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Getting Off The Ground
With a long list of producing credits which includes Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Sea of Love and Serpico, Martin Bregman's instincts for good material have always been first rate. And as soon as he read Jeffery Deaver's best-selling novel The Bone Collector, he knew he had found the makings of a totally unique thriller.

"It's exciting and very scary," Bregman says. "It's also a love story, but a very different and strange love story. It has many elements that I have never seen put together in this way, and it deals with a heroic figure that has never been done."

Bregman had worked with screenwriter Jeremy Iacone on the recent film One Tough Cop, and approached him to write the screenplay.

Michael Bregman had long admired the films of Phillip Noyce, and at his suggestion, Noyce became their first choice as a director. Noyce was drawn to the script, in part, because he saw four stories in one.

Noyce says, "It's a love story. It's a thriller. It's a detective story. And it's a story of renewal and resurrection. Two people have lost themselves and given up, they find each other, and ultimately, the will that had failed them."

Casting the picture was an extraordinary task, for both the lead roles are extraordinary characters.

According to Bregman, "There are not many actors in their early forties that have the ability to play Lincoln Rhyme…I can count them on three fingers. We needed an actor, and hopefully a movie star, and were lucky enough to get both in Denzel Washington."

He continues, "It's been a joy to watch him work and prepare, and he's brought something to this film that I'm not sure any other actor could have brought, which is a sense of reality and a tremendous intelligence."

Washington was drawn to the role of Lincoln Rhyme, as he found it fascinating in its appeal on numerous levels.

"It's a great story, a tight script. It was a real fun read, a page turner," says Washington. "And it was also an opportunity to work with a wonderful filmmaker and legend in Marty Bregman."

"To play a person who is quadriplegic is a great challenge for any actor. An actor's body is his instrument, and to have 93 percent of that taken away, you have to sort of act with your soul. I mean, they say the eyes are the window to the soul," Washington says.

While Washington did extensive research before he began filming, actually playing the part of a quadriplegic taught him a great a deal.

He says, "I've played some challenging individuals and parts in my days, but this was the most unique challenge, certainly physically. I've never had my tools taken away from me, the ability to express and move and turn my head as much as I wanted or to run or walk or laugh from the stomach, not just from the chest up. I definitely appreciate and have a better understanding, to a degree, of what quadriplegics must go through."

Noyce describes the qualities he was seeking in Rhyme, and says, "Because he can't move, it's got to be the voice, the eyes and the mind that's seen working. He's playing a very intelligent guy who has been robbed of other faculties. He can't move and so we needed a truly great actor, and Denzel is one of the world's greatest."

The role of Amelia Donaghy was a highly coveted one. In fact, very few actresses did not pursue the part. But Michael Bregman agreed that the casting of Amelia was relatively simple. The part of the quietly discerning patrol cop, who is obviously talented but frustrated in life, offered any actress a carefully-crafted part with a range of story arcs.

Bregman says, "After we saw Angelina Jolie's work in Gia and George Wallace, there was nobody else we wanted. Nobody was as exciting as she was."

Over the years, Bregman has helped to launch

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