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A deeply disturbing TRUE story…
Winter – 1990. The most notorious serial killers in the
history of Canada begin their psychological dance with death
and depravity as an entire country is held captive in fear.
In stunningly acclaimed performances, LAURA PREPON
(“That 70’s Show”, “Slackers”, “Come Early Morning”) and
MISHA COLLINS (TV’s “24”, “NCSI”) breathe perverse
life into their real life counterparts, Paul Bernardo and Karla
Homolka, dubbed by an anxious press the “Ken and Barbie
Killers”. As the gruesome events unfold, and lovely young
girls disappear, the utter lack of remorse from Paul coupled
with his quirky charisma paint a delusional world of normalcy
for Karla. Police frantically search for and eventually put an
end to the couple's horrific killing spree and their trial
captivates the entire nation, setting off waves of controversy
surrounding the brutal killings.
In the end, this gripping, tension-packed film will haunt you
forever - left to ponder the psyches of two individuals in a
tragically demented relationship… because it’s true.
MONTEREY MEDIA INC.
MOVIEBANK and QUANTUM ENTERTAINMENT
In Association With
MB Partners and Goldmill ProductIons
A Michael Sellers Production
A Joel Bender Film
Casting by PATRICIA ROSE
Production Designer FREDDY NAFF
Director of Photography CHARLES MILLS
Music by TIM JONES
EDITED BY MICHAEL D. SELLERS JOEL BENDER
Written by MICHAEL D. SELLERS JOEL BENDER
MANETTE BETH ROSEN
co-executive producers STUART MILLER
richard goulding john remark
Executive Producers PAMELA VLASTAS
MANETTE BETH ROSEN ROBERT KESKEMETY
Producer MARLON PARRY
Produced by MICHAEL D. SELLERS
Directed by JOEL BENDER
Laura Prepon - Karla Homolka
Misha Collins - Paul Bernardo
Tess Harper - Molly Czehowicz
Leonard Kelly-Young - Dan Czehowicz
Alex Boyd - Nick
Cherilyn Hayres - Tammy Homolka
Kristen Swieconek - Tina McCarthy
Sarah Foret - Kaitlyn Ross
Patrick Bauchau - Dr. Arnold
Tony Denison Det. Burows
Emilie Jacobs - Debbie
Zach DiLiberto - Doug
Brandon Routh - Tim Peters
Dave Michael Beaudrie - Police Officer
Danielle Burgio - Reporter
William Duffy - Det. Porter
Stephen Jared - Constable Nesbit
Ross Patterson - Steve
Diana Gitelman - Becky Wilson
Choppy Guillotte - News Reporter
Angie Hill - Juror
Sawn Hoffman - Det. Steve Kirby
Tanya Lemelle - Victim #3
Anna Pheil - Patricia
Jayme McCabe - Bartender
Rana McAnear - School Girl
Ron Brosh - Cop (unacredited)
LAURA PREPON has been praised for her honest
portrayal of Donna on That '70s Show, which marks
her network television debut. She's received critical
acclaim for her performance and Entertainment
Weekly calls her a "rising star" and "wonderfully
deadpan." Raised in Watchung, NJ, a short distance
from New York City, Prepon's desire to act began at a
young age and she started studying the craft at 15. She
went on to study theater at the Total Theater Lab in
New York. Prepon has always loved dance and has
trained in ballet. She is also a sports enthusiast and
played tennis on her high school team. In addition, she enjoys gymnastics and
riding horses. During her hiatus from That '70s Show, Prepon worked on the
independent feature The Pornographer: A Love Story. Co-starring with Martin
Donavan, Kathleen Chalfant and Irene Jacob, the film tells the story of an
obsessive relationship between a director and an actress. Another movie she
appears in, Slackers, is a film about that all too common collegiate lifestyle of
slacking; ie, not doing what you're there for. Other members of the cast of
Slackers include : Jason Schwartzman, Devon Sawa, and James King. Another
of Laura's feature credits include the indy feature Southlander. Opposite Beck,
Beth Orton and Hank Williams, Prepon's character "Seven=Five" is a beautiful,
young television psychic who ultimately alters the outcome of all the characters' lives. A relative newcomer to the entertainment industry, Prepon portrayed
the lead character on the groundbreaking Internet series They Go On. She also
appeared in numerous theatrical presentations, including A Woman of Property
and Ascension Day. She currently divides her time between her family in
Watchung, NJ and Los Angeles, CA
MISHA COLLINS was born Misha Collins
Krushnic in 1974 in Massachusetts. Fresh out of school
he married his high school sweetheart, and for a time
worked as a White House intern. He also could be heard
on National Public Radio, before finally settling on a
career in acting.
