Crea sito

15/08/2006
 


Article
[thanks to 'mh']

Double Take: West Bloomfield’s Justin Bartha goes high profile in two new Hollywood roles

Suzanne Chessler
Special to the Jewish News


A broken wrist really turned out to be a lucky break for Justin Bartha. It happened 12 years ago, when he was playing tennis at West Bloomfield High School.

Bartha’s injury forced him to look around for new activities, and he switched his attention from sports to theater. The attraction really wasn’t the stage so much as the opportunity to keep up with friends and meet girls.

The novice performer soon realized that acting was winning his heart, and he went on to pursue his new passion nonstop in New York and Hollywood, with the high point arriving this year. Besides having an important role in the feature film Failure to Launch, opening March 10 in area theaters, he is starring in the new NBC sitcom Teachers, which debuts March 28.

In the midst of strenuous days on the Teachers set, Bartha took time to speak about his achievements and background with the Jewish News.


New Roles

“I don’t consider myself that much of a [professional] success,” says Bartha, 27, whose family belonged to Temple Israel, where he had his bar mitzvah. “What is positive is that my achievements allow me to work more. People are aware of me and want to work with me.

“Every job that I do makes my life seem like a dream life. I can’t imagine anything better. Every day, I go to wonderful places and work with talented people.”

Bartha plays Ace in Failure to Launch, a movie that immerses him with the talents of Matthew McConaughey as Tripp and Sarah Jessica Parker as Paula.

Ace helps with a plan that heightens the romance of the fictional couple, a bachelor reluctant to move away from the comfort of his childhood home and a young woman secretly hired by Tripp’s parents to motivate independent living arrangements.

“The characters in this film are really identifiable, and it’s just a good time,” says Bartha, who has partied with the actors after long working days. “Ace is kind of the opposite of me. He’s a techno guy who’s crafty, but he’s a little nerdy. I like to think of myself as a really cool guy.”

Bartha, whose diverse roles have cast him as a psychologically challenged person in Gigli and a global positioning specialist in National Treasure, says he approaches each role by analyzing the part and building the fictional person from the ground up.

Building a new character for Teachers, also starring Sarah Alexander (Coupling) and Deon Richmond (The Cosby Show), came directly from his Michigan background.

“I based the character on two teachers I had in high school — Rob Leider, who headed up the theater program, and James Corcoran, who was my English instructor,” says Bartha, who graduated from West Bloomfield High in 1996. “They both had quite an influence on me because they really cared about the kids.

“I made a new character by taking their personality traits and mixing them with a little of Johnny Carson’s style. Their assignments and ways of teaching very much mirror what I’m trying to do with this series. My character is quietly attempting to make a difference while showing some sarcastic elements.”


Praised Performances

Bartha, whose family moved to Michigan when he was 8, graduated from New York University in 2000. Although he started college with an acting program, he transferred to film school.

After creating a show for university television, he was hopeful it would be picked up by MTV. On the day of that rejection, he learned he had the part in Gigli, co-starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. the film didn’t fare well, but it brought critical acclaim to Bartha.

The actor’s other cinema credits include Tag, Thought Crimes and Carnival Sun — work he found after his university project drew management agencies to him. He wrote and directed the short film Highs and Lows, which premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in 2003. In Trust the Man, which premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film Festival, Bartha played opposite Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

“Justin was and is extremely creative and dedicated,” recalls Leider, now a curriculum specialist for the school district. “He was able to do a myriad of roles and could work on serious drama, such as Hamlet, and children’s shows at the same time.

“Justin was likeable, funny and good-natured and could put many emotions into his performances. He would find things from life to use in his characters and make each moment on stage his own. I’m so happy that he reached this level.”

While both teachers are very flattered to learn they inspired their former student, Corcoran especially remembers the comic characters Bartha portrayed.

“I remember how well Justin wrote skits and how comfortable he was on stage,” Corcoran says. “In one skit, for an old-fashioned vaudeville show, he portrayed a boss interviewing a potential employee. Instead of the questioning being about the job, it had to do with whether the candidate liked puppies as much as the boss. He was really funny.

“I recognized Justin when I saw him in the film National Treasure. I looked him up on the Web and found out what he had done since leaving high school. He sometimes was our class clown, but there was never anything malicious in his sense of humor.”

The upbeat evaluations of Bartha’s talents extend into current projects. Tom Dey, director of Failure to Launch, is pleased about Bartha and Bradley Cooper, portraying another lifetime friend of McConaughey’s character.

“Both Justin and Bradley are very funny, gifted actors who have distinct styles and are believable as Tripp’s contemporaries,” Dey says. “They were able to riff with Matthew immediately, and we encouraged them to hang out together as much as possible prior to filming.

“We also gave them physical activities during rehearsal week, including clinics on paintball and rock-climbing. It was like orientation week at camp without the macrame.”


Proud Parents

Betty and Stephen Bartha, who moved to New Jersey soon after Justin’s high-school graduation, have enjoyed exciting times since their son’s career took off. They have visited him on location, attended star-studded film premieres and gone to elaborate parties, including one in the home of Nicholas Cage.

“When I saw Justin in his first film, it seemed almost surreal, but after five minutes, I fell into the character he was portraying,” says Betty Bartha, a former elementary school teacher who has lived in several cities as her husband accepted different retail real estate positions.

“We saw he had a passion for acting, and we encouraged it. We felt he was young and had nothing to lose. We are most proud that he has stayed true to himself, holds the same values and appreciates all that has happened.

“Religion was very important in our home, and we were glad to be in a community with a large Jewish population that let us share holidays with family and friends. My husband and I think religion is important in teaching right and wrong.”

As the only family member in show business, Bartha can think of himself as very much an individual in a family that includes brother Jeffrey, who works in advertising in California.

“I keep learning by watching and being around other actors,” says Bartha, who is based in New York and California and spends his free time traveling. “I kind of absorb certain things from the type of people I’ve gotten the chance to work with, whether it be while they’re on or off camera. Some of these people are just interesting. Watching them in their everyday life is a treat.

“James Burrows, who directed the Teachers pilot, is smart and couldn’t have been nicer. He directs as if he is listening to music, closing his eyes and hearing the performances. It’s really great to observe.

“I constantly am making bigger goals for myself and trying to look ahead. Ultimately, I’d love to make my own movies and just fulfill any kind of creative notion I have.”

On a personal note, he adds, “I wouldn’t mind being linked romantically. I don’t really know exactly what I’m looking for, but I do know I want someone who’s honest.”

 

 

20/07/2006
 

NT2

To start filming in January 2007, the sequel to National Treasure will have Nicolas Cage and his group from the previous film go international to discover the truth behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln...dealing with unknown historical facts about the Civil War and Lincoln with a surprise ending.

Some of the writers of the original film are working on this one. Same director - Jon Turtletaub.

Also, according to Los Angeles Daily News, August 3 - NT 2 is entering pre-production, will start shooting at the first of the year, and will lead off the summer 2008 film release schedule for Disney.

[thanks to 'mh']

 

26/04/2006
 

ENTERTAINMENT/LIVING 
Bartha gets a career lesson in television   
Monday, April 24, 2006
By VIRGINIA ROHAN
STAFF WRITER
 
When Justin Bartha landed the lead role in the NBC comedy "Teachers," he knew just how he'd play unorthodox high school English teacher Jeff Cahill.
"I wanted to make this guy like the teachers that I had that I remember. He's a guy you'll always remember who taught you something that you never learned in another class, just because of the way he taught," Bartha says. "I just wanted to make him like that – with a little Johnny Carson thrown in. Mischievous."
 
On this early spring day, just before his show's debut, the charming and personable actor is chatting over sodas at ESPN Zone in New York -- the city he has called home for the past decade – about his first TV project of any kind.
In "Teachers" (9:30 p.m. Tuesday), Bartha, who had supporting roles in movies (including "National Treasure"), plays Cahill as the most smug member of the faculty at (fictional) Filmore High in Fort Lee. (where Bartha's parents now live).
"He definitely puts on an air of not caring. He thinks for some reason that it is not cool to care," Bartha says. "But when the class door closes and the bell rings, he definitely is there for the students. He wants to get through to them."
The big appeal for him was the ensemble of "really specific funny characters," played by Sarah Alexander, Deon Richmond, Phil Hendrie, Sarah Shahi and Kali Rocha. "What I love about the show is that, for me, it feels like a 'Cheers' type of show, where it's not important that they're in a school," Bartha says. "'Cheers' was not about alcoholics and bartenders. It was about the people who hung out in the bar and how they related to each other."
Bartha, 27, was born in Florida and moved with his family to Michigan at age 9. He discovered acting after he broke his wrist while trying out for the tennis team at West Bloomfield High School. He decided to try theater and won a small role in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
"Right when I hit that stage I just knew that's where I wanted to be," he says. "Fifteen years old. Bam. I knew it."
Bartha went on to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and won notice in the movies "Gigli" (as the mentally challenged younger brother of a federal prosecutor), "National Treasure" (Nicolas Cage's sidekick) and "Failure to Launch" (Matthew McConaughey's best buddy).
"After I did 'National Treasure,' I was looking for something to do, and I was getting a bunch of bad scripts, as there tend to be in Hollywood. I wasn't ever really thinking about television," Bartha says.
"Teachers" creator Matt Tarses, who'd seen "National Treasure," approached him about playing Cahill. Bartha loved the script and the characters. "I said, 'Why not? Let's do it.' I was ready to kind of step up and do a leading part. And also, I thought there's a lot more interesting things happening on TV than in movies right now."
His main inspiration was an English teacher he had in Michigan. "He was such an irreverent personality, where, like sometimes you'd go in and thought you were gonna have a test that day, and he'd bring out a guitar and start playing 'Blackbird,' and he'd sing Beatles songs and bring out soda and we'd have an impromptu party," Bartha says. "He never stuck to a lesson plan and he always tried to get us to read books that he really admired that no other teacher would ever assign. They are still some of my favorite books today. He trusted his audience. The kids were his audience. He didn't teach down to them."
NBC ordered six episodes of "Teachers," and with ratings not great and two episodes left to air, its future does not look rosy. Regardless of this show's fate, though, Bartha has found his first brush with TV to be a positive experience.
"It's a lot more fast-paced than a movie. I love that," Bartha says. "You get a script on Monday and you're shooting it on Friday. You work on it, work on it, like a little play. You really chisel down to the basics of what it should be and you get it funnier and funnier. It's a lot of hard work. It's a lot of fun."

Here is the original newspaper interview (Bergen, New Jersey Record) 

click to view the bigger version

 

11/04/2006
 

Strip Search" the HBO cable film in which JB appeared will be covered in a special forum at Fordham Law School's program "Strip Searches, The Body Politic, and the Price of Post-9/11 Security" on Tuesday Apr. 11th at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, New York City...10th Floor Screening Room, 1 Time Warner Center, 58th Street, 7:30 pm reception with the artists, program at 8:00 pm.

Director of the film, Sidney Lumet and writer/producer Tom Fontana will appear to discuss the film and show clips from it. They will discuss how and why the legal system has been the subject of so much of their work over the years and how they have portrayed justice and injustice in their art.

