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Paul Verhoeven Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (8) | Trivia (25) | Personal Quotes (9) | Salary (2)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 18 July 1938Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Paul Verhoeven graduated from the University of Leiden, with a degree in math and physics. He entered the Royal Netherlands Navy, where he began his film career by making documentaries for the Navy and later for TV. In 1969, he directed the popular Dutch TV series, Floris (1969), about a medieval knight. This featured actor Rutger Hauer, who has appeared in many of Verhoeven's later films. Verhoeven's first feature, Diary of a Hooker (1971) (trans. "What do I See?"), was released in 1971. However, it was his second, Turkish Delight (1973), with its combination of raw sexuality and a poignant story-line, that gained him great popularity in the Netherlands, especially with male audiences. When his films, especially Soldier of Orange (1977) and The 4th Man (1983), received international recognition, Verhoeven moved to the US. His first US film was Flesh+Blood (1985) in 1985, but it was RoboCop (1987) and, especially, Total Recall (1990) that made him a big box office success. Sometimes accused of portraying excessive violence in his films, Verhoeven replies that he is only recording the violence of society. Verhoeven has co-scripted two of his films: Soldier of Orange (1977) and Flesh+Blood (1985). He also directed an episode of the HBO Deadly Nightmares (1983) TV series. Several of his films have been photographed by Jost Vacano, including the hit cult film, Starship Troopers (1997), starring Casper Van Dien.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: R.J. Lahey <rlahey@random.ucs.mun.ca>

Spouse (1)

Martine Verhoeven (7 April 1967 - present) (3 children)

Trade Mark (8)

Famous for his extremely violent, yet intelligent, science fiction films (RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Starship Troopers (1997) and Hollow Man (2000)).
Frequently works with screenwriter Gerard Soeteman (on his Dutch films), photographer Jost Vacano, and Rutger Hauer (Turkish Delight (1973), Keetje Tippel (1975), Soldier of Orange (1977), Spetters (1980) and Flesh+Blood (1985)).
A lot of his films include media coverage of some kind, ranging from real archive footage (Soldier of Orange (1977) ) to fictional news (RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Starship Troopers (1997)) and sportscasts (Spetters (1980)).
Heavy use of Christian symbolism (Turkish Delight (1973),Spetters (1980), The 4th Man (1983), Flesh+Blood (1985), RoboCop (1987), Basic Instinct (1992) )
Sexually-charged subject matter (Turkish Delight (1973), Basic Instinct (1992), Showgirls (1995) and Black Book (2006)).
His films usually have the two main antagonists hostile to each other (Dick Jones and Clarence Boddicker in RoboCop (1987), Cohaagen and Richter in Total Recall (1990), Catherine Trammel and Beth Garner, the two main suspects in Basic Instinct (1992), who were possibly framing each other and Ludwig Muntze and Gunther Franken in Black Book (2006))
Use of Nazi symbolism/imagery. Examples: The characters played by Kurtwood Smith in Robocop and Neil Patrick Harris in Starship Troopers are patterned after Heimrich Himler of Hitler's SS. The society of Earth in Starship Troopers is patterned after Nazi Germany.
Strong visual style with heavy use of special effects

Trivia (25)

