Burn After Reading (2008)

Burn After Reading 2008tt0887883.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Burn After Reading (2008)
  • Rate: 7.1/10 total 132,937 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Crime | Drama
  • Release Date: 12 September 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 96 min
  • Filming Location: Bronx Community College – University Avenue at West 181 Street, Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
  • Budget: $37,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $163,720,069(Worldwide)(25 December 2008)
  • Stars: Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand and George Clooney
  • Original Music By: Carter Burwell (music by)  
  • Soundtrack: Something I Shouldn't Have Had
  • Sound Mix: SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS
  • Plot Keyword: Gym | CIA | Memoir | Divorce | Embassy

Writing Credits By:

  • Joel Coen (written by) &
  • Ethan Coen (written by)

Known Trivia

  • The first Coen Brothers film not photographed by Roger Deakins since Miller’s Crossing. He was unavailable, having committed to shoot Revolutionary Road.
  • The opening film of the 2008 Venice Film Festival.
  • The poster for the film within the film, “Coming Up Daisy”, states it is based on a book by Cormac McCarthy (who really wrote the book “No Country For Old Men”, which the Coens’ previous film was based on), and that it was directed by Sam Raimi (a friend and collaborator of the Coens’).
  • The Coen brothers said they wrote the screenplay for this film while writing the screenplay for No Country for Old Men. They would usually alternate every other day for each script.
  • The Coen Brothers wrote the character Osborne Cox with John Malkovich in mind. Brad Pitt’s character was also written with the actor in mind, inspired by a commercial for which he suffered a similar haircut and dye job. Indeed, the Coen Brothers noted at a Q&A session at the Venice Film Festival that all the leading characters were written for all the leading actors, with the exception of Tilda Swinton.
  • The film “Coming Up Daisy” was titled “Tell Me That Again!” in the script.
  • Excluding the end credits’ song, the F-word and its derivatives is used 62 times, mostly by Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) and Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney), including 6 times in the first 2 minutes.
  • When Brad Pitt’s character (Chad) first meets Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) he recommends himself as Mr. Black – the same name as Pitt’s character from Meet Joe Black.
  • When Harry’s wife is on the Seattle show, the show’s host interrupts her, saying that “Dermot Mulrooney” is coming on after the commercial break. Dermot Mulroney is the actor that plays “Star of ‘Coming Up Daisy'” in the actual film.
  • Frances McDormand utters the phrase “For Pete’s sake!” while in her car surrounded by CIA agents. She utters the same phrase in Fargo while interviewing William H. Macy’s character.

Goofs: Revealing mistakes: When Osborne returns home after being served for divorce, he tries to enter his home with a car key not a house key.

Plot: A disk containing the memoirs of a CIA agent ends up in the hands of two unscrupulous gym employees who attempt to sell it. Full summary »  »

Story: Osbourne Cox, a Balkan expert, is fired at the CIA, so he begins a memoir. His wife wants a divorce and expects her lover, Harry, a philandering State Department marshal, to leave his wife. A diskette falls out of a gym bag at a Georgetown fitness center. Two employees there try to turn it into cash: Linda, who wants money for elective surgery, and Chad, an amiable goof. Information on the disc leads them to Osbourne who rejects their sales pitch; then they visit the Russian embassy. To sweeten the pot, they decide they need more of Osbourne's secrets. Meanwhile, Linda's boss likes her, and Harry's wife leaves for a book tour. All roads lead to Osbourne's house.Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>  

