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First Look 2009

April 3, 2009, 6:00 P.M.

Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall

An Evening with Robert Zemeckis and Forrest Gump

First Look 2009 & Paramount Home Entertainment
invite you to a special evening with

Robert Zemeckis, Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise & Eric Roth

following a screening of their 6-time Academy Award-winning film


6:00PM on Friday, April 3, 2009
Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall

The Q&A will be filmed for future use on the forthcoming Blu-ray release of the film,
coming out in the fall of 2009.

Free Admission

Open to all USC students, staff,
faculty and alumni



Fifteen years after its release, Forrest Gump, winner of 6 Academy Awards® including Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Zemeckis) and Best Actor (Tom Hanks), stands as one of the most beloved films of all time.
Tom Hanks gives an astonishing performance in this acclaimed film from director Robert Zemeckis that rocketed to box-office history and touched the hearts of filmgoers like no other movie. Through three turbulent decades, Forrest rides a tide of events that whisks him from physical disability to football stardom, from Vietnam hero to shrimp tycoon, from White House honors to the arms of his one true love. Forrest is the embodiment of an era, an innocent at large in an America that is losing its innocence. His heart knows what his limited IQ cannot. His moral compass never wavers. His triumphs become an inspiration to us all. Forrest Gump. It’s the story of a lifetime.

Coming to Blu-ray for the first time Fall 2009, featuring the best picture and sound and all new bonus features.


Robert Zemeckis won an Academy Award©, a Golden Globe and a Director's Guild of American Award for Best Director for the hugely successful Forrest Gump. The film's numerous honors also included Oscars for Best Actor (Tom Hanks) and Best Picture. Zemeckis re-teamed with Hanks on the contemporary drama Cast Away, the filming of which was split into two sections, book-ending production on What Lies Beneath. Zemeckis and Hanks served as producers on Cast Away, along with Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke.

Earlier in his career, Zemeckis co-wrote (with Bob Gale) and directed Back to the Future, which was the top-grossing release of 1985, and for which Zemeckis shared Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Screenplay. He then went  on to helm Back to the Future, Part II and Part III, completing one of the most successful film franchises ever. In addition , he directed and produced Contact, starring Jodie Foster, based on the best-selling novel by Carl Sagan, and the macabre comedy hit Death Becomes Her, starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. He also wrote and directed the box office smash Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, cleverly blending live action and animation; directed the romantic adventure hit Romancing the Stone, pairing Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner; and co-wrote (with Bob Gale) and directed the comedies Used Cars and I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Zemeckis produced House on Haunted Hill, and executive produced such films as The Frighteners, The Public Eye, and Trespass, which he also co-wrote with Bob Gale. He and Gale previously wrote 1941, which began Zemeckis' association with Steven Spielberg. For the small screen, Zemeckis has directed several projects, including the Showtime feature-length documentary The Pursuit of Happiness, which explored the effect of drugs and alcohol on 20th century society. His additional television credits include episodes of Spielberg’s Amazing Stores and HBO’s Tales From the Crypt.

In 1998, Zemeckis, Steve Starkey and Jack Rapke partnered to form the film and television production company ImageMovers. What Lies Beneath was the first film to be released under the ImageMovers banner, followed by Cast Away, which opened to critical and audience acclaim in the Fall of 2000, and Matchstick Men. In March 2001, the USC School of Cinema-Television celebrated the opening of the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts. This state-of-the-art center is the country’s first and only fully digital training center and houses the latest in non-linear production and post-production equipment as well as stages, a 50-seat screening room and USC student-run television station, Trojan Vision. In 2004, Zemeckis produced and directed the motion capture film The Polar Express, starring Tom Hanks. Most recently, he brought the true life story of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson to the big screen. In addition, he served as executive producer on both Monster House, and the Queen Latifah comedy Last Holiday. Zemeckis produced and directed his second motion capture film, Beowulf, which was also be produced by Rapke and Starkey. The feature, which  stars Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie and Ray Winstone is based on one of the oldest surviving pieces of  Anglo-Saxon literature, written sometime  before the 10th Century A.D.

Currently Zemeckis is working his most advanced motion-capture film to date: the highly-anticipated A Christmas Carol, based on the celebrated and beloved classic story by Charles Dickens. Rapke and Starkey also produce. Disney Studios will release the film in November, 2009.


