The Horse Whisperer: About The Cast

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ROBERT REDFORD (Directed by/Producer/Tom Booker) has won wide acclaim for his work as a producer, director, actor, champion of independent film, and environmentalist. Touchstone Pictures' "The Horse Whisperer" is the first film he has directed in which he also stars.

Redford won the Best Director Academy Award® for his feature directing debut on the intensely emotional family drama "Ordinary People." He was also nominated for an Academy Award® for directing "Quiz Show." As an actor, he received an Academy Award® nomination for his performance in "The Sting."

He has also directed and produced "The Milagro Beanfield War" and "A River Runs Through It," and served as executive producer and narrator of a documentary about the Native-American activist Leonard Peltier, which was released in 1992 by Miramax.

He recently produced the forthcoming "The Slums of Beverly Hills" and "A Civil Action," and has been executive producer for "The Dark Wind," "Some Girls," "Promised Land," "The Solar Film," the recent telefilm "Grand Avenue," as well as the feature "She's The One" which was the first completed film from his recently-formed production company, South-Fork Pictures.

A strong advocate of independent filmmaking, Redford founded the Sundance Institute in 1980, an organization "dedicated to the support and development of emerging screenwriters and directors of vision and to the national and international exhibition of new American independent cinema." The Institute is also the sponsor of the annual Sundance Film Festival, which takes place every winter in Park City, Utah. From its modest beginnings, the Festival is now the most important venue for the presentation of independent films in The United States.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Redford attended the University of Colorado on a baseball scholarship only to leave school after two years to travel through Europe, studying art in Paris and Florence. Continuing his art studies when he returned to the U.S.A., he enrolled at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. At the suggestion of an instructor, Redford moved to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts where a passion for acting superseded his interest in pictorial art.

A small part on Broadway led to roles in several major live television dramas, and, in 1961, he made his feature debut in "War Hunt." Later that year, he starred in his first Broadway show, "Sunday in New York," which was soon followed by "Barefoot in the Park." It was the film version of "Barefoot in the Park" in which he starred with Jane Fonda, that first brought him both public and industry notice. Films that followed included "Tell Them Willie Boy is Here," "Little Fauss and Big Halsey," and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," which established him as a star.

Redford went on to portray an array of characters in a spectrum of films, many from his own production company, Wildwood Enterprises, which he founded in 1968. Under the Wildwood banner, Redford starred in "Downhill Racer," "The Candidate" and he produced and starred in "All The President's Men."

Other film roles include "Jeremiah Johnson," "The Way We Were," "The Sting" (for which he received an Academy Award® nomination), "The Great Gatsby," "Three Days of the Condor," "The Electric Horseman," "Brubaker," "The Natural," "Out of Africa," "Legal Eagles," "Sneakers," "Indecent Proposal," and most recently "Up Close & Personal."


KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS (Annie MacLean) was nominated for an Academy Award® as Best Actress for her performance as Katharine Clifford in the 1996 Oscar®-winning Best Picture, "The English Patient."

She also made an indelible impression on audiences in two films released in 1994: Roman Polanski's "Bitter Moon," in which she played a spiteful wife, and "Four Weddings and a Funeral," in which she appeared as a supremely elegant and beautiful Englishwoman with an unrequited passion for the film's hero. "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was one of the most popular British films ever made, and earned her two of England's most important acting prizes; The Evening Standard Award and the Best Supporting Actress Award from the British Film and Television Academy (BAFTA). Her performance in "Angels and Insects" won her another Evening Standard Award, that time as Best Actress.

Kristin Scott Thomas was born in Dorset and educated at the Central School of Speech and Drama as well as the École Nationale des Arts et Techniques de Théatre in Paris. She made her film debut opposite the artist formerly known as Prince in "Under the Cherry Moon," and then appeared in a series of French films and in theater pieces by such authors as Marguerite Duras and Roland Dubillard.

