Updated: Jul 22, 2019
The unexpected friendship between Phillip Lacasse, a billionaire left paralyzed after a hang-gliding accident, and convicted felon Dell.
Written by Jon Hartmere, the English-language remake reinvents the French classic, "The Intouchables," that took the world by storm and went on to gross over $400 million worldwide – making it the second highest grossing non-English language film of all time. "The Upside" chronicles the unexpected friendship between Phillip Lacasse (Cranston), a Park Avenue billionaire left paralyzed after a hang-gliding accident, and convicted felon Dell (Hart), recently released from prison and in need of a job and a fresh start. From worlds apart, Phillip and Dell form an unlikely bond, bridging their differences and gaining invaluable wisdom in the process, giving each man a renewed sense of passion for all of life’s possibilities.
Kevin Hart , Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman, Julianna Margulies, Golshifteh Faharani, and Aja Naomi King
Neil Burger’s mandate for authenticity extended well beyond the film’s characters. He, along with the cast and crew, were determined to apply that same precise attention to detail to the set and costume design as well. For example, another central focus of the film is the Park Avenue penthouse that serves as both Phillip’s residence, and the vehicle through which he showcases his precious art collection. Knowing that Phillip’s penthouse was so vital to the film meant that production designer Mark Friedberg and decorator Beth Rubino would have to abide by strict parameters.
Photo by David Lee
For Friedberg, the process began with extensive research and preparation prior to his first meeting with Burger. In that first meeting, Friedberg came prepared with several architectural references and ideas. He had two directions in particular he felt the apartment could go, and pitched both to Burger. The first was in line with the script, a penthouse at the famously elite 740 Park Avenue. The second pitch was for an extravagant Tribeca building. In the end, the two decided on an apartment that would be in 740 Park, but decorated against the traditional styles of the building and instead with contemporary art and furniture.
“Neil Burger liked the idea that Phillip straddles a line between a particular elitism, someone who would live on Park Avenue, but also has a bit of irreverence for that world,” Friedberg said. Though they considered utilizing an existing apartment, in the end it made the most sense to build the set in a warehouse. Phillip’s Park Avenue penthouse was built on a sound stage. The team built 6,650 feet of interior space, though it connotes a space over double the size, and they did so in roughly three months.
“The space is one of our chances to learn who Phillip is. The architecture was a large part of it, but for me, it was mostly a backdrop for the art,” Friedberg says. “We have spent a lot of time building Phillip’s collection as that is the real way he expresses himself - the kind of person he is and the way he sees the world.”
Though Friedberg says a set like this would typically involve paint that accentuated the molding and several differently colored walls, he and the set decorator, Beth Rubio, decided that part of Phillip’s irreverence would be showcased in his decision to paint the molding a flat, movie white and have a black shiny floor.
“It would be a stark contrast and graphic look for the building, very unlike the way it was meant to be experienced when it was first built,” says Friedberg. “It gave it a sense of modernity even though it’s an old place.”
Though most of the penthouse has this modern feel with most of the color coming from Phillip’s artwork, the library remains true to the old world feel of the era the building was built in.
“I always thought of the library as a place where we got to see the inside of Phillip’s brain a little more. A place where the things that fascinate him are more apparent to us, aside from just fine art,” Friedberg says.
“The accessories or collections in the library are very much about movement,” says Rubio. “That was a subliminal choice we made, that the objects around him show velocity. He no longer has that choice, but he is confronted with it daily. We were, in a small way, showing the daily challenge of his current circumstance against his previous life.”
The library displays more collectibles than paintings – precious books, Da Vinci drawings and scientific depictions, but the rest of the penthouse showcases the artwork that Phillip is so enamored with.
It was important to Friedberg to put together a collection that didn’t just reflect price tag or popularity, but true personality and personal history. “We wanted Phillip to have a personal say in the kinds of work he hangs. Some had to be A-list top shelf like the Twomblys, Motherwells, Turners, and Kandinskys,” Friedberg says. “He has paintings that are worth tens of millions of dollars, but he has them because he loves them. He may even have had them before they got to that value.”
