AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Director: Stephen Gaghan (Dir)
Release Date:   23 Nov 2005
Premiere Information:   New York premiere: 20 Nov 2005
Production Date:   2 Aug 2004--20 Jan 2005
Duration (in mins):   122 or 127-128
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Cast: In order of appearance Kayvan Novak (Arash)  
    George Clooney (Bob Barnes)  
    Amr Waked (Mohammed Sheik Agiza)  
    Christopher Plummer (Dean Whiting)  
    Jeffrey Wright (Bennett Holiday)  
    Chris Cooper (Jimmy Pope)  
    Robert Foxworth (Tommy Barton)  
    Nicky Henson (Sydney Hewitt)  
    Nicholas Art (Riley Woodman)  
    Matt Damon (Bryan Woodman)  
    Amanda Peet (Julie Woodman)  
    Steven Hinkle (Max Woodman)  
    Daisy Tormé (Rebecca)  
    Peter Gerety (Leland Janus)  
    Richard Lintern (Bryan's boss)  
    Jocelyn Quivrin (Vincent)  
    Mazhar Munir (Wasim [Ahmed] Khan)  
    Shahid Ahmed (Saleem Ahmed Khan)  
    Bikram Singh Bhamra (Pakistani translator)  
    Roger Yuan (Chinese engineer)  
    Jayne Atkinson (Division chief)  
    Tom McCarthy (Fred Franks)  
    Jamey Sheridan (Terry)  
    Randall Boffman (Distinguished gentleman #1)  
    Tony French (Distinguished gentleman #2)  
    Max Minghella (Robby Barnes)  
    Katie Foster (Nervous daughter)  
    Nadim Sawalha (Emir Hamed Al-Subaai)  
    Alexander Siddig (Prince Nasir Al-Subaai)  
    Ozzie Yue (Chinese oil executive)  
    Akbar Kurtha (Prince Meshal Al-Subaai)  
    Sonell Dadral (Farooq)  
    Jon Lee Anderson (Himself)  
    Othman Bini Hendi (Arab businessman)  
    Bashir H. Atiyat (Nasir's aide)  
    Ali Al Amine (Older kid at pool)  
    William C. Mitchell (Bennett Holiday Sr.)  
    Tim Blake Nelson (Danny Dalton)  
    Ahmed AA Mohammed (Abu Khalifa)  
    Ahmed Ayoub (Pakistani teenager #1)  
    Mohammed Asad Khan (Pakistani teenager #2)  
    Atta Mohammed Saleh (Old man)  
    Aziz Zacca (Policeman)  
    David Clennon (Donald Farish III)  
    Omar Mostafa (The cleric)  
    Said Amadis (Reza Reyhani)  
    David J. Manners (Egypt bureau chief)  
    Jamil Jabbar (Supplicant)  
    Badria Timimi (Nasir's wife)  
    William Hurt (Stan [Goff])  
    Mohammed Majd (Said Hossein Hashimi)  
    Mark Strong (Mussawi)  
    Driss Roukhe (Guard)  
    Katherine Hoskins Mackey (Paralegal)  
    Linda E. Williams (Paralegal)  
    Susan Allenbach (Paralegal #1)  
    William L. Thomas (Paralegal #2)  
    El Mahjoub Raji (Hashimi's man)  
    Michael Stone Forrest (CIA security officer #1)  
    Bob Baer (CIA security officer #2)  
    Fritz Michel (Hotel security guard)  
    Bob Fajkowski (Secretary of defense)  
    Jeff Baker (Tommy's lawyer)  
    Tarik Tamzali (Nasir's secretary)  
    Mitesh Soni (Martyr)  
    Tootsie Duvall (Assistant at CIA)  
    Nabeel Noman (Bedouin leader)  
    Ryan Murphy (Drone tech)  
    Will McCormack (Willy)  
    Donna Mitchell (Pat Janus)  
    James Plannette (Connex functionary)  
    Michael Allinson (Sir David)  

Summary: In Tehran, Iran, CIA agent Bob Barnes, on a covert mission to assassinate two Iranian arms dealers, lures them into a trap by offering to sell them two Stinger missiles. Unknown to Bob, the dealers already have sold one of the missiles to militant fundamentalist Mohammed Sheik Agiza. At a deserted café, as Bob exhibits his wares to the dealers, the gun-wielding Agiza suddenly appears to claim the missile, and when Bob objects, Agiza takes the weapon by force. Meanwhile, in Georgetown, D.C., Dean Whiting, the head of a prestigious law firm hired by giant Connex Oil to ensure that the corporation's proposed merger with Killen Oil will be approved by the Justice Department, charges Bennett Holiday, an ambitious black attorney who works at the firm, with the responsibility of investigating how Killen, a small Texas oil company headed by Jimmy Pope, won the drilling rights to the lucrative fields in Kazakhstan. The approval of the merger is critical to Connex, which lost its long-held rights to drill in an oil-rich Persian emirate when the country’s foreign minister, Prince Nasir Al-Subaai, the son and heir of Emir Hamed Al-Subaai, awarded the rights to the higher bid of the People’s Republic of China. As a result of the company’s loss of its drilling rights in the Persian Gulf, Connex lays off the legion of Pakistani immigrants who have left their country to work in the oil fields. Among those affected are Wasim Ahmed Khan and his father Saleem, who despite the bleakness of his prospects, still