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MAN ON A LEDGE

The Cast: Falling Into Place
The production felt even more assured of its chances when the casting of Worthington was bolstered by the addition of Elizabeth Banks, Kyra Sedgwick, Anthony Mackie, Edward Burns, Jamie Bell, Titus Welliver, Genesis Rodriguez and Ed Harris. "It's fantastic," says di Bonaventura, "It's been a great balance. So many good actors, we're really in great hands."

"The cast of this movie is a total dream," adds Ready. "I mean both in terms of who they are as actors and who they are as people. We're really lucky."

Elizabeth Banks proved an excellent, albeit unexpected choice to portray her character, world-weary NYPD negotiator Lydia Mercer. "Elizabeth was an interesting choice for us," explains Mark Vahradian. "I liked the fact that she has sort of a raspy, almost thoroughbred blue bloody quality, and Sam is more blue collar. At the same time we thought her comedic ability, which is what she's known for, would be something that would bring levity to that conversation."

Banks describes Lydia this way: "She can't get her own life together let alone save someone else's life. So, I think the great thing about this film is that it's a double redemption story. Our lead guy played by Sam Worthington, Nick Cassidy, really needs to redeem himself in this movie. And the great thing is he gives Lydia an opportunity to redeem herself as well."

Anthony Mackie was attracted to the role of Mike, but found he was really impressed with director Asger Leth. "I saw his documentary and I was kind of blown away by it," says Mackie. "I was really surprised by his ability to tell a story without judgment. We met about the character, and I felt there was something very dark and mysterious about Mike. I felt there was something that was very cerebral, but at the same time, not aggressive or dangerous."

Mackie continues, "There is such a sustained energy throughout. That's what's fun, and what I was kind of intrigued by was, it's called Man on a Ledge. Once you get a guy on a ledge, he's on a ledge! So how do you keep a story interesting, and how do you keep those characters three-dimensional and fulfilled, throughout the course of the movie? And I always like challenges like that. I always like taking those characters that could be made one-dimensional or boring, and bringing them fully into the life of the person."

di Bonaventura says he's always wanted to work with Mackie. "I've come close a couple of times," he notes. "He's just he's so smooth. It's like you don't -- you can't even notice how good an actor he is,'cause it appears so effortless with him."

As for Jamie Bell, di Bonaventura found working with the "Billy Elliot" star a joy. "Jamie's fun," he says. "Jamie's one of the rising stars. He's just a marvelous, skilled, quick to assimilate actor. We found that he and Sam have a great brother-to-brother chemistry and there's naturalness to how they relate to one another. And he can be very quirky and so we let him go those quirks, and let him have that kind of fun."

Adds Vahradian, "Obviously you're looking at resemblances too and you can buy that he and Sam might be related. We wanted that blue collar quality, just like Sam has. We picture these guys, two Irish guys from Long Island, that kind of American family. And it's funny, both having their own accents." (Bell hails from England and Worthington from Australia).

Says Bell, "There's constant information being delivered that changes the direction of the story, changes the direction of certain characters. Which is fantastic to play and to be part of."

Kyra Sedgwick's original role was beefed up when the producers realized the impact she brought to her character of television reporter Suzie Morales, hungry to capitalize on the escalating story of a man on a ledge. Says Vahradian, "She came in, she's amazing and very professional, and you know,'here's what I think my character is, this is the stuff I love, this is the stuff I have to try and do better on.' She was a great collaborator and it wasn't easy to get somebody like her interested in doing a few days on this, but she loved the character." Executive producer Ready agrees, "She really pops, even in terms of her look in the movie. Her costume is so beautiful. You see her and you see this, live New York and she's the voice of it and it's really fun."

For Sedgwick, being a part of the on-the-street texture to the story was exciting for a native New Yorker. "You've got people from all walks of life down there," says Sedgwick. "To get the flavor of the city, I think that's important. I really do."

Edward Burns brought a unique charisma to his role, NYPD detective, Jack Dougherty. "We kept adding scenes and adding scenes," (for Edward Burns) says Vahradian, "cause everything that came out of his mouth was humorous, funny, wry, tough, was New York authentic, perfect NYPD cop. In so many ways he's the heart of the movie. He was a great surprise for us."

Most of Burns's scenes are with Banks's character Lydia, whom detective Dougherty isn't entirely convinced is up for the challenge of the situation. "He doesn't like the fact that, you know, he's been replaced by her," says Burns. "It's supposed to be his gig and he gets taken off the job and it gets given to her. For the first half he's sort of giving her a hard time, not being very helpful, and then he comes to realize that he should help her."

Ed Harris' involvement as wealthy New York businessman David Englander came as a result of his respect for Sam and the thrill of the tale. "It's an exciting story that'll hopefully keep people on the edge of their seat," says Harris. "I mean if the guy's on the edge of a building, hopefully people will stay on the edge of their seat."

di Bonaventura calls Harris "one of the legendary actors," and one perfectly suited for the bigger-than-life aspects to David Englander. "It's a fun role for him," says di Bonaventura. "It's a really interesting, avaricious character, but one who is funny, and graceful, and very smooth at the same time. So it's a very interesting contrast."

For newcomer Genesis Rodriguez, who plays the girlfriend to Jamie Bell's character, the excitement came from playing someone ready to be a part of something dangerous and deceptive. "I think she's very quick. She's smart, and absolute fun to play. She just doesn't stop. She's always full of energy. Along with Joey, she helps keep the movie running."

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