In addition, his collection is comprised of art by people Phillip either knows or has met. In designing his collection, Friedberg and Rubino had fun mixing it up between museum level art, art by friends, themselves, or their children, and art made by local artists. The main gallery in the entrance space where the party takes place features a host of renown female artists including Marilyn Minter, Helen Frankenthaler, Kiki Smith, Mary Cassatt, Lee Krasner and Patricia Meyerowitz.
“It’s not mentioned in the script anywhere. It’s not necessarily a story point, but it’s a design point of the collection, and we also thought that was something that Phillip would find interesting,” said Friedberg.
In addition to the paintings and sculptures the light fixtures served as additional works of art within the penthouse. “Because we had enormous height, which you typically don’t have on a movie set, the emphasis for the lighting was somewhat unusual. It was an opportunity for us to use fixtures by manufacturers who deserve to be seen on film,” said Rubino.
In keeping with Burger’s adherence to a realistic concept, Rubino and Friedberg utilized many uncommon approaches to build and decorate the set. The library was built out of real oak, the fireplaces, both stone and marble, were real functioning fireplaces, even medical advisers were consulted in order to build a master bedroom that would reflect the amount of years it had been since Phillip’s accident. Some of the New York City locations included the famous Grey’s Papaya at Broadway & 72nd Street, Grand Army Plaza at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue; Central Park; and the Webster Projects in the South Bronx.
(Dell) has made a name for himself as one of the foremost comedians, entertainers, authors and businessmen in the industry today. After an electrifying performance at amateur night in a Philadelphia comedy club, Kevin quit his shoe salesman job and began performing full time at venues such as The Boston Comedy Club, Caroline’s, Stand-Up NY, The Laugh Factory, and The Comedy Store in Los Angeles. However, it was his first appearance at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival that led Kevin into roles in feature films.
Hart recently starred in Night School for Universal, a film in which he co-wrote, produces and stars in - all under the Hartbeat Production banner. The comedy follows a group of misfits who are forced to attend adult classes in the long shot chance they’ll pass the GED exam. Grossing $28 Million, Night School has had the highest opening weekend in comedy of 2018. Hart is currently back on the road doing standup with his newest hour of material titled the “Irresponsible Tour.” This tour will take Hart all around the world in 2018.
2017 was a banner year for Hart, his memoir I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons debuted at Number One on the New York Times Bestseller list and remained on the list for ten consecutive weeks. The book also topped records on the Audible platform, selling over 100,000 copies in the first five weeks. Earlier in the year Hart voiced a title character in Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. To close 2017, Kevin appeared in the Sony reboot of the classic film Jumanji alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black. Jumanji has been Kevin’s highest grossing box office release to date, the movie has made over $900 Million Worldwide.
Hart’s newest business venture is his digital platform the LOL NETWORK - Laugh Out Loud, the comedy brand and multi-platform network founded by Hart in partnership global content leader Lionsgate. The streaming video service will launch on August 3rd featuring a slate of original scripted and unscripted comedy series, stand-up specials, licensed programming, and live broadcasts. Laugh Out Loud combines Hart’s unparalleled social media savvy that earned him 100+ million followers with his vision for the future of comedy - social, mobile, multicultural, and seriously funny. Hart handpicked the boldest comedic voices to create, produce and star in content exclusive to the service. These include digital superstar comedy talents GloZell, King Bach, Emmanuel Hudson, DC Young Fly, Draya Michelle, David So, Timothy DeLaGhetto and Anjelah Johnson (MADtv, viral sensation Bon Qui Qui) - among others - who have amassed tens of millions of fans across social media. The Laugh Out Loud service will also feature up and coming comedians curated by Hart through LOL showcases at events, including a partnership with the world’s top comedy festival “Just for Laughs.”
Hart’s recent movie projects include the animated film The Secret Life of Pets (Illumination Entertainment) and the biggest grossing live action comedy Central Intelligence (New Line Cinema and Universal Pictures), Universal’s Ride Along 2, which grossed over $100 million worldwide, Screen Gems’ The Wedding Ringer, and Warner Brothers’ Get Hard. The consummate worker, Hart is also a force in television, executive producing the show, “Real Husbands of Hollywood,” which is currently in Season 5. In addition, Comedy Central will launch 2 stand up comedy series’ “Kevin Hart Presents: Hart of the City” and “Untitled Kevin Hart Stand-Up Series.”
