Pitch Black
© 2000, USA Films, Interscope Communications,
and Universal Studios
 

Executive Producers:
Ted Field
Scott Kroopf
Anthony Winley

Producer:
Tom Engelman

Director:
David Twohy

Story:
Ken Wheat
Jim Wheat

Screenplay:
Ken Wheat
Jim Wheat
David Twohy

Music:
Graeme Revell

Creatures:
Patrick Tatopoulous

Visual Effects:
Peter Chiang

Starring:

Riddick:
Vin Diesel

Fry:
Radha Mitchell

Johns:
Cole Hauser

Imam:
Keith David

Shazza:
Claudia Black

Jack/Jackie:
Rhiana Griffith

Paris:
Lewis Fitz-Gerald

Ali:
Firass Dirani

Hassan:
Sam Sari

Suleiman:
Les Chantery

Owens:
Simon Burke

Total Stranger:
Ric Anderson

Captain Mitchell:
Vic Wilson

Dead Crewmember:
Angela Makin

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You know there's something incredibly special about an Australian girl who can spend two hours fooling you into believing she's an American boy.

Probably the highest-profile of Rhiana's works so far, and the one that put her "on the map" for many of her fans, Pitch Black is a science fiction movie centered around a group of people who survive a space ship crash, only to discover that their troubles are just beginning. The convicted murderer who was being transported on board has escaped from his confinement, they have almost no food or water, and then the worst news of all comes: voracious monsters infest the planet they've crashed on, held at bay only by the almost-perpetual daylight... but night is about to fall.

Rhiana's character, Jack, is a young teenage runaway who spends most of the movie masquerading as a boy. She becomes infatuated with the film's anti-hero, convicted murderer Richard B. Riddick, emulating his appearance and behavior as the film progresses.

Rhiana's performance in the film received uniformly good reviews, even with reviewers who disliked the movie, many of them mentioning the humanizing influence Jack had upon Riddick, the adroit way she avoided becoming a Ripley clone even after she shaved her head, and the authenticity of the masquerade, which fooled many reviewers and most filmgoers up until the moment the secret of her gender was revealed.

In fact, originally, Jack was written as a girl named Audrey. The decision to have her masquerade as a boy, and use a boy's name, came so late in the production time-line that the novelization had already been turned in; Frank Lauria's descriptions of Audrey appear to be based upon Rhiana's appearance before shooting began, matching the way she looked when she portrayed Mercia in her prior film, 15 Amore.

Rhiana herself proved to be a huge trouper on the Pitch Black set, with Vin Diesel later referring to her as "the most easy-going person on the set." Her American accent was so authentic that Vin actually asked her what part of the States she hailed from, and Twohy assumed she'd already had dialect training before her arrival. Several of her costars were also awed by the nonchalant way that she shaved off her long blonde mane for the role -- few thirteen-year-old girls, especially trained models, have the guts to take that kind of step.

"Jack" swiftly became one of the most popular characters from the film, for its fans, which has left many of those fans baffled and angered by the studio's decision not to cast Rhiana in the sequel. "Kyra," the character who apparently is an extension of Jack, was played by another actress, despite loud and furious protests within the fan communities.

While many gave the sequel a chance, and some even enjoyed it, for most of us there will only ever be one legitimate Jack... Rhiana's. She, after all, was the one who made us love a character that, in less adept hands, would have been "just another annoying horror movie kid." For many of us, Kyra will never be Jack, at all, unless Rhiana plays her.

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Media File:
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