Phone Booth

Phone Booth
Photo: ©2002 20th Century Fox

Director(s): Joel Schumacher

Writer(s): Larry Cohen

Cast: , , Forest Whitaker, Radha Mitchell and

Release Date(s)

Apr 4, 2003 - Wide

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Director Joel Schumacher filmography includes some big budget special effects films like Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. With his recent Tigerland, and now Phone Booth, Schumacher has put himself into a low-budget environment. With no whiz-bang effects, and tight shooting schedules, these recent film forays have forced Schumacher to concentrate on strong stories and his actors’ abilities to tell them.

“I’ve been trying to figure out how to do a movie inside a phone booth for twenty years,” says writer Larry Cohen. “It’s a unique place to be trapped – right in the middle of the city, surrounded by thousands of people. I imagined a scenario in which you couldn’t get out of the phone booth, that it would become like a glass coffin. You’re in plain view of everybody else and no one knows that you’re being terrorized inside this phone booth. The ultimate trap.”

Cohen feels that Schumacher was the perfect director. “Joel is the perfect director for this film,” says Cohen. “He has a great camera eye — a great eye for design. And he is an actor’s director, which is critical because the role of Stu Shepard is a great acting challenge for any actor because he must sustain our interest and the action for the entire movie.”

The director handpicked Colin Farrell, who had worked with the helmer on Tigerland, to play the role of Stu Shepard. “In Tigerland, Colin played a very reluctant hero,” says Schumacher. “In Phone Booth, he plays a very reluctant victim. “Colin, who’s Irish, can do anything, including any accent — Southern in Tigerland, a neutral American inflection in Minority Report and a Bronx accent as Stu” — adds Schumacher. “And Phone Booth is a tour de force for him; he’s in every second of the movie.

The young Irish actor was eager to work with the veteran helmer “The story really moved, it was a real page-turner,” says Farrell. “But it’s more than a big thriller; it explores a complex character’s life-and-death struggle for redemption while undergoing this terrifying ordeal.”

For the role of the sniper, Schumacher turned to an actor he was very familiar with, Kiefer Sutherland. The actor had worked with the director three times before on Lost Boys, Flatliners and A Time to Kill. “Kiefer’s a superb actor, with a staggeringly compelling voice necessary for the character of the caller,” notes Schumacher.

Read our review.