In addition, Hart embarked on the multi-city domestic and international WHAT NOW comedy tour. Domestically, he sold out 8 tr-istate area arenas, including Madison Square Garden, Barclays, Prudential Center and Jones Beach, selling over 100,000 tickets in the NY market. He was also the first comedian to sell out an NFL stadium, selling over 50,000 tickets in one show. Internationally, he sold out over a dozen arenas in the European market, selling over 150,000 tickets, and sold out arenas across Australia, selling 100,000 tickets. Hart’s hit comedy tour grossed over $100 million worldwide. To round out 2016, Hart wrapped production on Sony Pictures’ continuation of the classic Jumanji, alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black, and Universal Pictures released the feature version of his comedy tour WHAT NOW in October.
Other film credits include Little Fockers with Robert DeNiro and Ben Stiller, Death at a Funeral, Fool’s Gold and The 40 Year-Old Virgin. In 2009, Hart’s one-hour Comedy Central special I’m A Grown Little Man became one of the highest rated specials for the network, and in 2010, Hart’s DVDSeriously...Funny was one of the fastest selling DVDs, going triple Platinum, aided by the Comedy Central special of the same name, which was the highest rated comedy special of 2010.
Hart’s other television credits include, hosting BET’s classic stand-up comedy series “Comic View: One Mic Stand,” ABC’s “The Big House,” which he also executive produced and wrote, and recurring roles on “Love, Inc,” “Barbershop,” and “Undeclared.”
(Phillip) is an Academy Award® nominee, and Emmy®, Golden Globe, SAG, Tony® and Olivier Award winner.
Cranston most recently appeared as a guest star on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and was nominated for an Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.” Additionally, Cranston voiced the character of “Chief” in Wes Anderson’s stop-motion animated film Isle of Dogs, which premiered at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival and was released by Fox Searchlight on March 23, 2018. The film features an ensemble voice cast including Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Bob Balaban, Scarlett Johannsson and Frances McDormand, among many others.bCranston just wrapped production on Disney’s, The One and Only Ivan, starring opposite Helen Mirren, Angelina Jolie, Sam Rockwell, and Danny DeVito.
Cranston recently made his West End debut starring in Network at the National Theatre. Based on the iconic film by Paddy Chayedsky, which won four Academy Awards® in 1976, director Ivo Van Hove brings the story of Network to the stage with Cranston in the principal role of “Howard Beale.” Cranston recently won a Critics Circle Award for “Best Actor” and won an Olivier Award for “Best Actor” for his performance. The play also received an Olivier Award for “Best New Play.”
Cranston made his Broadway debut in 2014 as President “Lyndon B. Johnson” in All The Way by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan. He won the 2014 Tony® Award for his performance, as well as a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Theater World Award for “Outstanding Actor in a Play.” Cranston went on to produce the film adaption of the play through his production company, Moonshot Entertainment, along with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and Tale Told Productions. It premiered on HBO in May 2016 and was nominated for eight Emmy® Awards including “Outstanding Television Movie” and an individual nomination for Cranston for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.” “All The Way” was nominated for four Critics’ Choice Awards, including “Best Television Movie,” and an individual nomination for Cranston for “Best Actor in a Television Movie.” Additionally, Cranston was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for “Best Actor in a Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television” and won the SAG Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series.”
In addition to “All The Way,” Moonshot Entertainment has developed three television series for Amazon including “Sneaky Pete” (season three is currently in production),“The Dangerous Book for Boys,” and “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.” Moonshot also developed the animated series “SuperMansion” for Crackle, which received two Emmy® Award nominations, and season three premiered in May 2018.
In 2015, Cranston starred as the title character in Jay Roach’s Trumbo. His performance garnered him nominations for an Academy Award®, Golden Globe Award, SAG Award, BAFTA Award, and Critics’ Choice Award in 2016 for “Best Actor.”
