Will Rokos and Milo Addica

Angst-filled improv evolves into drama

Age: Rokos, 36; Addica, 38

Birthplace: Rokos, 36, Hickory Flats, Ga.; Addica, 38, New Haven, CT

Repped by: (Addica) Aaron Ray,

(Rokos) Angela Cheng, Writers & Artists

The film that changed their lives:

Rokos: “The Ox-Bow Incident”

Addica: “The Deer Hunter”

Worst advice/studio note ever received: “Not enough dialogue.”

We never intended to become a writing team,” says Will Rokos as he reflects back on his partnership with Milo Addica. In fact, they stopped writing together years ago. But their brief collaboration resulted in Lions Gate’s “Monster’s Ball,” a drama directed by Marc Forster, who won an Indie Spirit Award this year for his film “Everything Put Together.”

Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Heath Ledger, Sean “P Diddy” Combs and Peter Boyle, the film centers on three generations of executioners in a southern prison.

Rokos and Addica met while acting in a play some 15 years ago. Back in 1995, they shut themselves in Addica’s tiny Santa Monica apartment and decided to explore dramatic territories that were relevant to both of them.

“It was good, bad, and it was difficult,” Addica tells Daily Variety, recalling how they exposed some of their deepest issues while improvising scenes. “Afterwards, when the smoke settles, the feelings are still there.”

Their plan was to enlist Harvey Keitel, an acquaintance of Addica, for their lead, and to play major roles opposite him. “The irony was it never got to Harvey,” says Rokos. Instead, producer Mike Lieber took it around L.A. in 1996. A roundabout route took it to Lions Gate. “It worked out in a different way for Milo and me,” says Rokos. They did get to act in their film, though; Rokos can be seen playing the prison warden in the film, and Addica portrays a guard.

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