North Country - Production Notes

Last Update: 25 Oct 2005


Oscar-winning actress CHARLIZE THERON (Josey Aimes) is known for her powerful performances. Theron has tackled roles that range from a Savannah socialite to a working class New Yorker, proving time and time again that she is much more than just another pretty face. This incredibly talented actress began her career as a model in her native South Africa before coming to the U.S. as a ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet, before beginning her journey into the world of film.

Moviegoers were introduced to Theron’s charm in her feature film debut 2 Days in the Valley, with James Spader, Eric Stoltz and Jeff Daniels. Theron played Helga, Spader’s partner and love interest, a woman unable to resist the allure of the danger that surrounds her. Even among such a powerhouse ensemble cast, Theron gave a standout performance.

In early 1997, Theron starred in Jonathan Lynn’s Trial and Error opposite Michael Richards. By the fall of that same year she appeared on the big screen again, co-starring with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves in the thriller and box office smash The Devil’s Advocate.

Getting a glimpse of Theron’s extraordinary drive and amazing talent was all it took for Tom Hanks to cast Theron in his directorial debut That Thing You Do. The two-time Academy Award-winning actor brought this story to film from the script he authored about a small town rock band, The Wonders, and the hit song that brought them fame. Theron portrayed Tina, Guy’s (Tom Everett Scott) hometown girlfriend, a woman who is less than dazzled by The Wonders’ overnight success and its repercussions.

In 1998, Theron starred in Woody Allen’s Celebrity, for which she received rave reviews, and followed with Mighty Joe Young, opposite Bill Paxton. In 1999, audiences saw her star in the Oscar-nominated The Cider House Rules, based on the acclaimed novel by John Irving, and in The Astronaut’s Wife, opposite Johnny Depp. The Cider House Rules stellar cast was honored with a nomination for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Theatrical Motion Picture” by the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

In 2000, the much in-demand Theron tackled back-to-back roles in Robert Redford’s The Legend of Bagger Vance with Will Smith and Matt Damon, Men of Honor with Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr., John Frankenheimer’s Reindeer Games with Ben Affleck, and The Yards, co-starring Mark Wahlberg, Joaquin Phoenix, James Caan and Faye Dunaway. In 2001, Theron illuminated the screen in the Warner Bros. Pictures’ tearjerker Sweet November alongside Keanu Reeves, as well as in Woody Allen’s Curse of the Jade Scorpion, co-starring Helen Hunt, Dan Aykroyd, and David Ogden Stiers.

In the fall of 2002, Waking Up In Reno was released, which cast Theron opposite Patrick Swayze, Natasha Richardson and Billy Bob Thornton in a lovers’ crossroads. Waking up in Reno refers to more than just the alarm clock when these two married couples take a road trip – and an unexpected emotional detour – from their hometown of Little Rock to the “Biggest Little City in the World” for a monster truck rally.

The feature Trapped, directed by Luis Mandoki, in which Charlize joined costars Kevin Bacon, Courtney Love, Stuart Townsend, Pruitt Taylor Vince and young award-winning talent Dakota Fanning was also released in the fall of 2002. When their (Theron and Townsend) daughter (Fanning) is kidnapped by experienced kidnappers (Bacon and Love), the Jennings’ (Theron and Townsend) turn the tables on this seemingly foolproof plan with unexpected results.
In 2003, Theron illuminated the screen in the exciting caper movie The Italian Job, co-starring Mark Wahlberg and Edward Norton and directed by F. Gary Gray. Her next movie Monster, co-starring Christina Ricci and directed by Patty Jenkins, hit theatres that fall to rave reviews and critical acclaim. Theron captivated as female serial killer Eileen Warnos. She has since won the Independent Spirit Award and the National Broadcast Film Critics Association Award, as well as winning the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, San Francisco Film Critics Circle, New York Film Critics Online and Southeastern Film Critics awards, the Breakthrough Performance Award from the Nation Board of Review and the Academy Award – all for her emotionally devastating performance in Monster.

Following Monster, Theron starred in the feature Head In The Clouds opposite Penelope Cruz and Stuart Townsend. Theron next captivated audiences in HBO’s The Life And Death of Peter Sellers opposite Geoffrey Rush, for which she received a Best Supporting Actress nomination from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Emmys.

Theron recently finished filming the action adventure Aeon Flux for director Karyn Kusama, based on the MTV animated series.