{tab=Synopsis}

Synopsis: Osbourne Cox (John Malkovich) is a CIA analyst who is fired from his job at the agency ostensibly because of his drinking problem. He tells his wife he quit and wants to write a memoir about his life in the CIA. His wife, Katie Cox (Tilda Swinton), wants to divorce Osbourne and, at the counsel of her divorce lawyer, she copies many of his personal and financial files off his computer and onto a CD. Katie happens to be having an affair with US Marshall/Treasury agent Harry Pfarrer (George Clooney). The CD is found at Hardbodies, a workout gym. An employee of the gym, Chad Feldheimer (Brad Pitt) obtains the disc from the gym’s custodian and believes that it contains classified government information. Along with his fellow employee Linda Litzke (Frances McDormand), they intend to use the disk to blackmail Osbourne – Linda needs the money to pay for cosmetic surgery. They call up Cox in the middle of the night, but he is not receptive. Frustrated in Cox’ manner, Linda decides to take the information to the Russian embassy. At the embassy, she hands the disk over to the Russians, promising that she will give more information afterwards. Because Linda and Chad don’t have any more information, they decide to break into Cox’s house.

Harry Pfarrer, while married to a children’s book writer, is a playboy dating many women from the Internet. By chance he hooks up with Linda, also an Internet dater, and they begin seeing each other. Harry is proud to show off a homemade device he saw pictured in a "gentleman’s magazine". Harry has also noticed someone seems to be following him as there is always a dark car close by.

Meanwhile, Osbourne returns to his home only to find himself locked out because Katie changed the locks and transferred all the bank accounts in a final move in her secret divorce proceedings. He sleeps overnight in his sailboat.

Chad stakes out the Cox’s house and breaks in after Harry and Katie leave after a daytime tryst. Harry, returns after a jog, accidentally finds Chad in a closet, and suddenly shoots him in the face. Harry, thinking that Chad was a spy, disposes of the body. Days later, his paranoia increasing after murdering Chad, Harry leaves the Cox residence after a fight with Katie. On his way he manages to tackle the man who has been trailing him for some time. Harry finds out that the man is working for a law firm hired by his wife who, it is later revealed, also has been cheating on him.

The next morning, Harry and Linda meet in a park. Linda mentions her friend Chad has been missing. When Harry realizes that Chad was the guy he shot at the Cox’s, he becomes paranoid and flees in terror.

LInda’s manager at Hardbodies, Ted Treffon (Richard Jenkins), is sympathetic and agrees to help her get more info from the Cox house for the Russians.

Osbourne, angry and drunk, breaks into his own house with a hatchet. There he finds Ted rifling through his computer. Osbourne shoots and wounds Ted, who stumbles out of the house. Osbourne grabs the hatchet and attacks Ted in broad daylight.

At CIA headquarters, Osbournes former manager (David Rasche) and his Director (J.K. Simmons) try to sort out what happened: Chad is dead, Ted is dead, Osbourne is in a vegetative state and dying after being shot by an agent while attacking Ted, Harry has been arrested trying to board a flight to Venezuela (but the CIA Director suggests letting him go), and Linda has agreed to cooperate in exchange for the CIA financing her plastic surgery. The baffled CIA agents then decide that they have learned their lesson: to never repeat whatever it is that they did in this case; though they are still not clear what it is they did.

