at embracing contradictory
"AMERICANO" by Kevin Crust
In his debut feature 'Americano,' writer-director Kevin Noland beautifully captures that angst-ridden moment in a young life when faced with an anticipated option that could dramatically change that life. It is the final three days of a European backpacking trip, when recent college grad Chris McKinley (Joshua Jackson of 'Dawson's Creek' fame) finds himself with two friends in Pamplona for the infamous running of the bulls.
His impressive performance bestows upon him an added confidence that enables him to win over a quintessential Spanish beauty. She takes him and his friends under her wing and to her home in a picturesque village. While logic and conscience dictate that he return home as planned to his fast track career, this vibrant and headstrong Spanish beauty in front of him has ripped open the door to a whole new world.
In 'Americano,' Noland sketches out a charming and compelling case for 'travel' as a crucial part of a young person's education."
"Americano" by Eric Campos
'Americano' is an exhilarating trip through Spain as three American college graduates blow off some steam, indulging in all this foreign land has to offer, which includes taking part in the running of the bulls. The movie is driven by character experience more than plot. As Ryan (Timm Sharp), Michelle (Ruthanna Hopper) and Chris (Josh Jackson) venture further into Spain, they take the viewer right along with them, making for a kind of European vacation for the audience, with clueless, but adorable travel guides no less.
Amongst other places, their travels bring them to a car called "Americano," where they run into the tripped out bar owner played by Dennis Hopper. Chris also meets a mysterious Spanish woman, Adea (Loenor Varela) who takes him and his friends in at her home, quickly turning their adventure into a quiet countryside vacation. Things get even more interesting as Chris and Adela form a bond as the relationship between Ryan and Michelle begins to show signs of strain. Beautifully shot and filled with lovable characters you could watch for hours, "Americano" is an amazing journey that makes one yearn for travel. Now, who's coming to Spain with me?
"Americano" by Oliver Jones
For first-time writer-director Kevin Noland, Hopper is here primarily to sprinkle a little Easy Rider mojo onto an indie that's cut from the same faded denium. Set in Pamplona, Spain, during the running of the bulls, "Americano" tracks the backpacking jaunt of a recent college grad (Joshua Jackson) before he embarks on a lifetime of corporate tedium. Hopper, playing the enigmatic expatriate owner of the Club Americano, pressures him to rethink his choice. "[It's] about discovery and the importance of experiencing life outside of your comfort zone," Noland says of the film.
Speaking of which, Hopper is currently struggling his way through a monologue. "It is time to kill the god of contentment," he bellows to the club revelers. "I can't remember the next fucking line, but I'm sure it's a motherfucker."
Not to be deterred, he begins to improvise. "You drink your cup of java, then you move on to your nose candy, you take your exstasy...." A throng of extras begins to cheer him on.
"Mack Daddy Hops is here!" he shouts.
"D-Hops!" one shouts back.
"D-Hops!" Hopper echoes, before slinking off camera to finish his cigar and study his lines.
Joshua Jackson / Chris McKinley
Joshua Jackson (Chris Mckinley) Plays a recent college graduate making serious life decisions during his last three days of a month-long, backpacking trek through Europe.
Although perhaps most widely known as "Dawson's Creek's" fast-talking, self-deprecating Pacey Witter, Joshua has been working in front of the camera for fifteen years. His first feature film was Michael Bortman's "Crooked Hearts," which was quickly followed by the "Mighty Ducks" trilogy, "Digger" and "Andre the Seal." Joshua became a leading man in Universal Pictures' "The Skulls," and more recently starred in Rose Troche's acclaimed drama "The Safety of Objects" and the HBO Films version of Moises Kaufman's groundbreaking play "The Laramie Project." He also had noted cameos in Steven Soderbergh's "Ocean's 11," "Scream 2" and "Urban Legend," and featured performances in "Gossip," Bryan Singer's "Apt Pupil" and "Cruel Intentions."
Joshua's upcoming projects include Frederik Du Chau's live-action/CG animated family film "Racing Stripes," in which he'll voice a thoroughbred racing horse; and Adam Goldberg's dark comedy "I Love Your Work," making its debut at this year's Toronto International Film Festival and also starring Giovanni Ribisi, Franka Potente, Christina Ricci, Vince Vaughn and Jason Lee.
