Babel; About the cast

Brad Pitt (Richard)

Brad Pitt is one of the most recognizable actors in the world. His work in such films as TROY, FIGHT CLUB, MR. AND MRS. SMITH, SEVEN and TWELVE MONKEYS have made him one of the most prominent actors in the world. He has also become successful in the production arena with his Plan B Productions.

In 2006, Pitt will star in two films; Paramount’s BABEL, with an ensemble cast including Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal, and directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu; and THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD as Jesse James, directed by Andrew Dominik. Both films are scheduled for release in the fall. Babel is one of the most talked about films this year and has already received critical praise.

Pitt is currently in production on OCEAN’S THIRTEEN for Warner Bros. where he is reprising his role as Rusty Ryan. The film is scheduled for release in June 2007. Following OCEAN’S THIRTEEN, Pitt will begin production on Paramount Pictures’ THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTONS re-teaming him with his Babel co-star Cate Blanchett. The film, directed by David Fincher, is an adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story of the same name.

Pitt’s role as the seductive hitchhiker in Ridley Scott’s controversial THELMA & LOUISE first brought him national attention. He then went on to star as the psychopathic serial killer in KALIFORNIA, the charismatic-but-doomed Paul Maclean in Robert Redford’s A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, and the bloodsucking Louis in Neil Jordan’s INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE.

Pitt has been nominated twice for a Golden Globe Award — for his work as Tristan, the passionate, untamable brother in Tri-Star’s LEGENDS OF THE FALL and for his co-starring role in Terry Gilliam’s TWELVE MONKEYS. Pitt won the award for his performance in the latter.

Born in Shawnee, Oklahoma and growing up in Springfield, Missouri, Pitt attended the University of Missouri at Columbia where he majored in Journalism with a focus on advertising. Right before graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to study advertising and graphic design, but instead began to pursue an acting career, studying with Roy London. Soon thereafter, he began securing roles in various television projects, including the Fox series, “Glory Days,” HBO’s “The Image” and the critically acclaimed movie of the week, “Too Young To Die.”

Pitt’s recent starring roles include Wolfgang Petersen’s TROY, which had a international box office of $481 Million; the hits OCEANS 11 and OCEANS 12 with an ensemble cast that included George Clooney, Julia Roberts and Matt Damon, directed by Steven Soderbergh and Universal’s SPY GAME in which he starred opposite Robert Redford, directed by Tony Scott. He also co-starred in Dreamworks’ THE MEXICAN with Julia Roberts and James Gandolfini for director Gore Verbinski and Guy Ritchie’s SNATCH. He appeared in cameo roles in Soderbergh’s FULL FRONTAL and Clooney’s CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND. Pitt also lent his voice as Sinbad in Dreamworks’ animated motion picture SINBAD: LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS. His most recent starring role was as John Smith in Doug Liman’s MR. & MRS. SMITH opposite Angelina Jolie, which was one of 2005’s most successful films, garnering $428 Million worldwide.

Pitt has also starred in JOHNNY SUEDE, which won the 1992 Golden Leopard Award for Best Picture at the Locarno Film Festival, Ralph Bakshi’s COOL WORLD, Tony Scott’s TRUE ROMANCE, SLEEPERS, THE DEVIL’S OWN, Jean Jacques Annaud’s SEVEN YEAR’S IN TIBET, Marty Brest’s MEET JOE BLACK, and FIGHT CLUB reuniting him with director David Fincher (SEVEN).

Plan B Productions has produced films including TROY and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY starring Johnny Depp, directed by Tim Burton; and has completed production on THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, in which he stars, A MILLION LITTLE PIECES, THE DEPARTED and RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. Other films in production include DIRTY TRICKS, A
MIGHTY HEART and SHANTARAM. For television, the company is co-developing a miniseries adaptation of the Stephen Ambrose book about explorers Lewis and Clark for HBO among other projects.

Cate Blanchett (Susan)

Since graduating from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Cate Blanchett has worked extensively in the theater: with Company B, a loose ensemble of actors including Geoffrey Rush, Gillian Jones and Richard Roxburgh based at Belvoir St. under the direction of Neil Armfield. Her roles included Miranda (The Tempest), Ophelia (Hamlet for which she was nominated for a Green Room Award), Nina (The Seagull) and Rose (The Blind Giant is Dancing).

For the Sydney Theater Company (STC) she appeared in Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls, David Mamet’s Oleanna (awarded The Sydney Theater Critics award for Best Actress), Michael Gow’s Sweet Phoebe (also for the Croyden Wearhouse, London) and Timothy Dalys Kafka Dances (also for The Griffin Theatre Company) for which she received the Critics Circle award for best newcomer.