This is the second in a series of an ongoing "Forum on Law, Culture, and Society" by Fordham University's School of Law.

http://law.fordham.edu/ihtml/newsitem.ihtml?id=247&pad=pad


-thanks to mh

 

09/04/2006
 

Marilyn Beck Syndicated entertainment column
 

CHANGE FOR GOOD: Justin Bartha has been moving up in a film career that's included such movies as "National Treasure" and "Failure to Launch," so it's not surprising when the wryly funny actor admits he wasn't in the market for a TV series when NBC's "Teachers" debuting tonight came his way. "TV wasn't on my radar, but this script was one of the funniest things I'd ever read. I just loved this character; he popped off the page for me." It wasn't that simple, though. "Teachers" began life a year ago as a single-camera show that took place in a middle school "but there was something 'off' about it," admits Bartha. It was revamped to be set in a high school, as a multicamera, traditional-style sitcom, something TV director/guru James Burrows pushed for when he came aboard to consult on the pilot.

"I had a little trepidation about it, but I sat down with him, and he explained he wanted to make it a tone similar to 'Cheers,'" says Bartha. "It really works this way."

 


 

Article published Mar 15, 2006

Rock Star

Justin Bartha talks about films, fame and falling hard while climbing rocks in Alabama.
Actor Justin Bartha just wants to get the girl. That's why he agreed to a co-starring role in the romantic comedy "Failure to Launch."
The Paramount Picture release opened in theaters Friday. While Bartha doesn’t get “the” girl — Sarah Jessica Parker, who stars in the movie opposite Matthew McConaughey — Bartha does fall for and get co-star Zooey Deschanel, who plays Parker’s quirky, dark roommate, Kit.

Bartha plays Ace, one of McConaughey’s best friends, in the romantic comedy that had scenes filmed last summer in Gadsden and at Cherokee Rock Village in Leesburg. It also stars Bradley Cooper as Demo, another of McConaughey’s friends. Cooper starred on ABC’s “Alias.”

Bartha ate several times at Pruetts’ BBQ while he was here and was given a T-shirt one night when he ate there. Cooper joined him there and also was given a shirt and was later seen wearing it on “The Fuse.”

Bartha, Cooper and McConaughey were the only cast members who came to Gadsden.
“I wear mine all the time,” Bartha said in a recent phone interview when asked about his shirt, “but I don’t do as much press as Bradley.”

“I had a great time in Gadsden,” Bartha said. “The people are just so warm and nice, and it was really a lot of fun filming there.”

Several members of the cast and crew, including director Tom Dey, also ate at Olive’s, which stayed open late one night for them. The restaurant since has closed.

Bartha said he was impressed with the rock-climbing location.

“It was really quite beautiful,” he said. “I had no idea where we were shooting with the rock climbing was such a beautiful site. It’s a great place.”

Bartha said his character wasn’t into rock climbing but said he loved it.

“I get pulled up and slammed into the rock upside down,” Bartha said.

He said he was wearing a harness.

“It’s not the most comfortable situation, but they protected us,” he said.

Bartha said he likes to travel and loves “extreme” kinds of sports such as hang gliding and bungee jumping.

“All that crazy stuff I like to do,” Bartha said.

Bartha praised the other actors in the firm but said he was most impressed with McConaughey, who took on a character that could be seen as selfish and unlikable. McConaughey plays a 35-year-old who, despite a successful job, stills lives at home with his parents and uses that as a way to break up with women he dates.

“But (McConaughey) makes the guy so likable and charming that you really believe that what is going on is happening,” Bartha said. “He’s really a talented guy.”

One of the movie’s subplots, which primarily involves the relationship between McConaughey and Parker, features Bartha and Parker’s roommate Kit.

“I wanted to do a movie where I got the girl, and I hadn’t really done that,” Bartha said.
Bartha said the “Launch” script was funny. He enjoys doing different things and had never done a romantic comedy.

“I was just kind of quietly seeking out a quirky romantic comedy, and this one fit the bill,” Bartha said. “It wasn’t just Matthew and Sarah Jessica, it had these fleshed out characters that were supporting characters that were a lot of fun, and that’s what really drew me to it.”

Bartha previously had appeared in “National Treasure” as Nicholas Gage’s sidekick and also had appeared in “Gigli,” which starred Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. He also starred in “Thought Crimes,” an HBO film directed by Sidney Lumet.

“Launch” features Terry Bradshaw and Kathy Bates as McConaughey’s parent, who hire Parker as a consultant to get McConaughey to move out.

Bartha said he was a fan of Deschanel from her other work, which included “All the Real Girls,” and said she is an actress who is “very original.” Deschanel also was seen in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Elf.”

He said Deschanel has “a singular voice that’s different than all the other young actresses. She’s so talented.”

In one scene with Deschanel, Bartha tries to revive a bird that had been shot with a BB gun.

“I did know that the CPR scene was in there when I read the script, and I still signed on to do it. I have a little bit of a death wish, it seems,” Bartha jokingly said.

Bartha said he is drawn to interesting characters and that Ace is somewhat like the character he played in “National Treasure” because both are computer- and tech-oriented.

Bartha described Ace as more of an introvert — “a little more shy and nerdy than the guy in ‘National Treasure.’”

He said Ace is “a little more homebody, just kind of looking for love.”

Bartha also has a movie coming out this summer, “Trust the Man,” and is starring in a new NBC comedy, “Teachers,” that premiers April 6.

Bartha, 27, grew up near Detroit and attended New York University’s Tish School of Fine Arts. He was born in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

 

 


 

Justin Bartha

By John Crook
(copyright)
Published March 26, 2006

 

Justin Bartha may be making his TV series debut in "Teachers," NBC's new Tuesday comedy, but he's already feeling at home in his role as high school instructor Jeff Cahill.

"I had a high school English teacher who really had his own way about him and was very similar to the guy I saw on the (script) page and wanted to put onscreen," says Bartha, whose own mother also was a teacher. "The way that he taught romanticized teaching a bit and it made me sense that it was a really rewarding profession."

The Florida native moved with his family to a Detroit suburb when he was 9. After injuring his wrist trying out for his high school tennis team, he auditioned for a school production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and landed a small role.

"As soon as I got on stage, it was pretty much love at first sight," he says of the experience. "I just knew that was what I wanted to do with my life, and I pretty much immersed myself in it, reading and taking acting classes and doing school and community theater, anything I could find."

As fate would have it, he made his professional film debut in "Gigli," the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez flop in which Bartha alone walked away with good reviews.

"Everyone asks me about that movie," he says, laughing, "but the truth is, it was a great work experience. No one sets out to make a bad movie, and the movie that was released just wasn't the movie we started out to make."

As for "Teachers," Bartha would love a long run but he's philosophical. "Even if we only do the six episodes NBC ordered, I'm really proud of the work we've done."

- - -

Born: July 21, 1978, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Family ties: His father works in commercial real estate; his mother was a teacher. One older brother, Jeffrey.

Education: Graduated from the Film School at New York University.

Feature film debut: In the notorious box-office flop "Gigli," co-starring with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.

Other film credits: "Carnival Sun," "Strip Search," "National Treasure," "Trust the Man," "Failure to Launch."
 

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

 

04/04/2006
 



FAILURE TO LAUNCH
Justin Bartha & Bradley Cooper interview

available in the MEDIA section of the website -> here

 

 

28/03/2006
 


 

Some links about Failure To Launch

http://www.failuretolaunchmovie.com/

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/failure_to_launch/

http://www.mtv.com/movies/news/articles/1525772/20060309/story.jhtml

http://movies.go.com/movies/movie?name=failure-to-launch_2005&genre=comedy&studio=Paramount%20Pictures

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060309/REVIEWS/60308002/1023

trailer http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/failuretolaunch/


 

11/03/2006
 


 



PHOTO FROM "FAILURE TO LAUNCH" PREMIERE

more here http://movies.msn.com/photos/gallery.aspx?photo=666777&gallery=11356#photos
 

22/02/2006
 


NBC-TV has decided to keep the sitcom "The Office" running on Thursday due to recently increased ratings and awards (even though it has to mainly use repeats to do so), instead of replacing it for several months with the new Justin Bartha series "Teachers".

So instead of airing on Thursday nights at 9:30, "Teachers" will air on Tuesdays at 9:30 starting March 28th (instead of the original Thursday start date of April 6th).

The Tuesday lineup with include "Joey", "Scrubs" and "Teachers".

 

24/01/2006
 


Justin's new TV comedy/drama series "Teachers" (formerly titled "Filmore Middle") joins the NBC-TV Thursday night comedy line-up at 9:30 beginning on April 6, 2006.
NBC (which also produces the series) expects this to be a big hit and is very excited about it.

[ Thanks to mh for the news ]


More http://tv.yahoo.com/tvpdb?d=tvi&cf=0&id=1809251377



 

27/12/2005
 


 

Justin's in-development TV series "Filmore Middle" which had its pilot episode favorably judged by the network which produced it - NBC - while not currently scheduled as a mid-season replacement show in January, is now scheduled to begin running on NBC this coming spring under a new title - "Teachers".

Thanks to mh

01/07/2005
 


 

photo from Google

 

25/05/2005
 


Justin Bartha's sitcom pilot "Filmore Middle" was not picked up by NBC for its fall or midseason schedule for next season.

Details in the Forum (Topic : Films)

 

 

16/05/2005
 

Filmore middle pilot

Today i caught one of those "cable previews" showing the pilot for a television show called Filmore Middle. It's a sit-com about an eclectic group of teachers working at a New Jersey middle school that's not known for its academics. Justin Bartha stars as Jeff Cahill, the "cool" teacher who breaks all the rules and pretends not to care but really does. Deon Richmond plays Calvin Babbet, fellow teacher and right hand man. (I remember this guy from The Cosby Show; he played Rudy's friend Kenny -- he was funnier back then.) The virtuous teacher, Alice Fletcher, is played by Sarah Alexander whose English accent kept me entertained. She will predictably be the source of romantic tension. (Actor names courtesy TV Tome.)

The episode itself centered around this kid, Adam, who is remarkably unpopular but has potential. Mr Cahill "pulls a favor" to get him considered for admission to a private school. To get in, the kid needs to get a B on a history exam and his prospects don't look good. The history teacher just happens to be Ms Fletcher who is unlikely to bend the rules. Mr Cahill ends up giving the kid the answers to the test to help him out; but this plan is uncovered thanks to the usual clueless student mistakes. Cahill and Babbet convince Fletcher to give the kid a makeup, and they help him study for it. Test time comes and the kid is down to the last question: if he gets it right, he gets the B and goes to private school -- if he gets it wrong, and he stays put. The kid blows the question when clearly he knows the correct answer and gets a C which means he stays. The moral being he wanted to stay at a place where a teacher cared as much about him as Cahill did. Awww.

The show reminded me of Boston Public, only the kids where younger and it was far less dramatic. Plus it had that caring-teacher element of Boy Meets World. The friendship of Cahill and Babbet also seems reminiscent of Ed and Mike from Ed. I have to image its going to be a tough sell to get adults to watch a show about middle school in prime time.

