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IDENTITY THIEF

Cops, Cons and Skiptracers: Supporting Cast
With Bateman and McCarthy good to go, the filmmakers began to cast the many supporting roles. Naturally, the next part was Sandy's loving, supportive wife named Trish, played by Amanda Peet. Initially resistant to her husband's idea of tracking down the criminal who has stolen his identity, Trish soon realizes it is their only chance to get out of the financial mess that the whirling dervish called Diana has whipped up.

"Sandy and Trish are caught between a rock and a hard place and have no other choice but to take matters into their own hands and not rely on the help of the law or anyone else," explains Peet. "Though Trish is a little worried because Sandy is a conservative, law-abiding person, and he's going to go off on this crazy wild-goose hunt to find a criminal." Peet knew she'd made the right choice for her next project. "When you're in a room by yourself reading a script and you start falling off the bed laughing, it's a good sign. I kept emailing Jason with 'This is so brilliant.' I also feel like it's very topical with the economy the way it is and families struggling."

Stuber had no doubts they'd found the perfect Trish for the comedy. He says: "Jason and Amanda are friends, which is a big plus when it comes to playing husband and wife of 12 years, so right away you knew there would be good chemistry. Amanda's a terrific actress and brings such great energy in her performances, so she was a great fit for the character."

Diana's actions wreak havoc on every member of the Patterson household, including Trish and Sandy's two young daughters, Jessie and Franny, played by Maggie Elizabeth Jones and Mary-Charles Jones, respectively. "We were lucky we found two strong, young actresses who could hold their own," says Gordon. "It was important for the characters that the girls who played them be sisters. We knew this would give them a real comfort with each other, and they could play around and riff with Amanda, Jason and Melissa."

In the film, Sandy has worked at Prominence Financial for many years with very little to show for it. Despite his dedication to the company and outstanding work ethic, Sandy is becoming increasingly frustrated as he struggles to make ends meet. He reaches his breaking point when his boss, Harold Cornish, asks him to come into his office and cut bonus checks -- checks that are meant only for partners at the firm.

When casting the role of Cornish, Bateman turned to his longtime pal, Jon Favreau. "I have known Jon for many years, and I knew that he could come in and take a role that wasn't that fleshed out on the page and make it into something special. That is exactly what he did," commends Bateman. "I am so grateful that he was able to do the part."

"Scott sent me the script and when I read it, I liked the role of Harold because I haven't played this type of part in a while," returns Favreau. "I knew that I would get to come in for a few days and bang it around a bit with Jason, which is always a lot of fun because there's such subtlety to his comedy."

"We all know Jon as a fabulous director, but he is also one of the great comedic actors of his generation," adds Abdy. "He took a very simple role, which was written for plot and setup, and brought a whole new layer to the character that was incredibly funny. It sets up and helps earn the moment that Sandy quits his job and finally stands up for himself."

After Sandy realizes that he will never have the life he wants working at Prominence Financial, he agrees to join co-worker Daniel Casey (portrayed by John Cho) at his new startup company. His new boss gives Sandy his dream job, complete with a vice president title, terrific salary and plush office. "Prominence is an investment firm run the old-school way, which is basically thieving," Cho dryly states. "It's definitely a cutthroat business, and people don't feel appreciated. It's one of those companies where the profits stay at the top and don't trickle down, so I am sure people are not going to have a difficult time comparing it to the place where they work."

Daniel's decision to hire Sandy sets off a chain of events that rock Sandy's world. Explains Cho: "Daniel brings in a majority of the new business to Prominence, and he is not seeing a dime from it. So he defects and starts his own company, with more equitable profit sharing. Sandy is attracted to that and decides to come on board. The first day in the office, Sandy gets a visit from the police about a drug ring in Florida, and it starts to make Daniel very nervous. He lets Sandy know that unless it is cleared up quickly he has to let him go."

For Gordon, Cho's presence on set was an unexpected bonus. "John came on board just before production," says the director. "Everyone knows him from comedies like the HAROLD & KUMAR films, but he brought this edge to Daniel we really needed. The role is important because if you don't believe the working relationship between Sandy and Daniel -- that they're starting a new company together -- then the entire movie is compromised. We needed somebody who would approach it with that level of intensity, and John did a great job."

At the Denver Police Department, the officer investigating Sandy is Detective Reilly, played by Morris Chestnut. While the cop is initially somewhat helpful, his attitude quickly changes. Chestnut explains: "Reilly comes to Sandy's job with a warrant to search the premises for drugs and guns because Sandy's name was on a list of buyers in a drug bust. He doesn't find anything, but it pushes Sandy to go track Diana down so his name can be cleared. Reilly also likes to take subtle jabs at him because, despite knowing that there is a woman who has stolen his identity, he feels like there might be something else Sandy is hiding. So he is keeping a real close eye on him."

Chestnut tackled another one of those roles that expanded as the production started shooting. Abdy sums that the performers were all game: "When you get on set and the magic starts to happen, sometimes you find a kernel of an idea that's good and you want to explore it and see if it works. Not all of them will live in the film, but a handful will. That's the magic of comedies. You come up with new ideas on set and you play with them. You hope to have actors like Morris who are willing to jump in and make things messy. He was fantastic in rolling with the punches."

