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    Role: Mike Mageau
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  • Series DescriptionR
    In the late 1960s and 1970s, fear grips the city of San Francisco as a serial killer called Zodiac stalks its residents. Investigators (Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards) and reporters (Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr.) become obsessed with learning the killer’s identity and bringing him to justice. Meanwhile, Zodiac claims victim after victim and taunts the authorities with cryptic messages, cyphers and menacing phone calls.


    Tagline: Based on the true story of America’s most notorious serial killer.

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    Additional Information (production, filming locations, etc)

    Filming took place at the following locations:

  • Ontario International Airport – 2900 E. Airport Drive, Ontario, California, USA
  • 4th Street, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • San Francisco Chronicle – 901 Mission St, San Francisco, California, USA
  • Walnut, California, USA
  • Ziegler’s Hardware – 3948 Tweedy Blvd., South Gate, California, USA
  • Downey Studios – 12214 Lakewood Boulevard, Downey, California, USA
  • Mann’s National Theater – 10925 Lindbrook Drive, Westwood, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • San Francisco, California, USA
  • South Gate, California, USA
  • Vallejo, California, USA
  • Long Beach, California, USA
  • Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Rockwell Defense Plant – Bellflower & Imperial Highway, Downey, California, USA
  • Terminal Annex, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • The Earl Warren Building, 346 McAllister St San Francisco, California, USA
  • 4440 W 126th Street, Hawthorne, California, USA
  • George’s 50’s Diner – 4390 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach, California, USA
  • Douglas Street, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Kellam Avenue, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Colonnade Wilshire Corporation – 3701 Wilshire Blvd # 407, Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Mayme A.Clayton Library & Museum – 4130 Overland Avenue, Culver City, California, USA

  • Development
    James Vanderbilt had read Robert Graysmith’s book Zodiac in 1986 while in high school. Years later, after becoming a screenwriter, he got the opportunity to meet Graysmith, and became fascinated by the folklore surrounding the Zodiac Killer. He then decided to try to translate the story into a script. Vanderbilt had endured bad experiences in the past, in which the endings of his scripts had been changed, and wanted to have more control over the material this time. He pitched his adaptation of Zodiac to Mike Medavoy and Bradley J. Fischer from Phoenix Pictures, by agreeing to write a spec script if he could have more creative control over it.

    Graysmith first met Fischer and Vanderbilt at the premiere of Paul Schrader’s film, Auto Focus, which was based on Graysmith’s 1991 book about the life and death of actor Bob Crane. A deal was made and they optioned the rights to Zodiac and Zodiac Unmasked when they became available after languishing at another studio for nearly a decade. David Fincher was their first choice to direct based on his work on Seven. Originally, he was going to direct an adaptation of James Ellroy’s novel, The Black Dahlia (later filmed by Brian De Palma), and envisioned a five-hour, $80 million mini-series with film stars. When that fell through, Fincher left that project and moved on to Zodiac.

    Fincher was drawn to this story because he spent much of his childhood in San Anselmo in Marin County during the initial Zodiac murders. “I remember coming home and saying the highway patrol had been following our school buses for a couple weeks now. And my dad, who worked from home, and who was very dry, not one to soft-pedal things, turned slowly in his chair and said: ‘Oh yeah. There’s a serial killer who has killed four or five people, who calls himself Zodiac, who’s threatened to take a high-powered rifle and shoot out the tires of a school bus, and then shoot the children as they come off the bus.'” For Fincher as a young boy, the killer “was the ultimate boogeyman”. The director was also drawn to the unresolved ending of Vanderbilt’s screenplay because it felt true to real life, as cases are not always solved.

    Fincher realized that his job was to dispel the mythic stature the case had taken on over the years by clearly defining what was fact and what was fiction. He told Vanderbilt that he wanted the screenplay re-written but with additional research done from the original police reports. Fincher found that there was a lot of speculation and hearsay and wanted to interview people directly involved in the case in person to see if he believed what they were telling him. Fincher did this because he felt a burden of responsibility in making a film that convicted someone posthumously.

    Fincher, Fischer and Vanderbilt spent months interviewing witnesses, family members of suspects, retired and current investigators, the only two surviving victims, and the mayors of San Francisco and Vallejo. Fincher said, “Even when we did our own interviews, we would talk to two people. One would confirm some aspects of it and another would deny it. Plus, so much time had passed, memories are affected and the different telling of the stories would change perception. So when there was any doubt we always went with the police reports”. During the course of their research, Fincher and Fischer hired Gerald McMenamin, an internationally known forensic linguistics expert and professor of linguistics at California State University Fresno, to analyze the Zodiac’s letters. Unlike document examiners in the 1970s, he focused on the language of the Zodiac and how he formed his sentences in terms of word structure and spelling.

    Fincher and Fischer approached Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to finance the film but talks with them fell through because the studio wanted the running time fixed at two hours and fifteen minutes. They then approached other studios, and Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures agreed to share the production costs and were willing to be more flexible about the running time. The film was a tough sell to the studios and the executives were concerned about the heavy amount of dialogue and the lack of action scenes, as well as the inconclusive nature of the story arc.