I saw similar previews last year. It turns our one of those shows is now on the air. If fact, Medium is on NBC as i'm typing this. I wonder what will happen to this one.

[http://www.matthewflickinger.com/blog/archives/2005/05/02/filmore_middle_pilot.asp]
 

 

14/05/2005
 


http://www.movieweb.com/dvd/news/news.php?id=7774  Audio interview.
MovieWeb sits down with Justin to talk about the National Treasure DVD.

 

28/04/2005
 


Bartha ready for 'Launch' at Paramount

Justin Bartha has signed on to star in "Failure to Launch" for Scott Rudin Prods. and Paramount Pictures. He joins Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Jessica Parker and Zooey Deschanel in the comedy about a thirtysomething guy (McConaughey) that can't seem to leave home. Bartha will play a friend of McConaughey's that ends up getting together with Deschanel, a friend of Parker's. Tom Dey is directing from a script by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember. Bartha most recently appeared in "National Treasure." He also signed on to topline the NBC pilot "Filmore Middle." [Liza Foreman]

[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com]

 

 

25/04/2005
 

In the FORUM (in the FILMS section) we have a full description of the Extras on the U.S. DVD release of National Treasure due out May 3 - based on an advance copy. What are you waiting? ;) Go and read it!
 

 


jb
Ebay Photos and more Gigli Premiere photos
in the Website Gallery

 

 

17/04/2005
 

FILMORE MIDDLE Casting News!

Sarah Alexander (BBC's "Coupling") has joined the cast of the comedy pilot, about disillusioned teachers at a rundown public junior high school. No details were available about her character in the NBC Universal Television-based project, which also stars Justin Bartha. Matt Tarses created the pilot, with Marc Buckland attached to direct. 
 
L.A. radio host Phil Hendrie, who's also done voice work on King of the Hill and Futurama, has joined Sarah Alexander ("Coupling") and Justin Bartha ("Gigli") in Fillmore Middle, a comedy about teachers at a junior high school. Hendrie filmed a pilot for NBC two years ago and had an animated project in the works at FOX last season; neither made it to series.
 
Deon Richmond rounds out the cast of NBC's comedy pilot Filmore Middle. The project, from NBC Universal TV Studio, revolves around disillusioned teachers at a rundown public school. Richmond's credits include the series Sister, Sister and The Cosby Show.
[http://entertainment.tv.yahoo.com]

 

 

07/04/2005
 

Justin Bartha interview in Japanese NT souvenir book     
 
The release of NT in Japan was accompanied by a lavish big souvenir book with photos, interviews, and articles about the movie...all in Japanese with no English. (this is a special and exclusive translation that we're publishing here!)

QUESTION: "National Treasure" is your first movie in Japan, isn't it? (note : "Gigli" went straight to video in Japan and was not commercially released in theaters there). What is your background?

JB:

I was born in 1978 ---- July 21.

JB continues:

I was raised in Detroit, Michigan. My family had no connection with the world of entertainment, but I wanted to do something different so I tried out for plays. The pleasure of performing on stage became so enjoyable that while attending college in New York, I studied acting.

Two years later, I enrolled in a performing arts school and I studied writing and directing.

Q: You debuted on television in the controversial film "Gigli", didn't you?

JB:
After I graduated from NYU (New York University), I did mainly directing and writing scripts. In NYU, I did scripts and short films and submitted them to movie festivals. I did an MTV pilot and work for Showtime.

So I while I was doing that I had a longing for acting. I went out for movie auditions. My role in "Gigli" was as a young man who was disabled mentally.

Q: How do you feel about contrasting that role in "Gigli" with the one of Riley Poole?

(Note : in Japan since there are no distinct "R" or "L" sounds, it comes out as "Liley Poole" from the interviewer) :

JB:
The thing I enjoyed most is that Riley is a comedy role. I think that this role was so good for me because the two roles of Riley and in "Gigli" were so different. What Riley says is what the audience is thinking and feeling - that that's what my approach to the role of Riley was.

Q: In the role of Riley, you are supposed to be very strong in computers, in real life are you as good in computers as Riley is?

NOTE : In the interview it is referred to as "personal computers".

JB:
Yeah, but not really. I can't brag about it. It's not really my strong point. I can do things like e-mail or check things like stocks, so you can't say I'm completely no good at computers. But the role calls for someone totally great at computers so I had to make it look like I could do it.

Q: "National Treasure" director Jerry Bruckheimer is known for finding new talent and new actors, isn't he?

JB:
I respect Jerry a lot - his brain is sharp and his passion for film-making is very deep. Rather than to say he just finds new actors, he finds the actors who can bring out the characters - and this is how I think he selects actors and why chose me for this role.

Q: What is your next project?

JB:

"Trust the Man" - it's a small, independent film being shot in New York City.

---------------------------------------------------------------

ABOUT RILEY POOLE :

(from the same NT Japanese Souvenir Book...run on the same page as the JB interview with photo of Riley and the little boy on the park bench with the letters/clue from the Silence Do-Good Letters in Philadelphia)

Ben Gates' sidekick is a genius computer hacker, Riley Poole. Justin Bartha is new to the film business but he was selected to be superstar Nicolas Cage's partner in the role.

He is a Cinderella Boy

He is 26 years old. He was on the staff of the Robert Deniro film "Analyze Me". In 1999, his debut as an actor was in the short film "Tag"...and in 2003 he appeared in "Gigli" which shown as a video in Japan. In America, it was a controversial movie. He played a mentally disturbed character - and it was in this film that he was really discovered.

In the same year, he appeared in the short, "Carnival Sun". In 2004, he was in the Sidney Lumet TV film "Strip Seach" with Glenn Close.

The public is looking forward to his future work as an actor.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
This was translated from Japanese to English for justin-bartha.com by Michiko Terajima, a very prominent Japanese/American actress/writer/choreographer/director.

Thanks: mh

31/03/2005
 


FILMORE MIDDLE
This new NBC comedy revolves around a group of young teachers at a rundown public school. Starring Justin Bartha ("National Treasure"). Produced by Matt Tarses ("Scrubs").
(7:00pm - Sony Pictures Studios - Minimum Age 18)

http://www.tvtickets.com/pilots2.htm

 

 

21/03/2005
 

Bartha, Benben Tapped for Pilots

By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Justin Bartha has landed the lead in NBC's comedy pilot "Filmore Middle," lifting the contingency off the pilot.

The story revolves around disillusioned teachers at a run-down public school.

 

Bartha most recently co-starred opposite Nicolas Cage (news) in the blockbuster "National Treasure."

 

In other pilot casting news:

 

- Former "Dream On" star Brian Benben is set to star in ABC's "Neighbors," which centers on dueling neighbors (Benben, Lenny Clarke) who have to contend with each other when their wives and kids become friends. Benben most recently co-starred on NBC's miniseries "Kingpin."

 

- Noureen DeWulf has landed one of the two title roles in the WB Network's comedy pilot "Mindy and Brenda," a New York-set female buddy comedy. Mindy (DeWulf) and Brenda (Virginia Williams) are best friends who look at the world differently. DeWulf stars in the short "West Bank Story," which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival (news - web sites), and will appear in the upcoming comedy feature "Pledge This!"

 

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

 


 

Justin Bartha, who would probably rather be known as one of the co-stars of the smash hit "National Treasure" than as one of the leads in the legendary punchline "Gigli," will take the lead role in the NBC comedy pilot "Filmore Middle."

The series looks at young teachers at a middle school. Bartha will play a member of the faculty, an English teacher.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the casting of Bartha lifts the cast contingency from "Middle," allowing the series to go to pilot.

Bartha played the mentally handicapped Brian in 2003's "Gigli," which let the actor share scenes with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, not that anybody saw the film. Many more people noticed Bartha in as Riley, Nicolas Cage's sidekick, in "National Treasure," a film that earned him rave reviews. Bartha will next be seen in the indie feature "Trust the Man" with Billy Crudup, Eva Mendes and David Duchovny.

Coming off the exposure from "Gigli," Bartha signed a talent deal with John Wells Prods. in the fall of 2003, but plans to work the actor into an upcoming pilot were apparently stymied.

 

 

18/03/2005
 

In Walt Disney Pictures press releases for National Treasure - here are some excerpts about Justin and the character of Riley plus his comments which were supplied to the press to use:

"Justin Bartha was thrilled to have a chance to work with Nicolas Cage - and to portray a dynamic and modern ying-yang buddy relationship. He explains : 'Riley is a guy who is completely adept at technology, and Ben Gates is adept at just about everything else. What's fun about my character is that Ben gets this guy out of his computer cubicle and takes him on the adventure of his life.'

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer played a key part in helping Bartha to further define the role of Riley. Bartha explains : 'Jerry had been doing some research on another project about teenagers drafted by the National Security Agency (NSA) to build computer models. He figured Riley may have received his start that way, which as a background story really helped me to figure who Riley is and where he comes from.'

Says Bruckheimer : 'Riley is the film's reluctant warrior. He is somebody who really belongs in front of a computer but is thrown into the real world and has to figure out how it all works. Justin is a very funny person and he had a great interplay with Nic.'

As the production grew near, Bartha also found himself living more like Riley - that is, spending hours every day huddled in front of his computer.

He laughs : "I was never much of an Internet guy before this movie, but after I got this role, I definitely became one. I actually did a lot of my own research into treasure hunting by cruising around the net.'

When it came to working with Nicolas Cage, however, Bartha found the quick-witted relationship between the characters came naturally.

He notes : 'There was a lot of realism to it because Riley is constantly reacting to all the wild and bold stuff Ben does in the movie - and that's how I feel about Nic. He is such a fearless actor, and he never shies away from any instinct in his performance, no matter how eccentric, and so I was just constantly reacting to him with awe and disbelief, just as Riley is reacting to Ben. It was just a lot of fun getting to spar and joke with him.'"

[thanks to mh for the article]

 

11/03/2005
 


 



more photos in the gallery of the site

18/02/2005
 


 

Updated Gallery, 'Gigli Premiere' 
 

 

10/02/2005
 


More good news for National Treasure: NT worldwide box office by the end of the weekend of Feb. 6th comes to $306.8 million. That includes the U.S.A. and 40 other countries. And the film is still to open in two very large markets - Japan and China.
 

 

09/02/2005
 


updated photogallery of the website.

Gigli


 

 

05/02/2005
 

Still Good News For National Treasure:

As the end of the weekend of January 30, the total box office worldwide was about $303 million with $168 million from the U.S. and $135 million from the rest of the world.

Both Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter announced this week the reaching of $300 million at the box office.

Besides, NT is still playing in 41 markets this week.


 

 

02/02/2005
 

 
Over the weekend, National Treasure hit the $300 million box office mark - including U.S. and worldwide box office grosses. This is a landmark figure. Of the amount, $167,681,143 is from the U.S.A., the rest from other countries.

To celebrate, Disney took a two-page ad today (Tuesday Feb. 1, 2005) in Daily Variety (the bible of show business) headed : "$300,000,000 Worldwide to Date...and the treasure continues to grow..."

