LOOKING FOR PALLADIN (2008)
This was the official website for the 2008 movie, Looking for Palladin.
Content is from the site's 2009 -2009 archived pages as well as other outside sources.
Hollywood talent agent Josh Ross is sent to Guatemala to lure an old Hollywood star, Jack Palladin, out of retirement. Arrogant Josh gets frustrated by the slower pace of life in Guatemala and disregards the community's interests, even though he needs them in order to find Jack. As he journeys to find Palladin, Josh embarks in a personal journey of self-discovery that changes his life.
Rating: R (for language)
Directed By: Andrzej Krakowski
Written By: Andrzej Krakowski
In Theaters: Mar 5, 2008 Wide
On Disc/Streaming: Mar 22, 2011
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: Monterey Media
Walter Calmette, producer/actor:
“Every child has some unfinished business with his parents. Every parent has unfinished business with his child. Unfortunately, they usually never get the chance to reconcile because they would have waited too long. Regretfully, asking questions at the gravesite yields no answers. Add to this the 1960-ties that, with its spike of quick marriages and even quicker divorces, radically altered the traditional family structure and you have a maze of relationships quite difficult to navigate for any child or parent. This is what this film is all about. Every parent and baby boomer should see it.”
LOOKING FOR PALLADIN -- Trailer
Arrogant Hollywood talent agent, Josh Ross (David Moscow, is sent to Guatemala to find two-time Oscar winner actor Jack Palladin (Ben Gazzara). Although they’d never met, the search is emotionally complicated as the long-time retired star was once married to Josh’s late mother. The young agent’s contempt for the ‘old’ actor mirrors his comedic distaste for the local community, whose help he desperately needs to find him. What Josh hopes will be a quick and lucrative deal turns into a soul-searching journey. The retired star and his estranged stepson must confront the past they had forsaken.
BEN GAZZARA (Jake Palladin)
Few actors can boast that they have acted in films by Otto Preminger ( Anatomy of a Murder ), John Cassavetes ( five films ), Joel and Ethan Coen ( The Big Lebowski ), Spike Lee ( Summer of Sam ) and Lars von Trier ( Dogville ), among many others. In addition to an illustrious career in films, Ben Gazzara has enjoyed remarkable success in theater and television as well, winning an Emmy, and being nominated for three Golden Globes and three Tony Awards. A New York-born Italian-American actor and product of the famed Actors Studio, Mr. Gazzara recently starred in the French production, Paris, je t’aime, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. He was Brick in the original Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and appeared in acclaimed revivals of Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and, most recently, Clifford Odets’s Awake and Sing! Television viewers have seen him on Arrest and Trial, Run for Your Life, The Name of the Game, two Columbo television films, An Early Frost and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.
DAVID MOSCOW (Josh Ross)
New York native David Moscow began his career in 1986 on the TV series Kate & Allie, rising to prominence as Young Josh, Tom Hanks’ character before his transformation, in Big. The same year he appeared in The Wizard of Loneliness with Lukas Haas, and TV’s short-lived series Live-In and Living Dolls. He was one of the featured actors in Disney’s musicals, Newsies, and after a hiatus, appeared in Hurricane Streets, River Red, and Restaurant with Adrien Brody. He returned to television in Zoe, Duncan, Jack & Jane. Other film credits include Riding in Cars with Boys, Just Married, Nearing Grace, and David & Layla. David has worked opposite such stars as Drew Barrymore, Adrian Brody, Penny Marshall, Steve Zahn, Lorraine Bracco, Simon Baker, Christian Bale, Rosie Perez, Jessica Alba, and now Ben Gazzara, Talia Shire, and Vincent Pastore.
TALIA SHIRE (Rosario) is the youngest member of the famed Coppola family. She briefly attended the Yale School of Drama, but left New Haven for Hollywood, where she appeared in a series of Roger Corman films. In 1970, she married composer David Shire. After asking her brother Francis for a screen test for his upcoming film, The Godfather, she was cast as Connie, the young sister of the Corleone family. Her portrayal earned her an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress, and the same part in the movie’s two sequels.