dreams of bringing his wife from Pakistan to live with them. Upon returning to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, Bob rankles his superiors by sending memos regarding the urgency of finding the missing missile, a loss that, if publicized, could cause untold problems for the agency. To silence Bob, the agency decides to promote him to a desk job as head of the Iran Bureau, but Bob sabotages his job interview by criticizing the reform movement in Iran and its relationship with the Committee to Liberate Iran, the CLI, a group of powerful U.S. businessmen bent on overthrowing the fundamentalist government of Iran to gain control of the country’s oil fields. Because the CIA is also concerned about U.S. interests in the region, Bob's superior at the CIA sends Bob to assassinate Nasir, lying that Nasir has been funding the purchase of weapons to be used against the U.S. Before leaving, Bob meets with his college-age son Robby, who resents the rootless life his government agent parents have foisted upon him as a result of their work with the CIA. At the Emir’s estate in Marbella, Spain, Bryan Woodman, an analyst at an energy trading company in Geneva, arrives with his wife Julie and young sons Max and Riley. The Emir has invited Bryan to delineate his company’s proposition for maximizing the resources of the oil field. Disappointed when he discovers he will not be meeting with the Emir, but rather his emissaries, Bryan puts forth stale ideas that the emissaries have heard many times before. As night falls, the lights in the estate’s pool switch on, triggering an undetected short in the wiring. Soon after, Bryan’s son Max jumps into the water and is electrocuted. Max’s death wrenches apart the Woodman family, and Bryan finds himself estranged from his wife and other son and unable to function in his job. In the emirate, Wasim and his father are unable to find jobs and consequently are forced to report to immigration, where they are pushed and clubbed into submission by members of the military, who despise the Pakistani outsiders. In Washington, Bennett learns from Donald Farish III, his former law professor who is now an assistant attorney general, that the Justice Department has proof that Killen paid off someone for the rights to the Kazakhstan oil fields. Bennett, who knows his future with the firm depends on his uncovering any Killen improprieties, is being pressured by Whiting to find the person who served as the conduit for the bribe. Later, Whiting, determined to overturn the Chinese oil deal, visits the Emir’s younger son, Prince Meshal Al-Subaai. Meshal, who values his yachts and horses more than the welfare of his people, welcomes Whiting’s offer to assure his ascendancy to the throne in exchange for restoring Connex’s drilling rights. Meanwhile, Wasim, his face bruised from the beating, finds solace in the words of a cleric who teaches at the madrassa, or fundamentalist Islamic school. With his friend Farooq, Wasim listens as the cleric preaches that the Koran provides an antidote to the failures of Western liberal society. Later, Agiza approaches Wasim and Farooq at the school and recruits them to be suicide bombers. Feeling guilty for Max’s death, Prince Nasir, a compassionate ruler bent on reforming his country’s moribund oil economy, invites Bryan to Mecca to offer his firm the rights to develop a parcel of the oil field. Alienated and disillusioned, Bryan denounces the deal as stupid and accuses the emirate of squandering its wealth. When Nasir acknowledges Bryan’s criticism and asks his opinion, Bryan proposes that the country could save middle-man costs by building pipelines rather than transporting its oil on tankers. Impressed, Nasir later appoints Bryan to be his economic advisor. In Beirut, Bob contacts his field agent, Mussawi, to arrange for Nasir’s assassination. Bryan and Nasir also have come to Beirut on business, and their paths cross Bob's when they share a hotel elevator with him. After going to his room, Bob watches as Mussawi’s men arrive to kidnap Nasir. Instead of going to Nasir’s room, however, the men burst into Bob’s room, bind him with duct tape and shove him into a body bag, which they toss into their car trunk. Later, Bob is tethered to a chair in a grimy room, where Mussawi, who, unknown to Bob, has betrayed the CIA and now works for Iran, threatens to torture Bob unless he reveals the names of the people he has bribed over the course of his career. When Bob refuses, Mussawi pulls out his fingernails and is