First gathering attention in Gus Van Sant's DRUGSTORE COWBOY opposite Matt Dillon, she next came out with her doe-eyed performance in SWINGERS, which starred Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn. She then starred as an ambitious young actress from Ohio in Frank Oz's BOWFINGER opposite Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy, followed by her portrayal of the tragic Mary Kelly in Albert and Allen Hughes' FROM HELL opposite Johnny Depp. Soon after, she starred in Daisy von Scherler Mayer's Bollywood-inspired romantic comedy, THE GURU, alongside Marisa Tomei and Jimi Mistry.
Her other film credits include HOPE SPRING, COMMITTED, Ed Burns' SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK; James Toback's TWO GIRLS AND A GUY with Robert Downey Jr.; LOST IN SPACE and SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION. On the small screen, she made her television series debut last year in ABC's EMILY'S REASONS WHY NOT. Heather starred in David Lynch's cult series TWIN PEAKS and opposite Jessica Lange in the Hallmark movie O' PIONEERS. She made her stage debut off-Broadway in Playwrights Horizons' RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS.
In 2005, Rasuk appeared in Catherine Hardwicke's LORDS OF DOGTOWN, where he played world renowned skateboarder Tony Alva. Based on the 2001 documentary DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS, Rasuk's co-stars in the film included Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch, Johnny Knoxville and John Robinson. Rasuk also starred in HAVEN opposite Orlando Bloom, in the story of a young man who is driven to murder as Americans, Brions, and Caymanians mix it up in the Grand Caymans. Directed by Frank E. Flowers, HAVEN premiered at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival.
Rasuk began acting at age fourteen; he starred in his first short THE SUN ALWAYS SHINES in 1997 when he answered an ad posted in his neighborhood to audition for an NYU student film. He went on to act in various other short films including Sollett's FIVE FEET HIGH AND RISING.
Raised on the Lower East Side, Rasuk currently resides in Los Angeles.
Chianese worked as a bricklayer with his father and attended night school during the 1950s, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Speech and Theater from Brooklyn College in 1961. His earliest stage work occurred in 1952 with a Gilbert and Sullivan repertory company of singers, actors, and musicians called The American Savoyards, under the direction of Dorothy Raedler.
After a decade of doing theatre, both in college and off-Broadway shows, Chianese attended his first professional acting class at HB Studios, with renowned teacher Walt Witcover in Manhattan. Acting became Chianese's passion, along with musical theater. His first Broadway show was OLIVER! in 1965. Since then he has worked at regional theatres, off-Broadway and on Broadway all through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Chianese's first television credit was due to George C. Scott recommending him for his acclaimed series EAST SIDE, WEST SIDE.
In 1974, Francis Ford Coppola cast him as "Johnny Ola" in THE GODFATHER, PART II, which set a film career in motion, culminating with several films (and plays) with Al Pacino, including Norman Jewison's ...AND JUSTICE FOR ALL and Sidney Lumet's DOG DAY AFTERNOON. Dominic worked for Lumet again in Q&A and NIGHT FALLS ON MANHATTAN, and for director Alan Pakula on the political thriller ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN. Before getting the call for GODFATHER II, Chianese was working for the Drug Commission of New York State as a recreational worker in a rehab center. He was teaching guitar to women who were serving time for drug-related crimes.
Chianese is a musician, having released a CD titled HITS in 2000, on which he sings American and Italian songs. He performed Salvatore Cardillo's sentimental classic "Core 'ngrato" ("Ungrateful Heart") on the third-season finale of THE SOPRANOS.
Dominic is a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science.
Elizabeth's film career started with small roles in the Cuban/US production EL SUPER (1979) and the American features TIMES SQUARE (1980), THEY ALL LAUGHED (1981) and CROSSOVER DREAMS (1985). Her performance as the maid-turned-revolutionary in Paul Mazursky's DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS (1986) brought her to the attention of a wider audience. She went on to play the battered wife of Ritchie Valens' half-brother in LA BAMBA (1987), the doomed friend of policewoman Jamie Lee Curtis in Kathryn Bigelow's BLUE STEEL and Tim Robbins' temperamental lover in Adrian Lyne's JACOB'S LADDER (both 1990). After supporting roles in THE WATERDANCE (1992) and DEAD FUNNY (1995), Peña earned acclaim for her 1996 turn as a schoolteacher and former lover of the town sheriff played by Chris Cooper in John Sayles' LONE STAR (1996).
