
“There’s No Business Like Show Business”
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Albert Brooks
“Put On A Happy Face”
Written by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams
Performed by Dick Van Dyke
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
© 2005 Shangri-La Entertainment, LLC..
All Rights Reserved
Shangri-La Entertainment, LLC, is the author of this film
(motion picture) for the purpose of copyright and other laws.
The Producers wish to thank
Archaeological Survey of India
Government of India
India Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Taj Group of Hotels
eBay website is displayed with the permission of eBay Inc.
COPYRIGHT © EBAY INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Film Clips from RAJU CHACHA and HINDUSTAN KI KASAM Courtesy Devgan Software Pvt. Ltd.
Posters from ‘BIG’ & ‘JUMPIN’ JACK FLASH’ Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
THE POWERPUFF GIRLS tm and © 2005 Cartoon Network
Special Thanks to:
Steve Bing Jim LeMay
Kimberly Brooks Deepak Nayar
Rick Davis Brian Umansky
David Kipper Jim Walton
Bob Lange Jim Wiatt
Color by DELUXE ®
Color OR Prints by Technicolor ® (if applicable)
MPAA Globe # I.A.T.S.E. KODAK
(if applicable) (if applicable)
DOLBY SDDS DTS
(Logo) (Digital) (Logo) (Logo)
(if applicable) (if applicable) (if applicable)
(per post schedule ______) (per post schedule_______) (per post schedule _______)
The characters and incidents portrayed and the names herein are fictitious, and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional. (to be confirmed)
Animal disclaimer language must be obtained from the AHA
This motion picture photoplay is protected pursuant to the provisions of the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any unauthorized duplication and/or distribution of this photoplay may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.