Interesting is that in the U.S. this week, the film is still in the top 20 grossers and has the second highest total U.S. cumulative box office of the top 20 films... (beat out only by "Meet the Fockers")

 

27/01/2005
 

OLD ARTICLES



ABOUT NT DVD

National Treasure in May

Buena Vista Home Entertainment have announced the Region 1 DVD release of National Treasure for 3rd May 2005 priced at $29.99 SRP. Nicolas Cage plays a treasure hunter searching for a secret horde hidden at the time of the American Revolution in this action-packed caper movie from producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Arriving in separate Widescreen and Full Screen editions features include:

  • English and French DD5.1 Surround
  • Alternate Ending with optional director's audio commentary
  • Deleted scenes with optional director's audio commentary
  • "National Treasure On Location" Making-Of Featurette
  • "The Knights Templar" Featurette
  • "Treasure Hunters Revealed" Featurette
  • "Riley's Decode This!" Featurette plus 3 puzzling challenges
  • Opening scene animatic with optional Director's audio commentary
     

    http://www.dvdtimes.co.uk/content.php?contentid=55898

    http://www.dvdanswers.com/index.php?r=0&s=1&c=5430&n=1&burl=

    __________________

  • "National Treasure II" Shot in China?  

    CRIENGLISH.com

    Nicolas Cage's film, "National Treasure", will premiere in China on March 18.
    The film's director, Jon Turteltaub, says the film has already grossed 300 million US dollars, leading to talk of a sequel.

    The director says the sequel should be filmed in a romantic and mystical country, and China is top of his list.

    Jon Turteltaub says he is now seeking screenwriter to develop a script for the sequel


    Editor: Shen Min

    _________________


    Justin Bartha: Treasure Hunting  

    By Lynn Barker, 11/16/2004

  • You're a 26-year-old New York actor with a less-than-successful film under your belt and you land a co-starring role in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie alongside hot Nicolas Cage and gorgeous Diane Kruger. No wonder dark-haired hottie Justin Bartha is upbeat and revved for action! Justin co-starred in an HBO film called "Thought Crimes" with Maggie Gyllenhaal and took the role of the not all there bro of a federal prosecutor in Gigli, opposite Ben Affleck. Hey, Justin wasn't panned, just the movie!

  • Bartha grew up outside Detroit (on the other side of 8 Mile), studied in New York and is still in love with the city.

  • "The energy, I feed off of it like nothing else in my life. I consider [New York] my girlfriend. Sometimes we go through hard times but, in the end, she's always there for me". Justin claims that he's single and always eyeing the ladies. According to Bruckheimer, his sense of humor and intelligence helped him get the role. The actor loves to joke and did so in our interview. Its a good thing he's funny since Riley, his techy character in the adventure/crime caper film National Treasure, has many of the best comic lines.

  • TeenHollywood: Did you make up any of your lines or was everything in the script?

  • Justin: I did make up a few of the lines and it was pretty collaborative. Everyone bounced ideas off of each other. There was a script in place but Jerry Bruckheimer doesn't like to wrap a movie unless it is perfect and he knows when a movie is perfect in his eyes. So we had writers there that were perfecting it and we tried to make everything as funny and as realistic and interesting as possible.

  • TeenHollywood: The character of "tech geek sidekick" is present in so many movies. How did you develop the character of Riley to make him a bit different?
    Justin: I think I've seen this character on page, in maybe twenty movies.

  • Basically, I came up with an idea where I try to make this guy the audience. What if he was sitting in the audience and someone picked him up and threw him into the screen like in "Purple Rose of Cairo" and he reacted accordingly in a realistic and humorous manner to the ridiculous, at times, things that were happening around him.

  • TeenHollywood: So did you build up a back story for him in your head?

  • Justin: Yeah. I also wanted to make him a bit of a wild man in the sense of what if he was stuck in a cubicle for his entire life? He got hired by the NSA when he was fourteen as a computer expert and he has been in a tiny little cubicle making computer models and someone finally comes and gives him a chance to go on an adventure. I think everyone can identify with that. Most people work in a cubicle for their entire life. So I wanted to make him like a mouse in a cage and you release him and he has to find that cheese.

  • TeenHollywood: You and Nic Cage's character have a great rapport. How did you develop that?

  • Justin: Nic looks up to me.

  • He does. [laughter]. No, I'm a nobody from New York. An actor who is just starting his career and Im going to work on this Bruckheimer movie with one of the greatest film actors there is in my opinion. I knew that these guys are best friends in the movie and I have to form some kind of relationship with him right away off the set. So, we bonded, I think with our sense of humor. Hes a very funny guy. I felt comfortable jibbing and jabbing with him. I think the audience reacts to the relationships between the characters. The relationship off screen helped that a lot.

  • TeenHollywood: We hear some fun was had off set on this film. Anything you are willing to reveal?

  • Justin: They're all saying karaoke.

  • We all went karaokeing. But Nic has a house in New Orleans and he took us and we had a very nice time. There's something in New Orleans called a hand grenade and this is a plastic bottle shaped like a big hand grenade and it's filled with all different types of goodies. And you drink this and it blows your head off! So we wandered around the streets of New Orleans and he showed us around because he knows the city quite well and we had some beignets and had a good time.

  • TeenHollywood: Do you feel that Gigli got a fair rap?

  • Justin: No. I don't think it got a completely fair rap. Is it a great movie? No but did people for some reason pick that movie to really take personally and destroy? Yes. But, in the end it's just a movie. Gigli, creatively, was an amazing experience for me. It was my first film. I loved that character that I played in it. I did it to the best of my ability and Im proud of my work in that film.

  • TeenHollywood: And nobody complained about you.

  • Justin: Yeah. They left the new guy out of the firestorm.

  • TeenHollywood: Are you single and are you looking?

  • Justin: Yes on both. I'm always looking for the ladies. I like the ladies in New York but I'll cheat on New York a little with the ladies.

  • TeenHollywood: Okay, let's say you're in New York. You've met a girl. What do you want to go do for your date?

  • Justin: I'm going to take her on an eating journey. We're going to starve for a day and then we go and we start off at Clinton Street Bakery for a little pancakes. Then we go to Joe's Pizza for a slice and go over to Corner Bistro for a burger, go around the corner to Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake.

  • TeenHollywood: So you want to date a soon to be fat girl?

  • Justin: Yes. It's all in one day. I'm an eater.

  • TeenHollywood: Do you think they picked you for this film for your wild sense of humor or did you just gel well with the other cast members?

  • Justin: Well, I think they picked me because I'm incredibly handsome above all.

  • But, I didn't meet the two leads in the audition process. I didn't have to read with them. Jerry [Bruckheimer], I think, believed in my ability because he'd talked to Marty Brest who directed Gigli and they had worked together on Beverly Hills Cop and I came in and read for Jerry and he saw something in me. I don't know how but he did. Maybe after hundreds of other actors turned down the part, I was the only one left. They're like let's get that Bartha kid.

  • TeenHollywood: Do you think there is a treasure like the one in the movie?

  • Justin: You learn a little doing these movies and there are treasure hunters out there and they are looking for treasures that none of us have ever heard of. This specific treasure is based kind of on reality so, yes, there are treasures out there. And you can play the lottery as much as you want.

  • TeenHollywood: You grew up outside of Detroit. What did you want to be when you grew up?

  • Justin: When I was very young I wanted to be a baseball player and maybe a basketball player but Im not very tall and I broke my wrist trying out for the tennis team and I started doing theater when I was fifteen and I never turned back. I loved doing theater. I didn't know anything about Hollywood and stuff like that, no connections in Hollywood, I just loved acting and just did it.

  • TeenHollywood: Did you do theater locally growing up?

  • Justin: Yeah, I did community theater. "Jesus Christ Superstar". I was the guy who whipped Jesus and a leper [laughter]. Not a lot has changed.

  • TeenHollywood: Okay, tell the truth. Did you ever go across the border into Canada?

  • Justin: I snuck across to Windsor and did some gambling. People can drink at nineteen, I believe and I took advantage of that and played some of those casino games, lost some money and I won't say the rest of what I did.

  • TeenHollywood: You may be the break-out star of this film. How do you feel about that?

  • Justin: I want to get up and hug you! [fine with us]. I think everyone is wonderful in this movie and I could not have done anything in this movie without the other people in the film. Its a crew of actors that are brilliant. Its playing off Nic Cage, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer. You've got a cast here that is just wonderful and you can't do it without them.

  • TeenHollywood: Our screening audience responded very strongly to your character. When you were on the set was anybody saying to you "stop stealing scenes"?

  • Justin: No. People, pretty much were like "who is this guy and why is he here?" I snuck in that thing man. Nobody was paying attention to me. I think that everyone steals this movie. Its a great cast but, yes it is my film.

  • TeenHollywood: When you are on a film with big stars, Nic Cage has what, a double wide trailer with seventeen rooms. What do you get?

  • Justin: Triple wide trailer, twenty rooms.

  • It's a competition, he has to get the bigger trailer and I have to get the bigger trailer and they're like "wait, who are you? You don't get a trailer". And then they take away all my trailers and I just have a chair with a table and a glass of water.

  • TeenHollywood: Are you dying to act opposite anyone?

  • Justin: I'm not dying to act opposite anyone. The only thing I can do is try to play these interesting characters in interesting movies and, thankfully, I somehow luck out and they cast the greatest actors to ever live. In my young career, my first movie was with Pacino and Walken. These are guys that I love. The next movie, Julianne Moore. I cant wait to act opposite her. I'm just thankful that I get to meet these people and be in the same room with a camera rolling.

  • TeenHollywood: What was a particularly difficult aspect of playing Riley to get right?

  • Justin: Theres a lot of technical jargon that you have to say as if you know what the hell you're talking about. I'd never been a part of a movie on this scale obviously.

  • So, you have to act in character while things are exploding next to you which is not something I'm used to in my real life. It was hard doing character work and working realistically off the other actors while crazy things are happening all around you.

  • TeenHollywood: Were you techy at all?

  • Justin: No, Im not very technically savvy, no. I can check my e-mail. That's about it.

  • TeenHollywood: You ran through Reading Market in Philadelphia with Diane Kruger. Was that fun, being in historical locations?

  • Justin: That was great.

  • It was fun. I had to dodge a lot of people buying food but it was a fun thing to shoot in the Reading Market. Whats great about this movie is we got to shoot in all these historical places in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City. It was wonderful to not shoot in front of a green screen which I think is another testament to Bruckheimer. We got to shoot on the actual locations which really helps as an actor.

  • TeenHollywood: Did doing that make you appreciate history?

  • Justin: Yeah. I wasn't really a history buff before this. I did gain a bit of an appreciation for the country. I see these places in a new light now because I got to have a lot more intimate of a look than most people have. I got to go in the belfry at Independence Hall and see where the Liberty Bell was and actually shoot at the Lincoln Memorial which was amazing. It was kind of awe-inspiring.

  • TeenHollywood: Did you spend much time with Jerry Bruckheimer and get a sense of what his secret is as a producer? His films and TV shows are usually big hits.

