Michael Clayton (2007)

R | 119-120 or 127 mins | Drama | 5 October 2007

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Director:

Tony Gilroy

Writer:

Tony Gilroy

Cinematographer:

Robert Elswit

Editor:

John Gilroy

Production Designer:

Kevin Thompson

Production Companies:

Samuels Media Capital, Castle Rock Entertainment, Mirage Enterprises
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HISTORY

Tony Gilroy's onscreen credit reads "written and directed by." In the opening onscreen credits, George Clooney's name appears first in the cast credits, but in the end credits, the cast is listed in order of appearance. Several New York municipalities are thanked in the onscreen credits. Among them are the towns of Upper Brookville, Monroe, Clarkstown, and Cornwall, NY. At the beginning of Michael Clayton , as the opening title credits appear against a black screen, the offscreen voice of “Arthur Edens” delivers a rambling, somewhat incoherent monologue that borders on a confession. The voice continues over a montage of shots of the Kenner, Bach and Leeden offices.
       The film has a disjunctive narrative structure. The opening sequence, which begins at the poker game and ends when Michael’s car inexplicably explodes, is actually the culmination of events that occurred four days earlier. After the car explodes, the narrative flashes backward four days to explain the incidents that led up to the explosion. Once the narrative fills in those four days, it returns to the poker game, but after Michael is summoned to the Greer house, there is a cut out onto the street to show "Verne" and "Iker" planting an explosive device in Michael's car. After the car explodes, the narrative continues forward to its conclusion. Throughout the film, Michael’s son “Henry” talks about a fantasy novel called Realm and Conquest , in which one never knows who is one's friend. Henry gives the book to Arthur, who then names his document incriminating U/North Summons to Conquest .
       According to the film’s pressbook, Gilroy was inspired to write the ... More Less

