Fire Down Below: About The Cast

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One of the world's foremost box office stars, STEVEN SEAGAL (E.P.A. Marshal Jack Taggart) toplines his tenth motion picture.

Seagal's overwhelming popularity emanates from his starring roles in eight smash hit films, beginning with Andy Davis' 1987 thriller, "Above the Law," in which Seagal debuted as an honorable Chicago cop who uses his martial arts skills to defeat a drug kingpin. A stunning first effort, the actor became a box office sensation with almost unprecedented speed, one of the rare times that an unknown had starred in a major motion picture, one that he also co-wrote and produced.

The performer's compelling screen presence resulted in a succession of action- packed hit movies that followed, including "Hard to Kill," "Marked for Death," "Out for Justice" (which he also produced), the smash blockbuster "Under Siege," "Under Siege 2: Dark Territory" (also as producer) and his directorial debut, "On Deadly Ground." Many of his movies have held the top spot at the nation's box office for several successive weeks.

More recently, Seagal played in a key cameo role in last year's action hit, "Executive Decision," and then starred, with Keenan Ivory Wayans, as an L.A. cop hunting a serial killer in the action-thriller "The Glimmer Man." For the latter, he also wrote and performed two songs for the soundtrack.

Seagal was born in the Motown City, Detroit, and raised in Fullerton, California. His interest in the martial arts began at age seven. Discovering a Japanese dojo in a neighboring town he began studying aikido, long considered the most difficult and spiritual of the martial arts disciplines. A decade later, Seagal moved to Japan and established a reputation as a master of martial arts. He became the first non-Asian to organize his own dojo in Tokyo, one that, with over 2,000 students, remains in operation today.

Emmy Award-winner MARG HELGENBERGER (Sarah Kellogg) grew up near Omaha, Nebraska, and studied speech and drama at Northwestern University, where she appeared as Kate in "The Taming of the Shrew" and Blanche DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire." Following graduation, she moved to New York, where she made her mark as the feisty rookie cop on the popular ABC daytime serial "Ryan's Hope." While in New York, she also worked with TADA, the Children's Theatre Company.

Moving to Los Angeles, she continued an active career in television, starring in several cable movies and guest-starring in such series as "thirtysomething," "Matlock" and HBO's "Tales from the Crypt." In 1988, she joined the cast of ABC's acclaimed Vietnam drama, "China Beach," winning a supporting actress Emmy in 1990 (and two additional nominations) for her breakout role as the hard-bitten hooker K.C.

Most recently, Helgenberger played George Clooney's formidable love interest in four episodes of NBC's Emmy-winning series, "ER"; starred in the highly-rated miniseries "The Tommyknockers" from Stephen King's novel; and appeared in Showtime's "Fallen Angels" (in the episode marking Tom Hanks' directorial debut) and the Oscar-nominated short film "Partners," directed by Peter Weller. She also starred in the NBC telefilm "Murder Live" and Showtime's "The Gold Coast."

On the big screen, Helgenberger co-starred in such movies as Steven Spielberg's "Always," the sci-fi hit "Species," "The Cowboy Way," "Bad Boys," "My Fellow Americans" and "Crooked Hearts."

Veteran character actor HARRY DEAN STANTON (Cotton) returns to his home state of Kentucky to work in the film. He grew up near Lexington and attended the University of Kentucky, where he initially pursued his craft. He moved west to Los Angeles, where he continued his acting studies at the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse, making his stage debut there.

Stanton has appeared in over 80 feature films dating back to 1957. In his four decades onscreen, he has worked for some of the most acclaimed directors, including Wim Wenders ("Paris, Texas," winner of the 1984 Palme D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival), John Huston ("Wise Blood"), Ridley Scott ("Alien"), Arthur Penn ("The Missouri Breaks"), John Frankenheimer ("The Fourth War," HBO's "Against the Wall"), John Carpenter ("Escape from New York," "Christine"), David Lynch ("Wild at Heart," "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me"), Francis Ford Coppola ("The Godfather, Part II," "One from the Heart"), Robert Altman ("Fool for Love") and Martin Scorsese ("The Last Temptation of Christ").

Stanton has appeared in such films as the recent "She's So Lovely," opposite Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn and directed by Nick Cassavettes, and will be seen in Peter Chelsom's upcoming "The Mighty" with Sharon Stone and Gena Rowlands. Other feature film credits include "Repo Man," "Mr. North," "Stars & Bars," "Red Dawn," "Private Benjamin," "The Black Marble," "Renaldo and Clara," "Straight Time," "92 in the Shade," "Farewell, My Lovely," "Rancho Deluxe," "Zandy's Bride," "Dillinger," "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid," "Cisco Pike," "Two Lane Blacktop," "Kelly's Heroes," "Cool Hand Luke" and "Pork Chop Hill."

