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ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FREDDIE FIELDS has distinguished himself in virtually every area of the entertainment industry. During his career he has founded and operated one of the world's largest talent agencies, served as the president of a major motion picture studio, and produced a gallery of feature films showcasing some of Hollywood's finest artists.

Fields' producing accomplishments include "Looking for Mr. Goodbar," directed by Richard Brooks and starring Diane Keaton; "American Gigolo," written and directed by Paul Schrader and starring Richard Gere; "Victory," directed by John Huston and starring Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Pele; "Lipstick;" the critically acclaimed "Citizen's Band;" and "Fever Pitch," directed by Richard Brooks and starring Ryan O'Neal. In addition, Fields presented the remarkable drama, "The Year of Living Dangerously," directed by Peter Weir and starring Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt.

In addition to "Poltergeist II," Fields' credits as an executive producer now include "American Anthem," directed by Albert Magnoli and starring Mitch Gaylord. He is currently producing the motion picture adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, "Crimes of the Heart," which Bruce Beresford will direct starring Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard.

Prior to entering film production, Fields founded Creative Management Associates (CMA), which flourishes today as International Creative Management (ICM). Fields' roster of talent at CMA included Robert Redford, Al Pacino, Paul Newman, Robert DeNiro, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand, Jacqueline Bisset, Liza Minnelli, Steve McQueen, and such renowned directors as Arthur Penn, Steven Spielberg, Bob Fosse, Mel Brooks, Sidney Pollack, George Lucas, Francis Coppola and George Roy Hill.

"Towering Inferno," "Dog Day Afternoon," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "Papillon," "The Sting," "American Graffiti," "Star Wars," and "The Godfather" are just a few of the dozens of major motion pictures which were "packaged" under Fields' guidance during his years with CMA.

As representative for the legendary Judy Garland, Fields presented and produced her virtuoso concert at Carnegie Hall and the resulting double album, which went double-platinum.

Fields also conceived and created the First Artists Production Company with clients Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and Dustin Hoffman, thereby forming the first independent cooperative film company in some fifty years.

In 1981, Fields was named President of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Co.'s motion picture production division. After serving for a year in that capacity for MGM/UA Entertainment Co., he became President and Chief Executive Officer of MGM Film Co. During his tenure, MGM enjoyed the success of such films as "WarGames," "Octopussy," "A Christmas Story," and "Rocky III."

Fields serves of the Board of Directors of the American Film Institute (AFI) as well as the Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Filmex).

WRITERS-PRODUCERS MICHAEL GRAIS and MARK VICTOR are making their motion picture producing debut with "Poltergeist II." These long-time collaborators are the sole writers of the film's screenplay, which continues the frightening tale of a family besieged by the forces of darkness first told in "Poltergeist."

Close friends since childhood, Victor and Grais began their careers with scripts for such popular television series as "Baretta," "Starsky and Hutch," and "Kojak." Their first motion picture screenplay to be produced was "Death Hunt," released in 1981 starring Charles Bronson.

Asked by Steven Spielberg to write "Poltergeist" after spending an evening trading ghost stories at the filmmaker's home, Victor and Grais ultimately co-wrote the script with Spielberg. In 1984, studio executives approached the writing team again in the hope they would consider a follow-up to their chilling hit.

"Friends told us they wanted to see a new film," explains Grais, "and we were interested in continuing the story of the original characters. Had any one of the original cast members backed out, the project probably would have fallen apart."

"Our decision to write the script around the same family was a gamble, since JoBeth, Craig, the kids and Zelda were not under contract to do a sequel," explains Victor. "And because it's a continuation of the first film, this has been an ambitious and demanding project from the very beginning."

Their emergence as producers of the film is a logical progression, it seems, since both Victor and Grais believe that "the vision of a movie is really the combination of the vision of the writer and the director." And writers are seldom asked to participate in the selection of a director.

Obviously, Brian Gibson's vision was closest to the one shared by Grais, Victor and executive producer Freddie Fields for the creation of "Poltergeist II." Today, the new hyphenates call their first producing experience as "the thrill of a lifetime for us 末 it has been a great experience," says Grais.

