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CAST /CREW

Al Pacino....................................
Robin Williams............................
Hilary Swank..............................
Maura Tierney............................
Martin Donovan (II)....................
Nicky Katt..................................
Paul Dooley................................
Jonathan Jackson........................
Katharine Isabelle.......................
Oliver Zemen..............................
Larry Holden..............................
Jay Brazeau................................
Lorne Cardinal............................
Paula Shaw.................................
Crystal Lowe..............................
Tasha Simms..............................
Kerry Sandomirsky.....................
Ian Tracey..................................

Christopher Nolan.......................
Broderick Johnson......................
Andrew A. Kosove
Edward McDonnell
Paul J. Witt
Emma Thomas
Ben Cosgrove (asc)
Steven P. Wegner (asc)
George Clooney (exc)
Kim Roth (exc)
Charles J. D. Schlissel (exc)
Steven Soderbergh (exc)
Tony Thomas (exc)
Hilary Seitz.................................
Nikolaj Frobenius
Erik SkjoldbjŠrg
Dody Dorn.................................
Walter Pfister..............................
Tish Monaghan...........................
Nathan Crowley..........................
David Julyan...............................

Det. Will Dormer
Walter Finch
Det. Ellie Burr
Rachel Clement
Hap Eckhart
Fred Duggar
Chief Charles Nyback
Randy Stetz
Tanya Freckle
Pilot
Farrell
Francis
Rich
Coroner
Kay Connell
Mrs. Connell
Trish Eckhart
Warfield

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photo by Rob McEwan
(Hilary Swank, Martin Donovan and Al)

 

 

ARTICLES / NEWS

Insomnia is now available on DVD. You can order it at Amazon.com   (in widescreen or full screen format)

 

Interview with Robin Williams (Click here to go to the original page with pictures.)

(thanks Anne for this info)

This was a different type of role for you. Was that part of the reason why you took it?

Oh yes, and to work with Al Pacino and Christopher Nolan, that's a nice triple bill. And to work in Alaska. If you can go up there during avalanche season, don't miss it. That's a good time to go up there. It was a great combo of people. Those three - with Hilary Swank - really made it.

Was it difficult to put aside the jokes while filming "Insomnia?"

No, because you use them in-between. When you are shooting on a movie like "Insomnia" where people do get tired, you want to keep them going. There's only so much craft service you can do. Then we had these wild parties in Alaska because they drink something called…they Hydro-ize you there which is 175-180 proof. Do the math, that's a lot of alcohol.

You're actually doing a lot of dark roles all in a row.
Yes, a lot of them.

Why is that?

I don't know. They offered them.

And you have "One Hour Photo" next?
Yes, and it's even creepier than this.

Is this by choice?
Yes, rather than subconscious. It's by choice. They came along. The idea of playing these parts [was] because people were saying, "You should try them" and I said, "I'd love to." It's nice to have the opportunity especially with Hilary Swank and Mr. Pacino and Mr. Nolan. The bet was an easier bet to make.

What was like working opposite Al Pacino?
It was great to work with him. It's like playing with the best. It's like hitting balls with Andre Agassi and you can get it back over the net. He's the best. He's also a very sweet man - maybe he doesn't want me to tell people that so people don't… But he's a good guy. I got the chance to work with him and if I get to work with Robert Duvall, then I've got the entire "Godfather" collection.
(At this point, Williams goes off topic a bit to discuss Yoda). It's like "Hidden Tiger, Crouching Hamster." That was my favorite scene in that movie.
(Going back to "Insomnia") Working with him was the best. Playing with him was like great jazz, and you just knew it. It hit the right way.

 

Interview with Hilary Swank (Click here to go to the original page with pictures.)

(thanks Anne for this info)

Did you have to do any research for your role as a police officer?

You know what? With this character, she's just a small-town girl and I'm a small-town girl so it wasn't hard for me to conjure that up. I think I just tried to get under the skin of what makes her tick and just worked with Christopher and his vision with the film. She's a rookie detective and she looks up to Al Pacino who's a seasoned detective. That wasn't too hard for me being kind of a rookie actress looking up to a seasoned actor.

What was your experience like working with Al Pacino?

Amazing. He is absolutely, absolutely incredible.

 

Pacino Drawn to Duality in 'Insomnia', Wed May 22, 2002, ET By Douglas J. Rowe, AP Entertainment Writer NEW YORK (AP)

(thanks Lisa Wollney for this info)
   
It sounds like Al Pacino; the voice is raspy, with all of its cadences and varying volume. It looks like Al Pacino, even though his spikey haircut is dyed blond. But Al Pacino says it isn't him.
    He's not himself in interviews.
    And in this regard, he maintains, he's like his character in the new movie "Insomnia" an LAPD detective haunted by a lapse in judgment.
    "I love what he says: `There's things that you can feel when you're doing 'em: It's not just you.' Somebody else could get away with it. But if you do it ... it's going to catch up to you. It doesn't fit. And I like the idea of this character doing something that he knew (was wrong) but he had some high moral reason for doing it," Pacino says, "and he pays for it."
    Without going into detail, Pacino says he's had the same experience, professionally and personally.
    He's done things and thought: "`I'm doing something that I'm either supposed to do or what's expected of me. But it's NOT me.' And it always gets me in trouble."
    Or if it doesn't, he feels as though he got away with something.
    "Like this interview, for instance. I HOPE! I HOPE!!"
    The intensely private actor may or may not be joking, adding:
    "As a friend of mine says, `What anybody says about me is none of my business.'"
    Pacino, 62, typically strikes the old straight-arm Heisman trophy pose in response to personal inquiries. (Never married, he has an adolescent daughter, and he and actress Beverly D'Angelo had twins in January 2001.)
    But when it comes to talking about acting, great writing and his love for both, he's gracious and forthcoming.
    So just when you think you're out, he pulls you back in.
    Pacino says he took this latest role for two reasons: The movie was directed by Christopher Nolan, whom he admired for "his momentous `Memento'," and he got to play someone with a good and bad side and a conscience.
    "I felt there was something there to act," he says.
    Long before he became an eight-time Academy Award nominee, who won best actor for his bitter, blind retired Army colonel in 1992's "Scent of a Woman," Pacino worked as a mover, and thought that was the hardest job he ever had.
    "But I think making movies tops that," he says now. "You really have to love what you're doing to do it. As a matter of fact, I more than enjoy it. I think I need to do it. I just think I need to do it ... When I don't need to do it, I won't."
    Growing up in the Bronx with his mother and grandparents his parents split when he was 2 little Alfredo was always acting.
    "I didn't even know what I was doing. I just found that I was doing it," Pacino says, recalling that he mimicked Al Jolson records and re-enacted all the parts in the movies his mother brought him to.
    And he kept doing it. Even though he grew up poor and had to quit the noted High School for the Performing Arts to work, he took acting classes and began to get theater parts.
    In 1966, the Actors Studio accepted him; two years later, he won an Obie. He won the first of two Tonys in 1969, when he also made his screen debut in "Me, Natalie." His first lead film role came in 1971's "The Panic in Needle Park" a year before he exploded into the American pop-cult consciousness as Michael Corleone in "The Godfather," for which he received a supporting-actor Oscar nomination.
    He got four more Oscar nods in the '70s for "Serpico," "The Godfather: Part II," "Dog Day Afternoon" and "... And Justice for All."
    While continuing to work on stage, he had no hit films during the '80s until 1989's "Sea of Love," co-starring Ellen Barkin. Since then, he's starred in such movies as "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Heat" and "The Insider."
    In "Insomnia," Pacino's Will Dormer is sent to Alaska to investigate a 17-year-old girl's murder. He can't sleep because it's always daylight. And both the lack of sleep and an Internal Affairs investigation back in Los Angeles start to catch up to him.
    The film co-stars two other Oscar winners, Robin Williams as the murder suspect and Hilary Swank as a policewoman who admires Dormer. He mentors his protege by advising: "Small things, remember?"
    That's advice Pacino has followed throughout his career. His minimalist transformation from a heroic, clean-cut young soldier to a ruthless Mafia don helps make "The Godfather" one of the great movies.
    "With just the slightest nuance just a look or a small gesture he conveys the most complex human struggle," says "Insomnia" director Nolan.
    Since most of Pacino's movie roles have been darkly dramatic (his hammy turn in 1990's "Dick Tracy" being a notable exception), it's funny to hear him recall an early affinity for comedy. A couple things got in the way, however:
    "I didn't want to be funny on cue. I didn't know how to be funny on cue."
    "Then I found a kind of solace and joy in playing in great material, and being involved in great writing, whether I was reading it or acting it, or being a part of it in some way. And I think that changed my life. And that was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me," says Pacino, whose next film will be the adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Angels in America."
    It's like musicians who get gratification from playing the great composers, he says. "The greater the material, the more interesting and fun and heartfelt is the experience."
    Improvisation is fine "if it works and hits the celluloid." But it rarely does, he thinks. "To me when I see an improvised scene on screen, that's what it looks like."
    Generally, nothing beats knowing the material, he says. "There is nothing like repeats, repeats, repeats until you finally find a way."
    Just look at the sports world, he suggests. He's "stunned" by how little great athletes actually do on the field or on the court. But that's the thing: "the economy."
    Actors similarly strive to "get to the point when we do a scene and take the acting out of it."
    It's what familiarity with the material accomplishes.
    "You can't be economic unless you know what you're doing," he says. "It's called `being in the zone'."

