MICHAEL KEATON (Frank Logan / Director)
After appearing in guest spots in several television series as a young actor (including opposite a then-unknown Jim Belushi in the sitcom “Working Stiffs”), Michael Keaton became one of the industry’s most reliable leading men after his first two films Night Shift and Mr. Mom were back-to-back blockbusters. Over the next several years, Keaton starred in such memorable comedies as Johnny Dangerously, Gung Ho, and The Dream Team, as well as playing the title character in Tim Burton’s beloved Beetlejuice. Keaton defied critics and wowed audiences as he turned to darker, more serious fare, including working with Burton again in Batman and Batman Returns; as a recovering addict in Glenn Gordon Caron’s Clean and Sober; and as a nefarious and deadly tenant in John Schlesinger’s Pacific Heights.
Keaton’s other credits include Much Ado About Nothing directed by Kenneth Branagh as the loveable Dogberry; Ron Howard’s The Paper; Harold Ramis’ Multiplicity; Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown; and Barbet Schroeder’s Desperate Measures. On television, in addition to hosting Saturday Night Live and lending his vocal talents to The Simpsons and King of the Hill, Keaton starred in the HBO telefilm Live from Baghdad, which earned him a Golden Globe Nomination. Recently, Keaton appeared as the president in First Daughter; starred in Michael Hoffman’s Game 6; opposite Lindsay Lohan in Herbie Fully Loaded; and in the horror hit White Noise. In addition, he voiced a character in Pixar’s hit Cars and will take on the role of Noah in the upcoming animated Noah’s Ark: The New Beginning.
The Merry Gentleman marks Michael Keaton’s directorial debut; he served as executive producer for the 1999 film Body Shots.
RON LAZZERETTI (Screenplay / Producer)
A native Chicagoan, Ron Lazzeretti has been an independent filmmaker and commercial director since 1989. He wrote and co-directed the independent feature film The Opera Lover, which won the Audience Award at the Newport International Film Festival and went on to be aired extensively on Showtime, The Sundance Channel, and The Movie Channel. He also recently finished compiling Something Better Somewhere Else, a feature length collection of his award winning shorts.
For his advertising efforts, Lazzeretti has received such honors as a Clio, an Emmy Award, and two Gold Hugos in the television division of the Chicago International Film Festival. His work has been featured in publications including AdWeek, Creativity, Shoot, and Creative Arts.
STEVEN A. JONES (Producer)
Steven A. Jones was raised in N.Y.C., and moved to Chicago to attend the Institute of Design. He started his film career as a director of animated television commercials, most notably numerous spots for “Cap’n Crunch.” His feature film credits as producer include John McNaughton’s films Henry – Portrait of a Serial Killer, Normal Life and Wild Things, and Steve Conrad’s The Promotion. Jones has been a producer of five films by first time directors with The Merry Gentleman being the most recent. He lives in Chicago with his wife Cathleen and son Owen.
TOM BASTOUNES (Producer)
A native of the Chicago land area and a graduate of Purdue University, Tom Bastounes is CEO of Auster Acquisitions LLC, and co-owner and founder of South Water Pictures, the Chicago-based production company which developed The Merry Gentleman. South Water previously produced The Opera Lover, and recently finished Chucking Tomatoes, both filmed in Chicago. As an actor, Bastounes has performed on stage at Second City in Chicago, and played the lead in The Opera Lover and Chucking Tomatoes. Tom resides in Park Ridge, IL with his wife, Lisa, and sons Nick and Elliott.
CHRISTINA VAROTSIS (Co-Producer)
Based in Chicago, Christina Varotsis has produced a variety of independent projects, music videos and commercials since redirecting her career from marketing to filmmaking over 12 years ago. Her recent film productions include The Cache featuring Sean Bean, and the upcoming The Promotion, Steve Conrad’s directorial debut with John C Reilly, Seann William Scott, Jenna Fischer and Lili Taylor. Last year, she completed Film Four’s controversial Death of a President which garnered such awards as an International Emmy and the International Critics’ Award (FIPRESCI) at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. Christina is president emeritus of the board of directors of the Independent Feature Project/Chicago where she spent 10 years striving to provide resources, information and networking opportunities to Midwestern independent filmmakers and industry professionals. Christina has guest lectured at Northwestern University and Columbia College, and regularly conducts producing and emerging technologies seminars and budgeting and scheduling workshops.
PAUL J. DUGGAN (Executive Producer)
A native Chicagoan and a Graduate of Loyola University of Chicago, Paul is President of Jackson Capital Management LLC where he is involved in money management, hedge fund operations, and mezzanine lending. Jackson Capital has assisted South Water Pictures (co-owned by Duggan) with financing of The Merry Gentleman and Chucking Tomatoes. He lives in Chicago with his wife Debbie and twin daughters Samantha and Allison. The twins are from China and Paul is Chairman of Love without Boundaries, an organization founded to advance the cause of orphans in China.
