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THE TOURIST

About The Film
When Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck presented his vision of The Tourist to producer Graham King, it took King all of 30 minutes to decide that he wanted to finance and produce the film. "I wanted to make a film that would be one of those experiences where you just sit back and enjoy life for a couple of hours,” says Henckel von Donnersmarck.

"When Florian sent me the script, there was a combination of factors that made me want to sign on,” says King. "In the past several years, he had seen a lot of scripts and passed on a lot of scripts – he had his choice of projects – so I was intrigued that he had taken to this one. Having Angelina Jolie attached didn't hurt, either.”

The Tourist, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, written by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and Christopher McQuarrie and Julian Fellowes, is a GK Films and Columbia Pictures presentation in association with Spyglass Entertainment. Spyglass developed the property before GK Films stepped in to finance and produce.

Jolie had been attracted to the project by the potential of the strong female character and by the chance to work with director Henckel von Donnersmarck, and to have him co-write the script. After a very early meeting, it was clear that the director and star were on the same page about the kind of movie they wanted to make. "The Lives of Others is a beautiful, intelligent film, but also heavy,” says Jolie. "When we met, he was very clear that he wanted to make a movie that was luxurious and fun, something that would be exciting for people to watch but didn't take itself too seriously. It was a perfect match.”

Now the most important step for director and producer was to find the right male lead. Says Henckel von Donnersmarck: "We really needed someone who wouldn't be eclipsed by Angelina. When we brainstormed over what actor could be a true partner for her in terms of attractiveness, intelligence and acting skill, the only name that kept coming to our minds was Johnny Depp.”

Johnny Depp and Oscar®-winning producer Graham King have been friends for years, and, recently, have teamed up on several projects. After wrapping one such collaboration and with an eye toward working together again, King mentioned to him that Donnersmarck and he were looking for a leading man to star in a fun, exciting, sexy thriller opposite Angelina Jolie, and both felt that he would be perfect for the part.

So Donnersmarck and Depp had a meeting and talked about The Tourist: "I presented the kind of character I envisioned for him, and he liked it,” says Henckel von Donnersmarck. "Our meeting lasted three hours instead of one, and we laughed so much that I realized I needed to introduce a lot of humor into the script to do justice to Johnny's charm.”

Obviously, Jolie and Depp are two of the most engaging, charismatic, and talented actors working in film, but as the film requires its characters to share an immediate attraction to each other, all felt it was a good idea to meet and talk before signing on. And believe it or not, that is how Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp met for the first time. Despite being two of the biggest movie stars, they had not entered each other's orbit until they sat down to discuss The Tourist with the director and producer. King sat quietly and watched them interact, watching to see how the actors would get along. Perhaps it was no surprise that they clicked from the first moment. "There was complete instant chemistry between them both,” says King.

"Graham called me right after that meeting and was so excited,” adds producer Tim Headington of GK Films. "Later, when we started filming and seeing dailies, it was just like magic on tape.”

For Henckel von Donnersmarck, they were the perfect leads for this film. "They're great movie stars, but more than that, they are great actors, and I wanted to give them roles in which they could really show what they can do. Elise is charming and delicate and feminine and strong, all at the same time; Frank is winning and charming and funny, just like Johnny is in real life.”

"Having either Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp in this film would have been extraordinary, but the pair together is that perfect combination you dream about but rarely, if ever, happens,” says co-screenwriter Julian Fellowes.

In The Tourist, Jolie plays Elise Ward, the paramour of the criminal Alexander Pearce, who has disappeared. "There are a lot of people looking for him,” says Jolie. "He's stolen a lot of money from a gangster. The gangster wants revenge – and his money back – and the British want him for the taxes on the money he stole. Everyone's looking for him, including Elise, who hasn't seen him for a long time and isn't quite sure when he'll turn up again.”

Playing off rumors that he has drastically altered his appearance, Pearce gets word to Elise: get on a certain train for Venice, choose a stranger of approximately Pearce's height and build, and make everyone else believe that man is Pearce. She chooses the American math teacher Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), who's headed to Venice to try to mend a broken heart. "She throws him into an adventure he's not prepared for,” Jolie adds.

Of course, not everything goes according to Elise's plan. "Imagine a woman who is elegant, sophisticated, and educated, who falls for a guy who is not any of those things,” says Henckel von Donnersmarck. "She has this grand master plan, and falling for him was not meant to happen.”

"I wanted this to be a thriller that was simply a fun time at the movies,” says King. "Two extraordinary actors, with amazing chemistry, set in an exotic, bigger-than-life location. Who wouldn't want to go on an adventure in Paris and Venice with Angelina and Johnny?”

Depp says that he likes working with Graham King because "Graham is a renegade. He understands the rules of the game, but he doesn't necessarily adhere to them. He thrives on the risk factor, and that makes him unique. He likes a challenge, he's got great taste, and he doesn't care what other people are doing. He cares about what he believes in.”

The screenwriters set the film in Venice, which, Henckel von Donnersmarck says, lent the film its entirely unique atmosphere of beauty and danger. "Somebody once said that Kodak owed most of its revenue to Venice,” says Henckel von Donnersmarck. "In terms of art and beauty, it's the richest place in the world – there's nothing else like it. In reality, the city is sinking and falling to bits, but we wanted to show the glory of the place. We asked ourselves, how can we show the city from its best side? There are elements of the plot that are dangerous – but, thanks to Venice, not so dangerous that you might feel miserable about it.”

Production Designer Jon Hutman adds, "There is something about being there. The water, the architecture, and the history combined create something very special. What we have tried to do is take these existing visual gems and fit them into the story.”

Not only was it the right creative choice to shoot the movie in Venice, but surprisingly enough, the choice made practical sense as well. "It seems like a crazy thing for a studio or producer to allow, but we had a very limited window in which to make the movie. We didn't have time to build the Venice interiors on a soundstage. For entirely practical reasons, we had to do the unheard-of thing.”

The setting called for the film's action sequences to be striking and written especially for the city. Stunt choreographer Simon Crane – a stunt legend after working on films ranging from

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