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Production Information
HIGH CRIMES stars Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Jim Caviezel, Amanda Peet, and Adam Scott. Carl Franklin directs. Arnon Milchan, Janet Yang and Jesse B'Franklin are the producers, with a screenplay by Yuri Zeltser & Cary Bickley, based on the novel by Joseph Finder. Lisa Henson and Kevin Reidy are the executive producers. Naomi Despres is the co-producer.

The production team includes director of photography Theo Van de Sande, ASC, production designer Paul Peters, costume designer Sharen Davis, editor Carole Kravetz-Aykanian and composer Graeme Revell.

Writer Joseph Finder, an expert on the CIA and international politics, has for nearly a decade been hailed for his mix of non-stop thrills and political intrigue in his novels The Moscow Club, Extraordinary Powers, The Zero Hour and, most recently, High Crimes.

When the novel High Crimes was submitted to producer Janet Yang and her former partner in Manifest Films, Lisa Henson, Yang thought the novel had the ingredients that would make a terrific motion picture. Like Finder's other novels, High Crimes' rapid-fire pace was inherently cinematic. Equally important, it had a strong female protagonist who is placed in an extraordinary situation. "The novel had this wonderful premise about a female criminal defense lawyer who ends up having to defend her husband," Yang explains. "Claire makes tough, almost impossible choices throughout the story. We thought that was something both men and certainly women could relate to."

Adapting Finder's dense plotting and complex structure into a workable screenplay proved challenging. Yang turned to the screenwriting (and husband-and-wife) team of Yuri Zeltser & Cary Bickley, whom Yang says had the discipline and creative spark to mold the story into a screenplay.

With the Zeltser & Bickley screenplay in hand, Yang began the search for a director who could bring more than high-powered action scenes and "conventional" genre elements to the project. "I wanted a filmmaker who had gotten consistently great performances from his actors," says Yang, "so that HIGH CRIMES would be more than just a thriller."

A chance meeting with Jesse B'Franklin, producing partner and, more recently the wife of director Carl Franklin, proved fortuitous. Yang passed the script to B'Franklin, who saw great potential in the script, particularly with its central character. "I thought Claire was a fascinating character," B'Franklin relates. "She's a successful professional woman who was living the good life, but suddenly found herself in a situation she never could have imagined."

B'Franklin immediately gave the script to Franklin, who shared her enthusiasm for the project. "The story's 'David and Goliath' aspects really appealed to me," says Franklin, whose "One False Move" and "Devil in a Blue Dress" also pitted a lone character against seemingly unbeatable obstacles.

Yang knew that Franklin, all of whose films offered finely-observed character studies, would bring something special to HIGH CRIMES. "Carl has an unerring sense of authenticity, a kind of seamless sense of reality," Yang explains. "Every moment in his films is real. You sense that he's capturing a slice of life in all its dimensions and colors."

Once Franklin came aboard HIGH CRIMES, he set about adding some character-base


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