March 2020: Tracy Island, a lush tropical island situated in the remote waters of the South Pacific, is home to the world renowned ex-astronaut and construction billionaire Jeff Tracy and his five playboy sons, Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan. But the Tracys' luxury villa is merely a facade that hides the secret base of their independent high-tech privately-funded organisation, International Rescue.
Prompted by the death of his wife in a tragic accident ten years earlier, Jeff Tracy created International Rescue to help those in trouble wherever and whenever that help was needed. Dedicated to providing life-saving emergency assistance in situations that exceed the limitations of ordinary military and international security forces, International Rescue maintains a fleet of awesome, imaginatively engineered rescue vehicles, each designed to accomplish a specific task: Thunderbird 1, an 80-foot-long reconnaissance aircraft capable of speeds up to 15,000 mph; Thunderbird 2, a 150-foot-long heavy-duty equipment transporter which ferries a variety of smaller vehicles to the rescue zone in interchangeable pods; Thunderbird 3, a 175-foot-tall space rocket which acts as space rescue vehicle and shuttle craft; Thunderbird 4, a versatile 30-foot-long mini-submarine with a maximum speed of 160 knots; and Thunderbird 5, International Rescue's 200-foot-diameter communications satellite in permanent geo-stationary orbit.
Returning to the island after successfully rescuing trapped workers from a collapsing oil super-rig in the Gulf of Alaska, the Tracys are joined by Jeff's youngest son Alan and Fermat, son of International Rescue's brilliant inventor Professor Hackenbacker (also known as 'Brains'), who are home from boarding school for the spring break holidays. When Thunderbird 5 is badly damaged by an apparent meteor strike and John, on board as space monitor, is injured, Jeff races to assist in Thunderbird 3 together with Virgil, Scott and Gordon. But the 'accident' has been engineered by the master criminal The Hood who has tracked Thunderbird 1 from the super-rig to Tracy Island in his stealth submarine.
Invading the island base with his assistants, Transom and Mullion, The Hood takes control of International Rescue in order to use the organisation's equipment to rob the ten biggest banks in the world. He remotely shuts down all power on Thunderbird 5, trapping Jeff and his sons on board and setting the satellite on a spiralling course to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere in 16 hours. However, The Hood has not counted on the ingenuity of Alan, Fermat and their friend Tin-Tin who are still at large on the base and will do anything to frustrate The Hood's plans and save the Tracy family.
Evading The Hood's clutches, they undertake a daring mission of their own, climbing to the island's mountain top satellite tracking station and hacking into the network to contact Jeff on Thunderbird 5. Meanwhile, International Rescue's failure to respond to emergency calls from around the globe alerts Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward to the situation on Tracy Island, but when she arrives with her chauffeur Parker, they are captured by The Hood and imprisoned with Brains and Kyrano in a walk-in refrigerator. They are joined by Alan, Fermat and Tintin when the trio are eventually captured by Mullion and, leaving them all to freeze to death, The Hood steals Thunderbird 2 and heads for England where he plans to break into the Bank of London by tunnelling under the River Thames in International Rescue's Mole drilling vehicle. But The Hood's actions lead to disaster when the Mole shears through a support column on the London monorail and one of the rail cars falls into the Thames, trapping the passengers underwater!
The criminal mastermind The Hood, a master of disguise determined to get his hands on International Rescue's secrets, is played by Oscar-winning Yorkshire-born actor SIR BEN KINGSLEY. Internationally renowned for his role as Mahatma Gandhi in Sir Richard Attenborough's epic Gandhi (1982), for which he received Academy and BAFTA Best Actor awards, the former Coronation Street regular has won numerous plaudits for his many appearances in films such as Turtle Diary (1985), Maurice (1987), Pascali's Island (1988), Testimony (1988), Bugsy (1991), Schindler's List (1993), Death And The Maiden (1994) and Sexy Beast (2000).
