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Production Information
"THE SENTINEL is a political thriller about the agents assigned to protect the president and First Lady," says Michael Douglas. "For the first time in its history, there is a mole in the Service plotting to kill the president. I play an agent assigned to protect the First Lady. It's about my redemption. My character is a career officer who's committed an act of indiscretion, and I find that intriguing. I don't know many people who are all good or all evil. So there is moral ambiguity. I'm attracted to characters like Pete Garrison, who is flawed but tries to overcome his flaws in some way. Even Secret Service agents make mistakes.

"THE SENTINEL is unpredictable, topical and has a few twists and turns in it,” Douglas continues. "It's fascinating to learn about the Secret Service's inner workings and some of the technologies used by the Secret Service. I hope audiences will gain a little more understanding of what goes on behind the scenes: the number of death threats, the amount of research the USSS agents do. These are brave souls."

As a producer, Douglas is always looking for interesting and provocative stories. "Finding good material sounds simple but it's not,” says Douglas. "I've had my share of message movies but only because they worked as entertainment. I love acting, but the fact is that I don't see that many pictures I'd like to do, so sometimes you have to develop them. I liked the idea behind THE SENTINEL because in an era of fear and paranoia, the notion of an unseen enemy is credible – that's the film's big 'what if?'"

Furthur Films secured the rights to the novel The Sentinel by Gerald Petievich, before its publication. "We thought the book's premise would make a thoughtful, compelling and classic-style political thriller," says producer Marcy Drogin. "Every iconic institution has had its share of scandal, but the U.S. Secret Service is held to a higher standard. That was intriguing to us, to peel away the layers.

"Also,” Drogin continues, "it provided the quintessential Michael Douglas role as a flawed but sympathetic character.”

In order to present certain aspects of the Secret Service as realistically as possible, the film's screenwriter and co-producer, George Nolfi, undertook extensive research. "From the beginning I wanted the story to be realistic," Nolfi says. "I wondered: How is the president really protected? Where do the threats come from? What would truly put his life in danger, and how would the Secret Service react?"

As Nolfi honed the screenplay, Douglas and Drogin brought in Clark Johnson to direct. Johnson had previously directed a pilot about the Secret Service called "The Service,” which pointed to his interest in the topic. Johnson, also a respected actor, has worked in almost every area of the film business, including stunts, special effects, and camera. In addition, he is experienced with law enforcement action thrillers, ensemble pieces, multiple cameras, large set-ups and special effects. For THE SENTINEL, Johnson used this extensive background to depict the reality and grittiness of the Secret Service world.

Johnson worked closely with Douglas and Drogin to cast the picture. Once Douglas was on board, Kiefer Sutherland, Eva Longoria and Kim Basinger followed in the other three key roles. It was not Douglas' first time working with Sutherland; Douglas had produced "Flatliners," one of the movies that catapulted Sutherland into the ranks of exciting new film stars. "That was when I first met Kiefer and saw how talented he was. In THE SENTINEL, he brings tremendous credibility to his role," says Douglas.

Sutherland responds with equal enthusiasm about Douglas. "If you look at Michael's films, they're Class A. I had the pleasure of working with him when I was very young, and he was so gracious and kind to me. I watched his films over the years and learned what makes him a phenomenal producer. There's a sen


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