Conspiring to Thrill
Will Beckford is an ambitious journalism student who, like Luke, is ambitious and enjoys the sport of crewing. "Will is a person who is extremely driven, just like Luke, and I think that they came together because they are both underdogs," comments Harper. "They're in an institution which caters to the rich. But they learn how to succeed in that system by bucking the odds."

But when Luke joins The Skulls, it creates a schism between him and Will. However Harper does not think that Will's investigation of The Skulls was done out of envy or revenge.

"For me, Will saw an opportunity to get behind the facade of The Skulls and prove himself as an investigative journalist, something he desires as dearly as Luke wants to go to a prestigious law school. And what better secret for him to crack than an expose of an organization that has existed for 170 years, but to the outside world remains a mystery. I mean, what a scoop!"

But where Will goes wrong is in falling into the same trap as Luke and Caleb, Harper says.

"He ends up doing the wrong thing to achieve a certain end, believing like the other characters that the end justifies the means. By the time he realizes this, it's too late for him."

But the lesson is not lost on Jackson. "Luke is given a golden opportunity to make his dreams come true. It's only when he gets deeply involved in The Skulls that he sees that they are a law unto themselves. They almost function like Big Brother in 1984: they are everywhere, and they know everything about you. There's no way out."

The Skulls poses some pertinent questions about the democracy we live in and whether it is actually run by members of elitist organizations. Just as important, however, is its exploration of true friendship and loyalty.

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©2000 Universal Studios

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