  • Justin: I did.

  • I got to be pretty close with Jerry and he actually helped me create this character. I owe a lot to him. I think he's a wonderful producer and he's the opposite of what I thought he'd be. You look at his movies and you picture an eight foot tall, four hundred pound monster that throws karate chops walking through the room and it's this kind, thoughtful, quiet, very intelligent man that is very passionate about film and I can identify with that.

  • TeenHollywood: What kind of music are you into? What's on your playlist?

  • Justin: I'm a huge music fan. Right now I go between indie rock and hip hop. I'm listening to The Killers and Jay-Z. All sorts of music, Bob Dylan.

  • TeenHollywood: Eminem singing Mosh?

  • Justin: Yes. It's good. I consider Eminem a genius.

  • TeenHollywood: So you guys were pals growing up in Detroit of course.

  • Justin: Yeah. We hung out on 8 Mile together and gang-banged. Right.

  • TeenHollywood: What is coming up next for you?

  • Justin: I'm starting a movie very soon called Trust the Man. It's an ensemble piece in New York. It's a relationship movie very much in the spirit of an old Woody Allen film about husbands and wives, about relationships in New York and Billy Crudup is in it, Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Duchovny. It's a great, nice cast.

  • TeenHollywood.com: Are they all nervous about working with you?

  • Justin: None of them know who I am.

  • TeenHollywood: That'll change after National Treasure. 

    ____________

    Justin Bartha finds 'Treasure' in juicy comic supporting role.

     At a screening of "National Treasure" last week, much of the buzz in the lobby afterward focused on who was playing Nicolas Cage's not-so-willing partner in crime. Who was that scene-stealing guy with the off-kilter smile? What has he done before?

    The answer to the first question is Justin Bartha.

    The answer to the second question is a little picture called "Gigli," which marked Bartha's film debut.

    Bartha grew up in the northern Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield (his brother, Jeffrey, attended Western Michigan University in the early 1990s) and moved to New York City at the age of 17 to study drama at New York University. He's now 26, and in the midst of a major publicity tour for "Treasure," an adventure/mystery/comedy in which he and Cage attempt to find a long-lost fortune by unraveling clues hidden by the nation's founding fathers in such places as Philadelphia's Independence Hall and on the back of the Declaration of Independence.

    Bartha takes promoting the film seriously -- in his own not-terribly-serious style. Asked during a phone interview if there are any other current releases out there he would recommend, Bartha slipped into the droning tones of a sideshow hypnotist: "'National Treasure' is the only good movie, and you should see only that movie over and over again!"

    Then he abruptly returned from the Twilight Zone. "And after you've seen our movie three times, you should maybe see 'Finding Neverland,' which is a nice little movie," he added.

    So far, Bartha is encouraged by the responses of the audiences who've attended sneak previews of "Treasure."

    "They seem to really enjoy it," he said, calling from a stopover in Washington D.C. "I've been looking at kids watching it and adults watching it, and both groups get lost in the story. They're enjoying the ride and laughing a lot for two hours. You just get a bucket of popcorn and go on an adventure with these characters."

    The twists of the plot and the secret society at the root of it have already prompted a few comparisons to Dan Brown's bestseller, "The Da Vinci Code." "I couldn't say because I didn't read it," Bartha said. "But it's not a bad thing to be compared to one of the most successful books of the last decade." Prior to shooting the movie, Bartha admits he "didn't have a huge interest in American history. It's not something where I would stay home on Saturday night reading a biography of Benjamin Franklin. ... But as we shot in all these great locations (in Washington, Philadelphia and Boston)... I started to get a new appreciation for these places."

    As Riley Poole, a "tech geek" who is coerced into helping Cage's Ben Gates steal the Declaration of Independence -- they're protecting it from a gang of real thieves, led by Sean Bean -- Bartha is called upon to provide most of the movie's comic relief. While he makes it look easy onscreen, Bartha said, "I think the comedy is hard. It's a different beast than drama, and I've done them both. ... I've never done standup comedy, but I know that when you do that, you tell a joke and either they laugh or they don't. With a movie, you tell a joke and you don't know for a year if they're going to laugh or not." There certainly weren't many laughs -- at least not of the intentional kind -- generated by "Gigli," in which Bartha played Brian, the mentally handicapped hostage who inadvertently brings together the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez characters. But although Bartha freely admits "it wasn't received very well," he enjoyed working on the film.

    "I learned quite a bit from the experience. I had a great creative experience making it. Of course, it wasn't great to be a part of the film when it was received so poorly... but I was happy with my performance and what I did with the character."

    Still, he acknowledges, he occasionally got caught in the fallout of what became the "Heaven's Gate" of the new millennium.

    "More people hated that movie than saw that movie. Thankfully, my performance was reviewed pretty well. But definitely I would go in and meet with some directors and they'd see 'Gigli' on my resume and they hadn't seen the movie and there'd be a few snickers at first. But hopefully that subsides and people can see past it."

    Apparently no one on the "National Treasure" set seemed to have a problem with it. Bartha says he and the rest of the cast all became friends. "Nic and I became quite the comedic team," he said. "We'd do impressions of people who were working on the film and we'd sing karaoke. That would pretty much annoy the entire crew."

    Bartha's preferred number: Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine." "And Nic and I, after a couple of beverages, would always do a duet of Frank Sinatra's 'My Way,'" he added.

    Having fun on the set helped him maintain the mindset of Riley, who Bartha said "is pretty animated. I kind of approached him as a mouse who's been trapped and is ready to run through the maze to find the cheese. ... When you finally open up the door, he's a little rambunctious."

    Following his promotional duties, Bartha will return to New York to spend the holidays with friends and family. Then he'll begin filming "Trust the Man," which he describes as "a smaller, independent film in New York City. It's got a big ensemble cast -- Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal -- kind of in the vein of an old Woody Allen movie. It's not a straight comedy, though. I play kind of a young stud who plays with Julianne Moore's character and tries to seduce her."

    At this point, Bartha let out a little chuckle that seemed to indicate he can't wait to shoot those scenes. "It's a good thing I'm an actor, 'cuz I get to live out a lot of guys' fantasies," he said.

    __________________

  • Justin for Laugh

    By Johan Fernandez, 1/16/2005

    JUSTIN Bartha may be relatively new to the scene but it was the effort of this Detroit, Michigan, native that brought much value to the movie National Treasure.

    Playing Riley Poole, the tech-wiz who's part of Ben Gates' (Nicolas Cage) team of explorers, Bartha didnt have much dialogue in the show but his facial expressions and one-liners were enough to send the audience chuckling.

    You could say he did quite a bit to save the movie.

    The boyish Bartha has previously been seen in Sidney Lumet's Thought Crimes opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal and Glenn Close for HBO Films, and in the 2003 Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez disaster, Gigli.

    The multi-faceted graduate of film school also wrote and directed a short film, Highs and Lows, in 2003. Another production that he wrote, produced and starred in was the MTV pilot, The Dustin and Justin Show, a satirical take on an entertainment magazine.

    Right now, though, the 26-year-old American seems comfortable where he is.

    "There are a lot of goals I'd like to accomplish and it's not just films. But I love films and its a great way to make a living.

    "I don't model myself or my career after anyone. I admire a lot of people but Id like to cut an original path," he said.

    On Cage, Bartha said he is a wonderful actor who can't be a kinder, warmer and funnier guy in real life.

    "We connected mostly in our sense of humour and views of the world. We laughed a lot off-camera and I think it translated onto the camera, which was why the film worked so well.

    "Nicolas and I formed a good relationship on and off the screen as well with Diane Kruger and Jon Voight. We got along to make a fun movie." (Jon Voight plays Ben Gates' father, Patrick.)

    "Not surprisingly, Bartha said that the most difficult part in the movie for him was making the audience laugh.

    "It was kind of a burden as it was not easy to do. Comedy is hard and I had never done an action-adventure movie before so it was a challenge to do something different.

    "It's an action-adventure flick that calls for the characters to co-exist with each other. I wouldn't come out anywhere without Nicolas and Diane or Jon and vice versa with Nicolas and the others.

    "That is one of the reasons why my part may seem bigger without the lines. We were all in it together."

    One of the things Bartha found interesting about the movie was that the hunt was carried out in the United States, unlike most other such quests that took place on exotic foreign soil, like in the pyramids of Egypt.

    "Although this kind of makes sense as those civilisations are a lot older than ours, a treasure hunt on American soil using familiar symbols of our culture and having to look at these in a different way made it all very interesting," he said.

    __________________

  • New `kids' on the block  

    By Stephen Schaefe

    New talent is the lifeblood of any industry, and Hollywood is no different.

    The fresh new faces angling for big-screen time range from young twigs such as pre-adolescent Freddie Highmore of ``Finding Neverland'' to amazing teens such as Lindsay Lohan, who was spotted six years ago when she played dual roles in Disney's hit remake of ``The Parent Trap.'' The ``Mean Girls'' star -if she doesn't self-destruct from a flurry of nonstop tabloid coverage and familial drama - could go to the head of her class, while Highmore again co-stars with Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's remake of ``Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.''

  • Here are five more to watch in '05.
    SHARON WARREN - "Ray'': As Aretha Robinson, the hardworking laundress who gives her son Ray the ability to stand tall when he discovers he is going blind, Warren's memorable film debut already has won her the Boston Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actress award - and she is in the race for an Oscar nomination in that category as well.

    Stage actress Warren was working three jobs in Atlanta, including ticket-taking at a small theater, when a casting director sent her to "Ray'' director Taylor Hackford. After Warren read several scenes, the notoriously demanding Hackford told her, "I've never done this in 30 years, but you're it. You knock the ball out of the court - and the role is yours. I'm not looking at anybody else.''

    Warren now has an agent, a manager and another movie: Jerry Bruckheimer's ``Glory Road,'' due this year, about the first all-black basketball team to go to the NCAA finals.
    LYNN COLLINS - "The Merchant of Venice'' (opening Jan. 14): Tackling one of the most famous Shakespearean heroines is an unenviable task, but newcomer Collins has won praise for playing Portia opposite Al Pacino's Shylock in this still-controversial drama. She's a Texan who attended New York's famed Juilliard School. Immediately after graduating, Collins' first starring stage role was Shakespeare's mad Ophelia opposite the heroic Hamlet of Liev Schreiber (``The Manchurian Candidate'').

    SOPHIE OKONEDO - "Hotel Rwanda'' (opening Jan. 7): A London stage star who made a splash six years ago as Cressida in Trevor Nunn's adaptation of Shakespeare's ``Troilus and Cressida,'' Okonedo (pronounced Aw-can-A-doe) moves into the big time as Don Cheadle's marked-for-murder wife in the fact-based ``Hotel Rwanda.''

    As valiant as she is frightened, Okonedo's Tatiana is a Tutsi woman condemned by the genocidal insanity of the ruling Hutu tribe, and the role has put her on the fast track for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nod.

    A mother with a 7-year-old daughter, Okonedo, 36, went to Brussels to meet her real-life counterpart before filming in Africa.

