A Family Overtaken When the long-trapped Dibbuk is released from its box to menace the very soul of young Em Brenek, the only thing that stands in its way is her father, Clyde, who at first is distracted by trying to start a new life as a single, divorced dad who has become too accustomed to putting work before family. Only when he watches his daughter’s seemingly start to disappear inside her own body, and her innocence replaced by an overwhelming malevolence, does he being to realize how much his family means to him. Taking the role is Jeffery Dean Morgan, known for such films as The Watchman and Texas Killing Fields, as well television roles in “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Supernatural.” Says Robert Tapert: “Clyde is a man who when we first meet him is driven by ambition. He loves his family, but in the course of the film he has to draw on strength he didn’t know he had to regain his possessed daughter. I think you really believe Jeffrey’s journey as an imperfect guy trying to fight to get what is important in his life back. You relate to him and you root for him to succeed against a supernatural force that challenges all his beliefs.” Morgan was drawn to the film’s original approach to a story that would scare any parent down to the bone. “It didn’t really interest me to do something that has been done before,” he notes. “What was interesting to me is that surrounding this supernatural horror is a story about a family trying to survive. That makes all the jumps and scares add up to something powerful.” He was also attracted to the character of Clyde, who begins the film dismayed by his ex-wife’s new boyfriend only to uncover a horror that is unimaginably more threatening. “He’s definitely a flawed character, which is good because those are the kinds of characters I gravitate towards,” says Morgan. “He’s first and foremost trying to be a good dad, but he’s also a guy going through a lot stuff. He’s a guy who is a little lost when this all begins. He has screwed up his priorities and now he is being forced to find them again under extreme duress.” Morgan too was changed by the experience. He started out the film not really believing in ghosts and demons, but admits the Dibbuk Box unnerved him to the point of doubts. “I’ll tell you this: I won’t sit around mocking the box,” he declares. “If so many people believe in its power, there might be something to it.” Playing Clyde’s newly estranged wife Stephanie is Kyra Sedgwick, well known from her long-lived, Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe winning run in the lead role of “The Closer.” She, too, found the couple’s situation intriguing – facing a primeval force just as they thought they were separating forever – and found Stephanie’s initial reaction of blaming Clyde’s inattentive fathering for Em’s bizarre behavior very authentic. “Stephanie and Clyde think they’ve just put the final nail in the coffin of their marriage,” Sedgwick explains, “and then their daughter becomes this angry, violent child which she never was before. I think Stephanie tries to see that there are rational explanations for that . . . until she finally realizes that her child is not alone. There is something else inside her.” Like Morgan, Sedgwick was drawn to the humanity within the film’s many moments of sudden shock and abject fear. “I think that all really good horror movies have their basis in strong characters and relationships,” she says, “and I like that with this story, first you are moved and then you are very, very scared.” Tapert was impressed with Sedgwick’s ability to bring emotional honesty to a role filled with ratcheting anxiety. “Kyra brings a likeability to Stephanie and an understanding that her need to control things in the family comes from a place of love,” he says. “She’s a brilliant actress.” Although Sedgwick says she greatly enjoyed working with her co-stars and Ole Bornedal, she too acknowledges that an eerie feeling hung over the production. “I’m not going to lie,” she says. “There were some strange and creepy things that went on. But the most haunting thing for me were the incredible performances of these two little girls who play our daughters.” From the beginning, the filmmakers knew The Possession’s potency would rest on finding a child actress who could take 11 year-old Em into the most starkly bone-chilling territory – and the audience along with her through the raw experience of losing one’s mind to a demon. To find someone who could pull all that off, Bornedal set out on an intense audition process. “I interviewed a lot of children and told them to pretend they were already possessed by an evil spirit,” he explains. “It was during one of these interviews that Natasha Calis started crying. She started improvising very real emotions that would be attached to a girl going through an actual possession. It was one of the most heartbreaking casting sessions I’ve ever participated in. All of us had tears in our eyes. We’d never seen a possessed character like this before. That’s what Natasha brings to this movie. She is not just an evil little girl – there is a deep sadness in knowing that she is possessed and cannot control what is happening.” Calis, who took