In 1988, Scott Thomas was cast in the leading role in Charles Sturridge's screen adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's "A Handful of Dust," and won the Evening Standard Award as Best Newcomer. That year she also appeared on television in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of "The Tenth Man." A mix of films in French and English followed including "Force Majeure," "Titmus Regained," "Endless Game," "Aux Yeux du Monde," "Body and Soul," "Unforgettable Summer," and Ian McKellen's "Richard III." She has also co-starred opposite Tom Cruise in the blockbuster "Mission: Impossible."

Thomas will soon begin production on "Up At the Villa," starring with Sean Penn for director Philip Haas, based on the Somerset Maugham novella.


SAM NEILL (Robert MacLean) recently starred in "Event Horizon" and "The Grimm Brothers' Snow White" opposite Sigourney Weaver, as well as in the forthcoming "The Revengers' Comedies," and in the title role in the miniseries "Merlin."

His other recent films include "Children of the Revolution," "In the Mouth of Madness," "Restoration," "Victory," "Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book," "Sirens" and "Country Life." He has co-starred with Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Steven Spielberg's mega hit, "Jurassic Park," and co-starred in Jane Campion's "The Piano," which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and three Academy Awards®.

Born in Northern Ireland but raised in New Zealand, Sam Neill's interest in the performing arts was fostered at the University of Canterbury. On graduating, he spent seven years between acting in theater and directing documentaries for the New Zealand Film Unit.

He made his feature debut in Roger Donaldson's futuristic "Sleeping Dogs." It was, however, his portrayal of Judy Davis' well-mannered suitor, Harry Beacham, in "My Brilliant Career" which first brought him international recognition. He subsequently worked with Davis in the miniseries "One Against the Wind" for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination, and recently reteamed with Davis for a third time on the feature "Children of the Revolution."

Neill has also worked twice opposite Meryl Streep; in Fred Schepisi's "Plenty," and later in "A Cry in the Dark," for which he was honored with the Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor. He has subsequently been nominated twice by the Australian Film Institute for "Death in Brunswick" and "The Piano."

Some of his other feature credits include "Dead Calm" opposite Nicole Kidman, John McTiernan's "The Hunt for Red October," Wim Wenders' "Until the End of the World," "Memoirs of an Invisible Man," "Possession" with Isabelle Adjani, "Enigma," "The Good Wife," "The Journalist," "From a Far Country," "The Blood of Others" opposite Jodie Foster, "For Love Alone," "The Country Girls" and "Robbery Under Arms."

On television, he is best known for his role as spy Sidney Reilly in "Reilly Ace of Spies," garnering a Golden Globe Award nomination and Best Actor Award on British Television. He has also starred in the miniseries "Kane and Abel" and "Amerika," and recently in the telefilms "In Cold Blood," and in "Family Pictures," opposite Anjelica Huston. In addition to his acting, Neill has also recently directed and narrated his own documentary "Cinema of Unease&emdash;The Century of New Zealand Cinema." Neill has also been honored with an O.B.E. for Service to Acting.


Two-time Academy Award®-winner DIANNE WIEST (Diane Booker) has made unforgettable appearances in five Woody Allen films, including "The Purple Rose of Cairo," "September," "Radio Days," "Hannah and Her Sisters" and "Bullets Over Broadway." Wiest received the Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actress for "Hannah and Her Sisters" and won the Academy Award® for Best Actress for her outstanding portrayal of theater legend Helen Sinclaire in "Bullets Over Broadway."

Wiest also received an Academy Award® nomination for her performance in Ron Howard's "Parenthood." Recently she starred in "The Birdcage" opposite Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, "The Associate" opposite Whoopi Goldberg, as well as in the forthcoming features "Practical Magic" and "Portofino."

In 1980, Wiest made her feature film debut in "It's My Turn," subsequently appearing in "I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can," "Falling in Love," "Footloose," "The Lost Boys," "Cookie," "Edward Scissorhands," "Little Man Tate," "The Scout" and "Cops and Robbersons." She starred in Peter Cohn's "Drunks," which was screened at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival, where the actress was personally honored with the Piper-Heidsieck Tribute for Independent Vision.

Wiest began her performing career touring with the American Shakespeare Company. In 1983, she won the Obie, Clarence Derwent and Theater World Awards for Best Actress for her off-Broadway performance in "The Art of Dining." She made her stage directing debut in "Not About Heroes" at the Williamstown Playhouse in 1985, and has starred in "In The Summer House," presented at Lincoln Center.