about to behead him when a representative from Said Hossein Hashimi, the head of Hezbollah who has guaranteed Bob’s safety in Beirut, suddenly appears and orders Bob freed. Bob revives from his ordeal and finds himself in the now-deserted room, while at the madrassa, Agiza shows Farooq and Wasim the stolen Stinger missile and demonstrates how to arm it. When Mussawi circulates the story that the CIA sent Bob to assassinate Nasir, the CIA decides to portray Bob as a rogue agent in order to debunk Mussawi’s accusation. After poring through mountains of files concerning Killen’s business deals, Bennett finally comes upon a wire transfer to an elite school in Switzerland attended by the children of a Kazakhstan official. Because the transfer was signed by Danny Dalton, a Texas oilman working with Danny Pope, and a member of the CLI, Bennett realizes that the document could appease the Justice Department by proving an illegal money link between Killen and Kazakhstan. Bennett then goes to inform his superior, Sydney Hewitt, Connex’s Washington counsel, who is attending a meeting of the CLI. Although they are relieved that in Dalton, they have found a scapegoat to end the Justice Department’s investigation into the merger, Connex president Tommy Barton and the other oil executives firmly believe that business feeds on corruption. In the Gulf, Nasir and Bryan’s dream of reform is derailed when Meshal and Whiting convince the Al-Subaai cousins to sue the Emir, demanding that he appoint Meshal as the new ruler, because Meshal will invalidate the Chinese contract and reinstate the oil rights to Connex. Bennett’s success at the law firm is also jeopardized when Farish informs him that the Justice Department will not approve the merger until they can indict a major executive at Connex or Killen, thus providing an illusion of due diligence on their part. Increasingly disillusioned by the cynicism of government and business, Bennett begins to understand why his father, whom he holds in contempt, has given up on the system and turned into a hopeless alcoholic. Upon returning to the United States, Bob is stonewalled by his superiors and denied access to CIA files and has his passport seized as he discovers that his loyalty is being questioned. Feeling betrayed, Bob visits Stan Goff, a former colleague at the CIA who became disillusioned with the agency and left to become an independent consultant. Stan, who has been looking into Bob’s betrayal by the CIA, explains that the CIA wants to eliminate Nasir because they are worried that he will not allow U.S. military bases in his country. Stan also reveals that the CIA has teamed with Whiting to ensure that Meshal, rather than Nasir, will be the new Emir. Outraged by his government’s collusion with big business to impact the political course of a country, Bob confronts Whiting, who coolly informs him that he has been used and lied to during his entire career at the agency. As Bob flies back to the emirate to warn Nasir, Nasir and Bryan meet with the emirate’s generals to convince them to support Nasir over Meshal. When the generals throw their support behind Nasir, a motorcade containing Nasir and his supporters drives to the palace to stop Meshal’s coronation. Bob, meanwhile, who has learned of the proceedings, tries to intercept Nasir along the highway before the CIA can assassinate him. In Texas, when Bennett informs Pope that the government approval of the merger depends on the indictment of a major oil official, Pope, aware that if the government investigation continues, they all could be indicted, decides to scapegoat Hewitt for making an illegal financial deal related to the merger. Meanwhile, after being informed by Agiza that the time has come for his suicide mission, Wasim goes to say goodbye to his father, who is unaware he will never see his son again. At the Connex-Killen loading facility in the Gulf, Connex executives celebrate the return of their company to the region. At the same time, CIA officials are monitoring Nasir’s motorcade on their spy satellite, and when they see the Bob’s vehicle speeding to intercept Nasir, they program a remote-controlled missile to home in on Nasir’s car. Just as Bob manages to stop the motorcade and reach Nasir’s car, the missile is triggered, rendering Nasir’s car into a pile of rubble and killing Nasir, his wife, his children and Bob. Bryan, who was being driven in a separate car, watches the conflagration in horror. At that moment, Bennett, Pope and Whiting are attending a tribute to Leland Janus, the CEO of Connex, who thanks Meshal, the new Emir, and acknowledges him as one of “Connex’s strategic friends.” In the Gulf, Wasim and Farooq arm their missile and aim their fishing boat directly at a Connex oil tanker. Afterward, the students at the Islamic school watch the video Wasim made before committing suicide, in which he declares “the next world is the true life.” As Bryan returns home to his wife and son, Bob’s files at his CIA office are being readied for storage. Upon returning home, Bennett finds his father waiting on the doorstep, and for the first time in his life, shows compassion for the old man. 