Elizabeth is also known for her TV work, beginning with a supporting role in the police sitcom TOUGH COOKIES (CBS, 1986). She had the title role in the short-lived I MARRIED DORA (ABC, 1988). She also played the regular role of an aggressive secretary on the John Sayles-created legal drama SHANNON'S DEAL (NBC, 1990-91). Elizabeth has turned in strong performances in nearly a dozen TV-movies, miniseries and anthologies. She played the widow of a DEA agent in the award-winning DRUG WARS: THE CAMARENA STORY (NBC, 1990), appears in the AIDS drama ROOMMATES (NBC, 1994) and was featured in the HBO TV-movie, THE SECOND CIVIL WAR (1997).
Peña is much sought-after for supporting film roles--including the hit buddy comedy RUSH HOUR (1998) and rocker Dee Snyder's offbeat horror film STRANGELAND (1998). She played the wife of a real life spy in the telepic ALDRICH AMES: TRAITOR WITHIN (1998). She became a television series regular when she starred as Beatriz "Bibi" Corrales in the Showtime drama RESURRECTION BLVD. (2000-2002). Elizabeth has always struck a balance between appearing in Latina-specific roles, such as her turn opposite Hector Elizondo in TORTILLA SOUP (2001) and non-ethnic parts like the therapist of a pre-operative transexual's played by Felicity Huffman in TRANSAMERICA (2005).
She also had a side career as a voice actor, lending her distinctive vocals to such animated projects as JUSTICE LEAGUE, MAYA & MIGUEL and, most notably, as the bad-girl-gone-good Mirage in Disney/Pixar's THE INCREDIBLES (2004).
In 2005, William Baldwin starred with Laura Linney and Jeff Daniels in THE SQUID & THE WHALE, the critically acclaimed drama directed by Noah Baumbach and produced by director Wes Anderson, which won two awards at the Sundance Film Festival and was recognized on over 200 "Top 10 Lists".
Baldwin, who has a penchant for choosing original and eclectic projects, has starred in the screen adaptation of Noel Coward's RELATIVE VALUES with Steven Fry, Colin Firth and Julie Andrews; ONE EYED KING, an Irish Hell's Kitchen drama with Chazz Palminteri and Armand Assante; "YOU STUPID MAN," a romantic comedy starring Denise Richards and Milla Jovovich; THE BROTHERHOOD OF MURDER, a drama about a breakaway faction of the Aryan Nation with Peter Gallagher and Kelly Lynch as well as Universal's techno-thriller VIRUS with Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland. His other films include SHATTERED IMAGE, CURDLED, PYROMANIACS: A LOVE STORY, FAIR GAME, SLIVER, THREE OF HEARTS, BACKDRAFT, FLATLINERS, INTERNAL AFFAIRS, and THE PREPPY MURDER.
A native of Massapequa, New York, Baldwin graduated from State University of New York at Binghamton with a degree in Political Science. After studying acting for several years in New York, Baldwin launched his film career with Oliver Stone's BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY. Baldwin serves on the boards of: Project ALS, which raises funds to find a cure for Lou Gehrig's Disease; The Massapequa Community Fund, an endowment providing grants to local non-profits and scholarships to graduating seniors in Billy's childhood hometown, Massapequa, Long Island; Mercy Corps, an international relief organization; and The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund. Baldwin presently lives in New York with his wife Chynna Phillips, and his three children Jameson, Vance, and Brooke.
Alfredo's first feature film WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, written with Nat Moss (with additional dialogue by acclaimed Dominican fiction writer Junot Diaz), received distribution through Mac Releasing. It premiered in the first TriBeCa Film Festival and won a Special Mention for acting and directing. It has also won the Audience Award for Best Fiction Narrative Film from the IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival, the Grand Prize from the New York Latino Film Festival, Grand Prize at the 2002 Austin Film Festival, Grand Prize at the Cine Festival in San Antonio (the oldest Latino Film Festival), Best First Film in the Muestra Internacional de Cine en Santo Domingo (in the Dominican Republic), Best Regional Feature Film from the Rhode Island International Film Festival, Best Actor and Score at the Milan International Film Festival, among others. It also played in over 50 international film festivals, such as the San Sebastian International Film Festival, the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Hawaii International Film Festival, The Mar de la Plata International Film Festival, Festival of 3 Continents Film Festival in Nantes France. Alfredo was nominated for an Open Palm Award for Best Director from the 2003 IFP/Gotham Awards.
