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Bruce Beresford Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (1) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (5) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (1)

Date of Birth 16 August 1940Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Mini Bio (2)

Bruce Beresford was born in Australia and graduated from Sydney University in 1962. He served as Film Officer for the British Film Institute Production Board from 1966-1971 and as a Film Advisor to the Arts Council of Great Britain. Beresford has also directed several operas including Girl Of The Golden West (Puccini), staged for the Spoleto Festival in Charleston and Spoleto (Italy) and Elektra (Strauss), which was staged for the State Opera Company of South Australia and performed in Adelaide and Melbourne. It won the Award for Best Opera Production of 1991. Immediately prior to starting production on PARADISE ROAD, Beresford directed SWEENEY TODD for the Portland Opera in Oregon.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Australian film director, at his best with period pieces and small-scale dramas. Considered one of Australia's "New Wave" directors.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel

Spouse (2)

Virginia Duigan (1985 - present)
Rhoisin Patricia Harrison (? - ?)

Trivia (5)

Brother-in-law of John Duigan.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume Two, 1945-1985". Pages 99-103. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988.
His favorite films according to the 'Sight and Sound' Top Ten poll: Chimes at Midnight (1965), The Apu Trilogy (Pather Panchali (1955), Aparajito (1956), Apur Sansar (1959)), Ludwig (1973), The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), My Darling Clementine (1946), Fanny and Alexander (1982), The Rules of the Game (1939), Odd Man Out (1947), La Strada (1954) and Black Hawk Down (2001).
Directed 6 different actors in Academy Award-nominated performances: Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek, Tess Harper, Jessica Tandy, Morgan Freeman and Dan Aykroyd. Tandy and Duvall won for their lead performances.
Brother-in-law of Nammi Le.

Personal Quotes (8)

[on Tender Mercies (1983) and lead actor Robert Duvall] Duvall was strange. First of all he was and is a great actor. You could ask him to do a scene five, six times and he'd do it exactly the same way every time. But, on the other hand, there would be delays, like we had to wire up a whole house and he'd just get restless. He'd get mad.
[on the distribution history of his classic Breaker Morant (1980)] When we actually finished it, they had no plans to release it in Australia. Nobody wanted to put it out there. Then, a French guy from the Cannes Film Festival came to Australia and insisted on seeing every Australian film made that year. I ran into him at a cocktail party, and he said, "I'm here seeing all the Australian films." And I said, "Oh, you must have seen my film." He said, "What's your film?" I said, "It's one called "Breaker Morant", but it hasn't been released." And he said, "I told them to show me every Australian film, including the unreleased ones!" Then he insisted on seeing it, and picked it for Cannes. After Cannes, it was shown in Australia. But it was not successful: It got mostly good reviews, but people didn't go. But that film still gets me work. People still call me and say, "Oh, we saw "Breaker Morant", and we're wondering if you might want to film this script we've got." It's amazing how much work that film has got me - for a film that was seen, statistically, by very few people. (...) ...the film didn't do that well in America either. I found out it was shown on the plane between New York and Los Angeles, as an in-flight movie. So a lot of the executives were basically forced to see it! When I started to get all these calls, I asked, "Where on Earth did you see this film?" They'd seen it on the flight. [2015]
I read the novel of Mister Johnson (1990) when I was quite young, and it struck me then that it was a great story. And when [producer] Michael Fitzgerald got in touch with me to tell me about this project, I was immediately very interested - especially as I'd lived in Nigeria for a while when I was younger. I was 24 when I first went there. I was the only white man in an African film unit. It was interesting to me to be thrown into that culture headfirst. I think it gave me a lot of insights. [2015]
[on the Criterion Collection] They just got in touch with me and said, "We're putting out two of your films." And I said, "Which two?" And they said, "Breaker Morant (1980) and Mister Johnson (1990)." And I said, "Well, that's nice. Those are two of my best films." I'm glad Criterion did them, because they always do such a wonderful job and go through so much trouble cleaning up the negatives and so forth. Especially because I don't think "Mister Johnson" has ever been available on DVD. It got good reviews when it came out, but nobody went to see it. [2015]
[on Tender Mercies (1983)] The script was sent to me in Australia, after it had been sent to almost every director in America - I think they'd been to about 30 other directors. When I read it, I remember saying to my wife, "I just read one of the most beautiful, moving scripts anyone has ever written." And I couldn't get on the phone quickly enough to tell them I'd do it. (...) He [Robert Duvall] was already attached when I got the script. He was linked as producer as well. No, he's not the easiest guy in the world to get on with. The really difficult ones are the ones who show up drunk, or don't show up at all, or they don't remember the dialogue - and he wasn't one of them. He turned up, he did the lines. We never argued over the interpretation of the character or anything like that. But he was just one of those people who was hostile to just about everybody. He's a strange man. One day he wanted to take all the lighting equipment away. Another day, he wanted all the sound equipment taken away. It was very bizarre. But he gave a fantastic performance. On the very first day of shooting, I said, "If this guy doesn't get an Academy Award for this, I'm a monkey's uncle." [2015]
[on A Good Man in Africa (1994)] God, that was horrible. That was the worst film experience I ever had. It was cast wrong, the crew was all strange. We were filming in the wrong place. We filmed in South Africa, it was set in West Africa. Which is like shooting in Alaska when it's set in New Orleans. And I realized that although the novel that it's based on is terribly funny, it was very anecdotal. It had no narrative. I think on about the second day I realized it was never going to work, because the scenes don't link. I thought, "I'm sunk! I'm never gonna get out." [2015]
[on the changing reputation of his biggest success Driving Miss Daisy (1989)] I read an article saying it was the worst film to ever win the Academy Award for Best Picture. And I thought, "No, it's the second worst. The worst is Cavalcade (1933), made in 1932." [Laughs.] Honestly, I haven't seen "Driving Miss Daisy" since it was released. Everything changes over a period. I mean, films don't change, because they're stuck where you made it, but life changes, people change, attitudes change. I thought the script was wonderful. It was a very personal story. Alfred Uhry wrote it about his own grandmother and her chauffeur, whom he observed when he was a small boy. He really just told the story that he knew about them. And everything that he put in it was something that had happened. [2015]
I admire that priest in Black Robe (1991) immensely, even though he's hopelessly deluded about everything. [2015]

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