 

The Goodfather, By Bill Hoffman

    (thanks Lisa Wollney for this info)
    He's played troubled cops, ruthless mobsters and tragic drug addicts, but Al Pacino took on his favorite role as dear old Dad yesterday.
    The Oscar-winning star and his longtime love Beverly D'Angelo accompanied their cute-as-a-button twins, Olivia and Anton, for a stroll on the Upper West Side. And they happily stopped along the sidewalk to pose for a Post photographer.
    Anton, in a baseball cap, tightly clutched his Daddy's hand, but Olivia, a touch more independent, kept to herself, prompting Mommy to hold her forearm.
    The twins - who turn 16 months old on Sunday - are the first kids for D'Angelo, 46, and the second and third for Pacino, 62, who has a daughter from a previous relationship.
    As if directing the photo shoot, a beaming Pacino told our lensman, "I think you've got some really nice pictures." Then the happy family headed into Central Park, with Anton sitting on his father's shoulders and Olivia getting a bird's-eye view atop Mom.
    "You could tell that Al really adores his kids and he's completely crazy about Beverly," one eyewitness told The Post. "He and Beverly seem made for each other. And it's clear that they love New York."
    Once in the park, the couple paused for a kiss together. Then they watched in delight as Anton playfully stuck his tongue out at his sister, who smiled and cooed back.
    When Anton became unsteady on his feet on the soft ground, his father quickly grabbed his hands and helped him walk. With such a gentle touch, it was hard to believe this was the same man who portrayed ruthless mob boss Michael Corleone and bloodthirsty cocaine king Tony Montana.
    Aside from doing his daddy duty, Pacino is starring in the thriller "Insomnia," which opens today. He plays a detective sent to a small Alaska town to probe the gruesome murder of a teenage girl and begins a tense game of cat and mouse with the prime suspect, portrayed by Robin Williams.
    The Bronx-born actor, who shot to stardom in "The Godfather," is also portraying the late New York lawyer Roy Cohn in a movie version of the hit Broadway show "Angels in America."
    Meanwhile, D'Angelo, of the National Lampoon "Vacation" movies, is starring in "Where's Angelo" with Michael Madsen.

 

Taking chances, Actor has 4 films waiting for release, By Terry Lawson, Knight Ridder Newspapers (See the original here with a nice picture of Al)

    (thanks Lisa Wollney and Frank Campailla for this info)
    Regardless of what Winona Ryder or anybody else might say, Al Pacino is not an insomniac.
    "That would be just a little too convenient, wouldn't it?" said Pacino, responding to Ryder's recent intimation that the two are insomniacs who share regular late-night conversations. Pacino plays a Los Angeles cop with a severe case of the stuff in the thriller "Insomnia," which opens Friday, but he said he sleeps just fine, thanks.
    "Sure, I have my dark nights, like everybody else," he said. "But it's always temporary. The only thing keeping me awake lately are the little ones."
    In January 2001, Pacino became a father for the second and third time when his longtime companion, Beverly D'Angelo, gave birth to twins, Anton and Olivia. Pacino, never married, has a 12-year-old daughter, Julie Marie, from a previous relationship.
    "Without sounding too corny, it gives you a reason to get up in the morning," said Pacino of fatherhood at age 62. "It gives you this weird kind of energy that I had almost forgotten about."
    Not that Pacino seems short of energy, at least in his professional life. "Insomnia" is one of two Pacino pictures on a summer schedule otherwise cluttered with sequels and spectacle; "Simone," in which he co-stars with Ryder, follows in August.
    Four other Pacino films - "People I Know," "The Recruit" (formerly "The Farm"), "Chinese Coffee" (which Pacino also directed) and "Gigli" - are all in the can awaiting release.
    "It just gets out of hand," Pacino said about his workload. "I have new respect for Michael Caine. I used to joke that he made so many movies we were going to take out a personal ad that said 'Couple seeking couple to see Michael Caine movies together.'"
    But what happens is, you get opportunities you just have to grab, like 'Insomnia.' I wasn't looking to make another movie. Then I saw 'Memento' and I went, 'Oh, yeah, I gotta work with that guy.' Who knows if I'll ever have the opportunity again?"
    "That guy" is Christopher Nolan, the 32-year-old Englishman who directed and co-wrote the ingenious "Memento," an independently made thriller that got a pass from distributors after it was completed in 1999. When it was finally released by a small company formed expressly for that purpose, "Memento" became one of the most talked-about and overanalyzed films since "Pulp Fiction."
    Nolan found himself being offered various opportunities to make his first studio film, and he chose to remake a Norwegian film starring Stellan Skarsgard as a sleep-deprived big-city cop assisting in a murder investigation in a remote city in northern Norway."
    When I saw the movie in my head, I saw Al in the role," Nolan said, so he sent Pacino a print of "Memento" to show his stuff."
    He didn't sign on right away; he had some reservations about the script, and so did I. But we kept talking until we worked it out.
    "Depending on whose story you believe, the eight-time Academy Award nominee either jumped on board (his version) or eventually was seduced (Nolan's version). But only after he had committed himself did Pacino seem to comprehend fully that the drama was dependent on the story taking place where the sun never sets. In the remake, that would be Alaska.
    "I was like, 'Where does it say Alaska?' " Pacino said. "They said, 'Al, you read the script.' I said, 'Yeah, but I'm no good at reading between the lines.' They said, 'Al, it's in Alaska. That's the whole story. A disoriented cop who can't sleep because the sun never sets. There's nothing to read between. Dress warm.'
    Making things somewhat easier, Pacino said, was the fact that he would be playing a cop, which meant he could forgo the research he's usually compelled to do before making a movie.
    "When I did 'Serpico,' I lived like a cop for months. I went on patrol; I hung with the guys; I wanted to get it right, by which I mean I needed it to feel real for me. I still do that for some parts, but I've played enough cops by now I should get a pension.
    "The fact that we have long been comfortable with Al Pacino, Nolan said, gives resonance to his "Insomnia" role.
    "Sometimes baggage is bad for an actor, but this is one of those movies where it's a decided plus," Nolan said. "We all have a history with Al Pacino, so we know he's earned the right to be weary. The character Al plays in this movie is not unlike who he is, from my limited experience working with him. He's seen it all, done it all, but he's retained this integrity that makes it impossible for him to just go through the motions. No matter what befalls him, he has to get it right.
    "That's who he is as an actor. He has this uncanny sense of narrative, and you can't slough him off with the usual promises that it will all make sense in the end or get fixed later. He wants it right now, while he's still around to make sure it's right."
    Pacino said he was drawn to the idea of working with Robin Williams, "one of those people who's just totally attuned to human nature. Have you seen what he does onstage? This is a guy who just pays attention to everything.
    "It's great to act with somebody like that, but it also makes a movie shoot in Alaska more enjoyable, because you have someone to talk to about something besides gross points and what roles they're up for, you know? He just synthesizes everything. It makes those long days go faster."
    Not that Pacino's complaining about Alaska. One day, he said, he witnessed an avalanche, "which was like 300 yards away, and which was just spectacular in that force-of-nature of way, where you know it could be devastating, destructive, but it has this eerie beauty. All those rainbow colors, it's just surreal.
    "In the mornings, we'd go to work, there'd be grizzlies in the road. And the light, it was so spectacular you wish you were a painter. Then I'd remember watching 'Memento,' and I'd think, well, that's why Chris wanted to make this. He thinks in visuals. I do the talking; he paints the pictures."
   Pacino says he's looking to do a little less talking in the immediate future. Having worked almost nonstop for the past decade, he wants to take an extended break. His only obligation, he says, is to help sell "Simone," a picture he says "I can't wait for you to see."
    In his first comic role since 1979's legal-system satire ". . . And Justice for All," Pacino plays a movie producer who loses his female star before his new film goes into production. He replaces her with an unknown starlet who becomes a sensation -- and who was, unbeknownst to moviegoers, created in a computer.
    "It's unlike anything I've done before, and I'm really anxious to see how people react to it. So I'll get that out, and then I have no obligations for a while. It's funny, but the world just seems to open up to you when you don't have every minute planned.
    "In the old days, sometimes I'd go two years between a picture, and I wouldn't know what to do with myself. And when you're making films, you're really being paid all that money for waiting, and it took me a long time to be able to use that downtime productively, to use it for other parts of your life."
    "It's taken a long time, but I've just about learned how to quit flapping my arms and float. It's good to float."

 

Father role Pacino's greatest, By Louis B. Hobson, Sun Media

    (thanks Lisa Wollney for this info)
    NEW YORK -- Al Pacino can pinpoint the day he first realized he was famous. It was not long after he'd played Michael Corleone for the second time in The Godfather: Part II in 1975.
   "I was walking down a street in New York and this gorgeous woman came up to me and said: 'It's really great to meet you, Michael. I thought 'OK, I'm not Michael Corleone, but then again maybe I am.' I thought I'd better go home and have a cup of tea and mull it over."
    Pacino then was a reluctant film star, mulling over the effects his few film appearances were having on his career.
    Hailed for his powerful screen presence, he protested that he hated making movies. Now, some 35 movies later, Pacino at age 62 says his views have mellowed.
    "Movies are all about waiting. When I was a younger actor, waiting was impossible. Because movies meant doing a few lines and then waiting for the rest of the day to do a few more, I wouldn't do films in my early career.
    "Now I've found a way to deal with the waiting time. I have a life now that takes place during those down times."
    He's filming Angels In America, his sixth straight film without a break and raising his 18-month-old twin son and daughter with longtime companion Beverly D'Angelo.
    "I'm not sure how it all happened, but I did all these movies back-to-back and had babies in the meantime. I guess you could say it's been one of the more prolific times of my life."
    Ironically at the time he has come to terms with the process, Pacino has a new reason to be wary of making movies.
    "I have three children who I want to spend as much quality time with as possible and movies require me to leave them for extended periods. That's hard."
    In addition to his twins, Pacino has a 13-year-old daughter, Julie Marie, with acting coach Jan Tarrant.
    For the thriller Insomnia, out today, Pacino spent two months in Vancouver, northern British Columbia and Alaska.
    "Because I was popping down to L.A. to see the new babes, I didn't get to spend as much time as I usually like to when I'm filming in Canada to soak up the local atmosphere."
    There were some memorable moments, especially in Alaska: "One day they called me out of my camper to watch an avalanche that was occurring only a few hundred yards away. Now, that was really surreal. I kept thinking I ought to go back to my camper for safety, but I was mesmerized."
    Pacino finds it increasingly difficult to deal with his iconic status in the film industry.
    "All I can say is that I've been around a while. I'm still here. I'm still standing. I'm still working ... I know I'm very fortunate to still be making movies and being offered so many great roles."
    In Insomnia, portraying L.A. homicide detective Will Dormer on assignment in Alaska required some extremely physical scenes for Pacino.
    He doesn't normally work out, "so when I see a role is going to be physical, I start preparing. If I actually had a choice I'd rather check into a spa for a few weeks of massages and prayers.
    "There were definitely times during Insomnia that I couldn't believe I was doing all that running and jumping. I'd look down at my legs and realize they were moving -- and pretty fast at that."

