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December 3, 2013 | By Oliver Gettell
With her stringy gray wig, elastic-waisted jeans, frumpy sweater and thick glasses, Melissa Leo is barely recognizable as the middle-aged loner Holly Jones in the recent kidnapping drama "Prisoners. " She disappears so fully into the role that it's almost hard to imagine she nearly passed on the film. Speaking at the Envelope Screening Series , Leo discussed why she hesitated to take on the role, what finally convinced her and how she approached her character. Leo said her first reaction to the "Prisoners" screenplay was: "Well, it's a fascinating and well-written script, but no thank you. " Pressed further, she watched director Denis Villeneuve's film "Incendies," was impressed, and then agreed to meet with him. Villeneuve, Leo said, "understood that I was fearful.
October 27, 2003 | Richard Fausset, Times Staff Writer
Nearly every day, former movie actor Erik Aude writes to his mother from his prison cell in Pakistan. He tells her about the beatings he has endured, the executions he has witnessed. He tells her about his boredom and despair, and the wasting away of his once-chiseled weightlifter's body. Sometimes, the 23-year-old muses about suicide. He tells her he is not a drug smuggler, despite the 3.6 kilos of opium found in his suitcase at the Islamabad airport.
October 30, 2013 | By Steve Chawkins
The captured fighter pilot had already been through so much at the infamous Hanoi Hilton. He had been beaten up and starved, thrown for months into a dark cell crawling with rats, held immobile with his legs pinned in stocks, and strapped with ropes so tightly that his right arm was torn from its socket. When he passed out from pain, the ropes were briefly loosened until the ordeal could start yet again. Now, with his jailers ordering him to do a propaganda broadcast, J. Robinson Risner, in the solitude of his cell, tried to destroy his voice.
October 29, 2013 | By Maher Abukhater
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners early Wednesday, the second group out of 104 prisoners to be released as part of peace talks that were renewed during the summer. The prisoners were serving sentences related to the killings of Israelis prior to the 1993 Olso peace accords. The Israeli Cabinet approved the freeing of the 26 prisoners on Sunday, 48 hours before their  release to give time for objections. Many Israelis consider the men terrorists, but the Israeli Supreme Court rejected attempts to stop their release.
September 23, 2010 | By Robert Abele
Informally sketched but deeply felt, Bradley Beesley's documentary "Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo" mingles with the spirited cowgirl inmates who compete in Oklahoma's annual state penitentiary rodeo, a 70-year tradition of Wild West-style showbiz that began to allow females to participate only in 2006. Although there's a queasy tinge of gladiatorial bloodlust in seeing society's punished put themselves in hooves' and horns' way for spectator sport, the tears in one woman's eyes as she describes leaving the correctional facility for an afternoon of outdoor training speak wonders.
September 25, 2009 | Ned Parker and Saif Hameed
In a daring escape, 16 prisoners, five of them awaiting execution, apparently crawled through a window of an Iraqi jail before fanning out in different directions, police and local officials said Thursday. The escape in the northern town of Tikrit, which raised concerns about corruption within security forces, resulted in a curfew in the birthplace of the late dictator Saddam Hussein, as authorities hunted for the men. At least two of the fugitives were later captured, one at a checkpoint in Tikrit and another elsewhere in Salahuddin province, outside Samarra, the provincial capital, police said.
July 12, 2013
Re "Mass protest sweeps state prisons," July 10, and "The strike against solitary," July 10 The fact that many prisoners in California are treated inhumanely by the state shocks the conscience and haunts the soul. It's not "tough on crime" to keep inmates in solitary confinement or to fail to provide prisoners basic humane services; to the contrary, it contributes to the high recidivism that affects us all. The answer is to get smart on crime and be humane to those incarcerated.
January 7, 2014 | By Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT -- An extremist rebel faction operating in Syria is reported to have killed an unknown number of prisoners it abducted near the contested city of Aleppo as its forces came under fire from rival opposition groups, activists said. Many of the victims of the execution-style killings by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the most extreme of the Islamist groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar Assad , were activists and journalists, the reports said.
December 19, 2013 | By Randee Dawn
NEW YORK - The twisty, suspenseful "Prisoners" is full of thrills, but none more enduring than the way stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal ignite against one another. This particular feat of casting leaves audiences wondering why it hasn't happened before, and perhaps sorry that their shared screen time is so brief in the film that sees Jackman as a frantic father looking to find his missing daughter, and Gyllenhaal as the police detective on the case. The Envelope talked with both men over tea in New York about their particular chemistry, the moral ambiguities of the script, working with director Denis Villenueve and costars Viola Davis and Terrence Howard - and their own personal injuries.
April 6, 1999
I see by The Times (April 1) that there is a bill in the California Legislature to prohibit prisoners from watching television. If the object is to punish them, they should be made to watch it. Let them pay for their crimes to the fullest extent. IRV ELMAN Pacific Palisades
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