Slide over, Kevin Bacon! Cloud 9 is the new hub of Hollywood connections. And who needs Six Degrees? With Cloud 9, it’s two degrees— at the most!
Hollywood has been buzzing this week about the eerie similarities between Cloud 9 and Oscar-nominated picture, Crash. But there are even closer connections to each nominated director and every actor and actress nominated for starring and supporting roles!
When it comes to Cloud 9 and the 78th Annual Academy Awards Nominations, the links go far beyond The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the popular parlor game in which the actor is connected to other actors he worked with in six steps or less.
Kevin is left in the dust by Cloud 9, the ensemble comedy motion picture written and produced by Brett Hudson and Burt Kearns of Frozen Pictures and Oscar winner Albert S. Ruddy (for Million Dollar Baby, directed by Clint Eastwood, director of Mystic River, which starred—Kevin Bacon).
Take any of nominee. Take two steps or less—and you land on Cloud 9!
The smart, raucous comedy premiered on Fox Home Entertainment DVD in January, thereby missing the Oscar qualification by only days and format. But a quick look at this year's crop of talented nominees shows that Cloud 9, its actors and producers, had a great influence on getting them there!
And by the way, Oscar host Jon Stewart is in the book, Tabloid Baby!
What follows is a quick run through of the more obvious Cloud 9 connections:
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) worked with Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights.
Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow) worked with Cloud 9’s Ken Garito and Tony Danza in Crash.
Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) co-starred in Four Feathers with Kate Hudson, the niece of Cloud 9 co-writer and producer Brett Hudson.
Joaquin Phoenix (Walk The Line) showed up at the publication party for the book, Tabloid Baby (written by Cloud 9 writer and producer Burt Kearns), at the Diaghilev Bar in the Bel Age Hotel in November 1999.
David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) worked with Cloud 9 movie-stealer Gary Busey in The Firm.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Judi Dench (Mrs. Henderson Presents) starred with Anthony Hopkins in 84 Charing Cross Road. Hopkins is not actually in Cloud 9, but plays a pivotal role, as Burt Reynolds’ character breaks into “Anthony Hopkins’ house” and borrows his clothes for a wild Cabo Wabo party after DL Hughley, playing a chauffeur, drives Hopkins to the airport.
Felicity Huffman (Transamerica) is married to William H. Macy, who appeared in Boogie Nights with Burt Reynolds.
Keira Knightley (Pride & Prejudice) played a former stripper and performs a lap dance in Domino. Cloud 9 features strippers and a lap dance by Angie Everhart as a stripper who becomes a beach volleyball star.
Charlize Theron (North Country) appears with Mel Gibson (whose ficus tree is a key element in Cloud 9) and Anthony Hopkins in the documentary, Cinema Mil. In 2002, she was nominated for a Razzie award for her performance in Sweet November, the same year Burt Reynolds and Sylvester Stallone were nominated as Worst Screen Couple in Driven.
Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line) starred in Legally Blonde with a small dog named Moonie. Moonie appears as Gary Busey’s dog in Cloud 9.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
George Clooney (Syriana) appeared with Cloud 9 costar Paul Rodriguez on the 2003 TV special, Playboy’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. He also appeared in the TV series Baby Talk, in which Tony Danza supplied the voice of a baby.
Matt Dillon (Crash) appeared in Crash with Tony Danza and Ken Garito from Cloud 9.
Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man) played Pig Vomit in the Howard Stern movie, Private Parts. Cloud 9 star Angie Everhart dated Howard Stern.
Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain) starred in Day After Tomorrow, which featured Ross King in the role of a TV reporter. Ross, now a weatherman and show biz correspondent for KTLA News in LA, was in the running for the role of Tommy Z in Cloud 9.
William Hurt (A History of Violence) was featured along with Burt Reynolds in the video documentary, Sex at 24 Frames Per Second, The Ultimate Journey Through Sex in Cinema.
PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Amy Adams (Junebug) has wrapped a new movie, Standing Still, which also stars Cloud 9 starlet Marne Patterson.
Catherine Keener (Capote) starred with the late Vincent Schiavelli in Death To Smoochy. Schiavelli, of course, starred in Cloud 9 director Harry Basil’s notorious Rodney Dangerfield flick, The 4th Tenor.
Frances McDormand (North Country) appeared with Barbra Streisand and Mel Gibson at the 69th Academy Awards, when she won an Oscar for Fargo. Streisand and Gibson are referred to and the subject of important plot points in Cloud 9.
Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) appeared with Cloud 9 star Tom Arnold on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on February 22, 2005.
Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) and Cloud 9 actor Jeff Altman, appeared as guest stars on the series Baywatch in the early 1990s.
ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING
Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) co-wrote the screenplay for Tortilla Soup, which starred Paul Rodriguez, who coincidentally plays an Asian character, Wong, in Cloud 9.
Bennett Miller (Capote) attended NYU Film School. It was at NYU, where he became captivated by a poster of Gabrielle Reece on the wall of his son’s dorm room, that Albert S. Ruddy got the idea of a movie about beach volleyball. His partners Brett Hudson and Burt Kearns added the stripper element when they developed the treatment.
Paul Haggis (Crash) wrote the screenplay for Million Dollar Baby, the film that won Albert S. Ruddy his second Best Picture Oscar. He also worked with Ruddy on the TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger.
George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck) appeared with Gary Busey in the 2002 television special, Inside The Playboy Mansion.
Steven Spielberg (Munich) directed Minority Report, which featured Paul Wesley, who plays Jackson Fargo in Cloud 9, in an uncredited role as “Nathan with bicycle.” And Cloud 9's Oscar-winning executive producer Gray Frederickson appeared as Lt. Bressler in Spielberg's 1941.
Amazed? Stunned at the power and influence of a small ensemble comedy about beach volleyball strippers? So are we.
Send in your own Cloud 9 Oscar connections, and get the chance to win a copy of Cloud 9!