She has a B.A. in English and Japanese literature from University of Chicago and an M.F.A. in film from Columbia University. She lived in Japan for two years and worked as a photographer, and has written magazine articles about film.
Graduated from Miami Sunset High School in Miami, Florida and is a former classmate of comedian Mark Ginzo
Spent years developing "Silent Star", which would have been about one of early Hollywood's infamous scandals, the murder of silent film director and actor William Desmond Taylor. By the end of 2003, Peirce had the film cast with Annette Bening, Hugh Jackman and Ben Kingsley, only to balk when the studio asked her to make a $30-million movie for $20 million.
Her younger half-brother, Brett, enlisted in the Army at 18 and served in Iraq. It prompted her to develop and direct the 2008 military drama Stop-Loss (2008).
One of 105 people invited to join AMPAS in 2008.
Is a longtime friend of Brian De Palma, original director of 1976's Carrie (1976) which she remade in 2013.
Peirce is engaged to Evren Savci, who teaches gender studies at San Francisco State College.
You talk to any director, it's tough. It's tough to make movies that you love.
I like to go for the reality, I like to go for what's underneath. And I don't even judge it. But that isn't what all Hollywood movies are. That's an example where my success in Boys Don't Cry (1999) brought me this great Hollywood career and all these offers that I really appreciate, but I really have a very particular thing that I like doing. I love real emotion, I love real drama.
(On The Godfather (1972)) It showed me that I can take that love of the gangster movie and I can screen it through a family drama. In both my movies, family is really important, violence is really important. I'm really interested in the psychological and the authentic portrayal of violence-particularly violence that comes out of emotions. Before "The Godfather", I don't know that you could have such a violent psychological film that was that broadly entertaining.
We've had these conversations about being a woman in the business and how [expletive] it is and how you're not treated the same... But it's heartbreaking because it's a lifetime. How many more movies could I have made? How many more actors could I have worked with? And you know, it would have been more. When you're young, you feel invincible... But as you get older you start grieving a little. You're like, 'Wow, that's a lost career.'
[re failure to make queer romantic sex comedy "Butch Academy"] That's not surprising given that it was very queer. It had transmen transitioning, it had butches and straight men sharing advice about how to please women. It crosses some boundaries.
My home life was tough," Peirce said. "It was an oversexualized and violent house. I don't say that like, Wah, wah, feel bad for me. I say it as an adult who is an artist who draws from that stuff...I think girls need to break up with their mothers.
[re ongoing sexism on male-dominated film sets] Julianne [Moore] said no other director had been spoken to the way I was spoken to. And that was amazing, because you don't go to your actors with trouble. But it means a lot when they come to you as an adult to say, 'I see what they're doing.'...With some men, I can't help but think that it's like their mother telling them to pick up their socks. No matter what, you're their mother, you're their wife, which for me is particularly bizarre since I have a beautiful wife. So I'm like, 'Guys, I'm just thinking about the work.'
[re working as female director] Steven Soderbergh once said, 'Make them think that you're enjoying it when they're [f...ing] you,' which I love. But I've contemplated this and wondered, Should they think I'm enjoying it? Because sometimes it's good to be upset, and I don't get upset. But I see people who do, and they get their way, and I always wonder, Should I get upset? [The studio system] is kind of built to keep you out of your own vision, and then you just muscle back. And then you're wondering, Is it O.K., as a girl, that I'm muscling this much?