In 1975, she began to work on her best known and most beloved role, Adrian Balboa, in Rocky, for which she was Oscar-nominated as 1977’s Best Actress, taking home
the New York Film Critics Award, National Board of Review Award, and a Golden Globe nomination. Sylvester Stallone tapped her again in 1979 for Rocky II, and she followed that with Prophecy, directed by John Frankenheimer, and Old Boyfriends.
Divorced from David Shire, she married businessman/producer Jack Schwartzman in 1980. In 1983, Adrian Balboa appeared again in Rocky III, and in Rocky IV in November 1985. With Rocky V and The Godfather: Part III, 1990 marked a year in which she returned to both of her most celebrated pictures. The sixth Rocky installment, Rocky Balboa, premiered to much success in 2006. Talia Shire has continued to produce and appear in TV movies and feature films, and has watched proudly as her two sons, Robert and Jason Schwartzman, carve out their own acclaimed careers in the entertainment industry.
VINCENT PASTORE (Arnie) is most recognizable to television audiences as “Big Pussy” on HBO’s The Sopranos. Other TV credits include: NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, The Practice, Everybody Hates Chris, HBO’s Gotti, Witness to the Mob, Dellaventura, Ed, Less Than Perfect, Law and Order, One Life to Live, Howard Stern’s Son of the Beach, Grounded for Life, and Repo Man for TLC. Films include: The Hurricane, Shark Tale, This Thing of Ours, Deuces Wild, Walking and Talking, True Love, Mickey Blue Eyes, Jerky Boys, Mafia, Serving Sara, Two Family House, Made, Riding in Cars with Boys, Guy Ritchie’s Revolver, Pizza with Bullets, PJ, Dough Boy and Code Blue. Theatre credits include On the Waterfront, Golden Boy, Painting X’s on the Moon and Pulp. Vincent recently made his Broadway Debut as “Amos Hart” in the Tony Award winning Chicago.
PEDRO ARMANDARIZ JR. (Chief of Police) is the son of the famed Mexican actor Pedro Armandariz. He has become a renowned and celebrated actor in his own right, having appeared in over 200 films and television productions in a career that began in the late Sixties. Early films included Westerns with many American stars. A considerable number of films followed in Mexico, where he was a leading man, and in Europe. He can be seen in such English-language films as License to Kill, The Old Gringo, Before Night Falls, The Mexican, Original Sin, The Crime of Padre Amaro, John Sayles’s Casa de los Babys, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico, among others. He has even played himself in ten Spanish-language productions, has produced a number of television series, and received much recognition in Mexico for his roles in La Ley de Herodes and Su Alteza Serenisma.
ANGÉLICA ARAGÓN (Helen Rose) is a Mexican actress of telenovelas and such films as Dune, A Walk in the Clouds, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and the blockbuster Spanish-language film Sexo, Pudor y Lágrimas. The daughter of composer Ángel Espinosa “Ferrusquilla,” Angélica was raised in family of intellectuals. She attended The Modern American College, The Sierra Nevada School and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) for almost seven years. She also lived in India where she studied at The National Dance Academy and the Kerala Kelandam Dance School.
Back in Mexico, she joined the ranks of Televisa and made several telenovelas in the 1980s and 1990s while she acted in films such as Toy Soldiers with Tim Robbins, The Evil That Men Do with Charles Bronson, and Dune. At the age of 44, she obtained a role on the second telenovela of new station TV Azteca titled Mirada de mujer (“A Woman’s Glance”) portraying a woman who is neglected by her husband and finds love in the arms of a younger man. The telenovela was a big success, and she appeared in its sequel Mirada de mujer: El regreso. Angélica appeared in Bella, which won the People’s Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. She has recently worked as a theater director in Mexico City.
MICHELLE MANTEROLA (Mercedes) is a relative newcomer to international cinema. Michelle is the sister of Mexico’s singing star Paty Manterola. She was a guest star in the Univision series Al Filo de la Lay (“At the Edge of the Law”).
THE MORALES BROTHERS (Sammy and Jimmy) are the most popular comic duo in Guatemala. They write, direct, produce their own films and television shows. Some of their characters, such as Nito y Neto, have become part of Guatemalan folklore. Their films Nito Y Neto En La Misteriosa Herencia, Nito Y Neto Detectives Por Herror and Manzana Guena en Noche Guena have outgrossed many Hollywood pictures in their native country.
