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Bringing The Talent Together
"Collateral Damage" originated as a story idea from writer and long-time film editor Ronald Roose, who presented it to his friend and colleague David Foster. Foster, a veteran film producer with a string of successes to his credit ("The River Wild," "The Mask of Zorro"), knew a good story when he saw it and championed the project throughout its development and production, ultimately joined by producer and CEO of Bel-Air Entertainment Steven Reuther, himself a keen judge of quality with numerous high-profile films to his credit ("Face/Off," "Sommersby," "Rock Star").

Writing partners and brothers Peter Griffiths and David Griftiths wrote the screenplay.

Director Andrew Davis. whose numerous critical and box-office successes include "The Fugitive" and "A Perfect Murder," and who collaborated previously with Steven Reuther on the international blockbuster hit "Under Siege," was the obvious first choice to direct this layered action thriller.

With Davis at the helim and with a finished script, the filmmakers began assembling the cast.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was the first to sign on after hearing about the project, which was brought to his attention on a chair lift by Steven Reuther while the two were skiing together in Sun Valley. "This is how I always get projects from Warner Bros. Pictures," Schwarzenegger quips. "this is the same way I found out about 'Eraser' and 'Batman & Robin' someone is always pulling out a script on the chair lift and saying, 'Look at this!"'

"I liked the action of the story," Schwarzenegger says, "as well as the drama and frustration Gordy experiences, all the emotional elements and the realism." Being a family man himself, the actor felt an immediate empathy with his character. "When you love your family you can't imagine what it would be like to see them get killed right in front of your eyes so it's easy to get the emotional element of the story. All you have to do is imagine what it must be like and you feel it immediately. This is what drives Gordy."

He was also pleased at the opportunity to portray a firefighter. "I can be a hero on the screen, but the real heroes are these guys who are out there every day, bravely doing their jobs," Schwarzenegger readily acknowledges. "This was dramatically demonstrated after the terrorist attacks on September 11th, when we saw so many firefighters, along with police and rescue workers, risking their lives — and in some cases, losing their lives — in order to save others.

"I have always had the utmost respect for firefighters," he continues," and now my respect has been heightened tenfold. I believe there is a whole new appreciation now for firefighters in this country and around the world."

For Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has become an international cultural icon portraying characters that are absolutely in control of every situation, the role of Gordy Brewer adds a degree of depth. Although Gordy is a man of action, capable of great stamina and purpose, he is also a man making his way through unknown terrain, consumed by grief, discouragement and frustration.

"Arnold's performance is compelling," states director Davis. "He did a fabulous job with this role. His Gordy is believable, compassionate, smart and driven. In looking at Arnold's body of work, he has never had an opportunity before to play a real character in a reality-based drama.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger surprised some people when he did 'Twins,"' producer David Foster recalls, "because no one thought of him then as a comic actor. And it turns out he has a great gift for comedy. Now everyone takes that for granted. In 'Col1ateral Damage,' he reveals another facet of his talent by presenting himself as an ordinary working man who's got himself de

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