 

"My Pal Al" by Michael Sampson, (JoBlo.com)

 

'Memento' Director Talks About His New Film, 4-17-2002 - 3:50 PM, Madblast (I don't know the author)

(thanks Lisa for this info)

MadBlast: Why choose Insomnia for your follow up to Memento? What about the original appealed to you?
Christopher Nolan:
I think it has a fascinating and very evocative psychological situation. A great moral dilemma that is taken one direction in the original movie, and I think it’s a great movie, but as I saw it, it occurred to me that you could by changing the characters take the same situation, the same intense psychological relationship between the two main characters and take it in a rather different direction and create a different kind of moral paradox.

MB: Was there a lot of pressure to follow up Memento with an original? Were people surprised you were making a remake?
CN:
To be honest I started work on Insomnia some months before Memento was even released in theatres, so I wasn’t really having to view Insomnia necessarily as a follow-up in the sense that people would question it because no one really knew the extent Memento would get out there at the time. I thought I should be free to do whatever inspired me and took my fancy. I found the original movie very inspiring.

MB: Did you find that working with a much larger budget liberating or constricting in terms of having so many choices your third time as a director.
CN: I found that each film I’ve made has had its budget increased sort of exponentially, and I’ve found the process reassuringly similar at every stage. Cause at the end of the day it always just seems to be about the shots that you get - what’s actually going to be there on screen , so all the other stuff, a lot of which is costing the money in terms of doing something on a larger scale tends to be stuff that doesn't necessarily effect the creative process of imagining a series of images, or creating a narrative.

MB: Did you have Al Pacino and Robin Williams in mind when you first started working on Insomnia?
CN: Well I try not to when I’m working at a development or script stage, I try not to have actors in mind because I think it limits your writing a little bit. You start writing other characters that they have played so forth. You know I tried and Hillary and I were very much in agreement with me she, had tried to imagine the characters as real people. So that is how I first thought of it, but right from the beginning my concept and luckily Warner Bros and Alcon felt the same way, you had to have in the Will Dormer role you had to have a substantial star. Somebody with audience association, someone with a familiarity to the audience to give them a kind of built-in sympathy and built in appeal so that you can start the story and take it somewhere rather unexpected. So Pacino absolutely fit that because he has played these great cop figures in the past and my idea, of the different direction take the story and to play up on the iconic cop figure of so many studio movies. Al in addition to just being one of the finest actors who ever lived is someone who has this great star appeal that I felt the character demanded to draw the audience in to this very dark situation. Then of course when you’ve got someone like Al Pacino in the center of your movie when you try to think of an adversary it’s gonna have to be somebody with a very substantial presence, to stand opposite, this character really gives him a run for his money. So Robin Williams has this tremendous charisma and tremendous audience association - it was terrific to turn on its head. He’s playing an incredibly dark but very realistic dark character that no one has seen him do before.

MB: Did Robin come to you with the project, or were you looking to cast someone against type.
CN: Well I felt he was a very daring idea but I forget who exactly it came from our side or their side first, but I hadn’t really dared hope he would play something so different than he had done in the past, as it turned out that he was looking for that kind of challenge right now.
    So it just came together wonderfully. I think Robin was very excited about the idea of working with Al Pacino. They hadn’t worked together but had admired each others work.


photo by Rob McEwan

MB: How much of a role do you think guilt plays in the psyche driving the characters?
CN: To me the film is about responses to guilt, and you’ve go two characters who deal with guilt in opposite ways, in fact that’s what makes the relationship between them quite interesting.
    I think on thematic level the film says something about the role of guilt in defining morality or suggesting morality. Both characters in some sense have transgressed to cause their reacting to guilt.

MB: Did you find it a challenge to get a such a dark feel from the film while shooting in daylight all the time? The juxtaposition of having everything being discovered in the daylight having such a dark feel.
CN: It occurred to me, and I discussed this a lot with the DP Wally Pfister, that having daylight constantly present in the background of scene actually allows you to create even darker images than if you would if you were shooting at night, cause If you are shooting at night you are effectively having to use artificial illumination, you are having to put lamps on in the room. That kind of thing. Whereas what we were sort of trying to create was these dark interiors where somewhere in the back of the room there is a window with some sort of light peeping in and that allows you to create very dark silhouettes, and forms, interesting textures and depths. Within a very dark interior -- effectively a kind of space where somebody backs away and hides from the light. So in that way there are all kinds of senses you can create a darker film during daylight hours than you can at night.

MB: Do you have people still ask you constantly about Memento?
CN: Sure, People ask me about it all the time but recently people have been a bit more accepting of the enigma in the story.

MB: Insomnia and Memento are quite serious and dark - do you want to make a comedy someday?
CN: Well I think both of them are quite funny, maybe no one else agrees. I‘d love to do a comedy. I ‘d like to do all kinds of movies, except maybe musicals, any other type of movie is of interest to me. I do find a lot of what goes on in films like Memento and Insomnia to be darkly serious, they are very straight faced films but they get a lot of laughter at screenings.

MB: How was directing Insomnia different than a story you have written? Is that what you want to do in the future?
CN: I wrote my last two films, this is the first time I‘ve done something that was written by somebody else. I think In the future I’d be open to both ways of working. There’s something quite liberating about taking somebody else’s script on because you can be a lot more objective about a pretty advanced draft whereas when you are writing yourself you get very much wrapped up inside it…and its difficult to maintain focus. There is something quite nice about coming to something in a later stage and then apply your own creative process as a filmmaker to something you have already been able to judge the merits of in a quite objective fashion.

MB: Did Robin stay in character on set?
CN: Robin is irrepressibly funny, he’s constantly making jokes and like a lot of good actors he is able to separate himself from the character he is playing except right before a the camera starts to roll.
    I haven’t worked with Robin before - I found him to be very funny a lot of the time. I am told by him and the people around him that he was a little more subdued on this film and he definitely had to go to a pretty dark place, I suppose bound to have a little less joking around going on. He has such an incredibly brilliant mind, he’s constantly coming up with observations and witticisms and all that. I think you are just always going to get some of that from Robin.

MB: Any plans to collaborate with your brother on any future projects.
CN: Yes, we are working together on something right now but the Howard Hughes biopic is going be the next thing I am going to start writing.

MB: Any actor or actress you would want to work with next?
CN: Having just worked with Pacino, Robin and Hillary, I’m feeling pretty satified with the actors I have been fortunate enough to work with.( laughs) I’ve been very lucky in that regard and working the previous film with the cast of Memento with Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano and Carrie-Anne Moss. I don’t know but I’ve set the bar pretty high for my self on who I work with next but it is a great position to be in.

MB: How much do use the Internet?
CN: My wife is online all the time, I’m not hugely into computers really. I’ve used the internet for research, and it’s a very useful tool for that. I think I get the most use for communication in terms of it in contacting people by emails and such. But its our experience on Memento was that the Internet was very incredibly useful way of getting word out about the film out there, to small film lovers it was immensely valuable. , But I actually left it to my younger brother, he’s the computer literate of the two of us.

 

DVD Empire, Interview with Christopher Nolan, ę1997-2002 Right Ascension, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Wednesday, October 23, 2002

    Christopher Nolan Is one of the brightest new young stars in Hollywood. He started making films using his father’s super 8mm Camera at the age of seven, and that childhood hobby became his full-time career as an adult. He made his first film FOLLOWING in 1998 and followed that up with MEMENTO, which became the surprise hit of the year 2000.
    Known for his unique style which includes deep characterization and well written plots, Nolan was considered the obvious choice to direct the American remake of the film INSOMNIA which had been a hit years before for Norwegian Director Erik SkjoldbjŠrg. Nolan’s dream was further realized when the film was cast with Academy Award Winners Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank and this powerful cast combined with excellent direction to make one of the best thrillers in recent years.
    We recently got a chance to spend ten minutes with Christopher Nolan and he had some nice things to say about the film as well as working with such a powerful cast.

DVD Empire: I’d like to start out by saying that I just watched INSOMNIA for the third time last night and it’s a magnificent film and a very fitting remake. Now the way the story was originally told, you went to Warner to try and negotiate the rights to write the film. How did this turn into a directing gig?

Christopher: Actually I never really wanted to write the film. I hate writing, it’s a boring job and I’m never too happy when I am asked to do it. But I was willing to take a shot at it. But when I got the directing job, they hired Hillary Seitz to write the script and I loved the job she did. I did want to put a few things in there to make the characters a little more accessible, but she worked in my ideas effortlessly and I’m very pleased with the script she did. I think that her script is one of the main reasons the film worked so well.

DVD Empire: So you weren’t disappointed at all that you didn’t get a shot at writing it?

Christopher: No, as I said I hate to write but I was able to work closely with Hillary and she added in several touches that I wanted in the final product.

DVD Empire: And I have to add that the new twists you both added to the film made it a more complete film. The first film is beautiful but these new touches seem to make it easier to follow.

Christopher: Yes, the first film was beautiful but it had a certain coldness to it whereas this new film is more character driven. You see what is wrong with the detective but I wanted to make it easier for the viewer to understand why he was having such a hard time dealing with his sleeplessness. There was more to the story that the actual location and I wanted to make it clear what was actually bothering him.

DVD Empire: The films that you have made so far all seem to have a more psychological edge to them and that seems to be your forte. Is this a trend you plan to continue?

Christopher: Well, yes I would like to focus more on what makes a person do what they do. The situations themselves are usually easily understood but there’s a certain uniqueness to understanding why that person does what they do. In this film, it was the fact that Dormer was dealing with a crisis that made his INSOMNIA happen even easier and that is fascinating to me as a filmmaker. I also liked doing the similar thing in MEMENTO where the memory loss was actually a character in the film.

DVD Empire: And that’s something you achieved very well in both films. The characters were well written and the direction really brought something to their roles. And speaking of characters, what was it like to work with three Academy Award Winners on your first big budget film?

Christopher: It was absolutely perfect. Al Pacino had something that he brought to the film, as did Robin Williams and Hilary Swank and they were all absolute professionals to work with.

DVD Empire: Both Al Pacino and Robin Williams have different personalities and approaches to filmmaking. Did that present any problems to you on the set?

Christopher: No, there were no problems, but it is true that they have different approaches. Al is the consummate professional. He takes his lines and goes off to the side to get into character whereas Robin is a bit more of a joker. I have been told that Robin was a bit more subdued on the set but once the cameras started rolling, they were both perfectly serious. Hilary also had a third way of working and she went off and did her thing but when the three came together, it was all business, and it shows on the final product that these three are great actors.

DVD Empire: I had read a rumor that Harrison Ford was originally approached to play Will Dormer. Was that true?

