PAUL DANO (Tibeats) will play the young ‘Brian Wilson’ in Love and Mercy, a forthcoming independent feature directed by Academy Award-nominated producer, Bill Pohlad. Written by Oren Moverman (The Messenger, Rampart, I’m Not There), the film follows the reclusive, legendary Beach Boys musician from his successes with highly influential orchestral pop albums to his nervous breakdown and subsequent encounter with controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy. Love and Mercy also stars John Cusack as the older Wilson, Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti. Academy Award-winning composer Atticus Ross (The Social Network) is working on the sound design of the film and the soundtrack, which will include Wilson’s music.
This fall, Dano will appear in award-winning filmmaker Denis Villeneuve’s PRISONERS. He joins a cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello and Melissa Leo. PRISONERS will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Warner Bros will release the drama about two families whose lives are upturned with their young daughters go missing on September 20.
Last year, Dano reteamed with Little Miss Sunshine's Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris for the critically acclaimed Ruby Sparks (Fox Searchlight Pictures), written by and co-starring Zoe Kazan. Dano also garnered positive reviews for his performance as an aspiring rock star and young father in So Yong Kim's For Ellen, (Tribeca Films) and served as an executive producer on both films.
In 2012, Dano also starred opposite Robert De Niro in Being Flynn (Focus Features), Paul Weitz's adaptation of Nick Flynn's celebrated memoir Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and made a pivotal appearance alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Rian Johnson’s sci-fi thriller Looper (TriStar Pictures).
Dano earned an Independent Spirit Award for ‘Best Debut Performance’ for his work opposite Brian Cox in Michel Cuesta’s L.I.E. For Little Miss Sunshine, he garnered a second Spirit Award nomination, a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for ‘Best Young Actor’ and a Screen Actors Guild Award (ensemble) with cast mates Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear.
The following year, Dano earned a BAFTA Award nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ opposite Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood.
Dano’s film credits also include Kelly Reichardt's Meek’s Cutoff, Jon Favreau’s Cowboys & Aliens, Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are (as the goat-like ‘Alexander’), James Mangold’s Knight and Day, Dagur Kári’s The Good Heart with Brian Cox, Matt Aselton’s Gigantic opposite Zooey Deschanel (which marked his first executive producer credit), Ang Lee’s Taking Woodstock, Richard Linklater’s Fast Food Nation, James Marsh’s The King, Rebecca Miller’s The Ballad of Jack and Rose with Day-Lewis, D.J. Caruso’s Taking Lives, Luke Greenfield's The Girl Next Door, Michael Hoffman’s The Emperor’s Club and Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s The Extra Man, both with Kevin Kline.
Growing up in Manhattan and Connecticut, Dano began his career on the New York stage with roles in Broadway productions of Inherit the Wind, opposite George C. Scott and Charles Durning and A Christmas Carol, with Ben Vereen and Terrence Mann. Just before his 11th birthday, Dano secured his first job on Broadway as an understudy in the 1995 production of A Month in the Country, with F. Murray Abraham and Helen Mirren. In 2007, Dano returned to the stage in The New Group’s off-Broadway production of Jonathan Marc Sherman’s Things We Want, directed by Ethan Hawke and starring Peter Dinklage, Josh Hamilton, and Zoe Kazan. In late 2010, he appeared with Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def in the world premiere of John Guare’s A Free Man of Color, directed by George C. Wolfe at Lincoln Center Theatre.
It is rare to find an actor who is both a leading man and character actor who can morph effortlessly from role to role. Garret Dillahunt (Armsby) possesses a resume that displays an impressive diversity.
Born in California and raised in Washington, Dillahunt studied journalism at the University of Washington and went on to earn his M.F.A. through New York University’s renowned graduate acting program.
He is currently starring on the hit Fox series “Raising Hope” but makes time during his hiatus to film features, such as Any Day Now starring opposite Alan Cumming and directed by Travis Fine, KILLING THEM SOFTLY, starring Brad Pitt and directed by Andrew Dominic; Looper with Emily Blunt, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Bruce Willis; Revenge For Jolly! with Kristen Wiig, Oscar Isaacs, Ryan Philippe, Elijah Wood, and Adam Brody; and most recently the independent film Headhunter starring opposite Ulrich Tukur (The White Ribbon) and directed by Bastian Gunther. Both Any Day Now and Revenge for Jolly! premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012.