Cranston’s other feature film credits include: Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying, Robin Swicord’s Wakefield, Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers, John Hamburg’s Why Him?,Brad Furman’s The Infiltrator, Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, Ben Affleck's Argo, Len Wiseman’s remake of Total Recall, Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive, Steven Soderbergh’sContagion, Brad Furman’s The Lincoln Lawyer, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris’ Little Miss Sunshine, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, and Tom Hanks’ Larry Crownand That Thing You Do!, among others. Bryan has also lent his voice to DreamWorks Animation films Kung Fu Panda 3 and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.
On television, Cranston’s portrayal of “Walter White” on AMC’s “Breaking Bad” garnered him four Emmy® Awards, four SAG Awards and a Golden Globe Award. He holds the honor of being the first actor in a cable series and the second lead actor in the history of the Emmy® Awards to receive three consecutive wins.
As a producer on “Breaking Bad,” Cranston won two Emmy® Awards and a Producers Guild of America (PGA) Award for “Outstanding Drama Series.”
Behind the camera, Cranston was nominated for the Directors Guild of America (DGA) Award for “Breaking Bad” (in 2014) and “Modern Family” (in 2013 and 2014). Cranston also wrote, directed, and acted in the original romantic drama Last Chance as a birthday gift for his wife and star of the film, Robin Dearden.
Cranston’s career began with a role on the television movie “Love Without End,” which led to him being signed as an original cast member of ABC's “Loving.” He went on to appear as Hal on FOX's “Malcolm in the Middle,” which ran for seven seasons and for which Cranston was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and three Emmy® Awards.
Aside from his acting career, Cranston is a New York Times bestselling author of A Life In Parts. In his riveting memoir, Cranston traces his zigzag journey, with great humor and much humility, from his chaotic childhood to mega stardom by vividly revisiting the many parts he’s played on and off camera. Cranston shares his thoughts about innate talent, its benefits, challenges, and proper maintenance, but ultimately A Life in Parts is about the necessity and transformative power of hard work.
Cranston is also a spokesperson and longtime supporter of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC is the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. working with law enforcement, families and professionals on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children.
Academy Award® winning actress NICOLE KIDMAN (Yvonne) first came to the attention of American audiences with her critically acclaimed performance in Phillip Noyce’s riveting 1989 Australian psychological thriller Dead Calm. Kidman has since become an internationally-recognized, award-winning actress known for her range and versatility.
In 2002, Kidman was honored with her first Oscar® nomination for her performance in Baz Luhrmann’s innovative musical, Moulin Rouge! For that role, and her performance in writer/director Alejandro Amenabar’s psychological thriller The Others, she received dual 2002 Golden Globe nominations, winning for “Best Actress in a Musical.” In 2003, Kidman won an Academy Award®, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award and a Berlin Silver Bear for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in Stephen Daldry’s The Hours.
In 2010, Kidman starred opposite Aaron Eckhart in Rabbit Hole, for which she received Academy Award®, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Independent Spirit Award nominations for “Best Actress.” The film was developed by Kidman’s production company, Blossom Films. In October 2012, Kidman starred in Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy with Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron and John Cusack. Her performance earned her an AACTA, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations. In 2014, Kidman was seen in Grace of Monaco, which earned her a SAG nomination. In 2015, she was seen in The Secret in Their Eyes, The Family Fang with Jason Bateman, which she also produced, and Genius alongside Colin Firth. In 2016, Kidman was seen in Lion with Dev Patel, for which she received Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA and Oscar nominations. She was most recently seen in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and John Cameron Mitchell’s How to Talk to Girls at Parties.
Her upcoming projects include Destroyer, Boy Erased, AQUAMAN and The Goldfinch, a movie adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.
In television, Kidman starred in HBO’s “Hemingway and Gellhorn” alongside Clive Owen in 2012. Her portrayal as Martha Gellhorn earned her Emmy®, SAG and Golden Globe nominations. Kidman returned to the small screen in 2017 with the limited series “Big Little Lies” alongside Reese Witherspoon for HBO (Kidman’s Blossom Films and Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard produced the project), for which she received an Emmy® Award, Golden Globe, Critics Choice Award and SAG Award. “Big Little Lies” also received an Emmy® Award, Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for “Outstanding Limited Series.” She also had an arch on the second season of “Top of The Lake: China Girl.” Kidman is currently in production on the second season of “Big Little Lies,” where she will again serve as actress and executive producer.