Was a member of the Leiden students body "Minerva", which played a central role in his famous Soldier of Orange (1977) ("Soldier of Orange" / "Survival Run"), after Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema's book), produced by Rob Houwer.
Became the first nominee ever to actually show up at the Razzie Awards, when he personally accepted his Worst Director "award" for Showgirls (1995). He also accepted the Worst Picture award for that film.
Of all his films, claimed that Starship Troopers (1997) was the only one he would be interested in revisiting for a true sequel (the 2004 Phil Tippett directed Starship Troopers 2: Hero of the Federation (2004) did not involve him) but at one point he wanted to do Minority Report (2002) (directed by Steven Spielberg) as a follow-up to his Total Recall (1990).
Says he declined the offer to direct three back-to-back sequels to The Fast and the Furious (2001) and 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003).
Was set to direct a (then record) $150-million epic called "Crusade" starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1995 for Carolco. Being an independent company, Carolco couldn't take two risks at the same time and preferred Renny Harlin's Cutthroat Island (1995), which made Verhoeven decide to do Showgirls (1995) first. Harlin's swashbuckler flopped and bankrupted Carolco, so "Crusade" never got made. Given Schwarzenegger's uncertain future in acting following his political career and family problems (and the fact that he still owns the rights to the screenplay), as well as the release of the similarly themed Ridley Scott film Kingdom of Heaven (2005), it is unlikely "Crusade" will ever be made, although Verhoeven is still often quoted as saying he'd be interested.
Drinks Cola light
Likes to relax on music from the German hard rock band Rammstein.
His only Hollywood films that have not yet had a sequel are Flesh+Blood (1985) and Total Recall (1990) (although a short-lived Total Recall television series and a remake were produced). All his other Hollywood epics (RoboCop (1987), Basic Instinct (1992), Showgirls (1995), Starship Troopers (1997) and Hollow Man (2000)) have had one or more sequels made. He did not direct any of them.
2007: Member of the jury at the 64th Venice Film Festival.
Considers John Landis his only friend in Hollywood.
Showing male full frontal nudity was quite normal in Verhoeven's Dutch films up to The 4th Man (1983). After that, he pursued a career in the USA, where the movie rating system wouldn't allowed this. The only full male nudity in his American films is in Hollow Man (2000), which was allowed because the penis was half-invisible and seen through a thermal scanner.
In his book Jesus of Nazareth, published by Seven Stories Press, Verhoeven cites RoboCop (1987) as his "Jesus movie".
Member of the jury at the I've Seen Films International Film Festival, founded by Rutger Hauer. [October 2011]
During his army service in the sixties he made a point of attending public events, including every movie premiere of his then very left-wing hippie friends and colleagues, in his full gala-uniform of the Dutch Royal Marines.
Despite directing four science-fiction movies (RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990), Starship Troopers (1997) and Hollow Man (2000)), he has admitted that it is definitely not his favorite genre.
He studied Mathematics and Physics at the University of Leiden.
His last name is correctly pronounced as "Vair-who-ven" instead of "Vair-HO-ven".
Is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Was slated to direct a sequel to The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), but the film got shelved for a while. When the project was finally revived, Verhoeven left due to disagreements over the script. The film was ultimately never made.
He was planning to make a pirate movie called 'Mistress of the Sea' with Geena Davis. However, with an estimated budget of 75 million dollar, the studio demanded a male protagonist to increase the chances of financial success. Verhoeven refused to consider Harrison Ford for the part, and the project was abandoned. Ironically, Davis would later star in the ill-fated pirate movie 'Cutthroat Island (1995)', which was so costly that Carolco studios canceled Verhoeven's project 'Crusade'.
He briefly considered doing a sequel to his own RoboCop (1987), but could not agree with the studio on the storyline.
Was offered the chance to direct The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988), but did not accept, as he was unsure how to handle the social and political aspects of the movie. He later commented that he liked Philip Kaufman's version of the movie, but felt no regrets over passing on the project.
Developing a dozen of projects, most notably the Dutch war-thriller "Zwartboek (2005)" with filming expected to start in the fall. [May 2004]
Considers Das Boot (1981) to be the best war movie ever made. One of his reasons for this is the innovative photography by Jost Vacano, who also shot many of Verhoeven's Dutch and American movies.
Was offered the chance to direct The Silence of the Lambs (1991), but declined, thinking that there would not be an audience for a movie which such a dark tone. He regretted the decision after the movie proved to be both a critical and commercial success.

Personal Quotes (9)

People seem to have this strange idea that films can influence people to be violent, but in my sincere opinion film only reflects the violence of society.
As a director, my goal is to be completely open. Just look at how I portray sex in my films. They're considered shocking and obscene because I like to carefully examine human sexuality. It has to be realistic. I really like documentaries, therefore, reality is important to me when I do fiction. It is often related to my own life, my Dutch background. The art scene in Holland has always attempted to be realistic. The Dutch painters of 400 years ago were meticulously realistic. The example I always like to use is a marvelous painting by Hieronymus Bosch titled "The Prodigal Son". It is a painting of a brothel, and in the corner is a man pissing against a wall. You would never, never find something like that in an Italian, French or English painting of that epoch. The Dutch have always been more scientific, interested in detail; certainly less idealistic and more realistic. The sex scenes in The 4th Man (1983) ["The Fourth Man"] and Turkish Delight (1973) ["Turkish Delight"] were based on real experiences I had or a friend had. It's very personal. Of course, I must admit that I love to shock audiences.
The 4th Man (1983) [["The Fourth Man"] has to do with my vision of religion. In my opinion, Christianity is nothing more than one of many interpretations of reality, neither more nor less. Ideally, it would be nice to believe that there is a God somewhere out there, but it looks to me as if the whole Christian religion is a major symptom of schizophrenia in half the world's population: civilizations scrambling to rationalize their chaotic existence. Subsequently, Christianity has a tendency to look like magic or the occult. And I liked that ambiguity, because I wanted my audience to take something home with them. I wanted them to wonder about what religion really is. Remember that Christianity is a religion grounded in one of the most violent acts of murder, the crucifixion. Otherwise, religion wouldn't have had any kind of impact. With regards to the irony of the violence, much of that probably comes from my childhood experiences during and immediately following the Second World War. In fact, if it hadn't been for the German occupation and then the American occupation, I would have never been a filmmaker.
The sooner we admit our capacity for evil the less apt we are to destroy each other.
People love seeing violence and horrible things. The human being is bad and he can't stand more than five minutes of happiness. Put him in a dark theater and ask him to look at two hours of happiness and he'd walk out or fall asleep.
[on his Total Recall (1990) star and good friend Arnold Schwarzenegger] Arnold has no ego. You can say anything to him. In fact, during his first day on the set [of "Total Recall] he sat me down and told me, "I won't be offended if you talk to me in a direct manner. Say what you feel". That made it easy, because I wouldn't have to be diplomatic and say, "Arnold, could you perhaps move over here and give me a different angle?" I could just go, "Arnold, this is bad. You look stupid!"
It's still difficult if you are a European director and your first language is not English to be exactly aware what the nuances of the American language are. Even after fifty, sixty years you are basically kind of a little bit retarded there.
[on his filmmaking style] American critics always complain about the blandness of mainstream movies, but when you do something more ambiguous and ironic, they are pissed off too. I like putting certain aspects of American society under the magnifying glass and showing them for what they are.
There is a fear about sex in motion pictures, as if sex would undermine morality.

Salary (2)

Basic Instinct (1992) $5,000,000
Showgirls (1995) $2,000,000

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