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THE RECRUIT

About The Film
"The idea of creating a story that dealt with CIA recruitment was fascinating,” says Roger Birnbaum, producer of Touchstone Pictures'/Spyglass Entertainment's "The Recruit.” "Who are these young people that are willing to do this job that so few are willing to do? How does this clandestine organization choose people for this job? These are the types of questions that came to mind.” 

The idea of telling this story with Al Pacino – an Academy Award® winner and one of the greatest actors in film history – was also irresistible. "He's an icon,” says producer Gary Barber. "Every moment on screen, you believe in him.” 

"‘The Recruit' is a psychological thriller, with twists and turns. You're never sure who the good guys are, or what's going to happen next. It's set in the CIA's training facility, but at its heart, it's a performance piece anchored by Al Pacino,” says director Roger Donaldson, whose films include the political thrillers "No Way Out” and "Thirteen Days.” 

"On another level, this is a story about a young man searching for his father,” adds producer Gary Barber. "It's a journey for James to come to terms with his father's absence.” 

"Spy training doesn't come from a book,” says producer Jeff Apple, who previously oversaw another film dealing with an equally clandestine organization – the Secret Service – with the hit "In the Line of Fire.” "It requires a collection of skills that range from, on the visceral side, explosives training, and parachuting, to a very cerebral part of distinguishing what's real and what's not, how to disguise yourself, how to play a role and become the ultimate actor.” 

CIA spokesperson Chase Brandon was instrumental in giving his insight into the Agency's facilities, methods, and complex recruitment process: the way in which the Agency identifies suitable candidates, recruits them, and molds them into operation officers. 

"The training that goes on in the Agency is very interesting, and we do have an area where we conduct clandestine training for our operations officers,” says Brandon. "I'm aware that people think that we call it The Farm. In wonderfully classical Agency response, I can neither confirm nor deny that such a place exists, but I will say that if we were going to give our training facility an interesting name, The Farm perhaps could be an appropriate thing to call it.” 

Brandon arranged visits for the filmmakers to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and, where possible, gave information that had a direct effect on the story. "We had the opportunity to see how the operation works, and more importantly, what the people are like,” remembers Apple. 

Director Roger Donaldson was chosen to bring the story to the screen. Barber and Birnbaum were pleased to have the opportunity to work with Donaldson, who's well known for creating finely nuanced, intelligent and suspenseful films. "Gary and I feel that Roger's film ‘No Way Out' shared similar characteristics with ‘The Recruit,'” says Birnbaum. 

"We have known Roger for a long time and it was wonderful to finally work with him again, after previously making the thriller ‘White Sands,' with him,” say Birnbaum and Barber. 

Donaldson says that he loves making thrillers. "I have done a number of movies that have a thriller quality to them, and even the dramas that I have done have always had an element of danger, violence, and intrigue. I have done films about Washington; ‘Thirteen Days' is set in the White House and ‘No Way Out' was set in the Pentagon. Now this one is about the CIA. These three institutions run not only Washington and the USA, but have a major impact on the world, so there's something inherently interesting about these institutions,” notes Donaldson. 
Besides the appeal of the story and its themes, the idea of working with Al Pacino as CIA instructor Wal

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