She resides in Los Angeles with her beloved dogs.

FRANCES McDORMAND (Glory) has established a worldwide cinema audience with roles in a variety of films including her Academy Award winning portrayal of Marge Gunderson in the acclaimed Coen Brothers’ film, Fargo. Other films include Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA Award and Academy Award, and for which she won several Critics Awards), Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys, Michael Caton-Jones’ City By the Sea opposite Robert De Niro, Madeline, Primal Fear, John Sayles’ Lone Star, Sam Raimi’s Darkman, Ken Loach’s Hidden Agenda, Robert Altman’s Short Cuts, John Boorman’s Beyond Rangoon, Bruce Beresford’s Paradise Road, and Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning (Oscar nomination).

With the Coen Brothers, McDormand has made three additional films: Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, and The Man Who Wasn’t There. In 2002, she starred in the critically acclaimed Laurel Canyon, and the holiday blockbuster Something’s Gotta Give opposite Jack Nicholson, Diane Keaton, and Keanu Reeves.
She has also starred in the television movies Crazy in Love, directed by Martha Coolidge, The Good Old Boys, directed by Tommy Lee Jones, Talking With..., directed by Kathy Bates, and Hidden in America, opposite Jeff Bridges (for which she received an Emmy nomination).

McDormand studied at the Yale School of Drama. Stage successes include her Tony-nominated performance as Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, The Sisters Rosenzweig at Lincoln Center, The Swan at The Public Theatre, A Streetcar Named Desire (this time as Blanche) at the Gate Theater in Dublin, and Dare Clubb’s Oedipus at the Blue Light Theater Company opposite Billy Crudup. She spent two years with The Wooster Group workshopping and then performing To You, The Birdy! In 2004, she starred in Caryl Churchill’s Far Away, directed by Stephen Daldry at the New York Theatre Workshop.

McDormand recently completed work on the movie Aeon Flux, also opposite Charlize Theron and set to open in late 2005. Other upcoming films include Nicole Holofcener’s Friends with Money with Jennifer Aniston.

SEAN BEAN (Kyle) gained international recognition for his work as Boromir in the Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy, starring in both The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. But while Boromir may be his best known role to date, that portrayal is only one in a career that includes 40 films, acclaimed stage performances, and one of the most successful television franchises in British television history.

Originally from Sheffield, Bean worked with his father as a welder before turning to acting, and even in his most sophisticated roles he retains the hard masculine edge of a man who once sweated for a living. After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company, and then moved to film and a breakout role in 1990’s The Field, opposite Richard Harris, in the unforgettable and critically acclaimed drama. In 1992, he won rave reviews in Patriot Games, starring opposite Harrison Ford in a provocative and complex portrayal of the tragic antagonist.

A detour from feature films came when he was cast as Bernard Cornwall’s beloved hero of the Napoleonic Wars, Richard Sharpe. Like the novel on which it was based, the 1993 telefilm Sharpe’s Rifles was so popular that it spawned sequel after sequel, and by 1997, with 15 Sharpe films completed, Bean was one of the best known and most sought after stars in the UK, with legions of fans and a thousand websites devoted to following his every move.

After the last Sharpe, it was back to feature film, where he dazzled audiences in films as varied as Tom & Thomas, Essex Boys, Ronin and Anna Karennina. He most recently starred in the blockbuster National Treasure, opposite Nicolas Cage for director Jon Turteltaub, and in The Island with fellow Brit Ewan McGregor. Other recent films include a most heroic Odysseus in Wolfgang Petersen’s epic Troy, with Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom; the independent The Big Empty, with Jon Favreau; the sci-fi thriller Equilibrium with Christian Bale; and Don’t Say a Word, opposite Michael Douglas.

On stage, he won rave reviews last year in London’s West End in an acclaimed production of Macbeth, in which he starred opposite Samantha Bond. Classically trained, he also recently worked in Henry VIII for Granada, opposite Ray Winstone and Helena Bonham Carter, and has appeared in many productions at The Royal Court Theatre, Glasgow Citizen Theatre, and the RSC.
His upcoming films include Flightplan, with Jodie Foster and Peter Sarsgaard, set for fall 2005; and Silent Hill, opposite Radha Mitchell, to be released in early 2006.

Voted by readers of Empire Magazine “the second sexiest man in England,” Bean escapes madness by working non-stop in films around the world, and rooting for Sheffield United wherever satellite reception allows.

