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SWORDFISH

About The Production
Producer Joel Silver sees "Swordfish" as "unique, innovative storytelling." The veteran producer, currently at work on the "Matrix" sequels, feels the world of hackers and cyber crime is an ideal backdrop for this type of complex thriller. "The Internet allows people with a talent for hacking to do things that ordinary people can't do," Silver notes. "And if you reach a certain skill level, or have an innate talent for it, no amount of security or encryption can stop you."

For Jonathan D. Krane, whose work with Travolta includes some of the most popular and acclaimed films of the past decade, including the award winning comedy "Look Who's Talking" and films of virtually all genres such as "Primary Colors," "A Civil Action" and "Michael," the challenge in producing "Swordfish" was to make complex computer issues accessible. "I read an article that described something that is right out of our movie," Krane recalls, "and to me that means our story is not only on the cutting edge but also authentic. We're pushing the envelope of what the world of computers can do, both good and bad, for people. But we're also keeping the story within the realm of possibility."

Skip Woods's screenplay opens in a coffee shop while the bank heist is in full swing and then moves backward and forward in time. Travolta was taken by this scene alone. "I read this scene where I'm sitting at a coffee bar and pontificating about movies, in particular ‘Dog Day Afternoon,'" he remembers. "I knew I loved it immediately. The best blueprint for the whole character was in those first three or four pages."

Silver, who has known Travolta for years, was thrilled to undertake a project featuring a character so perfectly suited for the actor. "John is so charming naturally that when he creates a character like Gabriel, there is an ambiguity that throws you off," says the producer. "It makes it hard to know if he's bad; you want him to be the good guy. This is such a vital component to the character and only an actor of John's caliber and charisma could possibly pull it off."

Travolta and Krane were equally thrilled to make "Swordfish" with Joel Silver. "I only feel you should do action films if your guns are loaded, and I mean that metaphorically," says Travolta. "If you have a great action producer, which Joel is, a great director, and wonderful actors that you can work with, like Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry, then you have something that can potentially be phenomenal."

To fulfill the potential of a story infused with a range of intriguing, shaded characters, it was important to select a cast that could express every side to them.

"Hugh Jackman is such a pro," Travolta observes. "To me, he is like the best mix of Clint Eastwood and Sean Connery: he's a great star as well as a fine actor. I felt very lucky to get him in this movie. And Halle is such a beauty and a terrific actress."

Silver, who worked with Halle Berry when she appeared in "Executive Decision," wanted the actress from the beginning. "People are blinded by Halle's beauty but in fact she is a formidable actress with great talent," says Silver. "Now, with her Golden Globe and Emmy Awards, she is coming into her own and people are beginning to see what she can do. She brings so much conflict, wisdom and raw sexiness to Ginger. She is the ideal counterpoint to John and Hugh."

The final piece in the puzzle was the character of Roberts, the FBI cyber crimes agent whose history with Stanley draws him into Gabriel's plot. To portray Roberts, Silver called on Don Cheadle, who has turned in acclaimed, standout performances in such films as "Boogie Nights," &q

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