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
  Participant Productions  
  Section Eight  
  4M Film  
Production Text: A 4M Film
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Stephen Gaghan (Dir)
  Martin Kenzie (Dir, 2d aerial unit)
  Peter Bennett (1st asst dir, 2d aerial unit)
  Simon Warnock (1st asst dir)
  Rami Hyasin (1st asst dir, Dubai unit)
  Ahmed Hatimi (1st asst dir, Morocco unit)
  Alison Rosa (2d asst dir)
  Adrian Toynton (2d asst dir)
  Henry Tomlinson (2d asst dir, 2d aerial unit)
  Yann Mari Faget (2d asst dir, Morocco unit)
  Darwin Brooks (3rd asst dir, Overseas)
  Tarik Ait Ben Ali (3rd asst dir, Overseas)
  Kate Carver (3rd asst dir, 2d aerial unit)
  Pierre Lacourt (3rd asst dir, Geneva unit)
  Richard Goodwin (2d 2d asst dir, Overseas)
  Eric A. Pot (2d 2d asst dir, USA)
  Julian M. Brain (2d 2d asst dir, USA)
Producer: Jennifer Fox (Prod)
  Michael Nozik (Prod)
  Georgia Kacandes (Prod)
  George Clooney (Exec prod)
  Steven Soderbergh (Exec prod)
  Ben Cosgrove (Exec prod)
  Jeff Skoll (Exec prod)
  Sarah Bradshaw (Assoc prod)
  Elizabeth Kirkscey (Assoc prod)
  Shannon Lail (Assoc prod)
Writer: Stephen Gaghan (Wrt)
Photography: Robert Elswit (Dir of photog)
  Martin Kenzie (Dir of photog, 2d aerial unit)
  Adam Dale (Aerial dir of photog, 2d aerial unit)
  Colin Anderson (Cam op/Steadicam op)
  Thomas Loizeaux (Cam op, USA)
  David Morgan (Cam op, 2d aerial unit)
  Barry Idoine ("A" cam 1st asst)
  Oliver Loncraine ("A" cam 1st asst, 2d aerial unit)
  Jasmine Yuen-Carrucan ("A" cam 2d asst, Overseas)
  Will Dearborn ("A" cam 2d asst, USA)
  Ray Meere ("A" cam 2d asst, 2d aerial unit)
  Gregor Tavenner ("B" cam 1st asst)
  Spencer Murray ("B" cam 1st asst, 2d aerial unit)
  Daniel Villar Jorda ("B" cam 2d asst, Overseas)
  Mark Walpole ("B" cam 2d asst, USA)
  Kate Filby ("B" cam 2d asst, 2d aerial unit)
  Charlie Woodburn (Wescam, 1st AC, 2d aerial unit)
  Jim Plannette (Chief lighting tech, Overseas)
  Michael Bauman (Chief lighting tech, USA)
  Francesco Zaccaria (Asst chief lighting tech, Overseas)
  Michael Bonnaud (Asst chief lighting tech, USA)
  Crispin Dominic (Asst chief lighting tech, Dubai unit)
  Wes Sullivan (Rigging gaffer, USA)
  Tommaso Mele (Key grip, Overseas)
  Michael Kenner (Key grip, USA)
  Massimiliano Dessena (Best boy grip, Overseas)
  John P. Morris III (Best boy grip, USA)
  Clint Covey (Best boy grip, Dubai unit)
  Claudio Del Gobbo (Dolly grip, Overseas)
  Jeffrey Sherman Kunkel (Dolly grip, USA)
  David Presley (Video assist, Overseas)
  Alfred Ainsworth Jr. (Video assist, USA)
  Dave Kirman (Video asst, Morocco unit)
  Glen Wilson (Stills)
  Francois Duhamel (Stills)
  Ken Regan (Stills)
  Sidney R. Baldwin (Stills)
  Will Humphris (Loader, Overseas)
  Charlie Newberry (Loader, USA)
  Ben Greaves (2d boom op, Overseas)
  Michael Rayle (2d boom op, USA)
  Michael Sime (24 frame playback creation/Tech, USA)
  Sara-Jane Owen (24 frame playback creation, Overseas)
  Gavin McKenzie (24 frame playback creation, Overseas)
  Adrian Spanna (24 frame video playback, Dubai unit)
  Rhys Owen (24 frame video playback, Dubai unit)
  Marcello Colaciello (Genny op, Morocco unit)
  Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment, Inc. (Cam dollies)
Art Direction: Dan Weil (Prod des)
  Laurent Ott (Art dir, Overseas)
  Alan Hook (Art dir, USA)
  Andrew Menzies (Art dir, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Daran Fulham (Art dir, Dubai unit)
  Ilde Di Benedetto (Asst art dir, Dubai unit)
  Jana Evans (Art dept coord, Overseas)
  Anthony Defrancesco (Art dept asst, Batimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Pranali Diwadkar (Art dept asst, Dubai unit)
  Lionel Pouchard (Storyboard artist)
Film Editor: Tim Squyres (Ed)
  Ryan Murphy (1st asst ed)
  Sorin Iarovici (2d asst ed)
Set Decoration: Olivia Bloch-Laine (Set dec, Overseas)
