Interview with the cast and crew of “The Emperor's Club” (2002)

by Ken James
Staff Writer

Poster art for 'The Emperor's Club'

I recently had the chance to sit down in a roundtable discussion with several cast and crew member associated with the November 22nd, 2002 release, The Emperor’s Club from Universal Pictures and Beacon Pictures. This film is unique from most other Hollywood ventures because it is ripe with discussion topics on ethics, integrity, and morality.

To learn more, read our film review or, for a short study guide produced by Craig Detweiler of Fuller Seminary, see We also hope you enjoy the interviews below. (You can read the full length interview by clicking on the “read more” or on the picture.) We welcome comments from viewers of the film to be posted on the review page as well as each of these interview pages if you wish to direct any comments toward a specific person we have interviewed here.

Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline as
William Hundert

on his own schooling… “I had a very unusual, very privileged, fortunate schooling. I was educated by Benedictine Monks from Ampleforth Abby in England… When I read [the script] it reminded me of that school—the values that the school tried to imbue in all of the students…” [read more]

Emile Hirsch
Emile Hirsch as
Sedgewick Bell

on how he composed his on-screen persona… “I tried to think of a kind, well meaning, charismatic person and just take away the kind, well meaning part. That was it! I definitely watched some politicians on CNN and CSPAN. Definitely kinda watched that charismatic way they try to win people over…” [read more]

Rob Morrow
Rob Morrow as
Charles Ellerby

on the possible effects of this film… “I love the idea of rectitude. It seems like we as a whole have swung to the other extreme… If it awakens in us as a whole how important that is—the theme of how conquest and ambition are meaningless without contribution—I think then as a society we’re in better shape. I hope people are inspired to be the best.” [read more]

Michael Hoffman
Director Michael Hoffman and
Producer Marc Abraham

on the effect this film could have on those who have become corrupt… Marc: “…there are some people who will think ‘yes, if it were only that simple’ and will not take responsibility [for their actions]. But I think there are people who have tried to take responsibility… who have stepped forward and will say ‘you know what, I got lost. I was out of line…’” Michael: “I don’t think [this movie gives] a prescription where it’s sort of saying ‘if you only live this way everything will work out’. Quite often it doesn’t!” [read more]

Ethan Canin
Author Ethan Canin
and Screenwriter Neil Tolkin

on why this story is unique… Neil: “My favorite line [is] “this is a story without surprises.” This has a double meaning in the movie because we’re so conditioned by watching American movies that it’s gonna be a happy ending…” Ethan: “I just fell in love with the [movie] because every turn was a great surprise, but it wasn’t a surprise. That’s why the first 20-30 minutes is all a setup to all those payoffs. We all think it’s going to happen a certain way and it doesn’t.” [read more]