Born Krishna Bhanji, the son of an Indian physician and an English fashion model, Ben Kingsley made his television debut as Ron Jenkins in Coronation Street in 1966 and his film debut in Fear Is The Key (1972). However, apart from occasional television appearances in The Adventurer, a BBC production of Antony And Cleopatra and the 1975 series Love School, he was primarily a stage actor until his breakthrough role in Gandhi (1983). Since then, he has gone on to appear in more than 30 feature films including Without A Clue (1988), Sneakers (1992) and Photographing Fairies (1997).
His previous genre credits include Xavier Fitch in Species (1995), the narrator of Steven Spielberg's Artificial Intelligence (2001), and Avatar in Slipstream (1989), a British science-fiction film in which he appeared with his Thunderbirds co-star Bill Paxton. Always in demand for film roles, since filming his scenes for Thunderbirds, Kingsley has appeared in House Of Sand And Fog (2004), Suspect Zero (2004), Valiant (2004) and A Sound Of Thunder (2004).
International Rescue patriarch Jeff Tracy is played by genre favourite BILL PAXTON who has the unusual reputation of being the only actor to be 'killed' on-screen by a Terminator, an Alien and a Predator. Following a decade of appearances in memorable supporting roles in cult movies, he gained wider recognition for his performance as Sheriff Dale 'Hurricane' Dixon in the critically acclaimed film noir One False Move (1992). He subsequently built on this with notable appearances as Morgan Earp in Tombstone (1993) and astronaut Fred Haise in Apollo 13 (1995).
Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1955, William Paxton moved to Los Angeles at 18 and found work as a set dresser for Roger Corman's New World Pictures. He made his film debut in Corman's Crazy Mama (1975) but his first notable film role was as Clyde the bartender in the cult rock thriller Streets Of Fire (1984). A brief appearance as a punk in James Cameron's The Terminator (1984) led to his being cast as the excitable Private Hudson in Aliens (1986) and further work for Cameron followed in True Lies (1994) and Titanic (1997).
Paxton has been seen in a host of genre features such as Weird Science (1985), Near Dark (1987), Slipstream (1989), Predator 2 (1990) and Mighty Joe Young (1998). He has also starred in the action thrillers Navy SEALS (1990), Twister (1996), U-571 (2000), Vertical Limit (2000) and Spy Kids 2: Island Of Lost Dreams (2002). A member of the Eighties rock band Martini Ranch, Paxton directed the award-winning video for the cult Barnes & Barnes song 'Fish Heads'. Since completing work on Thunderbirds, he has filmed a role in the crime adventure Haven (2004).
International Rescue engineer and Thunderbirds designer Brains Hackenbacker is played by American actor ANTHONY EDWARDS, best known for his starring role as Dr. Mark Greene in the long-running American medical drama series ER. Prior to ER he appeared as the ill-fated Lieutenant Nick 'Goose' Bradshaw in Top Gun (1986) and took a regular role in Northern Exposure as former lawyer Mike Monroe.
Born in Santa Barbara, California in 1962, Anthony Edwards made his screen debut in the 1981 television movie The Killing Of Randy Webster and went on to appear in films such as Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982), Heart Like A Wheel (1983), High School USA (1983) and Revenge Of The Nerds (1984). He also appeared as Andy Quinn in the short-lived ABC sitcom It Takes Two, but it was his role as Tom Cruise's ill-fated best friend in Top Gun (1986) that first brought him to the attention of cinema audiences.
Edwards went on to take leading roles in Mr. North (1988), Hawks (1988), Miracle Mile (1988), Downtown (1990), Pet Semetary II (1992) and The Client (1994), as well as a guest role in Beverly Hills 90201 before being cast as Mike Monroe in Northern Exposure and then chief resident Dr. Greene in ER. In this latter role, he was Emmy nominated four times as outstanding lead actor. He also directed three episodes of ER and has produced the films Don't Go Breaking My Heart (1998) and Die, Mommie, Die (2003), and the television movies Border Line (1999) and My Louisiana Sky (2001). Since filming his scenes for Thunderbirds, he has appeared in the sci-fi thriller The Forgotten (2004).