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Tim Bevan known as executive producer
  • Ethan Coen known as producer
  • Joel Coen known as producer
  • David Diliberto known as associate producer
  • Eric Fellner known as executive producer
  • Robert Graf known as executive producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • George Clooney known as Harry Pfarrer
  • Frances McDormand known as Linda Litzke
  • Brad Pitt known as Chad Feldheimer
  • John Malkovich known as Osborne Cox
  • Tilda Swinton known as Katie Cox
  • Richard Jenkins known as Ted
  • Elizabeth Marvel known as Sandy Pfarrer
  • David Rasche known as CIA Officer
  • J.K. Simmons known as CIA Superior (as JK Simmons)
  • Olek Krupa known as Krapotkin
  • Michael Countryman known as Alan
  • Kevin Sussman known as Tuchman Marsh Man
  • J.R. Horne known as Divorce Lawyer (as JR Horne)
  • Hamilton Clancy known as Peck
  • Armand Schultz known as Olson
  • Pun Bandhu known as Party Guest
  • Karla Mosley known as Party Guest
  • Jeffrey DeMunn known as Cosmetic Surgeon
  • Richard Poe known as Stretching Gym Patron
  • Carmen M. Herlihy known as Prospective Gym Customer
  • Raul Aranas known as Manolo (as Raul Arañas)
  • Judy Frank known as Lawyer's Secretary
  • Sándor Técsy known as Russian Embassy Escort (as Sandor Tecsy)
  • Yury Tsykun known as Senior Russian Embassy Man
  • Brian O'Neill known as Hal
  • Robert Prescott known as Process Server
  • Matt Walton known as Morning Show Host
  • Lori Hammel known as Morning Show Hostess
  • Crystal Bock known as PR Woman
  • Patrick Boll known as Sandy's Man
  • Logan Kulick known as Four-Year-Old Patient
  • Dermot Mulroney known as Star of "Coming Up Daisy"
  • Robert R. Barry known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Ted Bouton known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Bob Bowersox known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Oliver Buckingham known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Michael Fawcett known as Drunken Princetonian
  • William Fowle known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Charles Gemmill known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Mitch Giannunzio known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Cliff Goulet known as Drunken Princetonian
  • William D. Grey known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Gary Henderson known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Ron Kidd known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Bill Massof known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Brian McKeon known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Ken McNeill known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Tim Miller known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Jay Parks known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Roger Rathburn known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Eric Richardson known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Bart Wilder known as Drunken Princetonian
  • Stephen Ananicz known as Gym Guy (uncredited)
  • James Thomas Bligh known as Lt. Macdonald (uncredited)
  • Matt Cannon known as Tourist (uncredited)
  • Justin Doescher known as Suspicious Man (uncredited)
  • Kimberly Dorsey known as Tourist (uncredited)
  • Liam Ferguson known as Businessman (uncredited)
  • Matthew James Gulbranson known as Midwestern Tourist (uncredited)
  • Joe Jagatic known as CIA Agent (uncredited)
  • Richard Karn known as Himself – Family Feud Host (archive footage) (uncredited)
  • RJ Konner known as Senator (uncredited)
  • T. Alloy Langenfeld known as Nam Vet Visiting WWII Memorial (uncredited)
  • Douglas Nelson known as Man in Park (uncredited)
  • Lil Rhee known as Tourist (uncredited)
  • Devin Rumer known as Surveillance Man (uncredited)
  • Patrick Michael Strange known as Tourist (uncredited)