Christopher: No, I was with the project from day one and the only names approached were the ones in the final film. In my mind I always saw Al Pacino in the role of Will Dormer. His past work proved that he could handle the role of a professional policeman haunted by guilt and other things and this was something he did in other films like SERPICO and HEAT. I never really saw anyone else in the role and I feel the same about the rest of the cast. Robin really proved himself with his character and it took something to stand toe to toe with Al Pacino, and Hilary also held her own against these two men.

DVD Empire: This was perhaps the start of Robin Williams dark side with the role that he continues in ONE-HOUR PHOTO?

Christopher: No, He was always capable of playing roles other than comedic ones and I also was pleased when they brought him aboard. It wasn’t stunt casting at all. We needed someone who could fill the role of the killer without making it too typical and Robin brought his humanity to the role.

DVD Empire: Did working with those three Academy Awards winners add any pressure on the set for you?

Christopher: No, You would think it would, but the fact that they were all so professional left me alone to do my job. In fact it was that professional attitude that made it easier for me to do my job. The fact that they worked so well made it easier for me to show some of the other details such as the effect INSOMNIA has on the characters. It was hard for me at first to figure out what to do to show the effects of five sleepless days on the character but Pacino made it easier. Hillary Seitz also added in some details into the script that pressed the point home, and that really made you understand what Dormer was going through in the hell that he was in.

DVD Empire: And not to sell yourself short, but there were also some little tricks that showed what it meant for him to be sleepless. There were quite a few little tidbits that really drove the point home and they seem to director related.

Christopher: Thank you, And I was prepared to put in more if necessary. I had other ideas of how to show the effects the long day was having on him, but I was satisfied with the dailies and the work that both Pacino and Williams were doing, so I decided to leave it alone.

DVD Empire: Let’s talk about the disc for a minute. I really enjoyed the shooting script commentary on the disc and that was a good tool for filmmakers to be. You did something similar with MEMENTO in making the special edition accessible to people really interested in the filming process. How much of that was your idea?

Christopher: None of it actually, that was Warner’s idea and they approached me with it and I thought it was a great idea. Not too many people understand that films are shot out of sequence, and it was nice to show the film in that order with an explanation as to why it was so. I was asked repeatedly about MEMENTO and it’s odd sequencing when it was finished and that also was a good idea to show it how it was originally done. In INSOMNIA, it was a perfect idea because Dormer shows the effect of the long day at different times during the movie and the out of sequence shots show how Pacino looks more ragged and tired and it was nice to explain how and why I did that.

DVD Empire: Do you plan to keep making special edition commentaries like this in the future?

Christopher: Actually I don’t really like doing commentaries unless I have something to add to the film. These two commentaries were fine to do because they had some value to them but I don’t want to get into a mode where I’m simply talking about what’s on the screen. I actually find that kind of boring and I would rather do something a little novel to help out future filmmakers. This particular commentary fits that mold and that’s why I was so pleased to do it.

DVD Empire: Well, I see we are running low on time so my final question is to ask what’s next for you, and what’s next on your plate?

Christopher: Well currently I am writing a script on the life of Howard Hughes and Jim Carrey is attached to the project and I hope to start shooting that next. I’m excited about this film because Hughes was such an enigma and Carrey will be a perfect fit for the role.

DVD Empire: So this is official?

Christopher: Well, it’s been announced in the trades so it’s official in that respect, as to what actually will happen who knows but I am looking forward to the film and I do hope Jim will be able to make time for it.

DVD Empire: Well that seems to be all the time we have. I just want to wrap up by saying that INSOMNIA was a great film and the DVD is something worth seeing. It’s also been a pleasure to speak to you and I wish you the best of luck with your future projects, particularly the Howard Hughes biography, and I’ll look forward to that sometime in the future as well as some of your other projects.


Premiere Magazine Previews

     Following his acclaimed Memento, director Nolan now tells a story the old-fashioned way: from start to finish. This remake of a 1998 Norwegian film, which starred Stellan Skarsgard, is set in a sleepy Alaskan town (literally sleepy - the sun is out at night, causing restlessness and, yep, insomnia). Pacino is a detective sent up from L.A. to investigate a gruesome murder. Along the way, he gets ensnared in a game of cat and mouse with the prime suspect (Williams, who's been diverging lately from his usual benevolent roles. Swank is a bright-eyed young detective looking into the death of Pacino's partner. Executive producers George Clooney and Seven Soderbergh teamed up with two executive producers of "The Golden Girls" (yes, The Golden Girls), Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas, to make this chilling thriller. (Susannah Gora, Premiere Magazine, May 2002 issue)


Robin Williams Playing Dark Characters, Fri Apr 12, 7:13 AM ET 


photo by Rob McEwan
(Robin Williams and Pacino)

   LOS ANGELES (AP) - Robin Williams, who is best-known for playing sympathetic, lovable characters, says his next two films, "Insomnia" and "One Hour Photo," are dark thrillers.
    "For me, it is like Picasso's blue period. I do a dark period now. I'm going into my orange period next," the 49-year-old actor told reporters, using an exaggerated French accent.
    Williams plays a murder suspect opposite Al Pacino in "Insomnia," scheduled for release next month. In the upcoming "One Hour Photo," he's a lonely guy working at a photo shop who dangerously fixates on a family.
    "These have been dark movies. Really strange, bizarre pieces that are dark. But also, if you keep doing dark, dark characters, then the surprise value is gone, so there will be the opportunity to find something else," he said.
    Williams' films include "Death to Smoochy," "Patch Adams," "Good Will Hunting," "Mrs. Doubtfire" and
"Dead Poets Society."

 

Nolan Invited to DGA Dinner Table;   Sophomore Nominated for Top Director

    (thanks Anne for this info)

   Honors, (indieWIRE: 01.23.02) --The Directors Guild of America announced its five nominees for outstanding directorial achievement in feature film yesterday, giving Memento a major shot in the arm. Sophomore feature filmmaker Christopher Nolan was nominated for the best director award alongside a host of seasoned directors. Joining Nolan are Ron Howard for "A Beautiful Mind,"  Peter Jackson for "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," Baz Luhrmann for "Moulin Rouge," and Ridley Scott for "Black Hawk Down."
    The nominations will certainly give Oscar prognosticators something to chew on. The DGA passed over Robert Altman for "Gosford Park," winner of the Golden Globe award on Sunday night. It also overlooked David Lynch for "Mulholland Drive," Joel Coen for "The Man Who Wasn't There," and Todd Field for "In The Bedroom," to mention a few of the movies that have been big this awards season.

    Reached yesterday as he was finishing the mix on his next feature, Insomnia, Nolan was expectedly honored by the nomination. "I am incredibly delighted, its a huge honor," Nolan told indieWIRE yesterday, "Particularly because it is an award given by other directors and the DGA."
    The director explained that the new project, a studio effort that stars Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank, is set to open on Memorial Day. Among the psychological thriller's executive producers are Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney. Memento, Nolan's $4 million follow-up to "Following," has already earned more than $25 million at the domestic box office. "(It) definitely exceeded our expectations," Nolan added during our conversation, "(The nomination) is a wonderful confirmation of how broad and how wide the reach for the film has been."  
    The awards will be presented at the 54th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, March 9th in Los Angeles. [Eugene Hernandez]

 

Pacino Strikes Fear Into Werewolf, By Louis B. Hobson, Calgary Sun, Thursday, May 10, 2001

    There's something more terrifying for a werewolf than the little purple-hooded flower known as wolf's bane. Try an encounter with Al Pacino.
    In the edgy werewolf movie Ginger Snaps, which opens tomorrow, Vancouver actress Katharine Isabelle plays a high school senior who transforms into a werewolf after being bitten by one.
    Isabelle is currently filming the tense police drama Insomnia with Pacino, Hilary Swank, Robin Williams and Jonathan Jackson.
    Pacino plays a homicide detective tracking the killer of a young woman.
    "I've only done one day with Pacino and all he had to do was make eye contact with me from about 15 feet  away. I could swear his eyes were burning into me," says Isabelle, who plays the best friend of the murdered girl. Later this week, she films two crucial scenes with Pacino.
    "In both scenes he's screaming at me so I'm certain I won't have any problem working up the tears I'm supposed to."
    Last week, Isabelle joined the rest of the cast and crew of Insomnia at a Vancouver restaurant to celebrate Pacino's 61st birthday. "He's basically a shy man so it's all the more astonishing to see what he brings to a performance."

 

A Little White Lie

    (thanks curiouscat for this info)
   by Liz Smith, Newsday, 05-29-2001  (excerpt)
    THE GREAT actor Al Pacino is personally living out the title of his new movie "Insomnia," now filming in Vancouver. He is always so anxious to make it back to L.A. to be with Beverly D'Angelo and their 4-month-old twins that on Friday nights, he will take a train, a plane or a car to make their 11 p.m. feeding. Then he rises before dawn on Mondays to rush back to the Vancouver set.
    The movie, co-starring Oscar winner Hilary Swank, has only another month of shooting, and then the Pacino brood can move back east for the summer.

 

No Sleep for Stars on B.C. Set of Insomnia, Murder mystery's seven-week shoot keeps Al Pacino and Robin Williams busy, Lynne McNamara Vancouver Sun, Robin Williams co-stars in the upcoming B.C.-shot thriller Insomnia.  

    (thanks Lisa Wollney for this article)


photo by Rob McEwan

   It's Day 38 on the set of the $50-million US murder-mystery thriller Insomnia, starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank, Martin Donovan and Maura Tierney. The film, scheduled for a 52-day shoot, has been filming in B.C. locales since mid-April.
    Today we're at Porteau Cove (between Lions Bay and Britannia on the Sea to Sky highway) aboard Abitibi, a weathered party boat commandeered by the production for a few days to shoot an Alaska ferry scene.
    Pacino plays Will, a Los Angeles police detective who travels to a small Alaska town to investigate a murder and accidentally kills his partner, Hap (Donovan), while they're tracking Walter (Williams), a writer who is one of the prime suspects in the murder. Walter later begins a cat-and-mouse game of blackmail. Swank plays a cop trying to solve the mystery.
    Christopher Nolan, who penned the Sundance 2001 screenwriting award-winning noir hit Memento, is directing. Executive producers are Steven Soderbergh, former ER heart-throb George Clooney, Tony Thomas and Charles Schlissel.
    The dark, suspenseful drama takes place over seven days, and Will's conscience, combined with the midnight sun, disturbs his sleep. Each day he degenerates mentally and physically.
    Schlissel is impressed with Pacino's ability to focus on his role, especially since the film is not being shot in sequence.
    "He comes to the set, he's absolutely prepared, knows exactly where he is in the moment. He has to know exactly, mentally, what state of degeneration he's in, what state of physical degeneration he's in.
    "We stay out of his way during the workday. We let him come in and let him work, let him leave and then afterwards he's very social, very fun, a very nice guy as well. An absolute delight to hang out with. Very charming."
    Williams, who Schlissel says was "a fan of the material" early on, offered to take the part of murder suspect Walter.
    Williams seems to be taking a walk on the dark side recently. In the coming thriller One Hour Photo he plays an a photo lab employee obsessed with a young suburban family. In the comedy Death to Smoochy, he's the host of a children's television show who, fired for taking payola, plots revenge against his replacement, a rhino named Smoochy.
    "He's on all the time," Schlissel says. "One of the most intelligent, most delightful, most charitable, most amusing, most wonderful people you'd ever hope to meet."

