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Alumni to watch

September 20, 2006

Photo of Steve Zaillian"All the King's Men," the highly anticipated film written and directed by alumnus Steve Zaillian, opens in theaters Friday, Sept. 22.

Set in the 1930s, Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel follows the rise, corruption and fall of politician Willie Stark, a character based loosely on the life of Louisiana Gov. Huey P. Long. Zaillian's adaptation takes place during the 1950s; Stark is played by Sean Penn.

Zaillian, a 1975 cinema graduate, won an Academy Award for his "Schindler's List" screenplay (1993) and earned Oscar nominations for scripting both "Awakenings" (1990) and "Gangs of New York" (2002). His latest film's star-studded cast includes Jude Law, James Gandolfini, Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet.

Zaillian spent the last three years working on "All the King's Men." In an interview with SFSU Magazine earlier this year, he explained that he did not see the original 1949 film adaptation of the novel. "I was curious, but I couldn't really figure out the advantage," Zaillian said. "Images can get stuck in your head and you just can't get them out."

This was a wise move according to Time magazine's Richard Schickel, who wrote in a recent review, "Zaillian's movie is much more a reimagining than a remake, and it's much more faithful to the tone of the novel, which is by no means easy to duplicate."

Photo of Delroy LindoMeanwhile, another SF State alumnus is impressing critics from the other side of the camera. Delroy Lindo, who graduated with a degree in cinema in 2004, stars on the new NBC crime drama "Kidnapped," Wednesday nights at 10. The series stands out among other new crime shows as "the most intriguing, with the most arresting and cinematic opening sequence, and standout performances by Jeremy Sisto, Delroy Lindo and Dana Delany," proclaimed New York Daily News.

Lindo, who plays FBI agent Latimer King, is no stranger to top-secret operations. The celebrity attended SF State using a pseudonym. In a recent New York Daily News interview Lindo said he is "hugely proud of that achievement. Over the years I thought it would be nice to finish and actually get the piece of paper. …Becoming a parent influenced my decision. When I speak about the importance of education to my son when he is growing up, I guess I wanted to be as legitimate as I could be."

Lindo has appeared in more than 40 films, including "The Cider House Rules," "Malcolm X," "Crooklyn" and "Sahara."

Read more about Zaillian and "All the King's Men" in the latest issue of SFSU Magazine.

For more on "Kidnapped," see the NBC Web site.

-- Adrianne Bee


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Last modified September 20, 2006 by University Communications