Oliver Stone (born William Oliver Stone, 15.9.1946)
Oliver Stone is an American, Academy Award winning film director.
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.
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.
Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed filmmaking to trace the lives of such people as JFK, Nixon, Jim Morrison and George W. Bush. And now he turns his attention to whistleblower Edward Snowden. This is an urgent, skilfully made film that manages to avoid preachy politics as it asks the central question: was Snowden a traitor or a patriot?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Ed, a nerdy genius who never went to university but was spotted by CIA trainer Corbin (Rhys Ifans) and brought into the fold. Rising through the ranks, he moves from Virginia to Switzerland, Japan and Hawaii, accompanied by his long-suffering girlfriend Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), who isn't allowed to know what he does for a living. Over the years, his faith in America's government is shaken as he discovers the scale of its data-gathering operation, collecting all telephone and internet information on every person on earth, whether or not they're a suspect. And he believes that the taxpayers have a right to know what their elected officials are doing.
The script tells the story as Ed describes his life to filmmaker Laura Poitras (Melissa Leo) and two Guardian journalists (Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson) while hiding in a Hong Kong hotel, an event recounted in the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour. Eventually, this element of the story generates some proper action as the CIA tracks him down and gives chase. Stone orchestrates these scenes expertly, generating some real adrenaline without sacrificing the bigger narrative. And Gordon-Levitt is simply remarkable, vanishing into the role so effectively that the final dissolve to the real Snowden is barely perceptible. His chemistry with Woodley is complex and engaging (even with a gratuitous sex scene), creating a terrific central love story to guide the audience through the events.
Continue reading: Snowden Review
In June 2013, a high-flying 29-year-old government employee named Edward Snowdon suddenly found himself the most wanted man in the world after leaking classified documents from the US government to the media. An intelligent young man, whose army career at just 20 led him to join the CIA and eventually become an NSA contractor where he was faced with what he deemed as seriously questionable ethics from his colleagues, and those above him. Disturbed by the lies spoken by those around him and with a direct concern for the welfare of the people, he sought justice. He knew what such a move would entail, and indeed he was accused of being a traitor when the government tried to suggest that his actions had a negative impact on their counterterrorism programmes, but he knew he couldn't watch the citizens of Earth be continually deceived.
Continue: Snowden - Teaser Trailer
Could the biopic be in line for an Oscar in 2016?
Filming has officially begun on Snowden, Oliver Stone’s upcoming biopic on NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the title role, with the actor sharing the first image of himself in character via his Facebook account on Tuesday.
Continue reading: First Look At Joseph Gordon-Levitt In Oliver Stone Biopic 'Snowden'
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is likely to play Edward Snowden in Oliver Stone's new movie.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is circling the Edward Snowden biopic
According to Variety, formal talks are yet to begin but both sides want the deal to happen. Stone is writing and directing the project, with Eric Kopeloff and Moritz Borman set to produce.
Continue reading: Joseph Gordon-Levitt Could Play Edward Snowden In 'The Snowden Files'
The 'JFK' director thinks that there were greater powers at work when the late president was assassinated, powers that go unmentioned in the upcoming National Geographic docu-drama
Killing Kennedy is the National Geographic Channel's summarised view of the assassination of former president John F. Kennedy, a view that Director Oliver Stones thinks is skewed and hides a clear truth. The Rob Lowe-starring docu-drama will air on the network later this month, prior to the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination, and when it does, Stone won't be tuning in.
Stone [L] and Bill O'Reilly [R] share different views on the Kennedy assassination
In a recent discussion with The Hollywood Reporter, the acclaimed moviemaker gave some of his own views on the death of the iconic president, admitting that he, like many others, believes that there is more to his assassination that a disturbed and disgruntled lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald. Based on the book co-written by conservative Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, Stone conceded that their view on the assassination opens up more questions than it does answer them.
Sun-jung Jung and Oliver Stone - Celebrities attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Honor Oliver Stone and Liza Chasin at Annual Benefit Gala at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. - Los Angeles, CA, United States - Monday 28th October 2013
Jennifer Lopez has apologised for performing at the birthday celebrations of Turkmenistan's President, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. The country has an appalling Human Rights record, a fact the singer and her entourage appeared completely unaware of.
Jennifer Lopez appeared on Saturday (29th June 2013) at the birthday celebrations of Turkmenistan's president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. The nation has a history of abysmal Human Rights, according to Human Rights Watch. Lopez has been criticised for performing, however the situation has drawn attention to the country and its leaders.
Jennifer Lopez at 4th Annual amfAR Inspiration Gala, The Plaza Hotel, New York
Lopez is not the only celebrity to entertain unsavoury characters. Oliver Stone worked with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez; Naomi Campbell accepted a diamond from Liberian dictator Charles Taylor; Michael Jackson was harboured by Prince Abdullah al-Khalifa of Bahrain and Beyonce and Usher performed for Hannibal Gadhafi.