    For the first couple of weeks of the shoot, cast and crew travelled to Port Alberni for small-town Alaska scenes, including shots of Pacino chasing Williams on foot across a tangle of log booms. (Both had stunt doubles.)
    Williams mingled with hundreds of fans who came out to watch them work. Fans and crew members say he was entertaining, especially on May 16, the day B.C. voters tossed out the governing New Democrats. Standing on the Port Alberni docks, as crew members discussed politics, Williams muttered, "NDP, you are the weakest link!" He also did spot-on impressions of Prime Minister Chretien. And over a crew rendition of O Canada, Williams launched into improv mode; early settlers are dividing up North America, and the meek Canadians say: "It's okay, we'll take the frozen part."
    At Squamish Hospital, where they also shot scenes, Williams popped into the x-ray department and dazzled office workers, nurses and doctors with his repartee, signed autographs and posed for photos with anyone who asked.
    Schlissel, a longtime fan of noir films, lives directly under the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, in the house where detective novelist James M. Cain wrote the dark novels, Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce.
    He and the other producers love the local scenery.
    "We came here because this looked like more what we wanted, not for any of the other reasons that people normally come here for, in terms of saving money or whatever else. This is the location that fit the movie and gave Chris what he wanted in terms of a 'look'. It's all grand."
    Cast and crew travel to Stewart, north of Prince Rupert, on Saturday where they've built a spectacular, romantic house overlooking a glacier for the movie's final scenes.

 

REVIEWS

Rolling Stone, Peter Travers

Insomnia is the kind of movie you rarely see in summer: thoughtful, gripping and steeped in action that defines character. The fact that this superior thriller stars three Oscar winners -- Al Pacino and Hilary Swank as cops and Robin Williams as the psycho they're chasing -- and is directed by Christopher Nolan, 31, the innovator who made us all think backward in Memento, only adds to the film's hypnotic allure. It's taut, tense and terrific.

Pacino, in one of the high points of his remarkable career, plays Will Dormer, an LAPD whiz sent to the Alaskan town of Nightmute to investigate the  murder of a teenage girl. From the opener, with Will and his partner, Hap (Martin Donovan), flying over a glacier, an atmosphere of unease is firmly established. The tension between the partners is palpable -- evidence-tampering on past cases can bring down both their careers if Hap spills what he knows to Internal Affairs.

Will, whose last name, Dormer, evokes sleep, isn't getting any. And the Alaskan light is relentless. A sharp-eyed local cop, Ellie Burr, incisively played by Swank, tells Will this is the season of the midnight sun, when darkness just doesn't fall. Even when sleepless Will yanks the drapes shut in his hotel room, the light glares. In Hillary Seitz's script, loosely based on an austere 1997 Norwegian film of the same name, the sun is a metaphor for a conscience that won't sleep. Such windy attitudinizing could break the spirit of a movie and an audience.

Not here. Nolan matches his Memento achievement with another triumph of style and substance. Setting a trap for the killer on a misty beach, Will accidentally shoots Hap. Or is it an accident? Will registers the fear in Hap's eyes before he dies. So does the killer, who watches in hiding.

As Walter Finch, a novelist who befriended the murdered girl, Williams doesn't enter the film until near the midpoint, but he brings a scary intensity to the role that's electrifying. Trying to establish a bond with Will, first by phone, then in a meeting on a ferry, Walter talks with calm reason: "Killing
changes you, Will. It's like awareness." Nolan stages a thrilling chase for cop and suspect across moving logs, but it's Walter's psychological pursuit of Will that makes this one of the year's best movies. As Will goes sleepless for six days, Pacino -- looking more ravaged than he ever has onscreen -- lets us see this alert, quick-witted cop slowly, wrenchingly come unglued. It's a brilliant performance in a film that will keep you up nights.

PETER TRAVERS
(June 6, 2002)

 

Larry King

I had a chance to see a sneak preview of Al Pacino's next movie "Insomnia." The man gets better and better, if possible, and the movie will strap you to your seat.

 

Lisa Schwarzbaum, EW.COM

   www.ew.com, Movie Review by Lisa Schwarzbaum  (thanks Anne Marie for this info)
    In the superb psychological thriller Insomnia, Al Pacino's face is battered by weariness accrued from the psychic compromises of every cop he has ever portrayed in a famous career of pretend law enforcement. He looks crumpled, unretouched -- and you can't take your eyes off him. Pacino plays Will Dormer, a veteran detective whose natural job-induced exhaustion is heightened by exposure to the alien northern Alaskan landscape he finds
himself in: Dormer and his partner, Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan), are on loan from the LAPD to help solve the murder of a teenage girl, and while they're familiar with the gruesome, fetishistic details of the case, they're not prepared for the severe sensory disorientation brought on by the never-setting sun. Physical sleep and spiritual rest become equally elusive as the shadows surrounding this Dormer are exposed to a relentless light.
    Playing a haggard man staggering deeper into moral and physical sleeplessness, Pacino the great actor is wide awake, giving a more powerful, nuanced performance than he has in years. And as reclusive mystery writer Walter Finch, a prime suspect psychologically astute enough to toy sadistically with Dormer's wrecked head and body clock, Robin Williams -- one of our more brazen scenery chewers -- also snaps to, investing
Finch with a soft-spoken, finicky creepiness. The link between the two is the directorial confidence of Christopher Nolan. Neither repeating nor losing touch with the keen trickiness of ''Memento'' or his feature debut, ''Following,'' he uses his first big Hollywood picture -- a good, basic cop flick -- to demonstrate that he's the real deal. This is a filmmaker in full control of mood, tone, and pacing, to whom actors as wildly different as Pacino and Williams can entrust their best instincts, rather than their showiest.
    As in ''Memento,'' ''Insomnia'' (a remake, scripted by first-timer Hillary Seitz, of an already terrific 1997 Norwegian film starring Stellan Skarsgard) is about a man who comes to distrust his own perceptions, and who must negotiate a jury-rigged system of clues and ethics to accomplish his goals. But this time Nolan links his stylish cinematic moves more effortlessly to his characters' inner lives. (This time his characters actually have inner lives.) So, for example, when Dormer attempts more and more desperately to block out the light (of reckoning, after a lifetime of compromises) leaking into his hotel room, the shards and slashes of imagery Nolan assembles convey more than cool, kinetic art direction -- they also express believable psychic
unraveling.
    A significant chunk of ''Insomnia'' is spent in literal fog, or rain, or mud, or an approximation of the inside of one man's eyelids. The luxuriously mournful fog indeed proves crucial when shots ring out as the cops pursue Finch in a slippery stakeout, and Eckhart falls.
    That's when the aging cop's guilt-ridden, soul-draining insomnia really kicks in. Hilary Swank shoulders the add-a-girl role of the bright young local rookie whose dewy admiration of Dormer is tempered by what she uncovers in her own enterprising police investigation.
    While the story provides several nifty action sequences, particularly a chase over wet, floating logs, some of the most riveting stuff involves nothing more high-concept or action-packed than two actors sharing a meal. One riveting scene hangs on the banality of the two LAPD cops sitting in their
rustic Alaskan hotel restaurant, where Eckhart informs Dormer that he's decided to cooperate with an Internal Affairs investigation back home, implicating his colleague in grievous procedural misconduct that will undoubtedly end Dormer's career in disgrace.
    It's not what the partners say to each other so much as the crackling connection between the two actors that enthralls: This is what it looks like when talent is deep, with none of the poses, twitches, and shouts that too often pass for serious performance in movies today. Something about the low-key naturalism of Donovan (an unruffled, underused actor with a mortuary calm regularly on display in Hal Hartley films) ignites Pacino and relaxes him, too. The star has rarely looked so well taken care of (and thus energized) by the project he's in.
    And for that, I credit the luck of the remake (rent the striking original and judge for yourself), the talent of Nolan, and one more thing, too: a complexity of character increasingly rare in movies. In ''Memento,'' Guy Pearce plays a walking erasable chalkboard who can't remember from minute to minute whether he's chasing or being chased, which is really interesting as a neurological oddity and the basis for a reshuffled narrative structure. But the freak is a cipher, and empathy is expendable.
    Pacino's Will Dormer, in contrast, is a man who remembers too much. He's contradictory, volatile, well-meaning, weak, angry, and very, very tired. He's memorable. A-(Posted:05/22/02)

 

 

QUOTES

AL PACINO (Will Dormer)

"Dormer and Finch have a highly combustible relationship. Finch is pushing and pulling and enjoying the chase. The question in the film is: How much will the audience identify with Dormer’s predicament? The hope is that the audience will identify with Dormer, and think to themselves, ‘What if I had a subconscious wish and it came true?’"  Insomnia presskit

"I’ve never played a character like Will Dormer. He’s a romantic character, and a much different kind of cop than I’ve ever portrayed. There is diversity amongst real-life cops, just as there is diversity in any cross-section of society; my hope is that if you compare all of the characters that I’ve played, whether it’s Frank Serpico in Serpico or Vincent Hanna in Heat, that they all come across as distinct individuals."    Insomnia presskit

"I immediately felt very comfortable with Chris. It was very clear, right from the beginning, that he understood deeply what he was doing and was always open to anything that would happen. I had a lot of confidence in him, which helped me a great deal in my performance. I was with him one hundred percent."  Insomnia presskit

"Working with Robin was just a joy, not only because he’s a lot of fun, but also because he’s a very intelligent person. He’s so easy to work with because he knows how to be sensitive to your needs as an actor." Insomnia presskit

"When Robin was cast, it took the project up a notch. He had a real appetite to play this character – it’s always fun when an actor has an appetite." Insomnia presskit

(Chasing a killer in the thriller Insomnia had Al Pacino feeling his age.)    "I did some of those runs and thought I'd check myself in the hospital," says Pacino, 62. "You pray that somebody will yell cut and it will be over. After those action scenes, I'd touch myself to make sure everything was still there." It wasn't much easier when he pursued the bad guy in the 1995 drama "Heat." "I remember chasing Bobby De Niro around at 3 a.m.," says Pacino. "I didn't warm up and boom, there went my hamstring. I was like, 'Great, I feel like old Al.' Then I realized, 'I am old Al.' The icon accepts the inevitable. "I guess I have to keep in shape as I get older," he says. "But I don't like to work out. Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes."          People Magazine, "Breath-Defying"  June 17, 2002 issue, the Chatter colum by Ericka Souter    (thanks Caroilin for this info)

 

 

ROBIN WILLIAMS (Walter Finch)

(snippet from an interview on page 100 of the May 2002 issue of Premiere Magazine)
PREMIERE:  ... You're a crazed killer going up against Serpico [costar Al Pacino] himself.
RW:  But Serpico without sleep, because the movie is set in Alaska when it's 23 hours of daylight - a crack addict's wet dream!
PREMIERE:  As improv-central, did you get to riff in character at all?
RW:  Everyone has this image that you're just riffing like crazy, but, no, sometimes it's like tits on  a bull - unnecessary. Like, Good Will Hunting was just well-written - there's no need to add.

