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First Look: Dresden Files

The following includes press materials about the upcoming show Dresden FIles, which will debut on the Sci Fi Channel January 21, 2007 at 9 p.m. (ET/PT):

THE DRESDEN FILES

“The Dresden Files” tells the story of Harry Dresden (Paul Blackthorne), a regular guy with an irregular life – he’s a wizard, a practitioner of magic, who uses his unique abilities to solve the cases that come through his Chicago storefront office. Harry lives in the same work-a-day world you live in, but he can also operate in the world of the supernatural, the metaphysical, and the unexplainable. Dresden unravels otherworldly schemes and crimes and does battle with the forces of darkness, all while keeping his true activities veiled from Lieutenant Connie Murphy (Valerie Cruz) of the Chicago Police Department. Think you understand how the world works? Get schooled with “The Dresden Files,” a supernatural detective series based on the best-selling novels of Jim Butcher.

The governing body that supervises wizards is called the High Council. The Council enforces the rules and makes certain that nobody ever knows what’s going on in the supernatural world. In Chicago, the Council’s Warden is Morgan (Conrad Coates). Morgan is Harry’s probation officer. Three years ago Harry used black magic to kill his uncle Justin Morningway. The Council ruled that Harry did it in self-defense, but Morgan suspects otherwise. He would be only too happy to catch Harry in another transgression.

Dresden’s confidante and advisor on all things magical is Bob (Terrence Mann). Bob was a medieval wizard who took up the dark arts but went too far. He was caught and killed by the Wardens, who then bound his soul to eternal servitude as punishment. Bob haunts Harry’s apartment, hoping for a chance to regain his corporeal self – or at least get out for a walk in the park once in a while.

Through it all, Harry Dresden retains his wry, sardonic view of both the natural and supernatural worlds. If you ever need his special kind of detective skills, you can find him listed in the phone book. For $500 a day, with a two-day minimum, he’ll take your case and bring it to a successful conclusion. Just don’t ask him how he does it; call it the next evolution in forensics.

CAST

Paul Blackthorne as Harry Dresden
Best known to television audiences as Stephen Saunders in season three of “24,” Paul Blackthorne has also appeared in a number of critically acclaimed television and film projects. He was a series lead on “Presidio Med,” alongside Dana Delaney and Blythe Danner and made guest appearances on “Monk,” “Medium,” ER,” “Deadwood,” and the hit British series “Holby City.”

Blackthorne can currently be seen in the film “Special” opposite Michael Rappaport. In 2001, he starred as Captain Andrew Russell in the Academy Award nominated film “Lagaan: Once Upon A Time in India.”

Off-screen, Blackthorne is a critically acclaimed photographer who has had his work exhibited in London. The British-born Blackthorne is also an avid football (soccer) enthusiast – a diehard Arsenal FC fan – and plays cricket regularly as part of a league in Los Angeles.

Valerie Cruz as Lieutenant Connie Murphy
Valerie Cruz was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and is of Cuban ancestry. She attended Florida State University where she received a B.F.A. in theatre. While Cruz is known for her roles in films like “Cellular” in which she played ‘Dana Bayback’ opposite William H. Macy, she has also become a strong presence on television.

Cruz had recurring roles on “Nip/Tuck” (‘Grace Santiago’) and “Invasion” (‘Col. Sabrina Lopez’). She has also made many guest appearances on network heavyweight shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Las Vegas,” “LAX” and “Crossing Jordan” among others. Cruz will play ‘Maria Nolan’ on the new coming-of-age drama “Hidden Palms” due to premiere in January 2007. She also just completed the independent feature film “LA Blues” in which she stars opposite Anthony Michael Hall and Dave Foley.

Conrad Coates as Morgan
Conrad Coates has played numerous roles in theatre, film, television and radio.

He has performed in more than 30 stage productions including two seasons at Canada’s premier Shakespearean theatre, The Stratford Festival, appearing in “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Taming of the Shrew” and “Twelfth Night.”

Coates has also appeared in such television programs as “Kevin Hill,” Pax Network’s “Body and Soul,” “The L Word,” “Street Time” and “The Jimi Hendrix Story.” He was ‘Adama’ in the U.S. television movie “The Pretender: Island of the Haunted.” He has also appeared in “Twice in a Lifetime,” “Relic Hunter,” “La Femme Nikita,” and “Degrassi: the Next Generation.”

