They met at university as a teacher and a student. Now they have a hit movie with Liam Neeson | Culture & Leisure
CHICAGO – You could say Chris Charles got the most out of Columbia College’s Screenwriting Course II. Not only did he pass the class – he formed a partnership with his teacher, Danny Kravitz, and they co-wrote the screenplay for Liam Neeson’s film “The Marksman”.
Neeson plays an Arizona rancher and former US Marine who attempts to get a boy (newcomer Jacob Perez) to safety in Chicago while being pursued by Mexican cartel assassins. The Modern West – now available on digital platforms – represents years of collaboration between Kravitz and Charles, who met in Course # 24-2710 in the Spring of 2005.
“I was a very young teacher and had just started teaching. Chris stood out very early on. I thought he was a great, a great student, a creative person, all of the above, ”Kravitz told the Tribune over the phone.
Charles graduated in 2007 and became interested in conflicts along the southern border of the United States. His research will eventually inspire “The Marksman”.
“I was really fascinated by this region and the possibilities there. So I presented a rough idea to Danny, whom he hated at first. But I kept trying to convince him, and we started talking about the different character ideas and storylines, ”Charles said. “Really, when we found out about the characters Jim (Neeson) and Miguel (Jacob), we fell in love with them. We both knew we had to write this story.
“I didn’t hate it, obviously, but it was tough,” Kravitz said as Charles laughed.
“The story was first conceived in 2009. We’ve worked on it on and off over the years and have done a lot of dancing with the best Hollywood directors and actors over the years. It was quite a process, ”said Charles, co-founder of Throughline Films, a producer representation company that distributes the projects. “One day you think you have an A-lister attached, and the next day there’s a scheduling conflict. And now you surrender to someone else. So it was a bit of a roller coaster ride, but we always knew the project was special. We knew deep in our hearts that this would happen. “
The thriller gained momentum when Robert Lorenz (“Trouble with the Curve”) signed on as director, producer and co-writer, and Neeson stepped aboard as lead. The film was shot in the fall of 2019 in New Mexico and Ohio, which represented Chicago.
Kravitz, who continues to teach at Columbia, and Charles, who was born in Arlington Heights, said great care has been taken to make the Cleveland area look and feel like Chicago. Neeson’s character discusses the correct way to dress a Chicago hot dog (“no ketchup … mustard, pickles, that sort of thing”). There is a glimpse of a neighborhood hot dog cart, which is very popular in the fictional city of Chicago, but less so on the real streets of the city.
“The hot dog scene was actually a nice little touch from our manager, Rob, who of course also has a deep connection to Chicago and knows the power of the Chicago hot dog,” Charles said. . Lorenz grew up in Rolling Meadows and attended Fremd High School in the Palatine.
Chicago authenticity aside, “The Marksman” garnered a positive response from viewers. It has an audience score of 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film grossed more than $ 22 million worldwide, according to the online Box Office Mojo database, and surprised industry watchers by ousting “Wonder Woman 1984” from the top spot at the U.S. box office. when he bowed in January.
“The Marksman” was created when many American theaters were closed and others were not operating at full capacity due to coronavirus restrictions. Charles and Kravitz eagerly await more people to see their film as pandemic rules for theaters – it still plays in the Chicago area – and it was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 11.
“As capacity limits changed and more cinemas started to open, the film kept finding new audiences. And we’re very excited about the upcoming home entertainment release, which we believe will find the majority of its audience, ”said Charles.
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