23-year-old British actress SOPHIA MYLES plays International Rescue's cool London agent Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward. The daughter of a local vicar, she was born in Notting Hill but grew up in Isleworth, attending Richmond College where she took a course in drama. At 16, she was spotted by screenwriter Julian Fellowes in a school production of John Godber's Teachers and this led to her first professional role in a BBC adaptation of The Prince And The Pauper. Prior to Thunderbirds, Sophia's most notable film and television appearances were in period costume dramas such as Mansfield Park (1999), Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby, but she was also seen in Guest House Paradiso (1999), From Hell (2001), The Abduction Club (2002), Out Of Bounds (2003) and episodes of Heartbeat and Foyle's War. She recently appeared in the horror fantasy Underworld (2003) and since completing work on Thunderbirds she has filmed a starring role in Tristan And Isolde (2004).
Lady Penelope's faithful retainer Aloysius Parker is played by British character actor RON COOK. Notable for his roles in films such as The Cook, The Thief, The Wife & Her Lover (1989), Topsy-Turvy (1999), Quills (2000), 102 Dalmatians (2000), Chocolat (2000) and 24 Hour Party People (2002), Cook has also appeared on television in episodes of The Racing Game, Whoops Apocalypse, The Black Adder, The Young Ones, Bergerac, Boon, The Singing Detective, Maigret, The Detectives and Sharpe. More recently, he has been seen as Barrymore in the BBC's adaptation of The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Lloyd George in the BBC's The Lost Prince, Doughty in ITV's Hornblower series, and Isambard Kingdom Brunel in the BBC's Seven Wonders Of The Industrial World.
Jeff Tracy's 24-year-old eldest son, Thunderbird 1 pilot Scott Tracy, is played by American actor PHILIP WINCHESTER, a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art who has previously been seen in the Steven Seagal film The Patriot (1998) and the low-budget British horror film LD 50 Lethal Dose (2003). His theatre work includes the role of Danny Zukko in the Firehouse Five Theater production of Grease and he has also played in productions of Hamlet, The Crucible, She Would If She Could and Cabaret.
22-year-old Thunderbird 5 space monitor John Tracy is played by Suffolk-born LEX SHRAPNEL, the son of Royal Shakespeare Company actor John Shrapnel. A graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Shrapnel appeared in the low budget British horror film Nine Lives (2002) and has also been seen as Mikhail Kornilov in the Harrison Ford film K-19: The Widowmaker (2002). On stage, he has played Romeo in Indu Rubasingham's production of Romeo And Juliet at the Festival Theatre, Chichester, and the King of France in Johnathan Kent's King Lear at the Almeida Theatre. He also appeared in the 2003 Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of Hamlet at the Edinburgh Festival and the Dublin Theatre Festival.
20-year-old Thunderbird 2 pilot Virgil Tracy is played by British actor DOMINIC COLENSO who was recently seen as David in Stephen Poliakoff's two-part BBC1 drama The Lost Prince. He makes his feature film debut in Thunderbirds, as does American-born newcomer BEN TORGERSEN who plays 18-year-old Thunderbird 3 pilot Gordon Tracy.
Photo right: (left to right) Gordon (Ben Torgersen), John (Lex Shrapnel), Jeff (Bill Paxton), Scott (Philip Winchester) and Virgil (Dominic Colenso).
Jeff Tracy's youngest son Alan is played by 15-year-old BRADY CORBET, an Arizona-born actor who made a remarkable film debut in Catherine Hardwicke's highly-acclaimed Thirteen (2003). Corbet has previously appeared on American television in episodes of The King Of Queens, Greetings From Tucson and Oliver Beene. Since completing work on Thunderbirds he has been filming his first starring role as an abused gay teenager in Greg Araki's Mysterious Skin (2004).
