Edit
Alan Parker Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (12) | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 14 February 1944Islington, London, England, UK
Birth NameAlan William Parker

Mini Bio (1)

Prior to moving into film, Alan was noted as one of London's most talented advertising copywriters. He worked for the Collet Dickinson Pearce (CDP) ad agency in the 1960's and early 1970's, and began directing his own tvc scripts in their basement. Formed a partnership with David Puttnam as his producer (Puttnam had been a photographers' agent), and left CDP to become a full time director of commercials before moving onto features.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Otter17

Spouse (2)

Annie Inglis (1966 - 1992) (divorced) (4 children)
Lisa Moran (199? - present)

Trade Mark (4)

Musical
Graphic and Brutal depiction of Violence
Films based on True Stories
His films often have a dark, noirish look to them. They are often lit in very dark colors.

Trivia (12)

Appointed a C.B.E. in 1995 and knighted in the 2002 New Year's Honours List. Now known as Sir Alan Parker.
His sons Alexander Parker and Jake Parker help their father out on a lot of his projects, e.g. composing the score for The Life of David Gale (2003).
Writes the press kit annotations for journalists at advance screenings himself. Has done so since 1981.
He was a founding member of the Directors' Guild of Great Britain and has lectured at film schools around the world.
In an interview for The Road to Wellville (1994), Parker stated that his mission as a filmmaker was to make at least one movie for each genre available.
Has published several collections of film industry-related cartoons, including "Hares in the Gate" (1983).
Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991
Usually, his films end with either the main character dying or end with a depressing down note (see Pink Floyd The Wall (1982), Evita (1996), The Life of David Gale (2003), Angela's Ashes (1999), Mississippi Burning (1988) and Midnight Express (1978)).
Considers Oliver Stone as his strong antagonist since their collaborations on Midnight Express (1978). Parker even declined several times to give him WGA credits for his previous work on Evita (1996), but finally agreed to do so after a long deliberation with WGA's law representatives.
Is friends with director Tony Scott, whom he sponsored to direct The Hunger (1983) for producer Richard Shepard.
Has directed 3 actors to Oscar nominations: John Hurt (Best Supporting Actor, Midnight Express (1978)), Gene Hackman (Best Actor, Mississippi Burning (1988)), and Frances McDormand (Best Supporting Actress, Mississippi Burning (1988)).
One of Parker's idols Fred Zinnemann became an unlikely mentor and would often agree to see many of his films before anyone else.

Personal Quotes (7)

I was once described by one of my critics as an aesthetic fascist.
I'm always afraid someone's going to tap me on the shoulder one day and say, "Back to North London".
Making a film is so hard that if you don't have your main actors going along with the ride with the rest of the crew it can make your life very difficult. Particularly within the Hollywood machine. They've allowed more stars to take over and it can make everyone else's life a misery. But the truth is the actors are doing their job just the same as the camera assistant and the costume designer and everybody else.
Every time I've been to Cannes, I've made up my mind never to return. Every time my vanity wins over.
[meeting an unknown Paul Thomas Anderson at a parking lot after an event at the USC film school] As I pulled away I could see in my mirror a young man chasing after me, waving a videotape. He ran alongside, banging at the window. I stopped, wound down the window, and he thrust the videotape through the window saying he'd made a short film and really wanted me to look at it. The short was The Dirk Diggler Story (1988), which I looked at and thought was quite brilliant.
[on Bugsy Malone (1976)] I had four young children and we used to go to a cottage in Derbyshire at weekends. On the long, boring car journey up there, I started telling them the story of a gangster called Bugsy Malone. They'd ask me questions and I'd make up answers, based on my memories of watching old movie reruns as a kid. I'd won a Bafta for a Play for Today, "The Evacuees", for the BBC in 1975. Now I was trying to get into movies. The British film industry was flat: nobody would finance my scripts because they were too "parochial". So I wrote an American film, choosing to fuse two classic Hollywood genres: the musical and the mob. It was my son Alex who said: "Can the heroes be kids?" I'd done plenty of adverts with children, but a feature film is a logistical nightmare: the legal constrictions, schooling, minimal hours allowed "under the lights". But I was just starting out. I was fearless and a bit naive. For casting, I lugged a video camera all over America, and even went to US airforce bases in the UK. We recorded almost 100 school Christmas shows and saw almost 10,000 kids. In a Catholic school in Brooklyn, I asked: "Who's the most badly behaved kid in the class?" Thirty kids pointed to one chubby little boy at the back. "Cassisi!" they screamed. John Cassisi put his hands up and smiled. Although he had never acted before, he yelled out lines from script with gusto. I knew right away we had our Fat Sam. Jodie Foster, who played his moll Tallulah, had made more films than I had, so probably knew more about film-making. She was 13 but had been acting since she was three, and had just filmed Taxi Driver (1976). She got on well with the cast, and certainly wasn't aloof, which she had every right to be. I suspect she relished being surrounded by kids for once, as she had spent her professional life surrounded by adults. Although Scott Baio, our Bugsy, was perfectly behaved on set, he was probably a handful for the chaperones. Each morning, he'd regale us with the antics from the night before. A starchy version of Cinderella was shooting at Pinewood at the same time we were there. Its makers constantly complained that our mini-gangsters were running up and down the corridors, terrorising the Cinderella cast in their crinolines and powdered wigs. The film was quite successful in the UK, but not in the US. Over the years, when I've done retrospectives, I've never included it, as I didn't think it fitted with the rest of my work. But curiously, as I get older, I realise it still looks modern. It hasn't dated. I'm rather proud of it. [2015, The Guardian]
[on how he wrote his first screenplay S.W.A.L.K. (1971)] I hadn't really thought about writing a screenplay at the time. I hadn't started directing, except for a few commercials in the basement of the agency where I worked. I was quite happy in advertising and had some success as a copywriter, so to get a film made of my script was as much a surprise as a thrill. (...) David Puttnam and Charles Saatchi (colleagues at the CDP ad agency) took me to lunch in Soho (Central London). They leaned across (the table), conspiratorially, and said, "Alan, we're thinking of going into film, and today we are going to discover you." I said, "Why are you discovering me? Why can't I discover you?" The plan was for me to write a script, and Charles to write a script, and Puttnam would attempt to sell them. I had never written anything longer than 30 seconds at the time, and so it was a shock when it got financed. Puttnam had obtained the rights to seven The Bee Gees songs from Robert Stigwood. This was 1969, and pre-Saturday Night Fever (1977)/falsetto Bee Gees - and so I wrote the script around the songs. There is a lyric in the song "The First of May" that went, "When we were small, and Christmas trees were tall, we used to love while others used to play," and I framed the story around that thought, mixed in with memories of my own childhood growing up in North London, mixed with a few memories from Puttnam. The film was mostly financed by Edgar M. Bronfman. Apparently his 16-year-old son, Edgar Bronfman Jr., read the script and recommended that his father make the movie. Edgar Jr. was also a production runner on the film. (...) It wasn't a big hit except, curiously, in Japan. I still get letters from fans of the film in Tokyo and Osaka. Creatively, it got us all started. Up to this point, I had no intentions of a film career, but on "Melody," I directed a small second-unit sequence, which was used, so probably I was bitten by the film bug then. Creatively, it has had an impact on other directors, as I have had many overtures, over the years, to remake it. Wes Anderson acknowledged that his film Moonrise Kingdom (2012) was inspired by "Melody." [Variety 2015]

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page