Last year he starred, and received a Genie nomination as the title character in Oliver Sherman, Ryan Redford’s directorial debut opposite Molly Parker and Donal Logue. He also starred in the independent feature Amigo, with Chris Cooper and directed by John Sayles. Additionally, he co-starred in the critically acclaimed Winter’s Bone, which earned him and the rest of the cast ‘Best Ensemble’ at the Gotham Awards.
His additional film credits include The Road, with Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron; Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left; The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; and the Coen Brothers Oscar-winning drama No Country For Old Men, opposite Tommy Lee Jones.
Dillahunt is probably best known for his work on the critically acclaimed cable series “Deadwood,” in which he portrayed two entirely different characters: the assassin ‘Jack McCall’ and the complex and deadly ‘Francis Wolcott.’ After recognizing Dillahunt’s talent in his first incarnation, executive producer/writer David Milch created a second character for him.
Additional television credits include “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” “John From Cincinnati,” “The Book of Daniel,” “ER,” “The 4400,” “Damages,” “Life,” “Lie to Me,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Criminal Minds,” “Burn Notice” and “White Collar”, and most recently “Alphas” and “Memphis Beat”.
He boasts an outstanding theatrical resume and has performed extensively on and off Broadway and at such respected theatre companies as Steppenwolf, ACT San Francisco, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Berkshire Theatre Festival.
Dillahunt resides in Los Angeles and New York.
With a diverse roster of finely etched, award-winning and critically acclaimed performances, Paul Giamatti (Freeman) has established himself as one of the most versatile actors of his generation.
He can currently be heard lending his vocal talents to DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo, which also features the voices of Ryan Reynolds, Richard Jenkins and Bill Hader.
This Fall he will be seen in several films: John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks co-starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson; Peter Landesman’s Parkland with Zac Efron and Jacki Weaver; Carlo Carlei’s Romeo and Juliet, as ‘Friar Laurence,’ opposite Hailee Steinfeld and Damian Lewis; and Ari Folman’s The Congress, co-starring Robin Wright and Harvey Keitel. In 2013, he will also be seen in Phil Morrison’s Almost Christmas, which he also produced and stars in alongside Paul Rudd.
Giamatti just wrapped the highly anticipated sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2, directed by Marc Webb in which he stars as ‘Aleksei Sytsevich / The Rhino,’ opposite Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Shailene Woodley, Jamie Foxx, and Sally Field. He is currently in England joining the cast of “Downton Abbey” where he will appear in the Season 4 finale playing ‘Harold’ as the “maverick, playboy brother” to Elizabeth McGovern’s ‘Cora.’
Other credits for him include Rock of Ages, David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis, The Ides of March, Curtis Hanson’s HBO movie “Too Big To Fail,” in which his performance earned him his third SAG Award™ for ‘Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor’ in a Television Movie or Miniseries as well as an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination. Giamatti also starred in the critically praised Win Win, a film written and directed by Oscar nominee Tom McCarthy (UP).
His performance in 2010’s Barney’s Version earned him his second Golden Globe Award. Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Mordechai Richler, the film was directed by Richard J. Lewis and co-starred Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike and Minnie Driver.
In 2008, Giamatti won an Emmy®, SAG and Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Actor in a Miniseries’ for his portrayal of the title character in the HBO seven-part Emmy Award Winning Mini-Series “John Adams.” Directed by Emmy Award Winning director Tom Hooper, Giamatti played ‘John Adams’ in a cast that also included award-winning actors Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, David Morse and Stephen Dillane.
In 2006, Giamatti’s performance in Ron Howard's Cinderella Man earned him his first SAG Award and a Broadcast Film Critics' Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor,’ as well as Academy Award® and Golden Globe nominations in the same category.
For his role in Alexander Payne's critically-lauded Sideways, Giamatti earned several accolades for his performance including Best Actor from the Independent Spirit Awards, New York Film Critics Circle as well as a Golden Globe and SAG Award nomination.
In 2004, Giamatti garnered outstanding reviews and commendations (Independent Spirit Award nomination for ‘Best Actor,’ National Board of Review ‘Breakthrough Performance of the Year’) for his portrayal of Harvey Pekar in Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's American Splendor.
