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16 BLOCKS

About The Story
16 Blocks, the story of a defeated detective who finds redemption and the courage to change in the most unlikely of men, sprung from the imagination of screenwriter Richard Wenk (Wishcraft). "I was intrigued by the idea of a man who had everything and quit, who meets a kid who's never had anything and never gives up,” says Wenk, "and exploring how they would affect each other over the course of 118 minutes.”

Wenk had previously developed a project with director Richard Donner, and the director immediately responded to his pitch for 16 Blocks. "He came over to my house and about five minutes into his pitch, I stopped him,” Donner recalls. "I said to my wife [producer Lauren Shuler Donner], ‘You've gotta come hear this.' Richard pitched us the story and I knew right then and there: I want to direct this.”

Donner loved Wenk's concept of remaking a man through a story that unfolds in real-time. "I'm always looking for something a little different, something that has substance to the characters and their relationships,” says the director, whose impressive catalog of films includes the Lethal Weapon series, Conspiracy Theory, Maverick and Superman. "Richard created phenomenal characters who experience a great evolution in their relationship and in themselves, all set against this wonderful ticking clock.”

Wenk conducted extensive research with New York City detectives and police officers to achieve the level of verisimilitude the story demands. "The theme that kept coming out in our conversations was that they all have lines they will not cross,” the screenwriter explains. "You don't always know where that line is, but when you get to it, that's when you can't go on any more. And you break.” 

"There's a line that everybody has, and when it's crossed, something happens in your life that changes it radically,” Donner elaborates. 

Detective Jack Mosley reached that line six years ago while working with his former partner of 20 years, Frank Nugent, and a crew of cops who did what they felt they needed to do to bring down the bad guys. If some rules got broken along the way, so be it. 

But somewhere along the line, Jack crossed it…and his inability to live with himself has left him broken, spiraling downward both personally and professionally. The once-respected cop has buried his pain in alcohol, clocking in and out on a bum leg, biding his time until his next drink. 

"At the beginning of the film, Jack is really on the skids, barely surviving,” says producer Jim Van Wyck, who has made nine pictures with Donner, working with him in a variety of capacities, from DGA trainee to first assistant director to producer. "He's basically given up on life because the bad things he did in the past have eaten away at his confidence, his self-worth and his self-esteem.” 

"Jack is hiding from himself,” Bruce Willis observes. "He used to be a good cop who took down a lot of bad guys. But he's trying to numb that nagging feeling in the back of his mind that says You did something wrong.”

Known for playing characters who exude strength and resilience, Willis was intrigued by the opportunity to play a broken-spirited man on the brink of slipping into oblivion. "For a film to appeal to me, it has to be about the characters, and telling a great story visually,” Willis says. "I've always been a fan of Dick Donner's and wanted to work with him, and Richard Wenk wrote a great script. It's hard to say who's the good guy and who's the bad guy, because you can see everyone's point of view. The lines are blurred. This, along with the story being told in real time, allows the audience to participate in the film as the characters are living it. I think that's really smart.”

"Bruce brings a lot of depth to Jack Mosley,” Donner says. "You can feel the pain of a man who has suppressed something, who just k

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