James Rouse, Thomas Winter Cooke

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When asked what drives him, James Rouse simply states, "I like making things that are funny. The satisfaction that's involved in bringing to life something on paper that is funny is enormous." The former U.K. creative, represented in the States by Thomas Winter Cooke, made his directing debut on a daring online viral campaign he also wrote for Trojan condoms, featuring athletes who take canoodling to Olympic extremes: a woman sans skivvies leaps on to a naked weightlifter, suspended solely by his powerhouse member; a pantless gymnast vaults into a perfect straddle landing on her partner, spread eagle on the mat. Showcased in the 2004 Saatchi New Directors lineup, the 36-year-old Rouse has also shot for BT Yahoo, The Guardian and Fiat,the latter featuring an adulterous turtle who hatches a scion with a suspicious Panda-like complexion. Recently, he made his U.S. debut on NFL Shop's "Tackle Dummy," out of Y&R/N.Y., about a crazed fan who goes to masochistic extremes to get his paws on some gear. Rouse is quite the obsessed maniac himself-when it comes to directing. For instance, "I love really delving deep into characters," he enthuses. "I always write long studies of even the smallest characters with the shortest lines, to give the actor something deeper than just words on the paper-how they feel having said it, before they said it, what they were doing an hour previous and an hour after. I've done that on every single script I've worked on, even in the case of NFL, where the character just grunts and groans and doesn't even deliver a line at all." Moreover, it's not hard to imagine Rouse pulling all-nighters boning up on his subjects. On Trojan, he studied Olympic broadcasts and consulted with trainers to establish believably athletic moves for the fornicators. For NFL, he pored over old game footage and attended college and professional practices. Sounds like a lot of work for just a single spot that in the end, isn't even about the plays. "I loved doing it," he insists. "I couldn't not do it. I would hate myself if I didn't do it. Apart from anything else, I needed to do it because I'm English and didn't understand what the game was about. But now I'm an expert and know all the rules. I'm very pleased with myself that I can watch a game of American football and it isn't complete rubbish to me."
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