With various new motion picture projects in development, Victor and Grais have a new ambition 末 "to develop our screenplays with directors, as much as possible." They intend to continue to write many, if not all, of their motion picture projects, and have recently agreed to develop television projects for MGM as well.

For the moment, however, both Grais and Victor really have only one thing on their minds 末 "Poltergeist II."

"We have great special effects. We have a lot of scares that are really gonna work for the audience. We have the humanity that the first movie had, and we've added a new, spiritual quality as well. There are a lot of expectations out there, and we think they'll be fulfilled," Victor concludes.

DIRECTOR BRIAN GIBSON is making his American motion picture debut with "Poltergeist II." His previous accomplishments include the musical New Wave cult hit, "Breaking Glass," which was released in the United States in 1983.

Described by executive producer Freddie Fields as "the director with the greatest passion for the material," Gibson was one of four directors who expressed interest in the project after reading the script. Yet it was not until after a meeting with Fields, producers Victor and Grais, and JoBeth Williams that Gibson himself realized just how strongly he felt about making "Poltergeist II."

"It had been a long meeting, and I decided to take a walk and get some air," Gibson recalls. "I began thinking about everything we had talked about, and it just suddenly struck me that this was really a film I wanted to make 末 it was no longer hypothetical, but something I really wanted."

A British native, Gibson trained to become a doctor before entering the entertainment industry as a medical and scientific documentary filmmaker for the BBC. Along with several colleagues, Gibson produced the acclaimed British series, "Horizon," which later spawned the award-winning documentary series, "Nova."

In 1976, Gibson received his first British Academy Award for "Joey," a documentary filmed for "Horizon" which later aired on "Nova" as well. In 1980, his acclaimed "Blue Remembered Hills" was named Best Television Play of the Year by the British Academy.

Following the making of "Breaking Glass," Gibson began to write and direct for American television as well. One of his first accomplishments was "Gossip in the Forest," which won a Silver Medal at the New York Television Film Festival.

His invitation to join the "Poltergeist II" team did not cone as a complete surprise to Gibson, as he explains.

"In February, 1983, while I was in New York, a friend introduced me to Jill Cook, a psychic. At that time, of course, I was very skeptical, since my background was in documentaries about scientific facts based solely on empirical evidence. But I was intrigued, so I agreed to a reading, which we recorded."

Cook predicted that in late 1984, Gibson would receive a script "out of the blue" for a film he would ultimately direct. And while she did not name the project, Gibson did in fact receive one somewhat unexpectedly in November, 1984 末 "Poltergeist II."

By that time, Gibson and Cook had become friends, and throughout the busy months that preceded the start of production, he had occasion to talk to her by telephone at her home in Florida. Her predictions included the selection of Will Sampson, whom she named, and of another she did not name who would survive a serious illness only long enough to complete his work in the film.

"Today, I know there are things that are beyond evidence. Things that have to do with perspective, and with faith and belief, that you can't necessarily find hard evidence of. That's the nature of them 末 that's what they're for. They're there to challenge what we believe in," Gibson observes.

"Over ninety-five percent of our work on this film took place on the sound stage," explains DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY ANDREW LASZLO, "inside and outside the house, within the cave, and out in the desert. Had we attempted to film all of this on actual location, we would not have had the control necessary for the unusual action required for our special effects, nor would we have been able to give the film the larger than life quality we were looking for.

Above all else, the most important thing was to give the film a very special look 末 serving the dictates of the story and making it believable, while at the same time a bit larger than life 末 and I think that is what we've achieved."

Laszlo began his career during the golden age of television, with such series as "Mama," "The Phil Silvers Show," and "Naked City." He has added such recent motion pictures as "Remo," "Streets of Fire" and "First Blood" to his long list of accomplishments.