Tony Gilroy's onscreen credit reads "written and directed by." In the opening onscreen credits, George Clooney's name appears first in the cast credits, but in the end credits, the cast is listed in order of appearance. Several New York municipalities are thanked in the onscreen credits. Among them are the towns of Upper Brookville, Monroe, Clarkstown, and Cornwall, NY. At the beginning of Michael Clayton , as the opening title credits appear against a black screen, the offscreen voice of “Arthur Edens” delivers a rambling, somewhat incoherent monologue that borders on a confession. The voice continues over a montage of shots of the Kenner, Bach and Leeden offices.
       The film has a disjunctive narrative structure. The opening sequence, which begins at the poker game and ends when Michael’s car inexplicably explodes, is actually the culmination of events that occurred four days earlier. After the car explodes, the narrative flashes backward four days to explain the incidents that led up to the explosion. Once the narrative fills in those four days, it returns to the poker game, but after Michael is summoned to the Greer house, there is a cut out onto the street to show "Verne" and "Iker" planting an explosive device in Michael's car. After the car explodes, the narrative continues forward to its conclusion. Throughout the film, Michael’s son “Henry” talks about a fantasy novel called Realm and Conquest , in which one never knows who is one's friend. Henry gives the book to Arthur, who then names his document incriminating U/North Summons to Conquest .
       According to the film’s pressbook, Gilroy was inspired to write the screenplay while he was visiting New York law firms to research his screenplay for the 1997 film The Devil’s Advocate . The pressbook noted that location filming was done primarily in New York City. The conference room sequence was filmed at the midtown offices of Dewey Ballantine, one of the oldest and most respected legal practices headquartered in New York City. The exterior scenes of Arthur’s loft were shot in Tribeca, while the interior scenes were shot in Little Italy. The country scenes were filmed in upstate New York. The house in which Michael attends his father’s birthday party was actually located in the neighborhood in which Gilroy grew up. In an Oct 2007 BostonNow article, Gilroy stated that he decided against having rehearsals in order to keep Clooney on edge in his portrayal of Michael. Actress Jennifer Ehle had been cast in the role of Michael's girl friend, and filmed her scenes for the picture, but, according to various news items, during post-production, Gilroy decided that eliminating the part would enable the character of Michael to seem more isolated. Neither Ehle nor the role were retained in the released film.
       Michael Clayton marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Gilroy. A Sep 2007 DV news item noted that Clooney originally turned down the script because he did not want to work with a first-time director, but after two years of trying to get financing, Gilroy convinced him to star in the film. Director-actor Sydney Pollack, who played the role of “Marty Bach,” is the CEO of Mirage Enterprises, one of the companies that produced Michael Clayton . Another production company, Section Eight, which was owned jointly by Clooney and producer Steven Soderbergh, was dissolved in Mar 2007. Michael Clayton was its final film.
       In addition to being selected as one of AFI’s Movies of the Year for 2007, Michael Clayton was nominated for Golden Globes in the categories of Best Motion Picture—Drama, Best Actor (Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Tilda Swinton) and Best Supporting Actor (Tom Wilkinson). The Directors Guild of America nominated Gilroy for directorial achievement in feature film, and he also received a Writers Guild of America nomination for his original screenplay. The film was nominated by the Producers Guild of America for its Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award, and the Screen Actors Guild nominated Clooney for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Swinton for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role and Wilkinson for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. Clooney was awarded Best Actor by the National Board of Review.
       Swinton won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Clooney and Wilkinson were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively. Michael Clayton also received nominations for Academy Awards for Best Directing, Best Original Score, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. In addition, Swinton won a BAFTA for Supporting Actress, and the film was nominated for Original Screenplay, Editing, Leading Actor (Clooney), Best Supporting Actor (Wilkinson). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
BostonNow
3 Oct 2007
p. 18.
Daily Variety
10 May 2005
p. 1, 13.
Daily Variety
25 Apr 2006
Section A, p. 4.
Daily Variety
31 Aug 2007
p. 1, 10.
Daily Variety
27 Sep 2007.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Feb 2006.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Mar 2006.
---
Hollywood Reporter
4 Sep 2007
p. 11, 44.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 2007.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Oct 2007
Calendar, p. 1, 16.
New York Times
5 Oct 2007
Section E, p. 1, 15.
New Yorker
8 Oct 2007
p. 100.
Screen International
7 Oct 2007.
---
Variety
3--9 Sep 2007.
---
Village Voice
3 Oct 2007