her first role at age 7, was fearless as she dove into the role. She relished the chance to do what few children ever get to do – take a character to the very edge. “It was exciting to me to play a possessed character because I really got to experiment,” she says. “I got to play around with the whole idea of possession, I got to experience what it feels like and what you would do and what you would look like, and it was really thrilling.” The young actress also took heart from Em’s bravery, noting that she never completely gives in to the Dibbuk, struggling to keep it contained within in her no matter how ferocious it becomes. “She is constantly struggling with it, but as it is slowly devouring her, she’s not quite sure what to do,” Calis explains. Those struggles had Calis throwing violent rages, battling flocks of moths, gorging herself on raw meat and ultimately, undergoing a desperate exorcism at the hands of a young Hasidic master, but her enthusiasm and imagination never wavered. Says Jeffrey Dean Morgan of her performance: “Natasha blew me away more than once. The whole key to this movie was having a really believable girl in the role of Em and being possessed is no easy task for any actor, but Natasha has extraordinary talent.” Adds Kyra Sedgwick: “Natasha really turned herself completely over to the process of being possessed and at the same time, allowed us to see into the depths of Em’s soul as she battles the demon. Her pure love for the work was so exciting to see.” Completing the Brenek family is Madison Davenport, known for her role on Showtime’s series “Shameless,” in the role of Em’s protective big sister Hannah. Her resemblance to and rapport with Natasha Calis were both uncanny. “They really do feel like sisters, on and off the set. They even palled around like sisters,” observes producer J.R. Young. “That was so important because it carries over into the storytelling.” Fifteen year-old Davenport says she found what happens to Em in The Possession to be “all of your worst nightmares combined.” She continues: “For Hannah, she’s losing her sister to something nobody can explain. Her own little sister becomes the force tearing the family apart and bringing chaos into all of their minds.” As for audiences, she expects they will be pulled into the fright and panic of Em’s experience. “I think it’s one of those films that after you see it, you’ll go home and watch behind you on the stairs because you’re going to feel something creepy is still with you,” Davenport warns. “That will be very exciting to see.” Dibbuk Unleashed To keep the curse of the real-life Dibbuk Box at bay, Ole Bornedal decided to recreate a box that would hopefully protect cast and crew. Like the actual container that was auctioned on Ebay, the film’s box needed to be ordinary enough not to arouse immediate suspicion, but mysterious enough that it could, in Bornedal’s words, “symbolize the evil we all hope to keep trapped forever.” Explains J.R. Young: “It was less important for us to recreate the actual box as to create a box you believe might contain something that was locked away to never be let out in the world. Rachel O’Toole came up with some great concepts, and we also went back to the original story for the contents, including the bird skeleton, the locks of hair and the strange wooden carvings.” For the demon itself, the production turned to makeup special effects designer Bill Terezakis. “How do you give face to a demon? What is the face of evil?” asks Young. “Bill and Ole came up with a design that would embody this. Their vision was to ask not how much can we show, but how little can we show to completely shock you?” Without giving anything away, Terezakis notes: “Ole wanted something that would feel very ancient and I think we delivered on that.” Adds visual effects supervisor Adam Stern: “We really wanted to create something that was not only scary but also grounded in reality as much as possible.” For Robert Tapert, that hope of creating something that lingers in the imagination, that continues to make your heart pound long after the final images, was the driving force behind the entire creative process on The Possession. He concludes: “We want audiences to leave the theater with the feeling that, since the horror you just witnessed is based in fact, it could come calling for you. The idea of the Dibbuk Box is something we think will scare audiences not just in the theater, but after they leave.” © MMXI BOX Productions, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. BOX Productions, LLC IS the author of this Film (Motion Picture) for the purpose of copyright and other laws. THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION. THE CHARACTERS, INCIDENTS, AND LOCATIONS PORTRAYED AND THE NAMES HEREIN ARE FICTITIOUS, AND ANY SIMILARITY TO OR IDENTIFICATION WITH THE LOCATION, CHARACTER OR HISTORY OF ANY PERSON, PRODUCT OR ENTITY IS ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL AND UNINTENTIONAL. This motion picture photoplay is protected pursuant to the provisions of the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any unauthorized duplication and/or distribution of this photoplay may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.