RICHARD JENKINS (Hank) has a prodigious and impressive list of credits. He recently completed the upcoming features Fun with Dick and Jane, starring Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni, as well as Rob Reiner’s Rumor Has It..., starring Jennifer Aniston. Jenkins can currently be seen on the HBO hit series Six Feet Under as the wry, advice-dispensing (if deceased) Nathaniel Fisher. Six Feet Under was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2002 for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

Jenkins has appeared in over 40 films and over 20 television movies. His feature credits include Shall We Dance, Cheaper By The Dozen, the Coen brothers’ Intolerable Cruelty and The Man Who Wasn’t There; the Farrelly brothers’ Say it Isn’t So, Me, Myself and Irene and There’s Something About Mary; Mike Nichols’ What Planet are You From? and Wolf; One Night at McCools, Sydney Pollack’s Random Hearts, The Mod Squad, Clint Eastwood’s Absolute Power, Flirting with Disaster (for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award), The Indian In the Cupboard, It Could Happen To You, How to Make an American Quilt, Little Nikita, Sea of Love, Lawrence Kasdan’s Silverado, and Woody Allen’s Hannah and her Sisters, among many others.

His television work includes the telefilms The Sins of the Father, Into Thin Air, The Boys Next Door and The Band Played On.

Born in Dekalb, Illinois, Jenkins lives in Rhode Island where he was the artistic director of the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence for four years.

JEREMY RENNER (Bobby) was most recently seen in theaters as part of the ensemble cast of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, directed by Asia Argento, as adapted from the critically acclaimed novel by J.T. LeRoy. Prior to that, he starred in the summer 2003 hit S.W.A.T., opposite Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson. Since completing those films, Renner has been on a fast-paced production schedule with several projects set for release in 2005.
Renner completed back-to-back productions on the independent films 12 and Holding and A Little Trip to Heaven. In 12 and Holding Renner demonstrates his dramatic range playing Gus, a firefighter who moves to a new town after the haunting loss of a young girl in a fire and finds redemption by helping a girl in his new town cope with her own loss. A Little Trip to Heaven then finds Renner refining his skill for dark troubled characters that earned the actor an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his breakout role in the title role of Dahmer. Starring opposite Julia Stiles, Renner portrays a diabolical con man who breaks out of prison to find his partner-in-crime/lover murdering her current lover, faking his own death, and convincing her to join him in a new scheme. Renner will also be seen starring opposite Gabrielle Union in the independent film Neo Ned, which screened at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival.

Renner also made a special appearance in Lords of Dogtown for director Catherine Hardwicke, and Aura Entertainment’s independent film Love Comes to the Executioner, written and directed by Kyle Bergersen. Lords is a fictionalized version of the documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys by Stacy Peralta. Love tells the tale of a recent college graduate who becomes the star executioner at the local prison where his own brother is slated to die.

With a background in theater, Renner keeps in “shape” by performing in plays throughout the Los Angeles area. His most memorable was Search and Destroy, which he not only starred in but also co-directed, and was produced by Barry Levinson to stellar reviews.

Between film and theater, Renner finds the time to write, record, and perform his own brand of contemporary rock. He has written songs for Warner Chapel Publishing and Universal Publishing.

Rising young star MICHELLE MONAGHAN (Sherry) will burst onto the big screen this fall in two major roles, both for Warner Bros. Pictures.

Aside from her role in North Country, Monaghan will also appear in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, starring with Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer for writer/director Shane Black.

Monaghan made her movie debut in Perfume, directed by Michael Rymer. She next played Richard Gere’s secretary in Unfaithful, directed by Adrian Lyne; starred opposite the Douglas family in It Runs in the Family, directed by Fred Schepisi; and co-starred with Anthony LaPaglia and Allison Janney in Winter Solstice.

Recently, Monaghan appeared in Mr. and Mrs. Smith for director Doug Liman.
She is currently shooting Mission Impossible 3.