  • Kevin Tan known as Suspicious Tourist – Day Player (uncredited)
  • Jacqueline Wright known as Monica (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Eileen Barrett known as additional hair stylist: Washington, DC
  • Jean Ann Black known as makeup department head (as Jean A. Black)
  • Barbara Lacy known as additional makeup artist: Washington, DC
  • Lyndell Quiyou known as department head hair stylist (as Lyn Quiyou)
  • Patricia Regan known as key makeup artist
  • Sonia Rivera known as key hair stylist
  • Waldo Sanchez known as hair stylist: Mr. Clooney
  • Sherri Bramlett known as hair stylist (uncredited)
  • Jane Choi known as assistant makeup artist (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • J. Todd Anderson known as graphite operator
  • JoAnn Atwood known as set dresser (as Joann Atwood)
  • Anthony Baldasare known as prop assistant
  • Steve Brennan known as on set dresser
  • Kenny Burke known as construction grip (as Ken Burke)
  • Diana Burton known as property master
  • Carolyn Cartwright known as assistant set decorator
  • Rebecca Castle known as scenic: Washington, DC
  • Carl Catanese known as set dresser: Washington, DC
  • Eric Cheripka known as prop assistant
  • Frank Didio known as key construction foreman
  • Robert DiGrigoli known as foreman (as Robert Digrigoli)
  • Gregory Dressel known as construction grip (as Greg Dressel)
  • Steven T. Duke known as set dresser (as Steve Duke)
  • Alex Gorodetsky known as charge scenic
  • Roman Greller known as set dresser
  • Vincent Guarriello known as key construction grip
  • Jay Hendrickx known as camera scenic
  • Gregory Hill known as graphic designer
  • Deborah Jensen known as assistant art director
  • Ana Lombardo known as assistant property master
  • Jeffrey D. McDonald known as assistant art director (as Jeffrey McDonald)
  • David Meade known as construction production assistant
  • Rebecca Meis DeMarco known as set decoration buyer (as Becca Demarco)
  • Timothy Metzger known as lead dresser (as Tim Metzger)
  • Suzanne Mjartan known as set dresser
  • Mike Montgomery known as key construction grip (as Michael Montgomery)
  • Beth Morris known as props assistant: Washington, DC
  • Leann Murphy known as art department coordinator
  • Quang Nguyen known as scenic foreman
  • Tobin Ost known as assistant art director (as Tobin Obst)
  • Joseph S. Patire known as shop craftsman
  • Ron Petagna known as construction coordinator (as Ronald Petagna)
  • Ronnie Petagna known as foreman (as Ronnie A. Petagna)
  • Daniel Rosenfeld known as shop scenic
  • Moza Saracho known as art department production assistant
  • Sha-Sha Shiau known as set decorating coordinator
  • Stephen G. Shifflette known as set dresser: Washington, DC (as Steve Shifflette)
  • Nithya Shrinivasan known as assistant art director
  • Paul Steinberg known as shop electric
  • Joe Taglairino known as set dresser (as Joe Tag)
  • Paul Weathered known as set dressing foreman
  • Michael Acevedo known as carpenter (uncredited)
  • Glen Aldous known as scenic artist (uncredited)
  • Robert Antalocy known as carpenter (uncredited)
  • Gabu Camilo known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Lou Charles known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • James Donahue known as scenic artist (uncredited)
  • Joshua Higgason known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Luke Malloy known as greensman (uncredited)
  • Victor Morales known as scenic (uncredited)
  • John Ralbovsky known as scenic (uncredited)
  • Jeffrey Rollins known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Steve Rosenzweig known as scenic artist (uncredited)
  • Andrew Rossig known as construction foreman (uncredited)
  • Amy Safhay known as lead greensperson (uncredited)
  • Dylan Sheridan known as set dresser (uncredited)
  • Marcia C. Suter known as scenic artist (uncredited)
  • Christopher Weiser known as scenic artist (uncredited)