Alan Tracy's 12-year-old friend Tin-Tin Belagant, daughter of the Tracys' factotum Kyrano and his wife Onaha, is played by VANESSA ANNE HUDGENS who also made her film debut in Thirteen (2003), following an appearance in an episode of Still Standing. Brains's son Fermat is played by SOREN FULTON who has worked extensively in American television appearing in episodes of Charmed, Frasier, Crossing Jordan, Untitled Ricky Blitt Project and Oliver Beene. He made his film debut in Face To Face (2001) and has also been seen in Van Wilder: Party Liaison (2002).
Kyrano Belagant - Tintin's father, Jeff Tracy's closest friend and The Hood's half-brother - is played by Indian actor BHASKER PATEL who is best known to British television viewers for his role as Raj Verma in Granada's A & E. Patel made his film debut as a house boy in Octopussy (1983) and went on to appearances in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984), Wild West (1992), A Business Affair (1994), Twin Town (1997) and My Son The Fanatic (1997). On television, he has been seen in The Jewel In The Crown, Boon, Casualty, The Bill, Coronation Street, Only Fools And Horses, Murder In Mind, NCS Manhunt and, more recently, Sea Of Souls and The Last Detective. His many stage appearances have included productions of Macbeth, Timon Of Athens, Comedy Of Errors, A Passage To India and The Magic Carpet.
The Hood's chief scientist Transom is played by ROSE KEEGAN, a British character actress who has previously been seen in First Knight (1995) and episodes of Miss Marple, Beast, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, Black Books and Swiss Toni. However, she is probably best known for her role as Sinead Creagh in the BBC drama series Hearts And Bones. On stage, she has appeared in productions of The Revenger's Comedies, A Message For The Broken Hearted, Candide, Hushabye Mountain and Bedroom Farce.
The Hood's muscular security chief Mullion is played by DEOBIA OPAREI who is familiar to filmgoers for his role as Le Chocolat in Baz Luhrman's Moulin Rouge! (2001). Credited as 'Dhobi' Oparei he made his film debut as one of the convicts in Alien 3 (1992) and has subsequently been seen in Dark City (1998), Dirty Pretty Things (2002), The Four Feathers (2002) and episodes of Between The Lines and Holby City.
Alan Tracy's teacher Principal Widdlesome is played by LOU HIRSCH who is best known in the UK for his role as Thermoman's friend Arnie in the BBC superhero sitcom My Hero. Gerry Anderson fans will also remember him as creon officer Silas Romek in Space Precinct but Hirsch is more widely known as the voice of Baby Herman in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) and the three spin-off Roger Rabbit animated shorts. He has also been seen in Superman III (1983), Insignificance (1985), Haunted Honeymoon (1986), Wild West (1992) and episodes of Whoops Apocalypse, We'll Meet Again, Dempsey & Makepeace, The Equalizer and The Tomorrow People.
Lisa Lowe, the television newscaster who reports on International Rescue's activities, is played by TV soap star GENIE FRANCIS, best known for her long-running role as Laura Spencer in ABC's General Hospital and its spin-off series Port Charles. Although Francis has now played Laura Spencer on television for 26 years, she has taken occasional breaks for other work during that time: she was seen as Diana Colville in Days Of Our Lives, Tyger Hayes in Bare Essence, Ceara Connor Hunter in All My Children and Loving, and Brett Hazard in the mini-series North & South and its two sequels. In addition, she has guested in episodes of Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, Hotel, Roseanne, Lois & Clark - The New Adventures Of Superman, 3rd Rock From The Sun and Roswell, and she provided the voice of Betty Ross in the The Incredible Hulk animated series. Francis is married to Thunderbirds director Jonathan Frakes, who also makes a cameo appearance as a police officer.
Cast & Crew Credits and Release Schedule
Official Universal Pictures Thunderbirds Movie website
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