Giamatti first captured the eyes of America in Betty Thomas' hit comedy Private Parts. His extensive list of film credits also includes Jonathan English’s Ironclad, Todd Phillips’ The Hangover 2, The Last Station opposite Christopher Plummer and Helen Mirren, Tony Gilroy’s Duplicity, Cold Souls which Giamatti also Executive Produced, David Dobkin's Fred Claus, Shoot Em’ Up opposite Clive Owen, Shari Springer Berman and Roger Pulcini's The Nanny Diaries, M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water, The Illusionist, directed by Neil Burger, Milos Forman's Man on the Moon, Julian Goldberger's The Hawk is Dying, Tim Robbins' The Cradle Will Rock, F. Gary Gray's The Negotiator, Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan, Peter Weir's The Truman Show, Mike Newell's Donnie Brasco, Todd Solondz' Storytelling, Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes, Duets opposite Gwyneth Paltrow, the animated film Robots and Big Momma's House co-starring Martin Lawrence. Giamatti also appeared in James Foley's Confidence and John Woo's Paycheck.
As an accomplished stage actor, Giamatti received a Drama Desk nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ as ‘Jimmy Tomorrow’ in Kevin Spacey's Broadway revival of The Iceman Cometh. His other Broadway credits include The Three Sisters directed by Scott Elliot; Racing Demon directed by Richard Eyre; and Arcadia directed by Trevor Nunn. He was also seen Off-Broadway in the ensemble cast of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui with Al Pacino.
For television, Giamatti appeared in “The Pentagon Papers” with James Spader, HBO's “Winchell” opposite Stanley Tucci and Jane Anderson's “If These Walls Could Talk 2.”
He resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Scoot McNairy (Brown) is an actor and producer. He was nominated for ‘Best Actor’ at the 2010 British Independent Film Awards for his work in the critically acclaimed film Monsters from director Gareth Edwards. His film In Search of a Midnight Kiss, which he both starred in and produced, won the John Cassavetes award at the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards.
McNairy will next be seen in Touchy Feely opposite Ellen Page and Allison Janney, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and will hit theaters on September 6. Other upcoming films include Frank opposite Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal and the action film Non-Stop opposite Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore. McNairy also has a role in The Rover opposite Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson.
McNairy will soon begin work on Black Sea opposite Jude Law and recently finished shooting the highly anticipated AMC pilot “Halt and Catch Fire” opposite Lee Pace.
Most recently McNairy starred in Ben Affleck’s Argo, the 2013 ‘Best Picture of the Year’ Oscar winning film, opposite Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, and John Goodman. He is also starred in Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly opposite Brad Pitt, Ben Mendelsohn, and James Gandolfini, which was in competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival; and he had a supporting role in Promised Land from director Gus Van Sant and also starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski.
McNairy and his longtime friend and Manager John Pierce formed The Group Films. Currently The Group Films is in production on the film Frank and Cindy, the theatrical adaption of the award-winning documentary of the same name, starring Rene Russo and Michael Pena. McNairy is also producing the sequel to his hit film Monsters.
This winter, LUPITA NYONG'O (Patsey) will co-star alongside Liam Neeson, Michelle Dockery and Julianne Moore in the thriller Non-Stop. This film is slated for a February 28, 2014 release by Universal Pictures.
The Kenyan actress is also a filmmaker, having served as the creator, director, editor, and producer of the award-winning feature-length documentary, In My Genes. The documentary follows eight individual Kenyans who have one thing in common: they were born with albinism, a genetic condition that causes a lack of pigmentation. In many parts of Africa, including Kenya, it is a condition that marginalizes, stigmatizes, and even endangers those who have it. Though highly visible in a society that is predominantly black, the reality of living with albinism is invisible to most. Through her intimate portraits, Nyong'o enables us see their challenges, humanity, and everyday triumphs.
A graduate of the Yale School of Drama's acting program, Nyong’o’s stage credits include playing ‘Perdita’ in The Winter's Tale (Yale Repertory Theater), ‘Sonya’ in Uncle Vanya, ‘Katherine’ in The Taming of the Shrew, as well as being in the original production of Michael Mitnick's Elijah.
ADEPERO ODUYE (Eliza), who gave a breakout performance as the star of Dee Rees’ PARIAH (2011), hails from Brooklyn, New York by way of Nigeria.