p. 82.
Wall Street Journal
5 Oct 2007.
---
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
In order of appearance:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Warner Bros. Pictures Presents
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog, 2d unit photog
Dir of photog, addl photog
Addl dir of photog, 2d unit photog
"A" cam op
"A" cam op, 2d unit photog
"A" cam op, 2d unit photog
"B" cam op
"A" cam 1st asst
"B" cam 1st asst
1st asst cam, addl photog
"A" cam 2d asst
"B" cam 2d asst
2d asst cam, addl photog
Playback op/video assist
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Chief lighting tech, 2d unit photog
Chief lighting tech, addl photog
Asst chief lighting tech
Rigging gaffer
Key grip
Key grip, 2d unit photog
Key grip, addl photog
Dolly grip
"B" dolly grip
Best boy grip
Key rigging grip
Best boy rigging grip
Grip, addl photog
Chapman cam dollies provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Art dept coord
Special artwork by
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Set dec, addl photog
On set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Set dresser
Prop master
Asst prop master
Asst props
Leadperson
Foreman
Const coord
Const foreman
COSTUMES
Cost des
Asst cost des
Ward supv
Ward supv
Set cost
George Clooney's ward provided by
Watches provided by
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus ed
Asst mus ed
Score cond
Score rec and mixed by
Addl orch
Addl orch
Auricle Control Systems
Mus preparation by
Mus contractor
Mus sound des
Mus sound des
Mus sound des
Mus sound des
Mus sound des
SOUND
Sd mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
ADR mixer
ADR mixer
Cable
Supv sd ed
1st asst sd ed
Dial ed
ADR ed
Sd eff ed
Foley ed
Foley artist
VISUAL EFFECTS
U/North commercial
Main and end titles des
Titles by
MAKEUP
Makeup dept head
Key makeup artist
Hairstylist dept head
Key hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting by
Casting assoc
Unit prod mgr
Asst unit prod mgr
Prod supv
Samuels Media prod supv
Samuels Media prod supv
Samuels Media prod supv
Post prod supv
Prod coord
Asst prod coord
Scr supv
Poker consultant
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Parking coord
Parking asst
Prod accountant
1st asst accountant
Prod controller
Prod secy
Prod staff asst
Prod staff asst
Asst to Tony Gilroy
Asst to Jennifer Fox
Asst to Kerry Orent
Asst to Steven Samuels
Asst to Steven Samuels
Asst to George Clooney
Security for George Clooney
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Set staff asst
Catering by
Unit pub
Financing provided by
The Major League Baseball Trademarks depicted in t
Clifford Ross photog licensed by
Photog licensed by the artist
Fantasy artwork licensed by the artist
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Digital intermediate facility
Digital film colorist
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Thought of You," written by Edwina Travis-Chin, provided by APM Music
"Midnight Cocktail," written by Stephane Guillaume, provided by APM Music
"Candence Kickoff," written by Bert Ferntheil, provided by APM Music.
DETAILS
Release Date:
5 October 2007
Premiere Information:
Venice Film Festival premiere: 31 August 2007
Toronto Film Festival screening: 7 September 2007
New York opening: 24 September 2007
Production Date:
30 January--7 April 2006 in New York
Copyright Claimant:
Clayton Productions, LLC
Copyright Date:
8 January 2008
Copyright Number:
PA1590848
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Digital; dts Digital Sound; SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in selected theatres
Color
Kodak/Fuji
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Lenses/Prints
Technicolor; filmed with Panavision cameras and lenses
Duration(in mins):
119-120 or 127
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
43163
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Michael Clayton, a “fixer” for the prestigious New York law firm Kenner, Bach and Leeden, is in the midst of a poker game when the firm calls him to clean up the “mess” caused by Greer, one of their wealthy clients, who drove away from a hit-and-run accident. Leaving the game, Michael drives to Greer’s Westchester home, where he listens as Greer blames the victim for the accident, then abusively insults Michael when he advises that Greer needs a criminal attorney. Filled with disgust and self-loathing over his job as the company “janitor,” Michael drives into the countryside and pulls over when he sees three horses grazing on a ridge. As Michael gets out of his car and walks toward the horses, his car suddenly explodes and bursts into flames: Four days earlier, Michael learns that he must pay $75,000 to underworld figures within a week as a result of a debt he has incurred while trying to start a bar with his alcoholic, irresponsible brother Timmy. Upon returning to his office, Michael discovers that his close friend, star litigator Arthur Edens, has suffered a mental breakdown in Milwaukee while taking depositions in a class action suit against the firm’s largest client, the agrochemical giant U/North. Michael immediately flies to Milwaukee to contain the damage created when Arthur stripped naked in the deposition room and ran into the parking lot following one of the plaintiffs, Anna Kaiserson. In Milwaukee, Arthur, who has suffered from manic-depression in the past and now gone off his medication, rants to Michael that U/North is spewing poisonous carcinogens into the earth. Upon meeting Michael, U/North’s chief ... +