Tom Hanks holds the distinction of being the first actor in 50 years to be awarded back-to-back Best Actor Academy Awards ®: in 1993 as the AIDS-stricken lawyer in Philadelphia and the following year in the title role of Forrest Gump. He also won Golden Globes for both of these performances, along with his work in Big and Cast Away.

Born and raised in Oakland, CA, Hanks became interested in acting during high school. He attended Chabot College in Hayward, California, and California State University in Sacramento. At the invitation of Artistic Director Vincent Dowling he made his professional debut portraying Grumio in The Taming of the Shrew at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in Cleveland, Ohio. He performed in that company for 3 seasons. Moving to New York City in 1978, he performed with the Riverside Shakespeare Company until getting a big break when he was teamed with Peter Scolari in the ABC television comedy series Bosom Buddies. This led to starring roles in Ron Howard's Splash, Bachelor Party, Volunteers, The Money Pit and Nothing in Common. In 1988, the Los Angeles Film Critics recognized his performances in both Big and Punchline, giving Hanks their Best Actor Award. Roles followed in films such as A League of Their Own and Sleepless in Seattle.

In 1996, Hanks made his feature film writing and directing debut with That Thing You Do! The film's title song not only reached the Top 10 in many contemporary music charts but was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. After re-teaming with Ron Howard in Apollo 13, Hanks served as an executive producer, writer, director and actor for HBO's From the Earth to the Moon - an Emmy-winning 12-hour dramatic film anthology that explored the entire Apollo space program. In 1998, Hanks starred in Steven Spielberg's war drama Saving Private Ryan, for which he received his fourth Oscar nomination. The following year he starred in The Green Mile, which was written and directed by Frank Darabont and is based on the six-part serialized novel by Stephen King.

In 2000, Hanks reunited with director Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter William Broyles Jr. in Cast Away, for which he received yet another Oscar nomination. Also in 2000, he served, again with Steven Spielberg, as executive producer, writer, and director for another epic HBO miniseries, Band of Brothers, based on Stephen Ambrose's book. The miniseries aired in the fall of 2001 to wide-scale critical acclaim, leading to an Emmy Award and Golden Globe for the Best Miniseries in 2002. In 2002, Hanks starred in Road to Perdition opposite Paul Newman and Jude Law under Sam Mendes' direction. It was followed by Spielberg's stylish caper Catch Me If You Can opposite Leonardo DeCaprio, which was based on the true-life exploits of international confidence man Frank Abagnale Jr.

Hanks teamed for a third time with Spielberg in The Terminal opposite Catherine Zeta Jones and followed it with the Coen brothers' dark comedy The Ladykillers. In November 2004, Hanks starred in the film adaptation of the Caldecott Medal- winning children's book The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, which reunited him once again with director Robert Zemeckis. In 2006, Hanks played Robert Langdon in the film adaptation of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code, helmed by Ron Howard and also starring Audrey Tautou, Paul Bettany, Ian McKellen and Jean Reno. Hanks recently starred in Charlie Wilson’s War, opposite Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman, directed by Mike Nichols, which Playtone also produced, and will next be seen in Angels & Demons with Ron Howard, where he reprises his role as Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon.

In 2008, Hanks, with his production company Playtone, executive produced the critically acclaimed HBO mini series John Adams, staring Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney and Tom Wilkinson. The series went on to win an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries and a Golden Globe for Best Mini-Series.


Gary Sinise's portrayal of Lt. Dan in the Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump made him a mainstream movie star, and earned him nominations for an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He received the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Board of Review and the Commander's Award from the Disabled American Veterans. He then went on to take starring roles in the acclaimed Apollo 13, opposite Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon; the thriller Ransom, with Mel Gibson and Rene Russo; and in Brian DePalma's psychological thriller Snake Eyes.

Currently, Sinise is starring as Det. Mack “Mac” Taylor in CBS’s hugely successful CSI: New York, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Anthony Zuiker. He was most recently seen in the Fox News documentary, On the Road in Iraq with our Troops and Gary Sinese, which highlighted Gary’s 4th USO Tour to the country, as well as his numerous humanitarian efforts. He was last seen on the big screen in Columbia Pictures’ The Forgotten, with Julianne Moore, and The Human Stain for director Robert Benton and Miramax films, opposite Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Ed Harris. He also provided the voice of Shaw in Sony’s animated feature Open Season. Gary is the executive producer of Brothers at War, which opens in March. This film provides a rare look at the bonds and service of our soldiers on the frontlines, and the profound effects their service has on the loved ones they leave behind.