In 2018, Kidman and her production company, Blossom Films, signed a first-look deal with Amazon Studios. Under the agreement, she will develop theatrical and series content, the first of which being a new drama series, “The Expatriates,” based off the novel by Janice Y.K Lee.
In theater, Kidman made a highly-lauded London stage debut in the fall of 1998, starring with Iain Glen in The Blue Room, David Hare’s modern adaptation of Schnitzler’sLa Ronde. For her performance Kidman won London’s Evening Standard Award and was nominated in the “Best Actress” category for a Laurence Olivier Award. In 2015, Kidman was seen on the West End stage in Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51, for which she received a London’s Evening Standard Award.
In January of 2006, Kidman was awarded Australia’s highest honor, the Companion in the Order of Australia. She was also named, and continues to serve, as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UN Women, whose goals are to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality, to raise awareness of the infringement on women’s human rights around the world and to end violence against women. Along with her husband, Keith Urban, she has helped raise millions over the years for the Women’s Cancer Program which is a world-renowned center for research into the causes, treatment, prevention, and eventual cure of women’s cancer. In 2017, the Cannes Film Festival honored Kidman with a special award for her body of work and longstanding history with the festival. She is one of only eight people to ever receive this honor in the 70-year history of the festival.
As an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild award winner, JULIANNA MARGULIES (Lily) has achieved success in television, theatre, and film.
In June 2018, Margulies returned to television in the AMC series “Dietland.” Based on the book written by Sarai Walker and created for television by Marti Noxon, Margulies stars opposite Joy Nash. Margulies plays Kitty Montgomery, a wildly ambitious magazine editor in the beauty industry. Most recently, Margulies starred and produced the CBS hit show “The Good Wife” as Alicia Florrick, a role that has won her two Emmy, as well as a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Other TV credits include her multi-episode guest role in HBO's “The Sopranos,” “The Grid,” a mini-series from TNT and the BBC, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination, and TNT's original mini-series “The Mists of Avalon,” opposite Anjelica Huston and Joan Allen. Margulies also starred as one of the original members of the groundbreaking show “ER,” for which she received both an Emmy Award and two SAG Awards as nurse Carol Hathaway.
In 2012 Margulies was seen on the big screen in Fisher Stevens’ Stand Up Guys alongside Al Pacino and Christopher Walken. Margulies also starred in City Island, opposite Andy Garcia. The film won the Audience Award at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.
Margulies other film credits include the dark comedy The Darwin Awards, directed by Finn Taylor, opposite Winona Ryder and Joe Fiennes; David R. Ellis' Snakes on a Plane opposite, Samuel L. Jackson; Jay Alaimo's Slingshot, opposite David Arquette and Balthazar Getty; Steve Beck's Ghost Ship, opposite Gabriel Byrne; Bruce Beresford's Evelyn, opposite Pierce Brosnan; What's Cooking, an ensemble drama directed by Gurinder Chadha, Richard Linklater's The Newton Boys, Boaz Yakin's A Price Above Rubies, Jack Green's Traveller, Bruce Beresford's Paradise Road, and George Hickenlooper's The Man From Elysian Fields, opposite Andy Garcia and Mick Jagger.
On stage, Margulies made her Broadway debut in 2006 starring in Festen, opposite Michael Hayden, Larry Bryggman, Ali MacGraw, and Jeremy Sisto. Margulies completed a successful run in Jon Robin Baitz's Ten Unknowns at Lincoln Center, opposite Donald Sutherland, for which she won the Lucille Lortel Award. Other theater credits include: The Vagina Monologues, both Off-Broadway and in the Los Angeles premiere, and Intrigue with Faye at the NY Stage and Film Festival.
She has personally been involved in Project ALS since its inception, Erin’s Law and the rebuilding efforts of the Rockaways, alongside the St. Bernard Project, after Super Storm Sandy. She is also a long-standing board member of the New York City based theater company MCC, a company dedicated to giving the American playwright a voice and a platform.
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