HOWARD SMITH, A.C.E. (Editor)
Howard E. Smith, numbers among his feature credits: Glengarry Glen Ross, directed by James Foley and staring Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Ed Harris, and Alec Baldwin; and At Close Range, also directed by James Foley and staring Sean Penn and Christopher Walken. Smith also edited River’s Edge, directed by Tim Hunter, staring Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, and Chrispin Glover; Point Break, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze; James Cameron’s The Abyss with Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastantonio; Incident at Loch Ness, directed by Zak Penn, staring Werner Herzog; Sonny, directed by Nicolas Cage, staring James Franco; and City of Ghosts, written and directed by Matt Dillon
GRANT MYERS (Editor)
Grant Myers grew up in a beach-side artist colony in Southern California. As a teenager his creative passion for motion pictures was sparked by filmmakers like John Milius, Sonny Miller, Robert Altman, Sheldon Kahn, and Jack McCoy . After graduating from Pitzer College with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production, he moved to San Diego, California to work with the Poor Specimen team to help Taylor Steele and Co. further redefine the Surf Industry’s media movement. Since moving to L.A. he has worked alongside some of Hollywood’s finest creatives, including Luis Caballar, Brent Hanley, Simon Brand, Ross Dinertstein, Harvey Weinstein, and now Michael Keaton. Grant is currently cutting Adam starring Hugh Dancy & Rose Byrne.
CHRIS SEAGER, B.S.C. (Director of Photography)
Chris Seager began his journey in moviemaking as a Camera Assistant at the BBC TV film department in London. In his formative years, he shot many critically acclaimed documentaries. His film Scarfe on Scarfe won a BAFTA. He soon moved into made for television movies, where he excelled in films like the BAFTA winner Skallagrigg and the Prix Italia winner The Vampyr Opera. In 1994, having completed the shooting of John Schlesinger’s much acclaimed movie Cold Comfort Farm, Seager left the BBC and became a freelance Director of Photography.
In 1996, his peers invited him to become a full member of the British Society of Cinematographers (B.S.C.), and he is now an active member of the BSC Board of Governors. His professional television credits include A Dance to the Music of Time, Madame Bovary, Lorna Doone, The Way We Live Now, Lenny Blue, The Young Visitors and Archangel. His award-winning cinematography in director David Yates’s “State of Play,” a six-part BBC political thriller, Channel Four’s Sex Traffic and the BBC/HBO production of The Girl In The Café have been acclaimed by his peers, critics, BAFTA, and the Royal Television Society alike.
Seager’s numerous feature film credits include Beautiful Thing, Fever Pitch, White Noise, Alex Rider – Operation Stormbreaker, Straightheads and Paul Schrader’s The Walker. His upcoming productions include the teen comedy Wild Child and Universal’s Chilled in Miami with Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick, Jr.
JENNIFER DEHGHAN (Production Designer)
Iranian-American production designer Jennifer Dehghan received a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Delaware, and selects her projects based on an elevated level of creative collaboration with the director, cinematographer and costume designer. After beginning her career as an art director for BBDO, NY where her campaigns received NY Addy Gold, Creativity Annual’s Award of Distinction and multiple awards as Ad Week’s Spot of the Week, Jennifer art directed Noah Baumbach’s Academy Award nominated The Squid and The Whale. She then production designed Thanksgiving and Kettle of Fish, both of which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, as well as On the Road with Judas, which premiered in the Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2007.
SUSAN KAUFMAN (Costume Designer)
Susan Kaufmann, Costume Designer, graduated from Columbia College. Has been designing for film and television for 20 years designing for directors Robert Altman (The Company) and Harold Ramis (Ice Harvest).
TRACY McKNIGHT (Music Supervisor)
Music supervisor Tracy McKnight is the vibrant energy behind Commotion Records and the music featured in many of the most unique films to be released in the last ten years. Among her 80 plus credits, are highly acclaimed films such as No End In Sight, Dedication, The Hoax, El Cantante, Born Into Brothels, and Murderball. In addition to her supervision work she heads the sonically hip Commotion Records whose recent releases include the soundtracks to Justin Theroux’s Dedication, Zoe Cassavette’s Broken English, David Wain’s The Ten, and Paul Halinger’s chilling score for the film Vacancy. Somehow, she has also found the time to master the art of the coconut cupcake.
MICKIE PASKAL, C.S.A. and JENNIFER S. RUDNICKE (Casting Directors)
Mickie Paskal and Jennifer S. Rudnicke have collectively been casting for the past 15 years. Their company, Tenner Paskal & Rudnicke Casting, Inc. concentrates its work in feature and independent film. They also cast for television, commercial, voiceover and print. In addition to The Merry Gentleman, they also cast for the acclaimed Grace is Gone including discovering Shelan O’Keefe and Gracie Bednarcyzk as John Cusack’s daughters. Other credits include; the upcoming Public Enemies and The Express, Stranger Than Fiction, The Break-Up, Quebec, The Weather Man, Road to Perdition, and The Company directed by the late Robert Altman.
RACHEL TENNER, C.S.A. (Casting Director)
Rachel Tenner has worked in the film industry since 1994 when she began working as a in Chicago for Jane Brody Casting. There she had the opportunity to work on the Coen Brothers movies The Hudsucker Proxy and Fargo. In 1996, she began Tenner Paskal Casting with her partner Mickie Paskal. Together they worked on such films as The Negotiator, What Women Want and Road To Perdition.
In 2002, Rachel moved to Los Angeles where she continued her work with the Coen Brothers on such movies as Intolerable Cruelty, Ladykillers, No Country For Old Men and the upcoming Burn After Reading and A Serious Man. In addition, she has worked with George Clooney on Goodnight and Good Luck and Leatherheads, Richard Linklater on The Bad News Bears, and the Weitz Brothers on American Dreamz.
Rachel is a graduate of New York University and is a member of Women In Film and
C.S.A. (Casting Society of America). She has guest lectured at Northwestern University and DePaul University. As a producer, Rachel produced the feature Kwik Stop written and directed by Michael Gilio. The film earned the director a Spirit Award Nomination and has played numerous festivals throughout the United States, Europe and South America.