Ghost House Pictures, North Box Productions' Horror, Suspense directed by Ole Bornedal starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan "Clyde", Kyra Sedgwick "Stephanie", Madison Davenport "Hannah", Natasha Calis "Em", Grant Show "Brett", Matisyahu "Tzadok". Written by: Juliet Snowden & Stiles White. Produced by: Sam Raimi, Robert Tapert, J.R. Young. Executive Producers: Stan Wertlieb, Peter Schlessel, John Sacchi, Nathan Kahane, Joe Drake, Michael Paseornek, Nicole Brown. Director of Photography: Dan Laustsen, D.F.F . Production Designer: Rachel O’Toole. Costume Designer: Carla Hetland. Music by: Anton Sanko. Music Supervisor: Linda Cohen. RELEASE DATES: 26 DECEMBER 2012 (FRANCE) / 31 AUGUST 2012 (USA)
THE POSSESSION Ghost House Pictures, North Box Productions' Horror, Suspense directed by Ole Bornedal starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport.
Natasha Calis stars as ‘Em’ in THE POSSESSION.
TM et © 2005 Metropolitan Filmexport et ses entités affiliées. Tous droits réservés. Propriété de Metropolitan Filmexport.
SONGS: “You’re A Heavenly Thing” Written by Little Jack Little and Joe Young Performed by Mel Torme Courtesy of Capitol Records Under license from EMI Film & Television Music “You Were Always Meant For Me” Written by Homer Greencastle Performed by Lisa Vaughn Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music "Bounce Back" Written by Ali Theodore, Vincent Alfieri, Julian Michael Davis and Sarai Howard Performed by Early Earl ft. Miss Eighty6 Courtesy of DeeTown Entertainment “Maybe We Deserve Each Other” Written by Lucy Woodward and Phil Galdston Performed by Lucy Woodward Courtesy of Benair Churchill LLC and Kazzoom Music, Inc. “Why Why Why” Written and Performed by Forrest Lee Jr. Courtesy of 5 Alarm Music ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS: ANTON SANKO (Music) is a music composer and producer born in New York City. Sanko previously scored the critically acclaimed film “Rabbit Hole” starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart from director John Cameron Mitchell, which was released in December 2010. The film, which was written by David Lindsay-Abaire and based on his acclaimed play, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010. Anton also scored the epic seven-part global programming television event “Great Migrations” for National Geographic which aired on the National Geographic Channel in November 2010. He was the recipient of the Outstanding Individual Achievement In A Craft: Music & Sound award at the 32nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards for his work as composer in “Great Migrations” along with sound designer Kate Kopkins and Sound Mixer Dave Hurley. “Great Migrations” tells the powerful stories of many of the planet’s species and their movements, while revealing new scientific insights with breathtaking high-definition clarity and emotional impact. Sanko was also composer of HBO/Playtone acclaimed series “Big Love” starring Bill Paxton. Sanko’s prominent production credits include producing and writing with Suzanne Vega on Solitude Standing (seven Grammy® nominations) and Days of Open Hand (one Grammy® award, and producing and writing on Jim Carroll’s last album Pools of Mercury. He has also produced Lucy Kaplansky, Anna Domino and Skeleton Key. Sanko has scored over 25 films. Amongst them are “Saving Face,” “Party Girl” and “Scotland, Pa.” He works regularly with director Tom Docile, having scored “Delirious” and providing music for “When You’re Strange.” He currently resides in Los Angeles.
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THE EXPENDABLES Millennium Films, Nu Image Films, Rogue Marble's Action, Adventure, Thriller directed by Sylvester Stallone starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li.
THE EXPENDABLES 2 Millennium Films, Nu Image Films' Action, Adventure directed by Simon West starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren.
FILM CLIP #1 "Book Blast" (VO)
FILM CLIP #2 "Mouth Fingers" (VO)
THE EXPENDABLES Millennium Films, Nu Image Films, Rogue Marble's Action, Adventure, Thriller directed by Sylvester Stallone starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li.
THE EXPENDABLES 2 Millennium Films, Nu Image Films' Action, Adventure directed by Simon West starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li.
INTERVIEWS #1 Jeffrey Dean Morgan "Clyde" and Natasha Calis "Em" (VO)
INTERVIEWS #2 Kyra Sedgwick "Stephanie" (VO)
FILM CLIP #1 "Where's My Box?" (VOSTFR)
FILM CLIP #2 "Book Blast" (VOSTFR)
FILM CLIP #3 "Mouth Finger" (VOSTFR)