In July, Oduye made her Broadway debut opposite Cicely Tyson in the acclaimed revival of Horton Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful. Oduye plays Thelma, a charming young woman who sits next to Carrie (Tyson) on the bus venture home and in one of the play’s most captivating moments, joins her in song. Oduye appears in The Trip to Bountiful at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre through mid-November.
After auditioning for a role as an extra, Oduye was tapped by writer/director Rees to star in the 2007 award-winning short and subsequent feature PARIAH. For her riveting performance as ‘Alike,’ a 17-year-old lesbian struggling with her identity, Oduye garnered nominations for Independent Spirit and NAACP Image awards for ‘Best Female Lead.’ PARIAH also received the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award, which is presented to the creative team of a film budgeted less than $500,000.
Last year, Oduye co-starred with Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashad, Alfre Woodard, Jill Scott and Condola Rashad in Lifetime’s “Steel Magnolias” for director Kenny Leon and in Ava DuVernay’s Miu Miu Women’s tale The Door alongside Woodard and Gabrielle Union.
Oduye’s theatre credits also include Danai Gurira’s Eclipsed at the Yale Repertory Theatre, The Bluest Eye, at the Hartford Stage and Long Wharf Theatres and Fela! in the AEA workshop, directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones. On television, she made guest appearances on “Louie” and two “Law & Order” series.
Oduye is a graduate of Cornell University.
Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actress Sarah Paulson (Mistress Epps) has built an impressive list of credits in film, television and on stage, challenging herself with each new role.
In television, Paulson was recently seen starring as Lana Winters in season two of Ryan Murphy's hit series, “American Horror Story,” on F/X. She received a Critics Choice Television Award for ‘Best Actress in a Movie or Mini-Series’ for her work. Previously, in the premiere season, Paulson appeared in a multi-episode arc in the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated drama. Paulson will return to the anthology drama for Season 3 this coming fall.
Recently, Paulson made her return to the stage in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s new production of Lanword Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play Talley’s Folly, directed by Michael Wilson.
Most recently, Paulson was seen in HBO's critically acclaimed telefilm, “Game Change.” Directed by Jay Roach, the film follows John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, from his selection of Palin as his running mate, to their ultimate defeat in the general election. Paulson co-stars with Ed Harris, Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson, playing McCain's (Harris) senior campaign advisor ‘Nicolle Wallace.' For her performance, Paulson received a 2012 Emmy Award Nomination for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie,’ as well as her second Golden Globe Nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Movie.’
In film, Paulson recently appeared in Jeff Nichols' film Mud and starred alongside Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey in the role of Mary Lee,' a woman trying to escape her troubled marriage while balancing being a good mother and doing what is best for her. The film premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
In 2011, Paulson was seen in Fox Searchlight's critically acclaimed film Martha Marcy May Marlene, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. The film, nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast, was written and directed by Sean Durkin and also stars Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes and Hugh Dancy. Paulson's other recent film work includes Lionsgate's Christmas Day 2008 release, The Spirit, opposite Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Mendes, and Scarlett Johansson. Adapted from the legendary comic strip, The Spirit is a classic action-adventure-romance, told by genre-twister Frank Miller.
Paulson's other film credits include Marry Harron's The Notorious Bettie Page; Down with Love with Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor and David Hyde Pierce; What Women Want opposite Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt; The Other Sister directed by Gary Marshall and starring Diane Keaton and Juliette Lewis; and Diggers alongside Paul Rudd and Ken Marino.
Paulson's first Golden Globe nominated role was in Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," in which she starred opposite Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Bradley Whitford, and Steven Weber. Paulson portrayed ‘Harriet Hayes,' a cast member of a late-night sketch comedy series who is also in a complicated relationship with the show's executive producer, played by Perry.
Her major television credits also include the lead role on the drama "Leap of Faith," "Deadwood,” "Path to War” opposite Alec Baldwin and Donald Sutherland, "Jack and Jill,” "Cupid” opposite Bobby Cannavale, and the series "American Gothic" with Gary Cole.
On stage, Paulson most recently starred on Broadway in the two-hander Collected Stories opposite Linda Lavin. Previously she appeared on Broadway as ‘Laura Wingfield’ in the revival of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, alongside Jessica Lange. She also starred opposite Alfred Molina and Annette Bening in the critically acclaimed Cherry Orchard for the Mark Taper Forum playing Varya. Her other stage credits include Tracy Lett's off-Broadway production of Killer Joe opposite Scott Glenn and Amanda Plummer, Horton Foote's Talking Pictures at the Signature Theatre, and the off-Broadway production The Gingerbread House opposite Bobby Cannavale.
