Pool hustling isn't everything it used to be, but Joe (Chazz Palminteri) a shady pool hustler well-past his prime, is obsessed with the game and is willing to use anyone to get what he wants - especially his young protégé Johnny (Mars Callahan). In the tradition of The Hustler, Gold Circle Films presents a Mars Callahan film, the story of a young pool shark who wants to shoot straight and become the best professional pool player.
Joe is convinced that Johnny could be one of the best hustlers ever, but Johnny dreams of a better life and knows that Joe is holding him back After fifteen years playing Joe's angles, Johnny's sick of the con and wants to leave the hustle behind. After discovering Joe's underhanded and self-serving manipulations Johnny finally has the guts to leave Joe. But "payback's a bitch" and Joe won't be taken so easily.
On his own, Johnny quickly discovers the tedium of the "real" world and a life without pool. After trudging to work at a series of loser day jobs, Johnny is miserable and bored, and itches to have his cue in hand again. Through his law student girlfriend, Tara (Alison Eastwood), who loves Johnny but not the games he plays, he meets wealthy lawyer Mike (Christopher Walken) who becomes a fan of Johnny's game. Without Joe in his life, Johnny's "family" consists of the guys he knows from his favorite pool hall. Lonely for action, he finds himself spending most of his time there. Central to the pool hall is his younger brother Danny (Michael Rosenbaum) who, along with an entourage of good-for-laughs-die-for-you best friends, is attempting to follow in Johnny's footsteps.
Meanwhile Joe is bent on revenge for Johnny's defiance and now he has a new protégé Brad (Rick Schroder), who is just as good, if not better than Johnny. Joe's got his eye on hustling Danny and his friends. Soon, Brad and Danny are playing a high-stakes game of pool ending with Danny owing Joe a huge sum of money, with no way to pay him. Desperate for cash, Danny enacts a heist to pay off Joe, but everything goes wrong and soon Johnny finds his brother in jail.
With options and time running out, Johnny must make a final stand against his former mentor, Joe and the result is a "race to nine" showdown with Brad "the pro". The stakes are high - with Johnny's future, Mike's bankroll, Danny's bail money, and of course, the "love of a good woman" all on the table!
CHAZZ PALMINTERI (Joe)
Chazz Palminteri is one of the stalwart actors of American film having begun his prestigious career in 1984 with the small film Home Free All. From that small feature film role, he grew to become one of the legends of the film industry, working in such major films as A Bronx Tale, The Perez Family, The Usual Suspects, Mulholland Falls, Hurlyburly, Analyze This and of course the voice of Smokey the Alley Cat, in the animated film Stuart Little. His creative talents were further explored, as he branched into screenwriting with A Bronx Tale and directing with the television series Oz.
RICK SCHRODER (Brad)
Rick Schroder broke into the motion picture industry in the smash film The Champ in 1979 and hasn't stopped since. Two feature films immediately followed, The Last Flight of Noah's Ark and The Earthling. Since then Rick has made the transition from child star to full-fledge movie and television star appearing in the acclaimed mini-series Lonesome Dove and most recently starring in the acclaimed television series NYPD Blue as "Detective Danny Sorenson". Poolhall Junkies marks a return to feature films for Mr. Schroder.
ROD STEIGER (Nick)
He was offered the title role in the movie Patton but refused it saying, "I'm not going to glorify war". The role passed to George C Scott, who received the academy award. Steiger called it the "dumbest career move" he ever made. Rod Steiger became an acting legend on both stage and screen. He earned his first Oscar nomination in 1954 for On the Waterfront and a second nomination for The Pawnbroker in 1965. He won the coveted award playing the gum chewing, redneck Southern sheriff opposite Sidney Poitier in The Heat of the Night. Other films include Dr. Zhivago, No Way to Treat a Lady, W.C. Fields and Me, The Chosen, The Player and many others.
MICHAEL ROSENBAUM (Danny)
Michael Rosenbaum made his motion picture debut in the acclaimed film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil as George Tucker. Since then, he has made his mark as one of the hottest young television stars on the WB Network's Smallville playing Lex Luther. Other feature films include Sweet November, Eddie Eyeball and Urban Legend.
MARS CALLAHAN (Johnny)
Mars Callahan originally wrote Poolhall Junkies as a vehicle for himself to star as "Danny, the younger brother. After ten years of hard work and perseverance to get the film made, Mars stars as "Johnny the older brother, a fact he laughs about as he describes the odyssey of writing, starring and directing a film. He is best known as an accomplished actor in such films as That Thing You Do!, a comedy written and directed by Academy Award Winner Tom Hanks and starring Live Tyler and Charlize Theron; Kalifornia, starring Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis and David Duchovny; and Clifford. Mars Callahan has made numerous guest appearances on such hit television shows as ER, The Wonder Years, Growing Pains and starred in television features I Know My First Name is Steven and Children of Times Square.
ALISON EASTWOOD (Tara)
Alison Eastwood made her debut appearance as an orphan in the film Bronco Billy starring her father, actor/director Clint Eastwood. The experience served to whet her appetite and in her early teens she appeared in the film Tightrope. In 1997 Alison took on her first adult role in the thriller Absolute Power and broke into the public consciousness in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil starring Kevin Spacey. Her love of edgy, innovative roles has cast her in such independent films as Just a Little Harmless Sex, Breakfast of Champions and How to Go Out On a Date in Queens.