ROBERTO DIAZ GOMAR (Ed) is one of Guatemala’s most successful film and theater actors and has a multi-talented artist who originally studied legal and social sciences. In the 1960s and 70s, he founded and worked with activist and experimental theatre groups that were in conflict with Guatemala’s prevailing political leadership. An assassination attempt on his life (he survived because the assassins confused him with his twin brother) led him to leave the country and live in Spain, where he appeared in numerous European films and plays. He is also a writer, animator, teacher, and director. He returned to Guatemala in 1998, and is part of the growing film business there.
ANDRZEJ KRAKOWSKI (Writer, Director, and Co-Producer), was born in Warsaw in 1946. One of the youngest, if not the youngest, students to the famed Polish National Film School in Lodz, Andrzej studied – alongside his childhood friend Krzysztof Kieslowski – under several prominent film directors and worked as an intern assistant to Andrzej Wajda during the making of “Ashes”.
Attacked in the press after the March ’68 student demonstrations, Krakowski was unexpectedly offered a scholarship in Hollywood. Shortly after his arrival in the U.S., he was stripped of his Polish citizenship and forbidden to return.
While Krakowski began learning English, his father’s old friend and protégé Roman Polanski began introducing him to the ways and names of Hollywood. In 1970, alongside David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Paul Schrader and Jeremy Kagan, he became a producing, first auditor, and then fellow at the American Film Institute. During this period he line-produced several short films and two features for his associate AFI fellows: Terrence Malick’s “Lanton Mills”, Richard Patterson’s “The Open Window”, Jeremy Kagan’s “Love Song by Charles Faberman” and Oscar Williams’ “The Final Comedown”, launching careers of such actors as Ron Rifkin and Billy Dee Williams. Some of those films eventually attained a cult status and are being taught at American colleges as part of film curriculum.
Krakowski then joined YASNY Productions, Inc. as head of production, where among other films he had green-lighted and supervised production of the 1976 Oscar nominated feature documentary “California Reich”.
He continued producing films with his own Filmtel, Inc, including “Portrait of a Hitman”, starring Rod Steiger and Jack Palance, and “White Dragon” with Christopher Lloyd and Dee Wallace Stone. The latter was the first co-production between CBS network and a Polish government owned studio “Perspektywa”, a successor to the studio led by Krakowski’s father, “Kamera”. As – in a few short years – Filmtel grew from a small production company into an international production and distribution conglomerate, Krakowski burst onto television scene with such successful TV shows as “The Richard Simmons Show” (for 4 years #1 daily-strip show) and Showtime’s “XIV International Championship of Magic”, hosted by the legendary Tony Randall.
With time Krakowski has returned to his first love and today his screenwriting credits include: “Triumph of the Spirit”, starring Willem Dafoe and Edward James Olmos, “Eminent Domain”, with Donald Sutherland and Anne Archer, “Tides of War”, a vehicle for Ernest Borgnine and David Soul, “Genghis Khan”, the most expensive Italian production to date, followed by “Ogniem i Mieczem” (_“With Fire and Sword”_), the highest-grossing film in Poland, and “Managua”, with Louis Gossett, Jr. and Assumpta Serna in the lead.
Facing the loss of his wife to breast cancer, Krakowski wrote, produced and directed a feature-length documentary “The Politics of Cancer”, which received theatrical distribution in the U.S., and were shown at the Cannes, Palm Springs and Santa Barbara Film Festivals.
Since then Krakowski has produced and directed several commercials featuring Geoffrey Holder, a feature film based on a popular comic book “Campfire Stories”, which has been sold to over 30 countries, a hit stage musical in Tokyo titled, “Felix The Cat’s Musical Journey” and a feature-length docudrama “Farewell To My Country”, chronicling the expulsion of the last Polish Jews from their homeland in 1968.
