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"I'm intrigued with the notion of identity – who we are and who we think we are,” says director D.J. Caruso, citing one of the principle themes in Taking Lives, a psychological thriller that pits the expertise of an FBI profiler against the equally expert but twisted mentality of a serial killer.  

This is a killer who not only takes the lives of his victims but bizarrely assumes their identities, using their credit cards and living in their homes for weeks or months before moving on to the next target.  "He's life-jacking,” says Caruso, offering a term he coined while preparing for the project.  "Not only does this guy, in his mind, become you, but he imagines he's living your life better than you would potentially live it, and that's part of his enjoyment.”

From the story's opening moments, when a body is discovered near a Montreal construction site, it's clear that this is not a standard murder case.  Something about the vicious and ritualistic nature of the crime indicates to local police director Hugo Leclair that he may be dealing with a serial killer, and that prompts him to call on Special Agent Illeana Scott, an FBI profiler, for help.  It's not that he doesn't trust his own detectives to solve the case; it's just that tracking such monsters is Agent Scott's specialty.   And if her methods seem a bit peculiar to his staff, so what?  What better way to catch an unconventional criminal? 

While Taking Lives delivers all the visceral impact audiences expect from a first-class thriller, it also explores a number of deeper and often surprising elements of personality and motive, leading Caruso to muse that "it's not so much a who-dunnit as a why-dunnit.  The way the case must be solved is by figuring out the reasons for the killer's behavior, finding his point of view, and from that, ultimately, discovering who he is.”

 "We live in dangerous times and certainly this movie operates on that level, stirs that sense of prickly terror,” says producer Mark Canton, from a perspective spanning more than 20 years as a senior studio executive, filmmaker and fan.  "But it also touches on ideas about childhood, alienation and rejection, themes that develop in a person's life at a very early age and how childhood fantasies sometimes manifest themselves in powerful and destructive ways.  As a parent, I find that particularly fascinating.  It's an intelligent story, a smart person's thriller.”

 "You're never quite sure where the story or the characters are going,” adds producer Bernie Goldmann, like his colleagues a longtime fan of the artfully constructed thriller.  "You're not sure what their back-stories are or their motivations and why they choose to tell people certain things.  It's a lot like life.” Next Production Note Section


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