Once Sandy persuades Diana to come back to Colorado, all that stands in his way of getting his life back is a two-day drive across the country. What he soon finds out, however, is that he isn't the only one tracking Diana. They both come face to face with a menacing skiptracer, played by Robert Patrick. Gordon elaborates: "A skiptracer is essentially a bail enforcement agent -- like a bounty hunter or a 'collector' -- who is tracking someone who has skipped bail or owes a lot of money. These guys can travel interstate and take somebody hostage and bring them to the person who is owed the money. It's this bizarre loophole in interstate law, and I thought he would be a great antagonist. Still, we knew it would require an actor who naturally has an ability to be menacing without being a cartoon character. I thought Robert was perfect, and I've loved him ever since he was the T-1000 in TERMINATOR 2."

"Before I read the script I didn't know a skiptracer was a real occupation," laughs Patrick, who was recently seen in Universal and Bluegrass Film's 2012 hit, SAFE HOUSE. "He's a cross between a bounty hunter and a debt collector. When Seth and I started talking about the character, we decided to make him an Army guy who's created this niche for himself and works for debt collectors. He gets the information, tracks people down by their credit card use and then captures them, puts them in the back of his van and takes them back to who they took the money from. While Diana might not look intimidating, she proves to be one of the most difficult targets he's ever tracked."

Bateman agrees that Patrick was just the man for the job: "Robert is one of the great heavies, and we needed the character to represent real stakes. By having him on your tail there was a sense of threat and urgency. A different actor would've said, 'Well, I'm doing a comedy and I'm playing the bad guy, so I need to come in and get some laughs.' There are no laughs written for that character, but if you play him perfectly and you're in these crazy situations, there are going to be laughs that come from that. Fortunately, Robert trusted that, and as a result he gets some laughs. But more importantly, he's real scary, which is what we needed."

Nothing comes easy for Sandy when it comes to getting Diana safely back to Colorado. As if having a skiptracer tracking your every move wasn't enough, Sandy soon discovers Marisol and Julian, a team of professional enforcers who want what he's got: Diana. "When we found Genesis Rodriguez to play Marisol, who's so funny, and T.I., who lives in Atlanta, to play Julian, we changed the characters. As a result, they and their boss, Paul [played by Jonathan Banks] -- working from his jail cell -- rounded out the antagonists," explains Gordon. "We needed audiences to believe that all of them were real and threatening and are a force to be reckoned with."

"Marisol is bat-shit crazy," Rodriguez succinctly puts it. "She's a cold-blooded assassin who is partnered with Julian, and they are the oddest pair. You would think to be an assassin you would need to be emotionless, but they're very emotional and constantly bicker with each other like an old married couple."

"Marisol thinks she's running things," adds Tip 'T.I.' Harris. "She wants to boss me around, despite the fact that I do most of the heavy lifting. The truth is that I do most of the work, and she talks most of the shit. But I guess, like they say, she's easy on the eyes, so I grin and bear it and let her get away with it."

Julian and Marisol arrive at Diana's home just as Sandy is ready to haul her off, and the producers were happy with their young performers' take on the action-heavy roles. "Genesis and T.I. are both bright actors," commends Abdy. "They have a terrific dynamic, so it provides a different flavor to the movie and gives you two other villains that are very different from the skiptracer."

Throughout their journey, Sandy and Diana meet a number of odd characters, but perhaps none is more memorable than a gregarious Southerner named Big Chuck, played by Eric Stonestreet. When Diana visits a bar called The Foxhole (also the code name for the film during production) across from the motel room she shares with Sandy, she and Big Chuck instantly hit it off. An Emmy Award-winning actor best known for the hit television show Modern Family, Stonestreet describes his larger-than-life character: "Big Chuck's a real estate agent who happens to be at The Foxhole when Diana and Sandy come in to grab a drink. He is looking for a good time, and he looks at Sandy as his ticket to be with Diana. Big Chuck soon realizes that in order to get the prize, he's got to go through Sandy, so he's willing to do whatever he needs to do."

"We had a hard time finding the right person to be a match for Diana," relays Gordon. "We wanted to have a character that could be a mark for Diana, in terms of a scam, but also someone who audiences would root for her to be with. Finding someone who could give us that macho, big presence led us to Eric, who I knew was an amazing actor from when I directed an episode of MODERN FAMILY."

"Eric came in and saved the day," adds Bateman. "We had a situation with our schedule, which took us down to the wire in terms of getting the kind of actor that we wanted. Thankfully, Eric's schedule worked out. He and Melissa hit it off immediately, which was important because there are some intimate moments between the characters."

With the casting process complete, the filmmakers were quite pleased with the outstanding comedic cast they had assembled. "I was happy with our actors, from top to bottom," praises Gordon. "In a comedy, the tiniest part can jeopardize a scene and can send the movie off tone. We worked hard to find performers who could make all of those smaller parts shine, and that started with actors like Carlos Navarro [Luis] at the gas station, Ben Falcone [Tony] as the hotel clerk and Ellie Kemper [Florence] at the Colonnade. All these people made the most of these brief moments and really elevated each scene."

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