Krakowski’s latest feature film is titled “Looking for Palladin” and was shot in Antigua, Guatemala. The cast includes such veteran American actors as: Ben Gazzara, Talia Shire, David Moscow and Vincent Pastore, as well as Latin Americans stars like Anjelica Aragon, Pedro Armendariz, Roberto Diaz Gomar and the Morales Brothers.
Krakowski, as Executive Producer and Showrunner has currently completed the production of a 10 episode dramatic TV series titled “We Are New York”, which was funded by the Mayor’s Office of New York and is scheduled for broadcast in September ‘09
MAHYAD TOUSI (Producer) is an Iranian-American filmmaker living in Brooklyn, NY. Born in the US, he grew up in Iran amidst the revolution and the ensuing war with Iraq. He has worked in 24 countries spanning five continents as a producer, director, and cinematographer. Somewhat of an Indie maverick, Tousi has moved freely in multiple forms of motion pictures and his work has been seen theatrically, on television, and in museums. Prior to Palladin, his first last feature currently in distribution – “Marvelous” is a dark comedy starring the Oscar Nominated actress Amy Ryan, plus an impressive ensemble of Gen-X thespians that include: Ewen Bemner, Michael Shannon, Martha Plimpton, and Annabela Sciora.
Additionally, Tousi has worked on a number of award winning theatrical and broadcast documentaries, most notably Some Assembly Required as part of the First Amendment Project for the Sundance Channel and Court TV, Farewell To My Country – a feature doc also written and directed by Andrzej Krakowski, and _Blindsight_—winner at over twenty international film festivals including AFI and the Berlin International Film Festival. Blindsight, which was also short-listed for the Academy Awards, has been distributed internationally and is currently in the theaters in the United States. Additionally his collaboration with Video Artist Mika Rotenberg, entitled Cheese, is currently on display at the Whitney museum, as part of the Biennial.
Tousi is the cofounder and executive director of BoomGen Studios, which develops, streamlines, and champions content of significant artistic merit from the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora—a hub for the motion picture, television, and new media industries. BoomGen Studios aims to become the gateway to the Western world for talent from, and creative material about the Greater Middle East’s Boom Generation, which make up 75% of this region’s population.
Tousi studied filmmaking at NYU. He is a regular guest lecturer for the MFA program at CCNY, New York University’s SCPS, and has appeared numerous times as a speaker and panelist on social innovation through media. He is also currently in development on his debut project as a writer/director—the narrative feature SILK, about the Heroin trade on the famed Silk Road.
JERRY CARLSON (Co-Producer and actor as “Jerry” in film)
A specialist in narrative theory, global independent film, and the cinemas of the Americas, Professor Carlson is Coordinator of Critical Studies in the Film & Video Program at The City College and a member of the doctoral faculties of French and Film Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. He has lectured at Stanford, Columbia, Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV (Cuba), the University of Paris, and the University of Sao Paulo, among others. His current research is focused on how slavery and its legacy in the New World have been represented in cinema. In addition, he is an active producer, director, and writer. An Emmy nominated Senior Producer for City University Television (CUNY-TV), he created and produces the series City Cinematheque about film history, Canape about French-American cultural relations, and Nueva York (in Spanish) about the Latino cultures of New York City. As an independent producer, his recent work includes the Showtime Networks production Dirt, directed by Nancy Savoca, and Looking for Palladin. In 1998 he was inducted by France as a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques. He was educated at Williams College (B.A.) and the University of Chicago (M.A. & Ph.D.).
*REX REED -The New York Observer*
“Looking for Palladin is a small movie with a big, big actor. In a gargantuan starring role, Ben Gazzara proves once again why he’s endured as one of the screen’s most popular and powerful performers for more years than the snow on top of his head gives away.”
*JEFFREY LYONS - KNBC Sunday Today LA & Movies and More Radio*
“It is always a treat to see Ben Gazzara in a movie. He knows how to inhabit a scene while keeping his characters real. The film is absorbing and offbeat; a gem!”
*MARSHALL FINE - Hollywood and Fine.com*
“Ben Gazzara gives a big hearted, bravura performance.”