On television, Wiest starred in telefilms and as Lillian Hepworth on the Canadian series "Road to Avonlea," for which she won an Emmy Award in 1997.

As a young teenager, SCARLETT JOHANSSON (Grace MacLean) has already proven herself a mature and gifted young actress. Her breakthrough role as Manny, the younger and more sensible sister in the critically acclaimed independent film, "Manny and Lo," earned her not only an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead, but the recognition of critics everywhere as one of the finest actresses of her generation.

Scarlett made her professional acting debut at age 8 in the off-Broadway production of "Sophistry" at New York's Playwrights Horizons.

Only 12 years old during production for Touchstone Pictures' "The Horse Whisperer," Johansson's other screen credits include Rob Reiner's comedy, "North," Sean Connery's daughter in "Just Cause," as well as "If Lucy Fell" and "Home Alone 3."

Born and raised in New York City, Scarlett lives with her parents and three siblings.


CHRIS COOPER (Frank Booker) has established himself as one of the screen's most versatile actors, playing heroes and psychopaths, leading men and villains in both independent and mainstream films. He recently starred in the 1998 feature adaptation, "Great Expectations," and opposite David Schwimmer in the HBO telefilm "Breast Men." He also stars in the forthcoming feature "Rocket Boys."

Cooper is well known to audiences as Sam Deeds, the sheriff of a troubled Texas town in John Sayles' "Lone Star." The leading role was written especially for Cooper by Sayles, and his performance earned him an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Actor. He has also starred as union organizer Joe Kenehan in Sayles' critically-acclaimed "Matewan" and in the director's "City of Hope."

He has also co-starred in the features "A Time To Kill," "Money Train," "Boys," "This Boy's Life" and "Guilty By Suspicion."

Cooper starred with Rosalind Chao ("The Joy Luck Club") in "Thousand Pieces of Gold," an independent film which earned him the Wrangler Award for Best Actor in an Outstanding Motion Picture, presented by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. He recently received critical acclaim for his starring role in "Pharaoh's Army," an independent film currently debuting on the festival circuit.

On television, he has starred as July Johnson in the miniseries "Lonesome Dove" and its sequel "Return to Lonesome Dove." His telefilm credits recently include "The Deliverance of Elaine" opposite Mare Winningham and Showtime's "Alone," as well as "One More Mountain," "Ned Blessing: The True Story of My Life," "Bed of Lies" and the American Playhouse productions of "Darrow" and "Journey to Genius."

Born in Kansas City, Cooper spent a good part of his youth raising cattle on his father's ranch. He studied acting at the University of Missouri School of Drama, and moved to New York to continue his studies with Stella Adler and Wynn Handman. His first love is theater and he has starred in numerous productions both on and off-Broadway, and on both sides of the Atlantic. He made his Broadway debut as Ben in "Of The Fields Lately," and starred off-Broadway in "The Ballad of Soapy Smith" and "A Different Moon." He now resides with his family in a small coastal town in Massachusetts.


CHERRY JONES (Liz Hammond) is one of the most honored and respected actresses on the New York stage. Following production of Touchstone Pictures' "The Horse Whisperer" she won unanimous rave reviews as Mabel Tidings Bigelow in Tina Howe's "Pride's Crossing" at Lincoln Center.

She also won the Tony Award, Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress for the revival of "The Heiress" on Broadway. She was Tony-nominated for "Our Country's Good," and won the Obie Award for "Baltimore Waltz." On Broadway she also starred in "Night of the Iguana," "Angels in America," "Macbeth" and director Tommy Tune's production of "Stepping Out." Jones was also a founding member of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard.

Known for her exquisite performances in both classic and modern plays, she rarely chooses to venture into cinema. Her few films include "The Housesitter," "The Big Town," "Light of Day" and "The Tears of Julian Po."

On television, Jones starred in the telefilms "Alex: The Life of a Child," "Sganarelle" and "Tribeca," and on the series "Spenser: For Hire."

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