During the sixth and final season of "Dawson's Creek," Joshua got behind the camera to make his directorial debut on an episode called "Lovelines."
Leonor Varela / Adela
Leonor Varela (Adela) stars in AMERICANO as Adela, a quintessential Spanish beauty whose artistry and passion have profound influence on Chris.
International film star, Leonor Varela, first came to the attention of American audiences when she starred in ABC's critically-acclaimed mini-series "Cleopatra." Varela will next be seen in the heartbreaking film, "Innocent Voices." Directed by Luis Mandoki and produced by Lawrence Bender, the film will be Mexico's official "Best Foreign Language Film" entry for the 77 th Annual Academy Awards (2005). The film received rave reviews at the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2004 AFI Film Festival and won "Best Movie of the Year" at the Puerto Vallarta Film Festival.
Varela's immense talent is evident by the diversity of the roles she has portrayed. She starred opposite Wesley Snipes in New Line's "Blade II," starred opposite Geoffrey Rush in "Tailor of Panama", starred opposite Ashton Kutcher and Dylan McDermott in the feature film "Texas Rangers" and appeared as a recurring guest lead in the Emmy-winning FOX series "Arrested Development."
Varela reached international stardom for her performance opposite Jean Reno and Gerard Depardieu in the mega-hit French comedy "Tais-Toi"(aka SHUT UP) which remained number one at the French box office for many weeks, and for her portrayal of a free-spirited, liberal Spanish surgeon in the French film "Pas Si Grave" directed by Bernard Rapp.
Timm Sharp / Ryan Greene
Timm plays AMERICANO's Ryan Greene, Chris' best friend and traveling companion, who's also struggling to find his way.
A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Timm graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, after which he immediately joined the cast of Judd Apatow's FOX series "Undeclared." He had a recurring role on HBO's award-winning "Six Feet Under," and appeared in FOX's "Malcolm in the Middle."
Timm's feature film credits include the heist comedy "Stark Raving Mad" opposite Sean William Scott and the independent film "King of the Ants" for cult director Stuart Gordon. Also a screenwriter, Timm wrote the ensemble dramedy "Standing Still," which is in pre-production with Matthew Weiss directing.
A singer and guitarist, Timm plays in two local Los Angeles bands, Good Song and Killola.
Ruthanna Hopper / Michelle
In addition to serving as a producer of AMERICANO, Ruthanna Hopper plays Michelle, the third of a backpacking triumvirate and a young woman at a crossroads in her life.
Born in Taos, New Mexico and raised in Marin County, California, Ruthanna is the daughter of award-winning actor Dennis Hopper and celebrated dancer and actress Daria Halprin. She began her career by studying the Meisner technique at the William Esper Studio in New York. During a trial month in Los Angeles, she landed roles in the independent films "Dancing at the Blue Iguana," "Buying the Cow" and "Crossing Cords," and decided to relocate to the West Coast.
On the set of "Crossing Cords," Ruthanna met Kevin Noland, who was producing the film for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Pearl Street. Kevin shared his script AMERICANO with Ruthanna and offered her the role of Michelle. In the summer of 2000, they traveled to Spain, and shot some of the original draft. Ruthanna is the only actor to appear in both the initial research footage and the film, and has been instrumental in getting the independent picture made.
Dennis Hopper / Riccardo Wapato
Dennis Hopper (Riccardo Wapato) plays an enigmatic provocateur and owner of the unusual Club Americano.
Born and raised in Kansas, Dennis later moved to San Diego, where graduated from high school and first performed at the La Jolla Playhouse. Among his first feature film credits were "Rebel without a Cause" and "Giant." Soon after, he became a contracted actor with Warner Bros. who lent him out to Paramount and 20th Century for "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" and "From Hell to Texas." After the latter film, Dennis moved to New York, where he studied for five years with Lee Strasberg, appeared in over 140 early television shows and made his Broadway debut in "Mandingo."
