About The Characters
The key to a story that leads the audience into such nebulous
and shadowy territory is credibility, and Denzel Washington was
the crucial block in building believability for the project. He
was the filmmakers' choice to give Hobbes his unique vision.
According to Hoblit, "Denzel is a very grounded guy. He's
very bright. He's very intuitive. He's very inventive and curious
about life. Plus, he has a staggering amount of talent."
Roven adds that he brings a "warm, likable quality to the
film. We wanted to try to elevate the film as much as possible.
First, you need a great script. Then, when you have a great actor,
you're miles ahead. And with Denzel, you can go to the edge of
the envelope because it's going to feel real. The audience will
buy it all and will be rooting for him."
Washington was familiar with both Hoblit's and Kazan's work and
remembers, "The package of both Greg directing and Nick scripting
was enough to convince me to get involved. Chuck Roven is a very
convincing guy, too."
The actor's take on the role of Hobbes agreed with and expanded
on the vision of the filmmakers. Washington saw his character
not as a supercop, but as a highly decorated and tenacious homicide
detective. He describes him as someone who "takes his work,
in my opinion, one step too far. Not only is he interested in
bringing killers to justice, but he's interested in their executions."
The filmmakers also had definite ideas about filling out the rest
of the film's acting ensemble. Screenwriter Kazan admits to modeling
Hobbes' partner, Jonesy, on John Goodman. The producers and director
also specifically pursued Donald Sutherland (Lieutenant Stanton)
and Embeth Davidtz (Gretta Milano) for their roles. The filmmakers
also signed accomplished stage and screen actors James Gandolfini
(for Lou, a wisecracking detective on the force with Hobbes
and Jonesy) and Elias Koteas (for Reese, the demonic serial killer
whose capture and execution begin the taut story).
The partnership of Hobbes and Jonesy has a credible feel according
to Hoblit. The director comments, "I think Denzel and John
are really in great contrast, and that's a nice thing. They share
a sense of humor in the picture and also in life. It shows up
on the screen."
Notes Kazan, "Donald Sutherland brings a lot of psychological
weight to the story and you feel that he is 'of the world.' As
far as Embeth Davidtz, we found an actress who is very intelligent
and can convey a sense of searching."
The project proved to be a rare example of the Hollywood fast
track. Within a year of its sale, its cast and crew in place,
"Fallen" started filming.
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