(EW Magazine) 
    "I've known Al for years. The first time I met him was back in 1972. I'll never forget it. It was at the Night of 100 Stars Gala. He and Robert DeNiro were debating which of them was going to pick up Elizabeth Taylor that night. It was even surreal for me."
    When a journalist asks Williams if he and Pacino talked about teaming up for Godfather 4, he says: "Only if they let us do it as a Disney Ice Capades special."
    On a serious note, he says while working with Pacino, 62, on Insomnia, he got to see a very different side of the actor.
    "He's charming, witty and warm and he's very much in his prime. I think Al made four movies in 18 months and still had the time and energy to father twins (with longtime girlfriend Beverly D'Angelo)."

"Normally there’s a good cop pursuing a bad cop but the interesting twist about Insomnia is that the moral high ground is quickly lost and the story moves into a more ambiguous area. The characters face off in this moral gray zone, playing this lethal game of one-upsmanship. When you add that kind of stress to being in this unfamiliar place where it’s basically light twenty-four hours a day, how does that affect you mentally? That is what made this film so interesting to me."  Insomnia presskit

"It’s exciting to play a character as despicable as Walter Finch. You’re free to explore darker things like the seductiveness of evil – or the banality of it."   Insomnia presskit

During the filming process, local crowds as well as cast and crew observed the interaction between the irrepressible Williams – who periodically made forays into the crowd to sign autographs and take photos with fans – and the intensely private Pacino.
    "Yeah, it was Mr. Method versus Mr. Anything," quips Williams. "We would both come at it from different angles, like two different styles of jazz, but we were both looking for the same kind of unusual approach to the unexpected, and then we would usually hit it about the same time."  Insomnia presskit

"It’s not your typical pursuit, where one guy chases another guy over a chain link fence. It was a dangerous sequence to shoot, even for the stunt guys. This seemingly endless convoy of heavy logs are moving so fast, they’ll crush you to death if you can’t find your way out of the water – which is freezing. And it’s like a curtain of darkness underwater, because light barely bleeds through the logs."   Insomnia presskit

 

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN (director)

(about casting Robin Williams)  "We'd been looking for somebody to play opposite Al who is not only a tremendous actor, but who also has a similar kind of audience identification with his star persona. As the story progresses, we wanted to have two larger-than-life characters confront each other in this twisted psychological cat-and-mouse game. When I met with Robin and realized how clearly he understood Finch, it was very exciting to know that he was going to fit this character like a glove."   Insomnia presskit

(about casting Hilary Swank) Ellie is a very tricky character to pull off because she has to be young and innocent, a little bit wide-eyed and a little bit green, but at the same time she projects an intelligence, strength and a dedication to duty that indicates that she's going to grow beyond her youthful na´vetÚ," Nolan elaborates. "Just as importantly, she has to be believable as a cop in this small town in Alaska. Hilary has the most extraordinary ability to convey the different sides of a character like Ellie and, in addition to her talent as an actress, she also has a look and a physicality to her that lends credibility to the character."

"Will Dormer arrives in this northern Alaskan town during Midnight Sun, when the sun literally does not set for twenty-four hours a day. Like a lot of people who travel to this region, Dormer’s body clock wreaks havoc on him and he’s not able to sleep comfortably. As the story develops, he faces progressively intense psychological pressure that compounds his inability to sleep, and this begins to cloud his decision-making ability. His insomnia is a physical representation of the psychological struggle that becomes increasingly significant as the story progresses."   Insomnia presskit

(his first film "Memento" is about a man who loses his ability to make new memories and is told in reverse order from the main character's perspective)    "While Memento unfolds in reverse story order, Insomnia follows the main character on an intensely linear journey. You experience Will Dormer’s increasing struggle with his inner demons, his increasing struggle against his lack of sleep and his progressively dangerous relationship with the suspected killer. I very much wanted to pull them through this crazy descent with Dormer, so you always understand his actions and you sympathize with him in some sense even as he moves into very questionable territory."  Insomnia presskit

"It was very clear to me that casting Al was the most interesting way of approaching this material. He’s played so many great cops through the years, from Serpico to Sea of Love to Heat, and we were able to really use that history and that identification the audience has with his iconic cop image to play against expectation.  Insomnia presskit

"We, [Al and I], really saw eye to eye about the approach that we wanted to take in terms of this character and how he moves through the story. Will Dormer is an incredibly complex character that requires an actor who’s able to project a kind of moral intelligence that is essential to the plot. Al brings moral complexity and depth to this character that it would not otherwise have had."  Insomnia presskit

"Al delivers an incredibly subtle performance in this film. With the slightest nuance – just a look or a small gesture – he conveys the most complex human struggle. It’s phenomenal, that kind of restraint."   Insomnia presskit

"Robin loves to hang around the set and make the whole crew laugh and be around the process throughout production, whereas Al has a more interior sort of process. He’ll go off to one side to get himself ready and then return in character. But the thing that continually amazes me about great actors is how wonderfully they are able to mesh with other actors, how they can approach their work from completely different directions, and yet interact in the most wonderfully constructive way."  Insomnia presskit

"Ellie is a very tricky character to pull off because she has to be young and innocent, a little bit wide-eyed and a little bit green, but at the same time she projects an intelligence, strength and a dedication to duty that indicates that she’s going to grow beyond her youthful na´vetÚ. Just as importantly, she has to be believable as a cop in this small town in Alaska. Hilary has the most extraordinary ability to convey the different sides of a character like Ellie and, in addition to her talent as an actress, she also has a look and a physicality to her that lends credibility to the character."  Insomnia presskit

Eager to forge a relationship with Dormer, Ellie gradually earns his respect, but in so doing learns more about herself and her hero than she ever expected. (presskit)
    "Over the course of the film, Ellie is forced to confront, question and try to reconcile her respect and adulation for Dormer with the reality that he may not be as infallible as he seems. She’s ultimately forced to examine how these contradictions are going to affect her in her future as a police officer."    Insomnia presskit

Light – specifically, Alaska’s seasonal phenomenon known as Midnight Sun – plays a major thematic role in the story. "Wally (the Director of Photography) and I wanted to convey this sense of an omnipresent light, that seeps in everywhere and is a constant reminder of danger, guilt and the threat of exposure."  Insomnia presskit

  Trust is key to the success of their collaboration – Nolan must often rely on Pfister to frame shots, because he prefers to position himself by the camera with the actors, as opposed to watching the action unfold on a video monitor.
    "The increasing convention is for the director to stand away from the action, watching the scene unfold on the monitor and then reviewing it on playback. I don’t use a conventional monitor and I don’t use playback. I like to stand by the camera and really watch what the actors are doing with my own eyes, because when you blow up their performances on the big screen, you see so much more than you could ever see on a monitor."


Nolan used a small handheld monitor to reference Pfister’s shot framings.
    "That technique was very liberating because then I was able to be by the camera, face-to-face with the actors, talking about what they’d just done and what we might want to explore in the scene," says Nolan, who prefers to listen to the actors rehearse and shoot without the aid of headphones. "Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank are actors who express so much through the most subtle expressions and gestures, and those moments are what you build the film on in the editing room, so you really need to see everything while you’re filming, in order to be able to discuss it with them." Insomnia presskit

   As shot by Nolan and Pfister, Insomnia contrasts the gritty realism of Alaska’s industrial logging towns and pulp mills with the pristine beauty of the surrounding wilderness and magnificent mountain landscape. The film’s opening sequence – shot in part at the Columbia Glacier near Valdez, Alaska – depicts a wide silver floatplane soaring high above a stunning glacier. On board, Detective Will Dormer studies a case file while his partner Hap Eckhart gazes out the window as the plane clears the glacier to reveal a spectacular coastline and valley below. Finally, the small aircraft touches down at the docks of a pulp mill belching gray smoke that hangs like drapery between the mountains.
    "We wanted to open the film with a suitably majestic landscape that evokes the sense of peculiar dislocation that these two cops from Los Angeles would feel when thrust into this setting. But we also wanted to avoid presenting small-town Alaska as simply quaint or petrified. Instead, we tried to portray the contradiction of the region’s natural beauty and incredible scenery with the modern utilitarian reality of people living in that kind of environment."
  Insomnia presskit

 

HILARY SWANK (Det. Ellie Burr)

"Ellie is enthusiastic, dedicated and talented, but she also tends to be overlooked by her peers, even though she made detective at such a young age."  Insomnia presskit

"The role was a challenge for me in terms of playing a character who doesn’t require going through any kind of physical transformation. I felt naked, in a way, as Ellie Burr, because she was so open and present in everything she did."  Insomnia presskit

"Ellie expects that her idol is going to teach her to be this amazing detective, but instead she ends up learning far more through his human failings. Everybody has a hero and it’s a painful lesson to learn that they are human and can make mistakes."  Insomnia presskit