Among Laszlo's most notable film credits are "Thieves," "The Warriors," "Class of '44," "The Owl and The Pussycat," "The Out of Towners," and "Popi." His extensive television credits also include the mini-series "Shogun," "The Dain Curse" and "Washington: Behind Closed Doors," and the television movies "Thin Ice," "Man Without A Country," "Teacher, Teacher," and "The Cliffdwellers." VISUAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR RICHARD EDLUND got his start in the business with veteran special photographic effects expert Joe Westheimer, through an application Edlund had submitted to the California Department of Employment in Los Angeles. "I didn't have any relatives in the business," Edlund jokes. Even he admits "it's one of the oddest ways I've ever heard of to get started in motion pictures."

Through Westheimer's work on television commercials and series, including the legendary "Star Trek" programs, Edlund supplemented his knowledge of the techniques and technology of photography with a thorough understanding of optical effects and trick photography. Today Edlund is the master, guiding the skills of hundreds through the various phases of effects work on such films as "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back," "Return of the Jedi," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Poltergeist," "Ghostbusters," "2010," and currently, nearly a half-dozen upcoming features including "Poltergeist II."

A four-time Academy Award-winner for his work, Edlund is also the man who founded Industrial Light & Magic, Inc., a division of Lucasfilm Ltd., for George Lucas. He now heads Boss Film Co., which maintains one of the world's most sophisticated effects facilities in Marina Del Rey, California.

Since the birth of Boss Film Co., Edlund has found that he has begun to lose contact with his first love 末 photography. "Since 'Empire,' I've gradually been losing intimate contact with the camera," Edlund relates, "and now, my function is more that of a producer. I have many, many talented people, and I work to guide them as much as I can, but they work to guide me as well, since they have all outstripped my particular expertise in any one aspect of their individual fields."

Yet Edlund seems more than satisfied with the direction his success is taking him. "Before too long, I'll be looking to begin producing movies, and I've found that to be a fairly creative activity."

PRODUCTION DESIGNER TED HAWORTH cut his filmmaking teeth on such classic science fiction films as "War of the Worlds," the original "Invasion of the Bodysnatchers," and "Flight To Mars." Haworth won an Academy Award for his contributions to "Sayonara."

"The greatest challenge on a film of this scale," observes Haworth, "is the coordination of all the different art departments, visual effects, special effects, construction, scheduling and budget. And that really can be dominated by only one man, and that's the director. My art end of it has to embrace all those different departments and accommodate them in every way possible 末 in the best interests of the film and the director."

"We used a crew of sixty-five people to begin with on Stage 30, to reproduce Gramma Jess' house and yard, which took approximately ten weeks. At the same time, we had teams working on several other locations 末 Cuesta Verde, the real house, the cavern on Stage 27 末 so our total crew was much larger than that."

The tale behind the house 末 and the mirror-image created under Haworth's guidance on Stage 30 末 is illustrative of the painstaking detail that hallmarks the entire production.

"After a great deal of searching, I found the house on a Sunday. One of its most interesting features is the lot itself, which is not just an ordinary, flat lot. To duplicate its terrain meant we would have to defy all the usual rules of putting a set on a sound stage 末 but it also meant that the terrain of the set would convince any audience that the entire film was shot on location. Ultimately, we went to massive effort to enhance the real house on location, and then to duplicate its exterior precisely back at the studio. The interior of the set was far more interesting than the house itself, since we did very little interior work on location."

"For the set, we constructed a platform that covered over 75% of the stage floor, and was ten feet higher at the rear than at the front. At the lower end, we built the house, including the entire first floor interior and exterior, and the entire second floor exterior. On the high end of the platform, we added Taylor's camp and the garage, complete with the family station wagon. In the remaining area of the stage, we constructed the interior of the second floor on several different levels, to accommodate staircases, turns in the hallways, and other details."

"To all of this, we added the entire exterior and interior environments 末 natural grass, trees, hedges, flowers, mountains and sky on the outside, furnishings, fixtures, and the entire range of personal belongings on the inside."

"Throughout this process, we had to accommodate the need to shake the entire set for certain sequences 末 a problem we solved by constructing it all atop huge truck inner-tubes, and hanging portions of the house from the rafters so that we could rock the whole house manually on cue."

"As a result, we were able to move from dawn to midday to dusk to midnight, all on the same stage within a few hours," says Haworth.