..{tab=Company}

Production Companies:

  • Focus Features (presents)
  • Studio Canal (in association with)
  • Relativity Media (in association with)
  • Working Title Films (as Working Title)
  • Mike Zoss Productions

Other Companies:

  • AON/Albert G. Ruben Insurance Services  insurance (as Aon/ Albert G Ruben Insurance services, Inc.)
  • Abbey Road Studios  score recorded at (as Abbey Road)
  • Apple/Final Cut Pro  edited on (as Final Cut Pro)
  • Atlantic Cine Equipment  supplier: StabC (uncredited)
  • BayView Entertainment  courtesy: "Gilad: Step Aerobics" clip (as Bayview Entertainment LLC)
  • Bianchi Bicycles  special thanks
  • Big Film Design  title sequences
  • Body Studio  music mixed at (uncredited)
  • Bronx Community College  special thanks
  • Costco of New Rochelle  special thanks
  • Cybex International  special thanks (as Cybex International Inc.)
  • Diamond Time  music clearances
  • Donna Daniels Public Relations  publicity (uncredited)
  • EFilm  digital intermediate
  • Entertainment Clearances  rights and clearances (uncredited)
  • Executive Cutting Service  negative cutting (as Executive Cutting)
  • Forbo Flooring  special thanks
  • Fremantle Media North America  courtesy: "Family Feud" clip (as Freemantlemedia)
  • Gilad Productions  courtesy: "Gilad: Step Aerobics" clip (as Gilad Productions Ltd.)
  • Grant Wilfley Casting  extras casting (uncredited)
  • Gym Source  special thanks
  • Haddad's  transportation equipment (uncredited)
  • Intelligent Media  international monitoring agency (uncredited)
  • Jamba Juice  special thanks
  • Kodak  motion picture film
  • Lakeshore Records  soundtrack (uncredited)
  • London Session Orchestra, The  orchestra (uncredited)
  • Mayor's Office for Film, Theater and Broadcasting  special thanks (as City of New York Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting)
  • National Park Service, National Capital Region  special thanks
  • Navesync  video playback
  • New York City Parks Department  special thanks
  • New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture & Television Development  special thanks (as New York State Governor's Office for Motion Picture and Television Development)
  • On Tour Productions  grip and lighting equipment (uncredited)
  • Paramount Transportation Services  transportation services (uncredited)
  • Post Factory NY  post-production facility (as Post Factory)
  • Rockbottom Rentals  junxion box rentals (uncredited)
  • Sony Pictures Studios  re-recorded at
  • The Wilton Rivas Company  craft service
  • Tomkats Catering  catering (as Tomkats Movie Catering, LLC.)
  • Transportation Resources  transportation equipment: Washington, DC (uncredited)
  • Trevanna Post  post-production accounting (as Trevana Post, Inc.)
  • United States Park Police  special thanks (as The United States Park Police)
  • Wilson Rivas Company  craft service (as The Wilson Rivas Company)
  • Word to Your Movie  combined continuity

Distributors:

