About The Production
Watcher is an exciting psychological thriller that takes a unique look into the
minds of both a serial killer and the man who must, reluctantly, pursue him. In
an almost Hitchcockian way, the film quickly introduces us to the killer, David
Allen Griffin, played by Keanu Reeves, who for many years, preyed on lonely
young women in the Los Angeles area.
the first time I can remember a film where we find out who the killer is so
soon,'' says producer Nile Niami. "It allowed us to establish the
suspense in a completely different way.''
story is set up to create a taut cat-and-mouse game between Griffin and FBI
agent Joel Campbell (James Spader). Griffin has pursued Campbell from Los
Angeles, says director Charbanic, "because he's bored with what he's
doing. And in his own twisted way he needs Campbell to continue."
killer is playing a game,'' continues Charbanic. "For him, the thrill
is the chase. And Campbell is the one person he feels is on the same level as
him. It's sort of a perverse kind of hero worship."
Campbell has his own personal problems. The stress of his occupation as a
profiler of serial killers has taken its toll. The film accurately delves into
the psychology of a profiler, says Charbanic, who worked closely with actual FBI
agents and the Chicago police through the development and production of the
very common for FBI agents to have mental breakdowns," he explains.
"One of the real agents who was a consultant on the film, had had three
himself. They are highly professional on the job, but their personal lives are
often a mess. By constantly having to get into the minds and methodologies of
serial killers, their thought processes can become kind of warped, which takes
its toll on their personal relationships. And they are always carrying such a
heavy burden, knowing that if they don't catch the killer someone else is
going to die."
detective's problems are exacerbated by the fact that there are, at any given
time, multiple serial murderers at work in any large city, each with his own
specific style and methodology.
was talking to one of the agents on the set one day," says Charbanic,
"and he said that, currently, there were four serial killers at large in
the Chicago area and about a dozen within the radius of 100 miles."
Watcher utilizes this pressure cooker atmosphere to create an almost unbearable
level of suspense. Each morning Griffin mails photos of his intended victims to
Campbell, allowing the agent a 24-hour grace period to find the intended victim
before he strikes again.
ticking clock aspect gives the story an immediacy, a palpable tension,"
says Charbanic. "And it's very scary." Dramatically the interplay
between Griffin and Campbell also offers a different and much more recognizably
human interaction between the hero and his nemesis, says one of The Watcher's
screenwriters David Elliott.
movie is not about revenge. The killer and the FBI agent actually give a kind of
weird structure to each other's lives." The casting of James Spader for
the role of Campbell was of utmost importance. Charbanic was attracted to Spader,
because he had the charm and charisma to play either role. The interchange
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