For the Almeida Theatre in 1999, Cate played Susan Traheren in David Hare’s Plenty on London’s West End.

Her television credits include lead roles in “Bordertown” and “Heartland,” both for the Australian Broadcasting Commission.

Her film roles include Susan Macarthy in Bruce Beresford’s Paradise Road, Lizzie in Thank God He Met Lizzie, an anti-romantic comedy directed by Cherie Nowlan for which Cate was awarded both the Australian Film Institute (AFI) and the Sydney Film Critics awards for Best Supporting Actress, and Lucinda in Oscar and Lucinda opposite Ralph Fiennes and directed by Gillian Armstrong, a role that earned her an AFI nomination for Best Actress.

In 1998, Cate portrayed Queen Elizabeth I in the critically acclaimed Elizabeth, directed by Shekhar Kapur, for which she received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama and a BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role as well as Best Actress Awards from The Chicago Film Critics Association, The London Film Critics Association, The Toronto Film Critics Association, On-line Film Critics, Variety Critics and UK Empire Award. She also received a Best Actress nomination from the Screen Actors Guild and the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts, & Sciences.

In 1999, Cate appeared in Pushing Tin with John Cusack, a black-comedy about air traffic controllers directed by Mike Newell, An Ideal Husband directed by Oliver Parker and The Talented Mr. Ripley directed by Anthony Mingella for which she received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Cate also starred in The Gift, directed by Sam Raimi and in Sally Potter’s The Man Who Cried which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and for which Cate was awarded Best Supporting Actress by the National Board of Review and the Florida Critics Circle.

In 200l, Cate appeared in Bandits with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton, and directed by Barry Levinson, for which she received a Golden Globe Award nomination and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Cate has also appeared in The Shipping News, alongside Kevin Spacey and directed by Lasse Hallstrom, based on the 1994 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel by Annie Proulx. She was also seen as “Galadriel,” Queen of the Elves, in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, the first installment of Peter Jackson’s trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy novels. Cate was honored by the National Board of Review as the 2001 Best Supporting Actress for her outstanding supporting performances in Bandits, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, and The Shipping News. She reprised her role as “Galadriel” in 2002 for second installment of the trilogy, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and the final installment, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

In 2002, Cate was also seen in the title role of Charlotte Gray, directed by Gillian Armstrong and based on Sebastian Faulks’ best-selling novel. Cate also appeared in Heaven, opposite Giovanni Ribisi and directed by Tom Tykwer, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival where the film was awarded the Golden Camera Award.

In 2003, Cate was seen in Veronica Guerin, the fact-based story of the Irish journalist who was slain in her homeland in 1996 by drug dealers, directed by Joel Schumacher. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe nomination in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and a nomination by the Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics
Association for Best Actress. The film was released in October 2003. She also starred in the Columbia Pictures’ thriller, The Missing, opposite Tommy Lee Jones for director Ron Howard. The film was released in November 2003.

In early 2004, Cate appeared in the film Coffee & Cigarettes for director Jim Jarmusch. In this United Artists release, Cate played two roles opposite each other – herself and the role of her cousin. Her performances earned her a Best Supporting Female nomination for the 2005 Independent Spirit Awards.In July 2004, Cate returned to the Sydney Theatre Company to play the title role in Andrew Upton’s adaptation of Hedda Gabler. The play was a critical success earning her the prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Play. She also starred in her first Australian film in several years, Little Fish, directed by Rowan Woods, for which she was awarded Best Actress by the Australian Film Institute.

Cate was most recently seen in two films: the Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator for director Martin Scosese and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou for director Wes Anderson. For her role in The Aviator in which she played actress Katharine Hepburn, Cate received an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She was also honored with the BAFTA Award and a SAG
Award for her role in the film. Additionally, she was recognized by several critics’ organizations and received a nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Cate has completed production on Notes on a Scandal with Dame Judi Dench; and The Good German, opposite George Clooney, directed by Steven Soderbergh. In March 2006, Cate made her American stage debut in Hedda Gabler. The limited five-week engagement completely sold out. She is currently in production on The Golden Age, the sequel to Elizabeth.

Her next films are I’m Not There, in which she portrays Bob Dylan during a specific time in his life, directed by Todd Haynes; and, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, co-starring her BABEL co-star Brad Pitt, directed by David Fincher.

Gael García Bernal (Santiago) 

Gael García Bernal worked as an actor in his native Mexico since childhood, before making his feature film debut in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Academy Award-nominated Amores Perros. His breakthrough performance in the universally acclaimed film earned him a Silver Ariel Award (Mexico’s equivalent of the Oscar®) as well as a Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival, both as Best Actor.

