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THE WATCHER

About The Production
The 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.

"It's 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.''

The 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."

"The 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."

But 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 film.

"It's 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."

The FBI 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.

"I 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."

The 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.

"The 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.

"The 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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