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Joel Schumacher Interview

Director JOEL SCHUMACHER’s most recent feature was the critically acclaimed “Tigerland,” the story of an army boot camp where young men were systematically turned into killers and shipped off to the Vietnam conflict.

The film starred “Phone Booth’s” Colin Farrell, who received best actor honors from the Boston Film Critics for his portrayal of a rebellious soldier who struggled against the system in an attempt to hold on to his humanity.

Schumacher’s features have displayed the filmmaker’s versatility and close attention to performance, nuance and atmosphere. “St. Elmo’s Fire” was an ensemble drama that made stars of such young players as Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Ally Sheedy, Andrew McCarthy and Demi Moore; “Lost Boys,” starring Jason Patric and Kiefer Sutherland, successfully combined fantastical imagery, comedy and very contemporary horror.

“Cousins” was a tender romantic comedy starring Ted Danson, Isabella Rossellini and Sean Young; “Flatliners,” toplining Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt, was a stylish, surrealistic story of science and spirituality;

“Dying Young” reunited Schumacher and Julia Roberts in an unflinching love story; and “Falling Down,” starring Michael Douglas, was a gritty controversial and timely story of social disorder.

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Schumacher’s two hit adaptations of John Grisham’s best-sellers have been hailed as the best of the authors work to be translated to film: “The Client,” starring Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones, and 1996’s summer smash,

“A Time to Kill,” which introduced Matthew McConaughey in a star-making role alongside such accomplished players as Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Kiefer Sutherland, Brenda Fricker, Charles S. Dutton, Ashley Judd, Patrick McGoohan and Donald Sutherland.

Schumacher’s four films – “The Client,” “A Time to Kill,” “Batman Forever,” and “Batman and Robin” – each grossed in excess of $100 million with domestic audiences alone, and “Batman Forever” achieved the distinction of being the highest grossing film of 1995.

Schumacher was born and raised in New York City, where he studied design and display at the Parsons School of Design. He began his career in the entertainment industry as an art director for television commercials before becoming costume designer for such notable films as Woody Allen’s “Sleepers” and “Interiors,” Herbert Ross’ “The Last of Sheila” and Paul Mazursky’s “Blume in Love.” He then wrote the screenplays for the Motown-inflected musical “Sparkle” and the funk-driven comedy “Car Wash.”

Schumacher made his directing debut with the television movie “The Virginia Hill Story,” followed by his award-winning telefilm “Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill.” “The Incredible Shrinking Woman,” starring Lily Tomlin, marked his feature-film directing debut, followed by “D.C. Cab,” for which he also wrote the screenplay. Schumacher also wrote the script for “St. Elmo’s Fire” with Carl Kurlander. In 1988, Schumacher directed the successful Chicago theatrical run of David Mamet’s scorching Hollywood satire, “Speed-the-Plow.”

Schumacher has also directed a number of public service announcements for MTV's Emmy Award-winning “Fight For Your Rights: Take a Stand Against Violence” campaign and two series for their “Protect Yourself” safe-sex campaign with the Kaiser Family Foundation – one urging young people to get tested, the other targeting at-risk minority youth.

Released: 18 April 2003
Distributer: Fox
Running Time: 80 mins
Cert: TBC

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