  Jan Pascale (Set dec, USA)
  Marion Picard (Asst set dec, Overseas)
  Benoit Sanson (Asst set dec, Geneva unit)
  Paul Hedges Sr. (Prop master, Overseas)
  Phil Schneider (Prop master, USA)
  Kevin Kropp (Asst prop master, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Tanja Schaffenrath (Asst prop master, Dubai unit)
  Tony Nicholson (Leadperson, Overseas)
  Louise del Araujo (Leadperson, USA)
  Krissi Williamsen (Buyer, UK)
  Carl Catanese (Buyer, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Tiffany Zappulla (Buyer, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Deden Krouchi (Prod buyer, Overseas)
  Alexandra D'Ursel (Props buyer, Dubai unit)
  June Connon (On set dresser, Overseas)
  Jeff Pratt Gordon (On set dresser, USA)
  Christian Tobin (Set dresser, Overseas)
  William P. "Patio" Hendrick (Set dresser, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Eric Hunsaker (Set dresser, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Stephen G. Shifflette (Set dresser, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Mike Davis (Const coord, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Alain Darthou (Const coord, Dubai unit)
  Ray Barrett (Const coord, Morocco unit)
  Ronald J. Napier Jr. (Const lead foreman, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Francesca Gerlach (Standby painter, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  John Cloke (Standby painter, Morocco unit)
  Marguerite Ots (HOD painter, Morocco unit)
  Susanna Glattly (Charge scenic, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Kevin H. Harris (HOD carpenter, Morocco unit)
Costumes: Louise Frogley (Cost des)
  John C. Casey (Cost supv)
  Richard Schoen (Key cost)
  Johnetta Boone (Key cost, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Marina Marit (Key set cost)
  Barnaby Smith (Set cost)
  Deborah Binkley (Set cost)
  Neil McClean (Set cost, Overseas)
  Carolyn Marston (Set cost, Overseas)
  Mara Majorowicz (Set cost, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Nina Padovano (Cost, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Garet Reilly-Batchelor (Cost, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Karim Akallach (Cost, Morocco unit)
  Chafika El Khannous (Cost, Morocco unit)
  Laila Oumami (Cost, Morocco unit)
  Ajith Prera (Asst to cost des, Dubai unit)
  Dana Schondelmeyer (Asst to cost des, Morocco unit)
  Kay Devanthey (Cost buyer, Geneva unit)
Music: Alexandre Desplat (Mus)
  Nick Vidar (Mus ed)
  Dennis Sands (Score rec and mixed by)
  Djivan Gaspariyan (Duduk)
Sound: Petur Hliddal (Sd mixer)
  Carl Fischer (Boom op)
  Larry Blake (Supv sd ed/Re-rec mixer)
  Vanessa Lapato (Sd ed)
  Julie Feiner (Sd ed)
  Jeena Phelps (Sd ed)
  Jeff Sawyer (Sd ed)
  Mick Gormaley (Asst sd ed)
  Joe Schiff (Asst sd ed)
  Alicia Stevenson (Foley artist)
  Dawn Fintor (Foley artist)
  David Betancourt (Foley mixer)
  Swelltone Labs/New Orleans (Re-rec at)
  Widget Post/Los Angeles (Re-rec at)
Special Effects: Eric Durst (Visual eff supv)
  Trevor Wood (Spec eff coord, Overseas)
  Hank Atterbury (Spec eff coord, USA)
  Trevor Neighbour (Spec eff foreman, Overseas)
  Matt Veale (Asst spec eff tech, Overseas)
  Technicolor Digital Intermediates (Digital intermediate and opticals by)
  Stephen Nakamura (Digital film colorist)
  Pacific Title (Titles)
  Hy*Drau*Lx (Visual eff)
  Amalgamated Pixels (Visual eff)
Make Up: Chrissie Beveridge (Makeup dept head)
  Marilyn McDonald (Key makeup artist, Overseas)
  Candice Banks (Key makeup artist, Overseas)
  Barry R. Koper (Key makeup artist, USA)
  Terri Trupp (Makeup artist, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Lorraine Boushell (Makeup artist, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Maureen Hetherington (Makeup & hair artist, 2d aerial unit)
  Chrissie Beveridge (Makeup spec eff)
  Keith Vanderlaan (Prosthetics created by)
  Mary Kim (Prosthetics created by)
  Waldo Sanchez (Hair dept head)
  Kay Georgiou (Hair dept head)
  Petra Schaumann (Hair stylist, Overseas)
  Charmaine Henninger (Hair stylist, USA)
  Khalid El Alami (Hair & makeup asst, Morocco unit)
  Aicha El Mezaine (Hair & makeup asst, Morocco unit)
Production Misc: Lucinda Syson (Casting)
  Lora Kennedy (Casting)
  Avy Kaufmann (Casting)
  Kristy Carlson (Casting asst)
  Arlene Kiyabu (Casting asst)
  Amie Stephenson (Casting asst)
  Elizabeth Greenberg (Casting asst, New York)
  Juliette Menager (Casting, France)
  Nashwa Alruwani (Casting, Egypt)
  Pat Moran (Casting, Baltimore/Washington D.C.)
