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CCM talent creates thrills and chills in ‘Gone Girl’ movie

Two UC alumni art direct and act to help Ben Affleck thriller bring in
$38 million over debut weekend ... and take the box office lead

by Deborah Rieselman

While movie audiences were gasping last weekend, two CCM alumni were grinning. Not that the grads had morbid senses of humor, but they were appreciating the fact that their creative talents were partially responsible for Ben Affleck’s new thriller, “Gone Girl,” taking top box-office honors at $38 million during its Oct. 3-5 debut. Dawn Swiderski, CCM '89, was the film’s art director, and actor Cooper Thornton, M (CCM) '92, played the role of Dr. Benson.

Affleck portrays a man whose beautiful wife goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. “Under pressure from the police and a growing media frenzy, Nick's portrait of a blissful union begins to crumble,” say Twentieth Century Fox promotional materials. “Soon his lies, deceits and strange behavior have everyone asking the same dark question.”

David Fincher directed the film, based upon Gillian Flynn’s bestseller. According to a RogerEbert.com review, “’Gone Girl’ is art and entertainment, a thriller and an issue, and an eerily assured audience picture.”

Swiderski and Thornton, both grads from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, have a long list of movie and TV credits attached to their names. Some of Swiderski best known works are "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," "X-Men: First Class" and "Angels & Demons," starring Tom Hanks — a film in which the Art Directors Guild nominated her for best production design.

Thornton, known as Ray Thornton in college, is an actor, writer and producer, who is best known for his appearances on a variety of TV shows, including "Parks and Recreation" in the recurring role of Dr. Harris, “’NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles” and “House.”