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THE SKULLS

About The Cast
As they'd anticipated when they first read Pogue's script, The Skulls attracted some of Hollywood's top young talent, particularly the central role of Luke McNamara.

"The hero in The Skulls is Capraesque," says Cohen. "He's not your basic jock football quarterback." And to play Luke, Cohen and Moritz decided on one of Hollywood's most promising young actors, Joshua Jackson (Dawson's  Creek), who had been featured in supporting roles in two previous Moritz films: Urban Legend and Cruel Intentions.

"Josh was perfect for the lead in The Skulls," states Cohen. "In the great tradition of Spencer Tracy and Tom Hanks, he possesses that appealing 'every man' quality-a great deal of sincerity and heart."

Jackson says he felt an immediate affinity for the character of Luke and the film's exciting and morally complex thriller elements. "The Skulls has all the layers of a first rate morality tale, but without sacrificing the thriller aspect," he says. "So you can go and watch it for pure entertainment or go deeper and access the film's themes."

The textured tale of Luke's ambition allowed Jackson to go deep within himself and delve into issues he himself is facing in life.

"The story is about having the personal strength to stand alone. That's essentially the question that gets asked of my character. If you know that something is wrong, can you stand up and do what's right, even at a personal cost to you? At 21, I think this is one of the most serious questions that I, and my friends, are grappling with."

The role of Caleb Mandrake, Luke's soulmate in The Skulls, who comes from a long line of Skull members, seemed to fit another fast rising star to a tee...Paul Walker (Varsity Blues and She's All That).

"In so many ways, Paul is Caleb," says Cohen. "When you see him on screen, regardless of what he is doing, your eyes are drawn to him," says Cohen. "He has the kind of looks and charisma that make Caleb such a fascinating, ambiguous character."

Like the character of Luke in the movie, Walker was drawn into Caleb Mandrake's world of casual privilege and amorality.

"Caleb was bred to carry on the family name," says Walker. "He has been taught to present a patina of grace, control and self-sufficiency. But behind that, Caleb is very unsure of himself. In some ways I think he wishes he was more like Luke, that he'd had to work harder and not have everything handed to him on a silver platter."

Moritz and Cohen soon realized that the combination of Jackson and Walker made for an exciting dramatic dynamic. Both actors had done their homework before stepping foot onto the set.

Walker confesses, "Caleb is far more challenging than many of my previous roles and I wanted to be up to it. Fortunately Rob made me feel very confident by being so supportive. He really knew how to bring out the best in me."

Rounding out the central cast were two other promising young talents, Hill Harper as Will and newcomer Leslie Bibb, who plays Chloe. Having attended Harvard University, Harper knew the Ivy League mentality and was impressed how astutely writer Pogue captured it.

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