  • Empire (2008) (Romania) (theatrical)
  • Ascot Elite Entertainment Group (2008) (Switzerland) (theatrical)
  • CLMC Multimedia (2008) (Portugal) (theatrical)
  • FS Film Oy (2008) (Finland) (theatrical)
  • Focus Features (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • GAGA (2009) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Long Shong Entertainment Multimedia Company (2008) (Taiwan) (theatrical)
  • Nikkatsu (2009) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Odeon (2008) (Cyprus) (theatrical)
  • Odeon (2008) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • Shaw Organisation (2008) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Showtime (2008) (South Korea) (theatrical)
  • Studio Canal (2008) (France) (theatrical)
  • Svensk Filmindustri (SF) (2008) (Sweden) (theatrical)
  • TOBIS Film (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • United International Pictures (UIP) (2008) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • Universal Pictures International (UPI) (2008) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Viva International Pictures (2008) (Philippines) (theatrical)
  • Alliance Atlantis Motion Picture Distribution (2008) (Canada) (all media)
  • Argentina Video Home (2009) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • Blue Sky Media (2008) (Czech Republic) (all media)
  • Castello Lopes Multimedia (2008) (Portugal) (all media)
  • Central Partnership (2008) (Russia) (all media)
  • De Volkskrant (2011) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Complete Coen Brother Collection)
  • FS Film (2009) (Finland) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • FX Network (2011) (USA) (TV)
  • Film1 (2009) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • Tiglon (2007) (Turkey) (all media)
  • Universal Pictures Benelux (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Universal Pictures Benelux (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2008) (USA) (DVD)
  • Universal Studios Home Entertainment (2008) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Universum Film (UFA) (2009) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Universum Film (UFA) (2009) (Germany) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Universum Film (UFA) (2009) (Germany) (DVD) (Special edition)
  • Universum Film (UFA) (2010) (Germany) (DVD)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Big Film Design (visual effects)
  • Brainstorm Digital (additional visual effects)
  • Luma Pictures (additional visual effects)
  • PlethoraFX (special visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Randall Balsmeyer known as visual effects supervisor: Big Film Design (as Randy Balsmeyer)
  • Ella Boliver known as digital compositor: Big Film Design
  • J. John Corbett known as lead digital artist: Big Film Design
  • Justin Johnson known as digital effects supervisor: Luma Pictures
  • Scott Minter known as digital compositor: Big Film Design
  • David Piombino known as digital compositor: Big Film Design
  • Adrienne Winterhalter known as visual effects producer: Big Film Design
  • Daniel Abramovich known as digital compositor (uncredited)
  • Justin Ball known as digital effects artist: senior systems engineer: Brainstorm Digital (uncredited)
  • Leslie Chung known as rotoscope artist (uncredited)
  • Vincent Cirelli known as visual effects supervisor: Luma Pictures (uncredited)
  • Matthew Conner known as digital artist (uncredited)
  • J. John Corbett known as digital compositor (uncredited)
  • Aleksandar Djordjevic known as digital compositor (uncredited)
  • Richard Friedlander known as visual effects producer: Brainstorm Digital (uncredited)
  • Ali Kocar known as digital compositor (uncredited)
  • Thomas Mathai known as data manager (uncredited)
  • Mitch Paulson known as second digital colorist: Efilm (uncredited)
  • Bethany Pederson Onstad known as rotoscope artist (uncredited)
  • Pimentel A. Raphael known as animation supervisor (uncredited)
  • Eric J. Robertson known as visual effects supervisor: Brainstorm Digital (uncredited)
  • Payam Shohadai known as executive visual effects supervisor: Luma Pictures (uncredited)
  • Chris 'Pinkus' Wesselman known as digital compositor: Brainstorm Digital (uncredited)
  • Jun Zhang known as digital compositor (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • Italy 27 August 2008 (Venice Film Festival) (premiere)
  • Canada 5 September 2008 (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • Belgium 6 September 2008 (Filmfestival Oostende)
  • Netherlands 12 September 2008 (Film by the Sea Film Festival)
  • USA 12 September 2008
  • Finland 18 September 2008 (Helsinki International Film Festival)
  • Italy 19 September 2008
  • Spain 20 September 2008 (Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival)
  • Greece 25 September 2008
  • Brazil 26 September 2008 (Festival do Rio BR)
  • Iceland 26 September 2008
  • Germany 2 October 2008
  • Portugal 2 October 2008
  • Russia 2 October 2008
  • Austria 3 October 2008
  • Mexico 4 October 2008 (Morelia Film Festival)
  • Israel 9 October 2008
  • Singapore 9 October 2008
  • Denmark 10 October 2008
  • Estonia 10 October 2008
  • Spain 10 October 2008
  • Australia 16 October 2008
  • Switzerland 16 October 2008 (German speaking region)
  • Brazil 17 October 2008 (São Paulo International Film Festival)
  • Ireland 17 October 2008
  • Norway 17 October 2008
  • UK 17 October 2008
  • Egypt 22 October 2008
  • Argentina 23 October 2008
  • Netherlands 23 October 2008
  • Mexico 24 October 2008
  • Poland 24 October 2008
  • Sweden 5 November 2008
  • Hong Kong 13 November 2008
  • Kuwait 13 November 2008
  • France 15 November 2008 (Sarlat Film Festival)
  • Philippines 19 November 2008
  • Finland 21 November 2008
  • Hungary 27 November 2008
  • Brazil 28 November 2008
  • Turkey 28 November 2008
  • Croatia 4 December 2008
  • Indonesia 5 December 2008 (Jakarta International Film Festival)
  • Belgium 10 December 2008
  • France 10 December 2008
  • Switzerland 10 December 2008 (French speaking region)
  • Colombia 12 December 2008
  • Chile 18 December 2008
  • Peru 18 December 2008
  • Panama 19 December 2008
  • Czech Republic 15 January 2009
  • Malaysia 19 February 2009
  • South Korea 26 March 2009
  • Japan 24 April 2009

MPAA: Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence

..{tab=Gallery}{/tabs}

Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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