Paulson currently resides in New York.
BRAD PITT (Bass, Produced by), one of today's strongest and most versatile film actors, is also a successful film producer with his company Plan B Entertainment.
Pitt can most recently be seen in World War Z directed by Marc Forster and produced by Pitt’s Plan B for Paramount. Following WORLD WAR Z, Pitt will next be seen playing a supporting role in Cormac McCarthy’s The Counselor directed by Ridley Scott.
Last year, Pitt reteamed with Andrew Dominik for Killing them softly. This is the second time Pitt has starred and produced a Dominik film, the first being The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, for which he was named ‘Best Actor’ at the Venice Film Festival. In 2011, Brad gave two of his most complex and nuanced performances in Bennett Miller’s Moneyball and Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, films he also produced. Pitt won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the National Society of Film Critics Award for both roles. Additionally, he was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe Award, BAFTA Award, and an Academy Award for his work in Moneyball. The movie also received an Academy Award ‘Best Picture’ nomination. Tree of Life won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for ‘Best Picture’ at the Academy Awards as well. In previous years, Pitt was an Academy Award nominee for his performance in David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys, for which he won a Golden Globe Award. He was also a Golden Globe Award nominee for his performances in Edward Zwick's Legends of the Fall and Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel.
In 2009, Pitt starred in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds as ‘Lt. Aldo Raine’; and appeared in Joel and Ethan Coen's comedy thriller Burn After Reading. Opposite George Clooney, his Burn After Reading co-star, he also appeared in Steven Soderbergh's hits Ocean's Eleven, Ocean's Twelve and Ocean's Thirteen.
It was Pitt's role in Ridley Scott's Academy Award-winning Thelma and Louise that first brought him national attention. He soon went on to star in Robert Redford's Academy Award-winning A River Runs Through It, Dominic Sena's Kalifornia and Tony Scott's True Romance. Pitt also received critical acclaim for his performances in the two David Fincher films: Se7en and Fight Club. His films also include Doug Liman's Mr. and Mrs. Smith, which was one of 2005's biggest hits and Guy Ritchie's Snatch.
Pitt's Plan B Entertainment develops and produces both film and television projects. Plan B has thus far produced such films as Martin Scorsese's The Departed, Michael Winterbottom's A Mighty Heart, Robert Schwentke’s Time Traveler’s Wife, Rebecca Miller’s The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ryan Murphy's Running with Scissors, Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy, Ryan Murphy’s Eat Pray Love, and Matthew Vaughn’s Kick-ass. The company is currently in post-production on Rupert Goold’s True Story starring James Franco and Jonah Hill.
Michael Kenneth Williams (Robert) is one of television’s most respected and acclaimed actors. By bringing complicated and charismatic characters to life—often with surprising tenderness—Williams has established himself as a gifted and versatile performer with a unique ability to mesmerize audiences with his stunning character portrayals.
Williams is best known for his remarkable work on “The Wire,” which ran for five seasons on HBO. The wit and humor that Williams brought to ‘Omar,’ the whistle-happy, profanity-averse, dealer-robbing stickup man, earned him high praise and made ‘Omar’ one of television’s most memorable characters. For his work, Williams was nominated in 2009 for an NAACP Image Award for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.’
Williams is also co-starring in HBO’s critically acclaimed series “Boardwalk Empire,” which premiered in 2010. In the Martin Scorsese-produced show, Williams plays ‘Chalky White,’ a 1920s bootlegger and impeccably suited veritable mayor of the Atlantic City’s African-American community. In 2012, “Boardwalk Empire” won a Screen Actors Guild Award for ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.’ The third season of “Boardwalk Empire” launches in the fall of 2013.
Williams recently continued to show his versatility by guest-starring in three episodes of “Community,” NBC’s comedy series. His other television credits include “Law & Order,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigations,” “The Philanthropist” and “Boston Legal.” He also had a recurring role on “The Sopranos” and J.J. Abrams’ “Alias.”