Acclaimed actor STEPHEN LANG (Earl Kellogg) has been highly praised for both his starring roles and character work onstage, on television and in motion pictures. A native of Queens, New York, and a longtime member of the famed Actors Studio, Lang began his professional career in 1970 at the Hedgerow Theatre while still a student at Swarthmore College. A half-decade of off-Broadway and regional theater followed at such prestigious venues as the New York Shakespeare Festival, Chicago's Goodman Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, Yale Repertory and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He made his Broadway debut in Joseph Papp's 1975 production of "Hamlet."

On Broadway, Lang triumphed opposite Dustin Hoffman as Willie Loman's lecherous son, Happy, in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman," winning a Drama Desk nomination for his performance. He originated the commanding role of Lt. General Nathan Jessep in Aaron Sorkin's "A Few Good Men," walking off with the Helen Hayes Award for his work. And, in Steve Tesich's "Speed of Darkness," the actor won the coveted Joseph Jefferson Award from Chicago's theater community and both the Outer Critics Circle Award and a Tony nomination for the Broadway staging.

Lang made his motion picture debut in Bud Yorkin's 1985 drama, "Twice In A Lifetime," co-starring opposite Gene Hackman, Ellen Burstyn and Ann-Margret. He followed with roles in "Project X," "Manhunter," the cult film "Band of the Hand" and the gritty epic "Last Exit to Brooklyn." Lang co-starred opposite Charlie Sheen as an assassin wreaking havoc in the nation's capital in "The Shadow Conspiracy," and also co-starred in "The Hard Way," "The Amazing Panda Adventure," "Tall Tales," "Tombstone," "Guilty As Sin," "Another You" and "Gettysburg." He makes cameo appearances in three forthcoming independent features, "An Occasional Hell," "Loose Women" and "Niagara, Niagara."

On the small screen, Lang created memorable impersonations of Babe Ruth in the NBC biopic "Babe Ruth: The Sultan of Swat," and of the crafty lawyer David Abrams in Michael Mann's critically acclaimed series, "Crime Story." He re-created his Broadway role of Happy in the CBS adaptation of "Death of a Salesman," and has also appeared in the telefilms "The Possession of Michael D.," "A Season of Hope," "Darkness Before Dawn," "Taking Back My Life," "Stone Pillow," "Murder Between Friends," Showtime's "Gang in Blue" and the just-completed "Journey of the Heart" opposite Cybill Shepard.

Grammy Award-winning actor-musician KRIS KRISTOFFERSON (Orin Hanner, Sr.) is the son of an Air Force Major General and was born in Brownsville, Texas. Moving to different military bases throughout his childhood, he finished high school in San Mateo, California, and attended Pomona College, where he earned a Rhodes Scholarship and studied the works of William Blake at Oxford in England.

A Country Music Hall of Fame singer-songwriter, Kristofferson made his film acting debut as a drug runner in the 1971 drama "Cisco Pike." He starred in such motion pictures as Sam Peckinpah's "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid," "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" and "Convoy"; Paul Mazursky's "Blume in Love"; Martin Scorsese's "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore"; Michael Ritchie's "Semi-Tough"; Alan Rudolph's "Songwriter" and "Trouble in Mind"; Alan Pakula's "Rollover"; Frank Pierson's remake of "A Star Is Born" (winning a 1976 Golden Globe for his performance); Michael Cimino's epic, "Heaven's Gate"; and, most recently, John Sayles' "Lone Star."

On television, Kristofferson has appeared in the miniseries "Blood and Orchids," "Freedom Road" and as the heroic patriot in the acclaimed "Amerika." His telefilm appearances include "The Lost Honor of Kathryn Beck," "The Last Days of Frank and Jesse James," "Stagecoach," "Pair of Aces," "Another Pair of Aces: Three of A Kind," "Miracle in the Wilderness," "Sodbusters," "Trouble Shooters: Trapped," "Inflammable" and "Tad."

With his work among the most performed of contemporary songwriters, the respected Kristofferson has penned such classics as "For the Good Times," "Me and Bobby McGee," "Help Me Make It Through the Night," "Loving Her Was Easier," "Once More with Feeling," "Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends," "I'd Rather Be Sorry" and "Why Me?".

His recognition as a musician encompasses eight Grammy nominations and the Best Song Grammy Award for "Help Me Make It Through the Night." He also won Song of the Year from the Country Music Association for "Sunday Mornin's Comin' Down," a Grammy nomination for Best Song for "Me and Bobby McGee," another Grammy nod for Best Country Song for "For the Good Times," and two Grammy nominations, for Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal, for "Why Me?".

With former wife Rita Coolidge, Kristofferson received a pair of Grammy nominations for the duo's vocals on "From the Bottle to the Bottom" and "Loving Arms." Additional award citations include a Best Country Vocal Group Grammy nod (with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash) for "Highwaymen" and an Academy Award nomination for his original song score for the movie "Songwriter." He has also been honored by the Music City News four times, most recently in 1995 with the presentation of the Roger Miller Memorial Award.

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