In the 1960s, Dennis appeared movies like "Hang 'em High," "Cool Hand Luke" and "True Grit," and in 1969 he co-wrote, directed and starred in "Easy Rider." The classic counterculture film was recognized as Best First Work at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was also nominated for the Golden Palm, and with a Special Award from the National Society of Film Critics. It also garnered Dennis nominations for an Academy Award (for Best Screenplay) and Writers Guild of America Award. He documented the decade in photography, and his photos were published in a book called Out of the 60's in 1986.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Dennis continued to star in foreign and domestic movies, such as Wim Wenders' "The American Friend;" "Apocalypse Now;" "Blue Velvet" (awards from the National Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics and Montreal World Film Festival and nominations for a Golden Globe and Independent Spirit Award); "Hoosiers" (Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations); and "River's Edge." In 1988, he directed the acclaimed film "Colors." In the 1990s, he directed "The Hot Spot" and "Chasers," as well as starred in "Paris Trout" (Emmy Award nomination), "True Romance," "Red Rock West," "Speed" and "Basquiat," among others. In 2002, he starred in the FOX television series "24."
In recent years, the respected veteran actor has received lifetime achievement awards from the San Sebastian International Film Festival, Santa Monica Film Festival and Empire Awards (UK), as well as a Maverick Award from the Taos Talking Picture Festival and a Role Model Award from the Young Hollywood Awards. Currently, Dennis is preparing to shoot "Gangster," a film that begins shooting in Romania later this month.
A film by Kevin Noland
Americano is set against the backdrop of the country's centuries-old Fiesta de San Fermin, better known as The Running of the Bulls at Pamplona. Chris McKinley (Joshua Jackson), a recent college graduate backpacking through Europe, savors his last three days of freedom before boarding the career fast track back in the States. In Pamplona with his best friend, Ryan (Timm Sharp), and Ryan's girlfriend Michelle (Ruthanna Hopper), Chris meets a quintessential Spanish beauty Adela (Leonor Varela) and an enigmatic provocateur Riccardo (Dennis Hopper), both of whom encourage him to rethink his life. As the minutes and seconds until his departure tick away, Chris struggles with an age-old question - should he follow the beaten path, or risk it all on the road less traveled?
Chris McKinley (JOSHUA JACKSON)
Michelle (RUTHANNA HOPPER)
Adella (LEONOR VARELA)
Riccardo Wapato (DENNIS HOPPER)
Ryan (TIMM SHARP)
Director's Statement (by: Kevin Noland)
What inspired the story? That enchanting feeling of waking up in a foreign country at dawn and looking out the window and realizing you are totally surrounded by adventure. I wanted to capture the beauty of truly experiencing other cultures. I wanted to show why it's important to step outside our system and look at it from a different perspective. Life is a mysterious entity held together through a web of diversity. How boring the world would be if there was one terrain, one language, one way of doing things. Divided we stand.
I knew in order to provoke people to travel I would have to put the audience inside a mysterious world most have never experienced. Therefore, the choice was made to take an enormous, albeit calculated risk. In the process of bringing this story to the screen, the cast and crew literally risked their lives. They actually ran with the bulls to bring a level of reality to the picture that would allow the audience to experience the "awakening" of Chris McKinley. Joshua Jackson even slapped a charging bull as it was captured on camera. Furthermore, we enlisted a professional Spanish bullfighter to allow us to film him during an actual bullfight at the San Fermin festival. Shooting real time inside a packed arena had not been done until AMERICANO, which allowed me to provoke important discussions of cultural relativism.
Inside the story of AMERICANO the characters ponder their passions and their beliefs as they absorb the experiences of the festival and the beauty of Spain. This is the time of their lives when they are expected to shut the door of their youth and open a new door to the unknown of their adult lives. Their travels teach them to see rather than merely look. They have been programmed to think one way; yet travel opens their minds to consider the world. They realize what is important to them may be questionable to another culture. In the end, a fresh perspective is gained thus allowing for a renewed balance in their lives.
The power of travel has become a movement of enlightenment. I hope AMERICANO inspires further exploration of one's self through the world of other cultures.
This Word document includes film synopsis, actor and director bios, full crew list, additional production credits, shooting locations and director's statement
Six promotional photos are also included in download.