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A UNIVERSAL PICTURES RELEASE, 'SNEAKERS' FOLLOWS A TEAM OF HIGH-TECH SECURITY EXPERTS INTO THE COMPLEX WORLD OF COMPUTER CRIME

- ENTERTAINET - TO ENTERTAINMENT AND TECHNOLOGY EDITORS:
     A UNIVERSAL PICTURES RELEASE, 'SNEAKERS' FOLLOWS A TEAM OF  HIGH-TECH SECURITY EXPERTS INTO THE COMPLEX WORLD OF COMPUTER CRIME
    UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- "I was trying to break into Protovision ... I wanted to get the programs for their new games." -- David Lightman (Matthew Broderick, "WarGames").  "The world isn't run by weapons anymore, or energy or money.  It's run by little ones and zeros.  Little bits of data.  It's all just electrons." -- Cosmo (Ben Kingsley, "Sneakers").
    In 1984, screenwriters Walter F. Parkes and Lawrence Lasker received an Academy Award nomination for their script which followed the adventures of a young high school hacker (Matthew Broderick) whose computer made contact with the mainframe computers at North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).
    A critical and box office success, "WarGames" was the first major motion picture to explore the emerging worlds of computer games, hacking, crashing and data piracy.  It soon found a legion of fans who had also discovered the vast frontiers available through their personal computer.
    Eight years later, Parkes and Lasker along with writer-director Phil Alden Robinson ("Field of Dreams") have collaborated on "Sneakers," a Universal Pictures release which follows a team of high-tech security experts into the complex world of computer crime. The caper film, directed by Robinson, stars Robert Redford, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kingsley, River Phoenix, Sidney Poitier, David Strathairn and Mary McDonnell.
    Parkes and Lasker first heard the term "sneakers" at a computer convention in 1981 as a nickname for IBM's kid programmers.  Months later, they met the editor of a small computer magazine who had a very different definition of the word.  "Sneakers," their source explained, is a term that is synonymous with "black hatters" and "tiger teams," or individuals who are hired to break into places in order to test the security of the installation.
    Teaming up with Robinson, the trio wrote the basic outline of a story about a team of sneakers whose questionable pasts had brought them together.  Robinson then embarked on some extensive research, but what had begun as basic fact-finding about computer outlaws soon evolved into clandestine meetings with underground hackers, FBI men, cryptologists, wire tappers, professional penetrators and an endless stream of cyberpunks who were the pioneers in system break-ins.
    The "Sneakers" research led to meetings with numerous characters, ranging from the notorious Captain Crunch (John Draper) to renowned mathematician Leonard Adelman, called the father of public-key encryption.  Using computer encryption as a plot device, the writers were able to concoct an intricate "what if" story which explored the possibility of a "black box" that could potentially crack the code of any electronic information in the world.
    "'Sneakers' has to do with a new age ... the information age," said Redford.  "It's quite possible that a war in the future will be a war of information.  Whoever has it, wins."
    Coming to theaters this fall.
    -0-                   6/24/92
    /CONTACT:  Marsha Robertson of Universal Pictures, 818-777-7229/ CO:  Universal Pictures ST:  California IN:  ENT SU: CH -- LA020 -- 3528 06/24/92 19:26 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 24, 1992
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