  Dagmar Wittmer (Extras casting, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Alia Al Shibli (Casting coord, Dubai unit)
  Philip N. Labib (Casting coord, Dubai unit)
  Linda Murphy (Casting coord, Dubai unit)
  Souhail Wilson (Casting coord, Dubai unit)
  Georgia Kacandes (Unit prod mgr)
  Karyn McCarthy (Unit prod mgr)
  Sarah Bradshaw (Unit prod mgr)
  Omar Chraibi (Unit mgr, Morocco unit)
  Francine Lusser (Unit mgr, Geneva unit)
  Caroline Velan (Unit base mgr, Geneva unit)
  Kevin Jenkins (Asst unit mgr, Dubai unit)
  David Murphy (Asst unit mgr, Dubai unit)
  Frederic Delaloye (Asst unit base mgr, Geneva unit)
  Amanda Confavreux (Prod mgr, Dubai unit)
  Mark Mostyn (Prod mgr, Morocco unit)
  Christopher Granier-Deferre (Prod mgr, Geneva unit)
  Gerard Monier (Prod mgr, Geneva unit)
  Tim Smythe (Prod supv, Dubai unit)
  Will Weiske (Prod supv, Dubai unit)
  Zak Alaoui (Prod supv, Morocco unit)
  Peter Mavromates (Post prod supv)
  Stephen McManus (Post prod asst)
  Brian Kohl (Post prod asst)
  Jessica Kumai Scott (Post prod asst)
  Daniel Pine (Post prod asst)
  Abazar Khayami (Post prod asst)
  Mary Cybulski (Scr supv)
  Elizabeth Kirkscey (Scr supv, 2d aerial unit)
  Louise De Cordoba (Financial controller)
  Kirby Adams (Key loc accountant)
  Ashifa Lalani (Loc accountant, Morocco unit)
  Jody Beaudin (Loc accountant, Geneva unit)
  Clare Cunningham (Asst prod accountant, Overseas)
  Dan Hillsdon (Asst prod accountant, Overseas)
  Cristiano D'Urso (Asst prod accountant, Overseas)
  James Linville (Asst prod accountant, USA)
  Kami Calevro (Asst prod accountant, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Tom Dames (Asst prod accountant, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Saundra Marie Ardito (Asst prod accountant, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Edward Poveda (Payroll accountant)
  John D. Vaughan (Budgeting estimator)
  Simone Goodridge (Key prod coord, Overseas)
  Kate Amer (Key prod coord, USA)
  Emily Lascelles (Prod coord, Morocco/Dubai)
  John Burton West (Prod coord, Los Angeles)
  Jo Slennett (Prod coord, UK)
  Debra Berriman (Prod coord, Dubai unit)
  Khadija Koulla (Prod coord, Morocco unit)
  Stephanie Dolker (Prod coord, Geneva unit)
  Tom Forbes (Prod secy, Overseas)
  Matthew Lee (Prod secy, UK)
  Chris Menke (Prod secy, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Nigel Nally (Prod secy, Morocco unit)
  Rob Harris (Unit pub)
  Samia Adnan (Dial coach)
  Urdu-Bikram Singh Bhamra (Dial coach)
  Shannon Burke (Consultant)
  Mid Foundation (Cultural consultation and translations)
  Hassan Al Sweidi (Cultural consultant)
  Aymen Khalifa (Cultural consultant)
  Stephen MacSearraigh (Tech consultant)
  Dr. Jack G. Shaheen (Tech consultant)
  Stuart Stevens (Tech consultant)
  Michael Knox Beran (Tech consultant)
  Graham Kelly (Action vehicles supv, Overseas)
  Ron Oakley (Action vehicle coord, Dubai unit)
  Greg Campbell (Action vehicles coord, Morocco unit)
  Kawtar Bellfquih (Action vehicle secy, Morocco unit)
  Ahmed Benjlil (Action vehicle finder, Morocco unit)
  Said Errifaai (Action vehicle/Marine asst, Morocco unit)
  Gerry Gore (Transportation coord, Overseas)
  Michael Luckeroth (Transportation coord, USA)
  Gilbert Young (Transportation coord, USA)
  Roy Clarke (Transportation capt, Overseas)
  Rick Cochin (Transportation capt, USA)
  Chris Webb (Transportation capt, Dubai unit)
  Ali Bakkioui (Transportation capt, Morocco unit)
  Gerard Cavat (Transportation capt, Geneva unit)
  Adil Miftah (Transport asst, Morroco unit)
  Khalid Ameskane (Transport asst, Morroco unit)
  Ian Creed (Marine coord, Overseas)
  Daniel F. Malone (Marine coord, USA)
  Matt O'Connor (Asst marine coord, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Darren Bailey (Marine supv, Morocco unit)
  Joel Bailey (Boat supv, Morocco unit)
  Clint Bailey (Boat supv, Morocco unit)
  Lance Palmer (Boat supv, Morocco unit)
  Lee Murphy (Boat supv, Morocco unit)
  Dave Shaw (Dive safety supv, Morocco unit)
  Guy Drayton (Safety diver, Morocco unit)
  Peter McClue (Safety diver, Morocco unit)
  Peter Hardcourt (Safety diver, Morocco unit)
  Alex Krimm (Water safety/EMT, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Gareth Jones (Security coord)
  Houda Jabrane (Unit doctor, Morocco unit)
  Ruth Nicol (Unit nurse, Overseas)
  Heather Thomas-Hughes (Unit nurse, 2d aerial unit)
  Hakima Hammadi (Unit nurse, Morocco unit)
  Kevin Dugard (Set medic, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Evelyn S. Farkas (Set medic, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Peter Titterell (Catering supv, Overseas)
  Tomkats (Caterer, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Byrne Catering (Catering, Dubai unit)
  Premier Catering (Catering, Morocco unit)
  Overland Catering (Catering, Geneva unit)
  Jane Bard (Craft service, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Dylan Ashbrook (Asst to Jennifer Fox)
  Raf Green (Asst to Stephen Gaghan)
  Meredith Keleigh Slaight (Asst to Stephen Gaghan)
  Colin O'Hara (Asst to Matt Damon)
  Angel McConnell (Asst to George Clooney)
  Catherine Tyler (Staff asst, set, Overseas)
  Douglas Carter (Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Virginia Geckler (Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Joshua C. Hersko (Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Elizabeth Macswan (Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Maureen E. McEvoy (Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Melissa Morgan (Staff asst, set, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Rich Beierlein (Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Melissa Demino (Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  D'Etta Galloway (Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Peter Morgan (Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Derek Wade (Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Muna Otaru (Staff asst, office, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Ayesha Chagla (Staff asst, office, Dubai unit)
  Gaspard Hirschi (Staff asst, office, Geneva unit)
  Aurelie Mertenat (Staff asst, office, Geneva unit)
  Faical Hajji (Staff asst, Morocco unit)
  My Elmahdi El Atlass (Staff asst, Morocco unit)
  S. Todd Christensen (Key loc mgr, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Michael Sharp (Key loc mgr, Dubai unit)
  John Latenser V (Loc mgr, Washington, D.C.)