    "It was draining, but you keep yourself in check,'' Okonedo said about making the film, which is being called the African "Schindler's List.'' "You're standing next to people that have been through a genocide, so you're there acting, and it's on a different level. But I think it had more of an effect than I realized at the time. I was holding quite a lot because I wanted to be strong for the film, but after it finished I felt rather shattered, actually. As I got off the plane back in London, I just thought, `God.' I have ghosts from it still remembering. I heard stories and saw things which frankly, yeah, I wish I'd never seen.''

    Next up for Okonedo:co-starring with Oscar-winner Charlize Theron in the sci-fi adventure ``Aeon Flux.''

    JUSTIN BARTHA - "National Treasure'': "Gigli'' might have damaged the careers of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck, but for Bartha it was a stepping stone to his breakthrough role as Nicolas Cage's comic relief, computer-expert sidekick in ``National Treasure.''

  • Bartha, 26 and from Detroit, credits Cage with making his role work.

    "We bonded with our sense of humor,'' Bartha said. ``Nic's a very funny guy, and I responded very acutely to his sense of humor, and with that I felt comfortable with jibbing and jabbing with him. So that shows and that's what is important to this film.''

    Next up for Bartha: "Trust the Man'' with Billy Crudup, Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal and David Duchovny.He said it's "an ensemble piece in New York, a relationship movie very much in the spirit of an old Woody Allen film.''

    Source: the edge, Boston Herald

  •  

    20/01/2005
     

    1 Photo from NT Taiwan Premiere
    [thanks to Chien-Wei Weng]

     

    03/01/2005
     

    Entertainment News

    Justin Bartha finds 'Treasure' in juicy comic supporting role

    388-8553

     

    At a screening of "National Treasure" last week, much of the buzz in the lobby afterward focused on who was playing Nicolas Cage's not-so-willing partner in crime. Who was that scene-stealing guy with the off-kilter smile? What has he done before?

    The answer to the first question is Justin Bartha.

    The answer to the second question is a little picture called "Gigli," which marked Bartha's film debut.

    Bartha grew up in the northern Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield (his brother, Jeffrey, attended Western Michigan University in the early 1990s) and moved to New York City at the age of 17 to study drama at New York University. He's now 26, and in the midst of a major publicity tour for "Treasure," an adventure/mystery/comedy in which he and Cage attempt to find a long-lost fortune by unraveling clues hidden by the nation's founding fathers in such places as Philadelphia's Independence Hall and on the back of the Declaration of Independence.

    Bartha takes promoting the film seriously -- in his own not-terribly-serious style. Asked during a phone interview if there are any other current releases out there he would recommend, Bartha slipped into the droning tones of a sideshow hypnotist: "'National Treasure' is the only good movie, and you should see only that movie over and over again!"

    Then he abruptly returned from the Twilight Zone. "And after you've seen our movie three times, you should maybe see 'Finding Neverland,' which is a nice little movie," he added.

    So far, Bartha is encouraged by the responses of the audiences who've attended sneak previews of "Treasure."

    "They seem to really enjoy it," he said, calling from a stopover in Washington D.C. "I've been looking at kids watching it and adults watching it, and both groups get lost in the story. They're enjoying the ride and laughing a lot for two hours. You just get a bucket of popcorn and go on an adventure with these characters."

    The twists of the plot and the secret society at the root of it have already prompted a few comparisons to Dan Brown's bestseller, "The Da Vinci Code."

    "I couldn't say because I didn't read it," Bartha said. "But it's not a bad thing to be compared to one of the most successful books of the last decade."

    Prior to shooting the movie, Bartha admits he "didn't have a huge interest in American history. It's not something where I would stay home on Saturday night reading a biography of Benjamin Franklin. ... But as we shot in all these great locations (in Washington, Philadelphia and Boston)... I started to get a new appreciation for these places."

    As Riley Poole, a "tech geek" who is coerced into helping Cage's Ben Gates steal the Declaration of Independence -- they're protecting it from a gang of real thieves, led by Sean Bean -- Bartha is called upon to provide most of the movie's comic relief. While he makes it look easy onscreen, Bartha said, "I think the comedy is hard. It's a different beast than drama, and I've done them both. ... I've never done standup comedy, but I know that when you do that, you tell a joke and either they laugh or they don't. With a movie, you tell a joke and you don't know for a year if they're going to laugh or not."

    There certainly weren't many laughs -- at least not of the intentional kind -- generated by "Gigli," in which Bartha played Brian, the mentally handicapped hostage who inadvertently brings together the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez characters. But although Bartha freely admits "it wasn't received very well," he enjoyed working on the film.

    "I learned quite a bit from the experience. I had a great creative experience making it. Of course, it wasn't great to be a part of the film when it was received so poorly... but I was happy with my performance and what I did with the character."

    Still, he acknowledges, he occasionally got caught in the fallout of what became the "Heaven's Gate" of the new millennium.

    "More people hated that movie than saw that movie. Thankfully, my performance was reviewed pretty well. But definitely I would go in and meet with some directors and they'd see 'Gigli' on my resume and they hadn't seen the movie and there'd be a few snickers at first. But hopefully that subsides and people can see past it."

    Apparently no one on the "National Treasure" set seemed to have a problem with it. Bartha says he and the rest of the cast all became friends.

    "Nic and I became quite the comedic team," he said. "We'd do impressions of people who were working on the film and we'd sing karaoke. That would pretty much annoy the entire crew."

    Bartha's preferred number: Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine." "And Nic and I, after a couple of beverages, would always do a duet of Frank Sinatra's 'My Way,'" he added.

    Having fun on the set helped him maintain the mindset of Riley, who Bartha said "is pretty animated. I kind of approached him as a mouse who's been trapped and is ready to run through the maze to find the cheese. ... When you finally open up the door, he's a little rambunctious."

    Following his promotional duties, Bartha will return to New York to spend the holidays with friends and family. Then he'll begin filming "Trust the Man," which he describes as "a smaller, independent film in New York City. It's got a big ensemble cast -- Julianne Moore, David Duchovny, Billy Crudup, Maggie Gyllenhaal -- kind of in the vein of an old Woody Allen movie. It's not a straight comedy, though. I play kind of a young stud who plays with Julianne Moore's character and tries to seduce her."

    At this point, Bartha let out a little chuckle that seemed to indicate he can't wait to shoot those scenes. "It's a good thing I'm an actor, 'cuz I get to live out a lot of guys' fantasies," he said.

     

    © 2004 Kalamazoo. Used with permission


    31/12/2004
     

    Justin Bartha: Treasure Hunting
    November 16, 2004 by Lynn Barker

    You’re a 26-year-old New York actor with a less-than-successful film under your belt and you land a co-starring role in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie alongside hot Nicolas Cage and gorgeous Diane Kruger. No wonder dark-haired hottie Justin Bartha is upbeat and revved for action! Justin co-starred in an HBO film called “Thought Crimes” with Maggie Gyllenhaal and took the role of the ‘not all there’ bro of a federal prosecutor in Gigli, opposite Ben Affleck. Hey, Justin wasn’t panned, just the movie!

    Bartha grew up outside Detroit “on the other side of 8 Mile”, studied in New York and is still in love with the city.

    “The energy, I feed off of it like nothing else in my life. I consider [New York] my girlfriend. Sometimes we go through hard times but, in the end, she’s always there for me”. Justin claims that he’s single and always eyeing the ladies. According to Bruckheimer, his “sense of humor and intelligence” helped him get the role. The actor loves to joke and did so in our interview. It’s a good thing he’s funny since Riley, his techy character in the adventure/crime caper film National Treasure, has many of the best comic lines.

    TeenHollywood: Did you make up any of your lines or was everything in the script?

    Justin: I did make up a few of the lines and it was pretty collaborative. Everyone bounced ideas off of each other. There was a script in place but Jerry Bruckheimer doesn’t like to wrap a movie unless it is perfect and he knows when a movie is perfect in his eyes. So we had writers there that were perfecting it and we tried to make everything as funny and as realistic and interesting as possible.

    TeenHollywood: The character of “tech geek sidekick” is present in so many movies. How did you develop the character of Riley to make him a bit different?
    Justin: I think I’ve seen this character on page, in maybe twenty movies.

    Basically, I came up with an idea where I try to make this guy the audience. What if he was sitting in the audience and someone picked him up and threw him into the screen like in ‘Purple Rose of Cairo’ and he reacted accordingly in a realistic and humorous manner to the ridiculous, at times, things that were happening around him.

    TeenHollywood: So did you build up a back story for him in your head?

    Justin: Yeah. I also wanted to make him a bit of a wild man in the sense of what if he was stuck in a cubicle for his entire life? He got hired by the NSA when he was fourteen as a computer expert and he has been in a tiny little cubicle making computer models and someone finally comes and gives him a chance to go on an adventure. I think everyone can identify with that. Most people work in a cubicle for their entire life. So I wanted to make him like a mouse in a cage and you release him and he has to find that cheese.

    TeenHollywood: You and Nic Cage’s character have a great rapport. How did you develop that?

    Justin: Nic looks up to me.

    He does. [laughter]. No, I’m a nobody from New York. An actor who is just starting his career and I’m going to work on this Bruckheimer movie with one of the greatest film actors there is in my opinion. I knew that these guys are best friends in the movie and I have to form some kind of relationship with him right away off the set. So, we bonded, I think with our sense of humor. He’s a very funny guy. I felt comfortable jibbing and jabbing with him. I think the audience reacts to the relationships between the characters. The relationship off screen helped that a lot.

    TeenHollywood: We hear some fun was had off set on this film. Anything you are willing to reveal?

    Justin: They’re all saying ‘karaoke.

    We all went karaokeing’. But Nic has a house in New Orleans and he took us and we had a very nice time. There’s something in New Orleans called a hand grenade and this is a plastic bottle shaped like a big hand grenade and it’s filled with all different types of goodies. And you drink this and it blows your head off! So we wandered around the streets of New Orleans and he showed us around because he knows the city quite well and we had some beignets and had a good time.

    TeenHollywood: Do you feel that Gigli got a fair rap?

    Justin: No. I don’t think it got a completely fair rap. Is it a great movie? No but did people for some reason pick that movie to really take personally and destroy? Yes. But, in the end it’s just a movie. Gigli, creatively, was an amazing experience for me. It was my first film. I loved that character that I played in it. I did it to the best of my ability and I’m proud of my work in that film.

    TeenHollywood: And nobody complained about you.

    Justin: Yeah. They left the new guy out of the firestorm.

    TeenHollywood: Are you single and are you looking?

    Justin: Yes on both. I’m always looking for the ladies. I like the ladies in New York but I’ll cheat on New York a little with the ladies.

    TeenHollywood: Okay, let’s say you’re in New York. You’ve met a girl. What do you want to go do for your date?

    Justin: I’m going to take her on an eating journey. We’re going to starve for a day and then we go and we start off at Clinton Street Bakery for a little pancakes. Then we go to Joe’s Pizza for a slice and go over to Corner Bistro for a burger, go around the corner to Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake.