His extensive list of film credits include appearances in “Hollywood Flies” with Vinnie Jones and Brad Renfro, “To Die For” with Nicole Kidman, “Critical Care” and recently “The Sentinel,” staring Michael Douglas and Kiefer Sutherland. Coates can soon be seen in the film “Breach” with Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe.

Raoul Bhaneja as Kirmani
Born in Manchester, U.K, Raoul Bhaneja grew up in Ottawa and Bonn, Germany. A graduate of Canterbury Arts High School in Ottawa and the National Theatre School of Canada, he began acting at 15 as a founding member of the Shakespearean street theatre group A Company of Fools.
Bhaneja has appeared in the critically acclaimed productions “Helen’s Necklace” and “The Domino Heart” at the Tarragon Theatre. Other selected theatre credits include “Savage Sensuality” at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the U.K. for which he received the Christopher Plummer Artistic Fellowship Award and “Sin City,” for which he received a 2002 Canadian Comedy Award Nomination.
Bhaneja appeared as a series regular on “Train 48, where he also made his television-directing debut. Other guest star and leading credits include “The Eleventh Hour,” “The Associates,” “Street Time,” “Open Heart” and most recently “Runaway.” Bhaneja’s feature film credits include “Ararat,” “Extraordinary Visitor,” “Violet,” “Picture Claire,” “Godsend,” “Touch of Pink,” “The Sentinel” and “Weirdsville” starring Wes Bentley and Scott Speedman. He recently co-wrote and produced “Just Visiting,” a short film in which he also starred.
Bhaneja is also the leader of the Maple Blues Award-winning band, Raoul and The Big Time. They have completed two videos and released their second CD, “Cold Outside.”

Terrence Mann as Bob
Terrence Mann’s credits include roles on the Broadway stage, in film and television, and behind the scenes as a director and composer.

On Broadway, he originated the roles of the ‘Beast’ in “Beauty and the Beast,” for which he received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations, ‘Inspector Javert’ in “Les Miserables” for which he received a Tony nomination, ‘Rum Tum Tugger’ in “Cats” and ‘Chauvelin’ in “The Scarlet Pimpernel.” Other Broadway credits include “Lennon,” “The Rocky Horror Show” where he played ‘Frank ‘N’ Furter,’ “Getting Away With Murder,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Rags,” “Barnum,” “Jerome Robbin’s Broadway” and “Jekyll and Hyde.” Mann was the director/composer for the musical adaptation of “Romeo & Juliet.”

One of the roles of which he is the proudest is founding Artistic Director of the Carolina Arts Festival. He also served as Artistic Director of the North Carolina Theatre for 14 years.

Mann’s film and television appearances include “Critters,” “Chorus Line,” “Big Top Pee Wee,” “Solar Babies,” “Love Monkey,” “Law and Order,” “Mrs. Santa Claus,” “American Revolution,” “One Life to Live” and “As the World Turns” – for which he received an Emmy Nomination.

BEHIND THE SCENES

Nicolas Cage, Executive Producer
Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage is one of the most versatile actors of our time who is equally well known for his poignant portrayals in both drama and comedy. His memorable performance as an alcoholic drinking himself to death in the MGM drama Leaving Las Vegas, directed by Mike Figgis, earned him an Academy Award. He also received a Golden Globe and Best Actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Chicago Film Critics and the National Board of Review.

Norm Golightly, Executive Producer
Norm Golightly is President and Partner of Saturn Films along with Nicolas Cage. He joined Saturn Films in 1997 as Vice President and was named President within four years of working at the company. In less than a decade, Golightly has produced more than half a dozen pictures for Saturn Films, quickly escalating its prominence in the industry from being a niche entity in the production of high quality independent films to partnering with studios and seeking out Hollywood’s hottest talent for its projects.

David Simkins, Executive Producer, Writer
David Simkins began his television career while still in high school in South Bend, Indiana, as a member of the award winning and nationally recognized Junior Achievement-sponsored comedy television show “Beyond Our Control” (www.beyondourcontrol.org). He received his B.A. degree in film and broadcasting from the University of Iowa. In the early 1980s, David moved to Los Angeles and with the help of producer Don Borchers (a fellow BOC alum), landed a job at Sandy Howard Productions.