Misha’s acting career began with several small roles in
films such as “Liberty Heights”, and “Girl Interrupted”,
and in TV series such as ER, and Charmed. His career
started to heat up when he landed a recurring role as a
villain in the first season of the hit TV series “24”.
Collins breakout role, and the one he describes as the most challenging
and traumatic of his career thus far, was playing the notorious Canadian serial
killer Paul Bernardo in the disturbing true story “Karla.” Misha, who claims he
has never hit anyone in his entire life, said he had trouble sleeping as a result of
the film and his portrayal of the brutal and sadistic Paul Bernardo. Misha was
also caught off guard by the vindictive and accusatory reaction of the
Canadian media towards the film and himself for taking part, and although he
can understand their pain and anger, he states he is not ashamed of his role in
TESS HARPER held in high regard for her abilities
by Hollywood, Tess Harper made a big impression in
her very first feature film role as Robert Duvall's much
younger wife in "Tender Mercies" (1982). She earned
an Oscar® nomination for Best Supporting Actress for
her work as Chickie, the cousin and nosy neighbor, in
"Crimes of the Heart" (1986).
Harper performed in children's theatre and dinner
theatre, as well as in TV commercials, in Texas before
being cast in "Tender Mercies". She followed that with
the unfortunate "Amityville 3-D", a horror film about poltergeists, and a small
role in Mike Nichols' "Silkwood" (both 1983). After "Crimes of the Heart",
Harper was Warren Beatty's ignored sweetheart in the now legendary "Ishtar"
(1987) and reteamed with "Crimes" co-star Jessica Lange as the blustery,
screaming Rita in Sam Shepard's directorial debut, "Far North" (1988). More
recently, Harper played the mother of a son trying to keep his parents together
in "The Turning" (1992) and Jay Thomas' straying wife in "Dirty Laundry"
BRANDON ROUTH was on born October 9, 1979
and was a former male fashion model. He grew up in
Iowa, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting
career, subsequently appearing on several television
series throughout the early 2000s. Routh's later primetime credits include guest roles on Cold Case, Will &
Grace and the short-lived series, Oliver Beene. During
this time, he worked as a bartender at a popular bowling
alley in Hollywood, Lucky Strike Lanes, and shared an
apartment with his sister. In 2004, he was cast in the title
role in the 2006 film, Superman Returns.
INTERVIEW WITH MISHA COLLINS
How does one go about researching a role like Karla Homolka (Paul Bernardo) ?
The character of Paul Bernardo was easy to learn about in the sense that his crimes,
personal history and testimony were all very well documented in the media and in court
transcripts. However, on a personal level, delving into the mind of a psychopathic
killer/rapist was not easy.
Other actors like Charlize Theron in “Monster” and Mark Harmon as Ted Bundy
have mentioned that it was difficult to get back into the every day ways of life after
filming a character such as this. What sort of impact was this for you?
When we started the shoot, I thought, “I’ve pulled the wool over the director’s eyes,
they’ve cast me to play this murderous, sexual predator, and I really didn’t know how I
was going to pull it off.” This character was as far from my own personality as I can
get, I’m known as a peace-keeper, I’ve literally never been in a fist fight, and we had
scenes to shoot where I had to beat these women senseless. I really thought I wouldn’t
be able to pull it off. What shocked me was how fully I was able to go to those places, to
feel, real violent rage. I was so consumed by the character of Paul Bernardo that I
actually got to the point of feeling exhilarated in scenes where I was strangling young
women. It was so horrifying to find these things in the fabric of my own psychology that
during the filming of Karla I had a hard time sleeping, and when I did get to sleep,
I dreamt that I was Paul Bernardo. The character literally infected me. I was thinking his
thoughts when I came home. I was pretty unpleasant to be around during that time.
Luckily, when we finished shooting, I was able to shed Paul and go back to myself; at
least I like to think I’ve shed him.
Did you have any concerns at the time you began the project about playing a notorious role such as this? In retrospect, do you see yourself making different career
choices because of the stories impact on you?
I didn’t really have any concerns about making the movie while we were filming. I felt a
lot of other films, like “Monster” and “Bundy” had set a precedent of films about reallife serial killers being widely accepted and even winning academy awards. It wasn’t
until we finished post-production and the film was accepted into the Montreal World
Film Festival that we saw what a public uproar the film’s subject matter caused in
Canada. The festival organizers ultimately bowed to pressure from their sponsors and
pulled the film from the lineup, which subsequently tarnished the festivals reputation
because they came out looking like corporate pawns. But the film was ultimately
released in Canada and did quite well. I think it’s basically a freedom of speech issue;
this isn’t a Clockwork Orange world where we sit people down in front of disturbing
movies, prop their eyelids open and making them watch—everyone has a choice as to
what they want to view and they are free to choose not to watch movies about serial
murderers, but I don’t think anyone has the right to tell others what not to watch. I mean,
I didn’t watch Saw 3 because I know a movie like that’s going to make for a restless
night of sleep and isn’t going to teach me anything. Karla, on the other hand, is a movie
about real people, in our time, who committed atrocious crimes while living under a veil
of normalcy. I think a film like that has the potential to teach us things about ourselves.