    TeenHollywood: So you want to date a soon to be fat girl?

    Justin: Yes. It’s all in one day. I’m an eater.

    TeenHollywood: Do you think they picked you for this film for your wild sense of humor or did you just gel well with the other cast members?

    Justin: Well, I think they picked me because I’m incredibly handsome above all.

    But, I didn’t meet the two leads in the audition process. I didn’t have to read with them. Jerry [Bruckheimer], I think, believed in my ability because he’d talked to Marty Brest who directed Gigli and they had worked together on Beverly Hills Cop and I came in and read for Jerry and he saw something in me. I don’t know how but he did. Maybe after hundreds of other actors turned down the part, I was the only one left. They’re like ‘let’s get that Bartha kid’.

    TeenHollywood: Do you think there is a treasure like the one in the movie?

    Justin: You learn a little doing these movies and there are treasure hunters out there and they are looking for treasures that none of us have ever heard of. This specific treasure is based kind of on reality so, yes, there are treasures out there. And you can play the lottery as much as you want.

    TeenHollywood: You grew up outside of Detroit. What did you want to be when you grew up?

    Justin: When I was very young I wanted to be a baseball player and maybe a basketball player but I’m not very tall and I broke my wrist trying out for the tennis team and I started doing theater when I was fifteen and I never turned back. I loved doing theater. I didn’t know anything about Hollywood and stuff like that, no connections in Hollywood, I just loved acting and just did it.

    TeenHollywood: Did you do theater locally growing up?

    Justin: Yeah, I did community theater. ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. I was the guy who whipped Jesus and a leper [laughter]. Not a lot has changed.

    TeenHollywood: Okay, tell the truth. Did you ever go across the border into Canada?

    Justin: I snuck across to Windsor and did some gambling. People can drink at nineteen, I believe and I took advantage of that and played some of those casino games, lost some money and I won’t say the rest of what I did.

    TeenHollywood: You may be the break-out star of this film. How do you feel about that?

    Justin: I want to get up and hug you! [fine with us]. I think everyone is wonderful in this movie and I could not have done anything in this movie without the other people in the film. It’s a crew of actors that are brilliant. It’s playing off Nic Cage, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer. You’ve got a cast here that is just wonderful and you can’t do it without them.

    TeenHollywood: Our screening audience responded very strongly to your character. When you were on the set was anybody saying to you ‘stop stealing scenes’?

    Justin: No. People, pretty much were like ‘who is this guy and why is he here?’ I snuck in that thing man. Nobody was paying attention to me. I think that everyone steals this movie. It’s a great cast but, yes it is my film.

    TeenHollywood: When you are on a film with big stars, Nic Cage has what, a double wide trailer with seventeen rooms. What do you get?

    Justin: Triple wide trailer, twenty rooms.

    It’s a competition, he has to get the bigger trailer and I have to get the bigger trailer and they’re like ‘wait, who are you? You don’t get a trailer’. And then they take away all my trailers and I just have a chair with a table and a glass of water.

    TeenHollywood: Are you dying to act opposite anyone?

    Justin: I’m not dying to act opposite anyone. The only thing I can do is try to play these interesting characters in interesting movies and, thankfully, I somehow luck out and they cast the greatest actors to ever live. In my young career, my first movie was with Pacino and Walken. These are guys that I love. The next movie, Julianne Moore. I can’t wait to act opposite her. I’m just thankful that I get to meet these people and be in the same room with a camera rolling.

    TeenHollywood: What was a particularly difficult aspect of playing Riley to get right?

    Justin: There’s a lot of technical jargon that you have to say as if you know what the hell you’re talking about. I’d never been a part of a movie on this scale obviously.

    So, you have to act in character while things are exploding next to you which is not something I’m used to in my real life. It was hard doing character work and working realistically off the other actors while crazy things are happening all around you.

    TeenHollywood: Were you techy at all?

    Justin: No, I’m not very technically savvy, no. I can check my e-mail. That’s about it.

    TeenHollywood: You ran through Reading Market in Philadelphia with Diane Kruger. Was that fun, being in historical locations?

    Justin: That was great.

    It was fun. I had to dodge a lot of people buying food but it was a fun thing to shoot in the Reading Market. What’s great about this movie is we got to shoot in all these historical places in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City. It was wonderful to not shoot in front of a green screen which I think is another testament to Bruckheimer. We got to shoot on the actual locations which really helps as an actor.

    TeenHollywood: Did doing that make you appreciate history?

    Justin: Yeah. I wasn’t really a history buff before this. I did gain a bit of an appreciation for the country. I see these places in a new light now because I got to have a lot more intimate of a look than most people have. I got to go in the belfry at Independence Hall and see where the Liberty Bell was and actually shoot at the Lincoln Memorial which was amazing. It was kind of awe-inspiring.

    TeenHollywood: Did you spend much time with Jerry Bruckheimer and get a sense of what his secret is as a producer? His films and TV shows are usually big hits.

    Justin: I did.

    I got to be pretty close with Jerry and he actually helped me create this character. I owe a lot to him. I think he’s a wonderful producer and he’s the opposite of what I thought he’d be. You look at his movies and you picture an eight foot tall, four hundred pound monster that throws karate chops walking through the room and it’s this kind, thoughtful, quiet, very intelligent man that is very passionate about film and I can identify with that.

    TeenHollywood: What kind of music are you into? What’s on your playlist?

    Justin: I’m a huge music fan. Right now I go between indie rock and hip hop. I’m listening to The Killers and Jay-Z. All sorts of music, Bob Dylan.

    TeenHollywood: Eminem singing Mosh?

    Justin: Yes. It’s good. I consider Eminem a genius.

    TeenHollywood: So you guys were pals growing up in Detroit of course.

    Justin: Yeah. We hung out on 8 Mile together and gang-banged. Right.

    TeenHollywood: What is coming up next for you?

    Justin: I’m starting a movie very soon called Trust the Man. It’s an ensemble piece in New York. It’s a relationship movie very much in the spirit of an old Woody Allen film about husbands and wives, about relationships in New York and Billy Crudup is in it, Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Duchovny. It’s a great, nice cast.

    TeenHollywood.com: Are they all nervous about working with you?

    Justin: None of them know who I am.

    TeenHollywood: That’ll change after National Treasure.

    29/12/2004
     

    Gallery: The Life Aquatic Premiere
     
    Justin Bartha
    "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" - Premiere
    ©J. Graylock/jpistudios.com 

     

    Inserted more National Treasure and Gigli photos in the website's photogallery.

     

    24/12/2004
     


    BarthaBartha Poised to be the Next Big Thing - Again

     

    By Stacy Jenel Smith

     

    It sounds like a strange dream. Justin Bartha was running, running, running. He ran down the street - again, again, again. He ran up the boulevard, up, up, up. And he ran and he ran and he ran.

    And then, he was told to run again, since the director needed to capture the action from another angle, and another, and another. That's what happens when you sign up for a Jerry Bruckheimer action thriller. Running was a big part of what Bartha was required to do as costar to Nicolas Cage in Buena Vista's Nov. 19-opening "National Treasure."

    "I forgot where I was running," Justin says with a straight face.

    "And I'm a sweater, too. After two takes, I really gave the makeup women something to do," adds the actor, who definitely knows his way around a deadpan joke or a zinging remark when the opportunity presents itself. "Sometimes," he confides, "they strap a camera on you and you just run places, and then you come back and they look at the film."

    Bartha can deliver a snarky grin with the best of 'em - and he can deliver the serious stuff, too. Not so long ago, he had the strange task of playing a mentally impaired young man who is kidnapped and is the center of all the action in the ill-fated Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez "Gigli." If you are among the hundred and seventy-nine people who saw the film (give or take a few), you might appreciate that Justin actually pulled down some good reviews for his performance. However, that fact got completely lost amid the media circus that was Bennifer. Bartha was besieged by press who wanted to know about Ben and J.Lo's off-camera behavior.

    His sense of humor came in handy.

    Looking back, he notes, "You have to realize with 'Gigli,' we thought that was going to be a big thing. Look at the pedigree - an Oscar-nominated director (Martin Brest), Chris Walken, Al Pacino…I really believe you never know how it's going to turn out. It's so hard to make a good movie, and it's very hard to predict how things are going to come together."

    Bartha had another big shot with the HBO project, "Strip Search." Again, the pedigree going in was fantastic: Glenn Close and Maggie Gyllenhaal among the cast; a script from "Oz" and "Homicide: Life on the Street's" Tom Fontana; direction by Sidney Lumet, with the estimable Barry Levinson as producer. And what a stretch for Bartha to play an evil character, a stalker.

    But the movie is probably never going to see the light of screens big or small.

    Is it possible that "Strip Search" was too political even for HBO?

    "I'm not sure exactly what happened," says Justin, "but it had a very specific point of view - Tom Fontana's views on the Patriot Act."

    In "National Treasure," Bartha plays Riley, best friend of Cage, who is on a quest to find a treasure hidden by America's founding fathers before the bad guys do. Also in the cast are Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer and Jon Voight, and Bartha says his mission was "not to stand out as the only bad thing in the movie."

    But seriously, "When I started this character, he wasn't on the page. They wanted me to create my own guy, to form him around my sensibilities. I thrive on that. I wouldn't do a good job if all the cards were laid out in front of me.

    "What's great about this movie - what's great about all Jerry Bruckheimer's movies - is that even when they're action pieces, there are characters who are interesting. You definitely see that in 'Pirates,'" he says, referring to "Pirates of the Caribbean."

    "If you go too light on acting and too heavy on explosions, you're missing the grounding of humanity. People love watching interesting, fun, fascinating characters. You have to have that base."

    For Michigan-born Justin, son of a teacher and a commercial real estate developer, the love affair with acting began when he was 15, and broke his wrist playing tennis. That enforced leave from his many and varied sports pursuits left an opening to try out for a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" - and once he was in, he was hooked. He founded a children's theater group of about 15 students at his high school. They performed plays at children's hospitals and elementary schools.

    He started reading up on acting. He took acting classes in Detroit, from teachers enlisted in New York. By the time he was a senior, the Big Apple was in his sites. "I was driven. I had to go there." When he found his way into NYU, he was ecstatic.

    "From the moment I went through the Lincoln tunnel, I've never looked back," says Bartha, a devoted New Yorker for the past nine years. In fact, asked whether he has a girlfriend, he jokes, "I'm single. New York is my girlfriend."

    He's soon to begin production on a New York-based movie, "Truth The Man," with Julianne Moore, David Duchovny and Bob Balaban. He's playing an actor who has a special interest in Julianne's character. Whatever the role requires, it appears that one way or another, Bartha is ready to hit the ground running.

     

    21/12/2004
     

    Trust the Man (2005)

    ANOTHER MOVIE FOR JUSTIN

    Genre:
    Comedy / Drama / Romance

    Plot Outline: A 'dramady' about rich white New Yorkers and their relationships, how they have so much time on their hands that they can't help but get into trouble and jeapardize the only thing that really matters- love.

    Production Notes/Status:
    Status: Filming
    Staus Updated: 29 October 2004
    Note:
    Since this project is categorized as being in production, the data is subject to change or could be removed completely.

