Oliver Stone (born William Oliver Stone, 15.9.1946)
Oliver Stone is an American, Academy Award winning film director.
Oliver Stone: Childhood
Oliver Stone was born in New York City, to Jacqueline and Louis Stone. His father was a stockbroker. Stone was raised in a series of wealthy neighbourhoods, in Manhattan and Stamford, Connecticut.
Stone's parents divorced whilst he was attending The Hill School, a private prep school in Pennsylvania.
Oliver Stone attended the prestigious Yale University for one year. He dropped out and taught English in Vietnam for six months. He then returned to Yale, only to drop out for a second time. Whilst he was at Yale, Oliver Stone worked on a Troma Entertainment film, The Battle of Love's Return. He also had a cameo role in the movie.
Oliver Stone later attended - and graduated from - the film school at New York University. The director Martin Scorsese was his mentor at the time. Stone then served with the U.S. Army from 1967-8.
Oliver Stone: Film Career
Oliver Stone's professional directorial debut came with the horror film Seizure in 1974.
In 1978, Oliver Stone won his first Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, for Midnight Express.
Of Stone's earlier films, many dealt with the subject of the Vietnam War. 1986's Platoon is said to be semi-autobiographical. In 1989, Stone also made Born on the Fourth of July, another Vietnam film, as was 1993's Heaven and Earth. Stone added to his Oscar collection for both Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July.
In 1987, Oliver Stone directed Wall Street, starring Michael Douglas, who earned an Oscar for his role in the film. The next year, he directed Talk Radio and in 1991, Stone directed the Jim Morrison biopic The Doors, which starred Val Kilmer in the lead role.
Stone contributed to the screenplays of a number of successful films, such as Scarface, Conan the Barbarian and Evita.
In the 1990's and 2000's, Stone directed a number of films that were both critical and financial successes, though many brought with them a great deal of media controversy. In 1999, Stone directed Any Given Sunday, about a power struggle within an American football team.
In 1991, Stone's film JFK, starring Kevin Costner, was criticised for its apparent mix of truth and fiction.
The release of Natural Born Killers was surrounded by a media frenzy, with people criticising the film for its apparent glorification of violence. However, the film, starring Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis went on to become a cult success. The original scriptwriter, Quentin Tarantino, asked for his name to be removed from the credits, but was eventually credited with 'Story By.'
In 1995, Stone continued a stream of political / historical biopics with Nixon, starring Anthony Hopkins. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards. Again, the film was criticised for its inaccurate portrayal of the ex-US President.
Oliver Stone went on to direct World Trade Center, which was based on the story of two police officers present during the 11th September, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York's Twin Towers.
In 2004, Alexander was released: a historical biopic about Alexander the Great. Despite being one of the highest-grossing films of 2004, Stone felt that its success was limited, due to the lack of enthusiasm from critics. The film failed to recoup its production costs at the box office and relied on DVD sales to break even.
Stone then went on direct W, a biopic / satire about George W. Bush's life and his time as the President of the United States of America. The film stars Josh Brolin as George W Bush, and Elizabeth Banks plays the role of Laura Bush.
Oliver Stone has also made two major documentaries. The first was Persona Non Grata, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the second was Comandante, about Fidel Castro. Both of these films were made in 2003 and in 2004, Stone made a follow up to the Castro documentary, named Looking For Fidel.