An accomplished actor in film, television and on the stage, WOODY HARRELSON (Bill White) has received Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Nominations as Best Actor for his critically acclaimed portrayal of controversial magazine publisher Larry Flynt in Milos Forman’s drama The People Vs. Larry Flynt. Harrelson was most recently seen in Brett Ratner’s After the Sunset with Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek. Upcoming films include Mark Mylod’s The Big White, with Robin Williams and Holly Hunter; Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly, with Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey, Jr. and Winona Ryder; and Jane Anderson’s The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio with Julianne Moore. Past film credits include Play it to the Bone, The Thin Red Line, The Hi-Lo Country, Ed TV, Wag the Dog, Welcome to Sarajevo, Kingpin, Natural Born Killers, Indecent Proposal and White Men Can’t Jump.

A committed environmentalist, Harrelson joined his activism with his film efforts in Ron Mann’s Go Further, a road documentary following Harrelson and friends on their bicycle journey down the Pacific Coast Highway from Seattle to Santa Barbara.

Harrelson first endeared himself to millions of viewers as a member of the ensemble cast of NBC’s long-running hit comedy Cheers. For his work as the affable bartender Woody Boyd, he won an Emmy in 1988 and was nominated four additional times during his eight-year run on the show, as well as once in 1993 when he reprised the role on Frasier. He later made a return to television with a recurring guest role on the hit NBC series Will and Grace.

Balancing his film and television work, in 1999 Harrelson revived a career long commitment to the theatre by directing his own play Furthest From the Sun at the Theatre de la Juene Lune in Minneapolis. He followed next with the Roundabout’s Broadway revival of the N. Richard Nash play The Rainmaker in 2000, Sam Sheperd’s The Late Henry Moss in 2001, John Kolvenbach’s On an Average Day, opposite Kyle MacLachlan in London’s West End in the fall of 2002, and in the summer of 2003, Harrelson directed the Toronto premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s This is Our Youth at the Berkeley Street Theatre.

Along with being daddy to his two beautiful daughters, closest to his heart is, a website Harrelson co-created with his wife Laura Louie which promotes and inspires individual action to create global momentum towards simple organic living and to restore balance and harmony to our planet.

SISSY SPACEK (Alice) has been one of the industry’s most respected actresses for more than three decades. Her many honors include an Academy Award, five additional Oscar nominations, three Golden Globe Awards and numerous critics’ awards.

She first gained the attention of critics and audiences with her performance in Terrence Malick’s widely praised 1973 drama Badlands, in which she starred opposite Martin Sheen. In 1976, Spacek earned her first Academy Award nomination and won a National Society of Film Critics Award for her chilling performance in the title role of Brian De Palma’s Carrie, based on the Stephen King novel. The following year, she won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for her work in Robert Altman’s Three Women.

In 1980, Spacek starred as Loretta Lynn in the acclaimed biopic Coal Miner’s Daughter, winning the Oscar and Golden Globe Award for her performance. Spacek also swept the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics, National Board of Review, and National Society of Film Critics Awards for her portrayal of the country music legend.

Spacek received another Golden Globe nomination the next year for her work in Raggedy Man, directed by her husband, Jack Fisk. She earned her third Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her role in Costa-Gavras’ 1982 drama Missing, opposite Jack Lemmon, and her fourth Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her work in 1984’s The River, in which she starred with Mel Gibson.

In 1987, Spacek gained her fifth Academy Award nomination and won another Golden Globe and the New York film Critics Circle Award for her performance in the dark comedy Crimes of the Heart. Her most recent Oscar nomination came for her portrayal of a mother grieving for her murdered son in the drama In the Bedroom, for which she also won a Golden Globe Award, an Independent Spirit Award, and an AFI Film Award for Best Actress. In addition, she garnered Best Actress Awards from a number of critics’ organizations, including the Los Angeles, New York and Broadcast Film Critics. Her work in In the Bedroom also brought Spacek two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, one for Outstanding Lead Actress and another for Outstanding Cast, shared with the rest of the film’s ensemble.

Spacek’s other film credits include A Home at the End of the World, The Straight Story, Blast From the Past, Affliction, The Grass Harp, JFK, The Long Walk Home, Night, Mother and Marie. She has several films upcoming and next stars in Nine Lives, which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Spacek has also been honored for her work on the small screen, where she has starred in several highly praised longform projects. She received Emmy Award nominations for her portrayal of Zelda Fitzgerald in Last Call and for her work in Tommy Lee Jones’ Western The Good Old Boys, as well as SAG Award nominations for her performances in Midwives and A Place for Annie. Her additional television credits include If These Wall Could Talk, Beyond the Call, Streets of Laredo and A Private Matter.


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