Original Release: December 11, 2006 (US)
Directed by: Robert De Niro
Written by: Eric Roth
Produced by: Robert De Niro, James G. Robinson, Jane Rosenthal
Running Time: 167 minutes
Box Office: $99,480,480 (Worldwide)
Laconic and self-contained, Edward Wilson heads CIA covert operations during the Bay of Pigs. The agency suspects that Castro was tipped, so Wilson looks for the leak. As he investigates, he recalls, in a series of flashbacks, his father's death, student days at Yale (poetry; Skull and Bones), recruitment into the fledgling OSS, truncated affairs, a shotgun marriage, cutting his teeth on spy craft in London, distance from his son, the emergence of the Cold War, and relationships with agency, British, and Soviet counterparts. We watch his idealism give way to something else: disclosing the nature of that something else is at the heart of the film's narration as he closes in on the leak.
Matt Damon (Edward Wilson), Alec Baldwin (Sam Murach), Tammy Blanchard (Laura), Billy Crudup (Arch Cummings), Robert De Niro (Bill Sullivan), Keir Dullea (Senator John Russell, Sr.), Michael Gambon (Dr. Fredericks), Martina Gedeck (Hanna Schiller), William Hurt (Philip Allen), Timothy Hutton (Thomas Wilson), Mark Ivanir (Valentin Mironov #2), Gabriel Macht (John Russell, Jr.), Lee Pace (Richard Hayes), Joe Pesci (Joseph Palmi), Eddie Redmayne (Edward Wilson Jr.)
Filming Locations: (view all)
- Parque Duarte, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
- Manhasset, Long Island, New York, USA (house)
- Middle Temple, Temple, Holborn, London, England, UK
- Washington, District of Columbia, USA
- London, England, UK
- Nassau County, Long Island, New York, USA
- Robert De Niro had been working on this film for ten years as his "pet project."
- Matt Damon's character, Edward Wilson, is partly based upon the founder of the CIA's counterintelligence operations, James Jesus Angleton.
- Robert De Niro's character, General Bill Sullivan, is partly based on General William "Wild Bill" Donovan. Donovan was head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during the Second World War.
- Robert De Niro had a deal with Leonardo DiCaprio who was interested in playing the film's protagonist Edward Wilson. De Niro planned to shoot the movie in the fall of 2004 but DiCaprio couldn't do it then because he was making The Departed (2006) for Martin Scorsese. The role ultimately went to Matt Damon, who played DiCaprio's antagonist in The Departed. Both movies were nominated for Oscars in 2007.
- First cinema film of Eddie Redmayne.
- Eric Roth penned the screenplay in 1994 for Francis Ford Coppola and Columbia Pictures. Coppola left the project because, he said, he could not relate to the characters finding them "unemotional", (although he retained a credit as co-executive producer).
- Angelina Jolie's character Margret's nickname is Clover which was Allen Dulles's wife's real name.
- The filming location of the Deer Island Club was Great Camp Sagamore on Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks. Sagamore was built by prominent designer/developer William West Durant and is a notable example of the Gilded Age Adirondack Great Camp architecture. It was the summer retreat of the Vanderbilt family. The Sagamore interior proved too small to accommodate the entire film production crew so a replica was constructed in New York City.
- Eddie Redmayne plays the son of Damon and Jolie despite being only 11 and 6 years younger respectively.
- Wayne Wang was set to direct but management changes at Columbia ended Wang's involvement and Philip Kaufman was the next person set to direct but he eventually left the project. When it moved to MGM, John Frankenheimer signed on to make the movie and wanted Robert De Niro to star. Unfortunately, Frankenheimer died in 2002 and at the same time De Niro was developing his own spy story.
- Jude Law was considered for the role of Edward Wilson.
- Swiss born actor Philippe Vonlanthen was requested by director Robert De Niro to be seen for the role of the "Cambridge Club Butler" after their initial meeting in Brooklyn NY. The part ultimately went to an older actor Robert Ian Mackenzie.
- Nigerian actress Stephanie Linus was considered for a role in the film.
- Angelina Jolie and Timothy Hutton us rumored to have been dating for a while after starring in Playing God together.
Margaret "Clover" Russell: Do you love me?
Edward Wilson: What?
Margaret "Clover" Russell: Tell me you love me!
Edward Wilson: I love you.
Margaret "Clover" Russell: Do you love me?
Edward Wilson: I do, I love you.
Margaret "Clover" Russell: No, I still don't believe you!
Edward Wilson: I love you, I love you...
Margaret "Clover" Russell: Say it, Say it... Look at me, Look at me. Stop! Stop!
Edward Wilson: I love you, I love you, I do love you.
Edward Wilson: My orders came through. I'll be going overseas.
Margaret "Clover" Russell: What are you going to do, Edward? Save the world?
Edward Wilson: I'll do what I can.
Edward Wilson: You are never to tell anyone what it is that I do!
Margaret "Clover" Russell: What you do? I don't know what you do! You leave at five, you're home at ten, seven days a week! I live with a ghost! I don't know anything about you!
Margaret "Clover" Russell: Bonesmen first, God second.
Berlin International Film Festival - Outstanding Artistic Contribution
Berlin International Film Festival - Golden Berlin Bear - Robert De Niro
St. Louis Film Critics Association - Best Film
St. Louis Film Critics Association - Best Director - Robert De Niro
St. Louis Film Critics Association - Best Actor - Matt Damon