Sinise recently received the Presidential Citizens Medal, which is the second highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He is only the second actor in history to receive it, the other Elizabeth Taylor, and only 100 people have received this honor in history. As a result of Sinise’s first two trips to Iraq, he started “Operation Iraqi Children” with subsequent author Laura Hillenbrand. Through this charitable organization, and with the support of corporate sponsors, schools in the United States can visit, and learn how to organize their own school drive to collect and send much needed classroom supplies to the children of Iraq. “Operation Iraqi Children” also established the OIC/Katrina Relief Fund for people who wish to support sending school supplies and other children's needs to those affected by hurricane Katrina.

At the age of 18, the Chicago native co-founded The Steppenwolf Theatre Company of Chicago (along with Terry Kinney and Jeff Perry), where he served as Artistic Director for seven years. He has since starred in over a dozen productions at the renowned theatre including the role of Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, for which he garnered a Tony Award nomination and a Drama Desk Award; as well as True West, Balm in Gilead, Streamers and The Caretaker. He received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Marsha Norman's Getting Out at Chicago's Wisdom Theatre. He starred as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire and Randle Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at Steppenwolf, the Barbican Theatre in London, and then Broadway in April 2001. In 1982, Sinise directed the landmark production of Sam Shepard's True West at Steppenwolf and on Broadway, where he won an Obie Award for directing. He made his mark as a feature film director with Of Mice and Men, which he co-produced and co-starred in with John Malkovich, and Miles From Home, starring Richard Gere, Kevin Anderson, Helen Hunt and John Malkovich. Both were screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. 

On television, he starred in Path to War, directed by John Frankenheimer on HBO. Other television credits include Showtime’s adaptation of Jason Miller's Pulitzer Prize winnin g play That Championship Season, directed by Paul Sorvino, award-winning performances in Truman (Golden Globe, CableACE and Screen Actors Guild) and John Frankenheimer's George Wallace (Screen Actors Guild, Emmy and CableACE). His other film credits include Gary Fleder's sci-fi thriller Imposter, John Frankenheimer's Reindeer Games, Brian DePalma's Mission to Mars and Frank Darabont's The Green Mile.


Academy Award® winner Eric Roth attended the University of California at Santa Barbara, Columbia University and UCLA. He won the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award while at UCLA. His first produced screenplay was Robert Mulligan’s The Nickel Ride, which premiered at the 1975 Cannes Film Festival. Some of the movies Roth has written, or written on, include Suspect, with Cher and Dennis Quaid; Mr. Jones, with Richard Gere and directed by Mike Figgis; Rhapsody in August, directed by Akira Kurosawa; Forrest Gump, for which he won the Oscar® and the Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay; The Horse Whisperer, directed by Robert Redford; and The Insider, directed by Michael Mann and starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, for which Roth was nominated for an Academy Award® and a Writers Guild Award and won the Humanitas Award. He also wrote Ali, directed by Michael Mann and starring Will Smith. He co-wrote the 2005 Academy Award®-nominated screenplay for Munich, directed by Steven Spielberg; and the screenplay for The Good Shepherd, with Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Robert DeNiro, directed by DeNiro. This past year, Mr. Roth received a Writers Guild Award nomination and his fourth Academy Award® nomination for his screenplay, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Roth is currently working on Hatfields and McCoys for Warner Brothers, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for Warner Bros. and Paramount, and The Devil in the White City for Paramount. His daughter, Vanessa Roth, won an Academy Award® in 2007 for the best short documentary, Freeheld. Roth lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Debra Greenfield, an attorney and UCLA instructor in Genetics and the Law.  He has five children and five grandchildren.


This event is free of charge and open to all USC students, faculty, staff and alumni. The theater will be OVERBOOKED to ensure capacity and the RSVP list will be honored on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no reserved seating. Please bring a photo ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 5:30PM.


Parking passes may be purchased for $8.00 at USC Entrance Gate #5, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & McClintock Avenue. We recommend parking in outdoor Lot M or V, or Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along W. Jefferson Boulevard.
Contact Information

Name: Allison Melanson
Phone: 213.740.4432