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THE BIG HIT

About The Production
Warren Zide, a top Hollywood literary manager turned producer, recognized a good thing when he read Ben Ramsey's screenplay for THE BIG HIT

Warren Zide, a top Hollywood literary manager turned producer, recognized a good thing when he read Ben Ramsey's screenplay for THE BIG HIT. "His talent was evident, and this was a movie that I really wanted to see," says Zide.

Zide passed the script to Wesley Snipes' company, Amen Ra, which was similarly impressed. "The story was fresh, and Wesley saw the possibilities immediately," says Amen Ra's Victor McGauley, a co-producer on THE BIG HIT.

The script then landed on the desk of Terence Chang, longtime producer and partner of director John Woo. Chang immediately thought of his friends, director Che-Kirk Wong and producer Roger Garcia, for the project.

After establishing an international reputation as an innovative action director, Wong, along with Garcia, was looking for a project to launch his career in North America. After sifting through over a hundred action scripts, Wong knew that he had the right one when he read THE BIG HIT.

"The script was very original, and that's a quality that I need for my work," says Wong. "It provided the basis for some good action pieces, but at the same time, there's a tongue-in-cheek kind of attitude, too. Obviously, I enjoy doing action sequences, but action means nothing if we don't have decent characters. They're both equally important to me."

"The mix of comedy and action made it a perfect vehicle for Che-Kirk to establish himself in North America," comments Chang. "He had never done a comedy before, and I thought that this would be a challenge for him."

Garcia adds: "One of Che-Kirk's strengths as a director is the representation of men as individuals and as a group, bonded through a common goal or job. He's also got a cool sense of humor for this type of material."

Everyone involved agreed that the script demanded a group of hip, fresh, exciting actors. There was an additional casting requirement for the motley group of hitmen: "We had to get a cast which looked comfortable together and appeared to have known each other for years for the type of chemistry we wanted onscreen," says Garcia. "Coming from Hong Kong to Hollywood-where the talent pool is much larger-gave us a wide spectrum of choices. We had to make some difficult casting decisions."

Zide credits casting director Roger Mussenden for putting together the top-notch ensemble. "He really had a vision for the movie and did a terrific job putting together a distinctive and eclectic group of actors." Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, each casting decision determined the next, until the group was completed. For Ramsey, "It was mind-blowing to see my characters come to life."

The producers realized they had hit the jackpot when they lined up a cast that included Mark Wahlberg, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bokeem Woodbine, and Antonio Sabato, Jr. "Each have their own following, are immensely talented, and share an amazing rapport," comments Chang.

Phillips describes the group as "the 'Odd Squad'-an ensemble cast for the '90s. Mark, as Mel, is sweet, and the killing machine in the group. Bokeem's character, Crunch, actually defies description. He's the muscle of the group. Antonio, as Vince, will really surprise his followers."

Wong trusted his intuition when he cast Wahlberg and Phillips as Mel and Cisco, the linchpin characters of the story. "I knew it when I saw them. The chemistry was there," says<

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