    When Dave Toschi met Fincher, Fischer and Vanderbilt, the director told him that he was not going to make another Dirty Harry (which had been loosely based on the Zodiac case). Toschi was impressed with their knowledge of the case and afterwards, he realized that he had learned a lot from them. In addition, the Zodiac’s two surviving victims, Mike Mageau and Bryan Hartnell were consultants on the film.

    Alan J. Pakula’s film All the President’s Men was the template for Zodiac as Fincher felt that it was also “the story of a reporter determined to get the story at any cost and one who was new to being an investigative reporter. It was all about his obsession to know the truth”. And like in that film, he did not want to spend time telling the back story of any of the characters, focusing, instead, on what they did in regards to the case.”

    Vanderbilt was drawn to the notion that Graysmith went from a cartoonist to one of the most significant investigators of the case. He pitched the story as: “What if Garry Trudeau woke up one morning and tried to solve the Son of Sam”? As he worked on the script, he became friends with Graysmith. The filmmakers were able to get the cooperation of the Vallejo Police Department (one of the key investigators at the time) because they hoped that the film would inspire someone to come forward with a crucial bit of information that might help solve this decades-old cold case.


    Soundtrack

  • Hurdy Gurdy Man
    Written by Donovan (as Donovan Leitch)
    Performed by Donovan
    Courtesy of Epic Records and EMI Records Ltd.
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Solar
    Written and Performed by Miles Davis
    Courtesy of Concord Music Group Inc.
  • Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
    Written by Marvin Gaye and James Nyx
    Performed by Marvin Gaye
    Courtesy of Motown Records
    Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
  • Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)
    Written by Sonny Bono
    Performed by Vanilla Fudge
    Courtesy of Atco Records
    By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
  • Sky Pilot
    Written by Vic Briggs, Eric Burdon, Barry Jenkins, Danny McCulloch and John Weider
    Performed by Eric Burdon & The Animals
    Courtesy of Universal Records
    Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
  • Brother Louie
    Written by Errol Brown and Tony Wilson (as Anthony Wilson)
    Performed by Stories
    Courtesy of Buddah Records/The RCA Records Label
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Young Girl
    Written by Jerry Fuller
    Performed by Gary Puckett and The Union Gap (as Gary Puckett & The Union Gap)
    Courtesy of Columbia Records
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Baker Street
    Written and Performed by Gerry Rafferty
    Courtesy of Capitol Records
    Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
  • Easy To Be Hard
    Written by Galt MacDermot, James Rado and Gerome Ragni
    Performed by Three Dog Night
    Courtesy of Geffen Records
    Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
  • Soul Sacrifice
    Written by David Brown, Marcus Malone, Gregg Rolie and Carlos Santana
    Performed by Santana
    Courtesy of Columbia Records
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • It’s Not For Me To Say
    Written by Robert Allen and Al Stillman (as Al Stillman)
    Performed by Johnny Mathis
    Courtesy of Columbia Records
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Jean
    Written by Rod McKuen
    Performed by Oliver
    Courtesy of EMI Records
    Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
  • Don’t Let The Sun (Catch You Crying)
    Written by Les Chadwick, Leslie Maguire (as Les Maguire), Freddie Marsden (as Fred Marsden) and Gerry Marsden
    Performed by José Feliciano
    Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Bernadette
    Written by Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland (as Eddie Holland,
    Jr.)
    Performed by The Four Tops (as Four Tops)
    Courtesy of Motown Records
    Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
  • Crystal Blue Persuasion
    Written by Tommy James, Ed Gray and Mike Vale
    Performed by Tommy James & The Shondells
    Courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company
    By Arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV Licensing
  • There Is No Christmas Like A Home Christmas
    Written by Mickey J. Addy and Carl Sigman
    Performed by Perry Como
    Courtesy of The RCA Records Label
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden
    Written by Joe South
    Performed by Lynn Anderson
    Courtesy of Columbia Records/SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT (Nashville)
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • I Want To Take You Higher
    Written by Sly Stone (as Sylvester Stewart)
    Performed by Sly and the Family Stone
    Courtesy of Epic Records
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Arrivederci, Roma
    Written by Renato Rascel (as Renato Ranucci), Alessandro Giovannini (as Allessandro Giovannini) and Pietro Garinei
    Performed by Mario Lanza
    Courtesy of SONY BMG Masterworks/RCA Red Seal/RCA Victor
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
  • Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic
    Written by Isaac Hayes and Al Bell (as Alvertis Isabell)
    Performed by Isaac Hayes
    Courtesy of Stax Records
    Under license from Concord Music Group, Inc.
  • Snowbird
    Written by Gene MacLellan
    Performed by Anne Murray
    Courtesy of EMI Records
    Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
  • Mary’s Blues
    Written by Pepper Adams
    Performed by John Coltrane
    Courtesy of Prestige Records
    Under license from Concord Music Group, Inc.
  • Deacon Blues
    Written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen
    Performed by Steely Dan
    Courtesy of Geffen Records
    Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
  • Lowdown
    Written by Boz Scaggs (as William Scaggs) and David Paich
    Performed by Boz Scaggs
    Courtesy of Columbia Records
    By Arrangement with SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
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