Swank admits that her real life experience in working with Pacino in some ways reflects her character’s arc in the film.
    "I have learned so much from him just in observing his approach to acting and to his role. There is a parallel between that experience and Ellie’s learning curve with Will, so it worked out perfectly."
    Insomnia presskit

"Christopher Nolan collaborated with the cast and crew in a really beautiful way. He is so attentive and present in every moment, and he has a strong vision for what he wants, but at the same time he’s very interested in other people’s opinions and has a great rapport with the actors and the crew."   Insomnia presskit

 

MARTIN DONOVAN (Hap Eckhart, Dormer's partner)

"Will’s got this instinctual nature about him. He’s a brilliant investigator and I don’t think Hap has the same intellect. Will has all the power in the relationship, but early on in the film, Hap asserts himself and the tables turn in an unexpected way." Insomnia presskit

"It’s a very well-written relationship in that you find the whole history of these guys in an effortless way. It just unfolds really beautifully and has a wonderful arc. All of those issues are raised about the complexities of being a cop, the ambiguities of which lines can and cannot be crossed." Insomnia presskit

 

MAURA TIERNEY (Rachel, the manager of the hotel)

"Rachel is an empathetic person, someone who doesn’t sit in judgment of other people. She and Will have a very fleeting relationship, but it’s a trusting one. He can’t sleep and Rachel is often up all night, and he confides in her. I think that sometimes it’s easier – and safer – to be with a stranger than with someone you know."  Insomnia presskit

 

JONATHAN JACKSON (boyfriend of the murdered teen)

"Randy’s a tough, smartass kind of guy who doesn’t want to be pushed around by the cops, but Pacino’s character already has something over him so there’s an immediate intimidation factor. Randy has to strike a balance between being slightly threatened by the situation but also being unable to show it."   Insomnia presskit

"We probably performed that [interrogation] scene about forty times. During each take, Al would do something different – he would change lines to throw me off, and towards the end of the day even started singing off camera, which I loved."  Insomnia presskit

 

PAUL WITT (producer)

"Any time you get a chance to work with Pacino, you jump at it, but this is particularly exciting because he's who we had in mind almost since we got the remake rights three years ago."  Variety, NY, "Al Pacino Restless with 'Insomnia' ", Michael Fleming

 

CHARLES SCHLISSELL (producer)

(is impressed with Pacino's ability to focus on his role, especially since the film is not being shot in sequence.)
    "He comes to the set, he's absolutely prepared, knows exactly where he is in the moment. He has to know exactly, mentally, what state of degeneration he's in, what state of physical degeneration he's in.
    "We stay out of his way during the workday. We let him come in and let him work, let him leave and then afterwards he's very social, very fun, a very nice guy as well. An absolute delight to hang out with. Very charming."

 

KATHERINE ISABELLE (plays the best friend of the murdered girl)

"I've only done one day with Pacino and all he had to do was make eye contact with me from about 15 feet away. I could swear his eyes were burning into me."
    Later this week she films two crucial scenes with Pacino. "In both scenes he's screaming at me so I'm certain I won't have any problems working up the tears I'm supposed to."
   Last week, Isabelle joined the rest of the cast and crew of Insomnia at a Vancouver restaurant to celebrate Pacino's 61st birthday. "He's basically a shy man so it's all the more astonishing to see what he brings to a performance."

 

PAUL JUNGER WITT AND ED McDONNELL (producers)

"Like Christopher Nolan, we loved the original film, but we viewed it as so culturally specific that we knew our version would not be a traditional remake or a literal translation."   Insomnia presskit

 

STEVEN SODERBERGH (executive producer)

"Memento [the director's first film] is such a mature piece of work, especially for a second film, I was blown away by it. Insomnia is a terrific companion piece to Memento, because they’re both very subjective films that take you inside the central character’s experience. Christopher puts you in Will Dormer’s head in the same way that he entrenches you in the protagonist’s point of view in Memento."   Insomnia presskit

"Walter Finch is a man who has drifted across the line and has found himself comfortable with that. He’s such a withdrawn, interior character, and to see Robin Williams in that state is oddly compelling. Walter is trying to control himself, to be normal, while struggling with so much on the inside. Robin plays this dichotomy perfectly."   Insomnia presskit

 

ANDREW A. KOSOVE (producer)

"Al makes a lot of films set against an urban backdrop, and he’s closely associated with New York and New York-based movies, so it was a very compelling choice to cast him in a role that thrusts him into the wilderness."   Insomnia presskit

"Although he is traditionally considered a comedy star, we loved Robin’s dramatic work in films like Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet’s Society and of course, his Oscar-winning performance in Good Will Hunting," says Kosove. "And we felt it would be quite compelling to cast him as this shrewd, reserved killer."   Insomnia presskit

 

BRODERICK JOHNSON (producer)

"Dormer has a gradual deterioration in his alertness and his ability to make decisions. However, the film was shot out of sequence, so we would shoot a scene where he’s very alert, and then skip ahead to film a scene where he hasn’t slept for five days. Al always knew where the character was emotionally at every single moment, a feat which requires greatness from both actor and director."   Insomnia presskit

"Christopher Nolan is a consummate filmmaker and a true leader. His method of working in the trenches with the cast and crew energized everyone on the set. There’s a camaraderie and a certain confidence that the actors have in him which normally develops over a long career. Christopher has already achieved that level of skill and confidence."   Insomnia presskit

 

ED McDONNELL (producer)

"There aren’t any flashy comedic moments in this film, Robin [Williams] brings a very quiet, single-minded strength to Finch as he forces Dormer to forge a relationship with him."  Insomnia presskit

 

WALLY PFISTER (Director of Photography)

Although Insomnia is set against the sprawling beauty of British Columbia and Alaska, director Christopher Nolan and director of photography Wally Pfister – who also served as the cinematographer on Memento – crafted a shooting style that captures the breadth of the larger-than-life landscape, while at the same time remaining focused on the characters.
    "We created intimacy by keeping the camera with the main character, something we did very much with Memento and continued with Insomnia. The camera always stays with Will Dormer, either traveling in front of him or behind him or revealing his point of view. In this way, the audience explores the unfamiliar landscape with him, and they feel the light piercing through the windows as he desperately tries to sleep."

Pfister was particularly intrigued with the creative challenges involved in crafting and executing the film’s ambitious lighting design, which needed to achieve a seamless blend of both thematic and practical lighting.
    "Light, and how light affects Will Dormer, is such an integral part of the story, we viewed it as a fourth character," Pfister says. "I felt an enormous amount of pressure but at the same time a creative excitement in using the light in this way, because it became this entity that taunts Dormer throughout the story."
  Insomnia presskit

  "Chris and I established a very fast working rhythm together on Memento. We more or less work in shorthand. I know exactly what sort of thing Chris is looking for and he trusts me in the execution."  Insomnia presskit

 

NATHAN CROWLEY (Production Designer)

The theme of light was also expressed in the design of the sets themselves.
    "We wanted to keep the interiors dark, both to contrast with the constant, intense daylight of the exteriors and because a darker palette looks better on film. So we used enamel paint on our sets, which bounces light onto walls and into dark corners."
    Insomnia presskit

"Designing the setting for that chase sequence was a little bit daunting. We found a local contractor who built a moving log boom and we put in some docks, with a lot of help from the people at the pulp mill. We needed literally thousands of background logs to achieve the look we were after." Insomnia presskit

 

 

TRIVIA


It is a remake of a Norwegian thriller. The original ``Insomnia'' was released in 1997 and directed by Erik Skjoldbjaerg.
It was filmed in Vancouver Canada
It was executive produced by George Clooney and Seven Soderbergh along with the executive producers of "The Golden Girls" (the TV show), Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas.
It was distributed domestically by Warner Bros. Pictures, an AOL Time Warner Company.
It is Rated R by the MPAA for "language, some violence, and brief nudity."  
Principal photography on Insomnia took place in British Columbia over a period of 53 days from mid-April through the end of June 2001. Insomnia presskit
LOCATIONS:
    The small logging town of Squamish, located approximately 40 minutes from Vancouver, was used to represent the fictional town of Nightmute. The production utilized practical locations including the police station, the hunting lodge where Will and Hap stay during their investigation, and the high school, where Dormer first interrogates murder suspect Randy Stetz, played by Jonathan Jackson.  
   For a scene depicting the funeral of the young murder victim, the production team appropriated a finger of land just outside the town known as "The Spit." Widely acclaimed as the most popular wind surfing spot in British Columbia, The Spit is framed by a waterfall across the inlet and a famous vertical rock face known as "The Chief," which dominates the area. By layering the sandy ground with turf and adding rock walls, greenery and shrubs, the Insomnia crew transformed The Spit into an aged windswept cemetery. 
   Port Alberni on Vancouver Island was chosen to serve as the fictional town of Unkumuit, where reclusive crime novelist Walter Finch resides. It is here that the filmmakers staged one of the most dramatic action set pieces of the picture, in which Will Dormer pursues Finch across a dangerous logjam of swiftly moving timber at a sprawling pulp and paper mill. 
    Filming at the film’s more remote and rugged locations also presented the filmmakers with unique production challenges, and shooting on the rocky beach where the detectives’ stakeout of the murder suspect goes horribly awry proved difficult. Situated on the site of a huge landslide, at the edge of a wilderness inlet near Vancouver known as Indian Arm, the area is extremely steep, littered with jagged rocks and loose stones. "It was a magnificent but difficult location," admits Crowley. "And it was one of the hardest to find – an expanse of giant rocks next to the water, which is what we needed in order to shoot huge shapes looming through the fog. Chris and I understood that it was probably not someplace where anyone in their right minds should go."
    The location demanded that the entire production – including trailers – be housed on large floating barges, which had to be towed to shore after wrap each night, resulting in a complex all-night tugboat marathon. But in spite of the tortuous terrain, filming was completed without incident, other than a great many sore muscles and a few scraped knees.
    Perhaps the greatest adventure for the production was in finding the location for the movie’s climactic final sequences, which take place at Walter Finch’s lakefront home and nearby boathouse. The scenes were staged on a frozen lake in the mountain valley of Bear Glacier, situated near the tiny hamlet of Stewart, B.C. on the northwest Alaskan border.
    "When we scouted the location in April it was all frozen solid," reports Crowley. "You couldn’t even see the edge of the lake and we were up to our waists in snow. We came back with carpenters and dug holes all over the place until we found solid ground, then we brought in equipment to shovel snow out of the way and waited for the lake to thaw in order to install the boathouse portion of the set."
    "The biggest challenge with the lake house was to figure out what was dry land because that changes every year. Eventually we built the whole thing on stilts and put siding on it in case it flooded. Another issue was the glacier itself because every time ice breaks off the glacier it creates a one foot wave in the lake which comes over and floods the place, thus creating a whole new set of problems." In the end the company had to build protective log booms in the water surrounding the set, to hold back the icebergs being cleaved from the glacier and stop them from smashing into the set.
    Then there were the logistical and practical challenges in trying to find accommodations for about 160 people in a town with a population of only 500. A former mining town that fell on hard times with the closure of the mines, the residents of Stewart pitched in with great enthusiasm in order to provide lodgings for the cast and crew. In the end, there still wasn’t enough room for everybody, so the principal actors, as well as make-up, hair and wardrobe personnel were housed on three yachts.
    But the company’s one-week stay in the remote location – known for its frequent avalanches – provided more of an adventure then had been anticipated. On the second day of filming in hot and sunny weather, an ominous rumble was heard in the mountains just above the small roadside park where all the production trailers were housed. As everybody looked up in amazement, the rumble soon turned into an impressive roar and an avalanche poured right down the mountain, finally stopping just short of a clearing that housed all of the production vehicles, including a helicopter. A few days later, another avalanche threatened to wipe out the set, but the thunderous cloud of snow and dirt came to a halt just short of the lake.
    Insomnia presskit

ROBIN WILLIAMS (Walter Finch)
   
~ won an Oscar in 1997 for Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for the part of Dr. Sean McGuire in Good Will Hunting. He also received the Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.
   