Continue reading: Jennifer Lopez Apologises For Turkmenistan Performance
Oliver Stone has thrown support behind Julian Assange's cause.
Never far from controversy, Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone has conveniently attacked two forthcoming movies about Julian Assange after meeting the Wikileaks founder at the Ecudorian embassy in London last week. Stone tweeted a picture of himself with the political activist during the visit, saying, "A sad occasion in that Julian could not follow me out the door. He lives in a tiny room with great modesty and discipline."
Assange has publically slammed two forthcoming movies set to be released about Wikileaks - Alex Gibney's We Steal Secrets and Bill Condon's drama The Fifth Estate - and Stone tweeted of his dismay at the movies also. "Strong mind, no sun, friends who visit, work to be done, one documentary coming out from Alex Gibney that is not expected to be kind. Another film from Dreamworks which is also going to be unfriendly . I don't think most people in the US realise how important Wikileaks is and why Julian's case needs support." It's difficult to believe both movies will be biting hatchet jobs of Assange's character and Wikileaks. Gibney is an Oscar-winning documentarian, while the second is a big-budget Hollywood movie from the director of Twilight. Besides, for all its benefits, Wikileaks and Assange in particular have moral questions to answer. He is also wanted for alleged sexual offenses in Sweden. "Julian Assange did much for free speech and is now being victimised by the abusers of that concept," added Stone.
The Fifth Estate stars Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch as Assange, alongside a pretty impressive supporting cast that includes Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie and Peter Capaldi. It is due for release in the US in November - Oscar bait, in other words. Alex Gibney's documents debuted at Sundance in January and hits theaters in the U.S on May 24, 2013.
Continue reading: Oliver Stone Meets Julian Assange, Then Attacks Wikileaks Movies
Sergei Polunin has been replaced in Midnight Express, though perhaps more worryingly, nobody seems to know where he is.
Ukrainian dance star Sergei Polunin has walked out on the cast of the major new ballet show Midnight Express just days before its UK premiere at London's Coliseum. The production, based on Billy Hayes's 1977 Turkish prison story, was due to open on Tuesday (April 9, 2013), though Polunin - its primary draw - has dropped out.
The production's director and choreographer, Peter Schaufuss, said Polunin failed to turn up for rehearsals on Wednesday. A statement put the departure down to "unforeseen circumstances," which essentially means nobody has a clue what's going on or where he is. Johan Christensen will take over the title role of Billy Hayes.
This is familiar territory for the Ukrainian star, who unexpectedly quit the Royal Ballet last year. At 19, he had become the company's youngest male principal though shocked the dance world by quitting before he was due to appear in a production of The Dream, later telling the BBC that he was no fan of rehearsing and that it was only when performing that he enjoyed to dance. Fair enough.
Most of these movies feature actors, actresses and filmmakers who really should know better...
This heavy-handed drug-war thriller proves that Oliver Stone has lost the ability to tell a balanced story. And the all-star cast seems clueless about why they're here. Except a vamping Salma Hayek.
Continue reading: The Ten Worst Films Of 2012
Oliver Stone takes a stab at returning to a nastier, more edgy filmmaking style, but simply can't escape his moralising ways. Indeed, this film looks great, with whizzy camerawork and kinetic editing, and a willingness to travel to some very dark places. So it's even more annoying that it's all such a cop out. Not only are the plot and characters undermined by half-hearted preachiness, but the film has an appallingly trite voice-over narration plus a climactic plot point that feels like a cheat.
The story opens with a scene of domestic bliss, as sexy beach babe O (Lively) cuddles with her hunky ex-military boyfriend Chon (Kitsch) in their spectacular seaside home in Orange County. Then Ben (Taylor) arrives home - he's Chon's best friend and O's other boyfriend, a tree-hugging scientist who has created the perfect marijuana plant. They've made their fortune as local drug dealers, and now a Mexican cartel wants in on the action. They're visited by a goon (Bichir) who makes them an offer they can't refuse. So when they Chon and Ben say no, the cartel henchman Lado (Del Toro) kidnaps O to whip boys in line. But they go into action mode instead. Calling the shots is cartel boss Elena (Hayek). And there's also a Federal agent (Travolta) working everyone against each other.
The plot has promise, and the film starts well, with sun-drenched photography and some strong character-establishing scenes with Kitsch, Johnson and Lively. But once we learn each one's main trait (Chon's tough tenacity, Ben's peace-loving passion and O's annoying stupidity), the script abandons them completely. We never have a clue why Chon and Ben would fall for O, let alone risk their lives to rescue her. We never know why Lado is such a cold-hearted brute. And we can't understand how Travolta's character has survived this long. The only person we enjoy watching is the scene-chewing Hayek, who seems to be the only actor having any fun.
Continue reading: Savages Review
Date of birth
15th September, 1946
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