Screenwriters with Madison ties make their ‘mark’ with new Liam Neeson film

Danny Kravitz and Chris Charles wrote the script for 'The Marksman,' premiering in theaters Friday.
The Marksman
Photo courtesy of Anna Rizk
Liam Neeson plays an Arizona rancher in 'The Marksman'

A new movie written by two filmmakers with Madison connections (and starring some big name movie stars) is coming to theaters nearest you Friday.

Madison filmmaker Chris Charles and University of Wisconsin–Madison alumnus Danny Kravitz wrote the script for “The Marksman,” a new film starring Liam Neeson, Katheryn Winnick, Juan Pablo Raba and Teresa Ruiz.

Jim, Neeson’s character, is an Arizona rancher and former United States Marine who becomes the protector of a young Mexican boy running from the cartel.

Charles and Kravitz first came up with the idea for “The Marksman” in 2009, not long after meeting in a screenwriting class.

“It was a story that Chris and I were very moved by from the moment we started working on it because we were so in love with the characters and the healing they are able to facilitate in each other,” Kravitz says. “In the most unpredictable way, they are the most unlikely people to enter each other’s lives and they end up being the two people who can best help each other through a period they are both in that is very, very difficult.”

The film’s director, Robert Lorenz — an Academy Award-nominated producer for “Mystic River,” “Letters From Iwo Jima” and “American Sniper” — stepped in along the way.

“It was just a matter of timing and getting it into the hands of the right director, Robert Lorenz, who in turn sold his vision to our star,” Charles says. “Ultimately, you turn it over to the director and actors who make it their own.”

Now, more than a decade after meeting, Charles and Kravitz are diving into their fourth project together. The next movie, Kravitz says, is a follow-up to ‘The Marksman” with different characters and plot.

“When you spend so much time with a project and experience all the highs and lows along the journey, you really have to love it,” says Charles. “We had some dark days along the process, but we had far more brighter days.”

“The Marksman” is especially memorable, Charles says because it was the duo’s first script “that got produced in such a meaningful way.” For both men, getting to see their movie on the big screen is a dream come true. And while Kravitz knows how much work it can be to write a screenplay, he also believes the real secret to doing well in the business is simple.

“Follow your heart — if your heart leads towards storytelling, work hard, enjoy every minute of it and just walk that path to see where it takes you,” says Kravitz.

“The Marksman” will be released nationwide Friday. Madison area theaters have showings slated throughout the day and weekend.

Magazine footer that says "Like this article, get so much more by subscribing"