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The Mission
A contemporary action-comedy set against the raw, untamed landscape of the Amazon was the perfect melding of genres for The Rock as a follow-up to his first starring roles in The Scorpion King and The Mummy Returns (his big-screen debut). 

"The last two movies I've done, well, the only two movies I've done,” quips the star, "were period movies. So I was looking forward to doing something contemporary, playing a character with some mystique while injecting a little humor without losing the spirit of the character. Beck is the quintessential reluctant hero, one of those classic characters who can handle any situation, but whose problems just keep piling up.” 

While in production on The Scorpion King, producer Kevin Misher (former President of Production at Universal Pictures) and The Rock had discussed collaborating on another project. Producer Karen Glasser had recalled a compelling, two-fisted adventure story she had read and brought it to The Rock and Misher's attention. Once The Rock expressed interest in the Amazon-set action-adventure, Universal Pictures quickly set the project on the fast-track. Everyone agreed that it had elements that were both familiar and innovative to a no-holds-barred action film and that The Rock, who was poised for stardom after his charismatic turn in the worldwide hit The Scorpion King, should be its hero. 

Producer Marc Abraham came on board soon after, and the team developed the script for the action star, making sure that the story amply showcased his natural athletic ability and impressive comedic acting, not yet tapped on the big screen but which audiences got a glimpse of with The Rock's standout appearances hosting Saturday Night Live. 

"The remarkable thing about The Rock is he's very capable of performing the stunt, often better than most stunt doubles. The great fun in all of this is that you keep the camera rolling and the audience knows it's him pulling off these incredible stunts. And on top of all of that is his style and his on-screen presence. Of course, as a producer you're thinking ‘What are we doing, that's our star out there!'” comments Misher. 

"Anyone who knows The Rock knows that he is very witty and charming,” adds Abraham, "and The Rundown gives him a chance to showcase those qualities on screen. He has great instincts as a performer. And his career as an athlete gave him incredible drive and discipline, but the truth is, he was just born with natural star power.” 

Director Peter Berg, well known as a film and television actor (The Last Seduction and Cop Land), emerged as a director on the critically acclaimed television series Chicago Hope (in which he also starred) and made his feature debut as a writer/director with the black comedy Very Bad Things. 

It was Berg's training in and understanding of performance and his sharp, singular approach to the film that made him a leading candidate to visualize the hardhitting action of the film and still maintain its many differing and unique elements. 

"On paper, Pete may not have been a natural choice to helm a big, action film,” observes Misher. "But he's proven himself as an actor and a director with keen sensibilities in dealing with genre-breaking projects—and The Rundown isn't your standard action fare. The elements that make it different and special, such as the character work and the humor, dovetail perfectly with Pete's proven strengths as a director. But on top of that, he also really stepped up to the challenge and delivered a kinetic, exciting, visceral film of big action that includes these colorful characters in compelling situations.” 

"What made Pete a great choice,” remarks Glasser, "is that I think he really understands conflict. Whether a movie is a comedy or an action film, there needs to be an underlying tension and Pete really gets that. Obviously, he understands ch

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