*B. ALAN ORANGE - MovieWeb Magazine*
“Andrzej Krakowski has crafted a truly remarkable drama that serves as a high point for both Ben Gazzara and David Moscow’s careers. They make a lofty premise seem entirely plausible and human. ”
*ANDRE PACHTER - China Confidential*
“Turns out, Krakowski made the film to make a point about the ways in which an entire generation has been cast aside by Hollywood, and to prove that older baby boomers will go to, buy, and download well-made movies capable of both entertaining and enlightening diverse audiences.”
To read the entire interview please go to:
“As comedy has always been liked by everyone, this movie is also being talked about a lot. If you had been looking for this fantastic piece of comedy then you need not to look any further.”
*FESTIVAL DAILY - CAMBRIDGE (UK)*
“Brilliant acting and the script, which has some wonderful dialogue. […] What begins like a clichéd ‘dramedy’ of sorts eventually becomes a character study of two generations and values coming together, and in turn, revealing the teachings that result as a consequence.”
- Mike Boyd
*GOLDEN APRICOT - YEREVAN, ARMENIA*
“A very warm film featuring neither sex nor violence, it became a kind of bridge between different nations, cultures and age groups. [...] Shot quite recently, “Looking for Palladin” has been already declared as the best film during Latin American film festival in Orlando and Queens as well as during Wine Country Festival in Napa.” – PanArmenian Network
“The solid performance of a veteran, gutsy Hollywood actor, a well-written script containing natural dialog strikingly spoken by the players, and the stunning cinematography in the picturesque town of Antiqua.” – Christian Garbis
*MAINE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL*
“Here’s a movie that’s got it all: a compelling story, an unforgettable location, genuine stars and a real message. [...] Looking for Palladin, which also stars Talia Shire and Vincent Pastore, is a tonic to the spirit.”
*LIVEJOURNAL - MOSCOW, RUSSIA*
“I was very nervous selecting this film. Since I was not going to see it alone, it had to “fulfill expectations” This film fulfilled them one hundred percent! [...] Overall – well-made, good film I recommend to go and see without any hesitation”
“Films bind communities together and help them to become better known to the outside world.
All of which may explain the phenomenal international reaction to Andrzej Krakowski’s brilliant new film, Looking for Palladin. It is the first feature film made in Guatemala since the 1938 release, Tarzan and the Green Goddess. That Looking for Palladin, which focuses on a group of bohemian expatriates, is also about the Central American nation—or, a slice of it, at least—makes the movie even more newsworthy. It is also exceptionally entertaining and moving, and unquestionably universally appealing. The foreign setting adds texture and color to the film—and terrific production value—without detracting from its deeper meaning or underlying message in any way.
Simply put, Looking for Palladin is a gem, an instant classic; and audiences of all ages, especially Guatemalans and other Latin Americans, are embracing it, even though the film, which has won film festival awards, has yet to be commercially released in the United States.”
*CHICAGO LATINO FILM FESTIVAL*
“This reporter was privileged to have been present for Sunday night’s screening at the 25th Chicago Latino Film Festival, the largest, oldest, and most influential Latino film festival in the U.S. Well over 200 people attended the screening. [...] To describe the reception as tremendously positive is to understate it—seriously. Audience members who hail from Guatemala (and there were many) had tears in their eyes as they praised the picture and participated in the post-screening Q&A session that went on till midnight.
Said one such audience member: “I have never seen my country shown so poetically and lyrically.” “
Rotten Tomatoes CRITICS REVIEWS
TOMATOMETER CRITICS 22% | AUDIENCE 33%
October 28, 2009 | Rating: 3/5
Aaron Hillis Time Out Top Critic
We've seen enough movies to know Joshua will stop being a jerk after he learns the true meaning of Christmas, but it's almost impossible to disparage such genuine warmth.
October 27, 2009
Nicolas Rapold Village Voice Top Critic
Requiring cuts, some sense of direction, and dialogue that doesn't either declare or dither, the film looks like it was fun to make.
November 1, 2009 | Rating: 4.75/10
Avi Offer NYC Movie Guru
Suffers from an unfunny, unmoving, stilted and often meandering screenplay which can't be saved by Ben Gazzara's engaging and charismatic performance.