Simkins started off answering phones, but he was soon reading and budgeting feature film scripts and helping to put many low budget films into production. Six months later, he joined Borchers at New World Pictures. He was the development executive for many cult classics including the original “Children of the Corn” and Ken Russell’s “Crimes of Passion.” Simkins left New World when his original script “Adventures in Babysitting” was optioned and later produced by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures. His feature career was happily derailed when he was hired by Warner Bros. Television (and producers Carlton Cuse and Jeffrey Boam) to write the pilot for the cult TV hit “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.”

After working for a year on the series, Simkins transitioned further into television, writing and producing “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” “Charmed,” “Dark Angel,” “Roswell,” and most recently, “Blade: The Series.”

Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Executive Producer, Writer
Robert Hewitt Wolfe was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, the son of a career army officer and a surgical nurse. As an army family, the Wolfes moved frequently before finally settling in San Francisco. Wolfe attempted his first novel when he was ten, his second when he was thirteen and his third when he was twenty. He never finished any of them. Luckily, in college, he discovered television and film writing, which better suited his short attention span.
Wolfe attended UCLA, receiving a bachelor’s degree in film and television and a MFA in screenwriting. His first screenplay, “Paper Dragons,” placed second in the prestigious Goldwyn awards, earning enough prize money to allow Wolfe to buy his first computer and filling his head with visions of a quick rise to show business success.
Five years later and weeks away from complete insolvency, Wolfe sold the story for “A Fistful of Datas” to “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Wolfe went on to write the screenplay for the episode and secured a job on the fledgling series “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” Wolfe spent five years working on the series. During this time, he wrote or co-wrote over thirty episodes, ranging from apocalyptic action adventures to dramatic character studies and comedic farces.

After leaving “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” Wolfe worked on several pilots, one of which, “Futuresport,” was produced as a TV movie starring Dean Cain and Wesley Snipes.

In 1999, working from notes by Gene Roddenberry, Wolfe developed the syndicated series “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda.” The series premiered in the fall of 2000 as the number one rated original drama in syndication. Wolfe served as head writer and executive producer for its first two seasons, during which the series was nominated for two Saturn Awards for Best Syndicated Series and a BC Film Commission “Leo” Award for Best Dramatic Series.

After leaving “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda,” Wolfe wrote episodes for USA’s “The Dead Zone.” Wolfe helped launch the USA Network’s hit series “The 4400,” serving as a consulting producer and writer on the initial six-hour miniseries, which received Emmy nominations for Best Miniseries, and Best Miniseries Writing.
Wolfe has sold several feature screenplays, including “The Serpent and the Eagle,” a feature film about the conquest of Mexico under development with Ron Howard at Paramount.

Jonathan Hackett, Producer
Jonathan Hackett is a producer and director of both long-form and series television. Specializing in quality drama with significant action/adventure elements, he has worked extensively with production companies in the U.S., Canada, Europe and South Africa.

Hackett served as producer for two seasons of “Mutant X,” the popular action series from Fireworks Entertainment. Previously, he produced two seasons of “Relic Hunter” for Fireworks, as well as Disney’s “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “The Adventures of Sinbad” for Alliance Atlantis in Capetown, South Africa.

At the onset of his career, Hackett produced 41 episodes of “Adderly” for Robert Cooper (CBS/Global), followed by 22 episodes of Paramount Television’s “The War of the Worlds” and the final season of Warner Bros.’ long-running action hour Kung Fu. His other television credits include, the primetime show “Secret Services,” “Top Cops” and “Adventures of the Black Stallion.” In addition to his series credits, Hackett has also produced numerous TV movies, including The Possession of Michael D.,” “Harrison Bergeron” and “Blood Sport.”

Alwyn J. Kumst, Cinematographer
Cinematographer Alwyn J. Kumst grew up in South Africa and has extensive international and technical experience working with anamorphic format, Greenscreen, Steadicam and underwater operator experience.

As a cinematographer, Kumst has worked in 38 different countries around the world. He first visited Canada 11 years ago and was captivated by the country. He decided to make Toronto, Ontario, his home, and has worked there steadily ever since.

Kumst’s film credits include “The Divine Ryans,” for which he received a Genie Nomination for Best Cinematography in 1999, and the television movies “Crazy For Christmas” and “Drive Time Murders.” His credits also include the hit television series “Mutant X,” “Relic Hunter” and “Falcon Beach.”

Kumst most recently completed the telefilms “Gospel of Deceit” and “Cheaters’ Club.”

David Speakman

David Speakman has spent more than two decades as a writer/editor, photographer, graphic designer and manager of creative teams in broadcast, print and the Internet. His education is in journalism, graphic design, organizational communication and law.
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