Had you heard of Karla Homolka (Paul Barnardo) before you read the script?
I had only a faint memory of news stories about Paul and Karla. I read the script and I
thought it was pretty disturbing. But then again, I read lots of scripts about awful things
like war movies and horror films, so the format of the screenplay is something that
automatically numbs me a little bit—I can always think, “oh well, it’s just a movie”. But
when I read archived news articles about Paul and Karla, the reality of the story and the
real horror of it came to life for me, these were real people, this really happened. That’s
what makes the story so compelling.
MICHAEL SELLERS is a Magna Cum Laude
graduate of the University of Delaware with a Masters
Degree in Film from New York University. He spent ten
years in the Central Intelligence Agency in active duty on
Warsaw, Ethiopia, Moscow, and the Philippines after
graduate school. Throughout his time in the CIA Michael
dabbled in music and writing, recording and releasing an
album of original music and producing several Filipino
artists for the local market, as well as one international
album by acclaimed Philippine artist Freddie Aguilar. Emboldened by his venture
into music producing and growing restless with his career with the CIA, Michael left
the CIA and re-launched his career as a writer and filmmaker.
Michael’s first step on the journey back to film-making was to create Pacwood Films,
a Philippine based production company, under which label he produced three
domestic Philippine movies—Umiyak Pati Langit (Tears of Heaven, 1991), Class of
’92 (1992), and Anak Ng Dagat (Son of the Sea, 1992). Michael’s first Hollywood
co-production was 1992’s Rage. In 1993 Michael followed this with another
international co-production, Fortunes of War starring Martin Sheen, Michael
Ironsides, and Haing Ngorr After Fortunes of War, Michael wrote and produced
several documentaries including Rising Above the Storm, a film about the departure
of the U.S. Navy from Subic. Michael formed a joint venture with ABS-CBN
Broadcasting, the top Philippine media conglomerate, for whom he wrote and
produced Goodbye America (1997), a story about the last days of the US Navy in
Subic Bay and the effect of America’s overpowering influence on local cultures such
as the Philippines where the American presence was ubiquitous. Goodbye America
starred Michael York, James Brolin, Alexis Arquette, Rae Dawn Chong, and Corin
Nemec. For international sales, Michael formed a new Los Angeles based company,
Quantum Entertainment, with partner Pamela Vlastas, and under Quantum
successfully licensed Goodbye America in over 80 countries around the world. He
followed this with Legacy in 1999 starring David Hasselhoff and Rod Steiger, and
Doomsdayer in 2000, starring Udo Kier, Brigitte Nielsen, and Joe Lara.
Michael began spending more time in Los Angeles, where he executive produced
Quicksand (2000) starring Michael Dudikoff, Control (2000) starring Sean Young,
and Silence (2001) starring Kristy Swanson. In December of 2001 he cut back his
film executive work and resumed writing, first completing The American, the story
of a CIA officer in Afghanistan in the weeks after 9/11, which he optioned to a major
studio. He then wrote Vlad, a historical horror-adventure film that he then directed,
filming on location in Romania with a cast that included Billy Zane, Brad Dourif, and
Francesco Quinn. Vlad won the Director’s Choice Award at the Fort Meyers Film
Festival and swept the top honors at the Cine-Macabre Awards in Atlanta. Michael
followed up Vlad by co-writing and producing Karla, a true crime drama based on
the court transcripts from the murder trials of Canada’s most infamous serial killers,
Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Karla (http://www.karlathemovie.net), which
starred Laura Prepon, Misha Collins, and Tess Harper, was released by monterey
media in January of 2007.
A CONVERSATION WITH
PRODUCER MICHAEL D. SELLERS
You did research a great deal about the legal ramifications of telling this story, and
were in close communication with representatives of the victims’ families. Could
you discuss that process a bit and what the outcome was of your discussions?
From the beginning, Tim Danson—the attorney who represents the victims’ families—
said that the families respected our right to make the movie and would only oppose it if
the film contained depictions of their daughters which could reasonably be construed as
either disrespectful or pornographic. Tim defined pornographic as nudity or simulated
sex on screen by the actresses portraying the victims. We never intended to include
either of those elements in the film, so there was really no problem. When we finished
the edit, I took a copy to Toronto and showed it to Tim, and they concurred that it was
not pornographic and they would not oppose the release of the film.