    Credited cast:
    Bob Balaban    
    Ellen Barkin    
    Justin Bartha .... Jasper
    Billy Crudup    
    David Duchovny    
    Maggie Gyllenhaal    
    John Heinlein .... Construction Worker on subway
    James LeGros    
    Eva Mendes .... Faith
    Julianne Moore    
    Melissa Russo .... Nurse
    Stewart Summers .... Encounter Group Member
    Patrick M. Walsh .... Truck Driver
    (more)

    Country: USA

     

     

    Source Teenhollywood
    [
    http://www.teenhollywood.com/d.asp?r=84240&cat=1038&pg=12]


    Justin Bartha: Treasure Hunting
    by Lynn Barker
    November 16, 2004


     

    You’re a 26-year-old New York actor with a less-than-successful film under your belt and you land a co-starring role in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie alongside hot Nicolas Cage and gorgeous Diane Kruger. No wonder dark-haired hottie Justin Bartha is upbeat and revved for action! Justin co-starred in an HBO film called “Thought Crimes” with Maggie Gyllenhaal and took the role of the ‘not all there’ bro of a federal prosecutor in Gigli, opposite Ben Affleck. Hey, Justin wasn’t panned, just the movie!
     

    Bartha grew up outside Detroit “on the other side of 8 Mile”, studied in New York and is still in love with the city.

    “The energy, I feed off of it like nothing else in my life. I consider [New York] my girlfriend. Sometimes we go through hard times but, in the end, she’s always there for me”. Justin claims that he’s single and always eyeing the ladies. According to Bruckheimer, his “sense of humor and intelligence” helped him get the role. The actor loves to joke and did so in our interview. It’s a good thing he’s funny since Riley, his techy character in the adventure/crime caper film National Treasure, has many of the best comic lines.

    TeenHollywood: Did you make up any of your lines or was everything in the script?

    Justin: I did make up a few of the lines and it was pretty collaborative. Everyone bounced ideas off of each other. There was a script in place but Jerry Bruckheimer doesn’t like to wrap a movie unless it is perfect and he knows when a movie is perfect in his eyes. So we had writers there that were perfecting it and we tried to make everything as funny and as realistic and interesting as possible.

    TeenHollywood: The character of “tech geek sidekick” is present in so many movies. How did you develop the character of Riley to make him a bit different?

    Justin: I think I’ve seen this character on page, in maybe twenty movies.


     

    Basically, I came up with an idea where I try to make this guy the audience. What if he was sitting in the audience and someone picked him up and threw him into the screen like in ‘Purple Rose of Cairo’ and he reacted accordingly in a realistic and humorous manner to the ridiculous, at times, things that were happening around him.

    TeenHollywood: So did you build up a back story for him in your head?

    Justin: Yeah. I also wanted to make him a bit of a wild man in the sense of what if he was stuck in a cubicle for his entire life? He got hired by the NSA when he was fourteen as a computer expert and he has been in a tiny little cubicle making computer models and someone finally comes and gives him a chance to go on an adventure. I think everyone can identify with that. Most people work in a cubicle for their entire life. So I wanted to make him like a mouse in a cage and you release him and he has to find that cheese.

    TeenHollywood: You and Nic Cage’s character have a great rapport. How did you develop that?

    Justin: Nic looks up to me.


     

    He does. [laughter]. No, I’m a nobody from New York. An actor who is just starting his career and I’m going to work on this Bruckheimer movie with one of the greatest film actors there is in my opinion. I knew that these guys are best friends in the movie and I have to form some kind of relationship with him right away off the set. So, we bonded, I think with our sense of humor. He’s a very funny guy. I felt comfortable jibbing and jabbing with him. I think the audience reacts to the relationships between the characters. The relationship off screen helped that a lot.

    Justin: No. I don’t think it got a completely fair rap. Is it a great movie? No but did people for some reason pick that movie to really take personally and destroy? Yes. But, in the end it’s just a movie. Gigli, creatively, was an amazing experience for me. It was my first film. I loved that character that I played in it. I did it to the best of my ability and I’m proud of my work in that film.

    TeenHollywood: And nobody complained about you.

    Justin: Yeah. They left the new guy out of the firestorm.

    TeenHollywood: Are you single and are you looking?

    Justin: Yes on both. I’m always looking for the ladies. I like the ladies in New York but I’ll cheat on New York a little with the ladies.

    TeenHollywood: Okay, let’s say you’re in New York. You’ve met a girl. What do you want to go do for your date?

    Justin: I’m going to take her on an eating journey. We’re going to starve for a day and then we go and we start off at Clinton Street Bakery for a little pancakes. Then we go to Joe’s Pizza for a slice and go over to Corner Bistro for a burger, go around the corner to Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake.

    TeenHollywood: So you want to date a soon to be fat girl?

    Justin: Yes. It’s all in one day. I’m an eater.

    TeenHollywood: Do you think they picked you for this film for your wild sense of humor or did you just gel well with the other cast members?


     

    Justin: Well, I think they picked me because I’m incredibly handsome above all.


     

    But, I didn’t meet the two leads in the audition process. I didn’t have to read with them. Jerry [Bruckheimer], I think, believed in my ability because he’d talked to Marty Brest who directed Gigli and they had worked together on Beverly Hills Cop and I came in and read for Jerry and he saw something in me. I don’t know how but he did. Maybe after hundreds of other actors turned down the part, I was the only one left. They’re like ‘let’s get that Bartha kid’.

     

    TeenHollywood: Do you think there is a treasure like the one in the movie?

    Justin: You learn a little doing these movies and there are treasure hunters out there and they are looking for treasures that none of us have ever heard of. This specific treasure is based kind of on reality so, yes, there are treasures out there. And you can play the lottery as much as you want.

    TeenHollywood: You grew up outside of Detroit. What did you want to be when you grew up?

    Justin: When I was very young I wanted to be a baseball player and maybe a basketball player but I’m not very tall and I broke my wrist trying out for the tennis team and I started doing theater when I was fifteen and I never turned back. I loved doing theater. I didn’t know anything about Hollywood and stuff like that, no connections in Hollywood, I just loved acting and just did it.

    TeenHollywood: Did you do theater locally growing up?

    Justin: Yeah, I did community theater. ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. I was the guy who whipped Jesus and a leper [laughter]. Not a lot has changed.

    TeenHollywood: Okay, tell the truth. Did you ever go across the border into Canada?

    Justin: I snuck across to Windsor and did some gambling. People can drink at nineteen, I believe and I took advantage of that and played some of those casino games, lost some money and I won’t say the rest of what I did.

    TeenHollywood: You may be the break-out star of this film. How do you feel about that?

    Justin: I want to get up and hug you! [fine with us]. I think everyone is wonderful in this movie and I could not have done anything in this movie without the other people in the film. It’s a crew of actors that are brilliant. It’s playing off Nic Cage, Jon Voight, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Plummer. You’ve got a cast here that is just wonderful and you can’t do it without them.


     

    TeenHollywood: Our screening audience responded very strongly to your character. When you were on the set was anybody saying to you ‘stop stealing scenes’?

    Justin: No. People, pretty much were like ‘who is this guy and why is he here?’ I snuck in that thing man. Nobody was paying attention to me. I think that everyone steals this movie. It’s a great cast but, yes it is my film.

    TeenHollywood: When you are on a film with big stars, Nic Cage has what, a double wide trailer with seventeen rooms. What do you get?

    Justin: Triple wide trailer, twenty rooms.


     

    It’s a competition, he has to get the bigger trailer and I have to get the bigger trailer and they’re like ‘wait, who are you? You don’t get a trailer’. And then they take away all my trailers and I just have a chair with a table and a glass of water.

     

    TeenHollywood: Are you dying to act opposite anyone?

    Justin: I’m not dying to act opposite anyone. The only thing I can do is try to play these interesting characters in interesting movies and, thankfully, I somehow luck out and they cast the greatest actors to ever live. In my young career, my first movie was with Pacino and Walken. These are guys that I love. The next movie, Julianne Moore. I can’t wait to act opposite her. I’m just thankful that I get to meet these people and be in the same room with a camera rolling.

    TeenHollywood: What was a particularly difficult aspect of playing Riley to get right?

    Justin: There’s a lot of technical jargon that you have to say as if you know what the hell you’re talking about. I’d never been a part of a movie on this scale obviously.


     

    So, you have to act in character while things are exploding next to you which is not something I’m used to in my real life. It was hard doing character work and working realistically off the other actors while crazy things are happening all around you.

     

     

    TeenHollywood: Were you techy at all?

    Justin: No, I’m not very technically savvy, no. I can check my e-mail. That’s about it.

    TeenHollywood: You ran through Reading Market in Philadelphia with Diane Kruger. Was that fun, being in historical locations?

    Justin: That was great.


     

    It was fun. I had to dodge a lot of people buying food but it was a fun thing to shoot in the Reading Market. What’s great about this movie is we got to shoot in all these historical places in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City. It was wonderful to not shoot in front of a green screen which I think is another testament to Bruckheimer. We got to shoot on the actual locations which really helps as an actor.


    TeenHollywood: Did doing that make you appreciate history?

    Justin: Yeah. I wasn’t really a history buff before this. I did gain a bit of an appreciation for the country. I see these places in a new light now because I got to have a lot more intimate of a look than most people have. I got to go in the belfry at Independence Hall and see where the Liberty Bell was and actually shoot at the Lincoln Memorial which was amazing. It was kind of awe-inspiring.

    TeenHollywood: Did you spend much time with Jerry Bruckheimer and get a sense of what his secret is as a producer? His films and TV shows are usually big hits.

    Justin: I did.


     

    I got to be pretty close with Jerry and he actually helped me create this character. I owe a lot to him. I think he’s a wonderful producer and he’s the opposite of what I thought he’d be. You look at his movies and you picture an eight foot tall, four hundred pound monster that throws karate chops walking through the room and it’s this kind, thoughtful, quiet, very intelligent man that is very passionate about film and I can identify with that.

     

    TeenHollywood: What kind of music are you into? What’s on your playlist?

    Justin: I’m a huge music fan. Right now I go between indie rock and hip hop. I’m listening to The Killers and Jay-Z. All sorts of music, Bob Dylan.

    TeenHollywood: Eminem singing Mosh?

    Justin: Yes. It’s good. I consider Eminem a genius.

    TeenHollywood: So you guys were pals growing up in Detroit of course.

    Justin: Yeah. We hung out on 8 Mile together and gang-banged. Right.

    TeenHollywood: What is coming up next for you?

    Justin: I’m starting a movie very soon called Trust the Man. It’s an ensemble piece in New York. It’s a relationship movie very much in the spirit of an old Woody Allen film about husbands and wives, about relationships in New York and Billy Crudup is in it, Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Duchovny. It’s a great, nice cast.

    TeenHollywood.com: Are they all nervous about working with you?

    Justin: None of them know who I am.

    TeenHollywood: That’ll change after National Treasure.

    ***

    Lynn Barker is a Hollywood-based entertainment journalist and produced screenwriter.