~ breakout role was as guest-star Mork on the hit situation comedy television series Happy Days, then in the series Mork and Mindy.
   
~ Other films include: Popeye, The Word According to Garp, Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning Vietnam (Oscar nomination), Dead Poet’s Society (another Oscar nomination), Awakenings, The Fisher King (third Oscar nomination), Toys, Hook, The Birdcage, Mrs. Doubtfire (Golden Globe Award), Flubber, Patch Adams, Jakob The Liar, Bicentennial Man, Death To Smoochy, One Hour Photo.
  
~ Born in Chicago in 1951, Williams attended high school in Marin County, California, where he was known for his natural comedic talents. In his senior year, his classmates voted Williams "Most Humorous" and "Least Likely to Succeed."
   
~ After a short stint studying political science at Claremont Men’s College in Southern California, Williams entered College of Marin to study theatre. His innate comedic and dramatic skills led to his acceptance at The Julliard School in New York, where he spent three years under the tutelage of acclaimed actor John Houseman and other noted professionals. In 1998 he performed on stage with co-star Steve Martin in Mike Nichols’ off-Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.
   
~ Williams, who began his career as a stand-up comedian, has won four Grammy Awards, including one for Robin Williams Live at the Met on HBO, the culmination of a 23-city SRO tour. He also won Emmy Awards for the television specials, Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin and ABC Presents a Royal Gala. He is also active in several humanitarian organizations, and has been a primary force in Comic Relief, a benefit to aid the homeless, which has raised American consciousness and 50 million dollars to date.
    Insomnia presskit

HILARY SWANK (Ellie Burr)
    ~ won the 1999 Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry. In addition to the Oscar, Swank won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and Best Actress prizes from the New York Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics and the Broadcast Film Critics.
   
~ A native of Bellingham, Washington, Swank made her feature film debut in Buffy, The Vampire Slayer uttering the immortal line, "That’s so five minutes ago." Swank then starred as the title character in The Next Karate Kid. In Sam Raimi’s acclaimed thriller, The Gift, Swank played a pivotal role opposite Cate Blanchett and Keanu Reeves. Swank most recently starred in the Academy Award-nominated romantic drama Affair of the Necklace.
  
~ Swank currently lives in New York and recently completed production on The Core, in which she stars opposite Aaron Eckhart.
    Insomnia presskit

MAURA TIERNEY (Rachel Clement)
   ~
  is currently working on the top rated NBC series ER, for which she just received her first Emmy nomination. Prior to joining the cast of ER, Tierney spent four years on the critically acclaimed NewsRadio
   
~ Tierney has successfully managed to juggle both television and film careers, starring in such films as Instinct opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins and Cuba Gooding Jr. and Forces of Nature with Ben Affleck and Sandra Bullock.  Additionally, she earned critical praise for her role in Primary Colors as well as for her work opposite Jim Carrey in the smash hit Liar Liar.   Tierney was most recently seen in the independent dark comedy Scotland, PA opposite Christopher Walkin and James LeGros, which premiered at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Her additional film credits include Primal Fear, The Temp, White Sands and Oxygen.
    ~ On stage she has been seen in productions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, and The Bald Soprano at the Boston Globe as well as Baby with The Bathwater, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Talking With and Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean at New York University.
   
~ Born and raised in Boston, Tierney currently divides her time between Los Angeles and New York.
    Insomnia presskit

MARTIN DONOVAN (Hap Eckhart)
    ~  is best known for his work in such feature films as Jane Campion’s Portrait of a Lady, for which he won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor; The Opposite of Sex, directed by Don Roos; and screenwriter Richard LaGranvanese’s directorial debut, Living Out Loud.
   
~ Donovan has enjoyed a long association with celebrated director Hal Hartley, appearing in several of his films, including Book of Life, Amateur, Trust, Surviving Desire, Simple Men and Flirt. Donovan’s additional feature credits include The Pornographer: A Love Story, In A Savage Land, Onegin, Heaven, Hollow Reed and Nadja. Donovan will next be seen in The United States of Leland with Kevin Spacey and Lena Olin.
   
~ Donovan most recently starred in the Fox series Pasadena, the highly rated telefilms Amy & Isabelle, The Great Gatsby opposite Mira Sorvino, and HBO’s When Trumpets Fade. Donovan made his television series regular debut in the critically acclaimed drama series Wonderland.
   
~ Originally from Reseda, California, Donovan studied acting at the American Theater of Arts in Los Angeles, where he appeared in numerous plays. Donovan is married, has two children.
    Insomnia presskit

CHRISTOPHER NOLAN (Director)
   
~ has been making films since the age of seven, when he picked up his father’s super 8mm camera. In 1989, his surreal short Tarantella was shown on PBS and in 1996, his short Larceny screened at the Cambridge Film Festival.
   
~ Nolan’s first feature film, Following, which he wrote, directed and co-edited in 1998, won the Best Director Award at the Newport International Film Festival, the Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Silver Hitchcock award at the Dinard British Film Festival and the Black & White Award at the Slamdance International Film Festival. That success, in turn, brought attention and financing to the writer/director’s next endeavor, Memento.
   
~ Written and directed by Nolan, Memento became a critical and popular triumph, garnering dozens of awards and nominations. Salient distinctions include: the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director and Best Screenplay, the Sundance Film Festival Award for Screenwriting, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Screenplay, the AFI Film Award for Screenwriter of the Year, the Directors Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, a Golden Globe nomination for Best Screenplay and an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.
    Insomnia presskit

 

 

DVD INFO

Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
Color, Dolby

(more coming soon)

 

(101k) You don't hide from me in a town this small.   (Al Pacino)
(79k) Where is she Finch?  (Al Pacino)

 

GALLERY    FILM LINKS GALLERY    CAST LINKS
official site:   http://insomniamovie.warnerbros.com
  (or) http://dontcloseyoureyes.warnerbros.com/index.html
Internet Movie Database
http://www.movie-list.com/i/insomnia.shtml   (has the trailer)
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Academy/3055/insomnia.html
http://knihovna.arsys.cz/hsl/pacino/pacino_insomnia.htm  
   (Vladka's page, some new pictures)
Movieweb (pics, info)
Buy the video/dvd at Amazon.com
INSOMNIA MESSAGE BOARD: Warner Bros.
Apple.com - view the quicktime trailer
Dark Horizons
'Insomnia' Director Likes To Keep Audiences Guessing (article, 4 Entertainment)
yahoo upcoming movies

 

Links to clips of Insomnia, interviews with Christopher Nolan, Al Pacino and Robin Williams.

Kevin & Scott  insomnia@electricartists.com

Christopher Q&A  http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/nolan.html

Clip 1 - Real
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk1_56_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk1_100_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk1_300_real.html

Clip 1 - Windows Media
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk1_56_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk1_100_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk1_300_wm.html

Clip 2- Real
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk2_56_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk2_100_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk2_300_real.html

Clip 2 - Windows Media
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk2_56_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk2_100_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk2_300_wm.html

Clip 3 - Real
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk3_56_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk3_100_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk3_300_real.html

Clip 3 -Windows Media
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk3_56_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk3_100_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk3_300_wm.html

Clip 4 -- Real Al Pacino interview
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk4_56_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk4_100_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk4_300_real.html

Clip 4 -Windows Media Al Pacino interview
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk4_56_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk4_100_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk4_300_wm.html

Clip 5 -Real Al Pacino interview pt 2
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk5_56_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk5_100_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk5_300_real.html

Clip 5 - Windows Media Al Pacino interview pt 2
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk5_56_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk5_100_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk5_300_wm.html

Clip 6 - Real Robin Williams Interview
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk6_56_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk6_100_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk6_300_real.html

Clip 6 - Windows Media Robin Williams Interview
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk6_56_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk6_100_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk6_300_wm.html

Clip 7 - Real Robin Williams Interview pt 2
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk7_56_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk7_100_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk7_300_real.html

Clip 7 -Windows Media - Robin Williams Interview pt 2
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk7_56_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk7_100_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk7_300_wm.html

Clip 8 -Real Christopher Nolan Interview
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk8_56_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk8_100_real.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk8_300_real.html

Clip 8 - Windows Media - Christopher Nolan interview
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk8_56_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk8_100_wm.html
http://www.electricartists.com/insomnia/epk8_300_wm.html

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(please note this list is not associated in any way with www.alpacinosloft.com, it is info for Insomnia)

Here are some pictures from the premiere. None of Al, I don't think he was there. (Thanks Anne for this info)
http://movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hv&id=1807634506&cf=premgal
http://romanticmovies.about.com/library/weekly/aa052202a.htm
http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news?p=insomnia&c=news_photos

C. Nolan: The Unofficial Christopher Nolan Website
H. Swank: The Hilary Swank Fansite
R. Williams:
Official Site - www.robinwilliams.com
R. Williams: The Robin Williams Fanpage   (Insomnia page)

Review of "Memento" another film by the same director

 


GALLERY    REVIEW LINKS
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