Josh Ross (David Moscow), a Hollywood talent agent, travels all the way from California to Guatemala in search of Jack Palladin (Ben Gazzara), an actor whose fame culminated during the 1960’s and 70’s and, since then, dropped out of the entertainment industry and fled to Antigua, Guatemala. Little does Josh know that his trip to the small town of Antigua won’t be so brief or facile as expected. His credit card doesn’t work and the local police chief (Pedro Armandariz, Jr.) won’t accept any bribes for information about Palladin’s address. The first act takes much too long as Josh wanders around Antigua rudely and desperately asking locals for the whereabouts of Palladin as if he had a hidden agenda to find him, i.e. to kill him. By the time the second act arrives and Josh finally encounters Palladin, your patience begins to wanes pretty fast once the poorly developed, corny and contrived subplot surfaces regarding Palladin’s relationship with Josh. It turns out that Josh is Palladin’s stepson whom he abandoned years ago. Unfortunately, the screenplay by Andrzej Krakowski meanders more often than not and fails to bring any of its characters to life so that you would actually care about their thoughts and feelings. Even the attempts at comic relief fall flat. Josh comes across as an annoying, rude and self-centered man who has a lot of growing up to do, which the script doesn’t even remotely allow him to do. David Moscow’s performance as the bland Josh is mediocre at best, but Ben Gazzara at least sinks his teeth into the role of Palladin with ease and conviction that keeps you at least marginally engaged whenever he’s onscreen. The dialogue between Palladin and Josh feels so stilted and lacking poignancy that you’re likely to be bored during the third act that switches gears from dull comedy to silly melodrama. At a running time of 1 hour and 55 minutes, Looking for Palladin suffers from an unfunny, unmoving, stilted and often meandering screenplay which can’t be saved by Ben Gazzara’s engaging and charismatic performance.
October 30, 2009
Doris Toumarkine Film Journal International
The unsubtle approach to a lead character--a crude, motormouth Hollywood talent agent--sinks this otherwise often watchable comedic drama about a show-biz fish out of water in quaintest Guatemala.
Looking for Palladin, from Polish-born writer-director Andrzej Krakowski (Triumph of the Spirit), pits 1960s movie star Jack Palladin (Ben Gazzara), who fled the high life and personal problems for anonymity in Antigua, Guatemala, against eager-beaver Hollywood agent Josh (David Moscow), charged to lure him back home for a million-dollar-cameo payday.
It’s not a terrible idea, and the film’s Guatemala backdrop sizzles with local and literal colors, the latter thanks to the vivid native clothing and painterly pastel buildings of Antigua. (The notes say that this is the first outside production since the ’30s to film in Guatemala.) But a major flaw limits the film’s appeal and box-office potential.
The story kicks off with frazzled, hot-wired agent Josh, fresh off the plane from L.A. in fake Guccis, trying frantically to follow the scent to where his dropout star prey might lie. With his hands-free cell-phone seemingly cemented around his ear, Josh, looking like a nut job talking loudly to himself, babbles biz-speak nonstop with his office and bitches about his new surroundings. (He just doesn’t find it fun to have a rooster as his bus companion.)
Arriving in Antigua, Josh meanders around the community like the ugly American gone amok that he is. After trying without any knowledge of Spanish to pry information from the locals—even attempting to bribe Jack’s protective pal, the police chief (Pedro Armandariz, Jr.)—Josh finally ends up at the El Viejo Café, an ex-pat hang-out where Jack works as a cook, spars good-naturedly with boss Arnie (Vincent Pastore), and flirts with waitress Rosario (Talia Shire).
When Josh finally connects with Jack, he reveals that there’s more than the cameo business (a sequel to Shane, no less) on the table. In fact, he’s Jack’s stepson and there are old axes to grind. These drip with the soap-opera melodrama surrounding the death of a beloved mother, celebrity bad behavior, and a bitter, neglected son of Hollywood.
The film’s big misstep lies with Josh, not so much the result of how he is played by Moscow (whose Kirk/Michael chin dimple is memorable) but how he has been conceived and executed as a distasteful, one-dimensional cliché. Krakowski’s heavy-handed overreaching is the fatal problem: It’s impossible to believe this character, even as he softens late in the game as a forgiving and familiar victim of awful parenting.