Mr. Bernal’s next film role was in another globally celebrated feature, Alfonso Cuáron’s Academy Award®-nominated Y Tu Mamá También, starring opposite his lifelong friend Diego Luna. For their performances, the two
friends were jointly voted the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the VeniceInternational Film Festival.

He subsequently starred in the title role of Carlos Carrera’s Academy Award®-nominated romantic drama El Crimen del padre Amaro [The Crime of Father Amaro]. His performance earned him the Silver Goddess Award for Best Actor from the Mexican Cinema Journalists, as well as a nomination from the Chicago Film Critics Association for Most Promising Performer.

Mr. Bernal had an extremely busy year in 2004.  In September, he starred in Focus Features’ The Motorcycle Diaries directed by the award-winning Brazilian director, Walter Salles.  He received rave reviews for his portrayal of the young Che Guevara out of both the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals.  The film earned a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards and was honored by the Motion Picture Club as the Male Star of Tomorrow. Then, in November audiences saw him in the critically-acclaimed La mala educacíon [Bad Education] helmed by famed Spanish director Pedro Aldomovar. In the film, he took on the challenge of playing three complex characters.

On September 15, he stars in Michel Gondry’s critically acclaimed fantasy feature, The Science of Sleep.

This past year he was seen in James Marsh’s independent drama, The King, alongside William Hurt as a young man who returns home after being discharged from the Navy Mr. Bernal also made his London stage debut as the principal character in Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding.

Kôji Yakusho (Yasujiro)

One of Japan’s most acclaimed actors, Kôji Yakusho initially came to international prominence for his role as Shohei Sugiyama in the film, Shall We Dance? (1996) and most recently, for his role as Nobu in Memoirs of a Geisha (2005). The award-winning actor, who earned nearly a dozen “Best Actor” Award nominations from the Japanese Academy, has appeared in more than 50 films and television programs. He also starred in Unagi (The Eel) which won the Palme d’Or and Eureka which won both the FIPRESCI and Ecumenical Jury prizes at the Cannes Film Festival. He has won an array of movie awards for best actor in Japan. His film credits include Warai no Daigaku, (University of Laughs) Akai Hashi no shita no nurui mizu, (Warm Water Under a Red Bridge), Dora-heita, (Playboy), Kamikaze Taxi, and Kyua, (Cure). Yakusho was born in Nagasaki, Japan on New Year’s Day, 1956.

Adriana Barraza (Amelia)

Adriana Barraza worked previously with Alejandro González Iñárritu in the role of Octavio’s mother in the film, Amores Perros. A popular actress in Spanish-language television, Barraza is also a distinguished acting coach, director and drama teacher, working on a number of different films and television series, including the long-running “Mujer, casos de la vida real,” (as a director and actress), and as director of the soap operas “Locura de Amor,” “El Manantial,” and “Complices al Rescate.” She is the coach of Neutral Accent in “Prisionera,” and in the film, Spanglish. Other feature credits include, as an actress in the films La Paloma de Marsella, La Primera Noche (The First Night) and its sequel, La Segunda Noche. She is currently Vice President in Neutral Accent and Acting Development for the Telemundo Network.

Rinko Kikuchi (Chieko)

Rinko Kikuchi was born on January 6th, 1981 in Kanagawa. She started her modeling and acting career at the age of fifteen with her real name Yuriko Kikuchi. She changed her screen name to Rinko in May 2004.

She made her film debut in “Ikitai” in 1999, which was directed by Kaneto Shindo.

Since then she’s added more than a dozen movies and TV commercial films to her resume.

She gave particularly strong performances in “Hole Of The Sky” (2002) directed by Kazuyoshi Kumakiri and in “Tori/Kokorono Katana,” (2004) directed by Tadanobu Asano.

Kikuchi also appeared in “The Taste of Tea,” directed By Katsuhito Ishii,

which was selected by The 57th Cannes Film Festival in 2004. In the “FUNKY FOREST_The First Contact”(2005) directed by FUNKY FOREST ( Katsuhito Ishii / Shunichiro Miki / A N I K I), she portrayed a class president and showed her comical side.

“Babel” is her first appearance in an American movie.

Elle Fanning (Debbie)

Elle Fanning is a veteran of nearly ten films in less than five years of acting.  Fanning debuted to much acclaim opposite Oscar®-winner Sean Penn in I Am Sam as his daughter, Young Lucy.  She followed that up with a role in the television miniseries, “Taken” and the films, Daddy Day Care, The Door in the Floor, Because of Winn-Dixie, Day 73 With Sarah and I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With.  Elle has also appeared in episodes of “CSI: NY,” “CSI: Miami,” “Judging Amy,” guest starred on “House” and had the lead voice in “My Neighbor Totoro.” Elle recently completed filming the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries “Lost Room” opposite Peter Krause.