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Takers behind the scenes


“Takers” is still going strong. Friday’s box office receipts put the movie in the number-three position fighting it out with George Clooney’s “The American,” and Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete.” And it looks like Julia Robert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” continues to be a contender along with “The Last Exorcism.” It is a sure bet however, that “Takers” will remain in the top five after the holiday box office receipts are counted.

That’s good news to the actors as well as the writers and producers. They have a hit on their hands, and as Hollywood goes, this good fortune could lead to the green-lighting of future work, because they apparently know how to deliver.

There are four writers on this flick and first-time writer Gabriel Casseus and veteran filmmaker Peter Allen have something to cheer about, because this movie is a real audience pleaser.

Allen says he wanted to present a different vision of high-stakes criminals. “Why can’t they be gentlemen; why can’t they be slick; why can’t they be smart like some of the guys I have read about and know about,” Allen told the AFRO in a phone interview.

A Baltimore native, after working as a photojournalist at the Kansas City Times, in the early 1980’s Allen made his way to Hollywood, where he began working as a creative director of an animation studio before applying and fine-tuning his skills in the burgeoning music video industry. He began his movie-making career by directing. First up was with Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon in the Sky.”  From there, his roster of artists grew with the likes of Baby Face and Rick James just to name two out of the 100-plus music videos he directed.

Allen then went on to direct and write independent films. He’s got some 35 scripts under his belt with four making it to the big screen.

“I would like to see “Takers” make a lot of money … because that’s how they measure success in Hollywood, and hopefully that will open more doors,” said Allen.

Gabriel Casseus is a familiar face in Hollywood–on television as well as the big screen. The New York native began his career with an open casting call for Nick Gomez’s indie 1995 film “New Jersey Drive.” He was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Debut Performance for his role.

Spike Lee cast him in his film, “Get on the Bus.” And he starred as Denzel Washington’s mentally challenged brother in the supernatural thriller “Fallen.” It was at that time that Washington advised Casseus he should add writing and directing to his creative arsenal.

Casseus has been busy on the small screen too–logging hours on such networks shows as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “24,” and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” just to name two a few.

Apparently taking Washington’s advice to heart, Casseus is not only a writer on “Takers”, but he is also one of the executive producers along with Chris Brown and Morris Chestnut. The producer roster also includes Will Packer (“Stomp the Yard,” “This Christmas,” “Obsessed”), Tip “T.I.” Harris and Jason Geter.