Michael Clayton, a “fixer” for the prestigious New York law firm Kenner, Bach and Leeden, is in the midst of a poker game when the firm calls him to clean up the “mess” caused by Greer, one of their wealthy clients, who drove away from a hit-and-run accident. Leaving the game, Michael drives to Greer’s Westchester home, where he listens as Greer blames the victim for the accident, then abusively insults Michael when he advises that Greer needs a criminal attorney. Filled with disgust and self-loathing over his job as the company “janitor,” Michael drives into the countryside and pulls over when he sees three horses grazing on a ridge. As Michael gets out of his car and walks toward the horses, his car suddenly explodes and bursts into flames: Four days earlier, Michael learns that he must pay $75,000 to underworld figures within a week as a result of a debt he has incurred while trying to start a bar with his alcoholic, irresponsible brother Timmy. Upon returning to his office, Michael discovers that his close friend, star litigator Arthur Edens, has suffered a mental breakdown in Milwaukee while taking depositions in a class action suit against the firm’s largest client, the agrochemical giant U/North. Michael immediately flies to Milwaukee to contain the damage created when Arthur stripped naked in the deposition room and ran into the parking lot following one of the plaintiffs, Anna Kaiserson. In Milwaukee, Arthur, who has suffered from manic-depression in the past and now gone off his medication, rants to Michael that U/North is spewing poisonous carcinogens into the earth. Upon meeting Michael, U/North’s chief counsel, Karen Crowder, who has supplanted her lack of self-confidence with a venomous desire to succeed, wonders aloud why a lowly attorney who has spent seventeen years at Kenner, Bach and Leeden, yet has not been deemed worthy of a partnership, was sent to handle the situation, and reminds him that her company stands to lose three billion dollars if the plaintiffs win their case. Later, Karen, holding a report she found in Arthur’s stolen briefcase documenting that U/North knew that the pesticides it was producing were contaminating the drinking water of small farms, phones Mr. Verne, a covert operative at U/North, to suppress the evidence. On the morning that Michael is to fly back to New York with Arthur, Arthur slips out of the hotel and disappears. Back in New York, Marty Bach, the head of the firm, holds Michael responsible for Arthur’s disappearance. Searching for Arthur, Michael calls him at his loft, and when no one answers, leaves a message, which is heard by Verne and another operative, Mr. Iker, who have slipped into Arthur’s loft to bug his phone. Arthur, who is roaming the streets of New York, phones Anna at her family’s farm. Anna, who is sympathetic to Arthur, listens as he tells her that he has information that will benefit the 450 families in the class action suit. Meanwhile, Michael, broke and desperate to raise the $75,000, goes to Marty’s townhouse to ask for a loan. There Marty discloses that he has discovered Arthur is trying to build a case against U/North, and that if successful, he will bring down Kenner, Bach and Leeden. Marty then offers to give Michael the loan if he can control Arthur. Returning to the loft to look for Arthur, Michael is seen by Verne and his accomplice, who have the loft under surveillance. Spotting Arthur on the street, Michael warns him to stop trying to expose U/North, but Arthur refuses to listen, asserting that now Michael is his enemy, too. Soon after, Arthur leaves a message on Karen’s answering machine in which he reads the document proving that U/North and Don Jeffries, the head of the company, knew that they were poisoning wells with their pesticide. Upon hearing the message, Karen instructs Verne to eliminate Arthur. Soon after, Verne and Iker break into Arthur’s apartment and inject him with a lethal dose of drugs, making his death appear a suicide. Michael, who blames himself for Arthur’s death, is puzzled by the absence of a suicide note, and when he learns that U/North is settling the case, he phones Anna’s farm. Anna’s sister answers the phone and informs Michael that Anna flew to New York at Arthur’s behest, but that Arthur never turned up at the airport to meet her. Michael then drives to Anna’s motel before she can catch her flight back home. There Anna tells Michael that Arthur phoned her, asking her to come to New York because he wanted to show her a document that would win the class action suit. When Anna states that she told no one about the document, Michael realizes that Arthur’s phone was tapped. Michael then asks his brother, Gene, a New York police detective, for the key to Arthur’s loft, which has been sealed by the police. At the loft, while going through Arthur’s papers, Michael finds a receipt for a copy store and pockets it. Handing the receipt to the clerk at the copy shop, Michael is presented with boxes containing thousands of copies of the document proving U/North’s culpability. Grabbing a document, Michael fails to notice that Verne and Iker are standing behind him in line and once he leaves, they secure copies of the document for themselves. Michael hurries to the office to show Marty the document, only to discover that Marty knew about it, but chose to suppress it because it would mean a loss of $9,000,000 in fees from U/North, plus U/North was threatening to release the video of Arthur disrobing, a disclosure that would jeopardize the lucrative merger between Kenner, Bach and Leeden and a London firm. To insure Michael’s silence, Marty offers him a check for $80,000 on the condition that he sign a confidentiality agreement. Accepting the check, Michael pays off the debt on the bar. Michael then goes to a poker game, but is soon summoned to the Greer house. Leaving his poker game, Michael hurries to his car, which is parked on the street. Michael’s unexpected arrival interrupts Verne and Iker, who, following Karen's orders to eliminate Michael, are in the middle of planting a bomb and tracking device in his car. As a result, the tracking device is not functioning properly, making it difficult for the killers to follow Michael’s car and detonate the bomb. Just as Michael exits his car to look at the horses, the assassins find the tracking signal and detonate the bomb, unaware that Michael is no longer in the car. Realizing that someone is trying to kill him, Michael throws his identification into the flames to make it look as if he was incinerated in the car. At the U/North board of directors meeting, Karen recommends that the settlement proposal for the class action suit be confirmed, boasting that U/North can write off the entire settlement on its taxes. Leaving the conference room feeling triumphant, Karen is surprised by Michael, who confronts her with the incriminating document. Declaring that as a fixer, he is the one she should buy, not kill, Michael threatens to expose U/North unless the company pays him $10,000,000. When Karen agrees to transfer the money into his account, Michael reveals that he had a cell phone in his pocket and that the police have heard their entire conversation, then walks away as the police arrive to arrest Karen and Jeffries. On the street, Michael hails a taxi and hands the driver $50 to “just drive.” +

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Name Occurs Before Title
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