What was the point-of-view from which you wanted to present the film?
Point of view in this film is interesting, and challenging. On the one hand, it’s Karla’s
story. We meet her at the beginning as she is about to undergo an extended psychiatric
evaluation in the fall of 2000, eight years into her 12-year prison term. We see all of the
events in the past—everything from the early scenes with Paul through the crimes and
eventually a little bit of the trial—from her point of view. But that point of view is
repeatedly challenged by the psychiatrist who is interviewing her. He doesn’t “buy into”
her story, but rather tries to peel away the layers of the onion, exposing Karla’s attempts
at “spin”, forcing Karla to acknowledge things that she doesn’t want to acknowledge.
What problems – logistical, legal, ethical – did you encounter in commencing
Logistically... the story is so much about this kind of hermetically sealed world in which
these two people live. Legally, there were a number of issues. The most significant one,
and the one that affects the story the most, is that we could not depict anyone in the
Homolka family other than Karla, a convicted felon, and Tammy, who is deceased. That
posed problems but we worked through it, without, I think, compromising the story.
Ethically, it was a matter of constantly remembering, and reminding everyone on the
show... this really happened. We felt that this imposed a very strict burden on us to be
accurate. Just try to tell the truth as we understood it.
Among the aspects that seem to have transfixed the media and the public with this
case are how ordinary, attractive and wholesome Karla Homolka and Paul
Bernardo seemed. How did you approach casting these “couple-next-door” killers?
In a way, it would have been much easier to cast a “killer couple” who were in some
way overtly creepy. Finding people to play that kind of role is relatively easy. But we
had to find actors who could be convincing—as Paul and Karla were—as “regular,
normal” people, and who could also be convincing as the killers that they ultimately
became. I had known Misha Collins from his previous work and asked him to read for
the part – which he did, along with hundreds of others. In the end, he was the handsdown choice purely based on the merit of his audition. Laura Prepon was another story.
I don’t think any of us would have thought of red-headed Donna from “That 70’s Show”
as the choice for Karla – but her manager saw the script and sent it to her, and she liked
it and came in to read for it. As soon as she came in and we talked, then read a little bit,
I knew we had our Karla. She had a tremendous grasp of the character and an ability to
bring out all sides of Karla.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
monterey media inc.
a uniquely independent motion picture studio
monterey media inc., incorporated in 1979, it is a privately owned entertainment
industry company specializing in the creation, acquisition, distribution and sale of motion
pictures and other programming.
monterey media is actively engaged in all areas of domestic media, including theatrical
distribution playing theatres, film festivals, and other distinctive venues, and is presently
increasing its release slate with a continued measured growth strategy. The Company
creates unique and distinctive strategies tailored to each project. By way of example, in 2005,
the Company established a joint venture for the creation of a special theatrical event in
conjunction with AMC Theatres to launch the motion picture “Indigo”: A one day, 603 North
America venue showing grossed over $1,190,000 at the box office. Recently in theatrical
release was the enchanting “The Blue Butterfly” starring Academy Award® Winner William
Hurt; followed by “Nobelity”, from Award winning writer/director Turk Pipkin (which Esquire
Magazine called a “remarkable), with a Gala Premiere benefiting Amnesty Int’l. on Earth Day.
Currently in a very successful tri-coastal strategy “PEEL: The Peru Project” is being heralded
as “reminiscent of Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer” and “Endless Summeresque”. This spring
marks the entry into the true crime genre with the infamous film “Karla” commonly referred to
as the true story of the “Ken and Barbie killer” murders which opened its major market
theatrical launch including Minneapolis, Houston and Seattle..
Feature films upcoming in 2007 include the theatrical launch of the poignant and compelling
“Steel Toes” starring Academy Award® nominated David Strathairn, and the family film “Eye
of the Dolphin”.
monterey has sold numerous motion pictures to television networks including HBO, Showtime,
DIRECTV, Speed Channel, Link TV, and USA Network.
Known for its unique marketing, monterey media is actively engaged in creating notable viral
outreach campaigns for its motion picture releases while simultaneously contributing to
organizations who have become monterey’s strategic marketing partners. These include such
distinguished organizations as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Amnesty International, Surfrider
Foundation, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, KIDS FIRST!® Film and Video Festival,
ACLU, Habitat for Humanity, and the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition.
The monterey video division is the 2nd oldest independent video manufacturer and
distributor in the United States, acquiring the exclusive rights for all video markets to
completed motion pictures or other programming. monterey is known for its broad marketing
to all key retail, mail order and internet sites, schools and libraries, and specialty markets.
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