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FALLEN

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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