  Simon Crook (Unit loc mgr, Dubai unit)
  Ben Rimmer (Loc mgr, 2d aerial unit)
  Christian McWilliams (Loc mgr, Morocco unit)
  Hamid Zoughi (Loc mgr, Morocco unit)
  Philippe Coeytaux (Loc mgr, Geneva unit)
  Reyha Young (Key loc asst, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Caprice Ericson (Key loc asst, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Saddam Badreddine (Asst loc mgr, Dubai unit)
  Ammar Yasser (Asst loc mgr, Dubai unit)
  Mohamad Al Nassani (Asst loc mgr, Dubai unit)
  Adil Abdelwahab (Asst loc mgr, Morocco unit)
  Serge Musy (Asst loc mgr, Geneva unit)
  Mohammed Benhamane (Loc scout, Morocco unit)
  Fares Rabah (Loc asst, Dubai unit)
  Sayed Mansoor (Loc asst, Dubai unit)
  Talal Al Mobaid (Loc asst, Dubai unit)
  Abdul Al Azez Mohamad (Loc asst, Dubai unit)
  Mohammed Abdulkader (Loc asst, Dubai unit)
  Brian Cooper (Asst prod office coord, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Ginny Galloway Wyman (Asst prod office coord, Baltimore & Washington, D.C. unit)
  Madeleine Ehrenborg (Asst prod office coord, Geneva unit)
  Marc Wolff (Aerial coord/Specialist pilot, 2d aerial unit)
  Christopher Lopez (Helicopter tech)
  Nasser Ahmed (Liaison officer, Dubai unit)
Stand In: Steve Dent (Stunt coord)
  Andy Smart (Stunts)
  Bruce Cain (Stunts)
  David Garrick (Stunts)
  Matthew Sampson (Stunts)
  Neil Smith (Stunts)
  Peter White (Stunts)
  Lenny Woodcock (Stunts)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: "Train" and "Church Scene," from The Outsiders , written by Carmine Coppola.
Songs: “Let Da Monkey Out,” written by Reggie Noble, Erick Sermon and Johnny Guitar Watson, performed by Redman, courtesy of The Island Def Jam Music Group, under license from Universal Music Enterprises, contains samples from “If I Had the Power,” performed by Johnny Guitar Watson, courtesy of Concord Music Group, Inc.; “Chinatown,” written and performed by Do Make Say Think, courtesy of Constellation Records; “Wasp Nest,” written by Matthew Donald Berninger and Aaron Brooking Dessner, performed by The National, courtesy of Brassland.
Composer: Do Make Say Think
  Matthew Donald Berninger
  Carmine Coppola
  Aaron Brooking Dessner
  Reggie Noble
  Erick Sermon
  Johnny Guitar Watson
Source Text: Based on the book See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism by Robert Baer (New York, 2002).
Authors: Robert Baer

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc. 8/2/2006 dd/mm/yyyy PA0001279010

PCA NO: 42061
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital; dts; SDDS Sony Dynamic Digital Sound in selected theatres
  col: Technicolor; Kodak Motion Picture Products; Fujifilm
  Lenses/Prints: Panavision cameras and lenses

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Political
  with songs
Subjects (Major): Assassination
  Business ethics
  Fathers and sons
  Middle East
  Persian Gulf
  Political corruption
  United States. Central Intelligence Agency
Subjects (Minor): African Americans
  Americans in foreign countries
  Beirut (Lebanon)
  Oil refineries
  Oil tankers
  Religious schools
  Terrorists and terrorism
  Washington (D.C.)

Note: The film’s opening onscreen credits are intercut with images of Pakistani immigrants milling around in a desert as they push their way onto a bus. Toward the end of the film, the screen goes white when “Wasim Ahmed Khan” and “Farooq” slam into the tanker with the missile. Although the plot of Syriana unfolds in approximate chronological order, the various storylines are interwoven, with the action switching back and forth among them.
       Syriana was very loosely based on the 2002 book See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism by Robert Baer, who, under the name Bob Baer, also has a small role in the film as a security guard. The memoir chronicles Baer’s experiences working in the Middle East as a case officer for the Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Operations from 1976--1997. According to presskit materials in the film’s production file at the AMPAS Library, after optioning the rights to Baer’s book, George Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh approached Stephen Gaghan, who wrote the screenplay for Soderbergh’s 2001 film Traffic (see below), about writing a screenplay based on the book. According to a quote by Gaghan in the presskit, he became interested in the machinations of the oil industry while working on Traffic , because, at that time, “the Pentagon’s anti-terrorism and anti-narcotics branches were the same division." While researching Traffic , Gaghan began to notice parallels between the trafficking of drugs and the power plays of the oil industry.