Williams made his feature film debut in the urban drama Bullet, after being discovered by the late Tupac Shakur. He also appeared in Bringing Out the Dead, which was directed by Martin Scorsese. His other film work includes roles in The Road, Gone Baby Gone, Life During Wartime, I Think I Love My Wife and Wonderful World. He was seen in the film Snitch opposite Dwayne Johnson and Susan Sarandon. Williams also recently completed filming Jose Padilha’s remake of Robocop starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton.
Giving back to the community plays an important role in Williams’ off-camera life. He has established Making Kids Win, a charitable organization whose primary objective is to build community centers in urban neighborhoods that are in need of safe spaces for children to learn and play.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Williams began his career as a performer by dancing professionally at age 22. After numerous appearances in music videos and as a background dancer on concert tours for Madonna and George Michael, Williams decided to seriously pursue acting. He participated in several productions of the La MaMA Experimental Theatre, the prestigious National Black Theatre Company and the Theater for a New Generation directed by Mel Williams.
Michael Kenneth Williams resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Alfre Woodard’s (Mistress Shaw) work as an actor has earned her an Oscar nomination, four Emmy Awards and sixteen Emmy nominations, three SAG Awards and a Golden Globe. Woodard also enjoys philanthropic work and currently serves on the National Film Preservation Foundation Board, as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences International Outreach Committee.
Woodard’s illustrious body of work includes her Oscar nominated performance in Martin Ritt’s CROSS CREEK; HBO’s “Mandela,” where she was honored with an ACE award for her portrayal of ‘Winnie Mandela’; Lawrence Kasdan’s GRAND CANYON; John Sayles’ PASSION FISH; Joseph Sargent’s MISS EVERS’ BOYS, for which she won an Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe Award; Spike Lee’s CROOKLYN; Gina Prince-Bythewood’s LOVE AND BASKETBALL; Tyler Perry’s THE FAMILY THAT PREYS; Maya Angelou’s DOWN IN THE DELTA; played Betty Applewhite on the ABC drama “Desperate Housewives” and Ruby Jean Reynolds, mother to Lafayette Reynolds, on HBO’s megahit “True Blood.”
Most recently, Woodard co-starred in Lifetime’s hit remake of “Steel Magnolias” in which she was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and won a NAACP Image Award for her performance as ‘Ouiser.’ She will next be seen in a reoccurring role in the BBC America series “Copper.”
In addition to her acting career, Woodard is a long-time activist, currently serving on The Creative Coalition, as well as co-founding “Artists for a New South Africa,” a non-profit working to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, and further the cause of Democracy and Human rights in South Africa. In 2008, Woodard served as a national surrogate for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, and in 2009, was appointed by President Barack Obama to the “President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.”
Chris Chalk (Clemens) currently plays ‘Gary Cooper’ in Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama “The Newsroom” starring opposite Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer. He recently recurred on FX’s modern day western “Justified” playing ‘Jody’ in the show’s fourth season. In 2011, Chalk played the role of ‘Tom Walker’ in the first season of Showtime’s Emmy Award Winning series “Homeland.” He previously guest starred on a variety of hit shows such as “Persons of Interest,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “The Good Wife,” “Rescue Me,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”
In 2010, Chalk received the ‘Recognition for Outstanding Broadway Debut’ at the 66th Annual Theatre Awards and was awarded a Drama Desk Awards ‘Best Featured Actor Nomination’ for his portrayal of ‘Cory’ in August Wilson’s Fences. Chris starred opposite Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the Tony® Award winning Broadway show.
Chalk's previous stage work includes Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer Prize winning play Ruined, Unconditional (LAByrinth Theatre Company, The Public Theater), Defiance (Manhattan Theatre Club City Center), The Overwhelming (Roundabout) and most recently played a death-row inmate in Nathan Louis Jackson’s When I Come to Die (Lincoln Center) directed by Tony Award-nominated Thomas Kail.
His film credits include Focus Features’ Being Flynn playing ‘Ivan’ opposite Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, and he has appeared in a variety of films such as the hit RENT, based on the Broadway musical; Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead; The Architect; and Then She Found Me.
Taran Killam (Hamilton) is a series regular on “Saturday Night Live” and has appeared on “Community,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Scrubs,” “MADtv,” and “Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out.” Killam’s feature credits include MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL, BIG FAT LIAR, JUST MARRIED, and EPIC MOVIE. Killam most recently starred in Paul Feig’s THE HEAT with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.