CHRISTOPHER WALKEN (Mike)
Many of Christopher Walken's most compelling screen turns have been as evil characters, or tragic victims haunted by unnamable terrors. His shocking role in The Deer Hunter in 1978 won him a Supporting Actor Oscar. His chilling performances in films such as The Dead Zone and the James Bond thriller A View to a Kill have left audiences with the indelible view of Christopher Walken as an evil character. But his creative range also includes such compassionate performances in the telex feature Sarah, Plain and Tall opposite Glenn Close and the comedic eccentric drill sergeant in Biloxi Blues. He has starred in such memorable films as Pulp Fiction, Batman Returns, King of New York, Annie Hall, Greenwich Village, The Milagro Beanfield War, Roseland, Wayne's World 2 and True Romance.
MARS CALLAHAN (Director and Writer)
In real life Mars Callahan is an accomplished pool player who met co-writer Chris Corso in a pool hall where each was trying to, hustle the other. After a bitterly contested game (neither will tell who actually won) the two became best friends. Swapping war stories about their mutual experiences playing pool, the two decided to write a script based on their observations. Two weeks after the script was completed it was optioned by Lou Diamond Phillips' production company. But in Hollywood, nothing comes easy. The script sat on the shelf, was re-optioned by another production company, but still could not find all the elements to get from script to screen. It would take ten years to bring Poolhall Junkies to the big screen. Finally tired of the various failed attempts at finding a cast and director, Mars took the proverbial bull by the horns and decided to direct the film himself. He sent the script to Christopher Walken who, after reading the script, immediately called Mars to tell him he wanted to be a part of the project. Having Christopher on board gave Mars the clout to approach other established actors such as Chazz Palminteri who instantly agreed to join the cast after reading the script. In Poolhall Junkies Mars co-wrote, directed and stars, an anomaly in type-casting prone Hollywood. Other writing credits include Double Down.
CHRIS CORSO (Writer)
Poolhall Junkies marks Chris' first feature film screen credit, though he is credited with writing several television pilots including Simply Sterling and Sour Moose Crossing. He is an accomplished actor starring in such films as Roller Blade Warriors: Taken by Force starting Jack Damon, Chris Roth and Kathleen Kimont and directed by Donald G. Jackson. He also appeared in the hilarious comedy First Nudie Musical starring Cynthia Williams and Bruce Kimmel.
TUCKER TOOLEY (Producer)
Tucker Tooley has produced several motion pictures along with producer/partner Vincent Newman through his company Newman/Dooley Films. Prior to founding Newman/Tooley films, Mr. Tooley had extensive involvement in the development, production and distribution of ten feature films. He began his career with the InterTalent Agency of Beverly Hills and later joined Interlight Pictures as head of development. In 1996, Mr. Tooley went out on his own and Executive Produced his first feature film, Andre Sekula's Fait Accompli starring Rosanna Arquette and Michael Madsen. His credits through Newman/Tooley Films include Diablo for New Line Cinema starring Van Diesel and Timothy Oliphant; In the Shadows starring James Caan, Matthew Modine, Joey Lauren Adams and Cuba Gooding, Jr.; Sol Goode starring Balthazar Getty, Tori Spelling and Jonathan Schaech; A Better Way to Die, The Last Marshall and Sound Man.
VINCENT NEWMAN (Producer)
Prior to co-founding Newman/Tooley Film, Mr. Newman served as a private consultant in communications, government relations and capital development, representing various non-profit sector organizations. In this capacity, Mr. Newman raised in excess of $40 million from the private sector and wrote and produced two documentary films Eye of a Woman's Soul and Walking in Two Worlds. Newman/Tooley was formed in the spring of 1997 and has produced several motion pictures including A Better Way to Die starring Andre Braugher, Joey Pantoliano and Lou Diamond Phillips; The Last Marshall starring Scott Glenn and William Forsythe; Soundman starring Nick Stahl and William Forsythe as well as Diablo, In the Shadows and Sol Goode.
KAREN BENINATI (Producer)
Karen Beninati started her entertainment career in front of the camera. Working as a fashion model for seven years from 1991 to 1998, Karen left modeling in 1998 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of producing feature films.
Starting at the bottom she began as an intern for the Michelle Company, and learned the art of selling finished films. In 1999, Karen started working for the Hirsch Company, a leading representative of international distribution companies. Here she worked as a liaison between the major Hollywood studios and international distribution companies. Karen's first project is the feature film Poolhall Junkies.
After finishing Poolhall Junkies, Karen formed High Maintenance Films, Inc. with well-respected commercial producer, David Moore. In the short time the have been operating, they have managed to complete a short for Fox Searchlight called Behind, written by Gordy Hoffman (winner 2002 Sundance Screenwriting Award) and directed by David Brooks.
NORM WAITT (Executive Producer)
One of the co-founders of Gateway Computers, Norm Waitt founded Gold Circle Films in March 2000 and has quickly built a reputation as one of the most aggressive independent film companies in the business. Mr. Waitt's feature film credits include Executive Producing the upcoming motion picture Sonny marking Nicolas Cage's directorial debut and starring James Franco, Brenda Blethyn, Harry Dean Stanton and Nicolas Cage; The Badge starring Billy Bob Thornton and Patricia Arquette; The Man From Elysian Fields starring Andy Garcia, Mick Jagger, Julianna Marguiles, Olivia Williams and James Coburn; Double Whammy starring Denis Leary, Elizabeth Hurley and Steve Buscemi; Tempted starting Burt Reynolds, Saffron Burrows and Peter Facinelli; Strange Hearts starring Robert Forster, Rose McGowan, Kip Pardue and Harry Hamlin as well as the television documentary Stand and Be Counted.
ROBERT MORRIS (Director of Photography)
Mr. Morris cut his teeth as a Director of Photography in the motion picture Hate starring David Schneider and Paul Hungerford and directed by Drew Daywalt and David Schneider. Poolhall Junkies marks his second feature film as the proverbial bottom of the ladder as electrician and gaffer learning and honing his skills to reach the position he has today.
Information provided courtesy of Rogers & Cowan