The final effect? Undetectable, even to the trained eye, just as effective an illusion as the cavern created on Stage 27.

"The cavern itself was about sixty-four feet in diameter and about eighteen feet high. The entrance was constructed at the top, and led down a narrow series of corridors and channels down into a pool of water just outside the main cavern. Altogether, the set was over a hundred and twenty feet in length."

"The end result was a synthesis of sketches made by Giger, pictures that I made, sculptures that we made to tie into those illustrations, and the final approach of casting it, cutting it in sections, building it and decorating it."

As Haworth concludes, "It was a nightmare to look at. It was clear from the moment you got beyond the entranceway that you were in a life-threatening situation. And the farther in you go, the spookier, steeper and more slippery it gets. Deadly."

Just like the film itself.

CONCEPTUAL ARTIST H.R. GIGER was brought aboard the "Poltergeist II" team by director Brian Gibson, who had first become acquainted with Giger's extraordinarily horrific themes in connection with another project. That film never went before the cameras, yet Gibson happily called him at his home in Switzerland soon after beginning his involvement with "Poltergeist II," hoping Giger would be available to help create the creatures and aspects of the environment essential to the project.

"He immediately started working," Gibson recalls. "He is a compulsive worker, and before the negotiations were finished, I began getting sketches in the mail 末 nightmares and dreams he had captured, things he would clutch out of his imagination. We would review them over the telephone, and then he would take them to a further stage by painting them in detail."

Giger's world-famous imagination was first brought to motion picture audiences in "Alien," the disturbing science fiction thriller for which he received an Academy Award. Today, his paintings are shown in galleries all over Europe.

After finishing his studies at the age of twenty-four, Giger pursued a career as an industrial designer and architect for approximately three years. During this time, he slowly began to paint at night and later, to sculpt. Ultimately, he abandoned his design career to concentrate exclusively on what he calls his "free art."

While Giger's work contributed significantly to several aspects of the film, his most frightening concept was that of the Great Beast 末 an earthly incarnation of the long-dead Reverend Kane, which begins its existence as a worm at the bottom of a bottle of tequila that is accidentally ingested by Steve Freeling. It is a creature that even frightens Giger himself.

"When I ask, 'What should the Great Beast look like,' they asked, 'What scares you the most?' That was very, very difficult for me," Giger recalls. "A worm under my skin, or something in my body 末 that horrifies me the most. Then they asked, 'Can you do more?' That's even more difficult. At last, it's the transformation of the worm into the beast 末 nothing could be scarier than that. They liked that."

With the exception of several briefs trips to Los Angeles, Giger performed his work for "Poltergeist II" from his studio in Switzerland. His long-time, Los Angeles-based assistant, Connie DeFreese, assisted in bringing Giger's work to the screen.

COMPOSER JERRY GOLDSMITH received an Academy Award nomination for his musical contributions to "Poltergeist" in 1982. In "Poltergeist II," he again contributes one of his finest efforts, punctuating the entire range of the film's events and emotions.

A native of Los Angeles, Goldsmith studied piano with Jacob Gimpel and music composition, harmony and theory with Mario Casteinuovo Tedesco. After teaching music for a time, he joined CBS Radio to do his own show, and then moved on to others. His earliest scoring efforts were for such classic television programs as "Playhouse 90," "Studio One," and "Gunsmoke.

One of the most sought-after composers in the industry, Goldsmith has won thirteen Oscar, six Emmy and six Grammy nominations to date. In 1976 he received his first Best Original Score Academy Award for "The Omen."

He has won Emmys for his work on "The Red Pony," "QB VII," "Babe," and "Masada." His most well-known television series theme, for "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.," was also Emmy-nominated.

Goldsmith's long list of Academy Award nominated scores include "Freud," "A Patch of Blue," "The Sand Pebbles," "Planet of the Apes," "Patton," "Papillon," "The Wind and The Lion" and "Star Trek: The Motion Picture."

His recent work includes "Alien," "First Blood," "Under Fire," "Gremlins," and "Rambo: First Blood, Part II."

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