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THE EMPEROR'S CLUB
USA: Universal Studios
UK: Entertainment Film Distributors
Cast: Kevin Kline, Steven Culp, Embeth Davidtz, Patrick Dempsey, Joel Gretsch, Edward Herrmann, Emile Hirsch, Rob Morrow, Harris Yulin, Paul Dano, Jesse Eisenberg, Rishi Mehta, Roger Rees, Rahul Khanna, Gabriel Millman, Luca Bigini Chris Morales, Michael Coppola, Sean Fredericks, Katherine O'Sullivan, Melissa Brown, Sophie Wise, Emily Doubilet, Michelle Foody, Caitlin O'Heaney, Charu R Mehta, Pamela Wehner, Molly Regan, Helen Carey, Matthew Douglas, Charles McConnell, Allan M Care, Jimmy Walsh, Elizabeth Hobgood, Purva Bedi, Deirdre Lorenz, Anthony Vincent Bova, Mark Nichols, George F Miller, David C Hatch, Tom Bloom, Matthew Clark, James Shanklin, Denis Gawley, Henry Glovinsky, Duane McLaughlin, Jessica Brooks Grant, Charles Estes, Dominique Deverau, Ben Levin, Jase Blankfort
Director: Michael Hoffman
USA & UK: 108 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for some sexual content
UK Certificate: PG contains mild language and sexual references
USA Release Date: 22 November 2002
UK Release Date: 22 November 2002
Adapted from Ethan Canin's acclaimed short story "The Palace Thief," THE EMPEROR'S CLUB stars Kevin Kline as William Hundert, St. Benedict's assistant headmaster, who practices what he teaches. Striving to inspire his students to live rightly, he's the kind of impassioned, principled Classics professor who believes the history of the Greeks and Romans is more than just a lesson about the past. He also believes that the role of a teacher is not only to educate the pupil but to mold the pupil's character.
But in the fall of '72, Hundert finds his cloistered world of tradition and influence upended with the arrival of new freshman Sedgewick Bell (Emile Hirsch), the son of a West Virginia senator. Almost immediately, teacher and student become embroiled in a turbulent battle of wills with repercussions that would still be felt a quarter of a century later.
Openly defying the hallowed hall's well-worn rules and challenging Hundert's authority, Sedgewick is an instant magnet for his classmates with his charisma and confidence. No pupil before him would ever have the nerve to go skinny-dipping with residents of the Girls school across the lake, nor lead his classmates in a perfectly timed slam of their textbooks. Nor dare to blaspheme Hundert's revered ancient Emperors by likening them to the Seven Dwarfs and The Beatles.
And yet, a desperate visit with Sedgewick's busy and equally strong-willed father convinces Hundert that he and his problem student share a common bond that makes it impossible for him to give up on the boy.
Determined to find a way to reach Sedgewick, Hundert unsettles him by offering a friendly truce. After a noticeable change in Sedgewick's attitude, Hundert slowly begins to bend his rules in order to win Sedgewick's trust. An impromptu baseball game becomes a bonding experience for the two.
Soon one compromise on Hundert's part begets another...and then another...and it's not long before the teacher's noble efforts to mold the student's character are in fact, having a more profound effect on his own. Faced with a King Solomon decision that would determine Sedgewick's fate, as well as the destiny of others, Hundert, for all the right reasons, finds himself making a choice that would haunt him for the next 25 years of his life.