In 2000 Alfredo was part of the Sundance Filmmakers Lab with a script he co-wrote with Nat Moss, ANGEL. With ANGEL he got together with producers Peter Newman and Greg Johnson. He has also directed 4 short films. For the last two, NETO'S RUN and JOE'S EGG, he received the Directors Guild of America Best Latino Director Award in 1995 and 1999. Both films played and won awards at several domestic and international film festivals. ATOM FILMS optioned the rights to NETO'S RUN for theatrical, video and television distribution. Like NETO'S RUN, JOE'S EGG was purchased for distribution by SHORT TV and has played in several TV markets on a national level. Between JOE'S EGG and NETO'S RUN, Alfredo is the ONLY director to have ever won this award from the D.G.A. TWICE. His documentary short INTERIORS: THE DOORMAN was purchased by HBO Signature.
Alfredo directs commercials through La Banda Films, a production company in Los Angeles. He received his M.F.A. from the Film Division of Columbia University, where he specialized in Directing.
More recently Nat wrote the feature film ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN, directed by de Villa with cast that includes Heather Graham, Billy Baldwin, Dominic Chianese, Elizabeth Peña and Victor Rasuk. The film had its World Premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Nat was invited to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab with de Villa in January 2000 for their screenplay LITTLE ANGEL, which won the Best Screenplay prize at the 2001 New York International Latino Film Festival. A political speechwriter by day, Nat is the author of three books of nonfiction for young adults and has written on film for publications such as Vanity Fair and Film Comment magazines. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and two children.
More recently, John shot the Lodge Kerrigan film KEANE that played at the Telluride, Toronto, New York, and Cannes Film Festivals. When KEANE was released in September 2005, Ebert & Roeper lauded its "amazing camera work," while The National Catholic Reporter said, "If Mr. Lewis deserves an Oscar nomination for his ability to suggest the range of urban anxieties, recognition is also due to John Foster's hand-held camera work." Accordingly, John received his second Independent Spirit Award nomination for cinematography on KEANE. John's latest film is the drama ADRIFT IN MANHATTAN featuring Heather Graham and Billy Baldwin.
John's documentary work has not taken a back seat to his work on narrative features. Two of his earlier films, RESIDENT ALIEN and MY KNEES WERE JUMPING were released theatrically. OUTSIDE LOOKING IN and THE GREEN MONSTER were shown on PBS, INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY on HBO, and I SIT WHERE I WANT on Noggin. For The Learning Channel, John shot or produced six episodes of TRAUMA: LIFE IN THE E.R. and four episodes of MATERNITY WARD. A very powerful film about justice and race, THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT is premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2006 and will show on HBO.
Michael composed the world's first Concerto for Pedal Steel Guitar and Orchestra, which was premiered in Nashville in 2005. However, his best known contribution to western culture is for the Kit Kat "Gimme a Break" jingle. In a survey by the Univ. of Cincinnati, "Gimme A Break" was named one of the top three "earworms". (Earworms are tunes that get stuck in your head and won't leave you alone. They are considered a pathological condition.)
Last year he produced YELLOW, also directed by Alfredo de Villa, starring Roselyn Sanchez, DB Sweeny and Bill Duke. The film was acquired by Sony and released in 2007 theatrically and video. He also produced BACK IN THE DAY, one of the most successful DVD releases of recent years. PLAY THE GAME and EQUINOX are two films Steven is currently producing.
Steven is also a co-financier of two Showtime projects, TUDORS and OUR FATHERS. He also managed a film library with over 135 titles and financed and co-financed an additional 13 films. Steven works and lives in Los Angeles.
Current film and television projects being produced by Mr. Blum include: LIFE INTERRUPTED, the story of Spalding Gray, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and TRAIN CHOIR, a new film by Kelly Reichardt. Recent projects include LUSH LIFE — THE BILLY STRAYHORN STORY, directed by Robert Levi; NO JOKING, a half-hour special for The Sundance Channel celebrating the posthumous pardon of Lenny Bruce, directed by Bob Balaban; LOVE, LUDLOW a narrative feature that premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and OLD JOY directed by Kelly Reichardt, which was on over 30 national 2006 top-ten lists including the NY Times and Entertainment Weekly. Other credits include the PBS series THE UNITED STATES OF POETRY and WORDS IN YOUR FACE, also for PBS.
The management division manages actors including Dulé Hill (WEST WING), Kerry Washington (RAY, SAVE THE LAST DANCE), Victor Rasuk (RAISING VICTOR VARGAS, THE LORDS OF DOGTOWN), and Sarita Chouderay (KAMA SUTRA, SHE HATE ME). The division also manages writers and directors including Nicole Kassel (THE WOODSMAN). WSF/WSA Booking produces and/or books live theatrical productions around the country. Current projects include, new work by solo performers Eric Bogosian, Julia Sweeney, Danny Hoch and Reno, and readings and performances by David Sedaris, Dave Eggers & Sarah Vowell.