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The catalyst for the Billy-Hostetler dynamic in the new movie ‘Broken City’ is the latter’s wife, Cathleen, played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Her relationship with her husband is a complex one, as is often the case with real-life political couples. “Politicians’ wives sometimes put on a face to protect their partner,” notes Zeta-Jones. “To the outside world they are this quintessential first family, but a bright light sometimes reveals scandal and corruption. To play the role, I drew on this dichotomy. When you meet Cathleen, she is what every woman wants to be and has everything they would love to possess, but that is not what’s reflected behind closed doors. As the character evolves, you see why she wants to get out of this situation. Cathleen knows way too much, and she knows that Hostetler’s dealings and actions will destroy many people’s lives, including her own.”
Another character who’s much more than he seems is Commissioner Fairbanks, who hasn’t forgiven Billy, played by Mark Wahlberg, for his past transgression, but begins to see that Billy has changed over the years. Time and again, Fairbanks has proven more than equal to the task of surviving in a tough, sometimes brutal political environment. Director Allen Hughes tapped Jeffrey Wright for the role.
“Fairbanks is potentially as dangerous as anyone else – a shark among sharks – but there are certain moral boundaries that he respects,” explains Wright. “Allen [Hughes] and I discussed how mysterious he is and that he’s both an observer and manipulator of the action and, most importantly, that he’s a survivor who knows how to protect himself.”
Another survivor is Councilman Jack Valliant, the mayor’s fresh-faced opponent in the upcoming election. Barry Pepper, an Emmy winner for his role as Robert F. Kennedy in the mini-series “The Kennedys,” portrays Valliant. Valliant is pursuing evidence that could mean an easy victory for him – but he soon discovers that nothing comes easily when you face off against the mayor.
Natalie Martinez portrays Billy’s girlfriend Natalie, an aspiring actress. Their relationship becomes challenged because of their past. “Natalie is from the projects where you have to fend for yourself and really fight to get out,” Martinez explains. “Natalie is trying to become an actress and is hungry for that life. She is sometimes tough with Billy, who is trying to find value in what he’s done and who he’s become.”
The other woman in Billy’s life is his quick-witted assistant Katy Bradshaw, with whom he shares a comfortable banter and shorthand. “Katy is the place that Billy feels at home,” explains Alona Tal, who takes on the role. “He’s almost relaxed and open, and even funny; there’s a very different beat to Billy’s personality when he is with Katy.”