       According to Gaghan, the only thing he retained from Baer’s book was the idea that the main character was a CIA agent who had worked in the Middle East for most of his career. The presskit noted that Gaghan researched Syriana for a year before starting the screenplay, speaking with petroleum industry personnel in Lebanon, Syria, Dubai, North Africa, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Baer also accompanied Gaghan to the Middle East, where he introduced him to oil traders, CIA operatives, arms dealers and the leader of the Islamic movement Hezbollah. The word “Syriana” is a term used by Washington think-tanks to describe a hypothetical reshaping of the Middle East. Gaghan noted that he selected the title Syriana for his screenplay because it refers to the “fallacious dream that you can successfully remake nation-states in your own image.”
       According to various articles reprinted on Clooney’s personal website, the original version of Syriana ran two and a half hours. After it was shown to test audiences, a decision was made to tighten up the storyline and shorten the length of the film. Jul 2004 news items in DV and HR yield the following information about the material that was cut: According to the news items and a preliminary script review featured on the Clooney website, in one of the story lines cut from the released film, Michelle Monaghan portrayed “Mary Alice Johnson,” a beauty pageant queen who becomes the lover of “Raja Salaam,” an oil magnate working with the royal family. Chris McDonald played Mary Alice’s father. In another story line eliminated from the released film, Greta Scacchi played “Bob Barnes's” embittered wife. According to a DV news item and HR production chart published in Aug 2004, Dagmara Domincyk was cast, but she does not appear in the released film. Although the preliminary script review noted that Gina Gershon was in the cast, Gershon does not appear in the released film.
       Syriana was a production of Section Eight, a company partnered by Soderbergh and Clooney. According to a Jan 2005 NYT article, Clooney and Soderbergh pitched their idea for forming Section Eight to Warner Brothers Pictures, which was seeking producers with potential “Oscar cachet.” In 2000, Warners gave the team an office on the lot as well as paid their overhead costs. Syriana was co-financed by Participant Productions, a production company founded by eBay co-founder Jeff Skoll in Jan 2004 to “stimulate involvement in social issues,” according to a 15 Nov 2005 LAT article. According to the company’s mission statement on its website, “Participant exists to tell compelling, entertaining stories that also create awareness of the real issues that shape our lives. We seek to entertain our audiences first, then to invite them to participate in making a difference next.” To this end, Participant has established a website entitled In conjunction with the release of Syriana , the website features a series of links to other sites dealing with topics such as “learning how to reduce your dependence on oil” and “telling Congress it’s time for an oil change.”
       According to the presskit, location shooting in the United States was done at the 777 Ranch in Hondo, TX, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore and Annapolis, MD. Overseas location filming took place in Casablanca, Morocco, which stood in for Tehran and Beirut; and Geneva, Switzerland at the English Garden on the left bank of Lake Geneva and at the Cimetière des Rois, where “Max Woodman’s” funeral was shot. The company filmed for four weeks in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, where The Royal Mirage Hotel stood in for the Marbella Estate home of the “Emir,” and the Al-Maha Resort served as the setting for “Nasir’s” meeting with “Bryan Woodman.” To insure authenticity, a team of translators and dialect coaches were hired to tutor the actors in the Arabic, Urdu and Farsi dialects used in the film.
       Syriana marked the American screen debut of actor Mazhar Munir, who played “Wasim.” The film also marked the motion picture debut of journalist Jon Lee Anderson, the correspondent who covered the Iraq war for The New Yorker . Soderbergh, Clooney and Matt Damon had previously worked together on Ocean’s Eleven (2001), Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) and Ocean’s Twelve (2004), all Section Eight productions.
       In addition to being selected as one of AFI’s ten Movies of the Year for 2005, Syriana received two Academy Award nominations, one for Clooney, who received the award for Best Supporting Actor, and the other Gaghan, who was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Gaghan won the National Board of Review’s award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America award for Best Adapted Screenplay. In addition, Gaghan and Baer were nominated for a USC Scripter Award. Clooney received the Golden Globe for Supporting Actor as well as a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. The film also was nominated for a Golden Globe for Original Score (Alexandre Desplat). 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   6 Jul 2004.   
Daily Variety   2 Aug 2004   p. 6, 24.
Daily Variety   21 Nov 2005.   
Entertainment Weekly   2 Dec 2005   pp. 28-33.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Jul 2004   p. 6, 13.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Jul 2004   p. 5, 21.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Aug 2004.   
Hollywood Reporter   23 Sep 2004.   
Hollywood Reporter   21 Nov 2005.   
The Independent   25 Nov 2004.   
Los Angeles Times   15 Nov 2005.   
Los Angeles Times   23 Nov 2005.   
New York Times   17 Jan 2005.   
New York Times   23 Nov 2005.   
New York Times   7 Dec 2005   Arts, p. 1, 7.
USAToday   10 Dec 2005.   
Variety   11 Dec 2003.   

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.